Saturday, July 14, 2012

Israel is in Good Shape Because So Many Others Decided Not to Be

Barry Rubin

The more I think about Israel’s security situation at this moment, the better it looks.  Obviously, this is counter-intuitive given the media bias, academic distortions, and campaigns for sanctions of various kinds. And, of course, Israel starts from a basis of facing far more security challenges than any other modern state. Still, by Israeli standards the outlook is good.
It’ll take a while to list all of the factors so let’s get started while the inkwell is still full.
On the surface, the “Arab Spring” along with the surge of revolutionary Islamism certainly looks bad but let’s examine the shorter-term implications. By reentering a period of instability and continuing conflict within each country, the Arabic-speaking world is committing a self-induced setback. Internal battles will disrupt Arab armies and economies, reducing their ability to fight against Israel.  Indeed, nothing could be more likely to handicap development than Islamist policies.

Friday, July 13, 2012



Settlements are not just legal, but necessary

There are no alternative effective ways to prevent the conversion of the West Bank into Hamastan.

A fascinating development this week in Israel was the release of the report of a governmental commission whose assignment had been to define the legal status of the “occupied territories” for purposes of government policy. The commission was headed by Edmond Levy, an interesting former Supreme Court justice and one of the only ones who is not a judicial activist leftist.

The Obama people are upset with the report (an indication of how good it is) and Israel’s moonbat Left is positively wetting itself in anguish.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

James Crawford: The EU May Ban Imports from the West Bank

Kevin Jon Heller
The Independent has the story:
European governments, including Britain’s, have received legal opinion from a leading international counsel who argues they would be fully within their rights to ban trade with Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank.
The formal opinion from James Crawford, professor of international law at Cambridge University, is likely to inject fresh momentum into campaigns in the United Kingdom and elsewhere for a ban, at a time when some EU member states are examining ways of hardening their position on the imports of settlement produce.
Israeli settlements in the West Bank are considered illegal under international law, a position upheld by all EU member states.

Samoa, the West Bank of the South Pacific

the Atlantic

Under the headline, "Send Jeff Goldberg to Samoa," the Wall Street Journal's James Taranto takes issue with my "left-liberal" assertion that classifying the West Bank as part of Israel proper, rather than as occupied territory, would be a very bad thing for Israel's future as a Jewish-majority democracy:

Goldberg errs in assuming that an assertion of Israeli sovereignty over the disputed territories would necessarily be the equivalent of incorporating those territories into "Israel proper." To see why, look at the American example.

The U.S. has several unincorporated territories--insular possessions over which America exercises sovereignty but which are not part of the U.S. They are, in declining order of population (and omitting unpopulated islands), Puerto Rico, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa and the Northern Mariana Islands.

Residents of these territories do not have the right to vote in presidential elections. They have no representation in the Senate and only a nonvoting delegate or (in the case of Puerto Rico) resident commissioner in the House.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

How Birthright Changed Us

Marc Tracy
A trip to Israel connected participants to our Jewishness. But it didn't make us more politically engaged.

No. 8765
Tablet Magazine June 26, 2012

On the final evening of our trip—in the sleepy, slightly seedy coastal city of Netanya most famous stateside for the Hamas suicide bombing that killed 30 people in 2002—I asked several participants the following, deliberately open-ended question: How did the past 10 days change your opinions of, or attitudes toward, Jewishness or Israel—if it did at all? I also asked one soldier, my Jerusalem roommate Chen Mor—a Navy man who had managed to join us for drinks—how his experience had changed his perception of Israel and American Jews.

Reading the responses, including my own, I'm struck by the extent to which Birthright seems to have worked—up to a point. It created young Jews who say they are more likely to engage with their Jewishness, and also ones with visceral connections to Israel.

On the other hand, it doesn't seem that this feeling of connection translated into political awareness. In particular, the almost total lack of discussion of the Palestinian issue seems to have disarmed participants: I wonder what they will say when they are asked, back at campus or at work, about the issue; and I wonder what they (especially someone like the second respondent, Aimée) will decide for themselves in their own research. Birthright Israel is undeniably empowering, but it may not always empower in exactly the way some of its funders would wish. But, as our guide Yoav would say, that's what makes us Jews.

Calls to Destroy Egypt's Great Pyramids Begin

Raymond Ibrahim
July 10, 2012

According to several reports in the Arabic media, prominent Muslim clerics have begun to call for the demolition of Egypt's Great Pyramids—or, in the words of Saudi Sheikh Ali bin Said al-Rabi'i, those "symbols of paganism," which Egypt's Salafi party has long planned to cover with wax. Most recently, Bahrain's "Sheikh of Sunni Sheikhs" and President of National Unity, Abd al-Latif al-Mahmoud, called on Egypt's new president, Muhammad Morsi, to "destroy the Pyramids and accomplish what Amr bin al-As could not."
Has the sun finally set for Egypt's Great Pyramids?
This is a reference to the Muslim Prophet Muhammad's companion, Amr bin al-As and his Arabian tribesmen, who invaded and conquered Egypt circa 641. Under al-As and subsequent Muslim rule, many Egyptian antiquities were destroyed as relics of infidelity. While most Western academics argue otherwise, according to early Muslim writers, the great Library of Alexandria itself—deemed a repository of pagan knowledge contradicting the Koran—was destroyed under bin al-As's reign and in compliance with Caliph Omar's command.

"Touching Bases"

Later today I am attending a press conference, which I hope to write about. And so here I want to briefly touch a variety of bases -- as there is so much that is transpiring.
Could we possibly have expected anything else?  State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell offered this statement at a press conference:
"Obviously, we've seen the reports that an Israeli Government appointed panel [the Levy Committee] has recommended legalizing dozens of Israeli settlements in the West Bank, but we do not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlement activity and we oppose any effort to legalize settlement outposts...We’re concerned about it, obviously."
Well, "obviously."  The US is going to be pressuring the Israeli government not to accept the report.  State Department officials are scheduled to be here.
And so my friends, it's time for making your voices heard, please! in great numbers

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

"A Matter of Great Import"

he findings of the Levy Committee, with regard to Israel's right to build in Judea and Samaria, made news here in Israel today.  See my post on this at:
The focus was on the fact that this report was turned over to the Ministerial Committee on Settlements yesterday and has been made public in its entirety.  
In due course, the significance of the finding of the Levy Committee -- which was composed of former High Court Justice Edmund Levy; former Foreign Ministry legal advisor Alan Baker; and former deputy president of the Tel Aviv District Court Tchia Shapira -- may be considerable. 

Monday, July 09, 2012

National Jewish Democratic Council Doesn't Speak for Me on Adelson

Alan M. Dershowitz

Sunday, July 08, 2012

Will Israel Extradite a Citizen to a Show Trial in Muslim Bosnia?

Posted by Julia Gorin

Forty-two-year-old Alexander Cvetkovic, accused of Srebrenica-related war crimes, is an Israeli citizen who is ethnically Serb. The latter usually means his chances of avoiding extradition to a Bosnian show trial aren’t good. Political expediency has been the rule governing all world governments facing Bosnian-Muslim demands for war crimes extraditions, based on dubious howls of “genocide.” So dubious that laws have been enacted in Europe to enforce the belief that extrajudicial executions of Muslim soldiers are on par with the Holocaust. 

And so the world’s political classes sit on their haunches to see if Jewish Israel passes the test and gives Muslim Bosnia what it wants. Or if, as the alternative is likely to be interpreted, Jews “still think they have the monopoly on genocide.” But if Srebrenica is the barometer, they certainly do, as will be laid out here. For now, the question is: Will Israel try to join the world club that will never have it, a club in which due process is due to all but Serbs?