Saturday, April 19, 2008

Carter, hold your peace!-His Mideast meddling dangerous

Cliff May | Op-Ed

Let’s be fair to Jimmy Carter. Let’s suppose he isn’t indulging in egotistical grandstanding, that he doesn’t harbor a deep-seated bias against Israel and that the millions of dollars Islamists have provided to his Carter Center haven’t influenced him. Let’s suppose his freelance diplomacy is sincerely in pursuit of the elusive path to peace in the Middle East.

Even so, why in the world would he pay a courtesy call on Khaled Mashaal? Mashaal has claimed responsibility for organizing numerous suicide bombings, slaughtering mostly Israeli civilians but Americans too.. The head of Hamas’ politburo, Mashaal lives not in Hamas-ruled Gaza, from which missiles rain down on Israeli villages daily. Nor does he live in the West Bank, which is controlled, more or less, by Fatah, Hamas’ rival. He resides instead in Syria, a guest of dictator Bashar al-Assad, Iran’s client, who for the past five years has facilitated the flow of al-Qaeda combatants into Iraq.

Those who attempt to appease tyrants are generally suspected of cowardice. More often, I suspect, lack of imagination is the cause. When Neville Chamberlain met with Hitler, he no doubt believed he could reason with him because he also no doubt believed that the Fuhrer - whatever his grievances or ambitions - was also a reasonable man.

What this leaves out is ideology. Hitler’s ideas - odious as they may now seem to you, me and Carter (though certainly not to Mashaal) - inspired millions to fight and die for the glory of the Third Reich. And Marxist/Leninist/Stalinist/Maoist ideology inspired millions to fight and die for the illusion of a communist utopia.

The ideology of Hamas derives from something more enduring than “Mein Kampf,” “Das Kapital” and the sayings of Chairman Mao. It is rooted in a 1,400-year-old religion. Hamas proudly proclaims that “the Koran is our constitution, Jihad is our way, and death for the sake of God is our highest aspiration.” Hamas leaders promise their followers not just rewards here on Earth but in the next world as well - a selling point neither Nazism nor communism could offer.

Surely, Carter is aware that, as a matter of religious conviction, Meshaal cannot accept Israel’s existence. Hamas believes every inch of Israel and, indeed, of any land ever ruled by Muslims is “an Islamic Waqf consecrated for future Moslem generations until Judgment Day,” the charter states. A Muslim can fight to reclaim this endowment or he can fail to fulfill the obligations his faith imposes. To Hamas, there is no third option.

The Hamas charter asserts, “There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad.”

Not only do Hamas members oppose a “two-state solution,” they believe that nation-states are un-Islamic. Instead, an Islamic caliphate is to be re-established, an empire that is to expand until the Dar al-Islam, the world ruled by Muslims, consumes the Dar al-Harb, the world in which infidels now hold sway.

“Rome will be conquered, just like Constantinople was, as was prophesized by our prophet Muhammad,” Hamas member and Palestinian parliamentarian Yunis al-Asal has pledged.

Does Carter sincerely think he can convince Mashaal to reject such ideas and embrace the Carter Center’s kumbaya mission of “waging peace and building hope?” Does he really believe he can change Mashaal’s mind, much less open his heart?

If so, Carter is as clueless now as he was almost 30 years ago when, on his watch as president, the Ayatollah Khomeini took power in Iran, seized America’s embassy, held our diplomats hostage and sat back to watch Carter do nothing effective in response.

But let’s be fair to Carter. He alone is not responsible for the rise of Islamism in all its malevolent variations. He is responsible, however, for so profoundly misunderstanding what is happening in the world over so many years.

Iran prefers Obama

Like Hamas, they know a new Carter when they see one. "Iran Avoids Support for US Presidential Hopefuls," from the Fars News Agency (thanks to Marina):

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iran said on Monday that it does not back any of the US presidential candidates but does hope the election will bring a change in Washington's foreign policy. "Iran would not support any candidates in the US presidential campaign," Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Seyed Mohammad Ali Hosseini said during his weekly news briefing. "But the nations of the world are fed up with America's warmongering policies and we demand these change."

Earlier in March, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told the Spanish El Pais newspaper that the real circles of power in America would not allow Senator Barack Obama to enter the White House, adding that he would have no problems if the junior senator from Illinois were to be elected.

Both Democratic Party candidates have called for direct talks with Iran over its differences with the US including its nuclear program which Washington alleges is for military purposes, while Tehran vehemently denies the charge, saying the program is for peaceful purposes such as generating electricity....

Friday, April 18, 2008

Lights Out for Peace Now?

P. David Hornik | 4/18/2008

What if they gave a Peace Now ceremony and no one came? According to Ari Shavit, a journalist for Israel’s left-wing daily Haaretz, that almost happened one evening last week when a white tent went up in Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square for an event marking Peace Now’s 30th anniversary.

“This time,” Shavit writes,

hundreds of thousands did not throng to the square, not even tens of thousands or even one thousand. But a handful of decent, devoted Israelis did come…anonymous patriots whose faces furrowed with wrinkles and their hair became white in the years they ran on the hills, stood holding up placards and carrying torches, trying to lessen the killing and injustice, to bring peace closer and keep war away.. In other words, the very small contingent that showed up were mostly people who had gotten on in years. Peace Now’s membership has indeed declined drastically since the Second Intifada broke out in 2000, with very little younger cadre arising to replace the movement’s aging veterans.

Shavit, once staunchly on the Left but now with some elements of a centrist outlook, says that Peace Now

bound together (justified) resistance to the occupation of the Palestinians and (invalid) faith that the Palestinians are the allies…. It was captivated by the PLO’s charms, and Oslo’s delusions, and finally became Yasser Arafat’s hostage.

Apart from that little error of being captivated by the charms of terrorists, Peace Now, in Shavit’s telling, got everything else right:

It understood that occupation corrupts, that the settlements were a disaster, that every effort must be made to divide the land between two nation-states…. that in the face of the right wing and settlers, a different Zionism was called for. An educated, rational, enlightened, moral Zionism…. [Peace Now] brought the Israeli center to adopt unmistakably left-wing positions, but could not stop the settlements in time.

If it sounds like “the settlements” are Shavit’s bête noire, indicating how entrenched he still is in the Peace Now outlook—that is indeed the case.

Nowhere in the article does Shavit even suggest which settlements he means—sizable towns like Betar Illit (pop. 35,000) or Maale Adumim (pop. 32,000), both located a few miles from Jerusalem, or Ariel (pop. 18,000), located in West Bank hill country on an invasion route to Israel’s coastal plain? Or does he mean the smaller, sprinkled, often more ideological West Bank settlements? He doesn’t say, and it doesn’t seem to matter to him when “settlements” remains something close to a curse word in his lexicon.

Israelis like Shavit took a position on the settlements—particularly the smaller, more isolated ones—that, without agreeing with it, one can understand: they thought these communities needlessly extended Israeli population into Palestinian-populated areas and threatened to perpetuate the need for Israel to rule these areas.

Apart, though, from the fact that all the territories in question are of security importance to Israel—as has been bitterly evident since the Gaza evacuation—seemingly it would have been possible for liberals like Shavit to take a different view that was both decidedly consonant with their principles and less divisive: that if peace was the ultimate goal, the Palestinian Arabs of the territories should not have found it so objectionable to have Israelis living among them just as Palestinian Arabs live among Israelis in pre-1967 Israel.

Indeed, seemingly from a liberal, tolerant outlook the more ideological settlers’ intense love of the biblical Land of Israel, and desire to live in it, could have been accepted as legitimate values and sentiments.

That, however, is the other pathological aspect of Peace Now that Shavit still does not “get”—and his failure to get it is the other side of the coin of his still overly mild criticism of Peace Now’s proterrorist sympathies.

Shavit knows, of course, about Peace Now’s fierce enmity toward what it thinks of as “the other” camp in Israeli society; it’s just that Shavit goes along with it, as when he writes:

From its outset the Israeli peace movement had not only a political platform but also a genetic code. This code says: The state may have been taken from us but we will forge a new identity as the state's critics. The other may be in power, but we will march to the tribal square and there confront him together.

The language and imagery are martial; somehow the “peace” orientation that was so gentle and conciliatory toward Yasser Arafat and the PLO gets lost here.

What Peace Now, in other words, really introduced into the Israeli mainstream—with such bloody consequences from the Oslo era to the present—was classic Western appeasement: one’s attackers—no matter how savage—are moral people protesting one’s own immorality; the hawkish camp within one’s own society is the true enemy; by bonding with the attackers one defeats this enemy and ushers in peace.

Indeed, one thing Shavit omits to mention in his article is that during Peace Now’s event at Rabin Square the other night a message was read out from Marwan Barghouti—the Palestinian terrorist sentenced to life imprisonment by an Israeli court in 2004 on five counts of murder.

And what of Shavit’s claim that Peace Now “brought the Israeli center to adopt unmistakably left-wing positions”? It is a self-justifying claim often heard these days from the dwindled ranks of Peace Now and other Israeli leftists, who cite polls finding a majority of Israelis now supporting a Palestinian state west of the Jordan, or the fact that formerly right-wing politicians like Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni have now become advocates of that cause.

But whether many Israelis now take this stance because of Peace Now’s influence, tiredness, or a fatalistic sense that the United States and the rest of the world are going to push Israel into this concession in any case (or some combination of those), a poll released this week by the Begin-Sadat Center of Israel’s Bar-Ilan University suggests it’s too soon to write off the general Israeli population as Peace Now converts.

The poll, which focused on the issue of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations on Jerusalem—a compromise over the city being considered a sine qua non of a final settlement entailing the rise of a Palestinian state—found 71 percent of Israelis opposing a deal that would require Israel to hand over Jerusalem’s Old City and Temple Mount to the Palestinians. Sixty-two percent were against Jerusalem’s status being discussed in negotiations at all.

And even if a settlement over the city was reached, 61 percent said there was no or very little chance the Palestinians would stop making demands on Israel regarding Jerusalem, 69 percent said there was no or very little chance that Palestinian terror attacks would cease, and 56 percent said any part of Jerusalem the Palestinians would obtain was likely to serve as a base for such attacks.

It sounds, that is, like the old blend of fealty to basic Jewish values and realism that until the Oslo era kept Peace Now positions on the fringe of Israeli politics.

Evidence, though, that a lot of the change in Israel comes from tiredness is the poll’s further finding that among the majority that opposes concessions on Jerusalem, only one-third would express their opposition in demonstrations and the rest would keep it to the ballot box (when it could well be too late) or conversations with family and friends.

Peace Now’s effect on the Israeli public, in other words, may not have been cognitive change so much as damage to morale, as Peace Now helped mobilize and reinforce those international actors most intent—whether out of blindness or malice—on stripping Israel of its strategic assets and implanting a terror state on the very narrow borders that would be left to it. What the still sensible, realistic Israeli majority appears to need most is leaders who will stand up to the Peace Now tide and reaffirm their values and resolve.
P. David Hornik is a freelance writer and translator living in Tel Aviv. He blogs at He can be reached at

Islamic Jihad: Dhimmi Carter wanted to meet with us

But they turned him down -- he was too pro-Israeli for them.

"Islamic Jihad: We Refused Carter’s Request for a Meeting," by Eric Trager at Commentary's Contentions blog:. Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) has announced that its leadership has refused former U.S. President Jimmy Carter’s request for a meeting. According to PIJ’s QudsNews website, Egyptian authorities contacted PIJ Secretary-General Dr. Ramadan Shallah on Carter’s behalf earlier this week, inviting Shallah to meet with Carter in Cairo. Shallah is listed on the FBI’s list of Most Wanted Terrorists, and the reward for information leading to his apprehension is $5 million.

He is also a former associate of Sami Al-Arian at the University of South Florida.

In turning down the request, Shallah declared that Carter is “carrying an American-Israeli agenda,” while PIJ spokesman Daoud Shahab blasted Carter’s criticism of Palestinian rocket attacks during the former president’s visit to Sderot. E-mails and phone calls to the Carter Center press office seeking confirmation of Carter’s outreach to PIJ have not been returned....

Yet Carter’s attempt to meet with PIJ is his most disturbing gambit to date. After all, PIJ is generally considered even more extreme than Hamas. While PIJ shares many of Hamas’ militant features–including its coordination of terrorist activities, calls for Israel’s destruction, and theocratic aims–PIJ lacks Hamas’ social and political significance. It does not have the social welfare network on which Hamas has built its popularity, while PIJ’s refusal to participate in the 2006 parliamentary elections points to its minimal public authority among Palestinians. Carter is therefore unable to argue that PIJ is somehow central to any Israeli-Palestinian peace process, which is the very argument he has used to defend his meetings with Hamas officials.

Thanks Dhimmi Watch.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Hizbullah Will Dispatch Israeli Arabs to Attack From Rear in War

Ezra HaLevi

A Syrian newspaper reported that Hizbullah plans to activate masses of Israeli Arab terrorists in the next war.

“A high-ranking Hizbullah official has said the party would launch an offensive on Israel in the Palestinian territories occupied in 1948 in case the Jewish state wages a new war,” the Iranian Fars News Agency reported in its coverage of the Syrian magazine Al-Hakika’s interview with the unnamed Hizbullah man. Further elaborating, the Hizbullah planner, a member of the group’s religious “Shura Council,” said, "We would not initiate war but in case they wage any war in the future, there will be a counter attack behind the front lines. And for the first time since 1948 in Palestine itself.”

Israeli-Arabs have increasingly involved in terrorist activities. Former MK Azmi Bishara, one of the most senior and prominent Israeli-Arab representatives, fled Israel after an advanced investigation into treason and assistance to Hizbullah during the Second Lebanon War. Most recently, an Israeli-Arab from Jerusalem carried out the shooting murder of eight yeshiva students at the Merkaz HaRav Yeshiva. His parents subsequently set up a mourning tent adorned with the flags of the Hizbullah.

Hizbullah Snatched Mughniyeh’s Body
The official also revealed that the body of terror chief Imad Mughniyeh was whisked away to Hizbullah custody in Lebanon just minutes after he was killed by a car-bomb in Damascus on February 12. He said Syrian President Bashar Assad contacted Hizbullah chief Hassan Nasrallah and begged him to keep the death of Mughniyeh a secret – but Nasrallah refused.

Hizbullah Training Sunni Terrorists at 'Furious Pace'
Hizbullah is training new terrorists, including Sunni Muslims, "at a furious pace," sending them to Iran for 45-day advanced training, the Christian Science Monitor reported. It quoted a terrorist, named Jawad, who said, "The holy fighters are leaving universities, shops, places of work to go and train." Hizbullah traditionally has been popular among the Shi'ite sect of Islam, and attracting support from the Sunnis would make it an even more powerful force in strife-torn Lebanon.

A local commander told the newspaper that the next war against Israel will be offensive, unlike the Second Lebanon War which he called a defensive battle. The next war will be "fought more in Israel than in Lebanon," Jawad asserted.

Tyranny's enabler

CSP Decision Brief | Apr 14, 2008

Ex-Prez Carter's "dialogue" only bolsters our foes. Jimmy Carter's pathetic need for political rehabilitation following a presidency widely regarded as one of the worst in American history is once again making news. He reportedly will meet this week with Khaled Mashaal, the Syrian-based leader of the Muslim Brotherhood's Palestinian arm, Hamas – an internationally recognized terrorist organization. Mr. Carter maintains this is no big deal since he has met with Hamas officials before. Indeed, in keeping with his Carter Center's self-appointed status as global election monitor, the former president did officiate in January 2006 when the Brotherhood's terrorists defeated those of Fatah led by Yasser Arafat's longtime crony, Mahmoud Abbas. In point of fact, it seems there is scarcely a serious bad actor on the planet with whom Jimmy Carter has not met. He is a serial tyrant-enabler, the very personification of Rodney King's risible appeal, "Can't we all get along?" Mr. Carter has come to epitomize the notion that "dialogue" is always in order, no matter how odious or dangerous the interlocutor – or the extent to which they or their agendas will benefit from such interactions.

As Barak Obama (whom Carter has all but endorsed) is as wedded as the former President to the idea of condition-free dialogue with tyrants, it is worth reflecting on just a few of the many example's of how this Carteresque practice has produced disastrous results:

In 1979, then-President Carter undermined the Shah of Iran and made possible the Ayatollah Khomeini's return to Iran and subsequent Islamic revolution. Although the uber-mullah returned the favor with the sacking of Embassy Tehran and seizure of its personnel that assured Carter's would be a one-term presidency, the regime thus born has ever since been a blight on its own people and a state-sponsor of terror and nuclear wannabe that represents an ever-growing menace to its region and the world.

In 1994, Citizen Carter made a mission to Pyongyang at a time when then-President Bill Clinton was first confronting evidence of North Korea's illegal pursuit of nuclear weapons. The former president's intervention gave rise to a deal that lent invaluable prestige to the regime, perpetuated its hold on power and utterly failed to preclude the North's acquisition of a nuclear arsenal.

In 2004, Jimmy Carter ignored abundant evidence of official vote-rigging and election fraud in a Venezuelan referendum, handing victory to Hugo Chavez and clearing the way for the most destabilizing accretion of power in the Western hemisphere since Fidel Castro's communist revolution in Cuba – a model and inspiration for Chavez. In short, thanks in no small measure to Jimmy Carter's proclivities and meddling, the world is a considerably more dangerous place. Following his lead now will make it more so, for three reasons:

First and foremost, "talking" to tyrants legitimates them. Dictators go to great lengths to conjur up the perception of authority and permanence. They are particularly anxious to do so for domestic consumption, to ensure their continued rule. To the extent that outsiders recognize, to say nothing of embrace, them, it enhances their stature at home and validates their misconduct on the world stage.

Second, such efforts generally have the effect of emboldening these thugs. After all, they are being rewarded for bad behavior. The result is predictable: even worse behavior. That can mean redoubled efforts to: acquire nuclear weapons, destabilize their neighbors, raise the price of oil and engage in other activities inimical to U.S. interests.

Third, it is ironic but true that – even as Carter-style enabling of tyrants makes matters worse – it typically encourages in this country the impression that vexing problems with those regimes have been made more tractable. Diplomatic placebos reduce the perceived need and popular support for more effective, albeit more difficult, alternatives.

It is instructive that even an Israeli government known for appeasing terrorists has finally had it with Jimmy Carter. Israel's ceremonial head of state, President Shimon Peres, met with him Sunday for the purpose of publicly denouncing Carter's "activities over the last few years [that have] caused great damage to Israel and the peace process." Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and his foreign and defense ministers have gone so far as to decline requested meetings with Carter.

The one possible up-side of the latest instance of tyrant-enabling by Jimmy Carter is that it puts in sharp relief an issue that should feature prominently in the 2008 U.S. elections: Do we want to entrust the job of commander-in-chief to someone who believes, as Mr. Carter does, that dialogue with our sworn enemies – notably, Iran, and its vassal, Syria – is a good and necessary step?

This is, of course, the oft-repeated position of Barak Obama and other Democratic opponents of the effort to secure victory in Iraq. Is it the view though of what the former condescendingly calls "ordinary" Americans, people who have generally shown more common sense than the likes of Messrs. Carter and Obama?

In the final analysis, Jimmy Carter will be best remembered by history as a man whose time in and out of high public office was almost unblemished by success. Notwithstanding a Nobel Peace Prize (given by an awards committee avowedly anxious to rebuke President Bush) and assorted good works on behalf of Habitat for Humanity, his role as a tyrant-enabler will be an object of scorn and derision rather than the vindication he so transparently, and desperately, seeks.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Jihadists in foiled Tel Aviv poisoning plot had been released in Olmert amnesty

"The terrorists were given amnesty on condition they disarm, refrain from attacks and spend three months in PA detention facilities and another three months confined to Nablus, the northern West Bank city in which they reside."

More on this story. "Pardoned terrorists tried to poison restaurant," by Aaron Klein for World Net Daily:

JERUSALEM – The terrorist cell that planned to poison an Israeli restaurant this month was led by jihadists who were recently granted amnesty by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, WND has learned.
The pardoned terrorists, were directly involved in orchestrating the foiled attack, according to defense sources. They were granted amnesty in October as a stated Israeli gesture to help bolster Palestinian Authority President and Fatah Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.
The terrorists were given amnesty on condition they disarm, refrain from attacks and spend three months in PA detention facilities and another three months confined to Nablus, the northern West Bank city in which they reside.
Last week, it was released for publication Israel's Shin Bet Security Services arrested two Palestinians from Nablus who worked illegally at the Grill Express, a restaurant in the city of Ramat Gan, which is a sattelite city of Tel Aviv.
Upon interrogation, the two, Aham Rial and Anas Salum, both 21 years old, confessed they were planning to poison the restaurant food with a white, odorless, tasteless deadly poison they said takes effect about five hours after it is ingested.
The Palestinians said they were to receive the poison from the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades leadership in Nablus. They said they were also asked by the Brigades leadership to find ways to help infiltrate suicide bombers into Israel.
Security officials warned the Brigades leadership in Nablus is still seeking to use Palestinians working illegally inside Israel to perpetuate terrorist attacks. There are tens of thousands of illegal Palestinian workers inside Israel.
According to Israeli defense officials, there is specific information the foiled poison plot was planned by three terrorists from Nablus, two of whom are on Olmert's amnesty list, which restricted the Israel Defense Forces from acting against them.
Nablus is the main stronghold of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, Fatah's military wing, which is listed by the State Department as a terrorist group. The Brigades took responsibility, along with the Islamic Jihad terror organization, for every suicide bombing in Israel in 2005 and 2006 and for thousands of shootings and rocket attacks.
Among the pardoned Brigades leaders involved in the foiled poisoning is Hani Caabe, a senior Brigades leader in the Old City of Nablus. The name of the other pardoned terrorist is being withheld by WND for security purposes at the request of defense officials.
In June, Olmert granted amnesty to 178 Fatah fugitives who pledged their resignation from any so-called paramilitary organizations. In spite of the amnesty deal, many Brigades members openly brandished weapons and were caught carrying out scores of attacks.
Nevertheless, in October Olmert issued amnesty documents to 43 more Fatah terrorists, who were also required to turn in their weapons, spend three months in a PA holding area and restrict their movements for another three months to one city.
Most of the 43 terrorists have yet to keep their side of the deal, defense officials said.
Gee. Didn't see that coming.


Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Israel snubs Carter, declines security help

Adam Entous

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israeli leaders shunned former U.S. President Jimmy Carter during a visit because of his plans to meet Hamas and Israel's secret service declined to assist U.S. agents guarding him, U.S. sources said on Monday.

"They're not getting support from local security," one of the sources said, on condition of anonymity.

An American source described as "unprecedented" the lack of Shin Bet cooperation with the U.S. Secret Service, which protects all current and former U.S. presidents, as well as Israeli leaders when they visit the United States.
Carter, who brokered Israel's first peace treaty with an Arab neighbor, Egypt, signed in 1979, met Israel's largely ceremonial president, Shimon Peres, on Sunday. But Israel's political leadership, including Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, steered clear of the Nobel Peace Prize winner.

The former U.S. leader has angered the Israeli government over plans to meet Hamas' top leader, Khaled Meshaal, in Syria, and for describing Israeli policy in the occupied Palestinian territories as "a system of apartheid" in a 2006 book.

An Israeli security source said the Shin Bet security service provided no protection to Carter during his visit to the Jewish state because no request was made.

Asked about the Israeli account, Carter's delegation, which had previously declined to comment, told Reuters in a statement: "The Carter delegation inquired with both the lead agent of the Secret Service detail (protecting Carter) and the State Department Regional Security Officer and were told unequivocally that an official request for assistance had been made."

American sources close to the matter said the Shin Bet, which helps protect visiting dignitaries and is overseen by Olmert's office, declined to meet the head of Carter's Secret Service detail or provide his team with assistance as is customary during such visits.


Israel and the United States have sought to isolate Hamas, which seized control of the Gaza Strip in June from more secular Fatah forces loyal to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Abbas holds sway in the occupied West Bank and has launched U.S.-backed peace talks with Olmert.

The Bush administration and Israel oppose Carter's planned meeting with Meshaal, whose Islamist group won Palestinian parliamentary elections in 2006 but was boycotted by the West for refusing to renounce violence and recognize Israel.

Carter has defended talks with Hamas as an opportunity to gauge the group's willingness to accept Arab peace overtures.

U.N. humanitarian affairs chief John Holmes told reporters at U.N. headquarters in New York it would be positive if Carter's talks with Hamas could achieve a breakthrough.

"Anything which will help to produce some political progress ... would be extremely welcome and if Jimmy Carter can achieve that by talking to Hamas, why not?" he said.

Holmes added the United Nations was not in a position to engage in political discussions with Hamas, though U.N. humanitarian officials were in touch with the group at a practical level to carry out aid work in Gaza when necessary.

Carter visited the Israeli border town of Sderot on Monday and said he was "distressed" by cross-border rockets fired by militants in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip.

"I think it's a despicable crime for any deliberate effort to be made to kill innocent civilians," Carter said, adding that he hoped a ceasefire would be reached soon.

Hamas leaders have offered a long-term truce with Israel in return for a viable Palestinian state in the occupied West Bank and the Gaza Strip, but the group's 1988 founding charter calls for the destruction of the Jewish state.

Israel said it rejected Carter's request to meet jailed Palestinian uprising leader Marwan Barghouthi, who is seen as a possible successor to Abbas.

Barghouthi was convicted in 2004 of murder by an Israeli court over the killing of four Israelis and a Greek Orthodox monk in attacks by Palestinian militants. He is serving five life sentences.

(Additional reporting by Brenda Gazzar, and Louis Charbonneau in New


Monday, April 14, 2008

Good Terrorist, Bad Terrorist

P. David Hornik

Asked about former president Jimmy Carter’s planned meeting in Damascus with Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said, “I find it hard to understand what is going to be gained by having discussions with Hamas about peace when Hamas is, in fact, the impediment to peace.” She also said, “Hamas is a terrorist organization.”

Meanwhile last week, Israel cleared for publication that two West Bank Palestinians had been arrested by Israel’s General Security Service for plotting to poison patrons of a restaurant in Ramat Gan, a city bordering Tel Aviv. The two, who came from the West Bank city of Nablus, had been employees of the restaurant and “had planned to lace dishes served [there] with a powerful toxin without odor or taste, in the hopes of killing as many patrons as possible.… The white substance is virtually undetectable and affects its victims approximately four hours after being ingested.”

The two, Eihab Abu Rial and Anas Salum, also had plans to bring a suicide bomber into Israel.

They were not, however, members of Hamas but rather of Fatah—specifically of its “military wing” the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, which recruited them “under the guidance and funding of Hezbollah.”

Rice has had nothing to say publicly about this incident nor about its Fatah provenance. But if Hamas is a terrorist organization and an impediment to peace and hence it is pointless to meet with one of its leaders, what does that make Fatah and why is meeting with its leaders, particularly Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas, something Rice does all the time?

It could be replied that Mashaal is known to have masterminded suicide bombings whereas Abbas, at least since becoming PA president, is not known to have directly ordered terrorist attacks. It could also be claimed that Abbas is head of Fatah’s “political wing” and not its “military wing.”

But it could similarly be claimed, for instance, that current Hamas political leader in Gaza and international op-ed writer Ismail Haniyeh is not necessarily giving direct orders for Hamas’s rocket-firing and other terrorism. Indeed, some, like the New York Times and various European officials, consider Haniyeh a “pragmatist” or even a “moderate” who is worth meeting with.

Whether or not Haniyeh is currently directly involved in terror, though, the Bush administration rightly refrains—at least officially and openly—from dealing with him because he is part of Hamas—a terrorist organization.

Somehow, though, the connection between Abbas and the Martyrs Brigades of his Fatah gets finessed out of existence. If, after all, Abbas is a moderate leader eschewing terrorism and favoring peace with Israel, his movement’s involvement in things like trying to mass-poison Israelis and working with a known terrorist organization like Hezbollah should be intolerable to him.

Abbas should at least be denouncing such activities if not moving to eradicate the Martyrs Brigades from his organization. Some, of course, claim that Abbas would be only too glad to do that if it weren’t for his weakness—and that his weakness is what justifies the U.S. continuing to shower him with aid money and train his forces to eventually take over the West Bank.

According to this version of things, it’s not that Abbas wanted, for instance, the recent would-be assassins of Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert—members of Fatah and his security apparatus—to be released scot-free from PA prison last September; or wanted the terrorist murderers of two Israeli hikers last December—members of Fatah and his security apparatus—to be allowed to “escape” from PA prison in March; or wants Martyrs Brigades and other Fatah terrorists to keep planning, attempting, and perpetrating terror attacks against Israelis—he wants to put a stop to all this and just needs to be strong enough.

The problem, though, with that assumption is not only that nothing substantiates it but also that Abbas’s own words and actions indicate otherwise. It’s not just, for instance, that Abbas declared to the summit of Islamic countries in Senegal on March 13 that “Our people in Jerusalem are under an ethnic cleansing campaign…. [Palestinians] are facing a campaign of annihilation [by Israel]”; or to the Arab summit in Damascus on March 29 that “Israel pursues its aggression and occupation” and perpetrates “barbaric attacks, causing hundreds of defenseless victims.”

These are not the words—especially not when spoken to such audiences—of someone who regrets his “military wing’s” activities and is sincerely seeking peace.

But Abbas further told the Arab summit in Damascus not only that he favors Fatah-Hamas reconciliation but also that the PA uses its Western aid money to support Hamas, channeling 58 percent of its budget to Gaza and paying the salaries of 777,000 employees there.

In other words, Abbas—the leader whom Rice meets regularly while castigating Carter for planning to meet Mashaal—is not only, like Mashaal, a leader of a terrorist organization, Fatah, but works to strengthen Mashaal’s terrorist organization, Hamas.

How far does America have to sink into this pit of hypocrisy and moral squalor before something constitutes a red light? And if Abbas’s words in Damascus about the aid money—a large part of which comes from the U.S. itself—don’t constitute one, what could?
P. David Hornik is a freelance writer and translator living in Tel Aviv. He blogs at He can be reached at

The McGovernization of Obama

Victor Davis Hanson

I still believe that by August, Obama, the half-term rookie Senator, will have become the second George McGovern. Cf. his latest declaration to the Marin County faithful (coming on the heels of the crazy anti-Semitic rant of Rev. Eric Lee, a prominent LA Obama supporter):
"You go into these small towns in Pennsylvania and, like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing's replaced them," Obama said. "And they fell through the Clinton Administration, and the Bush Administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not. And it's not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations."

Let us count the ways that this is a disastrous declaration:

1. “Nothing's replaced them”? As someone who lives in a small rural town that saw a lot of closed plants and farm depression in the 1980s, a lot has “replaced them”-explaining why for much of the last decade the national unemployment rate has been below 5%.

2. “They”. This evokes Michelle's similar “they” (as in the “they” who raised the proverbial bar on the Obamas), and likewise suggests both hostility and a certain us/they contempt for a slice of America that the Obamas apparently know very little about-but for the first time in their lives are rapidly discovering.

3. “They cling to guns or religion”. This is revealing for two reasons: one, Obama has been trying to finesse his position on guns to appeal precisely to gun owners and thus we start to see that his repositioning is cynical to the core; two, “cling to religion?” No rural Pennsylvanian clings to religion more than Obama himself, who for 20 years sat silent in the pews, while a hate-spewing minister damned his country and most everyone else. The question is not why Pennsylvanians “cling to their religion”, but why do the Obamas still cling to the Trinity Church that seems far more extreme than anything I've seen in rural America.

4. “antipathy to people who aren't like them”-as in the case of Rev. Wright's views of Jews, whites, Italians, or Americans in general? In short, Obama accuses rural Pennsylvanians of a racism that they haven't expressed while contextualizing the racism that his own Rev. Wright has.

5. “Anti-immigrant sentiment”? As in wishing that drivers' licenses are not issued to those here illegally, or that we insist that those who immigrate to the U.S. do so legally?

6. The worst hypocrisy, of course, is Obama's charge that these small towns in Pennsylvania express “anti-trade sentiment.” It was not George Bush or John McCain, but Barack Obama himself who tried to salvage Ohio by demagoguing NAFTA and opposing a free-trade agreement with Columbia. His entire campaign is predicated on showing more anti-trade sentiment that the Clintons.

7. Let me get this straight: Obama goes to the Bay Area to an affluent liberal enclave to give a condescending take on the supposed poor fools that he is currently trying to court. This is not just hypocritical, but abjectly stupid. All of Pennsylvania surely is asking today what is so hip and sophisticated about the Trinity Church and Rev. Wright?

So here we have the essential Obama, a walking paradox between the postmodern hip-Ivy-Leaguer who sneers at middle-class America's supposed prejudices and parochialism, while at the same time courting an anti-Enlightenment, prejudicial demagogue like Jeremiah Wright. For free trade or anti-free trade? For 2nd-amendment rights or not? Post-religious or pious and fundamentalist? For public campaign financing or not? A uniter of various groups or someone who sees America in terms of “they”? Straight-talking or someone who evokes "context" to explain away the inexplicable?

Again, we will see more and more of these condescending statements of the Michelle Obama strain, more and more of Revs. Wright, Meeks, Lee and others peddlers of division like them, and more and more clues to a long hostility to Israel-in what will eventually become the most disastrous chapter in recent Democratic history.

And pundits keep wondering why Hillary won't give up?

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Fitzgerald: Israel and Western Europe are in the same boat

The Netherlands and Denmark provide funding to a Palestinian news agency that glorifies terrorists, uses biased language and promotes hatred for Israel, Itamar Marcus and Barbara Crook of Palestinian Media Watch allege in a report obtained exclusively by The Jerusalem Post ahead of its official release on Friday. […] . "We find it surprising and unfortunate that the governments of the Netherlands and Denmark continue to fund this hate journalism without demanding a change," Marcus and Crook wrote. "Hate incitement, including denial of Israel's existence and glorifying terror, is universally accepted as a paramount cause of continued Palestinian terror. These governments, together with governments who have blindly funded Palestinian schoolbooks, bear direct moral responsibility for the continued hatred that is being ingrained into future Palestinian generations, and bear a moral responsibility for the terror and its victims." -- from this news article

There is a direct connection between the fate of Israel and the fate of Western Europe. If Israel is forced back, and the Arabs sense that they can finally eliminate the humiliating -- to them, as Muslims -- fact of an Infidel nation-state in the heart of the Dar al-Islam, Muslim triumphalism will be fantastic.

And this will not sate, as some so devoutly and naively think, Arab Muslim appetites. Rather, it will do exactly the opposite. It will whet them for further triumphs, further conquests.

Those states, those NGOS, those individuals, in Western Europe include newspapers, radio, and television whose reporters and editorialists on the Middle East have steadily misrepresented the Lesser Jihad against Israel as a "nationalist" struggle, and have accepted, even parroted, every twist and turn of "Palestinian" and other Arab propaganda. In many ways those who have in the Middle East gone native often monopolize those newspapers, radio stations, and television channels on Middle Eastern matters.

They have seen only that, in the immediate area of Israel, it is the "Palestinians" who seem to be the weaker party, and the Israelis who seem to be more powerful. But this is an optical illusion, for if the camera pulls back, one sees the vast Arab lands, the vast Arab wealth, the vast Arab effort. And if one pulls the camera back still further, one sees the even larger Muslim world that does the Arab bidding, with countries just as viciously anti-Israel as are the Arabs -- unless the regime in power is secular, as was the Shah of Iran, or the Kemalists in Turkey, where Muslim solidarity frays.

And those Western reporters -- including those in such countries as the Netherlands and Denmark -- have blackened Israel's name in a thousand ways, little and big, as Israel merely tries, and with amazing, unimaginable scrupulosity, to limit its responses. What country, being made war on, supplies electricity and gas to its mortal enemies, as Israel does? Israel also gives all kinds of goods and services, and even offers free and advanced medical care to thousands upon thousands of "Palestinians" who come from Gaza and the "West Bank" to Israeli hospitals. After that, having received care equal to that given to Israelis, and even having had their lives saved, those “Palestinians” return to, or never drop, their fanatical hatred of those who have given them, unstintingly, that medical care.

Those in Denmark and in the Netherlands who fear for the future of their own countries, and who recognize the meaning, and menace, of Islam as a Total Belief-System, and therefore the threat of a rising Muslim population, should not think -- and many in that vanguard do not think -- that throwing Israel to the wolves, that helping its Arab and Muslim enemies, that overlooking the intent of those enemies and excusing their murder and mayhem, now and in the future, will buy Western Europe time, or somehow make it safer. It won't.

Israel, and all Infidel lands, but especially, at the moment, the states of Western Europe, are in the same boat. Or rather, in the same ships, in the same besieged fleet. And the passengers on all those ships suffer from the same fact -- that none of the captains, and few of those on the crews, that is, the people in charge of making sure that the ships and its passengers are safe, at this point inspire confidence. Some among the passengers -- see the manifest, and you will recognize their names -- may need to stage a kind of mutiny, and seize control, before it is too late.

Colin Powell praises Barack Obama

Should we be surprised by this?
Alex Spillius

Colin Powell, the former US secretary of state, paid tribute to Barack Obama yesterday, praising the young senator's handling of his presidential campaign while playing down his inexperience. (It is also poor judgment which, coupled with inexperience, should disqualify Obama from the presidency.)

Gen Powell said: "He doesn't have experience at the senior levels of national government. But I've seen other individuals who have come along that didn't have that breadth of experience." Gen Powell, a Republican, is yet to endorse a candidate. He described Mr Obama, Hillary Clinton and John McCain all as "friends", but his remarks will fuel speculation that he will back Mr Obama in his bid to become the first black US president.

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Muslim Scouts Political Program Raises Eyebrows

Linda Keay
Investigative Project on Terrorism

Seeking to flip a Republican Senate seat, the Muslim American Society used Boy and Girl Scout troops last year as part of a massive get-out-the-vote campaign targeting Muslim voters in Virginia and elsewhere.

National leaders at the Boy and Girl Scouts of America say they've never heard of using Scout troops in such political activity and it violates Scout policy. They promised to look into the MAS program.

MAS Executive Director Mahdi Bray isn't keeping the fact that he tapped Scouts to run phone banks a secret. In fact, he's bragging about it. And while he claims the calls were non-partisan, he also is comfortable saying "Democrats would be a better choice" for his constituency.

In Virginia, incumbent George Allen was struggling to hold onto his Senate seat against former Navy Secretary Jim Webb. "We delivered 80 percent of the eligible voting Muslims to the polls," Bray said in July at an Islamic Circle of North America-Muslim American Society convention in Hartford, Conn. "48,000 Muslims voted in Virginia. 93 percent of them voted for Webb, seven percent voted for Allen. Webb won by a slim margin of 9,000 votes. Now I don't care how you slice it, dice it and I don't care whether you are a mathematician or not, you can figure this out, that if 48,000 Muslims voted and 90 percent of them voted for the successful candidate, then certainly, and he only won by a 9,000 vote margin – we made a difference."

Those numbers come from a study by a MAS official. While they were widely reported after Bray touted the study, these numbers have never been independently confirmed. Independent electoral consultants have expressed doubts about their reliability.

The Muslim American Society was founded in 1993 by the members of the Muslim Brotherhood, an Egyptian-rooted organization that aims to reestablish the Caliphate, a global state governed by Islamic law.

Bray, its leader, has called the war on terror "a war on Islam" and at a 2000 rally, gestured enthusiastically in support of Hizballah and Hamas. In addition, he has defended Hizballah on his Washington, D.C. area radio show.

Bray openly described the scouting program last November in a release posted on the MAS website. "MAS Dialing for Muslim Votes" described how the organization was using a Muslim Voters Database to target calls nationally and encouraged people to vote on November 7, 2006.

"The MAS CEE (MAS Center for Electoral Empowerment) phone banks are being operated by MAS Youth, chapter members and volunteers. Even MAS Boy and Girl Scout Troops are making calls," the release said.

"Through our MAS Youth department, Boys and Girls Scout Troops, we are training an upcoming generation that will be spiritually grounded and political (sic) savvy."

That last statement appeared to rankle Boy Scout of America Scout Executive Alan Lambert, who said he's never heard of Scouts participating in phone banks before. Although he believes learning civic responsibility is an integral aspect of Scouting, he doesn't like people taking advantage of children.

"We would expect that no organization would use children to play out their political desires," Lambert said. "From my perspective…we would sever our relationship with anyone who uses children to advance political agendas."

"If it's going on and it's inappropriate, we'll stop it tomorrow," he added.

MAS claimed these were national efforts, with MAS Scouts performing similar work in other states, including Tennessee. On Election Day, a MAS release said its troops in Nashville "ran two campaigns of calling on Muslims in Tennessee to go and vote for today's elections."

They even posted pictures of the uniformed kids at work.

"The first campaign was on Sunday Nov. 5th, 2006 and the second was on Monday Nov. 6th, 2006. The Scouts used scripts and phone lists that were provided by MAS National in their call center campaign," the Election Day release said.

Girl Scouts of the USA's national office was in agreement with the Boy Scouts. Spokeswoman Megan Neuffer, said, "They are not allowed to participate directly or indirectly in phone calls or anything like that in any political campaign." That includes generic get-out-the-vote non-partisan calls, said Neuffer.

MAS is headquartered in Alexandria, Virginia. Girl Scouts from there and in Washington, D.C. are under the purview of the Girl Scout Council of the Nation's Capital. That office's Manager for Program Services, Brigid Howe, said any troop activities must follow Scout rules. That includes those splinter groups such as Muslim Scouts, or what Bray calls "MAS Scouts."

"I have not heard about anything like this," she said. Her reaction was similar to the national office's. It is not allowed, she said.

But Mary Layton, public relations director at the Girl Scout Council of the Nation's Capital saw no problem. "Phone activity in and of itself is not off limits as long as it's part of a generic ‘get out the vote' campaign," she said, "and not part of a partisan effort, including the phone bank component would not be off limits."

Layton pointed to things such as handing out League of Women Voter pamphlets and organizing mock elections, activities described by the Patriot's Trail Girl Scout Council (in Massachusetts). But in fact, phone banks aren't part of the ‘I Promised A Girl Scout I'd Vote' patch program.

Michelle Tompkins, a spokeswoman at Girl Scouts of the USA New York headquarters disagreed with Layton's position, saying, "It's likely that it would be against the rules for kids to be involved in any kind of phone bank situation." When in doubt, "it's a pretty good idea" to go with the national office as authority for such a question, Tompkins said.

Scouts have even declined requests to hand out pamphlets, said Jim Waters, Assistant Scout Executive with New York's Hudson Valley Council of Boy Scouts of America. There are events in which Scouts raise the American flag at things like political conventions, but it's performed as a civic duty, not in efforts to elect particular people.

When such requests come in, Lambert said he has to discern between faith groups, "and an organization that may be using kids to advance their political agenda." A good unit leader who doesn't know about these things, he said, would call for clarification.

"We don't publish policies on every particular instance and I'm probably not going to find anything I could give you that says, ‘You cannot participate in making phone calls for organizations like this.' What we do is we encourage leaders and adults to be reasonable and not put kids in situations that could be misconstrued."

Lambert, Neuffer and Howe said no permission or advice was requested from the national scouting organizations before the political activity took place.

After the elections, the MAS Center for Electoral Empowerment publicized the impact the ‘Muslim Voter Mobilization Campaign' had in the Virginia Senate race. A surge in Muslim voters, who traditionally vote for Democrats, swung the race to challenger James Webb, MAS claims.

Mahdi Bray has claimed at times that these efforts are non-partisan, but at other times he's stated political preferences.

"There's nothing wrong with having kids, nine, ten years old on the phones, like we did for our last youth and our last Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts making phone calls and saying, ‘Go to the polls and vote,'" he said at the July convention. "There's nothing wrong with having young people, 13 and 14 years old to go from place to place to pass out canvassing information."

While MAS affiliated Boy and Girl Scout troops nationally worked political phone banks, he emphasized the Virginia effort, where he said scripts read in part, "I can't vote, but my future can be decided by your vote. You vote."

He claimed the effort was non-partisan and said Muslims need to be flexible. But: "What I'm saying is that we realize, based on the analysis that the Muslims, the taskforce had come up with, that indeed that it would be better in terms of civil rights – who will be chairing certain important committees that raises civil liberties and like that, that in this case – the Democrats would be a better choice."

There doesn't seem to be any legal issue involved. But Rosanna Bencoach, Policy Manager for the Virginia State Board of Elections, said it amounts to "using them. He [Bray] was using the children."

Bencoach says she volunteered in politics when she was young, but it was as an individual, not through a group, although she's also a former Girl Scout. She said, "Girl Scouting and the political volunteerism were totally separate."

"I wish you didn't have to find these things. I wish these things weren't happening," Bencoach said. "But I guess I'm too much of an idealist."

In getting young people to become politically active, Bray added, "In the years to come, you ain't seen nothing yet."

"I'm a strong advocate for young people being groomed to be civically involved so that they can run the office. They have a legacy and they have the right to lead America. But they have to be groomed for it. And you prepare them for the political process."

Lambert, on the other hand, says the Scout troops aren't the place for such grooming. "I'm more concerned about the judgment of the adults that are serving as the leaders and role models of these kids. Whether or not they understand, we're not going to be placed in a position to advance any particular political agenda – we won't allow them to place us in that position."