Saturday, May 24, 2008

Victory for Truth in Al-Dura Case
Ed Lasky

There are reports coming in from France that a French Court has overturned a libel verdict against Philippe Karsenty who has courageously challenged the veracity of French journalist's Charles Enderlin's filmed account of a battle that occurred in the Gaza Strip between Israeli troops and Palestinian terrorists. The Palestinian version was that Israeli troops had killed a young boy, Muhammad al-Dura who was seen on the film crouching behind his father. There was a break in the film and then an image of the boy slumped over was seen. Palestinians and their supporters claimed that the Israeli troops had killed al-Dura; the cause became a cause celebre in the Arab world and played a role in stoking terrorism against Israel. In the heat of the events, the Israeli government accepted responsibility. However, after more investigation of the matter-looking at the placement of the Israeli and Palestinians, it became clear that the Israelis were too quick in accepting blame. Extended analysis made it clearer that the young boy was most probably killed by the Palestinians during the battle.

Karsenty had claimed that Enderlin and the Palestinian cameraman had faked the footage to place the blame on Israel. There were gaps in the film that was broadcast throughout the world, missing film that had been edited. Enderlin sued for libel and in the first round in France won. Karsenty appealed that verdict. The issue received a far more intensive analysis during the appeal. Today, that libel verdict was overturned.

Enderlin's mendacity cost a lot of lives.

Victory on appeal would seemingly corroborate claims that the Enderlin footage was, at best, not accurate and may indeed have been faked. French TV and Enderlin himself have refused to release the footage that was edited from their final version.

This is a major victory for not only Karsenty for but for all those who believe that the media should be held accountable for accurately and honestly recording and reporting on the events of the day. We have seen the photofakery during the Hezbollah-Israel war we have seen the al-Dura case; we have seen many other examples that all too often the media (like the terrorists) play by their own rules.

The french court just declared that sometimes the rules of law do triumph in the end.

Security and Defense: Caught between a Kassam and a Shihab

Yaakov Katz

On Monday night, Defense Minister Ehud Barak sat down for a private dinner with his Egyptian counterpart, Field Marshal Muhammad Tantawi, on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Sharm e-Sheikh. This is not the first time the two have met. The last time was in December, when Barak made his first trip to Egypt as defense minister. The time before that was 35 years ago during the Yom Kippur War, when both Barak and Tantawi were battalion commanders fighting against one another in the fierce battles that took place at the Chinese Farm. On Monday, the two exchanged pleasantries, hugs and kisses. Unlike Israel, where defense ministers and prime ministers are switched frequently, sometimes annually, in Egypt, things are a bit more stable when it comes to cabinet appointments.

Tantawi, as an example, has been in his post for more than 15 years. In 1993, when he was already defense minister, he was promoted to field marshal by President Hosni Mubarak - only the fifth Egyptian army commander to receive the honor in more than 40 years.

Tantawi fought against Israel in the Six Day War, the War of Attrition and the Yom Kippur War. As defense minister, he witnessed the rise and fall of Yasser Arafat and, almost exactly a year ago, Hamas's violent takeover of the Gaza Strip.

In recent months, defense officials said, Tantawi has begun speaking a little differently about Hamas, no longer blaming Israel for the violence in Gaza. The turning point for him - and the rest of the Egyptian leadership, including Mubarak and Intelligence chief Omar Suleiman - was in January, when Hamas breached the border wall with Egypt, enabling hundreds of thousands of Gazans to cross back and forth into the Sinai for almost a week.

Defense officials who participated in the recent talks in Sharm said that Hamas's breaching of the border was a "stimulator" for Egypt in understanding that Hamas was no longer merely a threat to Israel.

In addition, the Grad-model Katyusha rocket fire on the Ashkelon mall last week during US President George W. Bush's visit meant that the Egyptians could not deny that Hamas is smuggling large quantities of advanced weaponry into Gaza by sea and via tunnels under the Philadelphi corridor.

In his meetings with Mubarak, Suleiman and Tantawi, Barak proposed a two-stage cease-fire that would first entail a cessation of military operations and terror activity, and then a lifting of the siege of Gaza in exchange for an advancement in negotiations over the release of kidnapped soldier Gilad Schalit.

THERE IS a clear division of responsibilities among the Egyptian trio. Suleiman holds the "Israeli file" in Cairo, and is the primary mediator between Israel and Hamas regarding the cease-fire and Schalit negotiations.

The 72-year-old Suleiman is one of the most feared men in Egypt. Until a few years ago, he rarely appeared in public, and never had his picture published. He is credited with helping Egypt forge strong military ties with the US when he served as head of Military Intelligence in 1991.

Three years later, Mubarak appointed him chief of Egyptian Intelligence, and made him a minister-without-portfolio in his cabinet. He is believed to be one of Mubarak's closest confidants and in recent years - due to his powerful regional political standing - his name has been floated as a potential successor to the 80-year-old president.

The 73-year-old Tantawi is a born and bred military officer, continuing to wear his uniform as defense minister. Talks with him are on the more operational and tactical levels - stopping the arms smuggling and the infiltration of Sudanese refugees from the Sinai.

Mubarak's role is more formal. According to Israeli officials, he doesn't get his "hands dirty" with the details concerning issues like the cease-fire. In meetings, he prefers to speak on a more regional level. On Monday, in addition to wishing him a happy 80th birthday (which was on May 4), Barak spoke to him about bilateral strategic issues and the ongoing peace talks with the Palestinians.

WITH REGARD to the cease-fire, the ball is currently in Hamas's court. On Thursday, the Hamas delegation to Cairo returned to Damascus and Gaza after reportedly failing to reach an agreement with Suleiman to accept Barak's proposal. Hamas has yet to officially announce its final decision, which is expected over the weekend.

Israel, for the most part, is in favor of the cease-fire. Barak and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert prefer a cease-fire over a large-scale operation in Gaza, which would be costly in lives for both sides. There is also the continued absence of an exit strategy for the IDF, due to the weak standing of PA President Mahmoud Abbas and his inability to retake control over Gaza. There is also the Egyptian factor, and with Olmert scheduled to meet with Mubarak next week, Israel does not want to insult its southern neighbor by rejecting its mediation attempts.

However, Olmert and Barak are not ignoring the likelihood that even under a cease-fire Hamas will continue building up its military wing and fortifying its terror infrastructure.

Predictions are that even if a cease-fire is accepted, it will not necessarily last six months. That is why the IDF has drawn up a number of potential military operations in Gaza, from the reoccupation of the entire Strip to smaller-scale operations, such as conquering the Philadelphi corridor and the Kassam launching pads.

Islamic Jihad's car-bomb attack at the Erez crossing on Thursday was meant to kill (and kidnap) IDF soldiers, but at the same time send a message to Israel: Don't forget that we are also a player in Gaza. By allowing Islamic Jihad to perpetrate the attack, Hamas was also sending a message: Lower your demands.

If Hamas accepts Israel's conditions for the cease-fire, it will also have the difficult task of reining in the other Palestinian factions - like Islamic Jihad - and ensuring that they hold to the truce.

THIS WEEK was not just about the Palestinian front - though, while Wednesday's dramatic announcement about the renewal of negotiations with Syria is not directly connected to the Hamas cease-fire talks, the one does play off the other.

Israel's current decision to talk peace with Syria was made after analyzing regional trends.

Iran has already taken over the Gaza Strip where Hamas is in complete control. Under the compromise reached Wednesday in Qatar, Iran essentially conquered Lebanon after its proxy, Hizbullah, received veto power in the Lebanese cabinet.

In between Lebanon and Gaza is Israel, which is finding itself caught between a Kassam rocket and a Shihab missile. The peace talks with Syria are meant to break that trend, help isolate Iran and ensure that if Israel does decide to invade Gaza in the next few months - or attack Iran's nuclear installations over the summer - Damascus will stay out of the fray.

Olmert embarked on the talks with support from a majority of the defense establishment. Barak is a known advocate of peace talks with Syria, as is Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi, who has pushed for their renewal behind closed doors, but who has yet to make his opinion publicly known. Mossad chief Meir Dagan, on the other hand, claims that Syria's peace intentions are not sincere.

Assessments in the defense establishment are that the chances of success on the Syrian track are greater than those on the Palestinian track. As Olmert said a number of times in recent interviews, Syria and Israel each knows what is expected of its part in any potential deal. For Israel, it is a withdrawal from the Golan Heights. For Syria, it is a normalization of ties and a complete cessation of its support for terrorist activity in Lebanon and Gaza.

The biggest obstacle to the Palestinian track is Hamas's presence in Gaza. Israeli and PA leaders are still scratching their heads to come up with ideas on how to include Gaza in the ongoing peace talks.

The biggest obstacle to peace with Syria no longer appears to be American opposition - the White House put out a statement supporting the talks on Wednesday - but its relationship with Iran, one of Syria's only allies since it became a pariah state due to its violent involvement in Lebanon and the 2005 assassination of former prime minister Rafik Hariri.

While the Golan is certainly important to the Syrians, Ashkenazi believes that Syrian President Bashar Assad is more interested in retaining influence over Lebanon and in his own political stability, which is dependent on his country's economic situation.

With the right economic support from the US - unlikely under the Bush administration - Syria, it is hoped, may break its alliance with Iran, which would then be left alone as it faces off against Israel and the rest of the Western world in its race towards nuclear power.

Friday, May 23, 2008


Serge Trifkovic

"Europe today is a powder keg," Otto von Bismarck remarked , "and the leaders are like men smoking in an arsenal."

I am not going to waste your time tonight with yet another treatise on why Islam is not the Religion of Peace, Tolerance, Compassion, etc, etc. We are beyond that. Had America agonized, in the aftermath of Pearl Harbor, whether Shinto was actually OK but only Bushido was bad, the Greater Asian Co-prosperity Sphere would be going strong to this day. Among reasonable people, unblinkered by the dicta of political correctitude, the real score on Muhammad and his followers is well known. It has been known for centuries. That score, however, no matter how calmly stated and comprehensively supported, invariably elicits the howls of "Islamophobia" from the neoliberal elite class. AN EMINENTLY POSTMODERN LITTLE PHOBIA

In the way of an introduction, let us therefore look at the formal, legally tested definition of that word, the latest addition to the arsenal of postmodern "phobias." It is provided by the European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC) based here in Vienna. ("Orwellian" is a worn-out adjective, but it simply has to be used in connection with this particular institution.) The EUMC diligently tracks the instances of "Islamophobia" all over the Old Continent, which it defines by eight red flags:

1. Islam is seen as a monolithic bloc, static and unresponsive to change.
2. Islam is seen as separate and "Other."
3. Islam is seen as inferior to the West, barbaric, irrational, primitive and sexist.
4. Islam is seen as violent, aggressive, linked to terrorism, engaged in a clash of civilizations.
5. Islam is seen as a political ideology.
6. Criticisms made of the West by Islam are rejected out of hand.
7. Discriminatory practices and Muslims' exclusion from mainstream society are advocated.
8. Anti-Muslim hostility is seen as natural or normal.

This definition is obviously intended to preclude any possibility of meaningful discussion of Islam. As it happens,

1. That Islam is static and unresponsive to change is evident from the absence of an internal, orthodox critique of jihad, sharia, jizya, etc. As Clement Huart pointed out back in 1907, "Until the newer conceptions, as to what the Koran teaches as to the duty of the believer towards non-believers, have spread further and have more generally leavened the mass of Moslem belief and opinion, it is the older and orthodox standpoint on this question which must be regarded by non-Moslems as representing Mohammedan teaching and as guiding Mohammedan action." A century later his diagnosis still stands: it is not the jihadists who are "distorting" Islam; the would-be reformers are.
2. That Islam is separate from our Western, Christian, European culture and civilization, and "other" than our culture and civilization, is a fact that will not change even if Europe eventually succumbs to the ongoing jihadist demographic onslaught.
3. Whether Islam is "inferior to the West" is a matter of opinion, of course. That Islam cannot create a prosperous, harmonious, stable, creative, and attractive human society is not. Whether Islam is "barbaric, irrational, primitive and sexist" is at least debatable; but that many of its tangible fruits are so, is all too painfully visible.
4. Islam is seen by so many as "violent, aggressive, supportive of terrorism" not because of some irrational "phobia" in the feverish mind of the beholder, but because (a) of the clear mandate of its scripture; (b) of the record of its 14 centuries of historical practice; and above all (c) of the timeless example of its founder.
5. "Islam is seen as a political ideology," and it should be seen as one, because its key trait is a political program to improve man and create a new society; to impose complete control over that society; and to train cadres ready and eager to spill blood. This makes Islam closer to Bolshevism and to National Socialism than to any other religion. It breeds a gnostic paradigm within which the standard response to the challenge presented by "the Other," i.e. non-Muslim societies and cultures, is implacable hostility and violence, or violent intent.
6. Criticisms made of the West by Islam should not be rejected out of hand; they should be understood. Its chief "criticism" of the West-and of every other non-Islamic culture or tradition-is that it is infidel, and therefore undeserving of existence.
7. A priori hostility towards Islam should not be "used to justify discriminatory practices towards Muslims." Quite the contrary, an education campaign about the teaching and practice of Islam should result in legislative action that would exclude Islam from the societies it is targeting - not because it is an intolerant "religion," but because it is an inherently seditious totalitarian ideology incompatible with the values of the West.
8. And finally, while anti-Muslim hostility is not a priori "natural or normal," the desire of non-Muslims to defend their lands, families, cultures and faith against Islamic aggression is "natural and normal"; but the elite class is actively trying to neutralize it.

As the demand for Sharia-based communal self-rule is made with increasing frequency in the banlieus of Paris and the grim West Midlands council estates, Europe's elite class is ready to throw in the towel. Dutch Justice Minister Piet Hein Donner-a Christian Democrat!-sees the demand as perfectly legitimate and argues that sharia could be introduced "by democratic means." Muslims have a right to follow the commands of their religion, even if that included some "dissenting rules of behavior": "Could you block this legally? It would also be a scandal to say 'this isn't allowed'! The majority counts. That is the essence of democracy…"
- - - - - - - - -

Such inanities are light years away from Winston Churchill's warning, over a century ago, that "no stronger retrograde force exists in the world" than Islam:

Far from being moribund, Mohammedanism is a militant and proselytizing faith. It has already spread throughout Central Africa, raising fearless warriors at every step; and were it not that Christianity is sheltered in the strong arms of science-the science against which it had vainly struggled-the civilization of modern Europe might fall, as fell the civilization of ancient Rome.

Even Churchill's prescience could not envisage the possibility that the invader would find his fellow-travellers at No. 10, Downing Street, at the European Union headquarters in Brussels, and in dozens of chancelleries and palaces across the Old Continent. Their joint efforts are helping change the face of Europe. The cumulative effect is not in doubt: by 2050, Muslims will account for over one-third of "Old Europe's" young residents. Millions of them already live in a parallel universe that has very little to do with the host country, toward which they have a disdainful and hostile attitude.

The elite class responds to such hostility with calls for ever-greater inclusiveness. Giuseppe Pisanu, Berlusconi's former minister of the interior, responsible for controlling the country's borders, thus declared five years ago that the high fatality rate of North African illegals on the high seas en route to Sicily was "a dreadful tragedy that weighs on the conscience of Europe." His view was paradigmatic of the utopian liberal mind-set. If "Europe" should feel shame and guilt that people who have no right to come to its shores are risking their lives while trying to do so illegally, then only the establishment of a free passenger-ferry service between Tripoli and Palermo-with no passport or customs formalities required upon arrival, and a free shuttle to Rome or Milan-would offer some relief to that burdened conscience. And Sr Pisanu is supposedly a man of the "Right"!

The tangible results of the leaders' moral decrepitude are devastating. A century ago, Sr. Pisanu and his class shared social commonalities that could be observed in Monte Carlo, Carlsbad, Biaritz or Paris, depending on the season. Englishmen, Russians, and Austrians shared the same outlook and sense of propriety, they all spoke French, but they nevertheless remained rooted in their national traditions, the permanent vessels in which Weltanschauung could be translated into Kultur. Today's "United Europe," by contrast, does not create social and civilizational commonalities except on the basis of wholesale denial of old mores, disdain for inherited values, and an overt rejection of "traditional" culture. It creates the dreary sameness of "antidiscriminationism" and "tolerance."

Such weakness breeds contempt and haughty arrogance on the other side. Take Tariq Ramadan, who calmly insists that Muslims in the West should conduct themselves as though they were already living in a Muslim-majority society and were exempt on that account from having to make concessions to the faith of the host-society. Muslims in Europe should feel entitled to live on their own terms, Ramadan says, while, "under the terms of Western liberal tolerance," society as a whole should be "obliged to respect that choice."

If such "respect" continues to be extended by the elite class, by the end of this century there will be no "Europeans" as members of ethnic groups that share the same language, culture, history, and ancestors, and inhabit lands associated with their names. The shrinking native populations will be indoctrinated into believing-or else simply forced into accepting-that the demographic shift in favor of unassimilable and hostile aliens is actually a blessing that enriches their culturally deprived and morally unsustainable societies. The "liberal tolerance" and the accompanying "societal obligation" that Tariq Ramadan invokes thus become the tools of Western suicide. "No other race subscribes to these moral principles," Jean Raspail wrote a generation ago, "because they are weapons of self-annihilation." The weapons need to be discarded, and the upholders of those deadly "principles" removed from all positions of power and influence, if Europe is to survive.


It is in the inability and unwillingness of the neoliberal elite class to confront the grave threat to our civilization that Western Europe and North America most tellingly certify that they share the same cultural chromosomes. In 1938 Hilaire Belloc wondered, "Will not perhaps the temporal power of Islam return and with it the menace of an armed Muhammadan world which will shake the dominion of Europeans-still nominally Christian-and reappear again as the prime enemy of our civilization?"

Seven decades later, the same traits of decrepitude are present in Great Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Scandinavia, Canada, and the United States, including both the primary cause, which is the loss of religious faith, and several secondary ones. Topping the list is elite hostility to all forms of solidarity of the majority population based on shared historical memories, ancestors, and common culture; the consequences are predictable:

* the loss of a sense of place and history among Europeans and North Americans;
* rapid demographic decline, especially in Europe, unparalleled in history;
* rampant Third World (and in Europe, overwhelmingly Muslim) immigration;
* collapse of private and public manners, morals, and traditional commonalities;
* imposition of "diversity," "multiculturalism," "sensitivity"; and
* demonization and criminalization of any opposition to any of the above.

The end-result is the Westerners' loss of the sense of propriety over their lands. Before 1914, both the West and the Muslim world could define themselves against each other in a cultural sense. The neoliberal elite insists on casting aside any idea of a specifically "Western" geographic and cultural space that should be protected from those who do not belong to it and have no rightful claim to it. The elite insists that our countries belong to the whole world.

We face an elite consensus that de facto open immigration, multiculturalism, and the existence of a large Muslim diaspora within the Western world are to be treated as a fixed and immutable fact that must not be scrutinized. That consensus, I contend, is ideological in nature, flawed in logic, dogmatic in application, and disastrous in its results. It needs to be tested against evidence, and not against the alleged norms of acceptable public discourse imposed by those who do not know Islam, or else do not want us to know the truth about it.

In addition, a depraved mass culture and multiculturalist indoctrination in state schools and the mainstream media have already largely neutralized the sense of historical and cultural continuity among young West Europeans and North Americans. By contrast, the blend of soft porn and consumerism that targets every denizen of the Western world has not had the same effect on the Muslim diaspora in the West. The roll-call of Western-born and educated young Muslims supportive of terrorism confirms that failure.

The loss of a sense of place and history experienced by millions of Westerners follows the emergence of two sides of the same coin: a neoliberal post-national hyper-state in Europe and the neoconservative "benevolent global hegemony" in the U.S. epitomized by the demand for an ever-growing NATO. These two mindsets, seemingly at odds, are but two aspects of the same emerging globalized universe, two sides of the same coin. The neoliberals advocate multilateralism in the form of an emerging "international community" framed by the United Nations and adjudicated by the International Criminal Court (ICC), with the EU acting as an interim medium for transferring sovereign prerogatives to a supra-national body; the neocons prefer to be the only cop in town. Both share the same distaste for traditional, naturally evolving societies and cultures.

The revolutionary character of the multiculturalist project is revealed in the endless mantra of Race, Gender and Sexuality, the formula now elevated to the status of the post-modern Philosopher's Stone, the force that moves the linear historical process forward, towards the grand Gleichschaltung of nations, races, and cultures that will mark the end of history. Race, Gender and Sexuality have replaced the Proletariat as both the oppressed underclass (hence the cult of the non-white, non-male, non-heterosexual victimhood), and as the historically preordained agent of revolutionary change.

Classical Marxist political economy found the dynamics of revolution in the inevitable conflict between the owners of the means of production and the proletariat that has nothing to sell but its labor and nothing to lose but its chains. Latter-day Marxist revolutionaries go beyond dialectical materialism, however, by introducing a wholly metaphysical concept of victimhood and an array of associated special-rights claims that have worked such wonders for Islam all over the Western world. Majority populations of "old" Europe and America, in this insane but all-pervasive paradigm, are guilty of "oppression" by their very existence, and therefore must not protest the migratory deluge, let alone try to oppose it: that is "racism.".

The fruits are with us already. Gibbon could have had today's Antwerp or Malmo in mind, or Marseilles, or Huddersfield, when he wrote of Rome in decline, its masses morphing "into a vile and wretched populace." On present form, within a century the native Western majorities will melt away: "child-free" is a legitimate yuppie lifestyle term, on par with "fat-free" and "drug-free." But whereas the threat of extinction of an exotic tribal group in Borneo or Amazonia - let alone a species of spotted owl or sperm whale - would cause alarm and prompt activism among neoliberal elites, it is deemed inherently racist to mention the fact that Europeans and their trans-Atlantic cousins are, literally, endangered species.

There will be no grand synthesis, no civilizational cross-fertilization, between the West and Islam. Even the ultra-tolerant Dutch are beginning to see the light, pace Geert Wilders, but they are hamstrung by guilt-ridden self-haters and appeasers, whose hold on the political power, the media, and the academe is undemocratic, unnatural, and obscene. If Europe is to survive they need to be unmasked for what they are: traitors to their nations and their culture. They must be replaced by people ready and willing to subject the issues of immigration and identity to the test of democracy, unhindered by administrative or judicial fiat.

If the coming war against jihad is to be won, the first task is to start talking frankly about the identity and character of the enemy and the nature of the threat. The obligation to do so is dictated by morality no less than by the need for self-preservation. "If you know the enemy and know yourself you need not fear the results of a hundred battles," says Sun Tzu. Well, we know the enemy. We know his core beliefs, his role models, his track-record, his mindset, his modus operandi, and his intentions. We also know his weaknesses, which are many, above all his inability to develop a prosperous economy or a functional, harmonious society.

The main problem is with ourselves; or, to be precise, with those among us who have the power to make policy and shape opinions, and who will reject and condemn our diagnosis. Having absorbed postmodernist relativism, certain only of uncertainty, devoid of any faith except the faith in their own infallibility, members of the Western neoliberal elite class treat the jihadist mindset as a problem that can and should be treated by treating causes external to Islam itself. The result is a plethora of proposed "cures" that are as likely to succeed in making us safe from terrorism as snake oil is likely to cure leukemia.

Abroad, we are told, we need to address political and economic grievances of the Muslim impoverished masses, we need to spread democracy and free markets in the Muslim world, we need to invest more in public diplomacy. At home we need more tolerance, greater inclusiveness, less profiling, and a more determined outreach to the minorities that feel marginalized. The predictable failure of such cures leads to ever more pathological self-scrutiny and to ever more morbid self-doubt. This vicious circle must be broken.


The deadlock on the Somme in 1916, or at Verdun a year later, could not be broken with the ideas and modus operandi of Messrs. Haig, Foch, Cadrona or Hindenburg. It could have been unlocked, however, had Lidell-Hart, de Gaulle, or Guderian held the old guard's ranks and positions. Winning a war demands "knowing the enemy and knowing oneself," of course, but it also demands "thinking outside the box." This cliché is apt: the magnitude of the threat demands radical responses that fall outside the cognitive parameters of the elite class.

Let us therefore start our specific policy recommendations with the complex and emotionally charged issue of "human rights" versus national security.

DEFINING ISLAMIC ACTIVISM - Instead of seeking a ban on all Muslim immigration right away, which is not a realistic goal at this moment, Western anti-jihadist activists should campaign for changes in immigration legislation of their home countries to include clauses that would exclude Islamic activists before they come, and have them deported if they are already infiltrated into the country.

This demand needs to be made acceptable and attractive to a wide cross-section of the electorate regardless of political and ideological preferences. Therefore it should be focused on the Islamic activists' threat to the neoliberal values themselves:

* Discrimination against other religions (with special emphasis on the rising European phenomenon of Islamic anti-Semitism), outlooks (inc. atheism) and lifestyles;
* Discrimination and violence against women (esp. wives and "disobedient" daughters);
* Discrimination and violence against homosexuals;
* Threats of violence in any form and for whatever alleged "offense" or "insult" (e.g. drawing cartoons, making documentaries, writing books);
* Apology or justification for all of the above.

It is essential to focus on the despicable acts themselves, and then drawing the direct line to the commands of Islam's scripture and its founder, rather than doing it in reverse, as some well-meaning but politically less astute anti-jihadist activists do.

This definition of Islamic activism would be a major step in the direction of denying actual or potential jihadists a foothold in Europe and the rest of the West. In the U.S. the broad model is provided by the old 1952 Immigration and Nationality Act (INA, the McCarran-Walter Act), mandating the exclusion or deportation of any alien who engaged or had purpose to engage in activities prejudicial to the public interest or subversive to national security. "Ideological" grounds for deportation were on the US statute books until 1990, when they were repealed by Congress. After the Russian revolution foreign communists were singled out for deportation. One night alone in January of 1920, more than 2,500 "alien radicals" were seized in thirty-three cities across the country and deported to their countries of origin.

DENYING CITIZENSHIP TO ISLAMIC ACTIVISTS -- I submit to you that all Western countries need laws that will treat any naturalized citizen's or legally resident alien's known adherence to an Islamist world outlook as excludable - on political, rather than "religious" grounds. It is politically feasible to articulate the demand that citizenship of a democratic Western country should be denied to all Islamic activists.

In the United States a foreigner who becomes naturalized has to declare, on oath, "that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen; that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic." A declaration of this kind, of not a solemn oath of allegiance, is expected from naturalized citizens in most European countries.

For a Muslim to declare all of the above in good faith, and especially that he accepts an "infidel," i.e. non-Muslim document or law as the source of his highest loyalty, is an act of apostasy par excellence, punishable by death under the Islamic law. The sharia, to a Muslim, is not an addition to the "secular" legal code with which it coexists; it is the only true code, the only basis of obligation. To be legitimate, all political power therefore must rest exclusively with those who enjoy Allah's authority on the basis of his revealed will - and for as long as they remain infidel, both Europe and America are illegitimate. So how can a self-avowedly devout Muslim take the oath, and expect the rest of us to believe that it was done in good faith? Because he is practicing taqiyya, the art of elaborate lying that was inaugurated by Muhammad to help destabilize and undermine non-Muslim communities almost ripe for a touch of Jihad. (Or else because he is not devout enough and confused, but in that case there is the ever-present danger that at some point he will rediscover his roots.)

AUXILLIARY MEASURES - Those who preach or promote jihad and advocate the introduction of sharia can and should be treated in exactly the same manner that adherents of other totalitarian ideologies had been treated in the free world during the Cold War. It will be a long and hard struggle to open the eyes of legislators and legal regulators that Islam itself is a radical, revolutionary ideology, inherently seditious and inimical to Western values and institutions, but it can be done. Other necessary measures would then follow, but to that end anti-jihadists should start articulating and advocating them now:

1. Seek zero porosity of the borders. Preventing illegal immigration is a desirable objective per se; in the context of stopping terrorists it is mandatory. No anti-jihadist strategy is possible without complete physical control of borders. This is an issue on which a majority of the electorate of each and every Western country will agree - much to the chagrin of the liberal elites. Anti-jihadists should insist that all illegal immigration is a major security threat and that it can and should be subject to the letter of the law, and not to the suicidal dictates of the "human rights" lobby.
2. Demand mandatory cooperation of state agencies at all levels in identifying, registering and apprehending illegal immigrants and in assisting in their deportation - starting with those from nations and groups at risk for terrorism. It is a curious phenomenon in most Western countries that at various levels of state administration (e.g. welfare officers and social workers) and law enforcement (e.g. police forces in major cities) we encounter varying levels of tolerance, and even encouragement, of illegal immigrants' continued presence in the community. Again, this demand for simple compliance with the law by tax-funded public officers would be politically popular.
3. Discard the irrational ban on "profiling." Not all Muslims are terrorists, of course, but all transnational terrorist networks that threaten Western countries' national security and way of life are composed of Muslims. It is time to accept that "profiling" based on a person's appearance, origin, and apparent or suspected beliefs is an essential tool of trade of law enforcement and war on terrorism. Just ask the Israelis!
4. Subject the work of Islamic centers to legal limitations and security supervision. All over the Western world, Islamic centers have provided platforms for exhortations to the faithful to support causes and to engage in acts that are morally reprehensible, legally punishable, and detrimental to the host country's national security. They have provided shelter to the outlaws, and offered recruitment to the leaders.
5. Treat affiliation with Islamic activism as grounds for denial or revoking of any level of security clearance. Such affiliation is incompatible with the requirements of personal commitment, patriotic loyalty and unquestionable reliability that are essential in the military, law enforcement, intelligence services, and other related branches of government (e.g. immigration control, airport security). Presence of practicing Muslims in any of these institutions would present an inherent risk to its integrity and would undermine morale.

Acceptance of these proposals would represent a new start in devising long-term defense. The proposed measures recognize that we are in a war of ideas and religion, whether we want that or not and however much we hate the fact. They reflect the seriousness of the struggle. This war is being fought, on the Islamic side, with the deep condition that the West is on its last legs. The success of its demographic onslaught on Europe enhances the image of "a candy store with the busted lock," and that view is reinforced by the evidence from history that a civilization that loses the urge for self-perpetuation is indeed in peril.


The above proposals are not only pragmatic, they are morally just. They will elicit the accusation of "discrimination" from the self-hating segments of the elite class, even though no such label is applicable. Targeting people for screening, supervision and exclusion on the basis of their genes would be discriminatory indeed, but doing so because of their beliefs, ideas, actions, and intentions is justified and necessary. Orthodox Islamic beliefs, ideas and intentions as such pose a threat to the European civilization, culture, and way of life.

The elite class rejects this diagnosis, of course, but among reasonable, well-informed citizens the debate must be conducted on terms liberated from the shackles of the elite class. Geert Wilders certainly shows the way. We should act accordingly, and never, ever be afraid of causing controversy. That means being subjected to the threat of legal proceedings by the neoliberal state - or to the threat of death, by those whom the neoliberal state continues to protect to the detriment of its own citizens.

Western leaders did not agonize over communism's "true" nature during the Berlin air lift in 1949, or in Korea in 1950, but acted effectively to contain it by whatever means necessary. Yes, back then we had a legion of Moscow's apologists, character witnesses, moles and fellow-travelers, assuring us that the Comrades want nothing but social justice at home and peaceful coexistence abroad. They held tenured chairs at prestigious universities and dominated all smart salons, from London and Paris to New York. They explained away and justified the inconsistencies and horrifyingly violent implications of the source texts of Marx and Lenin. They explained away and justified the appalling fruits: the bloodbath of the Revolution, the genocidal great famine, the show trials and purges, the killing of millions of innocents in the Gulag, the pact with Hitler, the works.

Today their spiritual heirs in politics, the academy and the media establishment act as Islam's apologists, character witnesses and fellow travelers. They flatly deny or else explain away, with identical scholastic sophistry and moral depravity, the dark and violent implications of the source texts, the Kuran and the Hadith, the deeply unnerving career of Muhammad, and centuries of conquests, wars, slaughters, subjugation, decline without fall, spiritual and material misery, and murderous fanaticism.


Some eighty years ago Julien Benda published his tirade against the intellectual corruption of his times, The treason of the intellectuals. For generations prior to the 20th century, Benda wrote, members of the Western intellectual elite ensured that "humanity did evil, but honored good." The "Treason" of the title occurred when they gave up promoting lasting civilizational values in favor of short-term political preferences. Benda wrote at a time when fascism, nazism and bolshevism dominated Europe's scene. Today the "treason" of the elite class takes a different form. It upholds the allegedly universal values of multiculturalism, inclusiveness and antidiscriminationism to the detriment of the particular value of our civilization and all its fruits. The propensity of the elite class to the betrayal of our culture remains the same, however.

The fact that normal people don't realize the magnitude of the problem works to the advantage of the people like Solana, Soros, Blair, Prodi, or Hillary Clinton. Their ideas, which but two generations ago would have been deemed eccentric or insane, now rule the Euro-American mainstream. Only a society inured to the concept of open borders can be unblinkingly told that Islam is good and tolerant, that "we" (the West) have been nasty and unkind to it over the centuries - remember the Crusades! - and that "terrorism" needs to be understood, and cured, by social therapy that is independent of Islam's teaching and practice.

At the root of the domestic malaise is the notion that countries do not belong to the people who have inhabited them for generations, but to whoever happens to be within their boundaries at any given moment in time - regardless of his culture, attitude, or intentions. The resulting random melange of mutually disconnected multitudes is supposed to be a blessing that enriches an otherwise arid and monotonous society.

A further pernicious fallacy is the dictum that we should not feel a special bond for any particular country, nation, race, or culture, but transfer our preferences on the whole world, "the Humanity," equally. Such notions have been internalized by the elite class in America and Western Europe to the point where they actively help Islamic terrorism. In America the process has been under way for decades. By 1999 then-Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott felt ready to declare that the United States may not exist "in its current form" in the 21st century, because the very concept of nationhood - here and throughout the world - will have been rendered obsolete.

A generation earlier such uttering from a senior government official would have caused a scandal. By the end of the 20th century such declarations bothered only the unsophisticates who persist in assuming that the purpose of what Dr. Talbott was doing at the Department of State was to ensure the survival, security and prosperity of the United States within the international system, rather than its eventual absorption by the system. But his was an exultant prophecy, not an impartial assessment. The ideological foundation for Talbott's beliefs was stated bluntly: "All countries are basically social arrangements, accommodations to changing circumstances. No matter how permanent and even sacred they may seem at any one time, in fact they are all artificial and temporary." To the members of his class, all countries are but transient, virtual-reality entities. Owing emotional allegiance to any one of them is irrational, and risking one's life for its sake is absurd.

The refusal of theWestern elite class to protect their nations from jihadist infiltration is the biggest betrayal in history. It is rooted in the mindset that breeds the claim that "force is not an answer" to terrorism, that profiling is bad and open borders are good, that "true" Islam is peaceful and the West is wicked. The upholders of such claims belong to the culture that has lost its bond with nature, history, and the supporting community. In the meantime, thanks to them, the quiet onslaught continues unabated, across the Straits of Gibraltar, through JFK and O'Hare, Heathrow and Schiphol. Far from enhancing diversity, it threatens to impose a numbing sameness and eradicate the identity of target-populations, to demolish their special character and uniqueness.

That supporting community, the real nation, is still out there, in North America and Europe alike, working and paying taxes and grinning and bearing it. When it is told of Islam's "peace and tolerance," it grumbles about someone's stupidity or ineptitude, but it still does not suspect outright betrayal. The betrayers, meanwhile, promote an ideology of universal human values, of a common culture for the whole world. They may not even realize why they abet Islam. For all the outward differences, they share with the mullahs and sheikhs and imams the desire for a monistic One World. They both long for Talbot's Single Global Authority, post-national and seamlessly standardized, an Ummah under a fancy secular name.

Those Americans and Europeans who love their lands and nations more than any others, and who put their families and their neighborhoods before all others, are normal people. Those who tell them that their attachments should be global and that their lands and neighborhoods belong to the whole world are sick and evil. They are our enemies and jihad's indispensable objective allies.

The elite class, rootless, arrogant, cynically manipulative, has every intention of continuing to "fight" the war on terrorism without naming the enemy, without revealing his beliefs, without unmasking his intentions, without offending his accomplices, without expelling his fifth columnists, and without ever daring to win.

It is up to the millions of normal Europeans and their American cousins to stop the madness. The traitor class wants them to share its death wish, to self-annihilate as people with a historical memory and a cultural identity, and to make room for the post-human, monistic Utopia spearheaded by the jihadist fifth column.

This crime can and must be stopped. The founders of the United States overthrew the colonial government for offenses far lighter than those of which the traitor class is guilty.


Sherwin Pomerantz

The Problem

Understanding that any brief analysis of the problems attendant to the political system in Israel is, prima facie, incapable of being complete, permit me to provide some bullet insights into the challenges that prevent real political change.

* With the exception of Iceland (which only has half the population of Jerusalem), Israel is the only parliamentary democracy in the world where not even one member of the Knesset is elected directly by a constituency of the citizenry. * For 60 years, even when two parties between them had sufficient power to make changes, no change in the system has ever been made in the electoral process, except for the one direct election of the Prime Minister about 10 years ago.

* When forces of change did come together, those efforts were generally directed at creating a new party in order to gain Knesset mandates and make changes. However, such efforts usually never lasted more than one or two terms.

* New parties who have successfully received mandates in the Knesset have rarely had sufficient influence to force change to occur.

* In the fractious environment of the Knesset, progressive change becomes almost impossible.

One can then draw a conclusion that (a) getting the current parties to effect electoral change is fruitless because the MKs would be putting themselves out of business and (b) trying to effect change by forming a new party for that purpose has no history of success in the Israeli political construct. This pattern replicates itself on many other issues of import as well of course.

The Alternative

Perhaps what is needed to effect political change is not a new party that strives to get elected to the Knesset but, instead, a new party/association/faction (the name is not important but let’s call it a “faction” for this dialogue) that strives to deliver votes and make the current parties accountable to those voters.

What do I mean?

It would seem to me that what Israel needs more than anything right now is something akin to the Liberal Party in New York State.

The Liberal Party of New York State is the longest existing third party in the history of the United States. It was founded in 1944 as an alternative to a state Democratic Party dominated by local party machines rife with corruption and a Republican Party controlled by special interests. Sound familiar?

Just three years older than the State of Israel, the Liberal Party has a history of nominating candidates on the basis of merit, independence, and progressive viewpoints, regardless of party affiliations.

Note that “nominees” of the party are not separate and apart from the mainstream parties. Traditionally the Liberal Party has basically endorsed candidates from either the Democrat or Republican parties and then delivered their party’s votes to that candidate. That has the effect of creating a body of voters who support a particular major party candidate but whose votes can be lost in the next election if the supported candidate does not perform. The twin concepts of endorsement and delivery give the party its power, but it never serves in the legislature.

The Israel Application

Think, for a moment, what it would mean if there were a group of people here, 300,000 strong who took a position, developed a position paper regarding key issues that needed attention, and then delivered those votes to the mainline party running for Knesset seats.

300,000 people is approximately 10 mandates, enough to have a major influence on the party that snags those voters and sufficiently meaningful to make the fear of losing those votes in the next election petrifying to that party. In other words, if the party that gained the support of these 300,000 did not deliver during its term, these 300,000 votes would go to the opposition in the next election.

Would the Israeli electorate warm to this concept? Why not? The citizenry still votes in Knesset elections. The voice of the people is still heard. But, more importantly, those votes and those voices have the power of endorsement behind them and the ability to take those votes somewhere else next time if the elected party does not deliver.

Practically, instead of Knesset members, this group would have 3-4 staff lobbyists whose job it would be to buttonhole Knesset members whom the “faction” supported to both (a) remind the Knesset members of the wishes of the people who voted for them and (b) lobby for legislation important to the faction.

Before an election campaign begins, the faction would develop a platform representing its position on 5-6 major issues that it sees as critical to Israel’s development during the next four years. During election campaigns themselves, the faction would run voter information evenings where candidates could present their views on issues that are critical to the faction’s members. The faction would even run advertisements urging the electorate to support a particular party because they have promised to support the platform of the electorate. The faction would also publish a scorecard showing how well the party it supported in the last election actually performed vs.its promises.

In sum, it would be a party whose goal would be to influence elections, make the elected officials accountable, effect change but NOT be in the Knesset.

What Next?

If any of this makes sense to you and you want to delve into this a bit further, I would invite you to attend a parlor meeting in my home, Hagdud Ha’ivri 6, Apartment 2, on Thursday evening, May 22nd at 7:30 PM where we can discuss the potential a bit further. If there is agreement, we will try to establish a Steering Committee of volunteers to move this forward.

Comments invited.

B’vracha and Shabbat shalom

Sherwin Pomerantz

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Campus Support for the Terrorist Jihad

Reut R. Cohen and Jonathan Constantine Movroydis

The Muslim Student Association (MSA) maintains more than 150 chapters at colleges across the country, fronting as a cultural and religious organization. Realistically, however, the MSA is a radical political group that was initially founded by members of the Muslim Brotherhood, the godfather of al-Qaeda and Hamas. The purpose of the MSA is to promote jihad in institutions of higher learning. At the University of California- Irvine (UCI), the Muslim Student Union (MSU) is also a part of the Muslim Student Association and has openly supported terrorist groups. Presently the MSU aims to "build an environment that enhances good, discourages bad, and provides networks of resources, knowledge, people, and companionship to its members." The MSU offers "daily congregational prayers, daily free iftars … over eight weekly classes, a quarterly magazine Alkalima, coalition building with other clubs on campus, and a gateway to the larger Muslim community …" MSU also provides career advice and a study program to help Muslims at UCI.

Yet underneath this innocuous description it also becomes apparent that this organization preserves a seething hatred of Jews, Israel, and America. MSU activities constantly reveal support for violence, anti-Americanism and anti-Semitism. MSU members have made their positions clear: they support Hamas, they support "freedom fighting" and they have publicly declared that Zionists have no future and Israel will soon be wiped off the map. Members of this organization commonly wear green armbands to signal their allegiance to the terrorist group Hamas.

Earlier this month, a student coalition led a boycott against two Orange County, CA, movie theaters for their decision to hold a private screening and fund-raiser co-sponsored by CAIR (Council of American-Islamic Relations) and the UC Irvine Muslim Student Union. The featured film was the USA Versus Sami Al-Arian: (1) a hagiographic screening on the self-starved convicted terrorist. An indictment against the United States government on the egregious charge of false imprisonment, the film compares the Palestinian Islamic Jihad collaborator to a Socratic like figure jailed for his patriotic dissent and practice of his fundamental civil rights.

The evidence against Al-Arian was damning, alleging that Al-Arian, a former professor at the University of South Florida, was the head of the American wing of Palestinian Islamic Jihad. The indictment against Al-Arian suggests that Al-Arian abused his position as a university professor to bring other members of his terrorist group into the United States "under the guise of academic conferences and meetings." (2)

Al-Arian purportedly also helped Palestinian Islamic Jihad members "receive cover as teachers or students" at USF and worked to further alliances with other groups like Hamas and Hezbollah.

The event was first expected to be held at an Irvine theater owned by Starplex Cinemas, but as the story became viral on Friday, April 11, scores of readers called and emailed (3) (4) Starplex’s corporate office with their concerns, prompting special events coordinator Kristen Wheaton to cancel the screening and fundraiser on Monday, April 14.” (5)

In a phone call with Wheaton about her decision to cancel the event, her response was particularly noteworthy and further evidence of the deceptiveness with which extremist Muslim organizations operate. According to Wheaton, two female members of the Muslim community, Marya Bangee and Natania Abdelfattah, reserved the venue and misled the theater about the nature of the screening, describing it as a “college student film.” (6)

Moreover, despite CAIR officials charging Wheaton with allegations of breach of contract, the theater was never notified of the fact that CAIR co-sponsored the screening, or that the proceeds from ticket sales would be spent on Mr. Al-Arian’s legal defense. More specifically, in order to conceal their involvement from the theater, CAIR-LA’s Executive Director Hussam Ayloush directed Bangee and Abdelfattah to bill his personal credit card.

When CAIR decided to change the venue for the screening and fund-raiser to Edwards Woodbridge 5 in Irvine, they did so fearing that the community would inform the parent company Regal Cinemas about their motives. (7) (8) After calling a series of theaters in Irvine, we were able to procure and publicize the new location on Wednesday, April 16. (9)

Though Regal Cinemas received similar scores of protesting phone calls and emails, (10) the Tennessee-based Corporation ignored community concerns and decided to proceed with the screening and fundraiser. In a phone call with the theater manager about the ultimate decision to hold the event, she replied that people can use the theater for any desired purpose. Officials from the corporate office couldn’t be reached for comment.

Despite Regal’s disappointing decision, the fundraiser was sparsely attended and a dismal failure. Secretly moving the venue to a new and more expensive location on very short notice resulted in only a couple dozen regulars mainly from the Muslim community. (11)

Though CAIR is charging anti-Muslim bigotry and censorship against those who participated in the effort to boycott the screening for this fictitious hero, (12) only a government body possesses the unwarrantable power to levy the heavy handedness of law. This effort was an entirely civil and democratic effort grounded in the classical power of persuasion and the modern self-empowering influence of new media.

Accordingly, the decentralization of media has raised an unprecedented level of awareness and a civic virtue, essentially an army of readers promoting goodwill, with a discerning eye on behavior potentially destructive to the community.

In utilizing the new media’s unique ability to mobilize political action, this month’s grass-roots initiative allowed readers to voice their concerns and express to US businesses the right to vote with their money. Some have expressed their decision never to attend an Edward’s chain again. (13) Consequently, Edwards should realize that in supporting the legal defenses of convicted terrorists like Al-Arian, they better expect intense scrutiny.


[1] Muslim Student Union Fundraising For Suspected Terrorist

[2] Guilty as Charged

[3] Fundraising for Sami Al-Arian at UC Irvine

[4] Michelle Malkin » UC Irvine Muslim group holds Al-Arian fund-raiser

[5] Comment by Kristen Wheaton

[6] CAIR's Duplicity In Focus - Al Arian Propaganda Film Screening Charade

[7] USA vs. Al-Arian Screening: Updated Information

[8] RE: USA vs. Al-Arian Screening: Updated Information

[9] New Venue for Al-Arian Fund-raiser

[10] CAIR and MSU Relocate Al-Arian Fundraiser

[11] What if you had a Terror Fund-Raiser and Nobody Showed up?

[12] CAIR: Calif. Theater Cancels Al-Arian Doc After Pressure From 'Anti-Muslim Bigots'

[13] Comment By Dennis P. Skea

Politicians, Media, Respond to Golan Negotiations

Ezra HaLevi

Politicians and the state-run media have begun to respond to PM Olmert's official acknowledgement of Golan withdrawal talks. The public remains squarely opposed to the idea.

A large majority of 70 percent of the Israeli public answered "no" when asked if Israel should give Syria the Golan Heights in return for promises of peace, a poll carried out for Channel 2 TV found. Only 22 percent answered "yes." Additionally, 57 percent of the public thought the negotiations with Syria were "completely connected" to the investigations against Ehud Olmert. Thirty-two percent did not see a connection.

Fifty-eight percent of the public was of the opinion that Olmert had "no legitimacy" to conduct talks with Syria at this time, while thirty-three percent said they thought the talks were legitimate.

Another poll, broadcast on IDF Army Radio and carried out by the Geocartographic Institute found 65 percent against the withdrawal, even for true peace with Syria. Sixty-four percent were firmly against even a partial withdrawal.

Asked what the results meant for the Olmert government if it was serious about a withdrawal, Professor Avi Degani of the Geocartographic Institute said: “The people's answer was ‘no.’ 65 percent are against it. That is how the nation feels today.

"But will those be the results in a referendum?" asked interviewer Razi Barkai.

"Absolutely not, Prof. Degani answered. "Once the process continues and people see positive results it will be different. We saw this with the Disengagement."

Barkai: "Yeah. It began one way, but ended another."

Olmert Chooses His Audience
Although Prime Minister Ehud Olmert chose a crowd certain to applaud talk of withdrawal on Wednesday, members of the Kibbutz Movement from Golan Heights collectives did not clap along with their colleagues at the announcement of talks over evicting them from their homes in exchange for an agreement with Syria.

"It was sad for me to hear my colleagues clapping at this populist attempt to jeapordize our life's work for nothing," one resident told a correspondent for IDF Army Radio.

The Council of Golan Communities, a body that attempts to convey a moderate image politically, went as far as to say that Olmert is unfit to serve. "Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is acting against the national interest and against the nation's wishes, and endangering the State of Israel, and therefore is not worthy of his office," a statement following a meeting of the leaders Wednesday night read.

The head of the Golan Regional Council, Eli Malka, said at the meeting: "We will not let a Prime Minister who is motivated by foreign considerations to hand over a stretch of land to the Axis of Evil and endanger our very existence."

The Likud faction accused Olmert on Wednesday of carrying out "a cynical and transparent stunt in order to deflect attention from his personal problems. Olmert is up to his neck in investigations against him and has no moral and public mandate to hand over the Golan and bring the Syrians back to the Sea of Galilee, as Syria's foreign minister announced," the party's statement added.

The Depth of the Investigation Dictates the Depth of the Uprooting
MK Aryeh Eldad (National Union) repeated the allegation leveled at then-PM Ariel Sharon prior to the Disengagement, that "The depth of the criminal investigation dictates the extent of the withdrawals. Olmert thinks that if Sharon was spared from trial due to pushing through the Disengagement he can escape his by executing a withdrawal and handing parts of the land to someone who was just a short time ago seeking nuclear weapons."

The implications of Eldad's claim are that Israel's High Court and State Prosecution are able to push through their political agendas through threatening politicians with prosecution.

Shas To Remain in Coalition, Opposes Giving Away Golan
The Shas party will remain in the government coalition even though it is against surrendering the Golan Heights to Syria, party chairman and Industry Trade and Labor Minister Eli Yishai said. "At the moment when we see that there is real danger of giving the Golan to the axis of evil, Shas, of course, won't be in the government," he said. The decision guarantees survival for the Prime Minister unless members of his own party bolt.

The Shas position is similar to that it has taken on the status of Jerusalem. It opposes dividing the capital but has said it will support Prime Minister Olmert so long as the issue is not discussed at senior levels. The government has denied Palestinian Authority claims that senior negotiators have brought the issue to the negotiating table.

Netanyahu Admission Aired
IDF Army Radio played a tape of former PM Binyamin Netanyahu admitting to carrying out talks with Syria about a Golan withdrawal. Netanyahu was asked about the talks, which were conducted through American Jewish philanthropist Ron Lauder.

“I told Ron 'I have one condition – Mt. Hermon.' Why? Because we are also threatened by Iran and I need eyes eastward," Netanyahu said.

Media Ramps Up Support
Veteran Haaretz journalist Akiva Eldar published a piece Thursday morning entitled: "Small Piece of Land Could Scupper Israel-Syria Talks."

Eldar, referring presumably to the parts of the Golan Netanyahu and subsequent negotiators seek to retain and not to the entire Jewish state, says "the sticking point is Syria's demand for land reaching the northeastern shore of the Kinneret."

Eldar goes on to outline everything he knows about the deal that the Olmert government seeks to use as a jumping-off point for negotiations:

* Israel told Jimmy Carter it would be willing to relinquish pumping rights to the Kinneret (Sea of Galilee) in return for the funding of desalination plants and money to buy water from Turkey.

* Israel and Syria disagree on whether to give the Jews of the Golan ten or fifteen years to relocate. In return, Jews will be allowed to visit the Golan during daylight hours.

* There is no agreement on demilitarization.

The day's Haaretz editorial opeined: "Let the investigations continue as if there were no peace talks, and let the peace talks continue as if there were no investigations--and perhaps it will turn out to be a blessing in disguise."

Kaspit vs. Yatom
Labor MK Danny Yatom, who formerly headed the Mossad, was brought into an interview with journalist Ben Kaspit on IDF Army Radio. Kaspit had a column on Maariv's front entitled: "Investigate as Though there is no Peace and Make Peace as Though there Were no Talansky," referring to the American Jewish businessman who admitted to handing Olmert cash-stuff envelopes.

Yatom said that the public should understand that the situation does not even come close to talks, but involves simply sitting down and preparing preliminary steps toward negotiations. Yatom, who would support a Golan withdrawal, aimed to convince listeners that PM Olmert had not advanced talks any further and was just using the issue to distract from his legal problems.

Kaspit accused Yatom of obscuring the issue and of being a 'kashkeshan' - one who is all talk - enraging the MK. The two proceeded to launch personal attacks on one another. "You've done nothing with your life other than engaging in idle chatter," Yatom told the veteran Maariv journalist. "You obviously have a connection in the Prime Minister's Office and are doing their work of misleading the public!"

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Obama and the Jews


Obama and the Jews

America's Jews account for a mere 2% of the U.S. population. But they have voted the Democratic ticket by margins averaging 78% over the past four election cycles, and their votes are potentially decisive in swing states like Florida and Pennsylvania. They also contribute an estimated half of all donations given to national Democratic candidates.

So whatever his actual convictions, it is a matter of ordinary political prudence that Barack Obama "get right with the Jews." Since Jews tend to be about as liberal as the Illinois senator on most domestic issues, what this really means is that he get right with Israel. And so he has.

Over his campaign's port side have gone pastor Jeremiah Wright ("Every time you say 'Israel' Negroes get awfully quiet on you because they [sic] scared: Don't be scared; don't be scared"); former National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski ("I think what the Israelis are doing today [2006] for example in Lebanon is in effect – maybe not in intent – the killing of hostages"); and former Clinton administration diplomat Robert Malley (an advocate and practitioner of talks with Hamas).

The campaign has also managed to clarify, or perhaps retool, Mr. Obama's much-quoted line that "nobody is suffering more than the Palestinian people." What the senator was actually saying, he now tells us, is that "nobody has suffered more than the Palestinian people from the failure of the Palestinian leadership to recognize Israel, to renounce violence, and to get serious about negotiating peace and security for the region."

Still more forthrightly, Mr. Obama recently told the Atlantic Monthly that "the idea of a secure Jewish state is a fundamentally just idea, and a necessary idea, given not only world history but the active existence of anti-Semitism, the potential vulnerability that the Jewish people could still experience."

I can think of no good reason to doubt the sincerity of Mr. Obama's comments. Nor, from the standpoint of American Jewry, is there anything to be gained from doing so: The fastest way to turn whatever dark suspicions Jews may have of Mr. Obama into a self-fulfilling prophecy is to spurn his attempts at outreach.

Yet the significant question isn't whether Mr. Obama is "pro-Israel," in the sense that his heart is in the right place and he isn't quite Jimmy Carter. What matters is whether his vision for U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East – and the broader world view that informs it – will have ancillary effects favorable to Israel's core interests.

Take Hamas and Hezbollah, which pose the nearest threats to Israel's security. Mr. Obama has insisted he opposes negotiating with Hamas "until they recognize Israel, renounce terrorism and abide by previous agreements." He also calls Hezbollah a "destabilizing organization."

But if Mr. Obama's litmus test for his choice of negotiating partners is their recognition of Israel and their renunciation of terrorism, then what is the sense in negotiating without preconditions with Iran and Syria?

Alternatively, if the problem with Hamas and Hezbollah is that neither holds the reins of government, what happens when they actually do? Hamas won the Palestinian parliamentary elections in January 2006; Hezbollah sits in the Lebanese cabinet. Would Mr. Obama be willing to parley if, in the course of his administration, either group should come to power?

Or take Iran, which Israelis universally see as their deadliest enemy. Yes, there are arguments to be made in favor of presidential-level negotiations between Washington and Tehran – perhaps as a last-ditch effort to avert military strikes on Iran's nuclear facilities. But does anyone seriously think Mr. Obama would authorize such strikes?

Instead, Mr. Obama says he favors "tough diplomacy," including tighter sanctions on Iran's Revolutionary Guards Corps. Last fall, however, he was one of only 22 senators to oppose a Senate resolution calling for the IRGC to be designated as a terrorist organization, a vote that made him a dove even within the Democratic Party. Mr. Obama argued at the time the amendment would give the administration a pretext to go to war with Iran. It was an odd claim for a nonbinding resolution.

Or take Iraq. Israelis are now of two minds as to the wisdom of the invasion of Iraq, mainly because they fear it has weakened America's hand vis-à-vis Iran. Maybe. But is it so clear that a U.S. withdrawal from Iraq wouldn't further strengthen Iran's hand, and consolidate the so-called Shiite crescent stretching from southern Iraq to the hills overlooking northern Israel?

Finally, there is Israel itself. In the Atlantic interview, Mr. Obama declared that "my job in being a friend to Israel is partly to hold up a mirror and tell the truth," particularly in respect to the settlements. Yes, there are mirrors that need to be held up to those settlements, as there are to those Palestinians whose terrorism makes their dismantlement so problematic. Perhaps there is also a mirror to be held up to an American foreign-policy neophyte whose amazing conceit is that he understands Israel's dilemmas better than Israelis themselves.

Write to

Obama Delegate from Washington: Former Gitmo Muslim Chaplain Yee


In loony left nexus Olympia, Washington, Democrat precinct representatives have now elected as a delegate for Barack Obama former Gitmo Muslim chaplain James Yee.

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — A former Army chaplain at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, who was cleared of spy accusations will be a delegate to the Democratic National Convention. Former Capt. James J. Yee, a Muslim, was among the delegates pledged to Sen. Barack Obama who were elected by precinct representatives Saturday. He’s representing the state’s 9th Congressional District at the party’s convention in Denver in August.

The West Point graduate was accused in 2003 of being part of a spy ring at the U.S. prison for suspected terrorists in Guantanamo Bay. After spending 76 days in solitary confinement, he was exonerated, resigned from the Army and received an honorable discharge.

The Associated Press is up to their usual tricks with this one. According to our post back on March 20, 2004, Yee was certainly not exonerated or cleared; the charges were dropped, according to Maj. Gen. Geoffrey D. Miller, commander of Joint Task Force Guantanamo, because there were “national security concerns that would arise from the release of the evidence” if the case proceeded.

Recently, James Yee appeared on Syrian television to describe the horrors of Guantanamo Bay, even though he never actually witnessed any horrors: Video: Former Gitmo Muslim Chaplain on Koran Desecration.

Looks like a perfect delegate for Barack Obama.

Iranian Pawns Edger Closer to Israel

Arnaud de Borchgrave

Sen. Barack Obama and Sen. John McCain, with an assist from Sen. Joe Lieberman, competed in freshly minted assurances of allegiance to Israel as it embarked on a weeklong 60th birthday party.

Neocons have hinted darkly that Obama, whose middle name is Hussein, was born a Muslim who later grew up as a Christian — which, they say, makes him an apostate and puts him at risk of execution by an Islamist extremist. Proof of Obama's extraterritorial allegiance? A Hamas official who said, in an interview, "We like Mr. Obama and we hope he will win the election." That was enough for McCain to suggest Obama was soft on terrorism.

This was, needless to add, twaddle in all its unrationed splendor.

Obama didn't stray from Politics 101 in Washington. Time and again his self-portrait is one of unwavering support for Israel — "though that doesn't mean that I would agree with every action" Israel takes. He called Israel America's most important ally.

Israel, as it entered its seventh decade as a nation-state, celebrated by emphasizing its military prowess, from air supremacy in the Middle East, to the long reach of its paratroopers, to its fast-growing navy, to military battle reconstructions since the war of independence.

Israel's battle casualties in seven wars in 60 years: 22,437 killed, the population equivalent of 180,000 U.S. killed in action, or 69,000 more than the United States lost in Korea, Vietnam, Desert Storm in 1991, Iraq and Afghanistan combined.

President Bush arrived in Israel this week as the celebrations wound down. It was not a propitious time to lean on Prime Minister Ehud Olmert for the kind of concessions that might facilitate the creation of a Palestinian state.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice had commuted once a month to the Middle East for the past 12 months and seemed to be the only player who still believed a legacy-starved Bush presidency could produce by the end of 2008 a national Palestinian rabbit out of Israel's silk hat, as pledged at the Annapolis summit last November.

Olmert's job as prime minister hung by a thread. He's the target of a bribery investigation that involves Long Island businessman Morris Talansky to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars. "Legal contributions," says Olmert, "for legitimate political party activities."

If indicted, he would be forced to step down, and Condi's opposite number Tzipi Livni would become acting prime minister. Fresh elections would almost certainly bring back to power superhawk Benjamin Netanyahu as prime minister and end any thought of making a Palestinian state possible. Israel now has an Iranian puppet state to the south in Gaza and another one in the making to the north with Hezbollah in Lebanon.

The latest near-civil war fracas in Lebanon gave the edge to a Syrian- and Iranian-backed militia and its allies as they defeated pro-Western Sunni and Druze forces in Tripoli, the Bekaa Valley and Mount Lebanon.

As Olmert's opposition reads the geopolitical tea leaves, Israel has retreated twice — Lebanon in 2000, Gaza in 2005 — and got nothing in return. So this is no time to be pressuring Israel into another retreat, e.g., dismantling some of the 160 West Bank settlements now inhabited by 240,000 Jews, many of them American citizens. Netanyahu sees more disincentives than incentives in facilitating the creation of a Palestinian state.

With pro-Iran Hamas as a key ingredient, such a Palestinian entity is bound to be a base for a wider anti-Western agenda.

Over the past decade, including almost eight years of the Bush 43 administration, Israelis have continued below-radar, illegal expansion of Jewish settlements in Palestinian territory. Israelis now control 40 percent of West Bank land, including a network of interconnecting roads banned to Palestinians, and IDF "zones" reserved for the Israeli military.

The Israeli High Court recently ordered the government to re-route part of its controversial 420-mile barrier of walls, fences, ditches, razor-wire and checkpoints that separates Arabs and Israelis because a mile-long portion at Billin separates Palestinians from 60 percent of their agricultural land. But this will take months to accomplish.

Israel is so deeply dug in on the West Bank that a two-state solution strikes many longtime observers as a pipe dream.

Out of 10 million Palestinians in the diaspora, 70 percent are refugees or their descendants; 2.5 million live in the West Bank under Israeli control; 1.5 million are in Gaza, now a vast slum with no access to the outside world, where they are ruled by Hamas, a freely elected rejectionist party dedicated to the destruction of Israel; another million are Palestinian Israelis who live inside Israel as "co-equal" citizens who are not allowed to travel to the West Bank, Gaza and most Arab countries.

Sixty-two percent of Israel's Arabs believe one day they will also be expelled. And another 250,000 Palestinians still live in Arab East Jerusalem.

With Lebanon on the verge of losing a pro-Western government to become a full-fledged Iranian satellite state, President Bush's national security team presumably has concluded that to pressure Israel into meaningful concessions at this juncture would precipitate the very events it seeks to avoid.

© 2008 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Why Israel is the world's happiest country


Envy surrounds no country on Earth like the state of Israel, and with good reason: by objective measures, Israel is the happiest nation on Earth at the 60th anniversary of its founding. It is one of the wealthiest, freest and best-educated; and it enjoys a higher life expectancy than Germany or the Netherlands. But most remarkable is that Israelis appear to love life and hate death more than any other nation. If history is made not by rational design but by the demands of the human heart, as I argued last week , the light heart of the Israelis in face of continuous danger is a singularity worthy of a closer look. Can it be a coincidence that this most ancient of nations [1], and the

only nation persuaded that it was summoned into history for God's service, consists of individuals who appear to love life more than any other people? As a simple index of life-preference, I plot the fertility rate versus the suicide rate of 35 industrial countries, that is, the proportion of people who choose to create new life against the proportion who choose to destroy their own. Israel stands alone, positioned in the upper-left-hand-quadrant, or life-loving, portion of the chart [2]. Those who believe in Israel's divine election might see a special grace reflected in its love of life.

In a world given over to morbidity, the state of Israel still teaches the world love of life, not in the trivial sense of joie de vivre, but rather as a solemn celebration of life. In another location, I argued, "It's easy for the Jews to talk about delighting in life. They are quite sure that they are eternal, while other peoples tremble at the prospect impending extinction. It is not their individual lives that the Jews find so pleasant, but rather the notion of a covenantal life that proceeds uninterrupted through the generations." Still, it is remarkable to observe by what wide a margin the Israelis win the global happiness sweepstakes.

Nations go extinct, I have argued in the past, because the individuals who comprise these nations choose collectively to die out. Once freedom replaces the fixed habits of traditional society, people who do not like their own lives do not trouble to have children. Not the sword of conquerors, but the indigestible sourdough of everyday life threatens the life of the nations, now dying out at a rate without precedent in recorded history.

Israel is surrounded by neighbors willing to kill themselves in order to destroy it. "As much as you love life, we love death," Muslim clerics teach; the same formula is found in a Palestinian textbook for second graders. Apart from the fact that the Arabs are among the least free, least educated, and (apart from the oil states) poorest peoples in the world, they also are the unhappiest, even in their wealthiest kingdoms.

The contrast of Israeli happiness and Arab despondency is what makes peace an elusive goal in the region. It cannot be attributed to material conditions of life. Oil-rich Saudi Arabia ranks 171st on an international quality of life index, below Rwanda. Israel is tied with Singapore on this index, although it should be observed that Israel ranks a runaway first on my life-preference index, whereas Singapore comes in dead last.

Even less can we blame unhappiness on experience, for no nation has suffered more than the Jews in living memory, nor has a better excuse to be miserable. Arabs did not invent suicide attacks, but they have produced a population pool willing to die in order to inflict damage greater than any in history. One cannot help but conclude that Muslim clerics do not exaggerate when they express contempt for life.

Israel's love of life, moreover, is more than an ethnic characteristic. Those who know Jewish life through the eccentric lens of Jewish-American novelists such as Saul Bellow and Philip Roth, or the films of Woody Allen, imagine the Jews to be an angst-ridden race of neurotics. Secular Jews in America are no more fertile than their Gentile peers, and by all indications quite as miserable.

For one thing, Israelis are far more religious than American Jews. Two-thirds of Israelis believe in God, although only a quarter observe their religion strictly. Even Israelis averse to religion evince a different kind of secularism than we find in the secular West. They speak the language of the Bible and undergo 12 years of Bible studies in state elementary and secondary schools.

Faith in God's enduring love for a people that believes it was summoned for his purposes out of a slave rabble must be part of the explanation. The most religious Israelis make the most babies. Ultra-Orthodox families produce nine children on average. That should be no surprise, for people of faith are more fertile than secular people, as I showed in a statistical comparison across countries.

Traditional and modern societies have radically different population profiles, for traditional women have little choice but to spend their lives pregnant in traditional society. In the modern world, where fertility reflects choice rather than compulsion, the choice to raise children expresses love of life. The high birthrate in Arab countries still bound by tradition does not stand comparison to Israeli fertility, by far the highest in the modern world.

The faith of Israelis is unique. Jews sailed to Palestine as an act of faith, to build a state against enormous odds and in the face of hostile encirclement, joking, "You don't have to be crazy to be a Zionist, but it helps." In 1903 Theodor Herzl, the Zionist movement's secular founder, secured British support for a Jewish state in Uganda, but his movement shouted him down, for nothing short of the return to Zion of Biblical prophecy would requite it. In place of a modern language the Jewish settlers revived Hebrew, a liturgical language only since the 4th century BC, in a feat of linguistic volition without precedent. It may be that faith burns brighter in Israel because Israel was founded by a leap of faith.

Two old Jewish jokes illustrate the Israeli frame of mind.

Two elderly Jewish ladies are sitting on a park bench in St Petersburg, Florida. "Mrs Levy," asks the first, "what do you hear from your son Isaac in Detroit?" "It's just awful," Mrs Levy replies. "His wife died a year ago and left him with two little girls. Now he's lost his job as an accountant with an auto-parts company, and his health insurance will lapse in a few weeks. With the real estate market the way it is, he can't even sell his house. And the baby has come down with leukemia and needs expensive treatment. He's beside himself, and doesn't know what to do. But does he write a beautiful Hebrew letter - it's a pleasure to read."

There are layers to this joke, but the relevant one here is that bad news is softened if written in the language of the Bible, which to Jews always conveys hope.

The second joke involves the American businessman who emigrated to Israel shortly after its founding. On his arrival, he orders a telephone, and waits for weeks without a response. At length he applies in person to the telephone company, and is shown into the office of an official who explains that there is a two-year waiting list, and no way to jump the queue. "Do you mean there is no hope?," the American asks. "It is forbidden for a Jew to say there is no hope!," thunders the official. "No chance, maybe." Hope transcends probability.

If faith makes the Israelis happy, then why are the Arabs, whose observance of Islam seems so much stricter, so miserable? Islam offers its adherents not love - for Allah does not reveal Himself in love after the fashion of YHWH - but rather success. "The Islamic world cannot endure without confidence in victory, that to 'come to prayer' is the same thing as to 'come to success'. Humiliation - the perception that the ummah cannot reward those who submit to it - is beyond its capacity to endure," I argued in another location. Islam, or "submission", does not understand faith - trust in a loving God even when His actions appear incomprehensible - in the manner of Jews and Christians. Because the whim of Allah controls every event from the orbit of each electron to the outcome of battles, Muslims know only success or failure at each moment in time.

The military, economic and cultural failures of Islamic societies are intolerable in Muslim eyes; Jewish success is an abomination, for in the view of Muslims it is the due of the faithful, to be coveted and seized from the usurpers at the first opportunity. It is not to much of a stretch to assert that Israel's love of live, its happiness in faith, is precisely the characteristic that makes a regional peace impossible to achieve. The usurpation of the happiness that Muslims believe is due to them is sufficient cause to kill one's self in order to take happiness away from the Jewish enemy. If Israel's opponents fail to ruin Israel's happiness, there is at least a spark of hope that they may decide to choose happiness for themselves.

Why are none of the Christian nations as happy as Israel? Few of the European nations can be termed "Christian" at all. Poland, the last European country with a high rate of attendance at Mass (at about 45%), nonetheless shows a fertility rate of only 1.27, one of Europe's lowest, and a suicide rate of 16 per 100,000. Europe's faith always wavered between adherence to Christianity as a universal religion and ethnic idolatry under a Christian veneer. European nationalism nudged Christianity to the margin during the 19th century, and the disastrous world wars of the past century left Europeans with confidence neither in Christianity nor in their own nationhood.

Only in pockets of the American population does one find birth rates comparable to Israel's, for example among evangelical Christians. There is no direct way to compare the happiness of American Christians and Israelis, but the tumultuous and Protean character of American religion is not as congenial to personal satisfaction. My suspicion is that Israel's happiness is entirely unique.

It is fashionable these days to speculate about the end of Israel, and Israel's strategic position presents scant cause for optimism, as I contended recently. Israel's future depends on the Israelis. During 2,000 years of exile, Jews remained Jews despite forceful and often violent efforts to make them into Christians or Muslims. One has to suppose that they did not abandon Judaism because they liked being Jewish. With utmost sincerity, the Jews prayed thrice daily, "It is our duty to praise the Master of all, to acclaim the greatness of the One who forms all creation, for God did not make us like the nations of other lands, and did not make us the same as other families of the Earth. God did not place us in the same situations as others, and our destiny is not the same as anyone else's."

If the Israelis are the happiest country on Earth, as the numbers indicate, it seems possible that they will do what is required to keep their country, despite the odds against them. I do not know whether they will succeed. If Israel fails, however, the rest of the world will lose a unique gauge of the human capacity for happiness as well as faith. I cannot conceive of a sadder event.


[1] There are many ancient nations, eg, the Basques, but no other that speaks the same language as it did more than 3,000 years ago, occupies more or less the same territory, and, most important, maintains a continuous literary record of its history, which is to say an interrupted national consciousness.

[2] The countries shown in the chart are:

Suicide Rate
(per 100,000)





United States



























United Kingdom




























































Czech Republic












Hong Kong



(Copyright 2008 Asia Times Online Ltd. All rights reserved. Please contact us about sales, syndication and republishing.)


Arlene Kushner

It made the news today that Olmert is dubious as to whether a ceasefire will work. However, he's willing to let the process play out because of his respect for Omar Suleiman, Egypt's intelligence chief and the negotiator in the matter.

A splendid reason, is it not?


If quiet comes, it will, as I indicated yesterday, be of an informal nature and follow a progression. We'll stop attacking them if they stop launching rockets. Apparently the release of Shalit would not be made formally part of an agreement (which is what our demand was only days ago), but there would presumably be an understanding that negotiations on Shalit would accelerate after the quiet was in place. If this happened, then Israel would lift the siege. Israel is also, according to Haaretz, demanding that "Hamas cease smuggling weapons, funds and persons trained in paramilitary activities." This is a joke, as I have not noticed of late that Hamas is a reliable organization that will honor commitments in this respect. There is not the slightest doubt that smuggling will continue as they can get away with it. Only the most stringent monitoring and policing of the situation would intervene. What we're hearing is that the Egyptians said they will "step up efforts."


Now Egypt will be consulting in Cairo with a delegation led by Moussa Abu Marzuk, deputy head of the Hamas's political bureau, to see if they're willing to go along. As they're hurting badly, they will likely agree.

But we should not ignore the words of Osama Hamdan, a senior Hamas official in Lebanon, that we are mistaken if we think a truce with Hamas would mean that the "resistance operations" would end. That very attitude is what makes it obvious that they will continue smuggling to the best of their ability.


A word of explanation: What we will have, if Hamas agrees to terms, is a tahdiyeh, which is a period of calm, as compared to a hudna, which is a formal ceasefire agreement.

It should be noted, as well, that this tahdiyeh would not apply to Judea and Samaria, where we would continue anti-terrorist operations.


It should also be noted that Haim Ramon, deputy prime minister, yesterday charged that the government was secretly negotiating directly with Hamas despite government policy that prohibits such contact until Hamas recognizes Israel, renounces terrorism, and agrees to abide by former agreements. There has been no official statement refuting this, and the guess is that he knows exactly what he's talking about.


Well, that was fast...

Earlier today Army Radio here in Israel cited an unnamed top Israeli official as saying that behind closed doors a senior member of the Bush entourage here last week had said that Bush and Cheney favored military action against Iran but were holding back because of "the hesitancy of Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice."

Makes one wonder exactly how much damage Rice is capable of.

This story was picked up by The Jerusalem Post and circulated widely. Reportedly, Hezbollah's actions in Lebanon of late -- clearly instigated by Iran -- reinforced the inclination within the US administration to attack. Bush was said to be of the opinion that "the disease must be treated - not its symptoms."


But now Bush has moved to squash this report, which probably should never have seen the light of day.
A statement has been released saying that "[the US] remain[s] opposed to Iran's ambitions to obtain a nuclear weapon. To that end, we are working to bring tough diplomatic and economic pressure on the Iranians to get them to change their behavior and to halt their uranium enrichment program.

"As the President has said, no president of the United States should ever take options off the table, but our preference and our actions for dealing with this matter remain through peaceful diplomatic means. Nothing has changed in that regard."


I'm going to make a guess here and say that there was truth in the report from Army Radio but that Bush would rather not publicly appear to be going the military route or to be at odds with members of his administration. He has taken no options off the table and his months in office are limited.

Let's give him the encouragement that might help move him in the right direction: I ask you to contact the president.

In a brief and to-the-point message let him know that you support him in taking all necessary measures to stop Iran from going nuclear -- that the world now depends on his courage to act as necessary -- that you know he understands that Iran absolutely cannot be permitted to acquire nuclear weapons.

As a final reinforcement, let him know that his preventing the disaster of a nuclear Iran will be a blessing to all the world and absolutely the greatest legacy of his presidency.

Use your own words, please.

Remember that a phone call or fax is best.

As always, numbers count, so please ask everyone you can to participate here.

President George Bush

Fax: 202-456-2461

White House Comment line: 202-456-1111 TTY/TDD Comment line: 202-456-6213



A rare moment of truth. Palestinian Media Watch has provided a translation of a piece written by Palestinian journalist Jawad Al Bashiti inAl-Ayyam on May 13, 2008, with reference to "Nakba" -- the "catastrophe" of the founding of Israel, which is allegedly responsible for the refugee situation.

Wrote Bashiti:

"The reasons for the Palestinian Catastrophe are the same reasons that have produced and are still producing our Catastrophes today. During...the Palestinian Catastrophe the following happened: the first war between Arabs and Israel had started and the 'Arab Salvation Army' came and told the Palestinians: 'We have come to you in order to liquidate the Zionists and their state. Leave your houses and villages, you will return to them in a few days safely. Leave them so we can fulfill our mission [to destroy Israel] in the best way and so you won't be hurt.' It became clear already then, when it was too late, that the support of the Arab states was a big illusion. Arabs fought as if intending to cause the 'Palestinian Catastrophe.'"

This refutes charges that Jews forced Arabs out of the land.


A terrorist attack of major proportions was averted today when a Palestinian going through a checkpoint was found to have four pipe bombs on his person. He was shot dead when he attempted to detonate them.

Evidence, once again, of the need for checkpoints. The checkpoint where this happened -- Hawara -- is one where there have been multiple incidents.


At the northern end of our border with Gaza, the IDF caught gunmen attempting to plant explosives at the fence, and took them down.


The police have announced that Olmert will be questioned again on Friday.

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