Saturday, June 19, 2010

Musings on skillful salami-slicers

Sarah Honig

Salami-slicing, a familiar if infamous ploy, has long been a favorite of assorted shysters whether in business, party politics or geopolitical machinations. It wasn’t invented by the Arabs in their tactically mutating but strategically consistent war against the Jewish state. That said, the Arabs are matchless masters at deploying the deceit, whereas delusional broad-minded Jews voluntarily cast themselves as the ultimate dupes.In a recent Tack I wrote that “while Israel serially drew back from its positions… Arab orientations during all that time hadn’t budged a fraction of a millimeter. Their only modifications were tactical. Instead of eradicating Israel in one fell swoop (which they didn’t do only because they couldn’t), they settled on slicing Israel’s salami bit by bit to deprive it of strategic depth, render it more vulnerable to predations and erode it by demonization and demoralization. The basic premise remains that at most the existence of the unwanted ‘Zionist entity’ is admitted temporarily de facto, that this entity must shrink and that Arabs have a right to deluge it.”

I was surprised – taken aback, more accurately – by the reams of mail this one paragraph generated. What seems obvious to folks with even a modest measure of historical memory cannot clearly be taken for granted in our postmodern times. Many readers vehemently demanded corroborative information. For some in this day and age, the terminology itself appeared esoteric.

It therefore becomes necessary to explain that the essence of salami-slicing in the figurative sense is small, seemingly innocuous and disconnected actions which, taken in isolation from each other, seem inconsequential. Embezzlers, thieves and con artists, for instance, are adept at shaving off apparently paltry amounts in regularly repeated transactions. Initially nobody notices the minor losses. Over time, however, these accumulate to considerable sums.

IN POLITICS, the salami technique was nefariously used by the Soviets to install communist regimes in post-World War II Eastern Europe. The new overlords started dominating the politics of countries under their control slice by slice, until the entire sausage was devoured. The salami indeed entered our political lexicon courtesy of Hungary’s Stalinist puppet Matyas Rakosi who referred to the means employed by his party in the late 1940s as szalámitaktika – salami tactics. Rakosi maneuvered his opposition to slice off its rightist flank and then its center. Soon only communist collaborators remained.

It’s therefore particularly enlightening to realize that it was none other than the Soviets, in this case via their Romanian proxies, who intensively instructed Yasser Arafat and his henchmen throughout the 1970s in the indisputable benefits of calculated salami-slicing.

In his 1987 book Red Horizons, ex-chief of Romania’s Securitate (secret services) Ion Mihai Pacepa exposes in detail the Moscow-sponsored conspiracy to ingratiate Arafat with the West and “promote him from terrorist to statesman.”

Pacepa was personally instrumental in reinventing Arafat and the so-called Palestinian struggle as de rigueur revolutionary.

In 1978 Pacepa became the highest-ranking Soviet-bloc defector ever. The Americans spent three years debriefing him, so plentiful and valuable was his data. Inter alia Pacepa revealed that Romanian despot Nicolae Ceausescu was entrusted by the Kremlin with face-lifting Arafat’s image and inculcating in him “more palatable tactics.”

Ceausescu also arranged a monthly stipend of $200,000 for Arafat, helping him amass more than $300 million (when the dollar was incomparably mightier) in Swiss stashes.

Page after intriguing Red Horizons page is crammed with Ceausescu’s exhortations to his protégé to “pretend to break with terrorism. The West would love it… Pretend over and over… It’s like cocaine… The West may even become addicted to you and your PLO.”

How prophetic.

Ceausescu offered Arafat respectability “to erase with one stroke all American pretexts for isolating you, brother… What I want from you is help to show that I’m the only one with influence over you.”

By manipulating Arafat, Ceausescu sought to bolster his own image as an indispensable mediator. He aimed to earn himself favored status in Europe and America, and even a Nobel Prize.

Not that Arafat was easy to convince. Even perceived moderation could tarnish his patriotic credentials. Ceausescu reassured him: “You can keep as many operatives as you want, so long as they aren’t publicly connected with your name. They could mount endless operations around the world, while your name and ‘government’ remain pristine and unspoiled, ready for negotiation.”

Pacepa carefully uncovers the elaborate deception honed in Bucharest and executed with meticulous malice. What makes it credible is that it’s not post factum disclosure, padded with hindsight wisdom. His tip-offs about the premeditated perfidy saw print six years pre-Oslo.

Pacepa recounts Arafat’s earliest successes in marketing his supposedly reformed persona. First Bruno Kreisky and Willy Brandt were conned. Arafat learned to slice the salami expertly by the time Shimon Peres shoved Israel under the PLO blade at Oslo, crowning Arafat’s sinister pose with success beyond his dreams.

Most astounding of all is the fact that Arafat took little trouble to disguise his aims. Already in his May 10, 1994 address to Muslims in South Africa, Arafat proudly crowed that Oslo was a ruse, like the fraudulent seventh century Kureish truce to lull the defiant Jewish tribe into complacency until the opportunity for attack presented itself and the insubordinate Jews were slaughtered.

IF THAT wasn’t an obvious enough salami-slicing recipe, things were more unmistakably spelled out on January 30, 1996 (well into the Oslo fiasco), when the much-lamented “prince of peace” addressed Arab diplomats in Stockholm. The Nobel Peace laureate judged that the “peace process” must inevitably result in Israel’s downfall.

“We Palestinians will take over everything, including all of Jerusalem,” Arafat exulted. “Peres and Beilin already promised us half of Jerusalem.”

According to Arafat, Israel’s collapse hinged on “PLO efforts to split Israel psychologically into two camps… We plan to eliminate the State of Israel and establish a pure Palestinian state. We’ll make life unbearable for Jews by psychological warfare and a massive influx of Arabs.”

In other words, Arafat promised to slice the salami. His cultivated assistant/understudy was Mahmoud Abbas, who now dons Arafat’s mantle in Ramallah and like him dishes up salami slices to a ravenous world, while posturing simultaneously as the pitiable underdog and the valiant altruist.

There was never much resonance to Pacepa’s revelations about the origins of the Palestinian stratagem. Even pre-Barack Obama the international community didn’t care to know. In the ultra-radicalized Obama era, salami-slicing is elevated to a sanctioned sacrament.

It’s therefore more important than ever for the shrinking ranks of individuals with still-healthy suspicions of overly skillful salami-slicers to recall that Pacepa – who dealt with more than one man’s share of unsavory characters – considered Arafat the dirtiest rogue he encountered, “lying in every sentence and denying what he promised the day before.”

In time, Pacepa stressed, he “felt a compulsion to take a shower whenever kissed by Arafat, or even after just shaking his hand.”

Friday, June 18, 2010

A Flotilla of Demonisation

Oceans of ink have been poured about the flotilla incident. By now, with the copious documentation and viewing of the video clips, the facts about the aims of those on board, their terrorist links and about what really happened on board, are gradually emerging. But the speed and intensity by which the world recklessly rushed to blame Israel, and only Israel, and the scale and venom of the reaction, has left me speechless. Until now.

I don't know how to depict a world that clamours to indict Israel while exonerating its enemies, that uses double standards in promoting false and baseless accusations, and that has forgotten history so as to use the language of the Holocaust to portray Israelis as the epitome of evil. I don't know what to make of a world that is silent when Israelis die in homicidal bombings or rocket attacks, or a Europe that tries to seek forgiveness for its colonial past by defaming Israel time and again and is silent when atrocities are committed against Israelis. I am still shocked by intellectual and cultural figures who ceaselessly denounce Israel, leading the charge for boycott and divestment, and seek Israel's isolation.

It's hard to understand why countries, journalists and commentators have turned a blind-eye to the obvious provocative nature of the flotilla, the role Hamas plays in the suffering of Gaza, or to its charter that calls for the destruction of Israel, or to the fact that when Egypt opened its borders with Gaza shortly after the incident, thousands of residents massed at the border, hankering to get out - only to be stopped by Hamas. It's hard to fathom why TV channels, radio stations and newspapers have sought to paint a one-sided picture that takes no account of Israel's account and defensive needs.

A clear-eyed examination of the facts would ask: if the Turkish convoy was only interested in delivering humanitarian supplies to Gaza, why did it not accept Israel's offer to peacefully off load the relief in the Israeli port of Haifa for transport into Gaza? After all, Israel ships into Gaza 15,000 tonnes of food and medical supplies every week.

The IHH, the Turkish group who organised the convoy, has been named in a US Federal court as having an "important role" in the attempt to blow up an LA airport. As organizer Greta Berlin confessed, the flotilla was not about humanitarian aid, but about breaking the blockade. Military experts have pointed to the links IHH has with Hamas and global jihad movements.

But beyond the actual incident, another aspect that is becoming disturbingly evident is the blistering demonisation, and delegitimisation of Israel. And the viciousness of such vilification by the media, and international governments who should know better, is mind-blowing. As philosopher Bernard-Henri Lévy wrote: "The flood of hypocrisy, bad faith and, ultimately, disinformation, that seems to have just been waiting for this pretext to flow into the breach and sweep across the media worldwide - as is the case every time the Jewish state slips up and commits an error - is by no means acceptable."

How many journalists have explained that both Israel and Egypt have imposed a naval blockade of Gaza, and that Israel did so to prevent the re-arming of the Iranian-backed Hamas? How many journalists have noted that no country allows ships to enter its waters without inspection for illicit goods of military weapons and ammunition? Elie Wiesel rightly points out: "We know that the six vessels of the flotilla were chartered by pro-Hamas groups, the initiative coming from the most militant wing of Hamas. How could Israel be sure that they did not carry weapons to kill and destroy?

How many journalists have written about Gaza being used as a base for the launching of thousands of rockets into Israeli towns in a murderous and relentless war of attrition? How many journalists have alerted readers to the brutal Hamas regime in Gaza that is stockpiling weapons for eventual targeting of Israeli cities, violently puts down any political opponents, and is slowly imposing fundamentalist Islamic law?

How many readers know that one of the passengers, rejecting an Israeli request to berth the ship for inspection, replied: "Shut up and go back to Auschwitz" while another blockade runner said: "We're helping Arabs going against the US. Don't forget 9/11, guys".

The virulent call for Jews to return to the extermination camp of Europe provides a glaring and bloodcurdling insight into the mindset of those on board.

And the hypocrisy is something to reflect on. The unrestrained assault on Israel is unprecedented. No other nation generates such language or focus.

Consider that no similar condemnation and media attention has been applied to North Korea's recent sinking of a South Korean boat and its monstrous regime, or to Iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons and oppression of its citizens, or to the genocide in Darfur and Congo, or to Zimbabwe's dictator, or to the Russian invasion of Georgia, or the human rights abuse in Syria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, or to the Chinese treatment of the Uighurs in Xinjiang and Tibet, or to India's military occupation of Muslim Kashmir. And the list goes on.

As one commentator observed, these dictators must be sitting back and laughing at the world's reaction to the flotilla episode given their crimes. Or as Tom Gross notes about the recent killing of an al-Qaeda leader, "plus his wife, three of his daughters, his granddaughter, and other men, women, and children" by an American missile strike: "No one seems to be getting hysterical about this anywhere in the world. Now imagine if Israel had been involved . . ."

The EU representative for foreign affairs, Catherine Ashton, demanded an opening of the Gaza blockade. Yet, the EU, since 2002, has insisted that no one deal with Hamas until it recognised Israel's right to exist and renounce violence. Hamas has not done so. The President of Bosnia compared the Gaza blockade to the siege of Sarajevo of the 1990s where about 10,000 people died.

News agency Reuters has just admitted that it cropped images so as to show Israel in a negative light. In the uncut photo, you can see the hand of an unidentified commander holding a knife over an Israeli soldier lying on the deck of the ship. In the Reuters photo, the knife is missing.

And what was Fairfax Media's journalist Paul McCeough thinking when he described Israeli soldiers as hyenas. Did he not feel that such a description was loaded with inflammatory bias? Could he not think of another turn of phrase? Such language is extravagantly prejudicial and hurtful, drawn from vocabulary and a time we thought had been relegated to the dustbin of history.

Veteran White House correspondent Helen Thomas told Rabbi David Nesenoff that Israeli Jews should "get the hell out of Palestine" and "go home" to ''Germany, Poland" - where 6 million people were murdered. Her on-camera comments embodied in many ways the disproportionate hostility exhibited towards the Jewish state by intelligent and educated people. Whether Thomas really meant that Israel should disappear, or that a mass expulsion of Jews should take place is unknown. But her words echo a worrying trend in which people are openly talking about a world without Israel. And I just don't mean the Iranian President who wants Israel wiped off the map.

Such incitement only fuels anti-Jewish sentiment.

Over the last week, a Jewish student wearing a yarmulke was assaulted at Sydney University. Unsurprisingly, The Northwest Intelligence Network reports: "A palpable animosity against Israel and the Jews, most recently exacerbated by media bias with regard to the nature of the aid flotillas to Gaza, are generating a new and vicious level of anti-Semitism worldwide."

Across the Arab world, hateful and anti-Semitic newspaper cartoons have fanned the flames of intolerance. In Al-Watan, Qatar, a hook nosed, black-hatted Jew with tentacles holds a bloody knife and a gun; in Al Iqtisadiyya, Saudi Arabia, a flag with the Swastika is shown over a Star of David, with an image of a skull and crossbones.

The Turkish government has labelled the Israeli raid a massacre, and likened it to 9/11. Its ambassador to the US said last Friday that Hamas is a key and necessary part of the "Final solution" to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Such comments, inadvertent as they may be, would horrify those who know history. Turkey, part of NATO, who wants to become a member of the EU, should do well to avoid its self-righteous outbursts and look back at its past - specifically the Armenian Genocide and the way it has treated the Kurdish Independence movement that by some estimates has so far led to the death of 40,000 lives.

Thankfully, the history books are slowly being corrected. Here is what Tony Blair, Special envoy of the Quartet of Middle East peace mediators, said yesterday about the flotilla incident: "There's no question that there are rockets fired from Gaza and that there are people in Gaza who want to kill innocent Israelis. When it comes to security, I'm 100 per cent on Israel's side. Israel has the right to inspect what goes into Gaza." Kuwaiti journalist Abdallah Al-Hadlaq agrees, writing that the outcome of the Israeli navy's operation was "in direct proportion to the violence" of the flotilla activists.

He further notes that the flotilla organisers are known to have ties with global and regional terror organisations.

Robert Fulford tries to explain the enmity towards Israel by quoting from The Israel Test, a book by George Gilder. Gilder writes: "Without oil, beset by passionate enemies, Israel has nevertheless achieved astonishing, unprecedented success. It now stands second only to the United States in microchips, telecom, software, biotech, medical devices and renewable energy. Per capita, it's easily the most innovative country on the planet." Fulford ends his article with this question: "Gilder's "Israel test" asks how others respond to this achievement. Do we study, admire and emulate it? Or do we consider it a devilish trick and hope to see it destroyed?

I think we all know the answer.
National Times

Hamas is to blame for Gaza tragedy

The flotilla may have been an aid mission but it was also a political gesture, says Eamon Delaney

THE storming last week of the aid convoy to Gaza by Israeli commandos was not only a tragedy for the victims, it was a disaster for Israel and for its many friends in the West, although in the past few years it has been difficult to defend Israel. The storming of these boats, in international waters, shows a flagrant disregard for human safety, but also for international concerns, as does Israel's misuse of Irish passports for hit jobs in Dubai, and its ongoing building projects on Palestinian land around east Jerusalem, totally undermining any meaningful peace process.

This attack confirms that Israel is locked into a 'security only' policy and will blindly strike out at those whom it perceives are against it. In doing so, the Israeli government is condemning another generation of Israelis to live under siege, and to be the citizens of a state that is for many an international pariah. As someone who has taken a supportive attitude to Israel over the years, especially when it comes to the hypocrisy of those who would criticise Israel for responding to attacks on its people and territory, this is not a comfortable thing to write.

But for some time now, making the case for Israel has been hard. In 2006, there was the bloody invasion of Gaza, but at least this was part of an actual conflict and an incursion deliberately provoked by the deadly Hamas, an organisation which has been nothing short of disastrous for the Palestinian people.

Of more lasting damage has been the apparent lack of any serious intent on the part of Israel in entering into the search for peace in the West Bank and in the creation of a Palestinian state. Here, its partners are not Hamas but the moderate Mahmoud Abbas of Fatah. However, Israeli premier Benjamin Netanyahu has refused to stop the building of illegal settlements, especially around Jerusalem. This made a mockery of any meaningful negotiations. It also made a mockery of US president Barack Obama's promises on the matter. No wonder his peace envoy George Mitchell is in such despair. Having worked his magic in Northern Ireland, Mitchell knows that for any such settlement to work, there has to be a basic foundation of trust and compromise. Amazingly, however, there is now actually some hope of a settlement there with, according to Fatah, the broad parameters in place and new talks about to begin between the two sides. So there may yet be a rare positive side-effect from the flotilla fiasco.

However, for Gaza itself, which is run by Hamas, Fatah's bitter rivals, the situation looks utterly bleak. Context is everything, after all, and it is worth noting how we have come to this pass. For years, Gaza was administered by Israel but in 2003, finding it too difficult to handle, it uprooted the few Jewish settlements there and withdrew. However, instead of it becoming a pliable Palestinian territory, Gaza fell into the hands of the Hamas organisation who immediately declared their total non-recognition of Israel and used the territory as a base from which to launch attacks. In response, Israel put Gaza under a blockade, which has had severe consequences for the population. Not that Hamas seems to care. This is an organisation which picked a war with Israel that it knew it had no hope of winning. Instead, it launched hundreds of rockets from deep inside residential areas, knowing the Israeli reaction, and over-reaction, would result in civilian deaths. This is how Hamas fights its wars.

And yet none of this deters Hamas. In a Guardian interview, published on the very day of the flotilla-storming, Hamas leader Khaled Meshal almost jauntily looked forward to the next round of "fighting with Israel". "It won't be a picnic," he said and reiterated his organisation's complete unwillingness to recognise the original Israeli state, despite pleading from Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

Meanwhile, Hamas continues to be funded by the Syrians and Iranians, anxious to stoke bloodshed, but suitably far away enough not to suffer the consequences. With proxies like Hamas and Hezbollah in Lebanon, Iran's president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad needn't feel too disappointed that he hasn't yet got nuclear weapons so that he can fulfil his repeatedly stated ambition of "wiping Israel off the map". (And still Western critics say Israel should get over its hang-up with the 'holocaust'!)

The reality is that Hamas should be blamed for bringing ruin and destruction to the people of Gaza. Inside the coastal territory, Hamas now enforces an authoritarian regime, and has imposed a repressive Islamic culture, which has, thankfully, whittled away its popular vote of 2006. Not that the residents will have a chance to express this, given that Hamas has cancelled elections and forcibly and bloodily evicted its rivals in the Fatah movement.

These are awkward questions for the flotilla volunteers. Granted they were on a humanitarian mission, but it was also a political gesture of solidarity with the besieged territory. And yet despite the blockade, Hamas has managed to get plenty of arms into Gaza, mainly through desert tunnels, and has been able to launch hundreds of rocket attacks into Israel.

Meanwhile, the US and most European states also regard Hamas as a terrorist organisation and treat it as such. Of course, many observers now feel that Israel should simply recognise Hamas as the administrator of Gaza and deal with it accordingly, however unpalatable this might be. After all, the Israelis said they would never deal with Yasser Arafat and the PLO but they ended up doing a peace deal with them. In that case, the PLO eventually recognised Israel and the argument is that Hamas would grudgingly do the same if given a durable peace settlement and the lifting of the blockade. This would be quite similar to Northern Ireland where Sinn Fein still holds out its aim of a united Ireland while recognising the 'de facto' rule or ongoing administration of Northern Ireland by the British.

If there is no such agreement, it is hard to see where this will end up. Israel cannot destroy Hamas and the more it attacks it and enforces the blockade of Gaza, the more it will reinforce Hamas. Hamas, however, cannot destroy Israel or wish it away. Any hope of that evaporated long ago, with the continued defeat of the neighbouring, and much larger, Arab countries when they went to war against Israel over the decades. Egypt and Jordan now have peace agreements with Israel, and Syria is close to one. (Although rogue state Iran is trying to develop the bomb.)

But in the meantime, the question for Israel is how does it deal with a hostile neighbour who doesn't even recognise its right to exist. Now there's one for the ever-patient George Mitchell to ponder.

Sunday Independent

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Questions for Amos Oz

I'm sure you are aware that throughout history wars have been waged not only because of conflicting interests, but also opposing ideas that carried the masses on each side.

By Dina Porat

Dear Amos,
I must confess I was surprised by your op-ed "Israeli Force, Adrift on the Sea" (published in The New York Times June 2, and in the Haaretz Hebrew Edition the same day ), and I would be grateful if you could clarify some of your central arguments.
You note that "Hamas is not just a terrorist organization. Hamas is an idea." What kind of an idea is Hamas? The Hamas charter, which was issued in August 1988 and has never since been altered, sums up the movement's ideology quite bluntly. Among other things it says: "Leaving the circle of conflict with the Zionists is a major act of treason and it will bring curse on its perpetrators"; "Israel will remain erect until Islam eliminates it" since the land is sacred to Islam and cannot be compromised; and the banner of Jihad will be raised "to extricate the country and the people from the [Zionists'] desecration, filth and evil."

From Hamas' perspective, the Jews are a cruel enemy, comparable to the Nazis, with the Protocols of the Elders of Zion providing sufficient proof of this. I'm sure this is not the idea you had in mind, Mr. Oz, so which idea was it?

In your words, Hamas is "a desperate and fanatical idea that grew out of the desolation and frustration of many Palestinians," and indeed your words have always had their charm. But must desolation and frustration necessarily lead to uncompromising violence, leading up to and including the eradication of anyone perceived as the enemy?

At the end of the 1920s, the world plummeted into a horrific economic crisis, with millions losing all of their possessions. In the United States, this crisis prompted the rise of the New Deal. In Germany, the state of affairs emboldened the Nazi party, which soon after rose to power.

A desperate idea, you say. With this one word - "desperate" - you throw all responsibility for the current situation on Israel, effectively saying that Hamas, and before them the Palestine Liberation Organization, and before the PLO the Fedayeen, and before them the Arabs of the Land of Israel, all proposed reasonable ideas concerning partition of the land ever since the rise of the Zionist movement, and it was the Zionists who refused. In 1937, the Peel Commission proposed partitioning the country, and in 1947, the plan was endorsed by the UN General Assembly, and so on and so forth up until the latest proposals for resolving the conflict, but the Yishuv and Israel refused, up until the strictly non-violent Arabs despaired and had to resort to violence. Obviously, this is not what you meant either, so what exactly did you mean?

You say that "to defeat an idea you have to offer a better idea, a more attractive and acceptable one." This, too, is an enchanting phrase; one can only dream that an idea could be defeated by the proposition of another one.

I'm sure you are aware that throughout history wars have been waged not only because of conflicting interests, but also opposing ideas that carried the masses on each side. The idea of white supremacy, the idea of the righteousness of Christianity and Islam, the Bolshevik and the Fascist ideas all claimed millions of victims, even though other ideas were proposed at the time. Western culture today offers an alternative to fanatical Islam: democracy, rights for women and minorities, education allowing students free thinking and choice, technological progress, independent cultural pursuits. Here is an attractive, very reasonable idea. What do you think?

Saying "we are not alone in this land, and the Palestinians are not alone in this land" and that both sides need to "recognize the logical consequences of this simple fact," does not require any further clarification. It reminds me of how in your wonderful book, "A Tale of Love and Darkness," Ephraim Avneri, a guard of the fields of Hulda, says: "We will shoot them [if they come to shoot us] not because they are a nation of murderers, but for the simple reason that we are also allowed to live, and for the simple reason that we are also allowed to have a country, not just them." The author chairs the Institute for the Study of Contemporary Anti-Semitism and Racism at Tel Aviv University.

2. Calling all progressives and caring leftists! It is time to take action against those who support the naval blockade of Gaza. And since the head of the PLO an dthe “President” of the “Palestinian Authority Abbas has now come out in FAVOR of the Gaza blockade, as a way to waken his terror competitors, we must all act now. For details see

Yes, Mahmous Abbas is SUPPORTING the continuation of the blockade of Gaza. So let’s see some Turkish terrorhoids and ISM accomplices and Tel Aviv University professors and Human d Rights NGOs and Arab Knesset members and Haaretz “journalists” organize some violent attacks against the PLO

Delegitimization from Within

Ari Bussel

There is a new buzzword relating to Israel: Delegitimization. For some, particularly in the Israeli diplomatic corps, it is a relatively new discovery, for others the culmination of a process that started some 30 years ago. For a moment it seems all of Israel’s troubles would disappear if she knew how to fight Delegitimization. Where does “Delegitimization” begin? The process stems from within Israel proper and from amidst the Jewish communities in the Diaspora, predominantly the American Jewry. It has already passed the point of no return.

While Delegitimization in its current manifestation continues to be fueled by the same elements, it has taken a new life of its own, led by Turkey’s Prime Minister Erdogan, Iran’s President Ahmadinejad and the Palestinian Authority’s President Mahmoud Abbas. It is not a coincidence that the three leaders are Muslim.

Delegitimization is the new buzzword that in essence describes some Israelis’ and many American Jews’ call to “End the Occupation” and allow for “Two States, living side by side.” These are different phrases to describe the “Final Solution:” A Palestinian State with Jerusalem as its capital.

I erred for a long time, thinking that two states, one so-called Palestinian, the other Jewish, were already existing side-by-side: Jordan and Israel, both parts of a certain Mandate from a century ago.

I was then awakened to the realization that Arabs in particular do not care about the plight of the Palestinian people whom they view with contempt. Why has it become Israel’s responsibility to vacate her rightful home, the Land of Israel, in favor of the “Palestinians” when Arabs purposely treat the Palestinians as second-class citizens and prevent them from assimilating?

Neither the Palestinians nor their Arab brethren really want peace or to live peacefully together with the Jews. The mere notion of a Jewish State is for them heresy, a racist idea in its fullest form.

The Palestinians clearly state they had no aspirations for a state of their own, nor that they existed as a People until the propaganda tool became so effective in the last three decades, it assumed a life of its own. A mere figment of imagination grew and developed, constantly fueled and fed by Israelis and American Jews.

It was during the recent Turkish convoy of terror against Israel that Israelis and Jews alike united to stand together, protecting one another against the hits from all sides. Back to back we stood to respond to the Flotilla of Lies and to arguments that the lynching was not clear enough, the footage was doctored, Israel did not express deep enough remorse and on and on.

How should a pro-Israel, pro-peace crowd respond when everyone is condemning the Jewish State, action is taken against Israel and anti-Semitic attacks (both verbal, like Helen Thomas’, and physical) gain legitimacy? They chose to tell those few still standing that Israel must extend further concessions to the Palestinians and that peace must be achieved within 18 to 24 months. How pleasant the melody to the ears of the American President, Hamas in Gaza and Fatah in Judea and Samaria: The Jews doing their work for them!

In the name of Unity, the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles and the Israeli Consulate in Los Angeles invited speakers from both Americans for Peace Now and J Street to speak at a pro-Israel rally in front of the Consulate Building. The leadership of the Federation and the Israeli diplomats were astonished when the speakers were booed. Someone even shouted “traitor!” Thus, the Jewish Journal dedicated most of its subsequent publication to this issue.

A few days earlier, just days after the Mavi Marmara and Israel’s deplorable behavior which resulted in the unfortunate deaths of nine peace activists, now martyrs for the Palestinian cause, many have gathered at the Federation for a presentation by the Israeli Consul General about the events. There was a shared feeling of being under attack. All those present were called to show up on Sunday for a pro-Israel rally. Some 20,000 were expected. We excused the Consul General and the leadership of the Federation for optimistically exaggerating the number; they are relatively new in their positions.

As I reviewed both the Jewish Journal and the five or so different local papers in Hebrew, I was astonished by the lack of notice, thus enthusiasm, for the upcoming rally. Based on past events, I expected the front and back pages to call for one and all to show up and show support for Israel. I was ready to read each paper filled from cover to cover with stories about the events that took place and the rally planned for the weekend.

I further expected to be bombarded with e-mails and phone calls, but these only trickled in at a much slower pace than I thought necessary to generate support of many thousands to such a rally.

The rally was not “anti” Turkey, Iran, Hamas or any of Israel’s current or newly found enemies. Rather, it was a “pro” rally, with Israeli and American flags, singing and dancing. It was designed to lift the spirit of the community and send a message of solidarity to Israel. It called for the widest common denominator – WE SUPPORT ISRAEL. The rally should have thus attracted the widest range of audiences, from Israelis to Jews, Christians and Latinos, Iranians and Armenians.

There were somewhere between two to three thousand people who attended the rally. It was difficult to see or hear the speakers, who spoke in a chain that lasted almost two hours. But the attendees were embraced by a feeling of solidarity to Israel uniting all those present.

In perspective, two to three thousand attendees on a Sunday, not a workday, is a very shameful reflection of support for Israel. During the Second War in Lebanon in the summer of 2006, some five to eight thousand participated in a similar rally.

There are close to a million Jews in Greater Los Angeles, divided approximately 65% American to 35% Israelis. Since many of those present were non-Jewish—Christians, Iranians and Armenians—and relatively few Americans, one is left to wonder why the American Jews did not attend the rally and where the rest of Israelis were when hardly one percent of them showed up. Do they no longer care about their country or maybe their numbers and influence is not as great as otherwise perceived?

As I was looking at the section of Wilshire Boulevard that was closed to traffic, I saw a long, empty street. The organizers hoped more people would show up, ten times as many. In 2006, people were marching from Beverly Hills, Fairfax, Mid-Wilshire and Pico-Robertson. Families with children, school groups and youth organizations dressed up and carrying flags and signs. It was “everybody” together, converging in a procession toward the Federation.

Then it was a true community event, where the predominant language was American English. This time around, mainly foreigners, easily recognizable as such by their looks and accents, came to support the Jewish State.

The absence of the hard-core Jewish community was mesmerizing. I looked again at the empty street and was shocked. Where were the reform synagogues, the conservative schools, or entertainment industry members? Where was our Jewish community?

Why was the American Jewry not there in force? From six hundred and fifty thousand people, was almost everyone busy or simply out of town? The lack of attendance was accentuated by the lukewarm effort by the Jewish media and organizations to show support for Israel, at one of her darkest times.

Has Israel lost the support of American Jewry, or are they so far detached they will only show up to Peace Now or J Street events?

Possibly the feeling of doom did not dawn on American Jewry. Possibly they, like J Street and Peace Now, thought that the Flotilla of Lies is an opportunity to benefit Hamas, the elected leaders of the peace-loving Palestinians, and lift, once and forever, the siege and blockade over Gaza.

Possibly they were hurt by the fact that nine “peace activists” were shot dead (just for fun, apparently) by the Zionist Occupation forces and that Israel has shown no remorse. Possibly they, too, felt Israel needed to be punished severely, once and for all, so she remembers that the only way to survive in peace and security is to give in to the Palestinian demands: give away Judea and Samaria, divide Jerusalem and start negotiations on a final settlement of allowing all the so-called Palestinian refugees of fourth and fifth generation to claim their homes in Tel Aviv, Beer Sheva and Haifa and establish Palestine, safe and secure in what once was God’s promise to His people. Perhaps they too will not be satisfied until all of Israel is pushed into the sea once again.

Israel was widely condemned everywhere around the world. It was more important than ever to stand by Israel and support her. This was not the time to talk about an elusive peace that exists only in our mind’s eye, when the enemy calls for our immediate and utter destruction. This was the time to comfort each other by standing together and telling Israel – we are your army, we are the front line, we are with you. If we are not for ourselves, who will be for us? But we were not there, in body or in spirit.

The fact that American Jewry did not show en masse to stand with Israel sent a very strong message to our enemies. Israelis, too, have criticized the debacle of the Turkish Flotilla. Thus, instead of standing united, we are engrossed by internal debates, all leading in opposite directions, all based on a false notion that peace is both achievable and in the interests of the Jewish State for maintaining her security and existence.

Who believes any longer that a house divided can remain standing? Our enemies realize this great divide amongst the Jewish people is their greatest hope for the destruction of Israel.

It is the self-anointed “Pro-Israel, Pro-Peace” camp that has managed to undermine our very foundations. They attack from within, while our enemies hammer from the outside. Their narrative of an “Occupation,” and “Settlements” has been so engrained in the collective mindset that Israel’s legitimacy has been eroded to fine dust, now scattered like the ash-remains of a cremated human being.

If we do not learn from history, we are doomed to repeat our mistakes. Religious Jews observe a day of fast once a year, when the Wall of Jerusalem fell. Another day of fast, three weeks later, forever reminds us of the Destruction of the Temple.

We are not Orthodox, so we do not observe these days of fast. We are somewhat removed from our religion, so we may not quite remember the stories of our Bible. We definitely do not remember the lesson that the Walls fell and Jerusalem razed since there was disunity from within.

Had we remembered that story of so long ago, we would have been able to immediately recognize what is so evident now: It is Israelis and American Jewry who are ushering in our enemies and bringing the modern razing of the Jewish State.

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.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Necessary Jewish Distinctions and Our "Relativist-in-Chief"

Michael Medved
Wednesday, June 16, 2010

At his core, Barack Obama is a leveler – an eraser of distinctions. Most Americans savor his unique ability to blur divisions based on race – after all, no other president could have expressed public hesitation and uncertainty before checking the racial identity box on his census form. (Mr. Obama opted, after well-advertised agony, for “African American” rather than “Mixed Race.”) At the same time, many liberals, including most Jewish liberals, applaud his efforts to demolish barriers based on economic advantage, to close the gap between the impoverished and the privileged. In other areas, the president’s leveling instinct creates far more controversy, particularly when it morphs into a stubbornly non-judgmental form of moral relativism. In foreign policy and national security issues in particular his denial of distinctions has led to dangerous confusion between the decent and the degenerate and, between friend and foe and, ultimately, between right and wrong. The administration has offered new protection and sympathy for terrorist operatives at Gitmo at the same time that it threatens criminal prosecution of counter-terror heroes for harsh interrogations that helped protect us from the enemy’s murderous schemes. In this context, it’s sadly predictable that the Obama team seems determined to punish the Israelis despite their innumerable risks for peace, while rewarding the Palestinians for their unshakeable intransigence.

Rush Limbaugh

Mr. Obama’s maddeningly obtuse approach to Israel doesn’t so much reflect anti-Semitism or even anti-Zionism as it expresses his willful blindness to the overriding moral dimension to the conflict in the Middle East. In this, he presents a glaring and painful contrast with his predecessor. George W. Bush made his share of errors in foreign affairs, but he never lost sight of the irreducible difference between nation states seeking a peaceful, stable, democratic world and those he unabashedly called “the evil-doers” --gangster regimes and terrorist bands bent on domination and destruction. When it comes to Israel and her enemies, Allen Dershowitz (who supported Obama’s presidential campaign) memorably drew the crucial distinction on my radio show: “If the Palestinians put down their weapons, there would be peace tomorrow. If the Israelis put down their weapons there would be genocide tomorrow.” In other words, there is no moral equivalence between those who seek only security within their own borders and those who yearn to annihilate a neighboring people.

Assuming that President Obama continues to ignore or obscure the contrasting agendas of the Israeli and Islamic combatants – that he continues to worry more over Jews building apartments in Jerusalem than over Muslim fanatics building nukes in Teheran –will Jewish voters wake up to the administration’s threat to our interests and our values? That seems doubtful, since so many secular Jews share the president’s embrace of moral relativism, and recoil from the imposition of absolute categories of good and evil on contemporary affairs. For one thing, any talk of ultimate right and wrong smacks inevitably of religiosity, and Jews remain disproportionately disengaged from organized faith --- vastly less likely to affiliate with congregations, or even to profess a belief in God, than their Christian neighbors. The most conventionally religious Jews in the community, the Orthodox, display no reluctance to uphold clear distinctions between good and evil and they voted overwhelmingly against Obama – just as their less stringent compatriots unblushingly backed their fellow moral relativist by similarly lopsided margins.

A major shift in the Jewish vote would require a deeper shift in the American-Jewish worldview, and a desperately needed but highly unlikely new willingness to re-affirm the most rigorous and judgmental aspects of our ancient tradition. The sad fact is that most Jews like Obama’s leveling approach, and his eradication of differences, including the all-important, existential distinction between Jew and Gentile. Consider the goofy pride with which so many besotted liberals pointed to the recent White House seder, led by Jeremiah Wright’s long-time congregant in his conspicuous yarmulke, presiding over the annual ritual of particularistic national origins despite his admitted ignorance of virtually all-aspects of Jewish tradition. By contrast, when George W. Bush hosted menorah lightings in the White House, he never presumed to kindle the lights himself, but instead assigned the task to Jewish offspring of fighting men who were serving their country in Iraq or Afghanistan.

This president, unlike Mr. Bush, would feel profound discomfort with the timeless and uncompromising Jewish emphasis on distinctions and separation – between pure and impure, kosher and non-kosher, Sabbath and weekday, good and evil. After all, the Book of Genesis shows God beginning the work of creation through the process of division – between light and darkness, between the waters above and the waters beneath, between earth and seas, and so forth. The Havdalah, or “separation” prayer recited by religious Jews at the conclusion of every Sabbath, emphasizes this crucial aspect of Jewish ideas of the sacred: “Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the universe, Who separates between holy and secular, between light and darkness, between Israel and the nations, between the seventh day and the six days of labor.” When more Jews resonate with this eternal imperative to draw clear and crisp distinctions they will rally to Israel’s uniquely compelling case as a singular example in the most desperate and depraved corner of the earth, but until then they will probably continue to make common cause with our Relativist-in-chief.

Copyright © 2010 Salem Web Network. All Rights Reserved.

"No entrance for Dogs and Jews"‏


This isn't my first acquaintance with such slogans , for you it may mean nothing , because you weren't there or born yet,or might have heard tales from your parents and history books, so you people will probably lay it aside and think no more about it .

A bit less arrogance won't do anyone any harm . And please never say : we didn't know .........! “No entrance for dogs and Jews” June 3rd, 2010

My name is Lior Zagury and I’m a very proud Israeli Jew.

Yes, it is important for me to present myself in this way, especially today when there is a feeling that there is a festival for anti-Semites.

I just came back yesterday from Poland after 8 days of having the privilege of guiding the Inter Disciplinary university students in the death camps. These students, studying in Israel were Jews, Christians and Muslims. 5 huge armed commando Polish soldiers with rifles and pistols needed to secure our check in to EL-AL flight to Israel from the Warsaw airport.

I know that you got at least 100 e-mails about the flotilla to Gaza and I will not repeat what was said there. I want to speak about something much bigger that is happening now.

The header of my letter wasn’t taken from the streets of Berlin in 1933 when the Nazi’s came to power, not from the neighborhoods of Warsaw in 1941 when the Jews lived in the Ghetto, and not even from the shops of Kielce after the second world war in 1946, just before the pogrom that made Jews understand that there isn’t a safe place for them and they need to leave Europe.

The header was taken from signs that were hanged at the entrance to big markets and offices in Turkey in the past few days, in June of 2010 and similar signs that were hung in Jordan. The signs say: “not receive the dogs & Israelis” as you can see in the photo that is attached.

What we see around us is not about the flotilla and Gaza. It is a very sophisticated plan to demolish the legitimacy of the existence of the Jewish state of Israel.

In his first speech at the German Reichstag at 1/30/ 1933 Hitler said the cause of all the world problems is world Jewry. Most of the people didn’t take him seriously and felt very safe in their countries, trusting their governments. 12 years later we lost 6 million Jews in the Holocaust in the worst way that human kind has ever known.

These days, 65 years after, Achmadinijad from Iran and many others say exactly the same. The history repeats itself. Most of the people do not take him seriously and feel very safe in their countries, trusting their governments.....

This is a wake up call.

If you will ignore that and convince yourselves that this is not the main stream, this is just a passing storm and that it will never happen to us – sooner or later, you might find those restrictions in your backyard, in your favorite restaurant, in your great Bar and in your amazing university as it was 75 years ago. A few months ago, an Arab restaurant in Haifa didn’t allow Israeli soldiers to come in and eat.

We need your support now more then ever. We need to raise our heads, speak in a very clear and loud voice and especially be one, united. I have a complete and strong confidence in our nation.

Israel has the most moral army in the world, it is the only democracy in the world that in each and every given moment there are hundreds of thousands of missiles and rockets ready to be launched to the central of its cities from enemies that want to erase us, and the only place in the world that a Jew can just be a Jew and feel completely safe about it.

We promised NEVER AGAIN. Don’t wait to say we didn’t know.



Charities Need to Raise Their Defenses against Exploitation by Terrorists

Matthew Levitt
Chronicle of Philanthropy

Terrorist groups have long exploited charities. Humanitarian groups are attractive covers for illicit acts, after all. Characteristics that would arouse money-laundering suspicions in other organizations -- such as running projects in zones of conflict and sending a flow of money in only one direction -- are standard operating procedure for nonprofit groups. The situation is so serious that a key global body focused on preventing financing of global terrorism declared in a 2008 report that "the misuse of nonprofit organizations for the financing of terrorism is coming to be recognized as a crucial weak point in the global struggle to stop such funding at its source."

To avoid this deadly exploitation, all nonprofit organizations must tighten their controls.

Make no mistake: The vast majority of charities are law-abiding, praiseworthy organizations. Their employees put themselves at great personal risk, working on the front lines in some of the most dangerous places in the world.

But among the minority of charities engaged in supporting terrorism, some are founded with the express purpose of financing terror, while others are infiltrated by terrorist operatives and supporters and co-opted from within.

A terrorist operative can find a nonprofit group to be a great resource: It offers day jobs, salaries, meeting places, and means to obtain official documents. Through charities, transnational terrorist groups have been able to move personnel, money, and material to and from high-risk areas under cover of humanitarian or charity work.

The federal government's efforts to prevent terrorists from abusing charities have been met with great skepticism from charities, but it is important to recognize that the Treasury Department has never tried to punish unwitting donors to terror groups. And the process it has used to vet charities it considers terrorist fronts is robust and vigorous and errs on the side of caution.

In eight egregious cases, charities operating as fronts for terrorist groups have been designated by the Treasury Department as terrorist organizations, and the government has frozen their assets and closed their operations.

In none of these cases was the government's action capricious or based on sparse, dated, or unreliable information.

Consider the example of Abd Al Hamid Sulaiman Al-Mujil, executive director of the Eastern Province office of the International Islamic Relief Organization, who was designated a terrorist by the Treasury Department in 2006. (Several other branch offices of his organization were also designated as fronts for terrorism by the Treasury that same year.)

According to information made public in the Treasury press statement announcing his designation, Mr. Al-Mujil was described by fellow jihadists as the "million-dollar man" for his support of terrorist groups, including Al Qaeda.

Organizations that are designated as terrorist groups can and do appeal their status, and the Treasury Department has lifted the label, and its accompanying restrictions, when warranted.

One reason charities remain vulnerable to terrorist financing, according to the Financial Action Task Force -- an international body that sets global standards designed to prevent illegal financing of terrorist groups -- is that charities do not face the strict regulatory requirements that other entities, such as financial institutions or private companies, must follow.

Despite their obvious shortcomings in recent years, banks and other companies usually do subject their business dealings to robust due-diligence procedures.

The same is not always the case for charities. But nonprofit organizations have no less a fiduciary responsibility to their donors than profit-making institutions have to their investors. Both need to apply high standards of review to their activities out of their own interest in protecting their reputations from risk.

The nonprofit world must appreciate the government's solemn responsibility to protect its citizenry, while the government must appreciate that charities come to this problem from a noble and well-intentioned perspective focused on facilitating quick, efficient, and timely aid. Thankfully, promoting opportunities for charitable giving and reducing the risk that those opportunities will be abused for illicit purposes are in no way mutually exclusive goals.

Unfortunately, communication between nonprofit groups and government agencies on these issues has been strained, at best.

Some within the nonprofit world stress that due diligence on the part of charities is difficult and costly and insist it has only limited value. In fact, the real question of the day is how to streamline due diligence and make it more cost-effective. There should be no debate over the threshold for harmonizing charity and security: a basic commitment to nonviolence.

Balancing the risk of violence and the opportunity for philanthropy, government and charity both have a responsibility to err on the side of caution, even as they work together to promote giving and humanitarian activity.

Both also have a responsibility to work cooperatively to make sure donors don't stop giving to charities that conduct legitimate work.

Already, public misunderstanding of the government's public response to terrorists' abuse of charities has deterred some donors, especially Muslim Americans, from giving.

The problem is not enforcement of U.S. laws banning financial support to terrorist organizations but rather the unintended effects the government's actions have had on charitable giving.

Much of the chill on donations is the result of misinformation. A small, unintentional mistake will not land a donor in the government's cross hairs.

Greater due diligence on the part of nonprofit organizations, combined with government outreach and information campaigns, would go a long way toward resolving this problem.

Matthew Levitt is a senior fellow and director of The Washington Institute's Stein Program on Counterterrorism and Intelligence.

Anti-Semitism Is Salonfähig Again

The Gaza flotilla was a perfect piece of Islamist theater, revealing an old European hatred

By Leon de Winter
It's a fascinating phenomenon: Why do people and organizations that present themselves as progressive team up with reactionary Muslims?

The Free Gaza group is just such a Leftist-Islamist alliance. Well, Gaza is already free. Israel withdrew from the narrow strip five years ago. And there is also no need for any humanitarian aid. Well over a million tons of humanitarian supplies entered Gaza from Israel over the last 18 months, equaling nearly a ton of aid for every man, woman and child in Gaza.

But Gaza's population voted in democratic elections to be ruled by a party whose hatred of Jews is the cornerstone of its existence. Anyone who doubts this should read the Hamas manifesto on the Internet. The fact that Gaza is completely "judenrein" isn't enough for Hamas. It wants Israel to be "judenrein" too. The Israeli blockade for "strategic goods" is therefore not designed to punish ordinary Palestinians but to prevent Hamas from obtaining heavy weapons and building bunkers. It's as simple as that.

Contrary to Gaza, Chechnya, for example, isn't free. The Russians have crushed the struggle for independence of the Chechens by carpet-bombing their capital. And what about a Kurdish state? The Turks and Iraqis have inflicted unspeakable horrors on the Kurds. And yet, there are no Free Kurdistan flotillas sailing toward Turkey, and Russian officials don't have to fear to be arrested in European capitals for war crimes.

Here are some more facts—lousy, stubborn facts. Let's look at the infant mortality rate in Gaza. It is a key number that says a lot about the state of hygiene, nutrition, and health care. In Israel the infant mortality rate is 4.17 per 1,000 births, which is about the same as in Western countries. In Sudan the rate is 78.1, that is, one in 13 infants die at birth. In Gaza, infant mortality per 1,000 births is 17.71. Yes, that's higher than in Israel, but much lower than in Sudan. And Turkey's infant mortality rate? Well, that's 24.84. Yes, more infants die at birth in Turkey than in Gaza.

Here is another fact. Life expectancy at birth is 73.68 years in Gaza. And in Turkey, Gaza's new protector, life expectancy is only 72.23 years. If the Israelis really wanted to make the lives of Palestinians short and nasty, then they are obviously doing something wrong.

The progressives don't care for any other group of poor or suppressed Muslims. They only cry for the "victims" of the Jews. Why is that so?

One reason is Yasser Arafat, whose genius was to redefine the Palestinian cause in neo-Marxist and anti-imperialist rhetorics. He created a new context for his people: The struggle against colonialism and racism. He was a classic corrupt warlord with an amazing talent to play the Western media and politicians. The progressives adopted the Palestinians as their favorite, quintessential victims of imperialism and colonialism as epitomized by the Zionist state.

But there is another reason why Western progressives hate Israel but are indifferent toward human rights abuses in Turkey, Iran, or Russia. It's because of the Holocaust.
Europeans, who represent much of what goes for world opinion, have grown tired of carrying the guilt for the destruction of the Continent's Jews. They have started to long for some form of historical release. That comes in the form of Israel's military response to Islamist attacks and terror. The Europeans couldn't suppress the chance to defame the Jews and redefine Israel's defense measures as either "disproportionate" or outright aggression—war crimes in other words.

In progressive European eyes, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict became a conflict without comparison, a unique phenomenon of European victims creating Palestinian victims, which seemed to diminish the weight of the ordinary European mass-slaughter of the Jews.

Watching Israel's demonization, the attack on its right to defend itself as Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu said, it becomes clear that there is a deep need among Europeans to call the Jews murderers. This is why the Palestinians, as "victims" of the Jews, are more important than the numerous Muslim victims of Muslim extremists; this is why millions of other Muslims living under worse conditions than the Palestinians hardly get any mention in the media; this is why Gaza is compared to the Warsaw Ghetto or Auschwitz. By calling the Israeli Nazis, the original Nazis have been legitimized. It feels as if the Europeans, led by the progressives, want the Arabs to finish the job. Enough with the Jews. It is what it is—we see Europe's liberation from the legacy of the Holocaust.

For decades, our progressive, peace-loving Western activists have been fooled and manipulated by Arab tyrants and now by Turkish and Iranian Islamists. They have allowed themselves to assist in efforts to destroy one of the greatest adventures in modern times: the creation of the State of Israel.

What we have witnessed with the Gaza flotilla is the perfect execution of a masterful piece of Islamist theater. The media's wild indignation, an orgasm of hypocrisy, marks the next chapter in the long story of European hatred toward the Jews. It is salonfähig again to be an anti-Semite.

Mr. de Winter is a Dutch novelist. His latest book is "The Right of Return" (De Bezige Bij ,2008).

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Meridor: We Must Build Only Where Israel Will Remain

Hillel Fendel Meridor Limits Construction

Cabinet Minister Dan Meridor, a member of the seven-member mini-cabinet that makes Israel’s most important decisions and a relatively left-wing member of the nationalist Likud party, says Israel must resume building after the freeze ends in September – but only in places that “will remain part of Israel.” Meridor visited the city of Efrat in Gush Etzion Tuesday morning and met with Mayor Ofed Revivi. He also paid a visit to the local school, winner of the President’s Prize a few days ago.

Among the stops on his itinerary was a neighborhood whose infrastructures are completed but which is not being built because of the ten-month freeze. The Netanyahu government imposed the freeze last November, under intense American pressure, in order to have the Palestinian Authority agree to resume negotiations. In the ensuing seven months, the two sides have had no official contact and barely any indirect contact.

Mayor Revivi told Meridor that “not one single new house has been approved in the past ten years, despite all the politicians’ announcements that Gush Etzion is in the heart of the consensus.” He later explained to Israel National News this startling statement: "Several years ago, the Bush administration requested that Israel inform it before issuing land-sale tenders in Judea and Samaria. This caused Israel not to want to issue any such tenders, and what it did instead was to build only on land owned by the Settlement Division of the Jewish Agency, which did not require tenders - and not on land administered by the Civil Administration. This is why you'll note that the Gush Etzion Regional Council and Efrat Local Council were both more or less the same population ten years ago, while now, Gush Etzion - whose lands are/were administered by the Jewish Agency - has doubled in size, while Efrat, whose lands belong to the Civil Administration, has grown only by 15% at most. And the same is true in other Local Councils, such as Ariel and I believe Beit El as well."

Revivi provided another worrisome statistic showing Efrat's stunted growth: "Ten years ago, our average family size was 4.9, while today it is only 4.1 - meaning that young families are not able to move in and the population is growing older."

Infrastructures Being Wasted

Revivi said that the country has invested 40 million shekels ($10.5 million) in infrastructures, “mainly in the Zayit and Dagan neighborhoods, including roads, and end-points for the water, electricity and sewage systems – but in practice, the State is not allowing us to market houses here. This is a tremendous waste of money, all going to waste because of this freeze.”

Meridor did not take the easy way out. He promised a resumption of construction – but not everywhere. “The freeze ends in three months,” he said, “and from then on, we are not obligated to it. The question is where is it logical and correct to build.”

He said that he proposed that we should build “only in places that will remain a part of Israel, and not in places that will not remain in Israel. There are ministers who think differently; it has not yet come up for debate. We must build wisely, in order that it not be claimed against us that we are harming the negotiations with the [Palestinian Authority].” He did not elaborate about which places he felt would not remain a part of Israel.

Meridor is the eighth Cabinet minister to visit Efrat in recent months. The others, including Moshe Yaalon, Benny Begin, Uzi Landau, Moshe Kachlon and Yaakov Mergi, all spoke out against the freeze and promised to work to end it.

A Letter to the World

Stanley Goldfoot, Editor, The Times of Israel

I am not a creature from another planet, as you seem to believe. I am a Jerusalemite-like yourselves, a man of flesh and blood. I am a citizen of my city, an integral part of my people.

I have a few things to get off my chest. Because I am not a diplomat, I do not have to mince words. I do not have to please you or even persuade you.

I owe you nothing. You did not build this city, you did not live in it, you did not defend it when they came to destroy it. And we will be damned if we will let you take it away.
There was a Jerusalem before there was a New York . When Berlin , Moscow, London, and Paris were miasmal forest and swamp, there was a thrivingJewish community here. It gave something to the world which you nations have rejected ever since you established yourselves- a humane moral code.
Here the prophets walked, their words flashing like forked lightning.
Here a people who wanted nothing more than to be left alone, fought off waves of heathen would-be conquerors, bled and died on the battlements, hurled themselves into the flames of their burning Temple rather than surrender, and when finally overwhelmed by sheer numbers and led away into captivity, swore that before they forgot Jerusalem , they would see their tongues cleave to their palates, their right arms wither.
For two pain-filled millennia, while we were your unwelcome guests, we prayed daily to return to this city. Three times a day we petitioned the Almighty: "Gather us from the four corners of the world, bring us upright to our land, return in mercy to Jerusalem , Thy city, and swell in it as Thou promised." On every Yom Kippur and Passover, we fervently voiced the hope that next year would find us in Jerusalem .
Your inquisitions, pogroms, expulsions, the ghettos into which you jammed us, yur forced baptisms, your quota systems, your genteel anti-Semitism, and the final unspeakable horror, the holocaust (and worse, your terrifying disinterest in it)- all these have not broken us.
They may have sapped what little moral strength you still possessed, but they forged us into steel. Do you think that you can break us now after all we have been through? Do you really believe that after Dachau andAuschwitz we are frightened by your threats of blockades and sanctions?
We have been to Hell and back- a Hell of your making. What more could you possibly have in your arsenal that could scare us?
I have watched this city bombarded twice by nations calling themselves civilized. In 1948, while you looked on apathetically, I saw women and children blown to smithereens, after we agreed to your request to internationalize the city. It was a deadly combination that did the job-British officers, Arab gunners, and American-made cannon. And then the savage sacking of the Old City -the willful slaughter, the wanton destruction of every synagogue and religious school, the desecration of Jewish cemeteries, the sale by a ghoulish government of tombstones for building materials, for poultry runs, army camps, even latrines.
And you never said a word.
You never breathed the slightest protest when the Jordanians shut off the holiest of our places, the Western Wall, in violation of the pledges they had made after the war- a war they waged, incidentally, against the decision of the UN. Not a murmur came from you whenever the legionnaires in their spiked helmets casually opened fire upon our citizens from behind the walls.
Your hearts bled when Berlin came under siege. You rushed your airlift "to save the gallant Berliners". But you did not send one ounce of food when Jews starved in besieged Jerusalem . You thundered against the wall which the East Germans ran through the middle of the German capital- but not one peep out of you about that other wall, the one that tore through the heart of Jerusalem .
And when that same thing happened 20 years later, and the Arabs unleashed a savage, unprovoked bombardment of the Holy City again, did any of you do anything?
The only time you came to life was when the city was at last reunited. Then you wrung your hands and spoke loftily of "justice" and need for the "Christian" quality of turning the other cheek.
The truth- and you know it deep inside your gut - you would prefer the city to be destroyed rather than have it governed by Jews. No matter how diplomatically you phrase it, the age old prejudices seep out of every word.

If our return to the city has tied your theology in knots, perhaps you had better reexamine your catechisms. After what we have been through, we are not passively going to accommodate ourselves to the twisted idea that we are to suffer eternal homelessness until we accept your savior.

For the first time since the year 70, there is now complete religious freedom for all in Jerusalem . For the first time since the Romans put a torch to the Temple , everyone has equal rights (You prefer to have some more equal than others.) We loathe the sword- but it was you who forced us to take it up. We crave peace, but we are not going back to the peace of 1948 as you would like us to.

We are home. It has a lovely sound for a nation you have willed to wander over the face of the globe. We are not leaving. We are redeeming the pledge made by our forefathers: Jerusalem is being rebuilt. "Next year" and the year after, and after, and after, until the end of time- "in Jerusalem"!

Stanley Goldfoot
Founder Editor
The Times of Israel

I am a Foot Soldier

Ari Bussel

During a recent visit to Israel, I was invited to a discharge ceremony from the IDF. Having last served as an officer during the First Persian Gulf War, I am deemed nonessential, although I still see myself as a soldier fighting on the very front line today. Like me there are numerous other foot soldiers on Israel’s Public Diplomacy front, able and willing to serve, and doing what we can against all odds. We stand against a very capable, sophisticated and motivated enemy. We constantly ask ourselves why are we fighting when many Israelis and even more Jews are aiding and abating the enemy in the war to destroy Israel. The answer is simple: We are the last line of defense. We are the last defenders of the Jewish State.

Is it not a bit presumptuous, one would ask, to assign such a grave importance to one’s own work? It is not when among an audience of 160, there are four individuals who came to counteract the attacks against Israel. It is not when across from a well-organized mob of three to five hundred demonstrators against Israel there are at most thirty of us. It is definitely not when Israel’s enemies have initiated a sophisticated scheme to penetrate the political, judicial and entertainment echelons of the United States and our homeland security apparatus and we manage to infiltrate and fight back.

We alone stand on the very front line, individuals who dare to be present, go to speak, be active on various social networks, infiltrate various organizations and express a different opinion—an unwavering support of the Jewish State.

We do so because someone needs to, but all in front have turned their heads to see whom behind them will. We almost did the same, then we saw the wave of heads turning, and we knew there was no other choice: We have been called to battle.

There is an element that should be doing the work, one would retort: the Israeli embassies and consulates around the world. Indeed, there is a huge network of state employees, appointed diplomats and support staff that can be an invaluable asset for the defense of the State of Israel, or at the very least for dissemination of information.

They, like most other bureaucracies, are reluctant to do anything outside the very narrow scope of their job descriptions. Moreover, I have yet to see them doing the job of a foot soldier. I almost always bump into them when, like generals, they arrive at gala events or other glitzy, very cozy, well prepared and orchestrated receptions, usually televised or providing a photo opportunity. You can definitely count on their presence then.

In addition to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, there is a relatively new Ministry of Diaspora Affairs and Public Diplomacy, or is it Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs, another would point out. Correct on that count too, I reply. They should be dismantled.

As one somewhat involved, I do not know what this Ministry does. If I hear about its activities by chance, and then only as a singular reaction to a great disaster (like the Mavi Marmara and the Turkish Flotilla of Lies), one must wonder what those uninvolved know about the work of the Ministry? Why did its international outreach not exist until hours or even days after the Mavi Marmara? Why the silence during the two weeks since?

There are a plethora of other government and non-government organizations, some taking credit as the only entity conducting Israel’s public diplomacy efforts, others truly are clueless. They, like the Ministry in charge of Public Diplomacy, should cease to exist.

A National Information Directorate exists, but apparently is not on good enough terms with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Otherwise, how can one explain a Consul General at one of the most important areas in the world promising on a Wednesday, almost three days after the Mavi Marmara premeditated lynch against Israeli soldiers, to come out “tomorrow” with a list of points that the Directorate had published two or three days earlier?

I am reminded of my service in Israel, more than two decades ago, when the person in charge of all Lone Soldiers was never outside of Israel. She had never traveled before. She did not know what it meant to be alone in a foreign country. Yet, she was in charge of all our needs, from visitation rights to phone calls, from a few extra hours to enable the soldier to run errands, withdraw money from the bank or shop before the everything closed down for Shabbat to a host family during the holidays.

She was not a bad person, she simply did not understand the difficulties and challenges, so she seemed insensitive and inconsiderate to us. She was the wrong person for the job.

Likewise today, the creation of more and more ministries whose job it is to practice public diplomacy causes friction and competition where cooperation and experience are needed. These ministries compete for attention or glory and tend to run away from responsibility.

There was a great debate, one we could not afford, about whether the IDF’s decision to withhold releasing footage for several hours after the navy commandos boarded the Mavi Marmara was appropriate. The MFA claims that Israel’s great flop was due to the IDF’s objections and hesitation.

This is not a time to look at each other and pass blame. This is the time we should all be foot soldiers fighting for Israel. Not for glory but for country, not for contacts that benefit oneself, but for those that can be utilized and mobilized on behalf of Israel. Pouring money on more bureaucracy has never worked before, why would it work in Israel? What does it achieve, other than stationery, conferences, travel and more waste?

It is time to dismantle all those government bodies and look at what the non-government bodies are doing. If indeed they are fulfilling the job descriptions of those former governmental bodies, then they should substitute the source of funds for their operations from “private” to “public” and continue operating in an official capacity.

There is one center, though, that is crucial. This is the IDF. I am not certain it is the IDF’s Spokesperson Unit, although I am confident the nerve center must be in the Defense Establishment. There must be operational oversight on what is happening in the world.

The public diplomacy front extends from China via India to Pakistan and Iran, from South Africa to Morocco and Egypt, from Scandinavia to Spain, from Canada via the USA and Central America to South America, from Australia and New Zealand to South East Asia. Information must be gathered, processed and operational directives in various forms fed right back – from facts to videos, from lessons learned in one location to apparent trends one should appraise before the storm hits one’s locality.

From within the IDF or the Defense Establishment, there must be tentacles utilizing existing organizations like the MFA and its global reach; non-profits such as Hadassah or JNF that have established, over almost a century, a network of connections to donors and supporters, past and present; the diplomatic and press corps and numerous other means and methods to disseminate information.

Defending Israel’s public image around the world must be done in a well-coordinated manner, with a clear hierarchy, with a chain of command that reports directly to the Prime Minister of Israel.

The lack of an effective and efficient organization is detrimental to Israel’s continued existence. This is war, and Israel’s Public Diplomacy Front is a process in formation.

The existence of a well-functioning Public Diplomacy network, with a plan of action and numerous alternatives that can be activated and executed in real time without a delay, with resources at its disposal (not only of monetary kind) that can be deployed, activated or otherwise utilized is indispensible if Israel is to survive.

What Israel needs at this stage is not more ministries or bodies to explain her failures or engage in a blame game. She must speak in one voice, clear and well understood, with conviction and absolute determination. To achieve this most rudimentary prerequisite, Israel must want to win; she must want to survive.

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.

This point—and often—counter-point presentation is sprinkled with humor and sadness and attempts to tackle serious and relevant issues of the day. The series began in 2008, appears both in print in the USA and on numerous websites and is followed regularly by readership from around the world.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Awaiting Armageddon

Alan Caruba

I do not know what it is about Islam and liberalism that causes both to turn logic and truth on its head, but we have been witnessing it in different ways in recent days.

First there was the “humanitarian” flotilla running the Israeli blockade of Gaza and then there was the appalling anti-Semitism of Helen Thomas, formerly of the front row in the White House press room. Suffice it to say that the so-called Palestinians are not living in a state of “occupation.” They have repeatedly been offered a state of their own, but have refused it for some six decades. They exist as wards of the United Nations.

Israel is a sovereign nation and has been since May 16, 1948. Its ancient sovereignty dates back to the days of David and Solomon. I say “so-called” because Palestine was the name applied to Israel by a Roman emperor in an effort to make the world forget that Jews had been living in their own land for over a thousand years before being driven into exile.

Arabs who live in Israel are called Israelis because they are citizens there. They number more than a million and, while most are Muslim, about nine percent are Christian. So, while the enemies of Israel talk exclusively in terms of its Jewish population, they are ignoring a sizeable number who are Muslims. It need also be said they enjoy freedoms that their counterparts in other Middle Eastern nations do not.

What I have always found astonishing is the way the Arab nations surrounding Israel and who have attacked it repeatedly nonetheless regard Israel as the aggressor.

This is the same strange logic that says al Qaeda destroyed the Twin Towers and attacked the Pentagon, but is blameless because they did so in response to U.S. policies in the Middle East. It is the same sick logic and contempt for everything that is not Islamic that pursues the creation of a mosque within walking distance of ground zero.

Not surprisingly, after 9/11 the U.S. responded with military action against the Afghanistan base of Al Qaeda operations, followed thereafter with an invasion of Iraq, the second such military action after having initially driven the Iraqis out of Kuwait. The result was the end of the three-decade regime of Saddam Hussein. The Saudis and oil-rich Gulf states were the major beneficiaries.

There is not a single justification for the “humanitarian” flotilla, one ship of which was filled with men who violently resisted the boarding by Israelis under long established international law regarding blockades.

Tons of humanitarian aid is routinely delivered daily to Gaza after inspection. The inspection is necessary because, since having withdrawn from Gaza as a gesture of peace in 2005, the area has been used to launch thousands of rockets. Even the Egyptians who share a border with Gaza maintain a comparable blockade to ensure weapons are not smuggled into the Hamas hotbed of hatred for Israel.

So far in its short history, Israel has fought a 1948 War of Independence against several Arab armies. The famed Six-Day War followed in 1967. In 1973, the Israelis were attacked on one of the holiest days of their calendar, Yom Kippur, by a coalition of Arab nations. They also endured Yassir Arafat’s PLO Intifada of terror bombings

In 1982 the first Lebanon War was a response to constant terror attacks on northern Israel. It was followed in 2006 by a second Lebanon War in response to the abduction of two Israeli soldiers by Hezbollah, a proxy Islamic organization funded and armed by Iran. The most recent Israeli 2009 military engagement against Gaza was a response to constant rocketing and attacks. The blockade is part of the way Israel must cope with a self-defined enemy.

In every case, the Israelis were accused of being the aggressors. Arab nations insisted they were “occupiers” in a land in which Jews had lived for 3,500 years and called their home despite an exile that had existed for 2,000 years prior to the reestablishment of Israel. It followed the Nazi Holocaust that killed six million European Jews during World War Two.

Throughout the Middle East and most particularly in the United Nations, Israel has always been called the aggressor. The same irrational hatred for Jews that has existed everywhere for centuries explains why Israelis are armed to the teeth and why Jews worldwide are experiencing a rise in anti-Semitic attacks.

What worries Israelis these days and should worry Americans as well is the policy of the Obama administration that has clearly turned against Israel, emboldening its enemies. It shames the history of friendship that has existed since Israel was reestablished over sixty years ago.

It is an invitation for war in the Middle East, one that has been joined by Turkey, a nation that has abandoned its history of secular governance in favor of the Islamism that threatens Western nations in particular and the world in general.

Allowing Iran to acquire nuclear arms will tip the world into a global conflict whose casualties are incalculable.

America needs to assert its support for Israel, if only in its own interest. America is being infiltrated by Islamic terrorists and it has a growing number of home-grown ones. Having elected a president whose stated preference is for Islam, the prospects are not good. In the words of Islamists, Israel is the “Little Satan” and America is the “Big Satan.”

Commentator, J.D. Longstreet summed up the threat. “I am not optimistic that hatred of the Jews will end, or even lessen any time soon. In fact, I expect it to get much, much, worse and eventually lead the nations of the world to a place known as the Megiddo Valley and the final battle known as the Battle of Armageddon.”

Will the armed might of the U.S., already present in the Middle East in Afghanistan, in Iraq, and in the Persian Gulf, be used to thwart this? That question waits upon the decision of Barack Hussein Obama.

© Alan Caruba, 2010 Contributing Editor Alan Caruba writes a weekly column, “Warning Signs”, posted on the Internet site of The National Anxiety Center, and he blogs at His book, “Right Answers: Separating Fact from Fantasy”, is published by Merrill Press.

Cabinet asked to approve independent public commission

Cabinet to be asked to approve a special, independent public commission, chaired by retired Supreme Court Judge Jacob Turkel, to inquire into event that took place at sea on 31 May 3010. (Communicated by the Prime Minister's Media Adviser)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu today (Sunday), 13 June 2010, instructed Cabinet Secretary Tzvi Hauser to submit for Cabinet approval tomorrow (Monday), 14 June 2010, a proposal to appoint a special, independent public Commission to inquire into the aspects - to be detailed below - of the actions taken by the State of Israel to prevent the arrival of ships to Gaza on 31 May 2010.

Retired Supreme Court Judge Jacob Turkel will chair the Commissions, the other members of which will be international law Prof. Shabtai Rosen, winner of the Israel Prize for jurisprudence and the Hague Prize for International Law; and former Technion President, Maj.-Gen. (ret.) Amos Horev.

In light of the unique international aspects of the event, it was decided to appoint to the committee two foreign observers of the highest standing, with vast experience in the fields of military law and human rights. The two are Nobel Peace Prize laureate Lord William David Trimble from Northern Ireland and international jurist Ken Watkin, former Judge Advocate General of the Canadian Armed Forces.

The Commission will submit conclusions on the question of whether the actions that the State of Israel took to prevent the arrival of ships to Gaza and their goals, as well as other related matters, were in accordance with the rules of international law. To this end, the Commission will relate to the following issues:

1) Consideration of the security circumstances for imposing a naval blockade on the Gaza Strip and the conformity of the naval blockade with the rules of international law;

2) Conformity of the actions taken by Israel to enforce the naval blockade on 31 May 2010 to the principles of international law;

3) Consideration of the actions taken by those who organized - and participated in - the flotilla, and their identities.

The Commission will also consider the question of whether the inquiry and investigation mechanisms vis-à-vis complaints and claims regarding violations of the laws of armed conflict, as followed by Israel in general and as implemented with regard to the event in question, conform with the State of Israel's obligations under the rules of international law.

The Commission will be able to request any individual or entity to testify before it or provide information in another way, on matters that the Commission believes are relevant to its discussions.

All relevant Government bodies will fully cooperate with the Commission and place at its disposal information and documents that it requires to fulfill its duties, including through testimony before the Commission.

The Commission will be entitled to request any information from the Prime Minister, the Defense Minister, other ministers and the IDF Chief-of-Staff, including through testimony before the Commission.

However, in checking Israel's military actions, the Commission will operate in regard to military personnel and personnel from the other security forces only as follows: It will receive for study the documents that it requires and will be able to request from the head of the investigating team of experts authorized by the IDF Chief-of-Staff, Maj.-Gen. Giora Eiland, to transfer to it summaries of the operational investigations carried out in wake of the event. Should the Commission believe, following its study of the aforesaid summaries, that there is a need for deeper or expanded investigations, it will be able to request Maj.-Gen. (ret.) Eiland to direct that this be done.

The Commission will set its own schedule and its modus operandi. Commission meetings will be either public or closed as it sees fit. However, the Commission will not hold a public discussion if such would endanger the security of the state or its foreign relations, or if the Commission believes that there is some other justification.

At the end of its work, the Commission will submit its report to the cabinet, via the Prime Minister. Shortly thereafter, it will be made public.

The Attorney General states that in light of the vital public interest in allowing the Commission to reach the truth, the law enforcement authorities will not use testimonies delivered before the Commission as evidence in any legal proceeding.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Usual Suspects: Islamism and Anti-Semitism

David Stokes
Sunday, June 13, 2010

The other day it came out that Reuters had published doctored photographs related to the recent Gaza Flotilla incident. The images were “cropped” in order to make the good guys look bad and the bad guys look better. A picture, so it is said, is worth a thousand words. Helen Thomas used considerably less than a thousand words to bring her career careening to an ignominious end. But her words dripped with venom reminiscent of Nazi propagandist Josef Goebbels. Later Thomas released a statement to the effect that her words didn’t represent her true feelings, but by then the damage was done. She tried too late to “crop” what she said.

What do we learn from these two seemingly unrelated yet actually similar stories? Well, we are reminded that the age-old hatred of the Jewish people is alive and well—and everywhere. Distortions, twisted images, word-pictures, and invective abound in a kind of Neo-Philistine effort to mold and mobilize the Goliath of world opinion against the ever-diminutive David.

Sadly, it’s nothing new.

While fires were still smoldering at Ground Zero, the Pentagon, and in a Pennsylvanian pasture, malicious people conjured up an evil myth. In the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, many in the Arab world believed that the vicious attack on America was not the work of Islamists, but rather was an Israeli-driven Mossad operation. This legend soon developed muscular legs and is now widely regarded by millions of Muslims as the truth.

And why not? For decades school children in Muslim nations (not to mention their parents at home) have been baptized in anti-Semitic narratives. The opinions in their world about Jews in general, and Israel in particular, are concrete—thoroughly mixed up and permanently set. Even more alarming is that fact that it seems that this distorted view of history, geo-politics, and reality itself is gaining a foothold here in the United States.

The most persistent and pernicious ideas that have been accepted by millions as factual truth flowed from the poisonous pen of a guy named Mathieu Golovinski. The spurious publication called the Protocols of the Elders of Zion is an Islamist must-read. The work tells a story that fits the pattern of long-standing prejudices. The words reinforce the visceral hatred Islamists have toward Jews.

Islamist anti-Semitism is not a new thing. It didn’t begin with the creation of the modern state of Israel in 1948, or the Six-Day War in 1967. It was around long before there was a Hitler—in fact, it grew up alongside Islam from the beginning. It’s an enmity that can be traced back to Muhammad and what he said, wrote, and did. And to those looking for ammunition to use against people they have been historically conditioned to hate, the often denounced and repeatedly refuted forgery is just what the evil doctor ordered.

In fairness, it is true that non-Muslims and non-Nazis have at times bought into the notions set forth by the Protocols—some even in the name of Christianity. This is sad. I touch on the short-term, but all-too-real relationship between the Ku Klux Klan and Christian Fundamentalism in the 1920s in my new book Apparent Danger. I have been criticized by some for pointing out this connection. Others suggest that that I have exaggerated the issue. But the facts bear it all out—unfortunately and uncomfortably.

In fact, it was relatively common in the build up to World War One and in its immediate aftermath to hear fundamentalist preachers talk about the Protocols as a proof-text. The relationship between what eventually became the religious right and a pro-Jewish, ultimately pro-Israel position developed against the backdrop of the emerging crisis in the 1930s, World War Two itself, and its conflict-laden aftermath. But eighty years ago, there were many prominent Americans (automobile magnate Henry Ford notable among them, also Father Charles Coughlin, the “radio priest,” even aviation hero Charles Lindbergh) who endorsed the spurious writings.

These days, however, it is quite rare to find groups advocating anti-Semitism in the name of Christianity, though it does exist on the lunatic fringe (Neo-Nazis, Ku Klux Klan types, etc). For all practical purposes, the modern state of Israel has no greater friend in the United States than those who tend to interpret Biblical passages and promises literally. And interestingly, those who would love to paint the Tea Party Movement with a nativist, neo-Nazi broad brush, are frequently surprised to find that those attending the rallies are by and large enthusiastically pro-Israel.

The Protocols of the Elders of Zion purports to be written evidence of a vast and secret Jewish conspiracy to dominate the world. It’s presented as a factual and detailed description of a late-nineteenth century meeting to plot international Hebrew hegemony through manipulation and treachery. These ideas are at the root of the mother of all conspiracy theories for those who live in the bizarre world of alternative historical reality.

In fact, the publication is a forgery—probably the most sinister and infamous fake in literary history. And this was long before Reuters started doctoring photos and people like Helen Thomas tried to turn their own dung-filled words into shinola.

The year is 1898, and Nicholas II rules a Russia that’s beginning to experience the revolutionary stirrings of modernism. The Tsar is not the sharpest knife in the drawer and tends to be easily led by strong people around him. He tries to take incremental steps toward leading the nation away from its feudal past, but some in his court are alarmed. Thus, evil men began to seek a way to short-circuit these liberalizing influences.

If only they could convince the Tsar that the voices of change he’s listening to are motivated by something other than the best interests of Russia—but how? It was in this environment that the greatest of all anti-Semitic lies was born. A threatening conspiracy would be manufactured—one that would bring Nicholas to his senses—and the Jews to their knees.

Mathieu Golovinski was living in Parisian exile at the time. Though he was Russian, having been born in the Simbirsk region in 1865, he was forced to flee after repeated clashes with Russian authorities, usually having to do with his tendency to fabricate documents and evidence in legal matters. He was a master of spin, innuendo, and dirty tricks. He was also very skilled in the arts of forgery and plagiarism.

And he worked for the Okhrana—the Tsar’s secret police.

He was approached by representatives from the Tsar’s inner circle about creating a convincing anti-Jewish legend. They needed a narrative, one that would be seen as proof of a sinister plot behind the winds of change beginning to blow in Russia. Golovinski was commissioned to fabricate the evidence.

He came across an old book, written in 1864 by an anti-monarchist activist named Maurice Joly. It was entitled, Dialogue in Hell Between Machiavelli and Montesquie and was written as a thinly disguised attack on Napoleon III’s rule in France. The book was suppressed by the French government and the writer was imprisoned. He committed suicide in 1878.

A plan was hatched to borrow from this obscure book, changing some of its cosmetics and phrasing. It would be recast, using Joly’s fictional dialogue for a model, as the actual deliberations of a secret cabal of Jews bent on taking over the world. When the fake was finished, it was spirited back to St. Petersburg, and all that would be needed was a way to get it before the ruler of the realm.

Enter the other religious zealot in and around the court of the Tsar.

When most think of religious influences around Nicholas II, attention is usually given to Grigori Rasputin, the mad monk who haunted that scene beginning about 1905. But often overlooked, and certainly more ominous as far as long-term impact on the world is concerned, is the influence of his cultic contemporary, Sergei Alexandrovich Nilus. He was a writer on religious matters and a self-styled spiritual mystic.

He is also the man who first published Golovinski’s sinister forgery.

Initially placing the Protocols as a chapter in one of his books, Dr. Nilus saw to it that the potentate was fully briefed and convinced about the purported Jewish threat. And like Rasputin, he also had the ear of the ruler’s wife – so the Tsar, never a man to have his own firm opinions, fell prey to the lie. And in the days following his nation’s defeat at the hands of the Japanese at a loss of several hundred thousand men, not to mention overwhelming financial expense, circumstances were ripe for the rotten fruit of a compelling scapegoat story.

On January 9, 1905, the Tsar’s troops opened fire on protesters who peacefully marched near the palace in St. Petersburg. This would become known as Bloody Sunday. The Tsar and his inner circle saw in the Protocols the real reason for the unrest—it was a big Jewish plot to overthrow the monarchy.

So it began—the gargantuan conspiratorial lie that has reared its hideous head time and time again over the past one hundred years. Jewish plotters were blamed for The Great War (1914-1918). Then in its aftermath, when Germany was struggling to recover from defeat, the big lie was discovered by the greatest demagogue of the day, Adolf Hitler. By the time the future German dictator was sent to prison in 1923, he was well versed in the Protocols and drew significantly from the forgery as he wrote his own hate-filled and delusional tome, Mein Kampf.

The Protocols of the Elders of Zion became, to men already filled with anti-Semitic ideas, proof positive of a sinister Jewish agenda. To those who believed the lie, the writings were sufficient evidence for the indictment, condemnation, and eventual execution of these conspiratorial people. The Protocols in many ways fueled the Holocaust.

Yet all along, reasonable people—scholars, journalists, and statesmen—have gone to great lengths to expose the fraudulent nature of the Protocols. Beginning with a lengthy analysis in the Times of London in 1921, to a celebrated trial in Switzerland in 1935, to a report by the United States Senate in 1964, good people have said again and again: “the book’s a fake.” Good people still do.

It’s the bad people who are the problem.

The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, the biggest publishing hoax of the past one hundred years, is not going away. This is largely because Islamists are using it, with great effectiveness, to fan contemporary flames of hatred. In fact, it’s arguable that there are more copies of this lie-laden text extant than ever before. The forgery is used by politicians and clerics in the Muslim world to justify their distorted and destructive world-view.

Hamas, the group now ruling Gaza, owes Article 32 of its charter to these long-ago-discredited writings when it says things like: “Zionist scheming has no end…Their scheme has been laid out in The Protocols of Zion.” And it’s, of course, a perennial favorite with Holocaust deniers such as Iranian President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Islamist anti-Semitism is at the root of the so-called War on Terror. The bad guys use the Protocols of the Elders of Zion as their proof-text. It would make sense that if we really want to eradicate the symptom we must deal frankly with the cause. Islamism isn’t an aberration. It’s an ideology based on prejudices rooted in the distant past and lies that won’t seem to go away.

Islamism and Anti-Semitism go hand in hand. They feed off each other. They are the ideological usual suspects surrounding most of the bad things that happen in the world these days.

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