Saturday, July 23, 2011

Annex Yesha Now at 1st "Regaining the Initiative" Conference.

Israel needs [Yesha] territory for peace, it's good for both sides, say speakers at 1st "Regain the Initiative" conference. Audience agreed.
by Arutz Sheva

The Arab world has made the idea of a 'Palestinian' state, a land for a people that didn’t exist until they were created at the end of the 20th century, into an axiomatic must-do for most of the world. The Arab narrative includes taking this proposed land from the Jews, branding them as usurpers and occupiers while negating millennia of Biblical and historical Jewish rights to the land, this despite the Arabs losing the many wars they initiated, and despite the Balfour Declaration, League of Nations mandates and United Nations recognition for a Jewish state. All that somehow seems perfectly fine to a good many liberal well wishers, and even finer to a good many not so well wishers. How did they do it? Putting aside the subconsciously anti-Semitic readiness of the world to believe anything of the Jews, they did it by turning the issue into a subject of common discourse. Conferences, meetings, interviews, resolutions, clever use of visual imagery made the idea of “Palestinian rights” as ubiquitous as humous is in the Arab souk.

Polls have shown that most mainstream Israelis feel that a Palestinian state is a disaster for the Jewish one. Even those in the government who have agreed to its establishment hedge their offers out of fear of rockets falling on Ben Gurion airport the morning after.

They find themselves on the defensive as the other side says “What’s your alternative?”

On Thursday, Nadia Matar and Yehudit Katsover , indefatigable leaders of the “Women in Green” decided to “Regain the Initiative”, as they called their packed conference in Hevron, and begin to explore the different aspects of a real alternative - asserting Israeli sovereignty in Judea and Samaria . This is just the beginning of public discourse, they said, and the hundreds who came to help kickstart the initiative, agreed.

The speakers addressed the various ramifications of Israeli sovereignty, Jewish, Zionist, political,,economic, legal and diplomatic, discussing options for annexation, the status of Arab residents, demographics and world reactions.

Carolyn Glick, senior contributing editor of JPost, said that although that is the only option on the table at present, any Palestinian state will be a terror state, Gaza will reach Jerusalem, Israeli Arabs will demand independence and an invasion from Iraq will follow. Once Israel gives in to a Palestinian state, she said, we admit to being outside conquerors, and the rest is downhill.

Glick suggested asserting sovereignty now, giving today’s PA Arabs the franchise, but setting rules: no votes for members of terror organizations, for example. She recalled that nothing happened when Israel united Jerusalem and annexed the Golan Heights without fanfare. There is no standing still, she maintained, and if we don’t want to pay the price for victory, we will lose.

MK Hotovely said that we must ignore the left. MK Eldad painted the varying scenarios possible once Israel decides to assert sovereignty in Yesha, listing pros and cons for each.

Professor Raphy Yisraeli said that a Palestinian state in Yesha would not solve anything, as only a third of those claiming to be “refugees” live in Yesha and the other two thirds would soon demand the rest of Israel. He suggested population switches, including of Israeli Arabs, modeled on the post WWII period when 20 m. refugees were resettled successfully in a matter of years. Israel’s pre 1922 borders could be the start point of negotiations, a state built out of parts of that, so that Arabs left in Israel should be Palestinian citizens.

The most original thesis came from economic correspondent Eran Bar Tal, who outlined the significant economic gain for Israelis and Arabs if sovereignty is asserted, an outcome for which the left has no alternative. From a rise in property values of Arab homes and subsequent capital gain, to solving the housing shortage for Israelis (as Yesha is not the Negev or Galilee, but close to employment centers), eliminating the need for foreign workers while raising living conditions for Arabs – all told, an economic win-win situation, that people can relate to easily.

Former UN Ambassador Yoram Ettinger brought statistics that showed that time is actually on the Israeli side, that the Congress which represents mainstream America is 80% pro Israel (eliciting a laugh when he said that this is a higher percentage than polls of Israelis attain). He listed demographic predictions of doom in the past that turned out to be inaccurate, explaining that a double-counting error led to 1 m. more Arabs in Yesha than are really there to be on the books. He juxtaposed the rising birthrate in Israel –from 80,000 in 1995 to 125,000 in 2010 with the lowering Arab one.

Dr. Yitschak Klein of the Israel Policy Center claimed that Israelis suggest policy according to how they wished Arabs would act, but not as they really do. Now is the time act, he said, as as public opinion has changed radically. Negotiations have failed, Oslo has collapsed, and a majority of Israelis polled do not want to give up any more land. They do want to be separated from PA Arabs and therefore he suggested giving over Arab concentrated areas in order to gain other areas.

Dr. Gabi Avital summed up the initiative by saying that details can be worked out, but that from this point on, the Territories for Peace slogan must be turned on its head. Israel can assert sovereignty all at once or in stages over the territory of Yesha, work out the status of PA residents now or later, but Yesha must become Israeli sovereign territory for it to take a chance on “peace."

Friday, July 22, 2011

Study Sees Shale Gas Changing Global Balance

Amiel Ungar

With nuclear energy in current disfavor and renewables as an alternative source still down the road, natural gas has become a favorite alternative. This comes at a price because increased gas consumption has magnified the leverage of Russia and countries such as Iran.

Now the Baker Institute for Public policy at Rice University has published a study "Shale Gas and US National Security" that hails the fracturing of shale deposits to produce natural gas as potential transition technology for at least a generation. According to the study, the estimates of gas available from shale have quadrupled since 2003 while the costs of its extraction have decreased markedly. This will cut US dependence on the imports of natural gas to a minimum and terminals that had been readied for the import of natural gas are submitting permits for exporting it.

If the United States will stop importing liquefied natural gas, this will enable Europe to drastically reduce its dependency on the imports of gas from Russia. According to the Institute.

If shale gas is exploited, Europe in 2040 will import 13% of its gas from Russia as opposed to 27% today.

Another benefit is that the lengthy gas pipelines for transporting gas from Iran will no longer be economically feasible, thus reducing Iran's influence on the energy markets. Countries that have hitherto flouted US sanctions on Iran for fear of antagonizing Tehran and jeopardizing their energy security will be less intimidated.

Finally, the abundance of liquefied natural gas as will reduce US domestic energy costs and, according to the study, help countries reduce greenhouse gases emissions.

The Baker Institute study is unique in exploring the geopolitical repercussions of fracturing or "fracking" shale deposits. Other studies favoring the technology have pointed to the economic benefits and job opportunities produced --no small matter in the currently ailing American economy.

The fracturing is opposed by environmental groups because the chemicals used in the drilling that injects water into the shale deposits are considered to be potential contaminants to the water supply.

Some states are trying to get the drilling companies to display transparency and enact regulations that will protect the environment and public safety.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry, a potential Republican presidential nominee, last week required energy companies to disclose the ingredients of hydraulic fracturing fluid to the Texas Railroad Commission, the state agency that regulates the energy sector.

In the European Union the debate is also expected to heat up. Poland, current rotating president of the EU, has substantial shale deposits and has a very keen interest in reducing dependence on Russian energy.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Judea and Samaria is the Real Promised Land

Watch excerpts from this week's special event, featuring Judea and Samaria residents who spoke from their heart to Jewish Americans.
by Elad Benari
Published: 21/07/11

Arutz Sheva brings you the following video with excerpts from Sunday’s special event featuring prominent residents of Judea and Samaria, who came to the Silver Springs Jewish Community Center in Silver Springs, Maryland and spoke to Jewish Americans about the heartland of Israel. One of the evening’s speakers was Tommy Waller, a Christian who founded HaYovel, a volunteer organization helping Jewish farmers.

“For a long time Christianity wanted to believe that was the Promised Land,” said Waller. “And then we realized that the Promised Land was actually a real place. When that happened, we began to believe that the Bible is true. This started something within the Christian communities.”

Waller, who grew up in Nashville, Tennessee, where he never met any Jewish people, recalled his first visit to Israel eight years ago, during which he ended up on Mount Gerizim near Shechem.

“I ended up on that mountain with a man named Nir, a Jewish man, born in Israel, from Kfar Saba,” said Waller, adding that Nir showed him a vineyard in the area and spoke of his dreams, as described by the prophets in the Tanach, to build vineyards in Samaria. It was this encounter that inspired Waller to help Jewish farmers.

The evening’s other speakers included David Wilder, spokesman of the Hevron Jewish community, trauma expert Ron Jager. and David Ha’ivri, Executive Director of the Shomron Liaison Office.

Report: Egypt Wants to Cancel Gas Agreement

Egypt’s Petrol Minister seeking to cancel gas supply agreement with Israel, ask for a higher price, says report in Egyptian media.
by Elad Benari

Egypt’s Petrol Minister is threatening to seek the cancellation of the current gas supply agreement with Israel and at the same time will demand a new price from Israel, the Egyptian daily Youm7 reported on Wednesday.

A senior source close to the minister, Abdallah Ghorab, was quoted by the newspaper as saying that Egypt is preparing a request to the International Center for the Settlement of Investment Disputes in Washington DC, asking it to end the gas agreement. According to the report, East Mediterranean Gas (EMG), the company that exports gas from Egypt to Israel, intends to submit to the tribunal a claim for $8 billion in damages.

The source said that Egypt will demand that the company should raise the value of the deal with Israel to $10 billion. The source also hinted that the recent attacks on the gas pipeline to Israel in the Sinai will continue unless implementation of the agreement in its present format is halted.

The pipeline has been the target of repeated attacks, the latest one having occurred last week. It was the fourth time since February that the pipeline had been attacked.

Infrastructures Minister Uzi Landau said after the latest blast that it signals a further erosion of “goodwill” from Cairo.

“Economic ties between Egypt and Israel are eroding,” Landau said, warning that the result of the blasts will be a hike by approximately 20 percent in the cost of electricity, as the Israel Electric Corp. is forced to use expensive diesel fuel as a substitute for natural gas from Egypt.

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Merhav, the Israeli company which co-owns EMG, told the Globes financial newspaper on Wednesday, “We suggest taking the reports in the Egyptian press and media with a pinch of salt.

“What the international investors in EMG have to say, they will say to the International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes in Washington,” added the spokesperson.

Right wing group pulls out of Tel Aviv tent protest


Im Tirtzu says protest organizers have refused repeated requests to negotiate with the government to resolve the crisis.

Right-wing student group Im Tirtzu announced Wednesday that it was pulling out of the main tent protest on Tel Aviv’s Rothschild Boulevard against rising housing prices because it was concerned about the organizers’ political aims.

Ronen Shoval, founder of Im Tirtzu, met with a handful of the protest organizers earlier this week, who he said have refused repeated requests from his and other organizations to negotiate with the government to resolve the crisis. “When one isn’t interested in having a conversation with the government, the problem won’t be solved. I was trying to convince them to speak to the government, but how many times can you try?” he said.

“Conversations with the Rothschild Boulevard organizers made it clear that the group is not looking for solutions; they are looking to protest.”

Roee Neuman, a spokeman for the Tel Aviv Tent Protest movement, confirmed that the protest organizers are not negotiating with the government.

But he said that this is a tactical, rather not a political, decision.

“Our job is not to present a solution – we are not experts on housing,” Neuman said. “We want the government to find solutions; we will negotiate… once the government presents us with solutions.”

Neuman would not comment on Im Tirtzu’s announcement that it is pulling out of the protest that began last week because he said the two groups are still negotiating.

He said nevertheless that all Israelis dissatisfied with rising housing prices should participate in the cause.

“We welcome everyone to join us – from the Left and Right,” he said.

Shoval, meanwhile, said Im Tirtzu is working with other organizations to draft a proposal to present to the government outlining solutions to solve the housing crisis, including instituting a tax on foreigners who own properties in Jerusalem that are not rented and improvements in public transportation to enable people to commute to the main industrial areas more easily.

But Im Tirtzu is not severing all ties to the tent protest movement.

Members of the right-wing student group will still participate in the tent protests in Beersheba and Haifa, Shoval said.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Gaza starts exporting tomatoes

Palestinian farmers to sell cherry tomatoes to Israeli company Agrexco, which will market them in Europe

Tani Goldstein

Palestinian farmers will start exporting cherry tomatoes from the Gaza Strip this week, as part of a government decision from the end of 2010 to expand the Strip's agricultural exports.

The first stage will see some 50 tons of tomatoes sent to Europe through Israel. According to estimates, the exports will yield Gaza's farmers some €150,000 (about $206,500). The Palestinian farmers will deliver the tomatoes through the Kerem Shalom crossing to Israeli agricultural export company Agrexco, which markets the produce in Europe. The money is transferred to agricultural cooperatives, which will hand it over to the Palestinian farmers.

The Agrexco company stresses that it has lists of the growers and ensures that the money reaches them.

Since the Hamas took over Gaza and Israel imposed a siege on the coastal enclave, exports from the Strip were stopped and Gaza lived off aid received from the Palestinian Authority and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency and from money arriving illegally through underground tunnels, most likely from Iran. Industrial exports are still paralyzed.

As part of the exports, which began in November 2010, the Strip's farmers export strawberries, carnations and peppers. Meanwhile, the pepper exports have been halted due to technical problems.

So far, Gaza's farmers have exported some 367 tons of strawberries worth €1.8 million ($2.5 million), about 5.3 million carnations worth €850,000 ($1.17 million) and 6 tons of peppers.

The agricultural activity in the Strip is conducted with the help of the Dutch government, as part of a special project training farmers and providing them with infrastructure through a Palestinian agricultural company.

The office of the coordinator of government activities in the territories, Major-General, Eitan Dangot, stresses that the Dutch aid is being supervised by the Israeli defense establishment.

Agreements signed between Israel, Egypt and the Palestinian Authority ahead of the Gaza pullout stated that the Strip's agricultural exports will be take place through the Rafah crossing, which was closed completely after the blockade was imposed.

According to Major-General Dangot's office, "The export of cherry tomatoes was made possible after activities involving defense officials, the Defense Ministry's crossing administration, the Dutch government, the Palestinian Authority, the Palestinian farmers and the Coordination and Liaison Authority at the Erez crossing.

"Israel views the involvement of the international community in implementing the civilian policy towards the population which is uninvolved in terrorism as extremely important, and will work to expand economic projects in the Strip."

Why Do Palestinians Bite the Hand That Feeds Them?

Khaled Abu Toameh

For the past six decades, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for [UNRWA] has been helping hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and a number of Arab countries, providing them with various services, including jobs In recent weeks, UNRWA has come under attack from many Palestinians who fear that the international agency is planning to cut its services to the refugees.

UNRWA has in fact reduced some of its services to refugees – but only due to a $60 million budget deficit.

The reactions of both Hamas and the PLO show that neither party is willing to assume responsibility for the refugees in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

The two parties do not want to provide any services to the refugees, and want UNRWA to do the job for them. Their goal is to keep the refugees in their places so Hamas, the PLO and the rest of the Arab governments can continue exploiting their plight for political purposes.

The anti-UNRWA protests are aimed at extorting the agency and the international community into continuing to provide services and jobs to tens of thousands of Palestinians, exempting Hamas, the PLO and the Arab world from any responsibility.

Instead of threatening UNRWA, the PLO and Hamas should start thinking of ways to help the refugees to improve their living conditions and find jobs.

Instead of demonstrating in front of the UNRWA headquarters in the Gaza Strip, Palestinian refugees should be demanding that oil-rich Arab countries help them.

The latest anti-UNRWA protests began when Palestinians discovered one morning that the organization had officially changed its name and logo on its web site, dropping the words "Relief" and "Works."

The new web site described UNRWA only as "The Palestinian Agency for Palestinian Refugees," triggering a wave of protests, especially in the Gaza Strip.

Attempts by UNRWA officials to explain that the changes were only in the context of a redesigned web site on the 60th anniversary of the agency have since fallen on deaf ears.

Some Palestinians have even gone as far as accusing UNRWA of being part of a "conspiracy" to "liquidate" the problem of the refugees by preventing them from returning to the villages where they used to live inside Israel before 1948.

The protests and strong condemnations finally prompted UNRWA to restore its original name and logo.

But even that has not calmed down Hamas and the PLO, whose representatives continue to insist that UNRWA is conspiring to reduce its services to Palestinian refugees.

Hamas said that restoring the words "Relief" and "Works" to its official web site was "inaccurate," and accused UNRWA of seeking to "mislead public opinion."

Zakariya al-Agha, head of the PLO "Refugee Affairs Department," said that the PLO rejects attempts to change UNRWA's name or mandate.

Al-Agha said that the Palestinian refugees should not pay the price for UNRWA's financial difficulties. "UNRWA and the Palestinian refugees are facing dangers and conspiracies by some countries," he charged. "UNRWA should be increasing and improving its services to the refugees, and not reducing them."

Why aren't UNRWA and the wealthy Arabs improving the Palestinians' housing and helping them find work?

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Lebanon five years later: no peace in sight.

Missing Peace Middle East Research

Jerusalem July 17 2011

Last week five years ago the second Lebanon war between Israel and Hezbollah (Hizb’Allah) began.

It was a war which initially brought the organization unprecedented power inside Lebanon and a formerly unknown status in the Arab world.

Now however, it seems that the real water-shed event for Hezbollah’s position was not that war, but the murder of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, who was assassinated on February 14th 2005 in one of the most shocking political murders that Lebanon had ever seen. Since the Second Lebanon war Hezbollah has rebuilt its forces, tripled its missile arsenal aimed at Israel and has taken over Lebanon politically.

At the same time the movement, once popular as the 'resistance movement’ against Israel, has no doubt lost the support of the majority of the Lebanese people.

This process began in January 2007 when Hezbollah's forces invaded Beirut in an attempt to force its will upon the Lebanese government.

A civil war was narrowly avoided, but in May 2008 Hezbollah leader Nasrallah sent in his troops again. This time he secured the collaboration of the Syrian Socialist National Party.

The fascist pro-Syrian Lebanese militia helped Hezbollah to stage a de facto coup d’état: the ‘resistance’ had become an occupying power.

The Sunni Arab world, seeking to avoid the fall of Lebanon, organized a conference in Doha Qatar at the end of May 2008.

Rather than securing the protection of the legitimate government, the conference ended in surrender to Hezbollah’s demands. It sealed Hezbollah’s de-facto take over of Lebanon but also signaled the end of the Beirut Spring, which in fact was the first in a continuing string of Arab uprisings.

But Hezbollah’s seemingly untouchable position became shaky after news broke that the Special Tribunal of Lebanon, which investigated the Rafik Hariri assassination, had found evidence of Hezbollah’s involvement in the murder.

Now, following the indictment of four Hezbollah members by the STL, and with the unfolding revolution in Syria threatening the rule of Hezbollah patron Bashar el Assad, Lebanon once again could descend into the abyss.

Another civil war or a new and devastating conflict with Israel is certainly possible............

For full article click here:

Israel Eyeing Reoccupation of Sinai

Steven Shamrak

Israeli officials are thinking about reoccupying the Sinai Peninsula because of the growing prospect of infiltration by al-Qaida and other militants such as Hamas, the inability of the Egyptian military to guarantee security and the prospect of a cut-off of vital natural gas supplies flowing through a repeatedly sabotaged pipeline. Israeli officials already have warned of a heightened terrorist threat from the Sinai. In April, Israeli aircraft attacked a car said to be carrying three Hamas operatives allegedly planning to abduct Israelis there.

Since the fall of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in January, Israel has become increasingly concerned with the security of the Sinai, some 23,000 square miles.

Egyptian authorities also claim they can no longer maintain security in the region. Egyptian police are abandoning their remote stations and checkpoints, which are coming under increased attacks from Bedouin tribesmen in the region. Bedouin tribesmen ransacked numerous abandoned government facilities and have threatened to attack south Sinai oil installations and tourist resorts.

"The Sinai is already known as a lawless land," according to a senior Israeli official. "There is real concern that if the Egyptians don't get the Sinai back under their control, it could develop into a major threat to Israel ."

Food for Thought by Steven Shamrak

There was no Lebanon-Israel sea border demarcation dispute until Israel discovered oil and gas in Mediterranean Sea. It proves again that the Arab-Israel conflict is sustained only by greed for oil and traditional anti-Semitism of Jewish traditional 'friends'.

Arabs Put the PLO´s Phased Plan in Action

US rejected Arab League's support for PA's UN statehood bid. State department says group's "diplomatic offensive" on plans to ask world body to recognise a Palestinian state along 1967 lines "will not lead to a comprehensive settlement." (In their attempt to destroy Israel using the Stage plan, Arabs are trying to obtain Jewish land, referring to the UN resolution 242 - which they had rejected at the time!)

Netanyahu is Gutless as Usual

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu may have instigated a crisis with his largest coalition partner, Israel Beiteinu, by announcing that he will oppose the establishment of a parliamentary inquiry committee into left-wing and human rights non-governmental organisations. Netanyahu said: "We don't need investigations in the Knesset". Lieberman warns his party will be free to act independently if coalition discipline is not enforced. (Why does the Prime Minister of Israel not want to fight anti-Israel elements?)

Another Stupid War with NO Result

The Libyan war virtually ended on Thursday morning, July 14, when US President Barack Obama called Russian President Dmitry Medvedev to hand Moscow the lead in peace negotiations for Muammar Qaddafi to step down and make way for a transitional administration. He thereby accepted the Russian-Libyan peace formula over NATO's heads.

New Bogus Issue is Pushed by Arabs

Lebanon's president and foreign minister rebuked Israel for its plan to mark the two countries' maritime border, vowing to wage a diplomatic offensive to thwart Jerusalem's efforts to ensure unrestricted access to lucrative natural gas reserves.

Quote of the Week:

"Why are Muslims so powerless? All we do is shout to Allah the whole day - and blame everyone else for our multiple failures!" - Dr. Farrukh Saleem, Pakistani Executive Director of the Center for Research and Security Studies, and Islamabad-based freelance columnist.

Shameful Silence of anti-Jewish History

In December 1941, in Constanta, 767 Jews boarded a boat named the Struma. They planned to travel to Istanbul, apply for visas to Palestine, and then sail to Palestine. The Struma was unsafe and overcrowded. Struma managed to reach Istanbul Harbor only to wait while Turkey, trying to stay 'neutral' in the war, deliberated the passengers' fate.

The boat was kept in quarantine in Istanbul' s harbor for more than two months. Turkish authorities denied the passengers permission to land without British agreement to their continued journey to Palestine. On February 23, 1942, the Turkish police towed the boat out to sea and abandoned it. The next day, on February 24, the boat sank. Although the cause of the sinking is not definitively known, it is assumed that it was mistakenly torpedoed by a Soviet submarine. Only one passenger, David Stoliar, survived. Over 100 children were killed.

The sinking of the Struma led to widespread international protest against Britain 's policy on immigration into Palestine. Jews blamed the British, and particularly Sir Harold McMichael, High Commissioner for Palestine, for this tragedy. (The United Kingdom was the main initiator of the blockade of Jewish immigration from Europe and collaborated with Arabs in the prevention of Jewish return to Palestine, which was designated for the Jewish state by the League of Nations in July 1922. At the same time Arab migration to Palestine was supported and encouraged by British 'overseers')

Hidden Ugliness Committed by the Enemies of Jews!

The Germans had made TWO contracts (Rhublee-Wohltat and Haavarra Agreements) with Jewish groups to deport millions of Jews from Europe to Palestine. The 'Leaving' (Deportation) was not stopped by the Germans but the Arabs, who told the British if they continued to send Jews to Palestine, they (Arabs) would cut off the British oil supply. The Brits (who did not need much convincing) BLOCKADED all German attempts to send the Jews to Palestine. (Other countries, including the United States , were active participants in facilitating of the Holocaust atrocity!)

Dear Friends, this independent editorial has been published since August, 2001. Our aim to present the Jewish point of view on the Arab-Israel conflict and motivate people to support ideals and inspirations of true Zionism, the Jewish National independence movement. We are not affiliated with or sponsored by any government or political party.

Migron Endangered!! Where are Yaelon and Hauser??

At least 3 homes in Jewish Migron, near Jerusalem, are slated for destruction due to cooperation, in the past, between the radical left and previous, anti-settlement oriented governments. The destruction orders were an attempt to create a precedent against more of the homes of Migron's almost 50 young families, and other settlements. Obviously there have been many calls on the present Government to rescind the destruction orders Responsible for rescinding these urgently (the destruction orders could be implemented any day this month!) are Minister Bogy Yaelon and Cabinet Secretary Zvi Hauser, neither of whom has taken action thus far.

The Left claims Migron's land may belong to Arabs -- but have not proven this in a court of law; even if they ever do, it is both customary and reasonable that inadvertent building on land that subsequently is found to have been privately owned in the distant past, should not be dealt with by razing the neighborhood. Instead, monetary compensation or substitute land can and will be provided to the heirs, if any, of the Arab owners, if any.

There is an ongoing tent of protest at Migron (particulars: ,054-5210002) and your attendance, THIS WEEK, would be crucial because it demonstrates the public support politicians need to see. By car from Jerusalem - 10 minutes from Hizme Roadblock, follow the "Nachlat Binyamin" vineyard signs. Or, Bus No. 143 from Jerusalem to Tel-Zion, approximately every 20 minutes, disembark at gas station and you will find many people driving to the Migron protest tent (Ohel Mechaa). Water and shade, walks near water, Torah lectures, kids' and teens' activities are available; please bring your own food or purchase at nearby store.

Also, anyone who has time and ability to write a personal letter about Migron to Minister Yaalon and Zvi Hauser, that would also be very helpful. Fax your letter to Minister Bogy Yaelon 02-6517299; if fax does not go through, report this by phone to 026773777. Fax Mr. Hauser, 025632580, report fax malfunction by phone to his office: 026705534. Thank you very much for showing your support!!

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Monday, July 18, 2011

Is Obama Our Gorbachev?

Daniel Greenfield

He was a youthful leader with a law degree elected on the promise of reforms that would revitalize a world power trapped in the economic doldrums by its bureaucracy and huge debt. His approach of international engagement attempted to break through his country's global isolation by forging new ties and treaties with old enemies. And faced with a troubled war in Afghanistan, he authorized a temporary troop surge and counterinsurgency strategy, followed by a phased withdrawal shortly thereafter. Who was he? The answer of course is Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev. The man with the red spot on his head. Also the leader who presided over the dismantling of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.

On June 22nd, Obama delivered his final phase of the Gorbachev Afghanistan strategy, the reversal of the surge followed by a handover of responsibility to the Afghan national forces. The numbers are different. Gorbachev's surge took place in 1985. Obama's in 2009. But both Gorbachev and Obama approved the surge in the same year that they took office.

The Russian surge took their troop numbers to 140,000. Our surge took them to 100,000. The Soviet's Afghan allies also had much higher troop numbers than our Afghan allies do, but similar rates of desertion and non-performance. The Russian counterinsurgency strategy was more aggressive than ours, but it came with a much higher casualty rate. Almost five times higher. But beneath the numbers, the trajectory was nearly the same.

The similarities however go beyond this. Obama has been chosen to play a similar historical role. That of dismantling a world power. Obama won his election by 53 percent. Gorbachev won his by 59 percent. Both men ran virtually unopposed. Except that Gorbachev actually ran unopposed without the need for a popular election. Obama was forced to contend with the electorate and an opponent, whom his own Pravda media buried in an endless torrent of propaganda.

To many liberals, America looks like the Soviet Union did to conservatives back then, an empire built on a discredited economic and political philosophy that is standing in the way of history. And they see themselves as reformers guiding it into a new era. Post-Communism for the USSR and Post-Capitalism and Post-Nationalism for the US and Europe.

While Gorbachev was introducing a certain amount of private enterprise into a socialist system, Obama is tearing out the last remains of free enterprise and replacing it with socialism and crony capitalism. These reforms differ radically in direction, but not in nature. Both men were and are slowly dismantling a system that their backers did not believe in anymore. Rather than reform it through revolution, they avoided confrontation with a process of slow reforms that would let them keep their power while slowly turning the system into something fundamentally different, while preserving their own wealth and power.

The end result of that approach in Russia, after some twists and turns, is a crony capitalist oligarchy run by the former KGB. What it will look like in the United States isn't as obvious, but the EU provides a likely road map. If Russia went from a Communist oligarchy with no democracy to a crony capitalist oligarchy with very limited democracy-- the United States is going from a federalized democracy to a socialist oligarchy with no democracy. There will still be people at the top and at the bottom, but far fewer people in the middle who are not members of the 'Party'. And there will be no legal way to change the system.

The people behind this think of themselves as being on the right side of history. The United States, as well as any nation state based on free elections, free enterprise and common national identities, is to them a historical aberration being set right by global unions, open borders and progressive government. As far back as the late 19th century, they chose the path of peaceful transition over violent revolution, confident that the forces of historical momentum and the growing conversion of entire professions and the entire apparatus of government to their way of thinking under the influence of their educational and cultural programming would make active violence unnecessary. There would be no abrupt shift, only a gradual transition. Ten thousand slow pricks, rather than an axe to the head.

Every new Democratic administration in the 20th century served as a transition point, turning radical ideas into actual policy. From FDR to JFK to Carter and Clinton, the radicals made their revolutions, and then the conservatives made them seem socially acceptable, stripping away the most objectionable parts, but keeping the basic structure intact. The Obama Administration has followed a similar pattern, while meeting unprecedented resistance because it tried to do too many things, too fast.

FDR was the precedent for radical action, and indeed his administration carried out even more radical change with an even greater contempt for the Constitution and the laws, than the present occupants of the White House. But FDR's avuncular patrician persona was calculated to make Americans feel safe with his policies. Obama lacks such cover. His administration was meant to transition the very idea of what American leadership is, but that very transition undermined the margin of political safety that he needed. If Clinton's sleazy hippie antics at least seemed part of American life, there is no precedent for Obama's behavior outside the EU. And even the EU did not move someone so foreign so close to the top.

If Obama was meant to be the American Gorbachev, then he was an unwise choice. Attempting a cultural assault together with a political assault was overambitious, an overestimation of both media influence and the tolerance of the nation for radical change. That is not to say that the left has lost. Despite the 2010 setbacks, the Obama Administration and its allies have kept on track, ramming their agenda through by executive order, coming in through the window when the door was shut and through the chimney when the the window was barred. And the Republican congress has shown no real ability to confront him on his own terms. Which they can't do, because like most of the political class, their beliefs differ in detail, not in substance.

What most fail to understand is that the left's political victories are a product of its cultural victories. By the time that the left scores a political victory, it has long since secured the cultural battlefield, and even its opponents in the political and media classes lack a secure vision of their own. They are no longer conservatives, rather they are conservative liberals. The liberal beliefs of yesterday have become the conservative beliefs of tomorrow. The front line gets moved further and further away in the name of a greater appeal. There are victories from year to year, but look from the vantage point of generations, and the conservative side has racked up a profound and comprehensive defeat.

Why does the left think that the momentum of history is on their side, that the United States is doomed to collapse, that free enterprise will be replaced by socialism, that nationalism will give way to a global political authority, that the mores and values of the American family will be replaced identity politics? Because it can look back 50 or 75 years and celebrate victory after victory. What conservative can do that? Instead conservative politicians can look back with faint nostalgia, while being forced to admit that the liberals turned out to be right about most things. They don't really want to go back 50 or 75 years. What they want is a kinder and gentler liberalism.

25 years from now will they want to go back to a time before gay marriage was universally legal, industry wasn't controlled by international treaties, cheap energy contributed to global warming, guns were widely available, free speech meant that people could say anything, and border controls made it difficult for people to travel from one country to another? No they won't. These things will become unquestionable outside of a small extremist fringe. Instead the battles will be fought over One Child policies, the internationalization of the military, domestic peacekeeping operations, Spanish only requirements in some states, and as usual, taxes.

It doesn't have to happen this way. But if things keep going as they are, then it will. And keep in mind these are conservative estimates. The reality in 25 years will probably be worse. Far worse.

Right now there aren't two visions for this country. There is one vision and then critiques of that vision. Many of these critiques are incisive, witty and on point, but they are a reaction. A reaction to liberalism. The Reagan era came closest to setting out a different vision for the country and occasionally even trying to implement to it. It took the left some time to recover from the political and cultural defeats they were dealt, but they did it a while back. The same can't be said for our side.

As things stand now the left doesn't need to win every fight. It just has to stay in the game. And the dismantling of America will still continue. If Obama does not get the chance to play Gorbachev, then someone else will. And if the current patterns continue, it may well be a Republican who plays Yeltsin, bringing down the United States with the force of his misplaced moral convictions. Doing on faith what even the left is too pragmatic to do in the name of politics.

A nation cannot exist without direction. And a world power cannot survive without a sense of destiny. To the left, the United States is on the same path as the USSR. And the time frame in which this is averted continues to shrink. America is not static, its population is being transformed and its values are being dramatically altered. When the time comes for it to fall, the population and its values will have changed so much that there will be few who will even care if it lives or dies. That is the long term goal of the left. A long term goal now temptingly within their reach.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Data on NGO Boycott Leaders and their Funders

NGO Monitor

NGO Monitor detailed research is summarized in the table below with information on organizations and their funders active in the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel. Note that the data is based on information available in 2010. Due to lack of funding transparency and delays in reporting of financial information, some of the details are from earlier years. NGO Monitor is updating the informati Our analysis and critique of the anti-boycott law is also available.


NGOs involved in BDS and their funders (partial list):
Primary Funders Funding Amount Central Involvement
Sweden €207,000 (2009)
Signatory to 2005 BDS call (
NDC* $127,000 (2010-12)
Al Haq Holland $426,201 (funding ceased in 2008)

Signatory to 2005 BDS call (



$88,928 (2009)

$156,163 (2009, funding ceased)

Ford Foundation



$600,000 (2009-10)

$120,490 (2009)

$134,000 (2010-12)
Al Mezan Sweden €105,000 (2007-9) Signatory to 2005 BDS call (
NDC* $425,000 (2010-12)
Norway, EU funding not transparent
Alternative Information Center



Sweden (via Diakonia)

Spain and the Basque gov't (via MUNDUBAT)

Catalan gov't (via Sodepau)

funding not transparent

434,024NIS (2009)

164,225NIS (2009)

711,182NIS (2009)

173,271NIS (2009)

"Yes to Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Against Israel"
Alternatives (Montreal) Canada

$2,000,000CAN (2008-10) (unclear if ceased)
Signatory to 2005 BDS call (
Applied Research Institute Jerusalem (PA) EU €374,174 (2009-11) Signatory to 2005 BDS call (
Spain €98,347 (2009)
Switzerland funding not transparent
Badil (PA) NDC* $575,000 (2010-12) Leader of BDS movement
Christian Aid Ireland, EU combined €22 million 2007-8 "Partner supporting" calling for BDS and "pursuing parastata Zionist orgs"
Coalition of Women for Peace EU €247,954 (2005-7) Runs "Who profits?" website, which is central in the Norwegian BDS campaign
NIF $294,129 (2006-9)(funding ceased 2011)
Defence of Children International -Palestine Section Sweden (via Save the Children) 459,000SEK (2009-11) Signatory to 2005 BDS call (



$639,000 (2010-12)

Diakonia Sweden $52.7 million (2009) et=_blank>, lobbies against EU-Israel upgrade
EU 10,500,000SEK
Human Rights Watch
Soros' Open Society Institute

$2,353,895 (2007-8)

$100,000,000 (2010-20)
Supported Caterpillar boycott, Call for cuts in U.S. foreign aid to Israel
Ford Foundation $445,000 (2009-11)
Netherlands via Oxfam-NOVIB $987,818 (2007-8)
Israel Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD) Spain €105,000 (2009) Leader in BDS activism



$76,000 (2010-12)

€169,661 (2010-12)
KAIROS Canada - funding was halted in 2009 $1,575,966 (2008) Main supporter of church divestment campaign
Machsom Watch
EU €251,650 (2007-2010) Norwegian Pension Fund divestment campaign
NIF $165,198 (2006-8)
Miftah EU $100,531 (2008) Signatory to 2005 BDS call (
Denmark $101,767 (2008)



$129,870 (2008)

Mossawa NIF $517,642 (2006-8) Norwegian Pension Fund divestment campaign
EU €298,660 (2006-8)
UK funding not transparent
Norwegian Association of NGOs for Palestine (incl. Norwegian People's Aid)
Norway €57,000 (2008) Coordinates Norwegian Boycott Israel Campaign
USA €8,000 (2008)
Sweden, Netherlands funding not transparent
Palestinian NGO Network (PNGO) NDC* $130,000 Leader of BDS movement

Received France's Human Rights Prize
Sabeel Sweden €76,000 (2006-8) Leader of global church divestment movement
Trocaire Ireland €23,499,837 (2008) Supports BDS movement, lobbies against EU-Israel upgrade, calls for review of arms export licenses
UK €640,682 (2008)
EU €1,698,692 (2008)
War on Want UK €256,000 (2008) Advocates for sanctions, including arms boycott
Ireland €77,000 (2008)
EU €266,000 (2008)
Palestinian Center for Human Rights (Gaza)


EU, Holland, Ireland, Norway, Denmark, Switzerland, Sweden

$425,000 (2010-12)

funding not transparent
Leader of BDS movement

*The NDC mechanism is funded by Switzerland, Sweden, Denmark, Netherlands; 2008-9


On Monday, July 11, the Knesset passed the “anti-boycott” bill, which allows “citizens to bring civil suits against persons and organizations that call for economic, cultural or academic boycotts against Israel, Israeli institutions or regions under Israeli control.”

As explained below, NGO Monitor does not see this legislation as the appropriate means to combat the BDS movement. However, numerous NGOs have released misleading and false statements about the new law, including the New Israel Fund, which wrongly claimed that the bill “criminalizes freedom of speech,” and Gush Shalom, which says the law is “a death sentence for the right to freedom of expression.”

The anti-boycott law does not specifically address boycotts of “settlements;” it is meant to address calls for boycotts anywhere in and against Israel. The global BDS movement targets all of Israel, even within the Green Line, and explicitly rejects the existence of Israel within any borders.

The intense public debate and discussion about the new law is indicative of the strength and vibrancy of Israeli democracy, not its decline, as many political advocacy NGOs have claimed. These same NGOs are preparing to challenge the new law in the Israeli courts, another sign of a strong democracy. Furthermore, those NGOs could have lobbied MKs and presented alternatives, in order to stop the bill. Instead, they spend more time and resources lobbying European Parliaments in opposing Israeli government policy.

In addition, the intense attention from both NGOs and media regarding the new law again demonstrates an obsession and disproportionate focus on Israel. Human Rights Watch (HRW), for example, within hours of the bill’s passage, released a statement attacking the bill. In contrast, it took the organization nearly a week to comment on the April 7 murder of an Israeli boy on a school bus targeted by a laser-guided Hamas rocket. And HRW and other NGOs continue to underreport the atrocities in Libya, Syria, North Korea, and other totalitarian regimes in the region.

Main Issues

The “Anti-Boycott bill” (MK Ze’ev Elkin – Likud), that passed into law on Monday, July 11, allows “citizens to bring civil suits against persons and organizations that call for economic, cultural or academic boycotts against Israel, Israeli institutions or regions under Israeli control.”
NGO Monitor is concerned this new law is counterproductive, not the most appropriate framework, and will only polarize important discussions regarding the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel. The law will not shed light or encourage informed criticism on the NGOs and their foreign government funders that lead most BDS campaigns.
Regarding other legislation in June 2011 dealing with foreign government NGO funding - MK Ofir Akunis’s (Likud) bill on limiting foreign government donations to NGOs and MK Faina Kirschenbaum’s (Israel Beiteinu) bill to revoke NGO tax-free status on donations from foreign entities - Prof. Gerald Steinberg, president of NGO Monitor, stated, “However, the answer to this challenge [NGO use of foreign government funding] is not to curtail NGOs’ freedom of expression…Israel’s vibrant democracy does not merely survive criticism, it thrives and is improved by it, especially when much of this ‘criticism’ can be exposed for what it really is: disingenuous and ideologically motivated propaganda.”
In February 2011, the Knesset adopted the NGO Funding Transparency Law (MK Ze’ev Elkin - Likud). The objective of this law is to provide Israeli democracy and civil society with the information necessary to assess the extent and impact of secret foreign government funding for a narrow group of political advocacy NGOs, some of which promote boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) against Israel. Many of the NGOs that referred to the anti-boycott law as anti-democratic used the same language regarding the NGO Transparency Law.
Both the secrecy of these funding procedures and the manipulation of civil society by external groups and governments violate the accepted norms and practices among sovereign democratic nations.
There is deep concern among Israel’s democratically elected representatives regarding foreign government funding of political advocacy NGOs that are centrally involved in delegitimization campaigns. This concern is also reflected consistently in public opinion polls.
The "Anti-Boycott Law," and other legislation regarding foreign government funding of NGOs, is a response to the absence of basic policy changes among the European governments that are responsible for supporting the BDS movement.