Saturday, September 05, 2009

US not surprised by West Bank construction approval

Sources in Washington say last Wednesday Netanyahu's envoys informed Mitchell of decision to okay construction in West Bank as part of effort to soften rightist camp in Israel ahead of expected settlement freeze; agreement possible as early as Thursday
Yitzhak Benhorin

WASHINGTON - Sources in Washington told Ynet on Friday that the US was not surprised by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's decision to authorize construction plans in the West Bank, just ahead of a planned signing of a deal with the US that would freeze settlement activity.. According to the sources, during a meeting in New York last Wednesday Netanyahu's envoys Yitzhak Molcho and Mike Herzog informed special Mideast envoy George Mitchell of the PM's decision. They apparently told Mitchell that the approval of the construction of hundreds of housing units in the West Bank was necessary in order to soften Israel's rightist camp ahead of the expected settlement freeze.

Sources in Washington said Netanyahu's announcement would not impede the talks on a settlement freeze, adding that an agreement on the matter is expected to be reached during Netanyahu's meeting with Mitchell in Jerusalem, scheduled for next week.

It was further reported Friday that ahead of his visit to Israel Mitchell will meet with officials from the Arab states of the Persian Gulf to promote the normalization of ties with Jerusalem, which is considered one of the conditions for Israel's expected settlement freeze.

Also on Friday, The White House on Friday expressed "regret" regarding Netanyahu's decision to approve construction plans in the West Bank.

EU foreign ministers joined the US in expressing this sentiment, with Britain, Italy, and France all stating they believed the construction would impede peace talks.

"The United States does not accept the legitimacy of continued settlement expansion and we urge that it stop," said a statement by White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs.

"We are working to create a climate in which negotiations can take place, and such actions make it harder to create such a climate," he stated. "We do appreciate Israel's stated intent to place limits on settlement activity and will continue to discuss this with the Israelis as these limitations are defined."

AP and Roni Sofer contributed to this report

Comment: Perspective: it is the Obama group who made the "settlement issue" what it is today-no one else-but Obama. He did so to curry favor with the world of Islam not because he thought it was best for the "peace process". His advisors provided incorrect information to Obama and he choose to accept it. He did not consult with Israel nor did he think bout the unintended consequences. So, he is stuck with his "decision" and it is now become a power game-let us see who wins. If one is paying attention you know now who Obama really is, how unprepared he is to be a world leader and where his support really lies.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Pollard's Attorney: Govt. is Hiding Dark Secrets

Maayana Miskin
A7 News

Jonathan Pollard's attorney, Nitzana Darshan-Leitner, has slammed Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss's report on Pollard. In a report released Thursday, Lindenstrauss said the United States may not have given Pollard a fair trial, and accused Israeli officials of poor coordination. The report was “another cover-up of successive Israeli governments' failures regarding Pollard,” said Darshan-Leitner. Pollard has exhausted his legal options in the U.S. and is relying on Israel for help, she said.

Israel's government remains indifferent to his plight, she accused. “No government, at any time, has made any effort to free Pollard during his entire 24-year term in prison,” she said. “The government of Israel is still pretending that Pollard's activities took place in an irregular operation run by Rafi Eitan, and were not coordinated by the highest state officials.”

“There are still dark secrets in the Pollard affair that the government does not want the people to know,” Darshan-Leitner continued. As proof, she pointed to the fact that much of Lindenstrauss's report remains classified. “The Israeli public must demand that the entire report be published,” she declared.

Once the entire report is released, “The public can decide if Israel's governments have attempted to free Pollard, or if every single government has abandoned Pollard to his misery,” she concluded.

Lindenstrauss's report was a response to a 2007 request from the State Control Committee. The committee asked the state comptroller to submit a professional opinion on the government's attempts to free Pollard.

Pollard has served 24 years of a life sentence in prison for passing classified information to Israel. His punishment is uniquely harsh for the crime of passing classified information to an ally. Israel only acknowledged Pollard as an agent working on Israel's behalf in 1998, 13 years after he was jailed.

Lindenstrauss reported that Israeli governments have made efforts to free Pollard. However, he urged the government to do a better job coordinating its efforts, saying Israel “owes Pollard the mitzvah of releasing captives, and it's better late than never.”

Beware Palestinian plot

Fatah uses negotiations as means for establishing bi-national state

Gadi Taub

The “two-state vision” is no longer only endorsed by the Left or Center, but rather, it is backed by the Zionist consensus – ranging from Meretz to Likud. Yet nonetheless, we will not be able to get there as long as on both sides of the consensus people endorse negotiations with the Palestinians as an exclusive path. Israel needs policy aimed at partition even without Palestinian agreement. We used to have a party like that for a while – Kadima – but it is doubtful whether we still have it, because Kadima too has been maligned by the negotiations syndrome.

It turns out that we need a reminder that negotiations drag us towards a bi-national state, step by step. It’s a good thing that the recent Fatah congress provided us with such reminder.

The leftist establishment reflexively announced that “we have a partner” in the wake of the convention. Yet there is no connection between this declaration and the text of the decisions taken in the congress. The talk about the armed struggle, Arafat’s poisoning, and all the other arrogant statements is one thing. Yet the most important thing is that the political plan approved by the convention blocks any possibility of a deal, even if Yossi Beilin becomes our prime minister.

The decisions reject the very existence of the Jewish State and resolutely insist on the right of return. For the sake of those unable to connect the two issues, the congress made it clear: We must see complete resistance, that cannot be renounced, to the recognition of Israel as a “Jewish State,” in order to safeguard the rights of the refugees and of our people on the other side of the Green Line (that is, the Arabs living in Israel.)

For the benefit of anyone who tried to convince us that UN Resolution 194 can be interpreted as a solution to the refugee problem without resettling them in Israel, the Fatah congress made clear: Refugee camps must not be dismantled under any circumstances, until the refugees return to their homes and towns, that is, in Israel.

Cat is out of bag

The Fatah apparently also doesn’t think there is a partner: They know Israel will not agree to accept such suicidal plan. Hence, the congress made clear to movement activists that in the absence of an agreement they will “make do” with something else: Aspiring for one democratic state between the Jordan River and Mediterranean Sea, with an Arab majority.

So now the cat is out of the bag in respect to the perpetual negotiations. Empty talks are not a means for partitioning the land, but rather, a means for preventing it. The Israeli Center woke up as result of this insight in 2003 and elected Kadima in 2006. Should Kadima dismiss this insight, it will disappear as quickly as it appeared.

What is the alternative to negotiations that a party committed to partitioning the land needs to offer? Not an end to the talks. A serious partition party needs to announce that it will accept the Obama plan, but demand that should the Palestinians thwart the agreement, international guarantees will be given for a unilateral withdrawal.

A serious partition party will decisively and resolutely speak out against the settlement enterprise in Judea and Samaria, which advances the Fatah’s plan for a united Palestine. Such party will promote a compensation-evacuation law now, not later. Such party will present a plan for shifting all infrastructures in Judea and Samaria from civilian hands and private companies to the IDF and Defense Ministry.

Finally, such party would aspire for unilateral partition even if the international community does not assume responsibility for security. The IDF can stay in the area even in the wake of the West Bank’s evacuation, until Fatah “moderates” decide they are interested in genuine peace. Even after the IDF pulls out we’ll be able to defend ourselves against missiles, if necessary – Operation Cast Lead and the Second Lebanon War proved that an aggressive response puts an end to the rockets.

Should our elected officials and senior Kadima members read Fatah’s decisions, rather than what Israeli newspapers say, perhaps they’ll finally get it too.

Appeasing Syria

The Obama approach to the Arab world and to dictatorships is failing.
by Elliott Abrams
The Weekly Standard

The Obama administration has been trying out a new policy toward Syria since the day it came to office. The Bush cold shoulder was viewed as a primitive reaction, now to be replaced by sophisticated diplomacy. Outreach would substitute for isolation.Thus there have been six visits to Damascus by high-level administration officials, including two by George Mitchell. Moreover, the administration has signaled that its handling of export license applications for Syria will be more "flexible" than that of the Bush administration, which tried to deny every shipment it could.

Well, the returns are in. Within the past week, Iraq has withdrawn its ambassador from Damascus and accused Syria of involvement in terrorist incidents in Baghdad. Iraqi TV has also aired a confession by an accused al Qaeda terrorist, a Saudi who claimed he had been trained in Syria--by the Asad regime's intelligence services. Nor is this all. Syria continues to support Hezbollah's blocking of the formation of a government in Lebanon, backing Hezbollah in its demand for a "blocking third" that would prevent any decisions Hezbollah opposes in any new Cabinet. The Palestinian terrorist groups remain headquartered in Damascus, and under no visible restraints. And on August 19, President Bashar Asad paid a visit to President Ahmadinejad in Tehran, to showcase his support of the latter during the current Iranian political crisis.

None of this is new. Throughout the Iraq war, jihadis who wanted to go to Iraq to kill Americans
and Iraqis would not cross the Saudi/Iraqi, Jordanian/Iraqi, or Kuwaiti/Iraqi borders--all of which were carefully patrolled. No, they would fly to Damascus International Airport, where young Arab men with no papers, no destination, and no visible means of support were welcomed and guided onward to the Iraqi border. It is obvious that in a police state like Syria it would have been simple to police the airport; even the mere requirement that young men have valid visas would have slowed or stopped the flow of jihadis through Syria. But that, of course, was not what the regime had in mind, and as the Iraqi government has now publicly stated, Syria remains a haven for jihadis and terrorist organizations killing people in Iraq.

Watching the smiling Mitchell shaking hands with Asad, Syrians knew that any hope of American pressure for human rights progress was in vain as well. Neither Mitchell nor Obama has ever mentioned the subject publicly, and if Mitchell has asked Asad to release any particular political prisoners that fact has been kept secret. In fact the president of the Syrian Human Rights Organization, Muhanad Al-Hasani, was imprisoned on July 28, four weeks after Mitchell's last visit.

Syria is an excellent test case of the new Obama approach to the Arab world and to dictatorships that the Bush administration tried to isolate. The new policy is failing.

The Obama staff can argue that Bush's isolation policies did not produce the desired results--they did not change Syrian policy toward Lebanon, the Palestinian terrorist groups, terrorism in Iraq, or human rights in Syria. True enough, but there are two responses. First, Bush's policy was far too soft. While the Bush administration used some trade and financial pressure against the Asad regime, it did not take the direct action against terrorists and terrorist facilities there that might have made the regime back away. Jihadis flowed into the Damascus airport, through training camps, and across the border into Iraq, to murder Coalition forces and civilians--but the United States never threatened or imposed the kind of punishment our military, across the border in Iraq in full strength, might have wielded. Second, whatever the weaknesses in Bush's policy, he knew and he stated repeatedly that the Asad regime was a vicious dictatorship that was an enemy of peace in the region. The new Obama policy has produced no change in Syrian conduct, but it has produced a change in American behavior: Now we have even lost the moral clarity with which America used to speak about the nature and actions of the Asad regime.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Pressuring Netanyahu

Obama utilizing Bibi’s greatest weakness; inability to withstand pressure

Elyakim Haetzni

I dreamt that I returned home after a long absence and a hostile neighbor started to embitter my life: He threatened, cursed, and broke windows. The neighbors said that because of me there was no peace in the neighborhood and sent a delegation to my house. The thing is, they explained, that the neighbor wants my wife, and therefore in the interest of peace they are offering territorial and functional compromises. During the time of negotiations, they also ask that I put my relationship with my wife on hold. Are you crazy? I yelled at them, and kicked them out of my home. Subsequently, they informed the journalists waiting outside for a “breakthrough” that I “hate peace.” I woke up frightened. I hate peace? After all, I merely love my wife.

In his meeting with Obama, Netanyahu still refused to hand over the Jewish homeland to the neighbor, even theoretically, and also did not agree to temporary put it on hold (“settlement freeze”) as preparation for divorce. Ever since then, Netanyahu had been rushing down the slippery slope: He declared his endorsement of the “two-state vision,” froze Jewish construction in Jerusalem as well, razed Jews home in Judea and Samaria with the help of the defense minister and State Prosecutor’s Office – which regularly endorses Peace Now positions at the High Court - stepped back from the “natural growth” formula, and already reached agreement on a “temporary” freeze – curbing the flow of blood and oxygen to the limb about to be cut off.

A majority among the people objects to Netanyahu’s way and identifies with the contradictory position of his deputy, Yaalon. A recent poll undertaken recently by Maagar Mochot (on behalf of IMRA) revealed the following:

a. 52% of respondents object to the freezing of construction in exchange for Arab gestures – 33% are in favor (within Netanyahu’s party, 70% resist.)

b. 51% endorse Minister Yaalon’s call to complete the permit process for Judea and Samaria outposts – 24% object (within Likud, 73% support this view.)

c. 41% believe that Peace Now “caused great damage to the State of Israel” – only 19% object to this statement.

d. 55% said they think Netanyahu is currently going down a slippery slope vis-à-vis President Obama – only 26% disagreed. (Meanwhile, 47% of respondents said a temporary construction “freeze” will become permanent, while only 15% disagreed.)

Netanyahu is addicted to polls and is likely aware of the public opinion objection to his concessions. What then prompts him to again go down the slippery American slope, which in the past already prompted his government’s collapse? The Americans, who are experts on preparing psychological profiles for foreign leaders, discovered the man’s weakness, which neutralizes all his good qualities – inability to withstand pressure – and they are exerting brutal and insulting pressure on him. On the other hand, Netanyahu does not fear similar domestic pressure, knowing that the “National Camp” will refrain from again toppling a “rightist” government in favor of a party such as Kadima.

However, Netanyahu is wrong here. First, because there is a limit to how much one can abuse the will of the people and the will of one’s own party. On one occasion they elected Sharon as leader of the Right and discovered him on the Left, and now it’s happening to them again. Secondly, there is no need to hand over power. When the Brits became fed up with Chamberlain they did not elect Labor. Rather, they replaced him with another leader from the same party: Churchill.

And most importantly: Some issues cannot be controlled by cold calculations, including a nation and party whose reaction comes from the heart or “gut,” even in contradiction to logic and a cost-benefit analysis. For example, values considered to be outdated, such as the notion of the land of our forefathers and our attachment to our homeland.

For this reason, we may yet hear the battle cry: “Are you crazy? We do not hate peace; we merely love our land.” And then, the American stick may break, and Netanyahu may pay the price by losing his job

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Obama's "Certain Defeat"? The No-Violence Administration Fights the Afghan War


Barry Rubin

If Iraq became Bush’s war, the Obama Administration is making Afghanistan its war. Except for the size and visibility of the conflict—which are huge factors—Bush got the better of the deal. Iraq has been easier than Afghanistan two very significant ways: it is more strategically important and it has been conceivably winnable. The mission in Iraq was to buy enough time so that a viable government could come to power, stabilize the situation at least to a minimum, and then defend itself. The U.S. presence could be reduced.

In contrast, Afghanistan is unwinnable. There will never be a viable government that can exist without major foreign military presence (or, at least, it wouldn’t be a government governing anything), and the strategic value of the real estate is pretty low. On the military level, the terrain is extremely difficult and, if anything, the local population is less supportive of a U.S. presence.

Now the administration and the military are discussing whether to send more troops to roll back the Taliban’s recent advances, which belied the generals’ optimism earlier this year. The.number of U.S. soldiers is set to rise from 63,000 to 68,000 by the end of the year, when there will be a total of 110,000 NATO troops in Afghanistan. As units withdraw from Iraq, some may be sent to Afghanistan.

Public support for the mission is falling and members of Congress from the president’s Democratic party are pushing for a timetable to pull out.

Tony Cordesman of Georgetown CSIS, who is about the most serious military analyst you’re ever going to meet and is usually a pretty cautious guy, wrote in the Washington Post that if Obama doesn’t send more troops he “will be as much a failed wartime president as George W. Bush," condemning the United States to "certain defeat."

Those are pretty tough words. How can the Obama administration, which seems so pacifistically inclined, gird its loins for a war that may be objectively tougher than Iraq or Vietnam? And what will happen if it doesn’t?

Perhaps the defeat can be kept relatively invisible. The Taliban and warlords might control the countryside and regional towns but in Kabul the central government would still function. With a supportive media and an extremely remote country possibly everything could be made to seem ok. Casualties would continue to be low compared to Iraq.

Meanwhile, though, the Obama Administration faces all the classic traps which entangled predecessors. There was apparently significant fraud in the recent elections so the United States is supporting a regime which has dictatorial aspects. Civilians are regularly killed unintentionally in military operations so U.S. forces can be accused of brutality and war crimes, even if this is done unfairly and for propagandistic purposes.

The president has a clear political-strategic plan for dealing with the war but like most of his other foreign policy plans it makes no sense in terms of the actual issue, as soothing as it might sound to American listeners.

His plan is:

--Pour money into Afghanistan to make the government effective and provide good services to Afghans. Ha, on that one.

--To pour money into Afghanistan to produce a strong reliable Afghan army. Ha, again.

--And to pour money into Pakistan to secure that country’s help in controlling the border area. They’ll take the money and not help much. The only thing the Pakistan military and intelligence units seem capable of doing well nowadays is to organize terrorist attacks against India.

So here it is once again: An endless commitment to battle an unsolvable problem in the Middle East (Arab-Israeli, Israeli-Palestinian). The United States must spend large amounts of money and lives to help those unwilling or unable to pull their own weight and who certainly have no intention of showing gratitude in real terms (Palestinians, Gulf Arabs). The policy will be used to stir up anti-Americanism amongst Muslims (all of the above); in its performance the United States will have to help shore up an unpopular regime (Pakistan, etc.).

What? You can’t solve the problem by making a speech to show people you want to be their friends, win a total military victory, bring democracy and higher living standards to make everyone content, engage the radicals into moderation, or find the perfect compromise?

No. And remember, Afghanistan has all the negative aspects of the Middle East and then some. Watch the Afghanistan issue. The only reason it won’t become a very important problem for the Obama Administration is that not enough others are watching it.

Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal. His latest books are The Israel-Arab Reader (seventh edition), The Long War for Freedom: The Arab Struggle for Democracy in the Middle East (Wiley), and The Truth About Syria (Palgrave-Macmillan)

Netanyahu urges pupils to embrace Zionism

J Post

As children across the country shuffled back into classrooms on Tuesday, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was busy touring a number of schools, beginning in Modi'in and ending in the north of the country, where he welcomed pupils back after the summer break and encouraged them to strengthen their connection to the Land of Israel. "During my visit to Berlin last week, I witnessed first hand the price we paid for being helpless," the prime minister said at Kibbutz Sde Eliahu, referring to the architectural plans for the Auschwitz death camp, including detailed blueprints for the camp's barracks, delousing facilities and gas chambers, which he obtained during his trip.

"But we returned to our homeland," Netanyahu continued. "And we are obligated to strengthen our hold on the land and preserve our independence."

The prime minister told the pupils that one way to do this was through education.

"We advocate education that stresses values, Zionism and a love of the land, and that is what you are learning here," he said.

Speaking to pupils earlier in the day in Modi'in, Netanyahu was asked by one of the children if he had been excited about being elected prime minister. "Yes, but not as much as the last time," Netanyahu said, smiling, "because [this time] I knew what was waiting for me."

Later in the day, the prime minister arrived in the northern Arab town of Shfaram, where he spoke to students at a high school, saying he would work to clamp down on violence during the new school year.

"We all want peace, mostly within our own our own communities," Netanyahu said. "Therefore, we must put a stop to violence."

Netanyahu, who was visibly sweating from the heat, told pupils: "You should study in comfortable conditions," adding, "and there should be air conditioning here, for God's sake!"

"One of the things that will happen following my visit here is that an air conditioner will be installed," he pledged.

Elsewhere on Tuesday, however, Netanyahu's policies were the subject of criticism, as Samarian Regional Council Chairman Gershon Mesika toured a national-religious elementary school in Yakir, near Karnei Shomron, with National Infrastructures Minister Uzi Landau (Israel Beiteinu).

Explaining to Landau that the school system in Samaria had grown by six percent in the last year - five times more than the national average - Mesika complained that the "freezing policies" of former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert had not changed under Netanyahu's administration, and that students were running out of classroom space.

"It seems that there are efforts to make life difficult in the Samaria," Landau replied. "And a civilized and cultured country, which is concerned about human rights, cannot accept these kinds of [construction] freezes."

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

My Friends Used to be Jewish

Norma Zager

"We learn from history that we learn nothing from history...." -- George Bernard Shaw

Anti-Semitism is as old as the world; hatred as old as man. When the anti-Semitism is by Jews toward Jews, it exceeds egregious. Recently, I heard one of the saddest comments my poor ears have ever endured while dining with friends. The name of a woman in the community was mentioned, unfamiliar to most. Further probing initiated the following comment from one of the diners: "You know the type. She's one of those far-right pro-Israel people."

When dining with ultra liberals, I have learned to keep my opinions to myself. Showing any mercy for those who do not share their leftist views would be unthinkable. They truly believe anyone who does not agree with their politics should just shut up and cease to exist. I have actually heard these insane words from them.

Had I been sitting at a meeting of the Aryan Nation, I would not have blinked an eye. The fact I was in Beverly Hills, at a table filled with wealthy, influential Jewish women, caused not only a blink, but a major spasm. I looked around, waiting for someone other than myself to call her on the remark. Silence. The sadness of this unfortunate statement was compounded by the indifference of my fellow diners.

I long ago learned to keep silent when faced with such unreasonable opinions. I have been called too many names and learned the hard way how inflexible arrogance can be. I let her words pass, yet it disturbs me on so many levels.

Were this an isolated incident, it would not be so tragic. Unfortunately, it is all too common now. These Israel-bashers behave like vicious, bitter parents who have turned their back on a child who refuses to comply with the rules.

I can certainly understand there are Jewish people who disagree over political philosophy, and it is the right of every American, whatever religion, to do so. But to berate another Jew for being pro-Israel is so far beyond my comprehension that words fail me.

Well, not entirely.

Sometimes, I am tempted to give young people a pass concerning Israel because we are too many generations passed the Holocaust for institutional memory. When the anti-Semitic Jew is someone who doesn't fall into that category, I am thrown off balance.

My grandmother was a poor widow in Europe living in a small town that is now part of Germany. My father and his sister lived in a house with dirt floors and ate when there was food. Very rarely was there enough to go around. My grandmother went without so her children could eat. Seeing pictures of her frail frame, I am never left with the impression vanity was the cause of her slimness. I knew it was because she sacrificed and struggled to keep her family alive and fed, as every mother would.

She was a kind soul, without a mean bone in her body, and she scraped together enough money to send her son to America just before World War II. She dreamed she and my innocent aunt would join him when there was enough money. My father worked to send money home for his mother and sister, and relatives already in New York contributed. Soon, unfortunately, Hitler rendered the expenditure unnecessary.

My aunt and grandmother died in the camps. I never met them, but their spirits call to me from the grave to protect future generations and ensure that "never again" means "never again."

I understand Israel is not perfect. No country is, but governments are people, and, well, I think we all know the perfection level of the human species falls short.

Sometimes, I am tempted to believe Jews bemoan their fate too much. Perhaps it is enough already with the Nazis and Hitler and constant concentration camp reminders. People do remember and you need not remind them, at least not Jews. Then, I hear a comment like the one I heard recently from a Jewish person, and I realize it is not the Gentiles who need reminding.

Christians embrace the belief that blessing Israel will bring blessings, and freely do so with their hearts and their money. The destruction of the Jewish people will not come from without, but from within, by those who believe it is sophisticated or a sign of intelligence to berate Israel and its defenders.

These elitist intellectuals behave as the Jews in Germany in the 1930s. Even as they boarded the trucks and trains for the camps, they believed they were above peril in German hands.

For those who doubt the threat, may I remind the Jewish population that things were once good for our people in pre-war Germany, pre-Khomeini Iran, modern day Venezuela, France and Sweden?

I pray the day never comes when anyone else like my sweet, beloved grandmother or aunt will be viciously slaughtered for reasons beyond human understanding. Yet, when I see with my own eyes how many of my friends used to be Jewish, I am filled with sorrow and fear.

Castigating a fellow Jew for pro-Israel views is an insult to the memory of every mother who had her child ripped from her arms and thrown into an oven; or the 22 schoolchildren who died in 1974 in the Ma'alot massacre at the hands of Arab terrorists. Such remarks reverberate throughout the graves of the dead, and the memories of those still alive and suffering simply because they are Jews.

Even sadder are Jewish people who behave like the haters that condemned them to death throughout the centuries. Jews outcast fellow Jews, and it is not happening in Nazi Germany or Iran. Those "pro-Israel people" have been forced underground and are afraid to speak for fear of repercussion. How can this be happening in the richest Jewish communities in America?

It is obvious more reminders are necessary and there is a greater risk than once perceived.

There is a wonderful story about a Jewish man on his knees praying and thanking God in a concentration camp. His friend asked what he could possibly be thanking God for and he answered, "I am thanking God I am not like them."

May God protect Israel and its people and most importantly, may he protect them from the kind of Jewish mentality I witnessed not long ago.

Barak hopes for deal with settlers


Defense Minister Ehud Barak hopes to reach an agreement with settler leaders that will enable the evacuation of 23 unauthorized outposts in the West Bank without the need for military or police intervention, officials said Monday. They spoke with The Jerusalem Post following a 90-minute face-to-face meeting Barak held at his Tel Aviv office with leading members of the Council of Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip.

It was the first time in several months that Barak sat down with settler leaders to discuss the ongoing standoff over the government's declared intention to evacuate 23 unauthorized outposts constructed after March 2001. Israel has promised the United States that it would remove these outposts.

During the meeting, Barak stressed that the outposts would be evacuated in line with decisions made by previous Israeli governments led by Ariel Sharon and Ehud Olmert.

"This is a law-abiding government and people cannot just do what they want," he told the settler leaders.

Officials said that the meeting was part of the ongoing negotiations with the settlers toward an outpost deal.

But settler leaders who met with Barak for the second time since Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu took office in March stressed that the meeting was not part of any negotiations toward a deal to voluntarily evacuate the outposts.

Dani Dayan, who heads the Council of Jewish Communities of Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip, said there could be no such deal until the government lifted its de facto freeze on new construction permits.

The lack of new construction has been like an absence of air for the residents of Judea and Samaria, said Dayan. Just as underwater swimmers do, they needed to rise to the surface to breath, Dayan said.

He attended the meeting along with the council's director-general Pinchas Wallerstein, Binyamin Regional Council head Avi Ro'eh, Karnei Shomron Council head Herzl Ben-Arie, Amana head Ze'ev Hever and Ma'aleh Adumim Mayor Benny Kashriel.

Samaria Regional Council head Gershon Mesika boycotted the meeting.

"This is a political farce - the cards have been stacked ahead of this game. This is not about legality of the outposts. Barak's right hand has been evading proper procedure and for years has refused to sign legal building permits because of his political views, and now his left hand wishes to destroy those same communities that he calls illegal because he himself did not approve them."

Mesika said, "Netanyahu is hiding behind Barak as he kneels to American pressure, and Ehud Barak is hiding behind weak excuses of upholding law and order."

But Ben-Arie said he believed it was important to present Barak with the correct information regarding the legal status of the outposts and the harm caused by the lack of new construction projects.

In his settlement of Karnei Shomron, said Ben-Arie, there were more than 100 newly married couples who could not find housing.

"I hope he wants to open a dialogue with us to solve the problems," said Ben-Arie.

Barak told them that no decision to freeze settlement activity had been taken, but that the US and Israel were engaged in talks about it.

He said that such a freeze was a diplomatic issue between Israel and the United States and was not connected to the illegal outposts.

But Dayan and other settler leaders said they explained to Barak that many of the outposts were fledgling communities that had begun with all the proper authorizations, but that final approvals were never signed because the government's policy had changed.

"Any attempt to make one-sided, unilateral, forceful evacuations will have catastrophic consequences," warned Dayan.

At the end of the meeting, the sides agreed to maintain an open line of communication and to meet again.
This article can also be read at /servlet/Satellite?cid=1251145167288&pagename=JPArticle%2FShowFull

Comment: These are Israeli citizens choosing to live in the disputed territories of Judea and Samaria.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Reflections on the New Anti-Semitism

David Solway On August 29, 2009

The Hebrew Scripture is replete with passages of unforgettable beauty, and many of the most beautiful are to be found in the Book of Psalms. Psalm 119, the longest in the book, is studded with such pearls, in particular verses 103-05, which read (in the King James translation):
How sweet are thy words unto my taste! Yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth! Through thy precepts I get understanding: therefore I hate every false way. Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.
These words resonate ironically today, when the words one hears and reads everywhere around us about Jews, about Zionists, and about the state of Israel are not “sweet” but sharp and bitter. The “precepts” we receive in the various media, print and electronic, do not promote “understanding” but seem instead to justify “every false way.” The biblical “lamp” seems to have been extinguished and the “path” is shrouded in darkness The most recent case in point comes from the left-leaning Swedish tabloid Aftonbladet, which reported [1] in a double-truck spread on August 18, 2009, that Israeli soldiers regularly abduct Palestinians to harvest their innards for the international organ trade. (This is the same daily that, on Easter 2003, referred [2] to “the crucifixion of Arafat.”) The source for this ludicrous fable consists of a number of Palestinians whose depositions are accepted as gospel. How Swede are their words! The story now comes full circle back to its Palestinian source to be confirmed by the Palestinian news agency Ma’an (which is, incidentally, financed by Denmark and Holland). The feature [3] cites a certain “expert” whose evidence for the claim consists of a rather peculiar factoid, namely, that Israel returns the bodies of Hezbollah fighters minus their organs! The obvious question remains unasked: why would Israel send back these scavenged bodies if it wished to avoid detection and avert a scandal? The absurdity is palpable, but logic and common sense are clearly beyond the cognitive abilities of anti-Semites. And then, as we know, there is the inconvenient medical fact [4] that the organs of people who do not expire under clinical conditions, when organs can be removed immediately, are not viable for transplant.
Anyone who is even remotely familiar with the Palestinian propaganda machine and the robust anti-Semitism of the Swedish media and officialdom (not to mention Norway, Spain, the UK, and several other European countries) might consult another verse from Psalm 119: “The wicked have laid a snare for me.” And indeed they have. The most popular Dutch newspaper [5], De Telegraaf, cleared the way for its Swedish counterpart to launch its newest calumny, publishing an article on August 8, 2009, accusing Jews of creating swine flu as part of a pharmaceutical conspiracy to profit from the sale of antidotes.
The despicable lies perpetrated by Aftonbladet and De Telegraaf are only the latest in what seems like an endless chain of defamatory utterances and slanderous fictions about the Jewish people and the Jewish state. We recall the notorious Mohammed al-Durah hoax [6], in which the Palestinian 12-year-old was ostensibly shot by the IDF (Israel Defense Forces) at the Netzarim junction in Gaza on September 30, 2000, propagated by the France TV 2 network and picked up by every major news outlet on the planet. We now know that the episode was rehearsed, directed, and staged with the collusion of Palestinian stringers and cameramen. It constitutes perhaps the most conspicuous contemporary chapter in the never-ending and constantly mutating hate-campaign against the Jewish people.
Then we had the so-called Jenin massacre [7], which turned out to be anything but, except for the 22 young Israeli soldiers who died trying to avoid civilian casualties when an American-style air strike would have done the job of scrubbing out the terrorist nest. Next, the blame for the 2006 Lebanon war [8] was laid at Israel’s doorstep although the conflict was triggered by the Hezbollah incursion into Israeli territory, resulting in the kidnapping and killing of several Israeli soldiers. Britain’s Independent went so far as to accuse Israel [9] of using uranium-tipped weapons, a claim so manifestly outrageous it defies both reason and belief — and should rightly have defied publication.
An investigation [10] is now proceeding under the auspices of the United Nations Human Rights Council into Israel’s conduct during Operation Cast Lead [11] in Gaza. There is not so much as a mention in its mandate of Hamas’ seven-year rocket barrage against civilian communities in southern Israel which provoked the long-deferred Israeli response. Note well. It is not Hamas [12] — a terrorist organization whose charter promises the annihilation of the Jewish state, which has deliberately violated international law by using its own civilians as human shields, firing missiles from its own population centers, storing ammunition in hospitals and mosques, and commandeering ambulances as troop carriers, and that continues to hold a kidnapped Israeli soldier [13] in illegal detention — which is being investigated. It is Israel that is being singled out for condemnation, the country of which British military expert Richard Kemp, in a BBC interview [14] in January 2009, said: “I don’t think there has ever been a time in the history of warfare when any army has made more efforts to reduce casualties and deaths of innocent people than the IDF is doing today in Gaza.”
The world is once again thirsting for Jewish blood, an ironic reversal of the old blood libel canard. We see this vampiric appetite expre ssed in a multitude of different ways: in the international media, as we have observed; in the theater (My Name Is Rachel Corrie [15], Seven Jewish Children [16]); in film (Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ [17]); in opera (the antiphrastic staging of Camille Saint-Saen’s Samson et Dalila [18] in Antwerp in May 2008, with the Philistines cast in the role of the Israelites and the Israelites as the oppressors of the Philistines); in the tarnished and largely one-sided reports of NGOs like Amnesty International [19] and Human Rights Watch [20] (the latter soliciting funds from Saudi Arabia [21]); in int ernational conferences on racism (Durban I and II [22], which turn into flagrant anti-Israel and anti-Jewish hatefests); in the General Assembly of the United Nations (whose current president, Miguel d’Escoto Brockman [23], is an outspoken opponent of the Jewish state); on university campuses where Israel Apartheid Week [24] is one of the hottest shows around; in Barack Obama’s defaulting on the commitment of the previous American administration regarding the natural growth of Israeli settlements [25] and construction in East Jerusalem; and so on, ad vomitatum.
And there seems no way at present of evading the growing pandemic of anti-Jewish feeling and anti-Israeli denunciation that is infecting the contemporary world. “What is new about the new anti-Semitism,” writes Phyllis Chesler in The New Anti-Semitism [26], is “that it is worldwide. … Jews are being verbally and vis ually attacked everywhere.” The Jew is someone for whom there is no elsewhere. This is my definition, but there have, of course, been many definitions of the Jew over the millennia, most of them pejorative. I need not rehearse them once again, for the Dictionary of Received Opinion is open to all and readily available. It is, in effect, the one dictionary that need not be purchased, lodged in the inner life of the West like a demonic version of the Gideon Bible in hotel room drawers.
There is no disputing this. What the great English Renaissance author Sir Thomas Browne [27] called the Pseudodoxia Epidemica (or Dictionary of Received Opinion) is especially rich and hospitable when it comes to the vilification of the Jew. In his master work of that title, Browne set out to dispel common prejudices of every kind, a Herculean effort which, fraught with “discouragment of contradiction, unbelief, and difficulty,” he described as the “disswasion from radicated beliefs.” Concerning the Jews, he is in no doubt about the ubiquitous and diabolical error of such “radicated beliefs.” “In the conceit of the evil order of the Jews,” he writes, “Christians without a farther res earch into the verity of the thing, or enquiry into the cause, draw up a judgment upon them.” It is only the “more ocular discerners” who know otherwise.
Today, it is not only Christians (or Muslims) who “draw up a judgment upon them” but, as Chesler indicates, a vast, secular, politically correct, mainly liberal-left constituency busily adding a sheaf of extra pages to the common Pseudodoxia, comprising a thick appendix of stigmatic designations. Obviously, this has mainly to do with Israel, conceived as the new Jew on the block and the national incarnation of the “longest hatred” as it manifests among us. Anti-Jewish and anti-Israeli sentiment has become so pervasive that it reminds me of the philosopher Nicholas of Cusa [28]’s definition of God as a circle whose center is everywhere and whose circumference is nowhere. But in our demented age the definition applies not to love but to hatred, not to the worship of the Lord but to the derogation of the “satanic” Jew.
The fact must be faced. Although there are writers of integrity, talent, and impressive scholarship, truly “ocular discerners,” who have taken up the d efense of Jews and of Israel, it seems increasingly like a fruitless struggle. The words of Israel’s defenders in the infosphere are simply unable to fill the ever-expanding circle of hostility, deprecation, and vengefulness in which Jews and the Jewish state now find themselves. It is, rather, the words of their adversaries that proliferate and block out the horizon of discourse — the invidious message of those who should never be taken at their word.
Thankfully, there is a countervailing fact as well, which has to do with the long history of courage against all the odds and the unprecedented resilience of the Jewish people — and, of course, with those honorable and gracious advocates for truth and decency who come to the defense of Israel. As hapless as the battle may seem at times, there can be no reneging. “Nor have we let fall our penne,” wrote Browne, even though we “are oft-times fain to wander in the America and untravelled parts of truth.” Browne was a devout man who would have based his practice on a passage like that of verse 130 of the above-quoted psalm: “The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding to the simple.” I would add only the hopeful rider: and to the sophisticates as well.
But for those of us who are not religiously observant, the imperative to speak, write, and act remains in force. In the interests of the survival of Israel and the integrity of the West, and despite all the impediments raised against the simple truth, we need to get the word out.

Article printed from Pajamas Media:
URL to article:
URLs in this post:
[1] which reported:
[2] referred:
[3] feature:
[4] the inconvenient medical fact:
[5] Dutch newspaper: rld/c-12250/jews-to-blame-for-swine-flu/
[6] Mohammed al-Durah hoax:
[7] so-called Jenin massacre:
[8] 2006 Lebanon war:
[9] accuse Israel:
[10] investigation:
[11] Operation Cast Lead:
[12] Hamas:
[13] Israeli soldier:
[14] BBC interview:
[15] My Name Is Rachel Corrie:
[16] Seven Jewish Children:
[17] The Passion of the Christ:
[18] Samson et Dalila: http://en.wikipedia .org/wiki/Samson_and_Delilah_%28opera%29
[19] Amnesty International:
[20] Human Rights Watch:
[21] funds from Saudi Arabia:
[22] Durban I and II:
[23] Miguel d’Escoto Brockman:
[24] Israel Apartheid Week:
[25] Israeli settlements:
[26] The New Anti-Semitism:
[27] Sir Thomas Browne:
[28] Nicholas of Cusa:

What the new era in Japan might mean for Israel

Ben-Ami Shillony
Haaretz News

The immediate consequence of the opposition's sweeping victory in Japan's elections yesterday will be psychological - it will create an atmosphere of optimism that could strengthen the economy. Such optimism will be fleeting if it is not followed by concrete results. The victorious Democratic Party, headed by Yukio Hatoyama, has never before governed in Japan. It is seeking to be perceived as a center-left party.

Hatoyama has declared that his government will raise child allowances, expand welfare services and abolish highway tolls. He plans to fund these programs by shutting down "wasteful" projects, such as unnecessary highways and bridges.

These "wasteful" projects were designed to stimulate the Japanese economy, and eliminating them will harm various sectors and slow the country's recovery from recession.

The Democratic Party's plan to eliminate the employment of temporary industry workers, which would benefit employees but hurt industry, is expected to cause similar problems.

The new government will attempt to forge a more independent foreign policy, involving closer ties with China and other Asian countries and more independence from the United States.

Hatoyama has said he will end Japan's participation in anti-terrorism efforts in Afghanistan; Japan was involved in refueling American ships in the Indian Ocean.

Ending Japanese support for Western military operations in Afghanistan could cause tension with the United States and reduce American support for Japan in its confrontation with North Korea. It could also hurt U.S.-bound exports, which are essential for the Japanese economy's recovery. Toyota recently reported a 20 percent drop in worldwide car sales, while Mitsubishi's car sales were down 45 percent.

Withdrawing from American guardianship could also change Japanese policy toward Israel. Until now, Japan limited its support for the Palestinians to aiding economic projects, in keeping with American requests. The Hatoyama government is likely to take a more pro-Arab stance, such as by recognizing Hamas and making tougher demands of Israel, such as calling for an end to construction in the settlements. Such a position would be similar to the line taken by some European governments, and will not necessarily lead to a confrontation with the United States. The Obama administration may actually be pleased.

This January, the Israeli ambassador in Tokyo, Nissim Ben-Shitrit, participated in a Democratic Party convention. At the end of the convention, he met with Hatoyama. The party's Web site stated that Hatoyama expressed his deep concern over the Palestinian victims of Israel's Cast Lead operation in the Gaza Strip, and added that he hoped Israel would change its policies toward the Arab world, like American foreign policy had changed with the election of Barack Obama.

Hatoyama called himself the Japanese Obama in his election campaign, and said he would bring hoped-for change. When it comes to Israel, Obama and Hatoyama may coordinate efforts in ways Israel hasn't expected.

PM, reacting to Ya'alon, says Peace Now 'not a virus'

Aug. 31, 2009

Peace Now found an unlikely advocate on Sunday in its longtime nemesis: Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

In a rare joint interview with Israel Radio and Army Radio, Netanyahu defended Peace Now from the attack on it by his vice premier, Moshe Ya'alon, two weeks ago. "It is important to clarify that the Left is not a virus and the settlers are not a cancer," Netanyahu told interviewers Yaron Deckel and Razi Barka'i. "There are legitimate disputes in Israeli society and we must maintain unity and show respect for political rivals by talking and acting in a restrained manner."

Netanyahu referred in his statement to Ya'alon calling Peace Now's repeated pushing for withdrawals from territory despite Palestinian rejectionism "a virus" and former Meretz MK Yossi Sarid, Hebrew University professor Ze'ev Sternhell and other leftist activists who compared the spread of settlements in the West Bank to that of cancer.

The prime minister also expressed regret for his controversial statement, whispered into the ear of the late Sephardic kabbalist Rabbi Yitzhak Kadourie in 1997, that "the Leftists forgot what it means to be Jewish."

"Wisdom and age have changed me," Netanyahu said. "I am the prime minister of everyone now."

Peace Now secretary-general Yariv Oppenheimer welcomed Netanyahu's statements but expressed regret that he did not take action to remove Ya'alon from the prestigious, six-member inner cabinet.

In the interview, Netanyahu did not reveal what understandings he had reached with the Americans regarding a possible West Bank settlement freeze, but he expressed confidence that he would not face a coalition crisis over the matter.

"Every decision made disappoints someone," Netanyahu said. "I will act in the way that I think protects Israeli security and advances peace with our neighbors. This balance in the end is respected by Israeli citizens and MKs in the Likud and the coalition. I think that when you act correctly, everyone knows it."

Likud MK Danny Danon wrote Netanyahu a letter on Sunday complaining that he was making decisions regarding a settlement freeze without consulting the Likud faction or the cabinet.

"Your advisers were not elected by the Israeli public," Danon wrote. "Making such decisions behind closed doors harms democracy."
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Comment: Relax everyone, this is a political move-Ya'alon has not been "thrown under the bus"-keep the statement in context-the media will play it as such and a legitimate question for them is why are you choosing to frame the PM's comment in such manner?

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Left laments Obama's image in Israel

Aug. 30, 2009

The Israeli Left reacted with dismay over the weekend to the results of a Jerusalem Post-sponsored Smith Research poll published on Friday that found only 4 percent of Jewish Israelis believe that US President Barack Obama's policies are more pro-Israel than pro-Palestinian. The survey, which was featured prominently on Fox News in the United States and picked up by media outlets around the world, reported that 51% of Jewish Israelis considered Obama's administration more pro-Palestinian than pro-Israel, 35% called it neutral and 10% declined to express an opinion.

The poll of 500 people representing a statistical model of the Jewish Israeli population had a margin of error of 4.5%.

Meretz and Peace Now said the survey indicated that Israelis did not yet realize the potential benefits of the regional peace initiative that Obama was advocating, but they expressed confidence that they eventually would.

"It is terrific for Israel that there is an American president with vision, and it is a pity that most Israelis don't realize that," Meretz faction chairman MK Ilan Gilon said. "Israelis think that Christian evangelists who rubber-stamp everything Israel does are the only Americans who are pro-Israel. But what is really good for Israel is a solution to the conflict, and Obama is doing what it takes to bring it about."

Peace Now secretary-general Yariv Oppenheimer said what mattered more at this stage of the peace process was Obama's reputation in the Arab world, and not in Israel.

"Despite the results of the poll, the Israeli interest is that Obama will be popular in the Arab world, so he could bring about a peace agreement with Israel," Oppenheimer said. "Bush was popular in Israel and hated around the world, and his policies did not help Israel end the Palestinian conflict or quell the Iranian threat. If he succeeds in his goals of advancing Middle East peace, I am sure he will become much more popular with Israelis."

Zionist Organization of America President Morton Klein, who was excluded from a recent meeting of US Jewish leaders with Obama, issued a press release saying that the poll confirmed a high degree of Israeli concern with and disapproval of the US leader's policies.

"It is clear that the Obama administration's relentless pressure upon America's ally Israel to not permit even one additional Jew to move into eastern Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria, demanding virtually the unilateral establishment of a Palestinian state that will certainly be a terrorist state antagonistic to Israel, while putting no serious pressure on the Palestinians to arrest terrorists or end incitement against Jews and Israelis, has led most Israelis to now believe that Barack Obama is friend of Arabs and not of the Israelis," Klein said.

Chicago-based Palestinian commentator Ray Hanania wrote on the Arabisto Web site that Israelis might have assumed wrongly that Obama would be pro-Israel, because he shared a name with Defense Minister Ehud Barak.

"[Obama] is not in anyone's back pocket," Hanania wrote. "The Israeli lobby in the United States must be besides itself wondering what the heck is going on. But if being fair, just and dedicated to genuine peace means that 'more' people might think you are not on their side, then maybe that's the price someone in this country should finally pay if the United States is going to continue to insist on being the sole arbiter of the so-far elusive Middle East Peace."

The Right questioned how 4% of the Jewish Israeli population could still consider Obama more pro-Israel than pro-Palestinian.

"Four percent of the public evidently didn't understand the question," said National Union MK Arye Eldad. "If they did, 99.9% would say that he is extremely anti-Israel. The only Israelis who would say he is pro-Israel are those who join Fatah and call for anti-Israel boycotts.

"Obama is one of the most antagonistic presidents to Israel ever. I hope he will not succeed in his goal of doing irrevocable damage to Israel and that once again we will be saved by the rejectionism of the Arabs, who always want even more than they have been offered."

Likud MK Danny Danon expressed satisfaction that Israelis believed that Obama was not acting in Israel's interests. He said he hoped that the US president's "one-sidedness" would ironically derail the Middle East peace process, because Israelis would urge Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to reject Obama's pressure.

"If at first we thought Obama was omnipotent, we see polls in Israel and in the US that the magic and nice words have finally begun to wear off," Danon said. "Obama's extremism against Israel has united the population from center to Right behind Netanyahu."
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