Saturday, January 26, 2008

25 de enero de 2008

Aggie Hoffman, Los Ángeles, California
El sufrimiento de los seres humanos es sin duda un motivo de preocupación, sea causado por palestinos o por israelíes. A menudo leemos los alegatos de sufrimiento causado a los palestinos. Los informes en La Opinión del 22 y 23 de enero (Gaza se queda a oscuras y Bloqueo en Gaza) mencionaron únicamente 11 cohetes disparados contra Israel.

La verdad es que empezando en agosto 2005, cuando Israel salió de Gaza, más de cuatro mil cohetes Qasam fueron disparados sobre mujeres y niños israelíes desde esa frontera. En un lapso de solamente cuatro días, Hamás disparó más de 220 Qasam contra poblados fronterizos israelíes. El 74% de los niños de la ciudad de Sderot, entre 7 y 12 años de edad sufren de ansiedad postraumática y tienen demasiado miedo como para ir a la escuela. Es, indudablemente, una crisis humanitaria de grandes proporciones, una violación del derecho internacional que llega a niveles de crímenes de guerra. ¿Qué otro país seguiría sufriendo esos ataques sin reaccionar?


Humanitarian suffering is a cause for concern, whether by Palestinians or Israelis. Often, we read about allegations of suffering inflicted upon the Palestinians. The reports of January 22 & 23 2008 (Gaza se queda a oscuras) and bloqueo en Gaza) mention only 11 rockets fired at Israel.

In truth, over 4,000 Qasam rockets have been fired towards Israeli women and children from Gaza, leaving 74% of children in Sderot aged 7-12 suffering from post-traumatic anxiety, too frightened to attend school . In a recent 4 day period, Hamas fired more than 220 Qassams toward Israeli border towns. This is a humanitarian crisis of enduring proportion, a violation of international law rising to the level of war crimes. What country would continue to suffer such attacks without responding?

RACHEL EHRENFELD "The Libel Terrorism Protection Act"‏

Dear Friends,

The bi-partisan "Libel Terrorism Protection Act", was introduced two weeks ago in the New York Assembly and Senate by Assembly Members, Rory Lancman (D) and Senator Dean Skelos (R). This bill was introduced to protect New York authors who expose terrorism and terror funding from libel lawsuits filed in foreign courts. If U.S. legislators do not act to stop these lawsuits, the ramifications will be chilling and ominous. A wealthy Saudi has now successfully silenced more than 40 authors and publishers, including many Americans, through threats and lawsuits. Dr. Rachel Ehrenfeld, author of Funding Evil; How Terrorism is Financed – And How to Stop It, was a target of one of those lawsuits. The Association American of Publishers (AAP) strongly supports this measure. We need to mount a massive campaign--NOW--or this bill will die. America, not only New York, needs this legislation. This matter is CRITICAL to protect the U.S. Constitution--the First Amendment--not only in New York State. We must protect journalists' right to expose terror funding, and citizens' rights to be educated.

Action Item: Please copy and paste the sample letter below, or write you own. Please fax or email to the Legislators who authored the bill, listed in the letter below. If you have time to make a call or send a fax asking that they please pass the "Libel Terrorism Protection Act", it would be greatly appreciated. You do not have to live in New York to write, it's important that the legislators hear from everyone. If you live in New York and would like to add your own representative to the letter, they are all listed here:

This is a very important bill, thank you for taking the time to help get is passed.

Phone numbers and more information below letter. Please pass this on to your lists.

Thank You very much.

Send to:,,,,

January 26, 2008

Dear New York State Assembly Members: Dean Skelos, Rory Lancman, Helene Weinstein, Speaker Sheldon Silver, and Senators: John DeFrancisco and Dean Skelos:

I urge you and your colleagues to pass the bipartisan "Libel Terrorism Protection Act", which was introduced two weeks ago in the New York Assembly and Senate by Assemblyman Rory Lancman (D) and Senator Dean Skelos (R). This bill was introduced to protect New York authors who expose terrorism and terror funding, from libel lawsuits filed in foreign courts. Our First Amendment rights, protections of speech and free press are in jeopardy. If U.S. legislators do not act to stop these lawsuits, the ramifications will be chilling and ominous. This matter is CRITICAL to protect the U.S. Constitution--the First Amendment. We must protect journalists' right to expose terror funding, and citizens' rights to be educated.

A wealthy Saudi has now successfully silenced more than 40 authors and publishers, including many Americans, through threats and U. K. lawsuits. Dr. Rachel Ehrenfeld, author of Funding Evil; How Terrorism is Financed – And How to Stop It, was a target of one of those lawsuits. The Association American of Publishers (AAP) strongly supports this measure.

The bill will change New York state "long arm" statutes that govern business relationships with distant entities--to COVER and PROTECT New York writers and publishers from foreign libel lawsuits. As things stand, Saudis from foreign jurisdictions are successfully diluting America's First Amendment protections of speech and free press.

The sooner New York passes the proposed "Libel Terrorism Protection Act" into law, the sooner the publishing capital of the U.S. and free world--and NY authors--will be safe from foreign jurisdictions that allow outsiders to file frivolous libel suits, without merit. Without a free press, Democracy cannot survive.


Your name


Assemblyman Rory Lancman:
Tel: 518-455-5172 (Albany Office)
Tel: 718-820-0241 (District Office)

Fax: 718-820-0414


New York State Assembly -Speaker, Sheldon Silver
Tel: 212-312-1420

Assemblywoman Helene E. Weinstein
Tel: 718-648-4700

NY Senator John A. DeFrancisco
Albany Office
Tel: 518-455-3511

Senator Dean Skelos:


Tel: 518-455-3171

Fax: 516-766-8011


Ted Belman

Now nobody can ignore reality.

Disengagement from Gaza has permitted a war machine to be developed there that includes a standing army larger than Israel’s. It has unlimited funds and no need to work for a living. It is supported by the west. The disengagement from the Sinai as part of a Peace Agreement with Egypt has resulted in a power vacuum in Sinai with limited Egyptian troops and American observers. A challenge from al Qaeda and The Muslim Brotherhood backed by the army Hamas has built was never contemplated.

DEBKA Reports

Restoring the border, Western military experts have told DEBKAfile, would require the deployment of 30,000 Egyptian troops to the El Arish area and divided Rafah Gaza border, backed by air force, navy and armored units.[..]

Early Thursday, Jan. 24, American forces and equipment withdrew from the Multi-force Organization base at Al Gura northeast of al Arish when they learned from Egyptian contacts that Hamas had begun moving some of its elite units into the new stronghold. Washington and Cairo are discussing evacuating the entire base and its 400 multinational personnel, which monitors Sinai’s demilitarization under the Egypt-Israel peace treaty, for fear of Hamas and al Qaeda missile fire and shelling of the base.

Make no mistake about it. This is a calamity for US. Syria is going about its business retaking Lebanon, Iran is racing to build a nuclear bomb and now the US is skadadling out of Sinai. All this will undermine their recent Iraq success and will distance the “moderates” from them.

Mubarak is now faced with his greatest challenge ever to his regime. For that matter so is Muscharraf in Pakistan.

Only resolute action will stop this unravelling. The US and Israel must deal forcibly with this challenge. Gaza must be invaded and Hamas destroyed. Forget the collateral damage. War is war. All that matters is winning.

In an editorial titled A Farwell to Gaza, the NY Sun has recommended

Rather than forcing the Gazan Arabs to join with the West Bank Arabs into a state of “Palestine” that has never before existed and has few of the elements of a successful nation-state, why not let Gaza revert to its pre-1967 status as part of Egypt? Egypt, at least is a country with which Israel has a peace treaty and diplomatic relations, which is more than can be said for the Hamas terrorist organization that now controls Gaza.

And what happens if Egypt is incapable of controlling the Sinai and Gaza and falls to these forces.

If Israel retakes Gaza and drives out Hamas and half the population with them, they will only go to the Sinai and wreak havoc there. As we know the Sinai/Israel border is hundreds of miles long and very porous. Next expect to read about Eilat being bombarded with rockets and mortars.

The Best Solution
Egypt should cede to the Palestinians the north east corner of Sinai adjacent to Gaza for their state. Palestinians and the Palestinian refugees in other countries should then be moved into this new territory. The west should no longer condone or abet their “resistance”.

This would be in everyone’s interests. If Lebanon got rid of their refugees they would be stabilized. Syria may also want to get rid of theirs. Egypt has already lost this land so why not acknowledge it. Egypt would be protected and so would Israel.

Time to bury the threat of dividing Israel and the right of return to Israel.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Taliban seize Nato supplies in Pakistan

Isambard Wilkinson in Tank, Pakistan
Last Updated: 25/01/2008

The suspected mastermind behind Benazir Bhutto's assassination has stolen sophisticated Nato equipment by raiding the alliance's supply lines running through Pakistani territory.

Mr Musharraf, who is touring Europe, will speak in London today

Baitullah Mehsud, the Taliban commander who American officials hold responsible for Miss Bhutto's death, has emerged as a threat to the flow of supplies for British and American forces fighting in neighbouring Afghanistan.

Comment by Chana: When Fatah fled Gaza terrorist Hamas inherited weapons that had been provided in order to 'prop up' and strengthen the terrorist Abbas. Does anyone want to prophesy the final address for the sophisticated weapons that Bush requested for Saudi Arabia ? Whoever has them will eventually use them against Israel! We should be screaming about this!! Mehsud's increasing prominence shows how Pakistan under President Pervez Musharraf is steadily falling under the sway of Islamist militants.

Mr Musharraf, who is touring Europe, will speak in London today on "a vision for Pakistan and regional harmony". His critics believe, however, that turmoil in Pakistan is fuelling the Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan and helping to destabilise South Asia as a whole.

A senior government official, based near the frontier town of Tank, told The Daily Telegraph that Mehsud's men regularly ambushed container lorries carrying hardware bound for Nato forces in Afghanistan.

Their latest target was a supply convoy outside the town of Dera Ismail Khan on the Indus Highway, one of Pakistan's main arteries.

"They managed to single out the most important lorries, removed the drivers and then vanished the consignment lock stock and barrel," said the official.

"Among the booty they discovered trucks carrying cargos of pristine 4x4 military vehicles, fitted with the most modern communications and listening technology," he added.

The official added that Mehsud's gunmen lacked the expertise to operate the equipment. So they enlisted the help of Uzbek and other foreign militants who are based in Pakistan's lawless tribal areas lining the north-west frontier.

Gen Athar Abbas, Pakistan's military spokesman, declined to comment on this incident. A Nato spokesman in Kabul did not rule out that material had been stolen in transit through Pakistan, but denied that any weapons or military equipment had been lost.

"This may hinge on what people's definition of 'equipment' is," he said. "I have been assured that no military equipment has been lost."

About 40 per cent of the supplies needed for Nato's 42,000 soldiers in Afghanistan pass through Pakistan. The vital supply routes follow the Indus valley from the port city of Karachi to the border town of Peshawar.

They enter Afghanistan through the Khyber Pass. Other border crossings from Pakistan's province of Baluchistan are also used.

Information appearing on is the copyright of Telegraph Media Group Limited and must not be reproduced in any medium without licence.

"My enemy, oh snake! Around the land, you are coiled.

Palestinian TV, January 2008, broadcast daily
by Itamar Marcus and Barbara Crook

A hate video broadcast continuously on official (Fatah-controlled) Palestinian TV over the past several months calls Israel "my enemy" and spews out messages of hate and loathing. The song's refrain, My enemy, oh enemy," is repeated over and over throughout the song. Israel is not even given the courtesy of a name, but is tagged with such labels as "treacherous," "imperialism" and a "coiled snake." The Palestinian is portrayed as a heroic victim who courageously confronts the evil "enemy" Israel:
"If you pull out my eyes, my heart will see.
If you cut off my hands, my chest is knives and swords."

The enemy, Israel, is denied the right to
"This homeland is ours."

Therefore, the song concludes, the Palestinians will ultimately prevail, and Israelis will be expled "You have no choice, oh enemy
but to leave my country."

The goal of this music video clip is to inculcate loathing of Israel and anticipation of its destruction. The repeated broadcast over recent months by Fatah-controlled television is consistent with other Arabic-language hate messages currently being disseminated -- in spite of the peace talks.

PA TV first aired this music video in 2004 and resumed its broadcast in October, 2007. It was broadcast throughout the Annapolis conference as well as during President Bush's visit to Israel. It continues to be aired on almost a daily basis.

The following is the text of the hate video.

"My enemy. Oh, my enemy.
Stop your crimes.
Treaty breaker! Treacherous!...
If you pull out my eyes,
My heart will see. (x2)
If you cut off my hands,
My chest is knives and swords.
My enemy! Oh imperialism!
This homeland is ours. (x2)
This land will be tilled
only by our hoes. (x2)
Whenever the tension rises,
Whenever this land weeps, (x2)
the flower will return
to grow in our house.
My enemy. Oh, my enemy.
Stop your crimes.
Treaty breaker! Treacherous!...
My enemy! Oh snake!
Around the land, you are coiled. (x2)
We, noble, courageous,
on the day of ruin [battle], shall stand.
You have no choice, Oh enemy,
but to leave my country.
And my children will return.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Olmert: Only I can make peace

HERZLIYA, Israel (JTA) -- Fighting for his political life, Ehud Olmert told the Israeli people that keeping him in office was their best hope of reaching the promised land of peace.

"There is no other option to what I am offering," Olmert said Wednesday in his keynote address at the Herzliya Conference, referring to ambitious peace efforts with the Palestinians launched under the aegis of the United States at the Annapolis peace conference last November. It was an embattled Olmert who showed up Wednesday, just one week before the publication of the final report of the Winograd Commission investigating his and other top officials' actions in the 2006 Lebanon war.

Calls for Omert's resignation have been growing from political rivals, bereaved families and even IDF reserve officers.

After the speech, Maj. Gen. Eyal Ben-Reuven said Olmert's words of hope cannot conceal his failures in the 2006 war with Hezbollah.

"The prime minister earned a failing grade in the supreme test of any state," Ben-Reuven said to Army Radio of Olmert's management of the war.

The prime minister's address at the annual Herzliya Conference has become a platform for Israeli leaders to present major policy initiatives.

Olmert used the speech not for any dramatic surprises but to state his case that despite past errors, the country is on the right track.

"I come to speak of the future," Olmert said in his opening remarks, quickly sidestepping calls for his dismissal. "I believe responsible leadership can deal with criticism … and continue forward."

He said the negotiations with the Palestinian Authority were full of risks and questions but repeated the message that they are the only way Israel can break the cycle of conflict the country has been locked in since the state was born.

"We have no right to squander this chance," Olmert said. "Our nation has been waiting for a light at the end of the tunnel.

"We have no horizon of hope more promising than speaking with the current Palestinian leadership. Some say it is weak," he said, and "unable to hold up to agreements. I say this is the best [Palestinian] leadership we could have."

Olmert warned that if action is not taken now, there might not be a democratic state with a Jewish majority to call home in the future.

Although the Gaza Strip and the southern Israeli town of Sderot are the current front lines of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Olmert referred only briefly to the situation there. Israel has faced international criticism for limiting Gaza's fuel supplies.

"We will not permit, under any circumstances or conditions, a humanitarian crisis to develop," Olmert said. "We will not harm the supply of food for children, medicine for those who need it and fuel for institutions that save lives.

"But there is no justification for demanding we allow residents of Gaza to live normal lives while shells and rockets are fired from their streets and courtyards at Sderot and other communities in the south."

Olmert touted the quiet that has prevailed in the north of the country since the end of the 2006 war, saying the past 18 months of rocket-free life on the border was the longest stretch of calm there in the past 25 years.

"Our enemies in the north are in no rush to fight us, and they know why," he said, offering that the reasons Hezbollah refrains from reigniting violence with Israel "are known to all who need to know."

"These reasons reflect the enormous might of Israel," Olmert added.

A former corporate lawyer, Olmert defended himself while acknowledging mistakes were made.

"I have no regrets about the vital decisions that I led as prime minister, not those linked with the fighting in Lebanon, nor those related to other matters," he said.

"Mistakes were made, yes. There were failures -- definitely. But lessons were learned, flaws were fixed, modes of operating were changed and principally, the decisions that I have made since then have brought greater security, more quiet, less terror, greater deterrence and more prosperity for the State of Israel than it has had in many years."

Ben Caspit, a senior political columnist for Israel's daily Ma'ariv, said Olmert's speech was good, comprehensive, "even moving." But he argued that no matter what Olmert says or how he says it, his fate remains on the line.

"Whatever he says now, one week before the Winograd Committee determines his fate, is subject to a warning comment. All his high-flown peace talk requires proof," he wrote in Thursday's paper. "Yesterday, he gave his speech for the defense, from the depths of his heart, firing the opening shot of the race of his life, even before the race has started."

MK Eitam Asks for Apology, Re-Evaluation After Patriotism Poll

Hillel Fendel

A new poll presented at the prestigious Herzliya Conference shows that the religious-Zionist public is the most patriotic of all. Some 850 respondents were asked whether they consider themselves "greatly patriotic," "very patriotic," "somewhat patriotic," or "not patriotic." Four-fifths (80%) of the religious public graded themselves in the first two categories, compared to 68% of the "traditional" public, 67% of the secular public, and only 46% of the hareidi-religious sector.

Lack of identification of the hareidi public with the State's irreligious leadership led 26% of this group to say they are not patriotic at all - compared with 5% of the other groups.

Notably, despite the unilateral disengagement from Gush Katif and other blows to the religious-Zionist public, patriotism among this group did not decrease over the past year. In the other sectors, this year's poll showed lower patriotism among the other groups as compared with last year's poll.

MK Effie Eitam (National Union) spoke at the conference about the findings of the poll, and said that the "left-wing elites" must take this opportunity to re-evaluate their negative views and plans regarding the religious-Zionist camp. "There are amongst us," he said, "those who see patriotism not as a value, but as a burden - and even as a swamp that breeds nationalism, aggression, occupation, etc. Some of our elites have decided to dry out this swamp, in order to prevent these 'mosquitoes' from spreading."

Left Seeks to Destroy Right in Every Area
Eitam said that the religious-Zionist public, with its accomplishments and patriotism, "should be the main source of human capital in building up a healthy and strong society. Yet, if we check how the leadership echelons in the country actually act, we will be astonished to see that they relate to this human capital in precisely the opposite manner - and in every single area, they try almost systematically to destroy them. In recent years, there has been no area in which the State of Israel did not try to dwarf, to send into despair, to liquidate and to split this patriotic camp."

Eitam said that the religious-Zionist sector passed the ultimate test of loyalty to and love for the State: the Disengagement: "I don't think any sector would have passed this trauma of Disengagement - the destruction of their lives and their life work, being thrown out of their homes to the fringes of society like a utensil with no use... and not to mention the 'targeted killing' of their educational system, the yeshivot and ulpanot and mechinot that gave birth to these elites and which are now forced to beg for donations. It's much easier to be in the hareidi sector - vis-a-vis patriotism - and make all sorts of dark deals with the government for millions, while the heads of hesder yeshivot and the like receive cuts of 70% of their budgets. This is how they treat the leadership of this patriotic camp... And what about the teenaged girls of this week who were imprisoned for three full weeks just because they didn't identify themselves! Where are all the knights of civil rights? Where's the normalcy, the sanity? Are these girls murderers?! ...

"In the army, I can tell you that my son is the operations officer of Battalion 51, which is now in Gaza, fighting day and night. In this battalion, the commander, the deputy commander, its three company commanders, and the operations officers are all graduates of the Eli pre-military yeshiva academy and the like. This is the chain of command in Battalion 51; yet 20 years ago, I was the only religious Lt.-Col. in the whole army! And I haven't even mentioned the reserves - look and see all the religious commanders in the different levels! Yet the left-wing elites, who received relatively low scores on the scale of patriotism, have banded together with the media and other bodies to dwarf, bring to despair and to frustrate the arrowhead of Israeli patriotism! This is self-destructive behavior on the part of a country!"

Eitam Explains How to Achieve Patriotism
"We can't just talk generally about 'love of homeland' and bandy these words about," MK told the largely secular audience. "Where does this love of homeland come from? I'll tell you: Every family knows where its house begins and ends, but our country doesn't! It doesn't know its own homeland, and the most important locations from where our national existence sprouted are considered disgusting and out of the consensus! Shechem and Joseph's Tomb are considered like the tomb of Rahab the Harlot, while Hevron, the City of Patriarchs, is looked upon as an Arab city where some crazy nuts decided to settle. The most important parts of our homeland are hated. If Tel Aviv is ours, then all the more so are Hevron and Shechem and all of Jerusalem! But when we don't have this concept straight, then the message given over is to say the words 'love of homeland' - but with a wink."

Family First - and Know the House Rules
"In addition, every family knows that its own members are the most beloved in the world. You can love other people and respect them, but family comes first. We are all brothers, and we must love and support each other more than others. But instead of giving this message, we try, for instance, to find all sorts of ways and tricks to release Barghouti from serving his five life sentences for murder in order that he be our negotiating partner so that we can throw at him the most authentic pieces of our homeland. So what type of patriotism and loyalty to our heritage and homeland and family are we teaching?"

"And finally - in a house, there are also rules of behavior. Yes there are. We learned them from our father and his father and his grandfather, and they govern how we must act. We have rules as to how to give birth, and how to leave this world, and we have holidays, and we have a tradition - you cannot have a house that is full of holes, nor a set of rules for living there that is just a random collection of passing fads... I don't say that everyone has to be the same thing - but we must all mine our resources from our own authentic national mine. And if not, then let us not be surprised that our ties to country and homeland get weaker."

"I am not calling for war against the left-wing; I am calling for an apology and for a re-evaluation and for self-reckoning. I call upon the elites of the extreme left, and also the media, and also a large part of the intellectuals in Israel, to take stock anew of the situation, and to view this [religious-Zionist] public - which passed probably the supreme test of all regarding loyalty to the State and army service, i.e., the test of the Disengagement - and to say that perhaps 'we made a mistake, perhaps we went too far.' We are very open to dialogue of this nature. And despite all, we will continue to lead in the patriotism index, which is a basic part of us - our love for this State is absolute, permanent, total, existential."

Other Findings
Other findings of the patriotism poll: The geographical area with the most patriotism is actually the Kassam-battered western Negev, where 47% of the residents say they are "greatly patriotic." The north, which came under Katyusha bombardment a year and a half ago, came in second, with 45%. This, as compared with 36% of the general public around the country.

In total, 60% of the public defines themselves as greatly or very patriotic. Among the Jewish public alone, this number is 67%.

PM Olmert Declares 'No Regrets,' Says North Better Off After War

Hana Levi Julian

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert admitted in a speech Wednesday evening that the Hizbullah terrorist organization in Lebanon has more missiles today than it did before the 2006 Second Lebanon War, but declared he has no regrets in terms of the decisions he made "during the war and during other situations." Speaking at the Herzliya Conference, Olmert said that the north was flourishing as a result of the conflict. "The present situation is incomparably better than that which preceded it," he said. "The residents of the north have peace and security. There is no daily friction and no firing of rockets or even Kassams. This has gone on, not for a day or a month but for 18 full months. This is the longest period of quiet in the north in the past 25 years."

"Our enemies in the north are in no hurry to fight us," Olmert added. "They know why. The reasons are flying in the air, they are felt in the region, they are known to all those who need to know."

The Likud party published a reaction to Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's speech saying that Olmert was "disconnected from reality and inventing a virtual reality as the Winograd Report approaches."

The statement by the opposition party noted, "In the north, the Hizbullah has armed itself with more rockets than it had on the eve of the war and in the south, Israeli citizens live under a constant missile threat."

The Winograd Report, which is to be published next Wednesday, is expected to slam the Prime Minister for the government’s mismanagement of the war.

Families of the IDF soldiers who fell in the war, however, have pre-empted the report with one of their own, entitled “How the Mighty Have Fallen.”

The report, presented to the Knesset Wednesday, harshly condemned Olmert, whom they accused of total irresponsibility by remaining in office. “He should have quit the day the last soldier returned from Lebanon,” the report stated. It added that "the blood of the fallen soldiers cries out for him to quit."

The families said they reached their conclusions after their own investigation. They criticized the mandate of the Winograd Commission, which was appointed by the Prime Minister to avoid a state commission of inquiry that would have been authorized to reach conclusions on individuals and summon them to trial if necessary.

Tafnit party chairman and former senior IDF officer Uzi Dayan joined the voices calling for the Prime Minister’s resignation on Wednesday, saying Olmert is increasingly dangerous for Israel.

Dayan, who has been active in the movement to bring back kidnapped IDF soldiers, revealed he consulted with the army company commander who drafted a letter calling on the Prime Minister to resign. The letter was signed by fifty company commanders and officers.

Neither of the two primary goals of the war – to disarm and disable the Hizbullah terrorist organization in order to eliminate the threat to northern Israel and to rescue Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad, the two IDF reservists kidnapped by Hizbullah operatives in a cross-border raid – was met.

The condition and whereabouts of Goldwasser and Regev remains unknown, and Hizbullah has re-armed and strengthened its infrastructure to a level higher than that with which it began the Second Lebanon War.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Israeli website turns the mailbox into a chatterbox

Deborah Frenkel

Have you ever been puzzled by the tone of an email you've received, or had difficulty deciphering exactly what an emoticon means? The strange new dynamic of computer-mediated conversation confuses many. Thanks to one Israeli invention, however, such issues might soon be consigned to the past. Voice-Me is a web-based service which combines the ease and convenience of an email account with a radically retro concept - the human voice. "It's more personal than email," says co-founder Ehud Shoresh. "And you can always be sure you know exactly who you are speaking to."

Voice-Me, which is to launch its public-access website in a week, works just like a Hotmail or Gmail account, allowing users to register for their own mailbox from which they can send and receive messages . But whereas email accounts are text-based, Voice-Me employs the more intuitive mediums of videomail or voicemail. "We don't think this will replace email," Shoresh told ISRAEL21c. "But it's an exciting and important supplement."

Using a microphone or web-camera, the website lets users record a message from any personal computer, and send it to any recipient using an ordinary email address. If they additionally choose to register for a free Voice-Me account, they gain access to a host of extra functions, enabling them to create what Shoresh describes as "their own voicebook, just like Outlook" - with mail management features such as folders, address lists, and search functions.

The result, say the creators, marries the convenience of email with the intimacy, expressiveness and intuitive ease of a face-to-face conversation.

"We've already received comments about how it's easier to use than 'traditional' email," Shoresh explained to ISRAEL21c. "An elderly relative of mine doesn't like to type - but with the voicemail application she can just speak normally, and stay in touch that way."

The Netanya-based Voice-Me is the brainchild of three serial Internet entrepreneurs - Shoresh and partners Yaniv Oriel and Amit Kamisa. With previous high-tech experience, the trio was aware of the market gap for an application that not only allows users to record and send video and audio messages, but also incorporates mail-management functions. Importantly, the free application requires no special software download - an important feature, explains Shoresh, in enticing curious surfers for a taste.

And with Voice-Me soon to graduate from three months of restricted beta testing to public access operations, the site's creators are excited about its potential to revolutionize the way we all stay in touch.

Future directions include the development of a desktop-based application or a plug-in for Microsoft Outlook which will make it possible to Voice-Me with the click of an icon. The company is also exploring ways in which such an application might be incorporated into mobile computing devices such as palm pilots - enabling users to dodge cell-phone fees by sending voicemails over the Internet for free.

But perhaps the site's greatest impact will be felt on a more personal level, say its creators, envisioning enhanced versions of online matchmaking and blog websites with Voice-Me-assisted face-to-face connections.

"Or just think of an emailed holiday greeting sent to family overseas," suggests Shoresh. "It's sometimes difficult to write down what you mean. But a video-message, with a voice and a face... how much more meaningful would that be."

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Ambassador Bolton Debunks Olmert Version of Lebanon War

Former American United Nations Ambassador John Bolton, visiting Israel to participate in a security conference, has discredited Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's version of events in the final hours of the Second Lebanon War. Since the war in the summer of 2006, Olmert has been under intense pressure.

His perceived failures have been attributed to his lack of military experience and to not seeking adequate direction from experts. Particularly contentious is Olmert's decision to launch a costly eleventh-hour offensive causing the deaths of 33 soldiers. The operation came as final details of a U.N. resolution to end the war were being negotiated by Bolton and French U.N. Ambassador, Jean-Marc de la Sablière. In his own defense, Olmert insists that the offensive was necessary to improve Israel's situation vis-à-vis the resolution, an earlier draft of which was deemed detrimental to Israel. He also claims that the offensive positively influenced the Bolton-de la Sablière negotiations. Bolton told Haaretz newspaper that Olmert is dead wrong on both counts. He said the offensive influenced nothing and certainly not his talks with de la Sablière. The final draft of the report by the government-appointed commission investigating the war is due out on January 30th and pressure on Olmert to resign is rapidly mounting.

The first thing leaders need to do

Isi Leibler
January 22, 2008

The preliminary Winograd Report failed to review the increasing reluctance of IDF commanders and political leaders to embark on military initiatives out of fear of incurring casualties. It is, of course, mandatory for military leaders to take all possible measures to minimize losses, especially today, when the potential for this is much greater than it was 20 years ago. However, taking this to an extreme could become the IDF's Achilles heel.It's a heart-breaking issue. All the more so because, aside from haredim, the IDF is truly a people's army, with hardly a family in Israel remaining untouched by casualties of war. Each loss impacts not only on the immediate family but on the entire nation. The pain and fatigue is augmented by the media, which displays no restraint and zooms in, brutally exposing the bitter agony of bereaved families in a manner inconceivable elsewhere.

The subject is insightfully analyzed in an essay by Assaf Sagiv, in the current (Winter 2008) issue of Azure. Sagiv concludes that despite the principal obligation of the IDF to defend civilians, Israeli leaders today appear to be more concerned about the public fallout from IDF casualties than about civilian losses. He attributes this largely to a natural inclination to idolize youngsters serving in the IDF as the cream of our society. Yet he warns that if such a trend becomes ingrained, it could have devastating repercussions on the security of the state and society as a whole.

A by-product of this has been a less than robust response to terrorist incursions from our neighbors, severely eroding our deterrent ability. Until recently, Israel was renowned for responding vigorously to all acts of aggression. Interpreting our apparent overriding concern with avoiding casualties as a weakening of resolve, our enemies have become emboldened.

Today, despite possessing the most powerful military force in the region, Israel has increasingly developed a reputation as a nation that repeatedly responds to aggression with empty threats. In fact, over the past decade, with the exception of the disastrous Second Lebanon War, terrorists have become reassured that beyond limited targeted assassinations, subject to review by the High Court, broader Israeli reprisals will no longer be implemented.

The mood has also been absorbed by the Israeli public. It was primarily the impact of agitation by the Four Mothers that led to the precipitate withdrawal from Lebanon, providing an enormous boost to Hizbullah and undermining security on our northern border. The inclination to resist preemptive actions or reprisals has become institutionalized beyond the IDF to the political leadership.

It included even prime minister Ariel Sharon, who sat with folded arms as Hizbullah built up an infrastructure and missile capacity which paved the way for the debacle of the Lebanon War.

It is also clear that a principal factor inhibiting a more concerted military effort on the ground at the outset of the Second Lebanon War was fear of a public backlash in the wake of casualties.

Nor do we seem to have learned the lesson. Hamas is currently constructing an offensive infrastructure in Gaza that is virtually certain to culminate in a war. The concern for casualties is apparently once again a major factor dissuading us from taking the necessary preemptive military action to stop the current build-up, despite the realization that the inevitable confrontation at a later date will, in all likelihood, exact a far greater toll in lives.

Of course, this is compounded today by the fact that our premier has become traumatized by the calamity he inflicted upon the nation when he impulsively launched the Second Lebanon War without foresight.

Israel was created as a haven for Jews in distress and as a means to overcome 2,000 years of Jewish powerlessness. Yet, paradoxically, today, despite having one of the most formidable armies in the world, the Jewish state has become transformed into one of the most dangerous locations in the world for Jews.

Israel is unique in being the only country in the world in which a neighboring entity openly launches missiles against its citizens. Our abysmal failure to defend our civilians descended to a level of madness when, immediately following a 72-hour period during which 200 missiles and mortars were launched at us, our government, on "humanitarian" grounds, resumed servicing the electricity and water requirements of Gaza's inhabitants. It is inconceivable that any other country would behave in such a manner and fail to take more drastic military action to bring an end to such outrageous attacks.

This problem extends to kidnapped soldiers. Our doing the utmost to rescue any Israeli in captivity is a commendable extension of a long-standing Jewish tradition. The Entebbe rescue was an uplifting example of this. But as with military casualties, there is an obligation to rationally weigh the long-term repercussions of such a policy.

No one would dispute that even one Israeli soldier is worth infinitely more than all the imprisoned terrorists combined. However, the issue to be considered is: How many Israelis are likely to die as a consequence of a prisoner exchange? Many of the terrorists released return to their vocation, emboldened in the knowledge that after killing Israeli women and children, even if captured, they will not be executed, but will in all likelihood be released in an exchange.

The most disconcerting aspect of mass prisoner releases is that they create enormous incentives for future kidnapping efforts.

The bottom line is that the prime responsibility of leadership is to defend the state and safeguard civilian life and limb. Our political and military leadership must avoid policies based on short-term gut reactions; they must avoid becoming unduly influenced by public opinion. Despite the agony, they must assume the obligation of determining how the long-term strategic requirements and national interest can best be served. Once such a policy has been determined, it must be explained and promoted to the public.

The adoption of such strategies will have immediate implications for Sderot, where Israelis forced to endure unbearable ongoing missile attacks have become transformed into refugees in their own land. Once the final Winograd Report is been released, we must bite the bullet. The nation cannot afford to delay until missiles penetrate deeper into Israel, ultimately even reaching Tel Aviv.

The longer we postpone confronting the issue, the more damage Hamas and Hizbullah, supported by the Iranians and Syrians, will be able to inflict on us when we ultimately have to take decisive action.

A nation under threat must rationally confront such challenges, or the fanatical resolve of our enemies will bring about greater disasters.

This article can also be read at /servlet/Satellite?cid=1200572509792&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

Original article available at:

What is going on here?

Kenneth R. Timmerman

The firing of the Pentagon’s only resident expert on Islamic law, Maj. Stephen Coughlin, has begun to attract the attention of key members of Congress and the White House, which has launched a “fact-finding” mission into the case, Newsmax has learned. Coughlin, of the U.S. Army Reserves, was on contract to the Joint Chiefs of Staff to brief U.S. commanders en route to Iraq, as well as officers at various staff colleges around the country, on the role of Islamic teachings in the mind of America’s enemies.

His contract was terminated several weeks ago after an encounter with a top aide to Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England, who dismissed his findings and called him a “Christian zealot with a pen.”

The aide, Hesham Islam, is an Egyptian-born former U.S. Navy officer, who joined England’s staff while he was secretary of the Navy in 2001 and moved with him when England was promoted to the Pentagon’s No. 2 slot.

Heshem Islam encouraged England to address the annual conference of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) last fall, even though federal prosecutors had named the group as an unindicted co-conspirator in a major terrorism funding case last year.

Coughlin aroused the ire of Mr. Islam and others in September by authoring an analysis of a Muslim Brotherhood document entered into evidence in the Justice Department’s case against the Holy Land Foundation.

In addition to naming ISNA and other “mainstream” Muslim organizations as members of the Muslim Brotherhood’s network in the United States, the Muslim Brotherhood document stated that its members “must understand that their work in America is a kind of grand Jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within… It is a Muslim’s destiny to perform Jihad and work wherever he is and wherever he lands until the final hour comes.”

Coughlin also took issue with an effort underway by intelligence community analysts to declare al Qaeda terrorists and insurgents in Iraq as “false Muslims,” whose version of jihad conflicted with “true” Islamic teachings.

Over the past two weeks, the White House has launched its own investigation into the Coughlin affair, and has conducted at least one interview with Coughlin himself, sources knowledgeable of the probe told Newsmax.

However, Coughlin would appear to hold out little hope of a White House “rescue.”

As he pointed out in his 333-page thesis, "To Our Great Detriment: Ignoring what Extremists say about Jihad," President Bush’s statements downplaying the role of Islam in the terrorist attacks on America have “exerted a chilling effect on those tasked to define the enemy’s doctrine by effectively placing a policy bar” on examining the role of jihadist teachings.

Even Coughlin supporters such as Frank Gaffney Jr., president of the Center for Security Policy, doubt that the Army reservist lawyer and expert on Islamic law will get his contract reinstated by the Joint Chiefs.

But Gaffney has urged members of Congress in both parties and others who care about the war on terror to make Coughlin “a cause cיlטbre” over the next two months.

Rep. Sue Myrick, R-N.C., has taken that call seriously, and said last week that she was examining the possibility of holding congressional oversight hearings on Coughlin’s dismissal.

“We want to get to the bottom of this,” Myrick said. “This sounds like another example of someone protecting national security and being told to shut up,” she told Cybercast news service. “If we don’t get over being politically correct, we won’t be here as a country.”

Myrick co-chairs the bi-partisan House Anti-Terrorism Caucus with Rep. Jane Harmon, D-Calif., which she started last year out of frustration that no one was educating the American people about the threat from Islamo-fascism.

“President Bush does not talk to the American people about the long-term threat of radical islamofascism infiltration in America,” she said.

Washington Times reporter Bill Gertz first revealed Coughlin’s firing, as well as Hesham Islam’s confrontation with him, in his “Inside the Ring” column in January.

Pentagon higher-ups then planted stories that Coughlin was fired because he had had unauthorized contacts with reporters, a charge that Gertz denied.

Coughlin writes in the introduction to his 333-page thesis that his research into the legal underpinnings of jihadi doctrine was inspired in part by a Dec. 1, 2005, speech by Gen. Peter Pace to the National Defense University, when Pace was chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

“To talk about how we are going to proceed, we need to understand the nature of the enemy,… [which] is different than any we have faced in the past,” Pace said.

“Remember Hitler. Remember he wrote 'Mein Kampf.' He said in writing exactly what his plan was, and we collectively ignored that to our great detriment,” Pace argued.

“Now, our enemies have said publicly on film, on the Internet, their goal is to destroy our way of life. No equivocation on their part. They’re not saying if you stay home, we will not come after you. They are saying their goal is to rid the Middle East of all foreigners. Then, overthrow all governments that are not friendly to them, which means every single one of those governments,” Pace said.

Coughlin argues in his thesis that the U.S. intelligence community is making a similar mistake today as it made in the 1930s, by not reading what the enemy has said and written about their goals.

Officers who have listened to Coughlin’s presentation on the Islamic underpinnings of the jihadist movement have come to his aid.

“The termination of Stephen Coughlin on the Joint Staff is an act of intellectual cowardice,” Lt. Col. Joseph C. Myers, Army adviser to the Air Command and Staff College, wrote on Jan. 5 public letter of support.

“Coughlin has briefed senior Marine Corps leaders and staff and has presented his thesis in various military education venues,” Myers wrote.

“We have spent much intellectual capital revamping and analyzing our own doctrine as it relates to counterinsurgency. It’s time we do our homework on the threat,” he added.

Former Army intelligence officer Jerome Gordon, who has discussed Coughlin’s thesis with former colleagues who have attended his briefings, told Newsmax that Hesham Islam is not Coughlin’s only enemy.

“If there is a cabal that is opposing him, it’s in the military intelligence community,” Gordon said. “Clearly, they have been cowed by the significant entrיe provided by the U.S. government to leaders of Muslim Brotherhood fronts here in America.”

In a 153-slide PowerPoint presentation he uses to brief U.S. military officers headed for the Middle East, Coughlin criticizes analysts such as Harlan Ullman, a Washington Times columnist who boasts of his ties to Condoleezza Rice.

“And unlike the Nazis, these extremists lack a central, unifying ideology, come from many diverse movements and so far have not been inclined to develop a political theory for seizing political power,” Ullman wrote in a November 2007 column.

Coughlin called that statement a “non-sequitor,” and said that U.S. military officers had a “duty” to base their assessment on an objective analysis of the facts, not on assumptions or desires.

“If the Enemy in the War on Terror (WOT) states that he fights jihad in furtherance of Islamic causes… and Islamic law on jihad exists and is available in English… then Professionals with WOT responsibilities have an affirmative, personal, professional duty to know the enemy that includes ALL the knowable facts associated with the law of jihad,” Coughlin argued.

Dr. Walid Phares, director of the Future Terrorism Project at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, believes that Coughlin’s firing lies “at a very serious fault line” in U.S. defense strategies.

“I don't understand why is there so much intellectual commotion about this matter in the West and in the US.,” Dr. Phares told Newsmax.

“Muslim scholars and historians agree that the theological texts have also a military dimension. In Islamic studies there is no debate about that. So why is there one in non-Muslim research and political circles, particularly in America? Major Coughlin was studying the texts used by the Jihadists to call for military action.”

While politicians might attempt to separate Islam from Jihad for their own purposes, Phares added, “the study of the theological roots of Jihad is something else, and that is an academic not a political issue.”

© 2008 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Israeli Jews: No Voice for Diaspora Jews on Status of Jerusalem

Hana Levi Julian

The vast majority of Jewish Israelis believe that Diaspora Jews have no right to make decisions about Jerusalem, according to a new poll commissioned by the Shalem Center’s Adelson Institute for Strategic Studies. The issue is one that hit a raw nerve among American Jews during the Middle East talks held at Annapolis in November, where discussions focused on getting final status talks underway for Israeli concessions to the Palestinian Authority. The status of Jerusalem is a central issue in the negotiations.

According to the poll, an overwhelming number of Israelis oppose the idea of ceding parts of the capital to the Palestinian Authority. Only 5 percent of respondents said Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has the right to divide Jerusalem between Israel and the PA.

Only 16 percent of the 500 respondents said Jews who reside outside Israel should have input into decisions regarding the future of the Holy City.

Twice that number agreed that all Israeli Jews have the right to contribute their views to such a decision. Even more, 34 percent believe that all Israeli citizens, Jewish and gentile, have the right to decide Jerusalem’s fate.

The findings were released Sunday at the Herzliya Conference held at the Knesset.

President Shimon Peres also addressed the issue in his speech to the conference Sunday night, saying any decision on concessions to the PA must be approved by the grassroots population.

In a speech that appeared to call for a referendum on the negotiations, Peres said any decision by the government should be brought to the people.

“This will allow the people to truly choose,” he said. “And this is the same for the opposition. It is not enough to criticize the conducting of negotiations; one must also present an alternative.

It’s not too late to bomb Auschwitz

Nidra Poller
President George W. Bush at Yad Vashem, his eyes flooded with tears, turned to ask Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice why the Americans did not bomb Auschwitz. The day before, in Ramallah, he fired hopes for what has come to be known as peace between Israel and a Palestinian state living side by side along slightly modified—or mollified-- 1967 borders…elsewhere known as “Auschwitz” borders. The irony is clanging, but not everyone hears the same bells.
Jerusalem Post readers engaged in Talmudic disputation. The American president is tooling up for a new Shoah by helping the Palestinians get a state that will be a toehold for the destruction of Israel. Versus: How dare we—you-- deny Palestinian aspirations and flout international law; Israel must end the occupation, whatever the risk. Just do the right thing.

Readers of the French daily Libération, consumed by Bush-hatred, slap the American President up ‘side the head. Hmph! Tears for the long ago victims of the Nazis but what about the hundreds of thousands of victims in Afghanistan and Iraq? What about the Palestinians? Bush is the world’s worst criminal. We’re tired of hearing about the Shoah.
(A little more than a year ago, then MFA Philippe Douste-Blazy, on an official visit in Great Britain, expressed surprise that so few British Jews died in the Nazi death camps. Apparently he had forgotten—or never knew—that England, unlike France, had not collaborated and was not occupied.)

Condoleeza Rice, the historian, has switched into I Have a Dream mode for Palestinian statehood. I was present at the American Task Force for Palestine gala dinner in Washington D.C. in 2006 when she made her first “I have a dream” speech. ATFP president Dr. Ziad Asali is a very close friend of Rice. His task force is the picture of moderation. Palestinian-Americans in suits and ties working for dialogue, peaceful coexistence and, of course—it’s understandable—an end to the occupation.
Why didn’t we bomb Auschwitz?

It’s not too late. And it will do a world of good. The problem is… the landscape has changed. The old landmarks are gone. The railroad tracks have been replaced by a road map. Yesterday’s brown shirts are today’s moderates, sitting around a table on which the Jewish state is spread-eagled, tortured, and invited to make (more) painful concessions. The Munich famous for appeasement has spread: it’s the UN. Its heart beats in Durban where the knives are sharpened. The Nuremberg laws have morphed into international opinion. The Nazis begged for a crumb of lebensraum? The jihadis are sobbing in anguish over the Israel-Palestine conflict.

A Palestinian state is not the solution, it’s the final solution. “Palestinian state” is the code word for “kill the Jews.” No one is antisemitic; they just hold international opinions. Auschwitz/Oswiecim isn’t confined to Poland. It’s everywhere.
We are alive and well in Auschwitz.

The problem is how to bomb Auschwitz without inflicting massive collateral damage.
I will be described as an extremist if not a whacko for stating these simple truths that can be backed up with heaps of evidence, concrete details, stone hard facts. Reasonable people say “We all know what the solution will look like: a Palestinian state living side by side with Israel, Jerusalem as its capital, right of return and/or compensation to refugees …” There is not one shred of rational argument to support that assertion. It does not describe a compromise let alone a viable arrangement; it is a bowdlerized version of maximalist “Palestinian” demands.

Why invent an imaginary bargaining position for a disguised movement when reality stands clearly before our eyes? Real people have been revealing genuine goals by concrete acts…for decades (if not centuries). The Auschwitz we didn’t bomb was partially hidden from view. The Einsatzgruppen killing sprees were not broadcast on prime time news; blurry snapshots circulated in confidential circles, the rare escapees were too zonked to be believable. Today’s Auschwitz is hidden behind measured phrases, catchy slogans, international conferences. Back then our wealth was wrenched from our hands, extracted from our teeth, pulled out from under us. Today it is collected in taxes and self-righteously donated to shore up the” moderates” who are stocking the weapons to exterminate us.

And the mass murders, visible for all to see, are disguised as isolated incidents committed by a minority of extremists inspired nonetheless by legitimate national aspirations. We shouldn’t fight back, we mustn’t fence them out…it’s not good for the peace process. Why? Because “peace process” is another code word for “kill the Jews.”
How did we get from Auschwitz to Auschwitz in one easy go?

The lesson of the Shoah was not “never again” it was “never again count on others to save us from the evil Jew-killers.” Not because others are wimps or closet antisemites. The tears of President Bush are sincere, and so is his question. He asked Condoleeza Rice why we didn’t bomb Auschwitz. We have to push in front of her and reply. She thinks Palestinians are a replay of blacks in Birmingham Alabama. Allevai!

But they aren’t. And they aren’t a replay of Nazis. They are something new to be dealt with. Those who stood by and allowed the Shoah to run its course—they didn’t bomb Auschwitz—abrogated for themselves the right to prescribe for the future. And the Shoah begot the United Nations Organization, and the UN…

After mass murder, mass appeasement. Monumentalized appeasement. Crowned in the olive branch. Draped in sanctimonious white paint. Feeding the hand that feeds it, feeding the sword and staying the outstretched hand by which we try to defend ourselves.

It’s not called appeasement it’s called peace. “I am against the war in Iraq” is the badge of honor, and millions of those badges make the barbed wire enclosure of the new Auschwitz.

This week, the French president and the American president are traveling, separately but not coincidentally, to a variety of “moderate” and immoderately wealthy Arab-Muslim nations The presidents are selling warplanes, fried chicken, or nuclear power plants; begging for cheaper oil; promising to protect the sheikdoms against a nuclear-crazed Iran. (France will have a military base in Abu Dabi.) Or asking them to protect us? In Israel the leaders of the free world vow they’ll never let us down. Then they shake hands with duplicitous sheiks, thanking them in advance for their cooperation. Did they look under the keffieh head-covering to see what kind of jihad-ideas are brewing? Or did they bow their heads and pay the jizya with utter humility?

The shock of watching our leaders kowtow and make absurd declarations about peaceful relations between three great religions. Is Jerusalem being led like a lamb to the slaughter, hacked to pieces and sacrificed on the heathen altar of peace? Who would dare declare, by the light of those glinting swords, that there will be no Palestinian state in any foreseeable future?
Why didn’t we bomb Auschwitz? We weren’t wimps or closet antisemites, it’s just that at the time, under the circumstances, all things considered it didn’t seem reasonable.
That’s the point.

Barack Obama and Israel

Ed Lasky
The ascent of Barack Obama from state senator in Illinois to a leading contender for the Presidential nomination in the span of just a few years is remarkable. Especially in light of a noticeably unremarkable record -- a near-blank slate of few accomplishments and numerous missed votes. However, in one area of foreign policy that concerns millions of Americans, he does have a record and it is a particularly troubling one. For all supporters of the America-Israel relationship there is enough information beyond the glare of the klieg lights to give one pause. In contrast to his canned speeches filled with "poetry" and uplifting aphorisms and delivered in a commanding way, behind the campaign façade lies a disquieting pattern of behavior.

One seemingly consistent them running throughout Barack Obama's career is his comfort with aligning himself with people who are anti-Israel advocates. This ease around Israel animus has taken various forms. As Obama has continued his political ascent, he has moved up the prestige scale in terms of his associates. Early on in his career he chose a church headed by a former Black Muslim who is a harsh anti-Israel advocate and who may be seen as tinged with anti-Semitism. This church is a member of a denomination whose governing body has taken a series of anti-Israel actions.

As his political fortunes and ambition climbed, he found support from George Soros, multibillionaire promoter of groups that have been consistently harsh and biased critics of the American-Israel relationship.

Obama's soothing and inspiring oratory sometimes vanishes when he talks of the Middle East. Indeed, his off-the-cuff remarks have been uniformly taken by supporters of Israel as signs that the inner Obama does not truly support Israel despite what his canned speeches and essays may contain.

Now that Obama has become a leading Presidential candidate, he has assembled a body of foreign policy advisers who signal that a President Obama would likely have an approach towards Israel radically at odds with those of previous Presidents (both Republican and Democrat). A group of experts collected by the Israeli liberal newspaper Haaretz deemed him to be the candidate likely to be least supportive of Israel. He is the candidate most favored by the Arab-American community.

Joining Trinity United Community Church

When Obama moved to Chicago and became a community organizer, he found it expedient to choose a Christian church to join. Even though his father and stepfather were both Muslims and he attended a Muslim school while living in Indonesia, suspicions based on his days as a child are overheated and unfair. Still, his full name alone conveys the biographical fact that he has some elements of a Muslim background.

Saul Alinsky, whose philosophy infused community organizing in Chicago, emphasized the importance of churches as a basis for organizing. There are literally hundreds of churches on the South Side of Chicago that Obama could have chosen from. He selected one that was headed by Reverend Jeremiah Wright, Junior. The anti-Israel rants of this minister have been well chronicled. Among the gems:

The Israelis have illegally occupied Palestinian territories for almost 40 years now. It took a divestment campaign to wake the business community up concerning the South Africa issue. Divestment has now hit the table again as a strategy to wake the business community up and to wake Americans up concerning the injustice and the racism under which the Palestinians have lived because of Zionism.

Jeremiah Wright, Jr.

Pastor Wright is a supporter of Louis Farrakhan (who called Judaism a "gutter religion" and depicted Jews as "bloodsuckers") and traveled with him to visit Col. Muammar al-Gaddafi, archenemy of Israel's and a terror supporter. Most recently, as head of the UN Security CouncilGaddafi prevented condemnation of attacks against Israel. As Kyle-Anne Shriver noted,

The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan received the "Rev. Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright, Jr. Lifetime Achievement Trumpeteer" Award at the 2007 Trumpet Gala at the United Church of Christ.

Wright routinely compares Israel to apartheid South Africa and considers blacks "The Chosen People". Wright sees his role not just as a religious counselor but also as an educator and political activist. As part of his schooling, he has posted the following tutorial:

Q: How many UN resolutions did Israel violate by 1992?
A: Over 65

42. Q: How many UN resolutions on Israel did America veto between 1972 and 1990?
A: 30+

43. Q: How much does the U.S. fund Israel a year?
A:$5 billion

48. Q: How many nuclear warheads does Israel have?
A: Over 400

49. Q: Has Israel every allowed UN weapon inspections?
A: No

50. Q: What percentage of the Palestinian territories are controlled by Israeli settlements?
A: 42%

51. Q: Is Israel illegally occupying Palestinian land?
A. Yes.

Tucker Carlson of MSNBC has called Pastor Wright a total hater and wondered why the ties that bind Obama to Wright have not been given greater scrutiny. Mickey Kaus of Slate has also wondered when the ties between Obama and Wright will receive more criticism, given Wright's seeming bigotry, which is in contrast to the soothing melody of unity that Obama has trumpeted on the campaign trail.

Some in the media have taken notice. The New York Times did have one front-page article on Wright by Jodi Kantor in which Wright was quoted as saying that should more information come to light about himself, "a lot of his Jewish support will dry up quicker than a snowball in hell". After the article came out Wright attacked Jodi Kantor, referring to her Jewish heritage in a way that might create discomfort.

This fear is why Pastor Wright was disinvited at the last minute from appearing with Obama when Obama announced his run for the Presidency. Wright admitted in a PBS interview that he understands this distancing from the Obama campaign since "he can't afford the Jewish support to wane or start questioning his allegiance to the Israel"

Wright has been disappeared by the campaign; Obama has replaced him with high profile white ministers who do not preach the racial exclusiveness and racial superiority that is a hallmark of Jeremiah Wright; however, they seem to share an anti-Israel bias.

Fortunately, bloggers and others have started to note the views of Pastor Wright (which also include an unhealthy does of racial exclusiveness, in Tucker Carlson's words) and . Finally these views may be crossing over to major media outlets. Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen published a recent column that criticized the award to Louis Farrakhan of the Reverend Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. Trumpeter Award -- an award that supposedly was granted to a man who "truly epitomized greatness". As Cohen noted, Farrakhan is not only a race-baiter but also an anti-Semite and a promoter of anti-Semitism. He falsely accused Jews of cooperating with Hitler and helping him create the Third Reich, has slandered Jews by his insistence that Jews have played an inordinate role in victimizing African-Americans (he has also called Jews "bloodsuckers"). Cohen questions why Obama has stayed steadfast in his allegiance to Pastor Wright over the years.

Obama has called Wright his spiritual mentor, his moral compass and his sounding board. He was the man who gave Obama the term, "The Audacity of Hope" after all. He was also the man who told Obama that there are more black men in prison then in colleges -- a statement that Obama parroted until he was told that it was false. What other "facts" has Wright taught Obama? Has he taught Obama to blame 9/11 on America because of our foreign policy?

Nevertheless, an Obama spokesman told the New York Times he is proud of his pastor and his church.The church also is the largest recipient of Obama's charitable donations. The pastor married Obama and his wife Michelle and baptized his two daughters. Obama has shown continued allegiance to a man who preaches racial exclusiveness, the superiority of black values over white middle-class values, and whose teaching contains anti-Israel diatribes. All these are sharply at variance with what Obama himself preaches on the campaign trail.

One should also note that the governing body of the United Church of Christ has taken a series of anti-Israel actions over the years. A broad coalition of Jewish groups have rebuked the Church for these actions.

Has Obama, the most famous and prestigious member of the Church and an inspiring orator who can move millions, taken steps to work with his church to moderate its anti-Israel invective? No.

He has been honored repeatedly by the church and has been its keynote speaker at various national assemblies. Has he called for change in the anti-Israel approach of the church? No.

For those who claim that Obama is the next JFK (an absurd claim and an insult to a revered President that was skewered recently) he is certainly not a Profile in Courage.

David Axelrod is Obama's chief political adviser, he is also the man who always comes out to explain that Obama (the master orator) did not really mean some of the offensive off-the-cuff statements he has made about Israel on the campaign trail (see below). Axelrod has also come out with the typical bland statements that Obama does not agree with all the things that Wright says and does. This is a lame defense.

Recall, this is a church and a pastor who Obama has relied upon to shape his views, to be his sounding board; the church is the largest recipient of his charity dollars; he proudly states that he admires the church and Jeremiah Wright, Junior. He prayed with Wright before he announced his candidacy for President. He is a beacon for Obama.

If a white candidate belonged to a church where the minister promoted an anti-black, anti-Semitic theology he would be roundly subject to criticism (assuming his candidacy would even be viable in the face of this background). Why should Obama get a pass?

George Soros

As Obama took steps toward the United States Senate he found a very powerful sugar daddy who would help fund his rise: George Soros. The billionaire hedge fund titan began supporting Obama very early -- as befits a legendary speculative investor always looking for opportunities. Obama coveted support from George Soros and Soros responded -- along with many family members and probably the Soros ring of wealthy donors. Soros even found a loophole that allowed him and assorted family members to exceed regular limits on campaign contributions.

Soros is also a fierce foe of Israel, for years funding groups that have worked against Israel. He is also a man who has flexed his political muscle as a major funder of Democrat candidates and a slew of so-called 527 groups that are active in pushing their agendas (a reliance on international institutions, defeat of Republicans, Bush-bashing, Israel-bashing). He has also openly proclaimed his desire to break the bonds between America and Israel and has written of his desire to erode political support for Israel.

Soros also called for concessions to Hamas -- a terror group that has killed many innocent people and that has called for the destruction of Israel. When this came to light, some leading Democrats personally denounced Soros; Obama had a spokesman issue this rather bland statement:

"Mr. Soros is entitled to his opinions," a campaign spokeswoman, Jen Psaki, said. "But on this issue he and Senator Obama disagree. Sound familiar? It is similar to the response the Soros campaign has given regarding Obama's close relationship with Pastor Wright.

This mild reproach did not prevent Obama from appearing a few weeks later with George Soros at a fundraiser.

Soros invests when he sees a large return as likely; he proverbially "broke the Bank of England" a few years ago speculating on the pound. Does he intend to break the American-Israel alliance?

"Blood on their hands"

Nor did anti-Semitism of another fundraiser seem to ruffle Obama or his campaign. A fundraiser was held at the home of Allan Houston, formerly of the Knicks, and a man who had previously very publicly proclaiming that Jews had Jesus' "blood on their hands" and were "stubborn". The American Jewish Congress protested and noted that Obama would not take any money from someone who had expressed the same sort of remarks about African-Americans. The very same spokesman who addressed the Soros controversy blithely dismissed the concerns of the Jews and said the campaign would not return the money or reject any of the contributions made by Houston.

Senator Obama's stands

Obama has been a Senator for only a couple of years. His supporters will point to a string of votes that are supportive of the American-Israel alliance (foreign aid, for example). These generally are not controversial and routinely pass by large margins, precisely because they support an ally and serve American interests.


However, Obama did introduce the Iran Divestment Bill along with two Democratic Congressmen (Congressmen Barney Frank and Tom Lantos). Given that Barney Frank is one of the most knowledgeable members of Congress and chairs the House Financial Services Committee and knows the financial industry well, would know how to craft such a bill. I suspect that Obama signed on as a co-sponsor for protective coloration, while Frank and fellow veteran Tom Lantos felt it could not hurt to have a rising star as a co-sponsor.

This bill would:

Require the U.S. government to publish a list every six months of those companies that have an investment of more than $20 million in Iran's energy sector. This comprehensive list will provide investors with the knowledge to make informed investment decisions as well as a powerful disincentive for foreign companies to engage with Iran.

Authorize state and local governments to divest the assets of their pension funds and other funds under their control from any company on the list.

Protect fund managers who divest from companies on this list from lawsuits directed at them by investors who are unhappy with the results.

Obama supporters and Obama himself trumpet this bill as Obama's efforts to somehow "sanction" Iran. This bill does not sanction Iran; it merely requires the government to publicize companies that invest in Iran's energy sector. Such companies are already listed various think tanks.

States and local governments are already divesting from these companies, so the second provision is superfluous. Protecting fund managers from lawsuits might be of help since we do live in a litigious society.

But there are grounds to doubt Obama's seriousness on the issue. He has openly advocated outreach towards Iran, a state that makes clear its genocidal intentions towards Israel, funds Hezbollah and terrorism against America, Israel, and Jewish targets around the world. Obama has seemed to excuse attacks against Americans by Iranian-supported terror groups because we have provoked Iran by trying to liberate Iraq (we are in their neighborhood) or as Barack has put it, Iraq is under occupation by America (which makes one wonder how he feels about Israeli settlements).

The bill languishes, not promoted or pushed; but does serve as a nice campaign prop every now and then.

Furthermore, there already are targeted sanctions in place now. They can be employed against Iranians and Iranian groups identified as being terrorists or terror groups. Yet when Congress voted to identify the Iranian Revolutionary Guards as a terror group-thus making it susceptible to sanction-Barack Obama was not just AWOL (as has been widely noted, Obama has a history of missing votes and avoiding unpleasant decisions) but harshly attacked his political opponents for voting to so designate the Guards as a terror group. This is absurd: the Guard has been implicated in terror attacks against Americans in Iran, Argentinean Jews in bombing attacks in Buenos Aires, and has bolstered Hezbollah in Lebanon. Designating this group as terrorists is crucial in weakening its power. Yet, Obama objected to characterizing them as terrorists. That does not bode well for how seriously a President Obama would deal with Iran or how supportive he would be of our ally.

Obama has called for withdraw from Iraq, which would destabilize the region and lead to a further expansion of Iranian power. He also introduced a Senate Resolution on Iran that strips President Bush of the authority to take military action against it. .

Unilateral nuclear disarmament for Israel

Obama has also called for the abolition of all nuclear weapons in the world and said that America, by not openly leading a campaign to end nuclear weapons is "giving countries like Iran and North Korea an excuse."

This is naïve beyond belief and is identical to arguments made in the Arab world that justify their pursuit of nuclear weapons because Israel has nuclear weapons. We all know how such a program would operate in the real world: Western, open nations such as Israel would be stripped of the capability of nuclear weapons; dictatorships, such as Iran, would continue to operate their secret programs.

Israel's nuclear arsenal has helped offset the strategic peril that comes from being surrounded by much larger nations openly declaring their goal of its destruction. Obama's call would unilaterally work to disarm Israel.

Pressuring Israel

Obama has also blamed that "our neglect of the Middle East Peace Process has spurred despair and fueled terrorism" implicitly blaming Israel for terrorism and a sign that a President Obama would pressure Israel. Obama seems to ignore the roles that schools play in the Middle East in the teaching of hatred; the roles of mosques and Imams in stoking terrorism; the glorification of violence and martyrdom in the media; the role of jihad in the Koran.

He also was the only Democratic Presidential aspirant to sign a Senate Resolution that would ban the use of cluster bombs. These are the types of weapons used by Israel to counter massed attacks by Hezbollah, and are vitally important to her security; Hezbollah also used the same type of weapons. Does anyone think Hezbollah will refrain from using these weapons? How about suicide bombers who rely on similar types of "ordinance' to inflict mass casualties among civilians? Once again, high-minded rhetoric conceals an agenda of unilateral disarmament of the Jewish state.


Every Presidential candidate assembles a foreign policy team of advisers. A glimpse into the makeup of Obama's team has leaked to the media.

Martin Peretz of The New Republic -- a supporter of Obama and of Israel -- had this to say about Obama's Foreign Policy team:

"I have my qualms, as you may know, about Barack Obama, and most especially about what his foreign policy might be. If elected (and actually before he were to be elected), the first decision he would have to make would be who would represent him in the transition to power from early November to January 20. And, frankly, I get the shudders since he has indicated that, among others, they would be Zbigniew Bzrezinski (I don't know much about his son, listed as Mark, but I can guess), Anthony Lake, Susan Rice and Robert O. Malley."

Lake and Brzezenski both earned their spurs in the Carter Administration. The Carter era led to the fall of the Shah of Iran (a stalwart ally of both America and Israel), which gave birth to the Iranian revolution. We all know how well that has turned out. Jimmy Carter, of course, has led a very public campaign of vilification against Israel-defaming it as an apartheid state (a view that Obama's Pastor would concur with).

Anthony Lake has been all but retired for the last dozen years-living on a farm in the Berkshires. This makes one wonder what he is bringing to the table, other than his Carter-era pedigree and beliefs. He has been reactivated though-one of his roles seems to be as ambassador to the Arab-American community .

The appointment of Brzezenski elicited much dismay among supporters of Israel since Brzezinski is well known for his aggressive dislike of Israel. . He has been an ardent foe of Israel for over three decades and newspaper files are littered with his screeds against Israel. Brzezinski has publicly defended the Walt-Mearsheimer thesis that the relationship between America and Israel is based not on shared values and common threats but is the product of Jewish pressure. Brzezinski also signed a letter demanding dialogue with Hamas-a group whose charter calls for the destruction of Israel and is filled with threats to Jews around the world.

After Hezbollah launched attacks against Israel in the summer of 2006, murdered Israelis and took hostages, Israel tried to get its citizens back by moving into Lebanon. Warfare resulted. Brzezinski wrote that Israel's actions amounted to the "killing of hostages" (the hostages being Lebanese caught in the battles).

Brzezinski's son, Mark, is also on Obama's foreign policy team. Evidently the apple does not fall far from the tree. Mark recently co-wrote an op-ed advocating that America forge ties with Iran.

Susan Rice was John Kerry's chief foreign policy adviser when he ran for President. One of the major steps Kerry suggested for dealing with the Middle East was to appoint James Baker and Jimmy Carter as negotiators. When furor erupted at the prospect of two of the most ardent foes of Israel being suggested to basically ride "roughshod" over Israel, Kerry backtracked and blamed his staff for the idea. His staff was Susan Rice.

Drilling down further we have Robert Malley. He was part of the American negotiating team that dealt with Yasser Arafat at Camp David. He has presented a revisionist history of those negotiations since then: presenting a view that blames Israel for the failures of the negotiations. His version has been radically at odds with the views of Americans and Israelis (including the views of American Middle East negotiator Dennis Ross-also an adviser to Obama- and President Clinton).

He has spent years representing the Palestinian point of view, co-writing a series of anti-Israel articles with Hussein Agha-a former Arafat adviser. Palestinian advocate. These have appeared in the New York Review of Books a publication that has served as a platform for a slew of anti-Israel advocates from Tony Judt to the aforementioned George Soros to the authors of the Israeli Lobby book Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer. Malley has also called settlements "colonies" -- implicitly condemning Israel as a "colonial" state. His writings have been so critical of Israel that the media-monitoring group CAMERA has a "dossier" on him. (CAMERA also has a listing for Brzezinski).

Then there is this disconcerting article in the Financial Times about Democratic Presidential candidates and Israel. One of the key advisers to one of the Presidential candidates admitted to some tactical moves to garner pro-Israel support in America:

"The plain fact is there is no upside for candidates to challenge the prevailing assumptions about Israel," said one of their advisers, who asked not to be named. "The best strategy is to win the White House and then change the debate."

One well-regarded blogger, Rutgers Professor Judith Apter Klinghoffer believes this adviser was Ivo Daalder, who was quoted throughout the article and who is one of the foreign policy advisers to Barack Obama. Professor Klinghoffer is skeptical about Daalder and his feelings towards the American-Israel relationship. .

A snapshot of Daalder's views: He has, like Obama, singled out Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz as being responsible for manipulating the levers of power to serve the interests of other countries (it bears reiterating, Perle had no official position in the Administration; Bush, Powell ,Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice-those were the decision-makers). Daalder has seemingly advocated talks with Hezbollah, Syria, Iran. Daalder stated that Israel's bombing of Qana (an attack targeting Hezbollah missile placements that resulted in civilian death) in the war against Hezbollah imperiled Israel's claim to the moral high ground. These and assorted other positions lend credence to Professor Klinghoffer's view.

Scott Lasensky has also been appointed a foreign policy adviser to Obama. This step should also be viewed with a gimlet eye. In a book to be published this month, he and co-author Daniel Kurtzer write glowingly of the George H.W. Bush and James Baker's approach towards dealing with Israel, but faulted Bush and Baker for inadequately derailing the pro-Israel lobby which was more skeptical of the push against Israel into Yasser Arafat's arms.

He has called for Islamists and Hamas to be brought into the "peace process," before this Mideast moment slips away.

He has called residents of Israeli settlements "obstructionists" He has been given the stamp of approval by the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, a notoriously harsh anti-Israel group .

He was also used by CNN's Christiane Amanpour to castigate Israel in her widely criticized CNN's Jewish Warriors "documentary" -- a documentary that has been heavily criticized for its bias and factual errors)

Lasensky has been hosted by the activist group Brit Tzedek v'Shalom and will be hosted by Americans for Peace Now , both of which groups have been highly critical of Israel over the years.

He has recently called for aggressive American involvement in pushing for a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians -- calling for the end of the incremental approach (which is "trust but verify" approach meant to test each side's honesty and ability to bring about peace). Abolishing it would be a foolish and potentially disastrous leap of faith into the unknown.

He has called for engagement with Iran.

The group for which he works, the Unites States Institute of Peace, was the key organizer of the Iraq Study Group that produced a report that has very troubling recommendations concerning Israel (James Baker, whose approach towards Israel Lasensky admires, was one of the two people who headed the Iraq Study Group).

Obama supporters might counter that Obama has a wide range of foreign advisers and seeks input from people with a variety of views. Most likely, Dennis Ross-with deep ties to the American Jewish community-will be headlined in this argument. However, it is unclear what role Ross has on the team. He is clearly angling to join what may be the next Administration in the White House. How likely is it that Ross, who served the Clintons (now Obama's opponents), will hold sway against the triumvirate of key Obama heavyweights: Lake, Brzezinski, and Susan Rice?

Obama and John Bolton

Conversely, Obama actively opposed the nomination of John Bolton as our Ambassador to the United Nations. Bolton's track record in support of Israel is impressive.

As Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security, Bolton took started a new project, the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI), that has played a very important role in preventing hostile nations (including those in the Arab world) from developing weapons of mass destruction. Boats were interdicted on the high seas, for example, when suspicions arose that they carried suspect cargoes. The PSI was also responsible for helping to put an end to Libya's nuclear program, which led to the unraveling of the A.Q. Khan nuclear weapons black market that has imperiled our friends in the region (and ourselves).

While at the United Nations, Bolton was a stalwart defender of American interests and those of our allies. He was also a firm supporter of Israel (next to Patrick Moynihan, probably one of the best) -- a thankless task given the pervasive anti-Israel bias at the UN.

Bolton has continued to support the American-Israel relationship after leaving government service -- for example, writing a series of op-eds, the latest of which support Israel's decision to bomb the likely nuclear plant in Syria.

Regardless of Bolton's evident talents and drive, Obama worked to derail his career. Was it his views that Obama objected to?

Congressional support

Similarly, Obama supporters might rely on the support Obama has drawn from various Democratic Jewish Congressman (Wexler, Rothman, Schiff among them) over the last year. These stamps of approval might be met with some skepticism (Wexler went so far as to talk of Obama's "love for Israel" based on a single tip Obama took to Israel when he began considering a Presidential run).

These Congressmen are well aware that Obama might be the next President-certainly it never hurts to have a friend in the White House. They are also Democrats who would want to bolster a fellow Democrat-particularly if it helps them with their own African-American constituents. Obama is a very compelling speaker -- he has campaigned for fellow Democrats across the nation. Having a chit with Obama might be very useful in during the endless campaigning these Congressmen will be facing in the years ahead

The team seems to reflect an approach that should come as no surprise.

Obama would place a great deal of reliance on international institutions -- the same international organizations that have opposed America and Israel for many years. Obama's approach towards the Islamic world indicates an approach form weakness, as if, to invert Osama bin Laden's dictum, people were attracted to the nicest horse. He would organize a meeting between Muslim leaders from all over the world and Americans so we can move forward with them as partners with "dignity and respect."

Partners? To be sure this may be flowery diplo-speak. But most of these are leaders who are responsible for spreading hatred throughout their societies: a hatred that manifests itself in violence.

We have shown respect and dignity in our actions in Bosnia, Afghanistan, and yes, Iraq, We have liberated millions of people from genocide and dictatorship-we have given much in the blood of our soldiers and the billions in aid showered on the Muslim world (as the oil kleptocrats spend their billions buying up our corporations). Where is the dignity and respect shown towards America from these Muslim leaders? His approach towards terrorism was eloquently expressed by Wall Street Journal writer Dorothy Rabinowitz who wrote that a President Obama's stance against terrorism would "consist largely of antipoverty programs, reassuring the world of our peaceful intentions, and attending Islamic Conferences."

Speeches and public remarks

There are those willing to give Obama the benefit of the doubt and rely on his speeches to give comfort. Most recently, the New York Sun took excerpts from a speech he gave to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee in Chicago last march. I was there, just a few yards in front of Barack Obama. His speech was desultory and lacking the spirit and energy that are a trademark of the gifted oratory of Barack Obama. He clearly seemed to be going through the motions. The content of his speech gave many listeners qualms, including me. Others have their suspicions about whether Obama truly believes what he is saying in his speeches before groups supportive of the American-Israel relationship. .

Beyond that, how valuable are a candidate's speeches for determining what his (or hers) true beliefs are? There are media reports that indicate he has "recalibrated his words about Israel and the Middle East" as part of his efforts to court the Jewish vote. So there are grounds for skepticism about relying on canned speeches as a guide towards divining Obama's true views. Obama is a skilled orator; he has shown an adroit ability to hide friendships that might harm him on the campaign trail. Why not also hide his views behind a smokescreen of aphorism and bromides?

I think a more accurate reflection of these feelings and ideas are found in unscripted, off-the cuff remarks. As Michael Kinsley wrote, a "gaffe is a mistaken utterance or action which actually reveals what a politician truly believes". Obama has a record of off the cuff remarks that are disconcerting. There is, of course, his well-known remark in Des Moines that "Nobody has suffered more than the Palestinian people" (which sounds like Pastor Wright is being channeled) that created controversy. He later tried to revise history by insisting he had said "Nobody has suffered more than the Palestinian people from the failure of the Palestinian leadership". However, the well-respected and the Des Moines Register newspaper (which has an audio record) dispute Obama's "redo".

He also has objected to Israel's security fence that has all but ended the suicide bombing campaigns that killed so many innocent people. In an interview in 2004 he stated:

"...the creation of a wall dividing the two nations is yet another example of the neglect of this Administration in brokering peace."

There are not two nations (at least yet) and the security fence is not a wall, it is a fence (only a small percent, less than 5% can be considered a "wall" and that is only because of space constraints and the desire to prevent sniper fire from the Palestinians).

His use of the term Cycle of violence" has caused ripples of concern for its intimations of moral equality between the Palestinians and Israelis; as has his elevation of "cynicism" as a core problem in the Middle East, rather than say, terrorism.

At an anti-war rally he stated that he was

"Opposed to the cynical attempt by Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz and other armchair, weekend warriors in the administration to shove their own ideological agendas down our throat" .

This is disturbing. Obama ignored the role of Colin Powell, George Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Condi Rice and other movers and shakers in the Administration. But Perle (who never even served in the Administration) and Wolfowitz (who was a Deputy Secretary) have been lumped together by many anti-Semitic conspiracy theorists as Jews who led us into the Iraq War to serve the interests of Israel. Who has Obama been listening to? His moral compass, Reverend Jeremiah Wright, Junior?

There are other remarks of Obama's that have struck others as being less than supportive of Israel. . Among them are words that put the onus on Israel to change the status quo in its relations with the Palestinians. He was the only candidate at the National Jewish Democratic Council conference that burdens Israel with that role.

There are grounds to be concerned that he would discard the "Road Map" that provides guidelines for negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. He has stated that the "Israel government must make difficult concessions for the peace process to restart." The Road Map places obligations on both sides to take steps simultaneously on the road to peace. Israel is explicitly not obligated to take the first steps. This confirms the views he expressed to the NJDC that he would place the onus on Israel in future peace negotiations. .

Shmuel Rosner, the Washington correspondent of the liberal Israeli newspaper Haaretz, noted that that the prediction that Obama would be least favorable of any of the candidates toward Israel may partly be due to the fact that his "supporters come mainly from the left-wing of the Democratic Party and from the African-American community -- from constituencies which are traditionally not that supportive of Israel".

But Obama has on his own volition assembled his networks of friends, mentors, financial supporters and foreign policy advisers. In his judgment -- a judgment that he regularly trumpets as being superior to others - these people are worthy of advising him. There are among those friends and advisers key people who seem to display a great deal of antipathy towards the American-Israel relationship.

These are the constituencies and associates that should warrant concern among all those who care about a strong American-Israel relationship. His electoral success will send a message to all future politicians that they can willingly ignore the views of those Americans who value a close relationship with the sole democracy and our only true ally in the Middle East. We may see the ramifications of Obama's ascent in the years yet to come.

Ed Lasky is news editor of American Thinker
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