Saturday, May 08, 2010

Israel fears energy targets will be hit

TEL AVIV, Israel, May 6 (UPI) -- Israel's mounting alarm at Hezbollah's reported acquisition of increasing numbers of long-range missiles stems in part from concern for the security of the country's emerging infrastructure.Jane's Intelligence Review reported the Israelis are concerned that their drive to develop an energy infrastructure built around the natural gas fields recently discovered in the Mediterranean off the northern port of Haifa would be put at risk by Hezbollah's swelling arsenal.

The magazine, published in Britain, said the "relatively unsophisticated nature of Hezbollah's arsenal means that the militants' ability to successfully target individual critical energy sites in and around Haifa would be limited.

"However, the risk remains that the use of a combination of mass indirect fire and more sophisticated guided systems would place such infrastructure at risk." During the 34-day war between Hezbollah and Israel in the summer of 2006, the Iranian-backed Shiite movement pounded northern Israel with nearly 4,000 rockets, the overwhelming majority of which were relatively short-range, unguided weapons.

Several hit Haifa, which is also a major naval base, and caused some industrial damage.

Otherwise they did relatively little critical damage beyond the profound psychological impact the unprecedented bombardment -- and the Israeli forces' failure to stop it -- had on Israel's civilian population.

But now, the Israeli military claims Hezbollah has an arsenal of around 45,000 rockets and missiles, some of them with the range to hit pretty much anywhere in the Jewish state all the way to the southern Negev Desert.

Israel claims that Syria, Iran's Arab ally, provided Hezbollah with an unspecified number of road-mobile M600 short-range ballistic missiles in

2009. The M600 is a Syrian-engineered version of Iran's Fateh surface-to-surface missile. It has a range of at least 160 miles and carries a 1,100-pound warhead.

Most importantly, it also has an inertial guidance system that means it impacts within 500 yards of its target and blowing up gas installations can trigger immense fireballs that can cause widespread destruction.

In April, the Israelis claimed Syria had also supplied Hezbollah with an unspecified number of Soviet-designed Scud ballistic missiles which have a range of up to 430 miles.

But there has been no evidence of this and even the Americans are skeptical that Hezbollah would resort to using these cumbersome systems that take up to 45 minutes to prepare for launch and are far more detectable than the more nimble M600s.

Israel has to import almost all its energy requirements, so developing a domestic energy infrastructure has a strategic dimension.

The gas strike of up to 200 billion cubic meters of gas at the Tamar and Dalat fields makes Haifa even more of an import target for Israel's enemies. The Israelis plan to build a liquefied gas plant there with an annual capacity of 4 billion cubic meters.

Jane's said that it is likely that the plant will be located offshore, mostly probably in Haifa Bay.

"It may be 2015 before the plant comes online, making its significance and the threat it faces a long-term one," the report said.

The M600s would be able to reach as far south as the port of Ashdod, which also has an oil refinery, if they were fired just south of Beirut.

That would make them more vulnerable to Israeli attack. But even M600s fired from further north in the Bekaa Valley, Hezbollah's heartland, could hit Tel Aviv and Israel's industrial center.

If a missile bombardment of Haifa and its environs was successful "the impact for Israel could be significant," Jane's reported.

"The new plant is designed to receive liquefied natural gas from a variety of international sources to diversify the country's energy supplies.

"At full operating capacity, the 4 billion cubic meters of natural gas this would be able to receive would more than cover Israel's current domestic consumption." That is estimated to be around 2.5 billion cubic meters a year.

"Although the liquefied natural gas plant is designed to supplement other sources of Israeli gas . The loss of the plant for a prolonged period of time would mark a major blow to Israel's efforts to diversify its energy supplies." Jane's concluded.

"It would also place greater importance on existing gas supplies, the supply infrastructure for which could also come under threat, certainly around Haifa and potentially further afield."

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IMRA - Independent Media Review and Analysis Website:

How to Accuse IDF of War Crimes

Dan Illouz

Follow Israel opinion on Twitterand Facebook.

Would you like to help accuse Israeli soldiers, officers, and leaders of war crimes? It's easy as writing a check.

Did you ever wish you could be part of the international movement for the delegitimization of the Jewish state? Did you always want to be part of the struggle against Zionism? Did you ever want to assist those who are accusing Israeli soldiers of War crimes and getting international warrants issued against Israeli military and political officials?

Well, now you can! A recently published research paper from Im Tirtzu, a student organization whose goal is to re-engage Israeli society with Zionism, showed that the New Israel Fund is playing a central role in providing support for organizations which have issued arrest warrants against Israeli officers and politicians for war crimes.

Do you want Tzipi Livni to cancel her next diplomatic visit to England out of fear of arrest? No problem! Support the New Israel Fund! Do you want to stop Major General Doron Almog from leaving the country? No problem! Support
the New Israel Fund!

The greatest part is that you don’t even need to openly oppose Zionism! The New Israel Fund has been created in such a masterfully misleading way that if you support it, people will actually think you are supporting Israel. In other words, you can support anti-Zionism and anti-Israel sentiment while claiming you are actually partnering to make Israel a better place!

How did the New Israel Fund manage to pull off such a great maneuver?

Well, within the long list of programs supported by the New Israel Fund, actual programs for positive social change have been included. By this means, if anyone ever accuses you of supporting an anti-Israel organization, you can simply point to those programs and tell them those are the real reason for your support. Now don’t worry: the NIF will spend your money wisely and Israel will be attacked on the diplomatic and legal fronts, but the NIF will not look like an extremist organization and its actions will be more effective.

One important note needs to be added: as you know, Im Tirtzu has recently started blowing the cover of the NIF by publishing some well researched reports. These reports show the great amount influence the NIF has on all the fronts on which Israel is currently being attacked internationally.

The best way for NIF to deal with this is by simply accusing Im Tirtzu of McCarthyism. McCarthyism is a political strategy through which one makes accusations of disloyalty or treason without proper evidence in order to silence opponents. Now, the NIF knows that the reports published by Im Tirtzu are well researched and that they have enough evidence to back their claims. The NIF also knows that accusations of McCarthyism towards Im Tirtzu can themselves qualify as McCarthyism. After all, the NIF is made of smart people coming from the elite strata of society. They know that Im Tirtzu is simply adding new layers to the public discourse by giving more information and transparency to the public.

However, the NIF also knows that dealing with the actual arguments Im Tirtzu has levelled against it will surely result in their loss because, after all, Im Tirtzu has discovered the truth. This is why a recent email sent by the leadership of the New Israel Fund clearly instructed its supporters to engage in the delegitimization of Im Tirtzu and that is also why the NIF is publicly characterizing Im Tirtzu as “a radical right wing movement”. The NIF knows that Im Tirtzu has members who identify with Labor, Kadima, Likud. They also know that this issue has affected Tzipi Livni’s last trip to England and no one would characterize her as a radical right winger.

Still, if NIF does not delegitimize Im Tirtzu, the facts will be exposed, and all the NIF’s strategies and campaigns against Zionism will be useless. The great majority of the public will agree with Im Tirtzu when it characterizes the accusations of War crimes as being affronts to Zionism and the NIF’s cover will be blown. Therefore, the NIF cannot let this truth come out!

Everyone can take part in the struggle against the State of Israel! Just write a check to the New Israel Fund and they will use your money in the struggle against Zionism. Your 'dream' has now true: you too can be part of this movement!

Im Tirtzu recently published a report clearly proving the relationship between the New Israel Fund and the organizations which have advocated (sometimes successfully) the issuance of arrest warrants against Israeli officials for War crimes. As a response, the New Israel Fund has engaged in a vast campaign delegitimizing Im Tirtzu without ever addressing the findings of the report.

Just like the previous time Im Tirtzu managed to uncover the NIF’s actions, the NIF is using a strategy of McCarthyism in order not to have to answer to the well researched report published by Im Tirtzu. Im Tirtzu stands behinds its report and continues to believe that the NIF has become a serious diplomatic and legal threat to Israel.

Im Tirtzu says: While we do not advocate any type of thought policing, we do advocate transparency and we will therefore continue publishing reports on the NIF which makes public information they would rather keep private. By bringing the whole story to the public, we believe that the public will know how much value to give to NIF actions and arguments. We also believe that this information is critical to donors who are often tricked into supporting the NIF through its portrayal as a pro-Israel organization. It is time to remove the mask from the NIF’s face and to make clear to everyone their true intentions!

Iyar 20, 5770 / 04 May 10

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Friday, May 07, 2010

'Feiglin to Announce He is Leaving Likud'

Gil Ronen

Moshe Feiglin, head of the Manhigut Yehudit oppositional faction within the Likud party, has decided to leave the Likud along with his movement, Makor Rishon reported Friday.

Feiglin has reportedly called a meeting of the central activists in Manhigut Yehudit for Sunday, in which he intends to announce his decision. He will recommend that the movement seek its political home outside Likud. On the record, Feiglin would only tell Makor Rishon that “we are in a period of internal inquiries that will last about two weeks and we are involving the activists in the dilemmas.” Speaking with Arutz Sheva's Uzi Baruch Friday, Feiglin did not deny the report but said: “The movement already announced a week ago that it would be choosing its options vis-a-vis Netanyahu – including the possibility of another contest with Netanyahu a year from now, as well as leaving the Likud."

A senior source within Manhigut Yehudit denied the Makor Rishon report and also said that the meeting of activists will not be held this Sunday but one week later.

Feiglin joined the Likud 10 years ago, out of a conviction that the multi-party system does not really work in Israel, and that the only way to seize leadership is through the largest party, Likud. He vied twice for party leadership and failed both times. Feiglin was in the party's 20th slot for the Knesset in the last elections, but legalistic and political maneuvers by Binyamin Netanyahu forced him out of that slot and prevented his entry into the Knesset. It should be noted that Feiglin never seemed to content himself with the goal of getting elected to a Knesset seat, but was intent from the outset on becoming the party's leader.

Before forming Manhigut Yehudit, Feiglin led 'Zo Artzenu', a high-profile protest movement against the Oslo process.

Feiglin, who is considered a bright and creative mind by his supporters and foes alike, also writes a weekly column in one of the leading news websites.

Netanyahu nemesis

Likud leader Binyamin Netanyahu has seen Feiglin as his nemesis within Likud, and accused him of trying to effect a hostile takeover of the Likud with the aim of turning it into a religious party. “We are not an extremist messianic party; we are a national and liberal movement,” he said ahead of the latest confrontation with Feiglin.

That confrontation took place late April and centered on an internal Likud vote to change the party's constitution in a way that would put off to 2011 the elections to its central committee. The move was seen as a bid to prevent Feiglin from gaining strength in the party's grassroots leadership and to give Netanyahu time to add more moderate grassroots members to Likud, to offset the ones that Feiglin had brought in.

Feiglin said the showdown would ultimately determine the fate of Jerusalem. Netanyahu, he warned emotionally, wants to silence opposition in the Likud because he has made a secret pact with US President Barack Obama that involves partitioning Jerusalem. Several Likud Knesset members, including Danny Danon, Tzipi Hotovely and Yariv Levin, also opposed Netanyahu's move – but Netanyahu succeeded in passing the resolution anyway.

This last failure is what seems to have convinced Feiglin to leave the Likud and essentially abandon his decade-long project.

A source within the National Union estimated Friday that the NU would issue a call to Likud members who followed Feiglin to join the NU instead. NU leader MK Yaakov (Ketzaleh) Katz has said that Feiglin's political strategy was not completely above board in that it called on people who did not really vote for Likud or believe in its path to become official party members. That enabled them to have a voice in determining the party's list but it was not certain that they voted for the party in the ensuing elections.

Shavou’ot (Pentecost) Guide for the Perplexed

Shabbat Shalom and Happy Shavou'ot (May 19, 2010),

Yoram Ettinger (based on Ancient Jewish Sages)

May 7, 2010

1. Shavou’ot commemorates the bestowing of the Torah upon the Jewish People, which shaped the nature of the world in general and Western democracies in particular. The bestowing of the Torah took place over 3,300 years ago, setting the Jewish People on the Road Map to the Land of Israel. It also highlights the eternity of the Jewish People. Thus, the first and the last Hebrew letters of Shavou'ot ((שבועות constitute the name of the third son of Adam & Eve, Seth (שת), the righteous ancestor of Noah, hence of all mankind. The Hebrew meaning of Seth is מתן, which is the Hebrew word for the bestowing of the Torah vow in English, referring to the exchange of vows between G-D and the Jewish People. It is celebrated on the 6th day of the Jewish month of Sivan, 50 days following the Exodus. Shavou'ot took place 26 generations following Adam. The Hebrew word for Jehovah (יהוה) equals 26 in Gimatriya. There are 26 Hebrew letters in the names of the Jewish Patriarchs and Matriarchs: Abraham (אברהם), Yitzhak (יצחק), Yaakov יעקב)) Sarah (שרה), Rivka (רבקה), Rachel (רחל) and Leah (לאה).

3. The Hebrew root of Shavou’ot (and Shvoua’) is the word Seven – Sheva (שבע). Shavou’ot (the Festival of Weeks in Hebrew) is celebrated 7 weeks following Passover, reflecting the 7X7=49 gates of impurity in Egypt, which had to be rectified, in order to be worthy of the Torah. It also represents the 7 earthly attributes employed by God to create the universe (in addition to the 3 divine attributes. It stands for the 7 basic human traits, which individuals are supposed to resurrect/enhance in preparation for Shavou'ot. 7 key Jewish/universal leaders - Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Aharon, Joseph and David – represent the qualities of the Torah. Number 7 represents the wholesomeness of Judaism and the Land of Israel – 7 days of Creation and a 7 day week. The Sabbath is the 7th day, the first Hebrew verse in Genesis consists of 7 words, 7 species of the Land of Israel (barley, wheat, grape, fig, pomegranate, olive and date/honey, there are 7 directions (north, south, west, east, up, down, one’s own position), 7 gates to The Temple, 7 Noah Commandments, Moses’ birth/death was on the 7th day of Adar, Jethro had 7 names and 7 daughters, Passover and Sukkot last for 7 days each, each Plague lasted for 7 days, The Menorah has 7 branches, Jubilee follows seven 7-year cycles, 7 Continents, 7 notes in a musical scale, 7 days of mourning, 7 blessings in a Jewish wedding, 7 Jewish Prophetesses (Sarah, Miriam, Devorah, Chana, Abigail, Choulda and Esther), etc. Pentecost is celebrated – by Christians – on the 7th Sunday after Easter.

4. Shavou’ot is the second of the 3 Jewish Pilgrimages (Sukkot-Tabernacles, Passover and Shavou’ot), celebrated in the 3rd Jewish month, Sivan. It highlights Jewish Unity, compared by King Solomon to a triangular cord, which cannot be broken. The Torah - the first of the 3 parts of the Old Testament – was granted to the Jewish People (which consists of 3 components: Priests, Levites and Israel), by Moses (the youngest of 3 children, brother of Aharon and Miriam), a successor to the 3 Patriarchs (Abraham, Isaac and Jacob) and to Seth, the 3rd son of Adam & Eve. The Torah was forged in 3 ways: Fire (commitment to principles), Water (lucidity and purity) and Desert (humility and principle-driven tenacity). The Torah is one of the 3 global pillars, along with labor and gratitude/charity. The Torah is one of the 3 pillars of Judaism, along with the Jewish People and the Land of Israel.

5. Shavou’ot highlights the Scroll of Ruth, who lived 3 generations before King David, son of Jesse, grandson of Ovad, the son of Ruth. The Scroll of Ruth is the first of the five Biblical scrolls: Ruth (Shavou’ot), Song of Songs (Passover), Ecclesiastes (Sukkot), Book of Lamentations (Ninth of Av), Esther (Purim). Ruth – a Moabite Princess - stuck by her mother-in-law, Naomi, who lost her husband (president of the Tribe of Judah) and two sons, in spite of Naomi's Job-like disastrous times, financially and socially. Naomi’s suffering constituted a punishment for the desertion of the People of Israel (emigration to Moab) during a most difficult draught. Leaders do not desert their people when the going gets rough! Ruth’s Legacy: Respect thy mother in-law, principles (loyalty, concern, modesty and love) over convenience. The total sum of the Hebrew letters of Ruth (רות) - in Gimatriya - yield the number of laws granted at Mt. Sinai (606), which together with the 7 laws of Noah total The 613 Laws of Moses.

The Scroll of Ruth highlights the Judean Desert as the Cradle of Jewish history – is it "occupied territory???"

6. Shavou’ot sheds light on the unique covenant between the Jewish State and the USA – Judeo-Christian Values (Torah and Biblical values of morality and justice). These values impacted the world view of the Pilgrims, the Founding Fathers and the US Constitution, Bill of Rights, Separation of Powers, Checks & Balances, etc. John Locke wanted the “613 Laws of Moses” to become the legal foundation of the new society established in America. Lincoln’s famous 1863 quote paraphrased the 14th century John Wycliffe’s dedication to his English translation of the Bible: “a book of the people, by the people, for the people.”

7. Shavou’ot is the day of birth/death of King David (as well as the day that Moses was saved by Pharaoh's daughter), who united the Jewish People, elevating them to a most powerful position. David – along with Moses and Abraham – was a role model of humility and repentance, hence the Hebrew acronym of Adam (אדם- human being in Hebrew): Abraham (אברהם), David (דוד) and Moses (משה). In contrast with King Saul, King David assumed responsibility and accountability for his sins. He didn't just talk the talk; he walked the walk! 150 candles are lit at King David's tomb on Mt. Zion in Jerusalem, consistent with the 150 chapters of Psalms mostly attributed to David. Number 150 is the numerical value of Nest (קן), the warm environment of the Torah. David’s personal history (from shepherd to king) provides a lesson for individuals and nations: Every problem is an opportunity in disguise; the road to success is paved with ups & downs; human beings are fallible but they must recognize their own fallibility, as a springboard toward improvement.

8. The Torah was granted on the small, modest Mt. Sinai – to a small People - in the desert. The Torah was delivered by Moses, "the humblest of all human beings." The content of the Torah doesn't require an impressive stage. Humility constitutes a prerequisite for studying the Torah and for constructive relationships and leadership.

9. The Torah was granted in the desert, a platform of Humility & Liberty. Celebrated fifty day following the Exodus (physical deliverance), Shavou’ot signifies spiritual liberation. Shavou’ot – Holiday of Reaping, Holiday of First Fruit, Day of Solemn - celebrates the culmination of the agricultural, physical and spiritual harvest season of optimism, which starts on the second day of Passover. Shavou’ot highlights the critical connection between the Jewish People and the Land of Israel.

10. Dairy dishes consumed during Shavou’ot, commemorate divine providence. According to the Kabbalah (Jewish mystical school of thoughts), milk represents divine quality. Babies – divine creation – are breast fed by mothers. Dairy dishes commemorate the most common food - of shepherds like King David - during the 40 years in the desert, on the way to the Land of Milk and Honey, the Land of Israel. Unlike wine, milk is poured into simple glasses. The total sum of milk (חלב) is 40 in Gimatriya, which is equal to the 40 days and nights spent by Moses on Mt. Sinai and the 40 years spent by the Jewish People in the Desert. 40 is also the value of the first Hebrew letter (מ) of key Exodus-Terms: Moses (משה), Miriam (מרים), Manna (מן), Egypt (מצרים), Desert (מדבר), Menorah (מנורה), Tabernacle (משכן), Mitzvah-Commandment (מצווה), etc.

40 generations passed from Moses – who delivered the "Written Torah" – to Rabbi Ashi and Rabbi Rabina, who concluded the editing of the Talmud, the "Oral Torah." The first and the last letters in the Talmud is the Hebrew “מ”, which equals 40 in Gimatriya.

The Impending War

Ari Bussel

I can feel the war with my fingertips. Quite how bad will it be I do not know; only time will tell. The approaching day of reckoning is upon us; the build-up is almost complete. Following, there will be peace that will last many generations. To achieve such peace however, a fatal blow must be dealt. The players will align themselves; preliminary moves have already begun. Iran, Russia and China may be one block, although this may change in time. Israel, the USA and Europe will inevitably be the other, although not as much a coalition of willing participants. The hatred toward the West is simply too large, too engrained in modern culture and psyche.

Possibly I am completely wrong—not about the inevitability of war looming over the very near horizon, but about these shifting alliances. Ultimately, it matters not. As the volcano erupts with Israel at its center, ashes will spew the world over. From the Straits of Hormuz, civilization as we know it will be dealt a blow that would bring us to a grinding halt, at a time our economies are not as stable: from Greece, awaiting the bailout it demands, to one in five unemployed in Spain, and the USA with one in ten unemployed.

Why even think about war in the Spring of 2010, on the eve of President Ajmadinejad’s visit to New York? Is anyone planning to blow up his plane as a declaration of war on the Islamic Republic of Iran? Will Israel strike despite the American Administration doing everything in its power to prevent such a move?

The war will not happen because of any action by Israel or preventive measures by the USA. The world is slowly capitulating to Iran’s thirst for more power and increasing spheres of influence, the Iranians’ unrelenting terrorism. The American President holds a nuclear summit, the largest in scope ever, but it is interesting to see who rushes to Iran’s summit a week later. Much like in an election time, we can all feel Iran’s power, a victor’s energy and magnetic pull. The world is attracted to tomorrow’s ruler, for everyone needs to take care of one’s own interests first.

The world prepares. A seemingly local struggle between the Palestinians and Israelis on a tiny piece of land will not be the cause of the next World War. Simply put, it is the last standing wall preventing the Iranian sphere of influence from engulfing the world. For this reason it bothers the Iranian regime. Weaken Israel, make it disappear off the face of this earth, and the future of the Shiite’s 12th Imam is guaranteed. Shariah Law will be established over a global caliphate, and there will be no one to stop the march.

Who really cares if the Palestinians were promised 97 or 98 percent of the land? And what if their true intentions are the destruction of the Jewish State? A flourishing, tiny piece of land along the Eastern shores of the Mediterranean Sea should have so much influence? There are no oil reserves there, there is very little water, the neighborhood is awash with centuries-old tribal mentality and there is little that Iran, or for that matter anyone else, can want—gold, diamonds, uranium, salt—what can be so dear in Israel that the world stops at nothing short of demonizing her, ordering her very existence illegitimate?

This is not a territorial dispute, as many have pointed out before. It has become clear to many this is the new crusade—the Islamists’ attempt at conquering the world. Yet, what is becoming so evident is lost on both Europe and the United States. In the latter, the President has forbidden the usage of “terror” in combination with “Muslims,” since Islam, he declared, is a most peaceful religion. While in the former, waves of Muslim domination slowly gather momentum and strength, washing over the body Europe even as it is being slaughtered, its beauty pale from loss of blood.

The Jews serve a purpose—to galvanize the world’s hatred toward a uniform target. Like concentrating the sun’s rays at a single point until fire erupts, the Palestinian “struggle” serves a singular purpose. If anyone thinks that either the Iranians or the Suni Muslims throughout Arab lands care even an iota about their “Palestinian” brethren, awake!

For decades, Palestinian “refugees” live and multiply throughout the Arab countries as second-class citizens, forbidden to intermingle or earn equal rights. The “Palestinians” came into being when Zionism settled in the Land of Israel and work was plentiful. They came to find work and earn a living, as the Zionists dried out the deadly swamps and made the desert bloom. They were attracted by the humane treatment and better conditions, the likes of which they never had in Arab lands. To-date they will secretly admit, they still receive better treatment in Israel than in any Arab country.

Their refugee status remains intact because none of their “brethren” wants them. Anyone looking at the Jewish analog will see that refugees from 1948 from Morocco, Iraq, Yemen, Libya, Egypt, Algeria and Tunisia, totaling hundreds of thousands, were assimilated into the Jewish State and today are indistinguishable from any other Israeli citizen. At the very same time, no one wants the Palestinians. In their eternal servitude, they probably fare best in the Jordanian Kingdom, once part of Greater Israel (Two States for Two People?).

Hitler also used the Jews as a galvanizing force. Setting a goal to eradicate the “Jewish problem” once and for all from the face of this earth and ensure no more human vermin infestations of Europe served his dream of returning Germany to former glory. It is not a coincidence that today similarities are drawn to the 1930’s. The same cartoons, the same hatred, identical incitement and similar rhetoric are all centered around Jews’ current manifestation as the Jewish State of Israel.

Thus, if the Israeli-Palestinian so-called “conflict” is not the issue, why can others not see the same agenda? Are the signs so obscure? Am I so mistaken? The campaign has been in the works for the past three decades. Feelings that were well disguised for seven decades are now resurfacing with new vigor and remain hidden no more. It is now perfectly acceptable to blame the Jews for all the ills of the world. It is now commonplace to ignore reality, facts or history and instead create one’s own fictional narrative of some anticipated world order on a fast track toward Armageddon.

The plan was incredibly sophisticated, the execution so successful, that even Israelis have fallen victim to the “vision of a Palestinian State” (living in peace side by side with Israel). What complete and utter nonsense—the Arabs themselves do not ascribe an ounce of credibility to such aspirations: Israel appears nowhere on their maps. Their Charters call for the imminent and utter destruction of the Jewish State. Can one call this peaceful coexistence?

Only one thing has changed. In the past Arabs spoke about “throwing the Jews into the Sea,” now they allow the Palestinians do their dirty work. The Arabs collectively probably do not hate Israel as much today. The Iranians, although, a superior race over the nomad Arab peasants, are a different story entirely. They effectively play the world against Israel, and their intentions are as clear as the sun at its mid-day zenith.

To aid and abate, many Post-Zionist Israelis have fallen victim to the very same sophisticated trap. Thus, while Israel needs to protect herself from a tsunami of anti-Semitism unseen for seventy years, and the magnitude of which will dwarf that of World War II, she has fallen victim to those from within herself. Members of the Academia, the Legal System, the Elite who instead of working together to ensure her survival are now catalysts for her downfall.

Why is the world sitting idle as the geopolitical map realigns itself into a new world order?

I see the impending war looming over the horizon, as I am asked repeatedly “Why do I focus on war?” This period in history will be studied in great detail, and a similar question will be asked some decades from now: “Why did humanity not realize a war was fast approaching?” I focus on the inevitable for we must recognize the dangers and try to prevent. We must rise now and prepare. We must act.

In the series “Postcards from Israel—Postcards from America,” Ari Bussel and Norma Zager invite readers to view and experience an Israel and her politics through their eyes, an Israel visitors rarely discover

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Another missed opportunity?

Over the years, not even one Palestinian leader truly wanted to end conflict

Yechiel Shabi

It appears that the Palestinians make an effort to miss every opportunity to establish a state in the western Land of Israel precisely when such state can take shape. They rejected the partition offer in 1947, launched a war and went into exile in 1948, embarked on a wave of terror attacks in 1994, and ignited a second Intifada in 2000. Last week, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas rejected Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s secret offer to establish a temporary Palestinian state on about 60% of Judea and Samaria land. Those in the know noted that according to Netanyahu’s pragmatic plan, the talks on final-status issues will continue after the temporary state was to be formed.

Abbas argued that this was an attempt to drag him into lengthy negotiations that would reinforce the temporary state’s borders and turn them into final-status borders. He preferred to keep on dreaming instead of realizing the dream. Meanwhile, he reprimanded the Palestinian project manager who works towards establishing the Palestinian State, Salam Fayyad.

Fayyad’s declaration about establishing a state in about two years was misunderstood, Abbas said. While Fayyad is indeed working towards forming such state, he did not commit himself to declaring the state’s establishment.

What prevents the Palestinians from deciding that half a loaf is better than none? Why does Abbas insist on discussing all the issues that may thwart the talks all at once – Jerusalem, borders, refugees, settlements, and territorial contiguity? Did the Americans promise him to realize all his demands? Why doesn’t he choose to be the first president in the history of the first Palestinian state, regardless of how small it is?

One reason for this is that the Palestinians had not yet renounced their plan to establish the “Greater Palestine.” Secondly, they appear to feel that Western public opinion and Western governments support them to a greater extent than ever before.

Palestinians haven’t moved an inch

While Israel, under Netanyahu’s leadership, adopted several steps – endorsing the two-state discourse, removing roadblocks, freezing settlement construction, and imposing a de facto freeze in east Jerusalem – the Palestinians have not moved an inch forward. This should worry Netanyahu.

The Palestinians have no intention of recognizing Israel as the Jewish State because they have not abandoned their old dream: Returning to Jaffa, Haifa and Ashkelon. To be honest, why should they? The mass of Arabs in the Galilee, Negev, and Triangle area constitutes a potential for an irredenta. Moreover, Israel’s Arab leadership stresses its Palestinian identity at this time. While most Arabs in Israel prefer to remain citizens of the country, many feel they are more Palestinian than in the past.

While Fayyad represents the pragmatic leadership of Arabs in the territories who wish to make the dream come true and finally establish a national home, Abbas is chained to the Palestinian pathos. As a refugee born in the Arab Safed he cannot renounce his people’s legitimate right – as he perceives it – to regain Palestinian areas within the mandatory Palestine. As moderate as he may be, he too failed to realize the opportunity to form a Palestinian state during the moderate Olmert’s term in office.

Since the days of Haj Amin al-Husseini and to this day, not even one Palestinian leader truly wanted to end the conflict. Hamas took over Gaza and Abbas has no intention of letting go of the West Bank. He views himself as the president of all Palestinians – in the West Bank, in Gaza, in Lebanon, in Jordan, in Syria, and also in Israel. For him, Israel constitutes future potential for a return and should not be renounced quickly.

Fayyad, who does not belong to the Fatah school of thought, is already establishing the state which he and residents of the territories dream of. He already compromised. He understands that half a loaf is better than the dream of a whole loaf.

The question that remains is as follows: Will there be someone who declares this state, and will a responsible leadership emerge?

Yechiel Shabi is an expert on Mideast affairs and specializes in the Arab-Israeli conflict

Tweeting Terror

Jacob Shrybman
Front Page Mag

When developing this article I really couldn’t decide if I was going to write it in a satirical manner or in a concerned manner. The concept was just so ridiculous to me, I wasn’t sure how to convey it to the world. The military wing of the terrorist organization Hamas, the Al Qassam Brigades –which murders, pillages, persecutes, fires rockets, stones, lynches, blows themselves up, etc. — has a Twitter account. No folks, I am not joking. The days when the world is spooked by an unmarked video or cassette tape which arrives at the Al Jazeera offices are over. You can simply “Follow” them with your personal Twitter account.

I was stunned to see the user name @AlqassamBrigade pop up amongst the average 100 tweets an hour mentioning Gaza. I had been to the terrorists’ website (which has the fun option to choose your favorite color scheme for the menus) to see their propagandized use of images from Operation Cast Lead, and this was their matching Twitter account.

Sitting at my laptop using our Sderot Media Center Twitter account, @SderotMedia, most likely only a couple of miles away from the terrorists managing the Hamas Twitter account, I thought to engage them in dialogue on one of the base debates in this conflict:

@AlqassamBrigade As you know, you terrorize thousands just over the border from Gaza here in Sderot. Or do you call it Najd?

Never receiving an answer and following protocol, I filed a complaint with Twitter and this is the automated response I received: Twitter provides a communication service. As a policy, we do not mediate content or intervene in disputes between users. Users are allowed to post content, including potentially inflammatory content, provided that they do not violate the Twitter Terms of Service and Rules (name calling is not a violation.)

Essentially, this gives the terrorist organization the most popular worldwide platform to preach whatever propaganda or hate speech they like because, as you see above, “name calling is not a violation.”

The automated Twitter response continues, “If a violent threat is posted in the future, please let us know, and send the status link.” So, only if Hamas tweets about the imminent launch of a missile attack will Twitter take action?

In the worldwide blockbuster jaw-dropping movie Bruno, created by comic mastermind Sasha Baron Cohen, the main character Bruno is attempting to make peace in the Arab-Israeli conflict and while hosting a dialogue session he continually misuses the word “Hamas” for “Hummus;” it exemplifies the great light humor for which Baron Cohen is famous. The mainstream legitimization of the terrorist organization Hamas is so widespread that, these days, it is almost a household term and this is how the caricaturist can comically draw that connection on screen.

However, it is more than a joke when the entire world has turned its back on Hamas’ actions for nearly a decade thereby accepting it into the public domain. Rocket and suicide attacks on Jewish civilians are clearly not enough, but why won’t the world delegitimize Hamas for human rights abuses such as “honor killings?” Instead, the United Nations and Judge Goldstone chose to give Hamas and radical Islam around the world an over 500 page report to continue their terrorism.

Let’s be clear: This is not an issue of freedom of speech as Hamas is a terrorist organization even to the United Nations. I encourage everyone with a Twitter account to file a complaint against Hamas’ account @AlqassamBrigade to get Hamas out of our households and stop the tweeting of terror.

Jacob Shrybman is the Assistant Director of the Sderot Media Center, He hosts elected officials from around the world and international media visiting the Sderot/Gaza region. He has been published in The Jerusalem Post, Israel National News, YNet News, and has appeared on several international television and radio stations.

"Ye Old Stalling Game"

Arlene Kushner

Well, Mitchell is here in order to begin those "proximity talks." But even though he met with Netanyahu today -- and some media sources referred to this meeting as the kick-off of those talks -- they have not officially started yet.

Mitchell had arrived under the assumption that all systems were "go." However, Abbas then indicated he had additional stops along the way to starting. Yesterday it was said that he had to check with the PLO -- with their Central Committee scheduled to meet on Saturday. Today it was Fatah he had to clear things with: to that end the Fatah Central Committee is being convened. Fatah -- which is still committed to "resistance" -- is less than enthusiastic about talks, but is expected to provide at least a tentative go-ahead. Abbas is not leaving any bases uncovered. Whatever happens, he wants to sure that he had political sanction to proceed and that he's not going to be out there standing by himself. Or, put another way, he's looking to drag this out as long as possible because he really, really does not want to be involved.


In case you've just tuned in: The political atmosphere within the PA -- influenced to a considerable degree by the radical jihadist Hamas -- is decidedly not moderate, whatever the spin of media and certain politicians. In the years that I have been monitoring Fatah, I've watched it pull back from even a semblance of moderation. The stronger Hamas has become, the more blatant is the Fatah-dominated PA in following its line.

It's a cyclical, self-perpetuating pattern: Incitement by the PA encourages radicalism, and then the street, which celebrates terrorists as heroes (is taught to celebrate terrorists as heroes), has expectations of its leaders that tilts in favor of violence and obstructionism. Abbas has virtually no wiggle room in terms of compromise with Israel. Agreeing to concessions that are perceived as a sell-out (e.g., that Israel is the Jewish state), could literally cost him his life. And yet, the world is calling upon him to "make the hard decisions for peace."

Thus the foot-dragging, an omen of the failure that is bound to follow from this "process." If I did not so thoroughly despise this man, and feel so convinced that he set himself up for this and deserves what he will get, I might be tempted to pity him. Might, metaphorically.

This is a man, you understand, who likes to travel abroad, but hesitates to move about in certain areas controlled by the PA, because his life would not be safe. A pathetic pretense for a leader, yet embraced by Obama.


I'm hardly alone in my assessment of what's happening -- many far more knowledgeable than I have the same (self-evident) take. Pessimism is in the air.

Minister of Intelligence Dan Meridor, who is on the left flank of Likud, has already put out a statement to the JPost regarding his concern that the PA will avoid making those "tough decisions."

While Tourism Minister Stas Misezhnikov (Yisrael Beitenu) has declared, "With my hand on my heart, I don't believe the proximity talks will lead to anything..."

And National Infrastructures Minister Uzi Landau (Yisrael Beitenu) told Army Radio this morning that the PA is already planning the breakdown of the proximity talks.

This was the sentiment of Brig.-Gen. Yossi Baidatz, head of Military Intelligence’s Research Division, who delivered a briefing yesterday to the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee. The Palestinians were “already preparing the ground for the failure” of the proximity talks, he told the committee.

Sure enough, today Abbas made a statement with regard to those talks, even before he had even officially entered them:

"Negotiations will focus on final status issues and there's no need to enter into details and small matters because we have had enough of that in the previous negotiations. We said the indirect negotiations will last only four months. After that, we will go to the Arab League to consult on whether to continue or what to do."

Abbas and his cohorts have further let it be known that during the course of these four months they want us to pull back to pre-intifada lines, and open Orient House for the PA in eastern Jerusalem. Further they want us to cede full control of the Jordan Valley to the PA.

In addition, Abbas has said he will terminate talks if there is building in the "West Bank."


During the course of all of this, Netanyahu continued to declare that he was ready. That eager declaration was, once again, undoubtedly for international consumption: "See, see, who the problem is." (Yes, I know...)

He has put together a small negotiating team (small, I understand, to prevent leaks.) It's unclear -- because of conflicting reports -- as to whether the prime minister himself will be heading it, or attorney Yitzhak Molcho, a trusted Netanyahu confidant who has done negotiating for him before. Also included are National Security Advisor Uzi Arad, and Ron Dermer, a key Netanyahu advisor.

Whatever the case, today Netanyahu met with Mitchell -- part of the time the two were alone, and for a portion of the meeting Arad and Molcho, as well as Mitchell aides Dan Shapiro and David Hale participated. The meeting was pronounced "good" (whatever that means); they will be meeting again tomorrow.

In due course, presumably before the end of this week, Mitchell will be traveling to Ramallah for a meeting there, as well. But it will be some days yet before those talks officially begin, if indeed they do.


In advance of the talks, Obama placed a call to Netanyahu. In the course of the discussion, as related by Obama spokesman Robert Gibbs, "The president reaffirmed his unshakable commitment to Israel's security."

Grabs you in the heart, does it not?

Allow me to elaborate on how strong and deep that commitment is:

The five permanent members of the Security Council -- which includes the US -- have issued a statement at a NPT review conference saying, "We are committed to full implementation of the 1995 Non-Proliferation Treaty resolution on the Middle East and we support all ongoing efforts to this end.

"We are ready to consider all relevant proposals in the course of the (NPT) Review Conference in order to come to an agreed decision aimed at taking concrete steps in this direction."

This is a call for establishing a nuclear-free zone that would require Israel to relinquish whatever such arms she has.

Egypt has been pushing for a conference by next year to rid the Middle East of nuclear arms. Reuters reports that negotiations are on-going with Egypt to come up with a compromise proposal. Clinton has said she supports a nuclear-free zone here, but this may not yet be the time.

You might, however, want to read John Bolton's take on this:

Explains CBN, in citing Bolton: Successive U.S. administrations - aware of the vulnerability of the tiny Jewish state surrounded by a sea of less-than-friendly Arab neighbors - have supported Israel's longstanding policy of ambiguity on its nuclear weapons programs.

"When I was in the Bush administration, we refused to even talk about these kinds of ideas," said Bolton. "I'd be quite worried about the possible outcome here.

"The president is not happy with Israel's nuclear capabilities. I think he would be delighted if Israel gave up its nuclear weapons.

"The only unknown answer at this point is exactly how much pressure he would exert on Israel to do just that."

See, also, the editorial in today's JPost on the subject:

"Not many fair-minded people, including in this region, have lost sleep over the fact that responsible Israel reportedly has nuclear warheads. Much of this region is profoundly panicked by the specter of a nuclear Iran.

"Preventing this is the single most important challenge that faces the Obama administration...

IT SHOULD be crystal clear that, instead of allowing Egypt to sidetrack it with talk of disarming Israel, the US should focus on galvanizing the international community to stop Iran.

"Glibly calling for a 'nuclear free Middle East' blurs the moral distinctions between the hegemonic designs of that messianic, apocalyptic regime and the essential deterrent and defensive needs of our small, embattled democracy."

At its joint press conference with the Foreign Ministry earlier this week, the Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) announced release of a study, “From Terrorists to Role Models: The Institutionalization of Incitement.” It is important because it makes the point that an attitude of honoring terrorists is pervasive within the Palestinian Arab society -- it's not a fringe attitude. PMW director Itamar Marcus outlined four steps in the process of incitement: promoting hate, redefining acts of terror as acts of resistance, calling for the killing of Jews, and glorifying murder and terror.

Tomorrow, at 2:00 PM, at the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington, Marcus will be releasing his report. I have no idea how widely this is open to the public, but PMW did put out a release. For more information or to RSVP:

In addition to this activity, the Security Cabinet began today to discuss a new mechanism for monitoring incitement: an incitement index for monitoring and quantifying incitement on a regular basis. This is being advanced by Yossi Kuperwasser, director-general of the Strategic Affairs Ministry.

see my website

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Worldwide Trends in Honor Killings

Phyllis Chesler
Middle East Quarterly
Spring 2010, pp. 3-11

To combat the epidemic of honor killings requires understanding what makes these murders unique. They differ from plain and psychopathic homicides, serial killings, crimes of passion, revenge killings, and domestic violence. Their motivation is different and based on codes of morality and behavior that typify some cultures, often reinforced by fundamentalist religious dictates. In 2000, the United Nations estimated that there are 5,000 honor killings every year.[1] That number might be reasonable for Pakistan alone, but worldwide the numbers are much greater. In 2002 and again in 2004, the U.N. brought a resolution to end honor killings and other honor-related crimes. In 2004, at a meeting in The Hague about the rising tide of honor killings in Europe, law enforcement officers from the U.K. announced plans to begin reopening old cases to see if certain murders were, indeed, honor murders.[2] The number of honor killings is routinely underestimated, and most estimates are little more than guesses that vary widely. Definitive or reliable worldwide estimates of honor killing incidence do not exist.

Morsal O, a 16-year-old German-Afghan girl, was killed in May 2008 by her 24-year-old brother Ahmad Sobair O. He stabbed her twenty-three times in a parking lot in Hamburg, Germany, because of her alleged impure moral conduct. Murder of teenage or young adult women by their fathers or other close male relatives is characteristic of classic honor killings and is not a pattern in non-immigrant Western populations.
Most honor killings are not classified as such, are rarely prosecuted, or when prosecuted in the Muslim world, result in relatively light sentences.[3] When an honor killing occurs in the West, many people, including the police, still shy away from calling it an honor killing. In the West, both Islamist and feminist groups, including domestic violence activists, continue to insist that honor killings are a form of Western-style domestic violence or femicide (killing of women).[4] They are not.[5] This study documents that there are at least two types of honor killings and two victim populations. Both types differ significantly from each other, just as they differ from Western domestic femicide. One group has an average age of seventeen; the other group's average age is thirty-six. The age difference is a statistically significant one.
Families Killing Their Young Women

The study's findings indicate that honor killings accelerated significantly in a 20-year period between 1989 and 2009.[6] This may mean that honor killings are genuinely escalating, perhaps as a function of jihadist extremism and Islamic fundamentalism, or that honor killings are being more accurately reported and prosecuted, especially in the West, but also in the East. The expansion of the Internet may account for wider reporting of these incidents.

The worldwide average age of victims for the entire population is twenty-three (Table 1). This is true for all geographical regions. Thus, wherever an honor killing is committed, it is primarily a crime against young people. Just over half of these victims were daughters and sisters; about a quarter were wives and girlfriends of the perpetrators. The remainder included mothers, aunts, nieces, cousins, uncles, or non-relatives.

Honor killings are a family collaboration. Worldwide, two-thirds of the victims were killed by their families of origin. (See Table 1). Murder by the family of origin was at its highest (72 percent) in the Muslim world and at its lowest in North America (49 percent); European families of origin were involved almost as often as those in the Muslim world, possibly because so many are first- or second-generation immigrants and, therefore, still tightly bound to their native cultures. Alternatively, this might be due to the Islamist radicalization of third or even fourth generations. Internationally, fathers played an active role in over one-third of the honor murders. Fathers were most involved in North America (52 percent) and least involved in the Muslim world; in Europe, fathers were involved in more than one-third of the murders.

Worldwide, 42 percent of these murders were carried out by multiple perpetrators, a characteristic which distinguishes them considerably from Western domestic femicide. A small number of the murders worldwide involved more than one victim. Multiple murders were at their highest in North America and at their lowest in Europe. In the Muslim world, just under a quarter of the murders involved more than one victim. Additional victims included the dead woman's children, boyfriend, fiancé, husband, sister, brother, or parents.

Worldwide, more than half the victims were tortured; i.e., they did not die instantly but in agony. In North America, over one-third of the victims were tortured; in Europe, two-thirds were tortured; in the Muslim world, half were tortured. Torturous deaths include: being raped or gang-raped before being killed; being strangled or bludgeoned to death; being stabbed many times (10 to 40 times); being stoned or burned to death; being beheaded, or having one's throat slashed.

Finally, worldwide, 58 percent of the victims were murdered for being "too Western" and/or for resisting or disobeying cultural and religious expectations (see Table 1). The accusation of being "too Western" was the exact language used by the perpetrator or perpetrators. Being "too Western" meant being seen as too independent, not subservient enough, refusing to wear varieties of Islamic clothing (including forms of the veil), wanting an advanced education and a career, having non-Muslim (or non-Sikh or non-Hindu) friends or boyfriends, refusing to marry one's first cousin, wanting to choose one's own husband, choosing a socially "inferior" or non-Muslim (or non-Sikh or non-Hindu) husband; or leaving an abusive husband. There were statistically significant regional differences for this motive. For example, in North America, 91 percent of victims were murdered for being "too Western" as compared to a smaller but still substantial number (71 percent) in Europe. In comparison, only 43 percent of victims were killed for this reason in the Muslim world.

Less than half (42 percent) of the victims worldwide were murdered for committing an alleged "sexual impropriety"; this refers to victims who had been raped, were allegedly having extra-marital affairs, or who were viewed as "promiscuous" (even where this might not refer to actual sexual promiscuity or even sexual activity). However, in the Muslim world, 57 percent of victims were murdered for this motive as compared to 29 percent in Europe and a small number (9 percent) in North America.
What the Age Differences Mean

This study documents that there are at least two different kinds of honor killings and/or two different victim populations: one made up of female children and young women whose average age is seventeen (Table 3), the other composed of women whose average age is thirty-six (Table 5). Both kinds of honor murders differ from Western domestic femicide.

In the non-immigrant West, serious domestic violence exists which includes incest, child abuse, marital rape, marital battering, marital stalking, and marital post-battering femicide. However, there is no cultural pattern of fathers specifically targeting or murdering their teenage or young adult daughters, nor do families of origin participate in planning, perpetrating, justifying, and valorizing such murders. Clearly, these characteristics define the classic honor killing of younger women and girls.

The honor murders of older women might seem to resemble Western-style domestic femicide. The victim is an older married woman, usually a mother, who is often killed by her husband but also by multiple perpetrators (30 percent of the time). Worldwide, almost half (44 percent) of those who kill older-age victims include members of either the victim's family of origin or members of her husband's family of origin. (See Table 5.) This is extremely rare in a Western domestic femicide; the husband who kills his wife in the West is rarely assisted by members of his family of origin or by his in-laws.

However, in the Muslim world, older-age honor killing victims are murdered by their own families of origin nearly two-thirds of the time. This suggests that the old-world custom has changed somewhat in Europe where the victim's family of origin participates in her murder only one-third (31 percent) of the time. Thus far, in North America, no members of the family of origin have participated in the honor killing of an older-age victim. Whether North America will eventually come to resemble Europe or even the Muslim world remains to be seen, as this will be influenced by immigration and other demographic factors. Finally, nearly half the older-age victims are subjected to a torturous death. However, the torture rate was at its highest (68 percent) in Europe for female victims of all ages. The torture rate was 35 percent and 51 percent in North America and in the Muslim world, respectively.

Worldwide, younger-age victims were killed by their families of origin 81 percent of the time. In North America, 94 percent were killed by their family of origin; this figure was 77 percent in Europe and 82 percent in the Muslim world. (See Table 3.) In North America, fathers had a hands-on role in 100 percent of the cases when the daughter was eighteen-years-old or younger (See Table 4). Worldwide, younger-age women and girls were tortured 53 percent of the time; however, in Europe, they were tortured between 72 and 83 percent of the time—significantly more than older-age women worldwide.
Western Responses to Honor Killing

Many Western feminists and advocates for victims of domestic violence have confused Western domestic violence or domestic femicide (the two are different) with the honor killings of older-age victims. Representatives of Islamist pressure groups including Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the Canadian Islamic Congress, various academics (e.g., Ajay Nair, Tom Keil), activists (e.g., Rana Husseini), and religious leaders (e.g., Abdulhai Patel of the Canadian Council of Imams) have insisted that honor killings either do not exist or have nothing to do with Islam; that they are cultural, tribal, pre-Islamic customs, and that, in any event, domestic violence exists everywhere.[7] Feminists who work with the victims of domestic violence have seen so much violence against women that they are uncomfortable singling out one group of perpetrators, especially an immigrant or Muslim group. However, Western domestic femicide differs significantly from honor killing.[8]

Former National Organization for Women (NOW) president Kim Gandy compared the battered and beheaded Aasiya Hassan[9] to the battered (but still living) pop star Rihanna and further questioned whether Hassan's murder was an honor killing:

Is a Muslim man in Buffalo more likely to kill his wife than a Catholic man in Buffalo? A Jewish man in Buffalo? I don't know the answer to that, but I know that there is plenty of violence to go around—and that the long and sordid history of oppressing women in the name of religion surely includes Islam, but is not limited to Islam.[10]

At the time of the Hassan beheading, a coalition of domestic violence workers sent an (unpublished) letter to the Erie County district attorney's office and to some media stating that this was not an honor killing, that honor killings had nothing to do with Islam, and that sensationalizing Muslim domestic violence was not only racist but also served to render invisible the much larger incidence of both domestic violence and domestic femicide. They have a point, but they also miss the point, namely, that apples are not oranges and that honor killings are not the same as Western domestic femicides.

One might argue that the stated murder motive of being "too Westernized" may, in a sense, overlap substantively with the stated and unstated motives involved in Western domestic femicide. In both instances, the woman is expected to live with male violence and to remain silent about it. She is not supposed to leave—or to leave with the children or any other male "property." However, the need to keep a woman isolated, subordinate, fearful, and dependent through the use of violence does not reflect a Western cultural or religious value; rather, it reflects the individual, psychological pathology of the Western batterer-murderer. On the other hand, an honor killing reflects the culture's values aimed at regulating female behavior—values that the family, including the victim's family, is expected to enforce and uphold.

Further, such cultural, ethnic, or tribal values are not often condemned by the major religious and political leaders in developing Muslim countries or in immigrant communities in the West. On the contrary, such communities maintain an enforced silence on all matters of religious, cultural, or communal "sensitivity." Today, such leaders (and their many followers) often tempt, shame, or force Muslim girls and women into wearing a variety of body coverings including the hijab (head covering), burqa, or chadari (full-body covering) as an expression of religiosity and cultural pride or as an expression of symbolic resistance to the non-Muslim West.[11] Muslim men are allowed to dress like Westerners, and no one challenges the ubiquitous use of Western technology, including airplanes, cell phones, the Internet, or satellite television as un-Islamic. But Muslim women are expected to bear the burden of upholding these ancient and allegedly religious customs of gender apartheid.

It is clear that Muslim girls and women are murdered for honor in both the West and the East when they refuse to wear the hijab or choose to wear it improperly. In addition, they are killed for behaving in accepted Western or modern ways when they express a desire to attend college, have careers, live independent lives, have non-Muslim friends (including boyfriends with whom they may or may not be sexually involved), choose their own husbands, refuse to marry their first cousins, or want to leave an abusive husband. This "Westernization" trend also exists in Muslim countries but to a lesser extent. Allegations of unacceptable "Westernization" accounted for 44 percent of honor murders in the Muslim world as compared to 71 percent in Europe and 91 percent in North America.

Tempted by Western ideas, desiring to assimilate, and hoping to escape lives of subordination, those girls and women who exercise their option to be Western are killed—at early ages and in particularly gruesome ways. Frightening honor murders may constitute an object lesson to other Muslim girls and women about what may happen to them if they act on the temptation to do more than serve their fathers and brothers as domestic servants, marry their first cousin, and breed as many children as possible. The deaths of females already living in the West may also be intended as lessons for other female immigrants who are expected to lead subordinate and segregated lives amid the temptations and privileges of freedom. This is especially true in Europe where large Muslim ghettos have formed in the past few decades. It is particularly alarming to note that in Europe 96 percent of the honor killing perpetrators are Muslims.

The level of primal, sadistic, or barbaric savagery shown in honor killings towards a female family intimate more closely approximates some of the murders in the West perpetrated by serial killers against prostitutes or randomly selected women. It also suggests that gender separatism, the devaluation of girls and women, normalized child abuse, including arranged child marriages of both boys and girls, sexual repression, misogyny (sometimes inspired by misogynist interpretations of the Qur'an), and the demands made by an increase in the violent ideology of jihad all lead to murderous levels of aggression towards girls and women. One only has to kill a few girls and women to keep the others in line. Honor killings are, in a sense, a form of domestic terrorism, meant to ensure that Muslim women wear the Islamic veil, have Muslim babies, and mingle only with other Muslims.

Since Muslim immigration and, therefore, family networks are more restricted in North America than in Europe, honor-killing fathers may feel that the entire burden for upholding standards for female behavior falls heavily upon them and them alone. This may account for the fact that fathers are responsible 100 percent of the time for the honor murders of the youngest-age victims. In Europe and in the Muslim world, that burden may more easily be shared by sons and brothers, grandfathers, uncles, and male cousins.
What Must Be Done

How can this problem be addressed? Immigration, law enforcement, and religious authorities must all be included in education, prevention, and prosecution efforts in the matter of honor killings.

In addition, shelters for battered Muslim girls and women should be established and multilingual staff appropriately trained in the facts about honor killings. For example, young Muslim girls are frequently lured back home by their mothers. When a shelter resident receives such a phone call, the staff must immediately go on high alert. The equivalent of a federal witness protection program for the intended targets of honor killings should be created; England has already established such a program.[12] Extended safe surrogate family networks must be created to replace existing family networks; the intended victims themselves, with enormous assistance, may become each other's "sisters."

In addition, clear government warnings must be issued to Muslim, Sikh, and Hindu immigrants and citizens: Honor killings must be prosecuted in the West, and perpetrators, accomplices, and enablers must all be prosecuted. Participating families should be publicly shamed. Criminals must be deported after they have served their sentences.

Western judicial systems and governments have recently begun to address this problem. In 2006, a Danish court convicted nine members of a clan for the honor murder of Ghazala Khan.[13] In 2009, a German court sentenced a father to life in prison for having ordered his son to murder his sister for the family honor while the 20-year-old son was sentenced to nine and a half years.[14] In another case, a British court, with the help of testimony from the victim's mother and fiancé, convicted a father of a 10-year-old honor murder after the crime was reclassified;[15] and, for the first time, the Canadian government informed new immigrants:

Canada's openness and generosity do not extend to barbaric cultural practices that tolerate spousal abuse, "honour killings," female genital mutilation or other gender-based violence. Those guilty of these crimes are severely punished under Canada's criminal laws.[16]

Islamic gender apartheid is a human rights violation and cannot be justified in the name of cultural relativism, tolerance, anti-racism, diversity, or political correctness. As long as Islamist groups continue to deny, minimize, or obfuscate the problem, and government and police officials accept their inaccurate versions of reality, women will continue to be killed for honor in the West.

The battle for women's rights is central to the battle for Europe and for Western values. It is a necessary part of true democracy, along with freedom of religion, tolerance for homosexuals, and freedom of dissent. Here, then, is exactly where the greatest battle of the twenty-first century is joined.

Phyllis Chesler is emerita professor of psychology and women's studies at the Richmond College of the City University of New York and co-founder of the Association for Women in Psychology and the National Women's Health Network. The author wishes to thank Jonathan Francis Carmona, graduate student at Hunter College, CUNY, for the statistical tests for this study, and Prof. Howard Lune, director of the Graduate Social Research Program at Hunter College.

Table One: Entire Population (N = 230)
REGION Worldwide North America Europe Muslim World
AVERAGE AGE 23 25 22 23
Killed by Family of Origin1,2 66 49 66 72
Family Position1
Daughter/Sister 53 50 49 56
Wife/Girlfriend 23 27 34 17
Other3 24 33 27 27
Paternal Participation4 37 53 39 31
Multiple Perpetrators 42 42 45 41
Multiple Victims1 17 30 7 21
Tortured1 53 39 67 49
"too Western" 58 91 71 43
"sexual impropriety" 42 9 29 57

1 Significant according to a chi square test.
2 Family of origin includes fathers, mothers, brothers, grandfathers, uncles, and male cousins.
3 "Other" includes mothers, aunts, cousins, and no familial relation.
4 Significant according to a Pearson correlation test.
Table Two: Women Only, All Ages (N = 214)
REGION Worldwide North America Europe Muslim World
AVERAGE AGE 23 26 21 23
Killed by Family of Origin1,2 69 52 66 75
Family Position1
Daughter/Sister 56 52 53 58
Wife/Girlfriend 24 28 37 17
Other3 20 20 10 25
Paternal Participation4 39 52 42 33
Multiple Perpetrators 42 45 44 40
Multiple Victims1 18 30 7 21
Tortured1 54 35 68 51
"too Western" 58 89 73 44
"sexual impropriety" 42 11 27 56

1 Significant according to a chi square test.
2 Family of origin includes fathers, mothers, brothers, grandfathers, uncles, and male cousins.
3 "Other" includes mothers, aunts, cousins, and no familial relation.
4 Significant according to a Pearson correlation test.
Table Three: Females 25 Years of Age and Younger (N = 129)
REGION Worldwide North America Europe Muslim World
AVERAGE AGE 17 18 18 17
Killed by Family of Origin1,2 81 94 77 82
Family Position1
Daughter/Sister 74 94 67 73
Wife/Girlfriend 14 0 20 14
Other3 3 6 13 13
Paternal Participation4 54 88 54 46
Multiple Perpetrators 46 75 46 38
Multiple Victims1 17 30 8 20
Tortured1 53 25 72 47
"too Western" 57 88 74 38
"sexual impropriety" 43 12 26 62

1 Significant according to a chi square test.
2 Family of origin includes fathers, mothers, brothers, grandfathers, uncles, and male cousins.
3 "Other" includes mothers, aunts, cousins, and no familial relation.
4 Significant according to a Pearson correlation test.
Table Four: Females 18 Years of Age and Younger (N = 68)
REGION Worldwide North America Europe Muslim World
AVERAGE AGE 15 15 14 13
Killed by Family of Origin1,2 89 90 86 90
Family Position1
Daughter/Sister 82 100 78 79
Wife/Girlfriend 8 0 13 6
Other3 10 0 9 15
Paternal Participation4 70 100 68 61
Multiple Perpetrators 39 80 32 32
Multiple Victims1 25 29 16 30
Tortured1 55 30 83 58
"too Western" 55 80 67 41
"sexual impropriety" 45 20 33 59

1 Significant according to a chi square test.
2 Family of origin includes fathers, mothers, brothers, grandfathers, uncles, and male cousins.
3 "Other" includes mothers, aunts, cousins, and no familial relation.
4 Significant according to a Pearson correlation test.
Table Five: Females 26 Years of Age and Older (N = 51)
REGION Worldwide North America Europe Muslim World
AVERAGE AGE 36 40 31 37
Killed by Family of Origin1,2 44 0 31 65
Family Position1
Daughter/Sister 24 0 13 37
Wife/Girlfriend 55 89 87 26
Other3 21 11 0 37
Paternal Participation4 8 0 13 7
Multiple Perpetrators 30 11 43 30
Multiple Victims1 9 29 8 5
Tortured1 45 44 53 44
"too Western" 56 88 69 38
"sexual impropriety" 44 12 31 62

1 Significant according to a chi square test.
2 Family of origin includes fathers, mothers, brothers, grandfathers, uncles, and male cousins.
3 "Other" includes mothers, aunts, cousins, and no familial relation.
4 Significant according to a Pearson correlation test.

This study analyzes 172 incidents and 230 honor-killing victims. The information was obtained from the English-language media around the world with one exception. There were 100 victims murdered for honor in the West, including 33 in North America and 67 in Europe. There were 130 additional victims in the Muslim world. Most of the perpetrators were Muslims, as were their victims, and most of the victims were women.

The perpetrators and victims in this study lived in the following twenty-nine countries or territories: Afghanistan, Albania, Bangladesh, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Egypt, France, Gaza Strip, Germany, India, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Italy, Jordan, Netherlands, Norway, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Scotland, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States, and the West Bank.

In general, statistically significant interactions were found for age, geographical region, the participation of multiple perpetrators (mainly members of the victim's family of origin, including the victim's father), family position, multiple victims, the use of torture, and the stated motive for the murder. Between 1989 and 2009, honor killings also escalated over time in a statistically significant way.

Worldwide, the majority of victims were women; a mere 7 percent were men. Only five men were killed by their families of origin whereas the rest of the male victims were killed by the families of the women with whom they were allegedly consorting or planning to consort with either within or outside of marriage. The murdered male victims were usually perceived as men who were unacceptable due to lower class or caste status, because the marriage had not been arranged by the woman's family of origin, because they were not the woman's first cousin, or because the men allegedly engaged in pre- or extramarital sex. Men were rarely killed when they were alone; 81 percent were killed when the couple in question was together.

Although Sikhs and Hindus do sometimes commit such murders, honor killings, both worldwide and in the West, are mainly Muslim-on-Muslim crimes. In this study, worldwide, 91 percent of perpetrators were Muslims. In North America, most killers (84 percent) were Muslims, with only a few Sikhs and even fewer Hindus perpetrating honor killings; in Europe, Muslims comprised an even larger majority at 96 percent while Sikhs were a tiny percentage. In Muslim countries, obviously almost all the perpetrators were Muslims. With only two exceptions, the victims were all members of the same religious group as their murderers.

In the West, 76 individuals or groups of multiple perpetrators killed one hundred people. Of these perpetrators, 37 percent came from Pakistan; 17 percent were of Iraqi origin while Turks and Afghans made up 12 and 11 percent, respectively. The remainder, just under a quarter in all, came from Albania, Algeria, Bosnia, Egypt, Ethiopia, Guyana, India, Iran, Morocco, and the West Bank.

[1] "Ending Violence against Women and Girls," State of the World Population 2000 (New York: United Nations Population Fund, 2000), chap. 3.
[2] BBC News, June 22, 2004.
[3] Yotam Feldner, "'Honor' Murders–Why the Perps Get off Easy," Middle East Quarterly, Dec. 2000, pp. 41-50.
[4] See, for example,, Islamic information and products site, Aug. 24, 2000; Sheila Musaji, "The Death of Aqsa Parvez Should Be an Interfaith Call to Action," The American Muslim, Dec. 14, 2007; Mohammed Elmasry, Canadian Islamic Congress, Fox, Dec. 12, 2007; Mustafaa Carroll, Dallas branch of the Council of American-Islamic Relations,, Oct. 14, 2008.
[5] Phyllis Chesler, "Are Honor Killings Simply Domestic Violence?" Middle East Quarterly, Spring 2009, pp. 61-9.
[6] According to the Pearson product-moment correlation coefficient, the most widely used measure of correlation or association.
[7] See, for example,, Aug. 24, 2000; Musaji, "The Death of Aqsa Parvez Should Be an Interfaith Call to Action"; Elmasry, Fox, Dec. 12, 2007; Carroll,, Oct. 14, 2008.
[8] Chesler," Are Honor Killings Simply Domestic Violence?"; "A Civilized Dialogue about Islam and Honor Killing: When Feminist Heroes Disagree," Chesler Chronicles, Mar. 2, 2009; "Jordanian Journalist Rana Husseini on 'Murder in the Name of Honor: The True Story of One Woman's Heroic Fight Against an Unbelievable Crime,'" Democracy Now, Oct. 21, 2009.
[9] Fox News, Feb. 16, 2009.
[10] Kim Gandy, NOW president, "Below the Belt. No Woman, No Culture Immune to Violence against Women," Feb. 20, 2009.
[11] BBC News, Oct. 5, 2006; Aisha Stacey, "Why Muslim Women Wear the Veil,", Nov 15, 2009.
[12] James Brandon and Salam Hafez, Crimes of the Community: Honour-based Violence in the UK (London: Centre for Social Cohesion, 2008), pp. 136-40.
[13] Brussels Journal, July 2, 2006.
[14] Deutsche Welle (Bonn), Dec. 29, 2009.
[15] The Guardian (London), Dec. 17, 2009.
[16] The National Post (Don Mills, Ont.), Nov. 12, 2009.

PMW TV ad in US shows PA glorification of terror as major obstacle to peace

PMW has launched a TV ad campaign in Washington, D.C., to highlight the need for peace education as prerequisite for peace. The 30-second TV spot is running on CNN, FOX News, MSNBC and Headline News in the Washington area this month to point out the negative impact on peace of the Palestinian Authority's policy to glorify terrorists.
The entire ad campaign is made possible through the initiative and financial support of a private donor.

Click here to view PMW's TV ad on PA terror glorification as obstacle to peace.

This campaign coincides with PMW's release this week in Washington of the new PMW report, From Terrorists to Role Models: The Palestinian Authority's Institutionalization of Incitement. The 26-page report and additional documentation will be presented to members of Congress on Thursday at an event sponsored by Congressman Brad Sherman, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation and Trade, and Congressman Steven Rothman, member of the Foreign Operations Subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee.

The ad campaign and the report follow the U.S. administration's strong and public condemnation of Palestinian glorification of terrorists as an impediment to peace.

Phillip Crowley, Assistant Secretary of State:
"We also strongly condemn the [Palestinian] glorification of terrorists. Honoring terrorists who have murdered innocent civilians, either by official statements or by the dedication of public places, hurts peace efforts and must end. We will continue to hold Palestinian leaders accountable for incitement."
[April 8, 2010]

These and other US government condemnations of the PA practice of terror glorification were in response to recent PMW reports and bulletins.

The TV ad ends with the words:
"If terrorists are glorified, how can there be peace?"

Democrats at Ramming Speed

The White House wants to pass as much legislation as possible before losing its big majorities, no matter how unpopular its proposals are.
Wall Street Journal

President Reagan had a sign on his desk that said, "It's amazing how much you can accomplish if you don't care who gets the credit." If President Obama had a sign, it would say, "It's amazing how much you can accomplish if you don't care what the public thinks." Washington has never been held in lower esteem by Americans than it is today. Yet those in control of Washington—President Obama and congressional Democrats—are bent on enacting a series of sweeping domestic policy changes this year that have one thing in common: They are unpopular, in whole or in part.

This is unprecedented and a bit weird too. A revival of civility and an end to the ugly political polarization in Washington—goals stressed by Mr. Obama in his presidential campaign and again last Saturday in a speech at the University of Michigan—won't be furthered by passage of an unpopular agenda. A more likely result is years of partisan resentment and bitter fighting over efforts by Republicans to repeal the unwanted policies.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Barack Obama’s top ten insults against Israel

Nile Gardiner writing in the Telegraph (UK)

Nile Gardiner is a Washington-based foreign affairs analyst and political commentator. He appears frequently on American and British television and radio, including Fox News Channel, CNN, BBC, Sky News, and NPR.

Barack Obama’s top ten insults against Israel
By Nile Gardiner World Last updated: April 26th, 2010

Last week Israel celebrated its 62nd year as a nation, but there was major cause for concern amid the festivities as the Israeli people faced the looming menace of a nuclear-armed Iran, as well as the prospect of a rapidly deteriorating relationship with Washington. The Israel-bashing of the Obama administration has become so bad that even leading Democrats are now speaking out against the White House. New York Senator Chuck Schumer blasted Barack Obama’s stance towards Israel in a radio interview last week, stating his “counter-productive” Israel policy “has to stop”. At the same time a poll was released by Quinnipiac University which showed that US voters disapproved of the president’s Israel policy by a margin of 44 to 35 percent. According to the poll, “American voters say 57 – 13 percent that their sympathies lie with Israel and say 66 – 19 percent that the president of the United States should be a strong supporter of Israel.”

I recently compiled a list of Barack Obama’s top ten insults against Britain, America’s closest ally in the world. This is a sequel of sorts, a list of major insults by the Obama administration against America’s closest ally in the Middle East, Israel. As I wrote previously on Obama’s treatment of both Britain and Israel:

In the space of just over a year, Barack Obama has managed to significantly damage relations with America’s two closest friends, while currying favour with practically every monstrous dictatorship on the face of the earth. The doctrine of “smart power” has evolved into the shameless appeasement of America’s enemies at the expense of existing alliances. There is nothing clever about this approach – it will ultimately weaken US global power and strengthen the hand of America’s enemies, who have become significantly emboldened and empowered by Barack Obama’s naïve approach since he took office.

The Obama presidency is causing immense damage to America’s standing in the free world, while projecting an image of weakness in front of hostile regimes. Its treatment of both Israel and Britain is an insult and a disgrace, and a grim reflection of an unbelievably crass and insensitive foreign policy that significantly undermines the US national interest.

So here’s my top 10 list of Obama administration insults against Israel after just 15 months in power:

1. Obama’s humiliation of Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House

In March, the Israeli Prime Minister was humiliated by Barack Obama when he visited Washington. As The Telegraph reported, “Benjamin Netanyahu was left to stew in a White House meeting room for over an hour after President Barack Obama abruptly walked out of tense talks to have supper with his family”, after being presented with a list of 13 demands. As I wrote at the time:

This is no way to treat America’s closest ally in the Middle East, and a true friend of the United States. I very much doubt that even third world tyrants would be received in such a rude fashion by the president. In fact, they would probably be warmly welcomed by the Obama White House as part of its “engagement” strategy, while the leaders of Britain and Israel are frequently met with arrogant disdain.

2. Engaging Iran when Tehran threatens a nuclear Holocaust against Israel

In contrast to its very public humiliation of close ally Israel, the Obama administration has gone out of its way to establish a better relationship with the genocidal regime of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, which continues to threaten Israel’s very existence. It has taken almost every opportunity to appease Tehran since it came to office, and has been extremely slow to respond to massive human rights violations by the Iranian regime, including the beating, rape and murder of pro-democracy protesters.

3. Drawing a parallel between Jewish suffering in the Holocaust with the current plight of the Palestinians

In his Cairo speech to the Muslim world, President Obama condemned Holocaust denial in the Middle East, but compared the murder of six million Jews during World War Two to the “occupation” of the Palestinian territories, in a disturbing example of moral equivalence:

“On the other hand, it is also undeniable that the Palestinian people – Muslims and Christians – have suffered in pursuit of a homeland. For more than sixty years they have endured the pain of dislocation. Many wait in refugee camps in the West Bank, Gaza, and neighboring lands for a life of peace and security that they have never been able to lead. They endure the daily humiliations – large and small – that come with occupation. So let there be no doubt: the situation for the Palestinian people is intolerable. America will not turn our backs on the legitimate Palestinian aspiration for dignity, opportunity, and a state of their own.”

4. Obama’s attack on Israeli “occupation” in his speech to the United Nations

In his appalling speech to the UN General Assembly last September, President Obama dedicated five paragraphs to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, without once referring directly to Palestinian terrorism by name, but declaring to loud applause “America does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements.” He also lambasted the Israeli “occupation”, and drew a connection between rocket attacks on Israeli civilians with living conditions in Gaza. The speech served as a ghastly PR exercise aimed at appeasing anti-Israel sentiment in the Middle East, while bashing the Israelis over the head.

5. Obama’s accusation that Israel is the cause of instability in the Middle East

As The Wall Street Journal noted, “the Obama Administration seems increasingly of the view that Israel is the primary cause of instability in the Middle East”, citing a recent press conference where he stated:

“It is a vital national security interest of the United States to reduce these conflicts because whether we like it or not, we remain a dominant military superpower, and when conflicts break out, one way or another we get pulled into them. And that ends up costing us significantly in terms of both blood and treasure.”

6. The Obama administration’s establishment of diplomatic relations with Syria

While actively appeasing Iran, the Obama administration has also sought to develop closer ties with the other main state sponsor of terrorism in the Middle East, Syria, establishing diplomatic relations with Damascus in February. Syria remains a major backer of Hamas and Hizbollah, both responsible for a large number of terrorist attacks against Israel.

7. Hillary Clinton’s 43-minute phone call berating Netanyahu

As The Telegraph reported, Hillary Clinton sought to dictate terms to Israel in the wake of Vice President Joe Biden’s visit to Jerusalem:

“In a telephone call, Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, ordered Mr. Netanyahu to reverse a decision to build 1,600 homes for Israeli settlers in occupied East Jerusalem that sparked the diplomatic row. She also instructed him to issue a formal pledge that peace talks would focus on core issues such as the future of Jerusalem and the borders of a Palestinian state. In addition, the Israeli prime minister was urged to make a substantial confidence-building gesture to the Palestinians. Mrs. Clinton suggested this could take the form of prisoner releases, an easing of the blockade of Gaza and the transfer of greater territory in the West Bank to Palestinian control.”

Last time I checked, Israel was still an independent country, and not a colonial dependency of the Obama White House. Yet that still hasn’t stopped the Secretary of State from acting like an imperial Viceroy.

8. David Axelrod’s attack on Israeli settlements on “Meet the Press”

It is extremely unusual for a White House official to launch an attack on a close US ally on live television, but this is exactly what the President’s Senior Adviser David Axelrod did in an interview in March with NBC’s Meet the Press, designed to cause maximum humiliation to Israel, where he stated in reference to new settlement construction in East Jerusalem:

“This was an affront, it was an insult but most importantly it undermined this very fragile effort to bring peace to that region. For this announcement to come at that time was very destructive.”

9. Hillary Clinton’s call on Israel to show “respect”

As The Telegraph revealed, the Secretary of State lectured the Israelis at a dinner attended by the Israeli ambassador and the ambassadors of several Arab states in mid-April, urging Israel to “refrain from unilateral statements” that could “undermine trust or risk prejudicing the outcome of talks”. In Clinton’s words:

“Prime Minister [Benjamin] Netanyahu has embraced the vision of the two-state solution. But easing up on access and movement in the West Bank, in response to credible Palestinian security performance, is not sufficient to prove to the Palestinians that this embrace is sincere. We encourage Israel to continue building momentum toward a comprehensive peace by demonstrating respect for the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinians, stopping settlement activity and addressing the humanitarian needs in Gaza.”

10. Robert Gibbs’ disparaging remarks about Israel

Not one to shy away from criticizing America’s friends when the opportunity arises, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs entered the fray in an interview on Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace in March where he attacked the Israeli government for weakening “the trust that’s needed for both sides to come together and have honest discussions about peace in the Middle East.” In condescending terms he stated that Benjamin Netanyahu should start “coming to the table with constructive ideas for constructive and trustful dialogue about moving the peace process forward.”


Barack Obama's top 10 insults against Britain

By Nile Gardiner

The Telegraph (UK)World Last updated: March 1st, 2010

Last week's appalling declaration by Washington that the US would remain neutral in the conflict between Britain and Argentina over the Falklands, has prompted this list of the ten biggest insults so far by the Obama administration against America's closest friend and ally. For a government that pledged to "restore" America's standing in the world, it is doing a spectacularly bad job, kowtowing to America's enemies while consistently kicking her allies.

Without a shadow of a doubt, Barack Obama has been the most anti-British president in modern American history. The Special Relationship has been significantly downgraded, and at times humiliated under his presidency, which has displayed a shocking disregard for America's most important partner and strategic ally.

There are a multitude of reasons for President Obama's dismissive approach to the UK, and here are a few: an obsession with engaging and appeasing America's enemies rather than cultivating allies; personal animosity towards Britain because of his grandfather's role as a Mau Mau supporter in 1950's colonial Kenya; Democrat resentment over British support for the Bush Administration over Iraq; left-wing disdain for the idea of Anglo-American exceptionalism and world leadership; support for supranational institutions such as the European Union over the supremacy of the nation state.

So here's my top 10 list, which will no doubt be expanded to a top 20 in a few months.

1. Declaration of neutrality over the Falklands

For sheer offensiveness it's hard to beat last week's incredible statement from the State Department on the Falklands dispute, not least considering the fact that 255 British soldiers died retaking the islands from Argentina in 1982. Here it is:

"We are aware not only of the current situation but also of the history, but our position remains one of neutrality. The US recognises de facto UK administration of the islands but takes no position on the sovereignty claims of either party."

As I wrote previously, over the course of the last year, we've seen a staggering array of foreign policy follies by this administration, from the throwing under the bus of the Poles and the Czechs over missile defence to siding with Marxists in Honduras. But this latest pronouncement surely takes the biscuit as the most brazen betrayal so far of a US ally.

2. Downgrading of the Special Relationship

Barack Obama never refers to the Special Relationship, and has not even mentioned Britain once in a major policy speech, either before or after taking office. The Anglo-American alliance is barely a blip on Obama's teleprompter screen, and he acts as though it simply does not exist. The Special Relationship has also been largely erased from the official lexicon of the State Department, and is not even used by US officials in London. Despite being America's only major reliable ally when the chips are down, London is now treated in Washington as though it were the same as any other European power, albeit less charitably than either Paris or Berlin.

3. Support for a federal Europe

The Obama administration's relentless and wrongheaded support for the creation of a federal Europe, from backing the Treaty of Lisbon to the European Security and Defence Policy, is a slap in the face for the principle of national sovereignty in Europe. While the Bush Administration was divided over Europe, the Obama administration is ardently euro-federalist, despite the fact that the likely next British government will probably fight them tooth and nail over it. British sovereignty is non-negotiable, and Obama's willingness to undermine it is both insulting to Britain and self-defeating for the United States.

4. Undermining of British influence in NATO

Despite Nicolas Sarkozy's distinctly unflattering opinion of Barack Obama, the president has gone to great lengths to appease French interests, even going as far as apologising to the French people in Strasbourg for hurting their feelings over the war in Iraq. The Obama administration has also done its best to give Paris a lead role in the NATO alliance at Britain's expense, granting it one of two supreme NATO command positions - Allied Command Transformation (ACT). And this, despite the fact that France has for decades been ambivalent and obstructionist over NATO, and is failing to carry its weight in Afghanistan. And as I noted before, there is currently not a single British general in charge of any of the big five supreme and operational commands in the alliance (in contrast to two Frenchmen and a German), even though Great Britain provides more troops for NATO operations than any member apart from the United States.

5. Refusal to recognize Britain's sacrifice in Afghanistan

It is particularly galling that the president cannot even be bothered to acknowledge the sacrifice made by over 250 British servicemen and women on the battlefields of Afghanistan alongside their American allies - especially evident during his lacklustre speech at West Point in December. Britain currently has as many soldiers stationed in Afghanistan - 10,000 - as all the other major European powers combined. In contrast to George W. Bush, who frequently thanked the British armed forces and people for their role in the War on Terror, Obama has spectacularly failed to do so.

6. Throwing Churchill out of the Oval Office

It is hard to think of a more derogatory message to send to the British people within days of taking office than to fling a bust of Winston Churchill out of the Oval Office and send it packing back to the British Embassy - not least as it was a loaned gift from Britain to the United States as a powerful display of solidarity in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington. Obviously, public diplomacy is not a concept that carries much weight in the current White House, and nor apparently is common sense.

7. Insulting words from the State Department

The mocking views of a senior State Department official following the Prime Minister's embarrassing reception at the White House in March last year says it all: "There's nothing special about Britain. You're just the same as the other
190 countries in the world. You shouldn't expect special treatment."

One would have thought that this kind of hugely damaging gaffe would have resulted in at least a formal apology and a reprimand for the official involved, but unfortunately Obama administration apologies are strictly reserved for the French and assorted enemies of the United States.

8. DVDs for the Prime Minister

Readers of this blog will know I'm no fan of Gordon Brown, but whatever one thinks of his less than stellar leadership skills or his downright awful policies, Brown travels abroad not as a private individual but as the leader of America's closest ally. He represents 61 million Britons including the Armed Forces, as well as a huge amount of British trade and investment with the United States. He was treated shabbily when he visited the White House last March, and denied a Rose Garden press conference as well as a dinner. To cap it all, the decision to send him home with an assortment of 25 DVDs ranging from Toy Story to The Wizard of Oz - which can't even be played in the UK - was a breathtaking display of diplomatic ineptitude that would have shamed the protocol office of an impoverished Third World country. And we haven't even mentioned Obama's iPod for the Queen.

9. Refusal to meet the Prime Minister in New York

Not content with humiliating the Prime Minister with a bargain basement DVD collection, President Obama proceeded to give him the run-around at the UN General Assembly in New York last September in a farce worthy of an episode from Benny Hill, declining to meet with him privately after no less than five requests. I can understand why Obama might not want to spend much time with the dour and easily angered Brown, who was apparently mightily enraged over the whole affair. It is also the case that Brown himself has done a good deal to undermine the Special Relationship and shares much of the blame himself for this debacle. But it is insulting to the British people as a whole when the president of the United States is happy in principle to sit down and negotiate with tyrants like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad but won't hold a bilateral meeting with the leader of America's top ally, when thousands of British troops are fighting in Afghanistan.

10. Robert Gibbs' embarrassing attack on the British press

No list of Obama administration slights against Britain would be complete without mention of White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs' sneering rant against the British press (first reported by Politico) after spotting an article in The Telegraph he disagreed with. Here's what Gibbs said:

"Let's just say if I wanted to look up, if I wanted to read a write-up of how Manchester United fared last night in the Champions League Cup, I'd might open up a British newspaper. If I was looking for something that bordered on truthful news, I'm not entirely sure it'd be the first pack of clips I'd pick up."

As I wrote at the time, this kind of attack would normally be made against the likes of the North Korean or Iranian state media, but in the current climate of "engagement" with America's enemies the White House is far more likely to attack its own allies. And by the way, Gibbs, as my colleague James Delingpole noted in a superbly penned response, it's the "Champions League" not the "Champions League Cup".