Saturday, June 26, 2010

Steinitz: Shalit call can't be made on streets

Finance minister says decision on prisoner-swap for kidnapped soldier is no matter for referendum. 'Israel must consider security,' he says. 'To be decision-maker one must make decisions not only from heart, but from head'

Ilana Curiel
Israel News

Just a day ahead of a scheduled mass protest planned by the family of kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit, Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz stressed that the decision on the soldier's release would not be "made in the streets". Speaking at a cultural event in Beersheba Steinitz said, "These are decisions that cannot be made in the streets, a march, or a referendum." The minister is known as opposed to a prisoner-swap that would free hundreds of Palestinian prisoners in exchange for Shalit.

"This is one of the tragic dilemmas decision-makers are faced with. On the one hand, there is the heart – we all pray with one heart to see him again. But on the other, to be a decision-maker one must make decisions not only from the heart, but from the head," he said.

"The State of Israel must defend itself. We live in the roughest neighborhood on Earth, and those who choose to release hundreds of terrorists with blood on their hands could significantly harm our ability to defend ourselves when the next waves of terror come around. No one has promised that the previous intifada was really the last."

Steinitz said he understood the public's emotions, but stressed, "If we want to continue our existence Israel must be careful and not ignore national security considerations. We cannot act according to concerns of emotion and sympathy alone. Those who say 'at any price' do not know what they are saying."

The finance minister said that if Israel was to capitulate, the state may be faced with territorial demands next time a soldier is taken captive. "Terror organizations will certainly consider it. This state does more to get back kidnapped and missing people than any other," he said.

But not everyone in the audience was receptive to these explanations. "If it was your son, you'd think different," one audience member called out.

"If it was my son I would feel differently and exclude myself from the decision-making process," Steinitz answered. "However, I respect Shalit's parents. It is their right to fight, and I salute them. If it had happened to one of my children, I would react similarly."

Meanwhile Noam and Aviva Shalit are completing plans for a march in honor of their son, to take place Sunday. They have vowed to travel by foot to Jerusalem, where they will set up a protest tent before the Prime Minister's Residence. "We will not return without Gilad," Noam Shalit has said.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

"First Things First"


What you see above is a picture of the Od Yosef Chai Synagogue and Yeshiva (place of Jewish study) in Yitzhar in Samaria. I wrote about this on May 20 and repeat the information here:

On May 9, the IDF's Civilian Administration (the administrative body for Judea and Samaria, overseen at the top by Defense Minister Barak) issued a demolition order against this building. So volatile is this situation that Arutz Sheva cited a warning from MK Aryeh Eldad (National Union) that bloodshed would ensue. He called it a "declaration of war against the Jewish communities of Judea and Samaria."

"Local residents believe that authorities are purposely punishing the yeshiva because of a confrontation with the IDF that took place on Independence Day, and also because security forces hold the yeshiva's students responsible for various attacks against Arabs in recent months and years."


Note of clarification: Yeshiva head Rabbi Yitzhak Shapira was held by authorities this winter with regard to an arson attack on the Kafr Yassuf mosque. Reports the JPost: "A Jerusalem District Court judge forced the police to release Shapira for lack of evidence."

As to Independence Day, Yitzhar residents say that IDF troops began harassing visitors who wanted to tour the area and prevented them from entering the springs near the settlement. When the soldiers tried to hold back one of the residents, other settlers became agitated. The residents say that one of the soldiers stationed in the area fired a warning shot into the air. When he refused to give his name, the residents demanded that he remain in the area until he agreed to do so.

The IDF says that residents attacked soldiers with stones, lightly hurting three.


According to the Arutz Sheva report:

"'...the authorities are making special efforts to hurt the yeshiva in an unfair and vindictive way,' a yeshiva spokesman said... 'It should be noted that the building is an ornate permanent structure, with an area of 1,300 square meters, which was built with the aid of the Ministry of Housing and was approved by the various authorities to serve as an educational institution.'

"The destruction order, the residents said, cited an 11 year old work-stoppage order – one that they had never heard of until now. The building took years to build and cost over $1 million.


Further clarifications from the JPost :

The IDF administration in Judea and Samaria claimed that the construction was done outside the zoning area for this type of building. The Yitzhar treasurer, Itamar Posner, however, maintains "that the building was within an appropriately zoned area of the settlement...

"...he noted that the ministries of Construction and Housing as well as Transportation had invested heavily in the project. They would not have done so if it was illegal, he reasoned.

"Posner added no one at the yeshiva has any record of a demolition order from 1999. Nor had they heard anything about it in past years.

"...The yeshiva...posted a response [on its website] that said, in part, that the legal status of the yeshiva was stronger than many other structures in Judea and Samaria."

I will add here that this must also be considered in light of the reluctance of the government to demolish illegal Arab homes, and the furor that ensures over an attempt to do so (which I addressed yesterday).


Yesterday, I also wrote about how problematic Barak's positions are: how he fails to protect Jewish interests, instead showing an eagerness to make concessions.

He's fond of muscle-flexing, but in the wrong way. He likes to show one and all that he's really tough with the people on the right, courting approval from the left and, need I add, the international community. Obama and Abbas would be so pleased with him if he demolished this Yeshiva. But what a shameful and obscene act it would be.

The date for demolition is just days away.

This cannot be permitted to proceed.


I am asking you to write to Prime Minister Netanyahu (not Barak himself). The demand is that Netanyahu stop Barak. We need a huge outpouring of protest. As always, numbers count.

Make your message short and to the point, please.

If you are writing from outside of Israel, note that the world is watching and if Barak succeeds he will do Israel considerable harm among the very people who are Israel's biggest supporters.

If you are inside of Israel, let the prime minister know that he is being watched and will be held responsible. What happens will affect his support now and in the next election.

The heart of the message: Jews do not destroy synagogues. This is a shameful thing to do and gives great comfort to our enemies.

Share this and encourage others to act.



02-670-5369 Write: "Attention Tzvi Hauser, Cabinet Secretary."

Please, also fax to 02-670-5369 and 02-649-6659
(From the US: 011-972, drop the 0 before the 2 and proceed with the rest of the number.)


Please, send to both addresses. and also (underscore after pm).

For the first address, above, put in subject line: "Attention: Cabinet Secretary, Zvi Hauser."

For the second address, above, put "No Demolition at Yitzhar," "Don't destroy the Yeshiva," "Stop Barak now," or something similar.

Please! Take the time to do this.


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Hypocrisy begins at home

It looks as if this place is a region so well covered by the media that all of the world's hypocrites rush over here to try to wipe away the moral stains that have tarnished them.
By Salman Masalha

It may be that the whole world is dazzlingly two-faced, but we should nevertheless focus on the hypocrites in our own region, since after all, hypocrisy begins at home. Some six months ago, while it was still licking the wounds caused by the barbs hurled at it from all sides because of the lead it cast in Gaza, Israel was given a chance to improve its image. It seized the opportunity presented by the horrendous earthquake that devastated Haiti and rapidly dispatched a relief delegation. Thus, while denying the children of Gaza pencils and notebooks, Israel poured aid into a country thousands of kilometers away.
Gaza flotilla

Israeli naval vessels approach the port of Ashdod on Monday May 31, 2010. Earlier that day, Israeli marines stormed a Turkish aid ship bound for Gaza and nine activists were killed.
Photo by: Reuters

Perhaps now, in the wake of the Turkish flotilla affair, there are specimens of the local breed of hypocrites who are silently praying for some natural disaster to strike somewhere in the world that will enable Israel to unsheathe this rusty propaganda weapon once again.

But hypocrisy is not confined to Israelis. It seems that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey has learned a lesson from Israel: The Turkish flotilla to Gaza was in fact one big public relations exercise. Erdogan noticed that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was raking in the whole popular Arab jackpot called Palestine, and he also wanted to grab some of it. The Palestinian-Israeli jackpot is a photogenic one, and every home with a satellite dish on its roof watches what happens to it.

And now there's talk of another "humanitarian" flotilla in aid of Gaza. Another convoy of hypocrisy, well-covered by the media, is setting sail, this time from Lebanon, of all places. Now that the Lebanese have boosted their national pride by registering the world's biggest dish of hummus in the Guinness Book of Records, they are bidding for the record in hypocrisy, soon to be seen on television screens everywhere. For it is not humanitarian motives or concern for the Palestinians that are making all these hypocrites restless. All they want is spectacle, footage and headlines. Because as we have already said, the Israeli-Palestinian arena is the most photogenic arena in the world.

If they had any genuine humanitarian concern, the Lebanese would stage protests against the harsh blockade that has been imposed on the Palestinian refugee camps in their country for decades. You have to read Amnesty International's reports on the situation of the Palestinians in Lebanon to comprehend the humanitarian disaster there. This hypocrisy was best described by a European volunteer in those camps, who told the organizers of the new flotilla: "You love the Palestinians in Gaza and hate your own Palestinians."

Since 1948, the Palestinians have been a pawn in the hands of the Arab and Muslim regimes. The problem was exacerbated because the Palestinians themselves willingly accepted that role. And so we are witnessing a situation in which the Palestinian nation, even before it has taken on a coherent shape, has split into two: Gaza, backed by Iran and Syria, and the West Bank, backed by Egypt and Saudi Arabia. And then there are the "opsimists" (to use the oxymoron coined by the late Palestinian author Emil Habibi ) - the Israeli Palestinians sitting on the fence and trying to please everyone.

One reason for all this is the absence of a Palestinian leadership - political, social or cultural - worthy of the name. Six decades after the Nakba, the Palestinians have not even managed to turn themselves into a nation with a clear national agenda.

It looks as if this place, the cradle of monotheism, will continue to be a pawn in the hands of regional and international powers, a region so well covered by the media that all of the world's hypocrites rush over here to try to wipe away the moral stains that have tarnished them.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

"A Tight Place"

Arlene Kushner

I asked the question in my last post as to whether there will be gain with regard to the Security Cabinet's decision to allow all goods but those weapon-related into Gaza via the land crossings from Israel.

This remains a dubious proposition. Whatever the rationale for what was decided, there is the clear danger that Israel will be seen as weak, and having caved to Hamas and terrorist forces. On the one hand, Blair has made positive statements about our rights, without question, to keep weapons out of Gaza -- a nod to the sea blockade. On the other hand, already we're hearing -- not just from the UN but also from Obama -- about how this isn't enough for the people of Gaza. It's the old story, with which we are well familiar: Give them a finger, and they want our hand. It's never enough.
When statements are made about the need for the situation to improve for the people of Gaza, always implicit is that it's on Israel to do something about this. Never is there a clear and forthright statement that Hamas, which controls Gaza, is responsible for this situation. In fact, neither is there any direct statement about responsibility on the part of Egypt -- which is to Gaza's south and controls the Rafah crossing -- to do more for the Gazans.


We clearly see how ludicrous -- and maliced -- this whole situation is when we read the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs briefing, "The Myth of the Siege of Gaza," by Lt. Col. (ret.) Yonatan Halevi, a senior researcher on radical Islam:

"[In addition to all of the goods brought in from Israel via the crossings] there is also an established economic system of Palestinian imports from Egypt via hundreds of tunnels operating under the control of a Hamas government that grants approval for operating them and collects taxes from their owners. The tunnel network has increased imports from Egypt to Gaza from $30 million annually during the years 1994-2006 to more than $650 million annually. Given the abundance of supply, the price of diesel fuel and gasoline, delivered to Gaza through pipes from Egypt, is half that of the price in Israel.

"Farid Zakout, director of the Gaza Construction Association, told the Palestinian newspaper Al-Ayyam that the price of a ton of cement now stands at NIS 800 as opposed to NIS 1,200 two months ago, and over NIS 3,000 more than a year ago. Cement prices fell after some 80 percent of tunnel owners began to import cement. The renewed surge in construction activity has fostered a rise of 25 percent in the number of those employed in the industry."

Mind-boggling, is it not? UNRWA would maintain that it will not deal with the cement black market of Hamas tunnels and thus needs cement brought in via the Israeli crossings to build schools. But to say there can be no reconstruction of Gaza without unfettered access to building material via the crossings is nonsense.

Halevi further says:

"Gaza is not cut off from the outside world. In the last year, the markets of Gaza have been flooded with produce and merchandise. In fact, in 2009, a total of 30,576 truckloads of humanitarian commodities passed from Israel into Gaza. From June 2007 (the date of the Hamas military takeover of Gaza), overall monetary transfers to Gaza have totaled over $5 billion from governmental and extragovernmental sources. The governor of the Central Bank of the Palestinian Authority, Jihad al-Wazir, confirmed that 56 percent of the PA budget is designated for Gaza. Gaza receives additional aid funds directly from Iran, and the Arab countries."


The reality of what is happening in Gaza simply bears no resemblance to "the myth" -- as Halevi refers to it. That myth is designed to damage Israel, as well as to court international sympathy and support. Unfortunately (once more) our government has not been forceful enough in promoting the truth and countering that myth.


I call your attention, as well, to the fact that over 50% of the PA budget is allocated for Gaza. This explodes another myth of major proportions: that the Palestinian Authority and Hamas are completely separate.

If you are in the US, you might want to contact your representatives in Congress and ask them why your government is supporting Hamas. Money is fungible: If money allocated by the US to the PA is not designated by budget line item to go to Hamas, it still frees up other money that can be sent. Besides which, there is legitimate reason to ask why the US should support the PA at all, if it is so closely allied with Hamas.

Include the URL above for the article by Lt. Col. Halevi. The Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, headed by Dore Gold, is a highly credible institute, and Halevi is a superbly reliable source.

For your Congresspersons:

For your Senators:


Among those strongly of the opinion that loosening the restrictions on materials permitted into Gaza was a bad idea is Caroline Glick. One point that she makes is worthy of particular note:

"The economic sanctions the government is now cancelling were not simply legal, they were required by international law. Binding UN Security Council resolution 1373 requires states and non-state actors to deny support of any kind to terrorist organizations. And here, in a bid to win international "legitimacy" for its lawful blockade of Gaza, Israel has bowed to US pressure to unlawfully facilitate the economic prosperity of an area controlled by an illegal terrorist organization."

Glick also fingers Defense Minister Ehud Barak in regard to this:

"According to sources close to the cabinet, the main advocate for the latest capitulation was Defense Minister Ehud Barak. Barak is the serial bungler."

She's right on mark here, and its worth reading her full comments on this subject (which I will return to it in due course). What I ponder now is exactly who is running the show. Does Netanyahu cave to Barak as well as to Obama? Or is Barak convincing him to cave to Obama?

Perhaps most damning at present is her charge that Barak allegedly convinced Netanyahu to send the naval commandos onto the Marmara equipped only with paintball guns, as this would garner greater support from Obama.


Commentator Moshe Dann, writing in YNet, addresses the same concerns.

Dann writes of, "Barak's failure to anticipate the danger to IDF soldiers sent to stop the Gaza flotilla, his stubborn refusal to consult military and intelligence experts...",7340,L-3906261,00.html

The fault for what happened, then, would lie not with poor intelligence, but with the arrogance of a minister who thought he didn't need to rely on that intelligence.


So, it seems to me that it's time to write to Prime Minister Netanyahu as well.

Be forceful but courteous. Using your own words, tell him that he wears the mantle as prime minister of the nation of Israel and he must be relied upon to make decisions with courage and backbone. Say that relying upon the advice of Ehud Barak serves the nation ill. It's time for him to make decisions more consonant with the will of the people, who voted for the right wing.

Fax: 02-670-5369 (From the US: 011-972-2-670-5369)

E-mail: and also (underscore after pm) use both addresses


The next round of confrontation with foreign ships seeking to break the blockade of Gaza indeed does seem to be around the corner.

The ship I wrote about last, the Julia, has not left port, but a second ship was given permission to go by the Lebanese government and is on its way, first to Cyprus and then -- if it receives clearance in Cyprus -- towards Gaza. Last week Defense Minister Barak warned the Lebanese government that it is responsible for these ships. But in a turn-about maneuver, the Lebanese have sent a letter to the UN holding Israel responsible for anything that happens to the ships.

Israel is preparing vigorously for this next confrontation, both from a military and a PR perspective.


Is this true? It's huge if it is. According to the Islam Times website -- which is being cited in various quarters -- Israeli jets landed in Saudi Arabia last week and unloaded military equipment at an airport in the northwest. This is said to be in advance of a strike on Iran.

IMRA is carrying a report from the Arabic FARS news agency, in poor translation, that says the same thing. This report further says that, "the Zionist entity has created for himself a military base in Tabuk North West Saudi Arabia."


About three months ago, Jerusalem mayor Nir Barkat announced a development project for the city that involved the demolition of illegally constructed Arab homes in Silwan, in eastern Jerusalem. At that time, Netanyahu put a stop to it.

But now the municipality's Local Planning and Construction Committee has given the go-ahead. In all, there were 88 structures that were built illegally on land that was "green": zoned for a park and extensive recreational area. But the owners of 66 of these homes will be given the opportunity to apply for retroactive legalization. Twenty-two structures within the area known as Gan Hamelech (King's Garden), all built without permits in an area for which housing was not zoned, will come down. In a gesture of enormous magnanimity, the municipality will provide those whose homes will be demolished with new, legal homes elsewhere in the area.


Needless to say, there are objections in many quarters: from the left wing here, from the PA, from the US government. This is being represented as an "anti-Arab" move that is destructive to the "sense of trust" that needs to be developed between Israel and the PA. The old, familiar line. This project is even being called "ethnic cleansing," although it is not remotely that.

PA chief negotiator Saeb Erekat announced yesterday that, "I sent a notice this morning from the Palestinian president to the US, in which he asked the American administration to intervene directly so that the Israeli project is cancelled.

"We vehemently denounce the decision, which will result in the demolition of 22 houses in Silwan."

Give me a break!


Residents claim to be against the demolition of their homes (never mind that they'll get new ones). But most enlightening was what one person involved with this municipal planning told the JPost: "What the residents say to the press and what they say to us are two different things."

The betting is that these residents are coached from the outside, by persons eager for an opportunity to stir things up and make Israel look bad for the international media.

In point of fact, the Jerusalem administration has negotiated with individual residents, to reach a place of understanding with as many of them as possible. They addressed issues of concern such as roads, parking, and fire fighting equipment.


Among those who registered distress over this plan was Ehud Barak, leveling his criticism from the US, and ever eager to please the US. Showing his true colors once again, he said the plan "lacked common sense" and a "sense of timing." He indicated that he would take this up with the prime minister on his return. And there we are. It will be shameful indeed if Netanyahu caves on this.

While at first there was no word from the prime minister's office, there was then a statement that the prime minister "hopes to solve" the dispute.


Mayor Barkat, however, has had his say in response to Barak:

"Rather than support the municipality's effort to strengthen the city and tackle the serious neglect the eastern part of the city has inherited over the years, the defense minister acts without checking the facts.

"The new plan for Silwan allows for thousands of additional housing units for the Arab sector and the resolution for hundreds of construction violations. Barak should be the first to support the plan."

Jerusalem City Councilman Hilik Bar, a member of Barak's own Labor party, then released a statement as well:

"The King's Garden plan is an important project that could have an impact on both the value of the land and the houses in Silwan, and improve the quality of life for its residents.

"...Understand that instead of just destroying the houses -- as the courts would have it -- the plan proposes to regulate the building in an orderly fashion, and for all, and in a proper and responsible manner.


This bears close watching. Either we are a sovereign state that follow the rule of law, or we are not.

If you are contacting Netanyahu, as I suggested above, it would be prudent to mention this as well: Do not cave to Barak's demands that the Gan Hamelech project be put on hold again!


In a related issue, Arab squatters -- some 40 people comprising three families -- are living in an old synagogue building in Silwan. This is not "merely" a Jewish building, it is a hundred-year old building that has historical, religious and cultural significance. Known as the Hechel Shlomo Synagogue, at one time it served the Yemenite community of the area, which was forced to leave after violence in 1938. It is 500 feet from the contested Beit Yehonatan. The non-profit organization Ateret Cohanim claims ownership of the synagogue building as well as Beit Yehonatan.

According to a court ruling, additions made to the building by the Arab family holding it must be destroyed, and the building must be returned to its original owners. But the police have not acted on this.

Jewish residents of the area, who maintain that Arab residents are favored, say they will evacuate the building themselves on July 4, if the police fail to act. Ten members of the Knesset, from National Union, Habayit Hayehudi, Shas, Likud, and UTJ, have said they will assist the Jewish residents with the evacuation if the police fail to act. They have sent a letter to this effect to the prime minister.

In an entirely different context, Netanyahu has just made the statement, "No one is above the law." Let's see if he means it. Will he see to it that the court ruling is carried out, or will be he -- fearful of manipulated world opinion and accusations of being "anti-Arab" -- back off?

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Dear PM Netanyahu

I am one of those who voted for you. My choice was based on two things - a) the trust that I had in those well respected individuals included in your coalition and b) your promises to maintain a strong policy as regards the security of Israel and your willingness to stand up to pressures put upon Israel. Now I find myself questioning your ability to stick to those promises. While President Obama's numbers have fallen drastically in the U.S. for several reasons -including foreign policy - it appears that your govern-ment is acquiescing to his arrogant and inappropriate demands of more and more concessions by Israel.
Indeed, each time we give in we are praised. The more we give, the more obvious it appears that we do not have faith in our deserving anything! When will it be enough to satisfy the rapacious appetite of others?!!

Sir, I HAVE HAD ENOUGH!~! We need no more proof that Obama is not a friend of Israel. He has continuously shown his allegiance to Muslims; he identifies with them as in his speech in Cairo. Many of his closest advisers have long records of being anti-Israel. Obama has made NO demands of our enemies.
Our sovereign government has been treated with contempt. Our officials - including you, PM Netanyahu,
have been insulted - and this is an affront to all of Israel. Obama - while insisting that he is 'pro-Israel' and that our security is important to the U.S., has created conditions for our many enemies to attack us verbally and militarily. Our Ambassador to the US has also whitewashed the Obama tactics against Israel; this is unfortunate 'political correctness'.

We know, too, that President Obama is urging the inclusion of Tzipi Livni in your coalition. She is the one whom we can thank for 1701 and the rearming of Hizbollah! In the Jerusalem Post today we read that you have approached her regarding inclusion in a 'unity government'. I vehemently object to this because it will set us on a more dangerous track and appease the U.S. once again. Frankly, I find Ehud Barak's friendship with Obama more than a little uncomfortable for the same reasons.

PM Netanyahu, it is the citizens of Israel with whom you must keep faith. Former friends- like Turkey - teach us that we can depend upon ourselves only. We must get out our narrative so that those who are open to the facts will hear our side and not just the other; in this regard, several successive Israeli administrations have failed miserably. We MUST point out that we are fighting the same war as the rest of the West; it is the battle of civilizations. We are the bulwark of democracy in a neighborhood of terrorism. Iran would like nothing better than a regional haven for radical Islam from which to attack Europe and the U.S. Again, that message is not stressed sufficiently.

I truly hope that you will take these points seriously, Mr. PM, and you will find strong grassroots support for this.


''No Red Cross visit for Schalit'

06/23/2010 14:00

Hamas again denies humanitarian request over security concerns.

Hamas has once again turned down new demands made by the Red Cross to visit captured IDF soldier Gilad Schalit in the Gaza Strip, Israel Radio reported Wednesday.

In an interview with Hamas newspaper, Falastin, four years after Schalit was captured, Hamas lawmaker Yichia Musa said that the Red Cross had not taken into consideration the reality and situation on the ground as well as the political and military issues involved. Musa explained that Hamas's concern was based on the security of the location in which the soldier was being held. The Red Cross would not be able to "guarantee Schalit's safety," the Hamas official was quoted as saying.

"Handling this matter in an unthoughtful way will encourage Israel to engage in an operation to rescue Shalit from captivity with force, something that may endanger everyone involved," Musa warned.

He declared that the Red Cross "can discuss the rights of 8,000 Palestinian prisoners which Israel is denying humanitarian rights to in a way that clearly exposes their [Israel's] offensive manner, 'Schalit Law' being a recent example."

In addition, Musa explained that Hamas has been replying to demands in negotiations with Israel and transferred letters from the Schalit family to Gilad.

"We cannot continue to send letters to and from Gilad since Israel is using special technology to try and locate his [Gilad's] location. This damages our efforts to end the suffering of Palestinian prisoners," Hamas lawmaker concluded.

President Obama Rewards The Hamas Lobby

Steven Emerson

A ship packed with violent, radical activists tries to run a blockade aimed at preventing terrorists from receiving illicit material. Video shows them beating commandos with clubs as they land on the ship, pelting them with slingshots and carrying knives.

What is America's response? To demand that the nation whose soldiers were attacked conduct an investigation to "find out the facts."

It is clear Israel sought to peacefully secure the Mavi Marmara on May 31 as it approached Gaza. But the hardened activists, who openly discussed their desire for martyrdom, weren't going to let that happen. Fighting for their lives, the Israeli soldiers opened fire with their sidearms, killing nine people on the ship.
It is clear Israel sought to peacefully secure the Mavi Marmara on May 31 as it approached Gaza. But the hardened activists, who openly discussed their desire for martyrdom, weren't going to let that happen. Fighting for their lives, the Israeli soldiers opened fire with their sidearms, killing nine people on the ship.

But that does not make the Obama administration's demand for an investigation from an ally any more sensible. It was the first such demand made by the U.S. of another country, let alone an ally, in recent memory. There was no call for a probe on Russia's treatment of Chechnyans, for Egypt's persecution of the Christian Copts or for the murderous rampages against the Ahmadiyan Muslim sect in Pakistan.

Just Israel made the history books. Israel, however, has proof of what really happened. It released at least five videos on YouTube showing Israeli soldiers being attacked as they landed.

Moreover, details emerged about IHH--the Turkish charity instigating the attack--and its long history of abetting Islamic terrorist attacks and Islamic terrorist organizations. Reports produced by MEMRI showed the violent attack at sea was planned by radicals vowing to go to their "martyrdom." By June 3 more YouTube videos appeared showing the efforts by the Turkish flotilla extremists to battle with the Israelis.

But that wasn't enough for President Obama. Appearing on CNN's Larry King show on June 3, he repeated his demand for an Israeli investigation. But this time, Obama revealed his own biased predisposition when he told King, "You've got loss of life that was unnecessary."

Unnecessary? According to whom? For Turkey's radical Islamist regime, it was not only unnecessary, but evidence of a premeditated "bloody massacre." But to the Israeli soldiers who would have been murdered had they not used their sidearms, the deaths on the ship--as tragic as any death is--were anything but unnecessary.

And then the president blurted out his real agenda, when he criticized the Israelis for their blockade of Gaza: "you've got a blockade up that is preventing people in Palestinian Gaza from having job opportunities and being able to create businesses and engage in trade and have opportunity for the future." Here, he joined the world Hamas lobby--Islamic and European countries--in piling on Israel for creating such a humanitarian mess in Gaza, which in reality does not exist.

Stores are full of food. Pharmacies are stocked with medicines. Fancy restaurants on the coast flourish. There is no hunger. Every week Israel sends in hundreds of Israeli truckloads with food and other essentials.

The embargo exists because Hamas has proven it is more interested in arming itself and attacking Israel than in helping create a better life for its people. What country would ignore these provocations and terrorist attacks? In the past, Israel intercepted two international vessels destined for Gaza containing vast arsenals of weapons, explosives, rockets and missiles. Does Israel have an obligation to help a terrorist government bent on its destruction?

After falling for the agenda of the Free Gaza flotilla, whose membership included more than 100 known Islamic militants and terrorists, the president blurted out in the CNN interview something that was truly incredulous. He said, "...and I think Turkey can have a positive voice in this whole process once we've worked through this tragedy." Turkey? The country that sponsored the would-be killers on the Mavi Marmara?

Turkey has allowed IHH to operate freely. IHH's accomplishments include assisting the Millennium bomber, supporting Hamas and smuggling weapons to mujahedeen. Arab language newspapers have reported that the leaders on board the Mavi Marmara planned to "martyr" themselves by attacking Israeli troops that might come on board. These newspapers also reported that the Turkish leaders armed themselves with knives and slingshots before boarding the Turkish ship.

Instead of rewarding Turkey, the president should have demanded that an international investigation be conducted of its role in inciting and arming the terrorists aboard its ship. He should have ordered Treasury to list IHH as a terrorist entity and ordered the Justice Department to investigate the activities of the Free Gaza Movement in the U.S. and its predecessor the International Solidarity Movement for materially supporting Hamas.

Israel alone was the recipient of the demands for an investigation.

Faced with the pressure from the president, Israel created a committee to investigate the flotilla incident. Moreover, Israel also capitulated to U.S. and international pressure this past weekend and loosened the blockade that will surely help to prop up the declining popularity of the Hamas regime in Gaza. It only goes to prove that terrorism pays.

Steven Emerson is executive director of the Investigative Project on Terrorism.


Monday, June 21, 2010

Israel and the Surrender of the West‏

Shelby Steele
The Wall Street Journal
June 21, 2010

The most interesting voice in all the fallout surrounding the Gaza flotilla incident is that sanctimonious and meddling voice known as "world opinion." At every turn "world opinion," like a school marm, takes offense and condemns Israel for yet another infraction of the world's moral sensibility. And this voice has achieved an international political legitimacy so that even the silliest condemnation of Israel is an opportunity for self-congratulation.
ARock bands now find moral imprimatur in canceling their summer tour stops in Israel (Elvis Costello, the Pixies, the Gorillaz, the Klaxons). A demonstrator at an anti-Israel rally in New York carries a sign depicting the skull and crossbones drawn over the word " Israel ." White House correspondent Helen Thomas, in one of the ugliest incarnations of this voice, calls on Jews to move back to Poland . And of course the United Nations and other international organizations smugly pass one condemnatory resolution after another against Israel while the Obama administration either joins in or demurs with a wink.

This is something new in the world, this almost complete segregation of Israel in the community of nations. And if Helen Thomas's remarks were pathetic and ugly, didn't they also point to the end game of this isolation effort: the nullification of Israel 's legitimacy as a nation? There is a chilling familiarity in all this. One of the world's oldest stories is playing out before our eyes: The Jews are being scapegoated again.

"World opinion" labors mightily to make Israel look like South Africa looked in its apartheid era—a nation beyond the moral pale. And it projects onto Israel the same sin that made apartheid South Africa so untouchable: white supremacy. Somehow "world opinion" has moved away from the old 20th century view of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as a complicated territorial dispute between two long-suffering peoples. Today the world puts its thumb on the scale for the Palestinians by demonizing the stronger and whiter Israel as essentially a colonial power committed to the "occupation" of a beleaguered Third World people.

This is now—figuratively in some quarters and literally in others—the moral template through which Israel is seen. It doesn't matter that much of the world may actually know better. This template has become propriety itself, a form of good manners, a political correctness. Thus it is good manners to be outraged at Israel's blockade of Gaza, and it is bad manners to be outraged at Hamas's recent attack on a school because it educated girls, or at the thousands of rockets Hamas has fired into Israeli towns—or even at the fact that Hamas is armed and funded by Iran. The world wants independent investigations of Israel , not of Hamas.

One reason for this is that the entire Western world has suffered from a deficit of moral authority for decades now. Today we in the West are reluctant to use our full military might in war lest we seem imperialistic; we hesitate to enforce our borders lest we seem racist; we are reluctant to ask for assimilation from new immigrants lest we seem xenophobic; and we are pained to give Western Civilization primacy in our educational curricula lest we seem supremacist. Today the West lives on the defensive, the very legitimacy of our modern societies requiring constant dissociation from the sins of the Western past—racism, economic exploitation, imperialism and so on.

When the Israeli commandos boarded that last boat in the flotilla and, after being attacked with metal rods, killed nine of their attackers, they were acting in a world without the moral authority to give them the benefit of the doubt. By appearances they were shock troopers from a largely white First World nation willing to slaughter even "peace activists" in order to enforce a blockade against the impoverished brown people of Gaza . Thus the irony: In the eyes of a morally compromised Western world, the Israelis looked like the Gestapo.

This, of course, is not the reality of modern Israel . Israel does not seek to oppress or occupy—and certainly not to annihilate—the Palestinians in the pursuit of some atavistic Jewish supremacy. But the merest echo of the shameful Western past is enough to chill support for Israel in the West.

The West also lacks the self-assurance to see the Palestinians accurately. Here again it is safer in the white West to see the Palestinians as they advertise themselves—as an "occupied" people denied sovereignty and simple human dignity by a white Western colonizer. The West is simply too vulnerable to the racist stigma to object to this "neo-colonial" characterization.

Our problem in the West is understandable. We don't want to lose more moral authority than we already have. So we choose not to see certain things that are right in front of us. For example, we ignore that the Palestinians—and for that matter much of the Middle East—are driven to militancy and war not by legitimate complaints against Israel or the West but by an internalized sense of inferiority. If the Palestinians got everything they want—a sovereign nation and even, let's say, a nuclear weapon—they would wake the next morning still hounded by a sense of inferiority. For better or for worse, modernity is now the measure of man.

And the quickest cover for inferiority is hatred. The problem is not me; it is them. And in my victimization I enjoy a moral and human grandiosity—no matter how smart and modern my enemy is, I have the innocence that defines victims. I may be poor but my hands are clean. Even my backwardness and poverty only reflect a moral superiority, while my enemy's wealth proves his inhumanity.

In other words, my hatred is my self-esteem. This must have much to do with why Yasser Arafat rejected Ehud Barak's famous Camp David offer of 2000 in which Israel offered more than 90% of what the Palestinians had demanded. To have accepted that offer would have been to forgo hatred as consolation and meaning. Thus it would have plunged the Palestinians—and by implication the broader Muslim world—into a confrontation with their inferiority relative to modernity. Arafat knew that without the Jews to hate an all-defining cohesion would leave the Muslim world. So he said no to peace.

And this recalcitrance in the Muslim world, this attraction to the consolations of hatred, is one of the world's great problems today—whether in the suburbs of Paris and London , or in Kabul and Karachi , or in Queens , N.Y. , and Gaza . The fervor for hatred as deliverance may not define the Muslim world, but it has become a drug that consoles elements of that world in the larger competition with the West. This is the problem we in the West have no easy solution to, and we scapegoat Israel—admonish it to behave better—so as not to feel helpless. We see our own vulnerability there.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

"Embracing the Link"

Arlene Kushner

The charges being leveled against Israel are so off the wall, so outrageous, that I think now is the time to begin to address the connection of American Jews to Israel. For there is the danger -- no, more than a danger, sometimes it is the reality -- that some American Jews, hearing these charges and fearful that even some small part of them may be true, will see themselves as morally elevated if they separate themselves from Israel. Those who love Israel, who see themselves as intrinsically connected to the Jewish state, will feel outrage at these perfidious charges. They will understand that Israel need not be perfect to be embraced, and that where there are problems (not remotely of the caliber that is suggested) they must be addressed constructively and with a willing heart.

But sadly, tragically, this is less the case than it once was. I've seen the evidence myself and heard much that is anecdotal. There are Jews, frequently progressive or left in their political orientation, who are not divorced from their identity as Jews and may even be religiously observant, but are devoid of deep concern for or devotion to Israel. In some cases they actually believe themselves to be functioning at a more spiritual level if they are "just" religious and not involved in the politics or the "dirty business" of running and defending a state.

I make no bones about it: I mourn for this alarming state of affairs.


This situation has to be addressed at two levels at once, in my opinion. As I indicated yesterday, this is long procedure that cannot be corrected with any quick fix.

There is, first, the need to counter the false charges and set the record straight. American Jews, like just about everyone else, have been subjected to twisted Arab PR and distorted media reports -- the real story of Israel is not making it wide-scale. Thus is there confusion about what Israel is all about, with acceptance of fallacious ideas, such as that we "took" Palestinian land.


But there is something else that needs to be addressed. And that is Israel as our Jewish heritage. It is here that the essential link is made. One cannot be conversant with the Tanakh -- the Bible -- without understanding G-d's promise to the Jewish people concerning the land, and the ancient settling of that land. One cannot know anything about archeological finds without understanding the extensive roots we have here in this land (and most particularly in eastern Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria). One cannot know history without recognizing that over the course of 3,000 years, Jews alone have had an independent nation here and Jews alone have made Jerusalem their capital. One cannot know Jewish liturgy without knowing the prayers for Jerusalem. One cannot know Jewish law without recognizing certain mitzvot (commandments) can be fulfilled only in the land.

No other people has ever been banished from its original land for 2,000 years (except for a remnant population), only to return, have an ingathering, and revive its ancient language. No other people has fought wars repeatedly at such odds, and remained resilient. For me, the hand of G-d is clear in this. We have prospered, and settled our incoming refugees, as no other nation in the world, all the while promoting medical advances and academic achievements, maintaining the most humane and moral standards for our fighting forces, and even reaching out to the world to lend assistance (as in Haiti).

How has this essential link been lost? In the face of all of this, how could Israel become relatively inconsequential for some Jews? I struggle with the question.


When Helen Thomas made her obscene comments about how the Jews living in Israel should return to places like Poland whence they had come, there were responses to her that essentially said that this was a terrible thing to suggest because the nations such as Poland had treated Jews horrendously. I felt that while factually true, this was the wrong answer. This means that if the nations of the world should welcome us with open arms, we would have no rationale for remaining here. Yes, Israel was a haven after the Holocaust, and yes the existence of Israel prior to the Holocaust would have prevented it from happening.

But the most essential reasons for being here are deeper and more extensive than this. This is what Jews -- as well as others! -- are called upon to understand. And this is precisely what the Arab world does not want people to know, because the truth defeats their aims.


Other subjects to follow shortly, but I include here a link to a superb short video on how the Muslim mind works. It's on the mark, and I encourage you to see it to the end and share it broadly:

(Thanks to the many who shared this with me.)

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Rabbi Pesach Lerner, Executive Vice President,
National Council of Young Israel,

Dear Fellow Jews:
We cannot let a yeshiva/shul in Israel be destroyed. Allow me to explain.

The following article appeared on Arutz Sheva news on Sunday, May 9, 2010:

The IDF's Civilian Administration issued a demolition order Sunday against the spacious building that houses Od Yosef Chai Yeshiva at Yitzhar, in Samaria.
ALocal residents believe that authorities are purposely punishing the yeshiva because of a confrontation with the IDF that took place on Independence Day, and also because security forces hold the yeshiva's students responsible for various attacks against Arabs in recent months and years, including the burning of a carpet in a mosque at the nearby village of Yassuf.

“It turns out that the authorities are making special efforts to hurt the yeshiva in an unfair and vindictive way,” a yeshiva spokesman said Sunday. “It should be noted that the building is an ornate permanent structure, with an area of 1,300 square meters, which was built with the aid of the Ministry of Housing and was approved by the various authorities to serve as an educational institution.”

The destruction order, the residents said, cited an 11 year old work-stoppage order – one that they had never heard of until now. The building took years to build and cost over $1 million.

I could not believe what I was reading. How could it possibly be that in Israel, Jews were going to destroy a yeshiva/shul building?

As I researched the situation and tried to ascertain what exactly was transpiring, it seemed obvious that the Israeli government was using the pretext of a seemingly 11-year old building violation to punish the yeshiva and its students who seemingly have become a nuisance to the government.

But to destroy a yeshiva - a place of Tefillah and Torah study - in Israel? In the event that something was amiss and the situation had to be rectified, perhaps the individuals responsible should be held accountable, but to destroy a yeshiva is quite excessive.

Besides the Chilul Hashem, which is severe in its own right, what will we tell the Europeans the next time they want to destroy an old shul, for whatever reasons they may have? Does the Israeli government destroy a public school in Tel Aviv when its students are involved, chas v’shalom in some sort of wrongdoing?

I had planned to be in Israel that week, so upon my arrival, I contacted the Rosh HaYeshiva of the Od Yosef Chai Yeshiva, which has been in Yitzhar for almost 10 years, since its original home, Joseph's Tomb in Shechem, was abandoned by the Israeli army and destroyed by the Arabs. Rabbi Yitzchok Shapira, the Rosh HaYeshiva, told me that the yeshiva had in fact received a demolition order, based on a violation from 11 years ago - a violation which they knew nothing about. (see attached copy of demolition order).

Rabbi Shapira invited me to visit the yeshiva and offered to have someone pick me up. I accepted the offer, and the next afternoon, I was picked up by Rabbi Dan Marans, whom I personally know in his capacity as the director of the Zomet Institute in Alon Shvut. We drove through the Shomron to the community of Yitzhar, which is on a strategic mountaintop, overlooking Har Greizim, quite a distance from the main road.

The yeshiva building, a beautiful multi-floored structure, stood away from the community, in its own space. The building was built entirely by Jewish workers, many of whom were former yeshiva students. The main study hall was large, the library was in the back, the lunchroom was on the lower level, and the yeshiva offices and classrooms were on the upper level. (please see attached pictures)

I met with the Rosh HaYeshiva, Rabbi Yitzchok Shapira and the yeshiva director, Itamar Pozen. They shared with me the tzav harisa, the destruction order, and a package of documents proving their legal status (attached), and the fact that numerous departments in the Israeli government participated in the building of the yeshiva. How can we be illegal, they asked, if the government put in the infrastructure, if the government authorized the mortgage, etc.

We discussed their speculations as to why the government, 11 years after they claimed there was a building violation, was just now threatening to destroy the yeshiva building. Rabbi Shapira told me that the Od Yosef Chai Yeshiva has been teaching its students for many years that every Jew must be “mutually responsible” for every other Jew. This movement of “mutual responsibility” threatens the government. They want us to stop promoting this idea so they are trying to distract and silence us by destroying our building

The idea that Jews would destroy yeshiva/shul buildings under any circumstances is reprehensible. If a European country threatened to destroy a shul under the pretext of a building code violation, Jews from all walks of life – Orthodox and non-Orthodox – would demand that the order be cancelled. The protests against such an inconceivable act would be loud and numerous.

During my visit to the yeshiva, I noticed large plaques with the names of two individuals who made large contributions to assist in the building of the yeshiva. I contacted both families and they each told me that prior to making donations to the yeshiva to help defray the costs of the construction, they had seen official documents verifying that the yeshiva had government approval to build.

I spoke to numerous roshei yeshiva and community rabbis in Israel, and they all agreed that Jews must not destroy yeshivas/shuls. I spoke to various Israeli government officials, all of whom could not understand how such an order could be given.

Dear friends, the yeshiva administration, the regional councils, etc., are all challenging this destructive order. Individuals within the government are asking questions, but we have a responsibility to do all that we can to ensure that this order gets overturned. We must publicly urge Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to forcefully and publically rescind this order. We cannot sit back and allow a yeshiva, a beautiful center of Torah and Tefillah, to be destroyed.

Each of us must send daily emails, send daily faxes, and make daily phone calls to the Prime Minister of Israel protesting this inconceivable action. People need to send letters to the Israeli Embassy in Washington, DC and to the Israeli Consulate in New York.

We must demand that our community organizations, our rabbis, our entire community, speak out. We cannot allow this Chilul Hashem, this desecration of G-d’s name, to take place. Please send an email, send a fax, and make a call, now. Tell the Prime Minister to protect the yeshiva building in Yitzhar and prevent it from being destroyed.

And, in the merit of our speaking out, of caring for our fellow Jews and our Torah institutions, may we merit Shalom al Yisrael, peace in Israel.

Contact Prime Minister
Benjamin Netanyahu at:

Telephone -
011-972-2-670-5532 (attention: Tzvi Hauser, Cabinet Secretary of the Israel government)

Fax (send to all three numbers) –

011-972-2-563-2580 (attention: Tzvi Hauser, Cabinet Secretary of the Israel government)

Email (send to all three email addresses) – (attention: Tzvi Hauser, Cabinet Secretary of the Israel government) (underscore after pm)

For the contact information of the Israeli Embassy in Washington, DC or the consulate office nearest to you, please click here

Jordan is Palestine

The Iconoclast
Sunday, 20 June 2010

Geert Wilders says Jordan is Palestine

Even before the dust settles on formation of a ruling coaliton in the Netherlands, Geert Wilders has created a stir with a logical solution to the Gordian knot of a Middle East Settlement: declare the Kingdom of Jordan as an 'alternative homeland' for Palestine. This should bring a smile to the face of Israeli MK Arieh Eldad and a frown from the Obama Administration Special Envoy, George Mitchell. We are sure that the Nethanyahu government in Jerusalem will stay mum on this suggestion, although most Israelis would tacitly agree. I know that Professor Raphael Israeli, who spoke last night at the New English Revew Symposium in Nashville might approve of this trial balloon. Like former Spanish PM Jose Maria Aznar, Wilders is a solid European friend of Israel. The Kingdom of Jordan has already lodged a firm objection and expression of outrage at Wilders comments. But then as we recall, a Court in Jordan had issued an Interpol arrest warrant for Wilders on grounds of blaspheming Islam with his film Fitna. Will this jeopardize Wilders' PVV (Freedom Party) membership in the new conservative ruling coalition in the Hague Parliament? Wth a tally of 24 seats, nearly a trebling of its previous position, the PVV is in the literal catbird seat. Stay tuned.

Note what this Ynet article, "Geert Wilders: Change Jordan's name to Palestine".

Geert Wilders, who leads the right-wing Party for Freedom (PVV) in Holland, said last week he believes Jordan should be renamed Palestine. The Jordanian government responded by saying Wilders' speech was reminiscent of the Israeli right wing.

"Jordan is Palestine," said Wilders, who heads the third-largest party in Holland. "Changing its name to Palestine will end the conflict in the Middle East and provide the Palestinians with an alternate homeland."

Wilders added that Israel deserved a special status in the Dutch government because it was fighting for Jerusalem in its name.

"If Jerusalem falls into the hands of the Muslims, Athens and Rome will be next. Thus, Jerusalem is the main front protecting the West. It is not a conflict over territory but rather an ideological battle, between the mentality of the liberated West and the ideology of Islamic barbarism," he said.

"There has been an independent Palestinian state since 1946, and it is the kingdom of Jordan." Wilders also called on the Dutch government to refer to Jordan as Palestine and move its embassy to Jerusalem.

The Saudi Al-Watan carried Jordan's response to Wilders' speech. The kingdom's embassy in Hague was outraged, and said the Dutch ambassador would soon be summoned to explain.

Jordan's minister for media affairs and communications, Nabil Al Sharif, asked for clarifications. He described Wilders' declaration as "an echo of the voice of the Israeli Right" and "crows' screams".

"Jordan is an independent and secure country which supports the Palestinian issue, and these imaginings of finding them an alternate homeland are nothing but the delusions of a few people," he said.

UN ambassador resigns

Israel's ambassador to the United Nations, Gabriela Shalev, has resigned, Israel Radio reported Saturday night.

The ambassador has signed an agreement to head Ono Academic College's academic board next school year, and notified Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman of her resignation.
Shalev, a law professor and former Academic President of Ono Academic College, was chosen to replace Dan Gillerman as ambassador to the UN in 2008 by then-Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni.

During her tenure as ambassador, Shalev has dealt with diplomatic crises, such as the Goldstone report and the Gaza flotilla. She has called for sanctions against Iran, saying "our main goal at this crucial time is to show the world how dangerous Iran is."

A replacement for Shalev has not been announced, but Israel Radio reported that Yaffa Zilbershatz, the head of Bar-Ilan University's law school, and Yossi Gal, CEO of the Foreign Ministry, are being considered for the job.

Comment: Interesting timing-I will check on the story behind the story-stay tuned.

"Forging On"

Arlene Kushner

Among the matters I had thought I would address tonight was the deeply disturbing issue of the disconnect from Israel of some (many) American Jews. I do hope I will find time to write about this before long. But this is a long-term matter that must be dealt with thoughtfully (and intensively) over time, and it seemed to me that other issues of greater urgency have precedence right now.
The matter of the Flotilla and world reaction to Israel is still front and center. But I begin with the latest satirical Latma piece produced by Caroline Glick, "The Three Terrors." It's a hoot:

Where ponderous words do not seem to be having effect, maybe this approach will make a difference.


Satire does seem to be the best response to world events. In fact, world events generate their own unintended satire.

Consider: Syrian president Bashar Assad, whose country has smuggled large quantities of weapons to Hezbollah in defiance of Security Council Resolution 1701, said on Wednesday that Syria has been working on preventing a regional war, but that war is now more likely because of the Flotilla incident; it shows, he declared, that the Israeli government is "pyromaniac.


I thank Yoram Ettinger for this material, which comes from his Jerusalem Cloakroom #236, "The Gaza Flotilla of Hypocrisy."

Ettinger pointed out that there are 400,000 residents of Uzbek who were made refugees in the course of riots in Kyrgyzstan from June 11-18, 2010, with 2,000 fatalities. But there have been no special UN sessions to deal with this.

Additionally, he cited Joel Brinkley, nationally-syndicated columnist and Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, who wrote in the San Francisco Chronicle, on June 13, 2010:

“On May 31, the day activists assaulted Israeli troops as they boarded the Mavi Marmara, prompting the Israelis to shoot and kill nine of them. In Lahor, Pakistan, that same day, gunmen stormed into a hospital, where they shot and killed 12 badly wounded patients...Those victims were survivors of murderous attacks on two mosques a few days earlier, when 93 worshipers were killed…Didn’t that warrant even a nodding acknowledgment? No, Navi Pillay, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said almost nothing about the dead Pakistanis, but did manage to declaim: ‘I unequivocally condemn what appears to be disproportionate use of force, resulting in the killing and wounding of so many people attempting to bring much needed aid to the people of Gaza…’

"The week before the aid-flotilla incident, international discussions centered on North Korea and its attack on a South Korean naval vessel. A torpedo sank the ship, killing 46 sailors. The UN Security Council was to begin discussion of possible action against North Korean. But then a few days ago, Council members made it clear they were going to drop the North Korea matter and take a resolution condemning Israel…”


So, the hypocrisy -- at the UN and its agencies and within a broad swath of the world's governments -- is enough to leave one breathless, but we see that we do have friends who tell it straight, such as Brinkley.

Then there is Rex Murphy, writing in the National Post of Canada, "UN condemns Israel first, investigates later":

"I don't suppose the world needs to remember Rwanda to note how sluggish in the face of imminent horror the UN is and can be. But on one subject, and toward one state, the UN acquires a strange and uniquely transformative power. Bring Israel under its gaze and the diplomatic sloths at UN headquarters morph into the swiftest of gazelles. Quite amazing, really. When the so-called 'freedom flotilla' roared into the headlines, the UN reacted at the diplomatic equivalent of the speed of light. The Security Council issued its 'condemnation,' and in a wonderful reversal of cause and effect also called for an investigation into what it had 'condemned.'

"When Israel is in the dock, protest rage goes epidemic. When Israel acts in its self-defense, the response is extravagantly 'disproportionate.' I truly do not know why this is so. Israel is a sanctuary state established after one almost successful attempt just two generations ago to rid all the world of Jews. And Israel is now in the shadow of a fundamentalist, ferociously anti-Israel theocracy which is about to equip itself with nuclear weapons. Yet somehow Israel is the rogue, the barbarian nation, the only state on earth that can energize the lethargic diplomats in the great tower of hypocrisy on the Hudson River."


You might also like to see the comments of Dvir Abramovich, writing in the Sydney Morning Herald of Australia:

"The speed and intensity by which the world recklessly rushed to blame Israel, and only Israel over the flotilla incident, and the scale and venom of the reaction, has left me speechless. I don't know how to depict a world that clamors 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. But beyond the actual incident, the blistering demonization, and delegitimization of Israel, and the viciousness of such vilification by the media, and international governments who should know better, is mind-blowing.

"How man 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 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 violently puts down any political opponents and is slowly imposing fundamentalist Islamic law?"


I provide these pieces not only so that you might take heart from them, but also so that you might utilize and share them.

And then I provide this very good piece, "Shouldn't we all be Israelis now," by Kyle-Anne Shiver, a Catholic, writing in American Thinker. It is going to jolt many, but at this point a jolt is in order:

"...About a year ago, I shamelessly berated a dear Jewish friend for becoming paranoid about unfolding events -- not in Israel, but right here in America. She, naturally, sees things differently from how I do. She was noticing the telltales in American foreign policy under the new administration. She was calling my attention to signs I couldn't then read. Perhaps a part of me simply wanted to believe -- with all my heart and soul -- that nothing whatsoever similar to the Holocaust could ever happen again because we good Americans would never, ever, ever permit such a horror on our watch. I argued this point with my friend vehemently. For a while, we were so passionately at odds on the 'Jewish question' that we stopped corresponding and talking on the phone. Now I shake with guilt and shame over my callous insensitivity, and I wonder where I found such faith in the American people and such naive blindness about human evil.

"We have clearly elected an anti-Semitic president. I say this with due trepidation; I take the charge as seriously as any I know. Barack Obama's anti-Semitism is so transparent that I tremble to consider that it may not even be merely an intellectual Israel-vs.-Arab-nation prejudice, but may actually be racist, or even a soul-disordered hate for all things deigned by God."

How many other Americans who have been eager to give Obama a chance are ready to confront the inherent bias in how he treats us?

Shiver makes a potent case. Read the entire piece:

Congressman Mike Pence (R-IN), a true friend, addresses a similar issue when he says, on the floor of Congress, that the American people are with Israel, and then asks, "Mr. President, whose side are you on?"


I cannot confirm this information, but as I have it from multiple sources, and have picked up similar material in the past, it seems to me solid enough, and certainly important enough, to share:

According to Hugh Tomlinson, writing in the Times of London just a week ago:

"Saudi Arabia has conducted tests to stand down its air defenses to enable Israeli jets to make a bombing raid on Iran’s nuclear facilities, The Times can reveal.

"In the week that the UN Security Council imposed a new round of sanctions on Tehran, defence sources in the Gulf say that Riyadh has agreed to allow Israel to use a narrow corridor of its airspace in the north of the country to shorten the distance for a bombing run on Iran.

"To ensure the Israeli bombers pass unmolested, Riyadh has carried out tests to make certain its own jets are not scrambled and missile defence systems not activated. Once the Israelis are through, the kingdom’s air defences will return to full alert.

“'The Saudis have given their permission for the Israelis to pass over and they will look the other way,' said a US defence source in the area. 'They have already done tests to make sure their own jets aren’t scrambled and no one gets shot down. This has all been done with the agreement of the [US] State Department.'

"Sources in Saudi Arabia say it is common knowledge within defence circles in the kingdom that an arrangement is in place if Israel decides to launch the raid. Despite the tension between the two governments, they share a mutual loathing of the regime in Tehran and a common fear of Iran’s nuclear ambitions. 'We all know this. We will let them [the Israelis] through and see nothing,' said one.


Aside from the significance of Saudi Arabia's alleged readiness to do this, I have a couple of other observations. One is that Saudi Arabia is apparently being more cooperative here than Obama. Absorb the full import of this, please. Obama, still hoping for some combination of outreach and sanctions to stop Iran's nuclear development, has thus far refused to signal that the US would give a go-ahead for Israel to fly over Iraq on the way to Iran.

Or so he is pretending, wanting perhaps to not "irritate" Iran by seeming to sanction an Israeli attack. If this sounds ludicrous, it's because it is -- and signals an obtuse unwillingness by Obama to understand deterrence. But it would be vintage Obama. He believes in carrots without sticks.

Consider as well that, according to this report, the State Department has sanctioned this position on the part of Saudi Arabia. This suggests several things, some of which would be purely speculative. What I'd like to ask here is how Obama -- knowing all of this -- can claim that there can be no cooperation with the Arab states on the matter of Iran, unless we make "peace" with the Palestinians. He full well knows what a crock this is.


Last September, Prof. Efraim Inbar, director of the Begin Sadat Center for Strategic Studies, wrote:

"The leaders in all Arab countries know that the American 'engagement' of Iran is hopeless in stopping the nuclearization of Iran. During his August trip to Washington, Mubarak of Egypt tried to inject sense into the young American president. Moreover, Mubarak rejected Obama's offer for a nuclear umbrella. So did other pro-American Arab states. American promises to defend them are simply not credible if the US is reluctant to use military force to stop the Iranian nuclear threat.

"The impending American withdrawal from Iraq and the difficulties in 'fixing' Afghanistan contribute to the general sense of a decline in American influence in the Middle East."

Please note: this is one more case in point of what I've been saying for some time -- Obama's weakness has made the world a less safe place, with the US no longer trusted or depended upon by nations that were considered, broadly, American allies. No where is this more the case than in the Middle East. Obama has made our part of the world more dangerous. The Latma video, "The Three Terrors," makes this point, with a thank you extended to Obama for "playing dumb."

So, indeed, whose side is Obama on?


"The Good News Corner"

Lt. Aharon Karov, commander of a combat company in the Paratrooper Brigade, made news during Operation Cast Lead, the war in Gaza, when he was called up from his leave the day after his wedding. He subsequently was critically wounded in a booby-trapped house in Gaza, and then flown to Beilinson Hospital in Petach Tivkah, where he underwent six operations on his head and chest in the course of 12 hours. Karov had hovered close to death. His morale was incredible and his recovery nothing short of miraculous.

Now it has been announced that his wife Tzivia has given birth to a baby girl. Mazel tov!

What a joy not only to share this good news, but to demonstrate, once again, the resilience of the Israeli people.


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