Saturday, March 30, 2013

Passover: a Time for Reflection

Harold Witkov

To Jews, Passover is a festival of freedom. It is the celebration of a people overcoming slavery and obtaining redemption.
As a Jew very much devoted to my religion, I take the Passover story very seriously. That said, there is one part of the narrative that I feel speaks more to my political side than my religious. It concerns the loss of freedom, rather than the obtaining of it.
To many, the Passover story begins with the ancient Israelites already enslaved in Egypt. Another way to approach the Passover story is to consider its beginning when Joseph invited his brothers and their families to relocate in Goshen, Egypt, (hundreds of years earlier).
Just to backtrack for a moment, as you no doubt recall, Joseph's brothers, who once sold Joseph into slavery and presumed him long dead, had come to Egypt seeking relief from the drought. Joseph recognized them but they did not recognize him. After testing them a bit to see if they had grown morally, he eventually revealed himself to them, and, bearing no malice, invited his siblings and their families to move to Goshen where he could help them beat the remainder of the seven-year drought, and, as the number two man of Egypt, be able to look after their well-being in general.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Muslim Brotherhood Thugs Tortured Christians in Mosque

Not a problem for Islamists. After all Jihad, the torturing and killing non-Muslims, is the highest form of worship in Islam.

Islamic hard-liners stormed a mosque in suburban Cairo, turning it into torture chamber for Christians who had been demonstrating against the ruling Muslim Brotherhood in the latest case of violent persecution that experts fear will only get worse.
Demonstrators say they were taken from the Muslim Brotherhood headquarters in suburban Cairo to a nearby mosque on Friday and tortured for hours by hard-line militia members.

Israel's Insightful Cynicism

Robert D. Kaplan
Chief Geopolitical Analyst

Israel is in the process of watching a peace treaty unravel. I don't mean the one with Egypt, but the one with Syria. No, I'm not crazy. Since Henry Kissinger's shuttle diplomacy in 1974, the Israelis have had a de facto peace agreement of sorts with the al Assad family. After all, there were clear red lines that both sides knew they shouldn't cross, as well as reasonable predictability on both sides. Forget about the uplifting rhetoric, the requirement to exchange ambassadors and the other public policy frills that normally define peace treaties. What counts in this case is that both sides observed limits and constraints, so that the contested border between them was secure. Even better, because there was no formal peace agreement in writing, neither side had to make inconvenient public and strategic concessions. Israel did not have to give up the Golan Heights, for example.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Europe: The Submission That Dare Not Speak Its Name

Guy Millière

What is taking shape could be a shift toward the end of the Jewish presence in Europe.
Exactly one year ago, a killer entered the courtyard of a Jewish school in Toulouse, France, and shot in cold blood a rabbi and three children. He said he had wanted to kill more, and to perpetrate a massacre, but that his gun jammed.
During the previous days, he had shot three French soldiers of Arab origin.
The killer was quickly located, besieged by the police for thirty two hours, then riddled with bullets when he tried to escape.

Europe acquiesces while Jews are threatened, and killed. Again

Adam Turner

When Gunther Grass, a German writer, wrote a nasty bit of verse attacking the Jewish state of Israel and defending the Mad Mullahs of Iran and their genocidal desires to destroy the world's Jews, many of the chattering classes in the Europe were, oh-so-shocked.  Considering Grass's background as a member of the notorious Waffen S.S., I was not.  The only shocking thing to me was that a Nazi verbally attacking the Jewish state was considered newsworthy by anyone in the real world. 

Formal peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians would only lead to more hatred

Elyakim Haetzni,7340,L-4358206,00.html
These words are addressed to the president of the United States on the eve of his visit and are written by a "settler" who, according to the president's policy, should be banished from his home. They are written in the classic Jewish form of dialogue known as ichfa mistabra - where one takes the opposite point of view to prove a point.
Dear Mr. President,
They say the Americans are committed to resolving our crisis with the Palestinians. But could it be, ifcha mistabra, that the Americans are the problem and not the solution, because the Arabs' expectation for American pressure on us only makes their positions more radical? A two-year-old girl is fighting for her life, and her mother and two sisters are injured.

Obama encouraged Israelis to rebel

Op-ed: In Jerusalem speech, US president went over the head of a prime minister he does not trust

Try to imagine for a moment what would happen if Prime Minister Netanyahu would speak before American students at Columbia University and call on them to rise up and demand that their politicians block any gun control legislation or encourage the students to act determinedly against President Obama's health care law. What an uproar such an act would have caused in the US and the world over - and justifiably so. The prime minister of Israel, the headlines would say, is intervening in the most sensitive issues of American politics.

Lebanon teeters on the edge, where's the media?

One has to wonder why this story has not gotten more play. Pro and anti-Assad factions have been battling it out for the last three days on the streets of Tripoli, Lebanon, which is generally one of that country's quieter cities.

Lebanese media reported several people injured Saturday night in the fierce fighting between pro- and anti-Bashar Assad partisans in the country’s second largest city, as sectarian tensions threatened to plunge the country into further chaos.

The army said Saturday night it would enter the Alawite neighborhood of Jabal Mohsen to restore order, after the worst fighting the city has seen since the latest round of violence erupted on Thursday.

Some seven people have been killed and scores more injured in three days of fighting, according to Lebanese media.

UN concerned Syria war spilling over into Golan Heights


Security Council voices "grave concern" about repeated violations of ceasefire line between Syria, Golan Heights; cite danger to UN peacekeepers due to escalating civil war, armed members of opposition in buffer zone.

Israeli Syrian border in the Golan Heights
Israeli Syrian border in the Golan Heights Photo: REUTERS/Baz Ratner
UNITED NATIONS - The UN Security Council voiced concern on Wednesday about repeated violations of the ceasefire line between Syria and the Golan Heights and the danger to UN peacekeepers there due to the escalating Syrian civil war.

The armed struggle between rebels and forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad has posed increasing difficulties for the 1,000-strong UN Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF). UN peacekeepers monitoring the line halted patrols this month after rebels held 21 Filipino observers for three days.

"The members of the Security Council expressed grave concern at all violations of the Disengagement of Forces Agreement," the council said, adding that it also voiced "grave concern at the presence of the Syrian Arab Republic Armed Forces inside the area of separation." UNDOF has the task of monitoring an "area of separation" between Syrian and Israeli forces, a narrow strip of land running 45 miles (70 km) from Mount Hermon on the Lebanese border to the Yarmouk River frontier with Jordan.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Arab League reject call to recognise Israel as Jewish state

The Arab League have rejected Israel's request to recognise it as a Jewish state.

The League approved a Qatari proposal to set up a $1 billion fund for Arab east Jerusalem, which Palestinians want as the capital of an independent state under any peace deal with Israel.

Canada, Keystone, and the Palestinians

Christine Williams

One can note some important "arguments" the U.S. is having with Canada. Canada is outperforming the U.S. economically on every level.
As Obama wrapped up his Middle East tour, applauded by AIPAC for reaffirming "unbreakable bonds" and "deep affection" between two key allies; and by Al Jazeera for "normalizing" Israel Turkey ties, Obama's neighbors to the north are left scratching their heads about what he meant by his off-the-cuff statement that compared Israeli-Palestinian relations to Canada-U.S. relations.

Islam’s Outrageous Obscenities

Islamic TV personality, Abu Islam—the man who made international headlines when he insulted Christianity and tore a Bible on camera to screams of “Allahu Akbar!” and later incited Muslims to rape female protesters—unwittingly insulted Islam’s prophet Muhammad in a way that would have caused much of the Islamic world to riot and call for his death (if he was a non-Muslim).

This occurred during one of Abu Islam’s recent TV shows, which revolved around attacking Egyptian commentator and comedian Bassem Youssef, whose popular jabs frequently target Islamists, including President Morsi.  In retaliation, Abu Islam spent a large segment of his show insulting Youssef.  Yet, unlike the latter’s well-received jokes which are primarily based on wit and innuendo, the cleric relied on hurling ugly obscenities).  Among other things, Abu Islam swore to Allah that according to Sharia law, because Youssef is a “pretty boy,” he is required to wear a niqab, or face veil, to cover himself up like a woman.

Apartheid Palestine

Jihad Watch

Israel is not an apartheid state. Muslim Arabs are in the Knesset, and enjoy more rights there than they do in an Islamic state. The real apartheid is in Sharia states, where the oppression of women and non-Muslims is institutionalized.
"Apartheid Palestine?," by Ann Bayefsky in the Jerusalem Post, March 17 (thanks to Pamela Geller):
It is impossible to read this latest UN report, or to listen to its authors and its state sponsors, without knowing that the campaign to rid the world of Israeli settlements is a campaign to rid the world of Israel. On Monday, March 17 in Geneva, the UN Human Rights Council will hold a first-ever three-hour session devoted to the alleged human rights abomination known as the “Israeli settlement.” In the moral wasteland of the United Nations, a Jew living on Arab-claimed land is a violation of Arab human rights.
There were once an estimated 900,000 Jews across the Arab world, but today there are less than a few thousand. They were given a choice: die, convert or flee.
This was an Islamic phenomenon, not an Arab one. But otherwise Bayefsky's analysis is spot-on.

Op-Ed: A Baby is Stoned for Being an "Occupier"

The "occupation" terminology has lethal results.

Giulio Meotti
The writer, an Italian journalist with Il Foglio, writes a twice-weekly column for Arutz Sheva. He is the author of the book "A New Shoah", that researched the personal stories of Israel's terror victims, published by Encounter. His writing has appeared in publications, such as the Wall Street Journal, Frontpage and Commentary. He is at work on a book about the Vatican and Israel.

A two-year-old Jewish girl named Adele, who lives in the "settlement" of Ariel, is fighting for her life, and her mother and two sisters are severely injured. The truck driving in front of the Bitons was attacked with stones during Palestinian Arab riots that erupted in Judea and Samaria ahead of Obama’s visit. The driver stopped short and Adele's mother, whose vision was blocked by the width of the truck, hit the back of the vehicle.

A week earlier, an old Israeli man was shot near Kedumim.

In 2011, Asher Palmer and his infant son Yonatan were killed when their car overturned after being pelted with boulders.

The Fogel family is already legend in the pantheon of Israel's victims of terrorism.
Who is responsible for this? The Western "symbolic violence against the Jews" is to blame, as Shmuel Trigano called it in a recent essay. The Israelis must be burn in effigy, he said, before being physically slaughtered on the streets.
The same week as the terror attack against the Bitons, a 8,000-word New York Times magazine cover story justified Palestinian Arab terrorism and called for another Intifafa.

“If there is a third Intifada, we want to be the ones who started it: One village in the West Bank tests the limits of unarmed resistance”.

U.S. will spend $6 billion to remove military equipment from Afghanistan by 2014

Emma Graham-Harrison, The Guardian

U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Sal Somoza, Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) Farah, pulls security outside the Farah provincial governor's compound in Farah City, Feb. 5, 2013 (U.S. Navy photo by HMC Josh Ives/released via the US Army on Flickr)
Huge numbers of weapons and vehicles and tense relations with nearby countries make task more daunting than Iraq pullout
Fighting wars is expensive, but so is winding them down. As the US prepares to ship most of its weapons, vehicles and other equipment home after more than a decade in Afghanistan, the bill for the move will be a staggering $6bn, officers in charge of the complex process say.
Rusting Soviet tanks and guns still dot the Afghan landscape, serving as bleak memorials to violence of the 1980s, and perhaps a spur to Nato forces to ensure there are no similar reminders from the last decade of conflict.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Jonathan Pollard: The Case for Commutation of Sentence

MARK SILVERBERG March 26, 2013
During the course of President Obama's recent interview with Israel's Channel 2 on March 21st, in response to whether he would consider commuting the life sentence of former civilian American naval intelligence analyst and convicted Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard, he remarked: "As president, my first obligation is to observe the law here in the US. I need to make sure that every individual is treated fairly and equally."

Scottish Government Funds Pro-Terror Group

Samuel Westrop

Although the Scottish government may be convinced it is engaging with the Muslim community, in truth it is funding Islamist groups with extremist agendas and ties to terrorism.
The Daily Express revealed last week that Islamic Relief Worldwide, a British charity accused of links to terrorism, was presented with £398,000 of the taxpayers' money by the Scottish Government last year, as part of its £9 million International Development Fund.

Erdogan, Netanyahu reconciliation: Interests triumph over ego and politics

Barak Ravid

Erdogan, Netanyahu reconciliation: Interests triumph over ego and politics

After three years in which relations between the two countries fell victim to internal politics and ego games disguised as national pride, unrest in Syria, Iran's nuclear program and some U.S. pressure pushed the Israeli and Turkish PMs to make up. 

There were three reasons behind Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan choosing to end the crisis between the two countries: Interests, interests, interests.
After three years in which Israel-Turkey relations were the victim of ego games and internal politics disguised as national pride, the two leaders understood that the damage done by the crisis was far greater than the benefits they could reap from a renewal of relations.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Germany and Genocide - Again

Kenneth R. Timmerman

The overwhelming majority of technical expertise, know-how, and design information of the Iraqi dictator's chemical weapons plants came from German companies. The nerve and mustard gas was produced in German-built factories in Samarra and Fallujah. The government of Chancellor Angela Merkel refused to accept responsibility for the actions of German companies.
Halabja, Iraq – Just a few days ago, the Kurds in northern Iraq and I stood to commemorate the 25th anniversary of one of the most barbaric war crimes since WWII: Saddam Hussein's use of chemical weapons to commit mass murder of his own citizens.
Within months of the March 16 attack, after a fact-finding team dispatched to interview refugees along the Turkey-Iraq border pieced together eye-witness accounts to reconstruct an accurate account of the events, the United States Senate determined that the chemical attack against the city of Halabja by the Iraqi Air Force was a "genocide."

Two different views on Netanyahu’s apology to Turkey’s Erdogan plus predictable subsequent action.
I From Professor Steven Plaut – An open letter to Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
Prime Minister of Turkey
Dear Mister Prime Minister:
On behalf of all of the people of Israel, I would like to apologize to you for the cowardice and fathomless idiocy of the Prime
Minister of Israel. As you know, this weekend Benjamin Netanyahu sent you an “apology” for Israel having defended itself against the genocidal terrorists who attacked Israeli soldiers armed only with paint guns when they boarded the terrorist “flotilla” ship that you sent out to challenge Israel’s naval blockade of the Hamas enclave in Gaza.

Flotilla 3.0: Redeeming Obama's Palestine Speech With Gaza's Ark

There's a half-empty way and a half-full way of looking at President Obama's Jerusalem speech about the creation of an independent Palestinian state in the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem.
The half-empty way of looking at it is: this was Obama's white flag of surrender. To everyone around the world who for decades has been assuming that at the end of the day, the president of the United States would lead the way to resolution of the Israel-Palestine conflict, Obama was saying:

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Obama’s Visit to Israel: A Turning Point?

Isi Leibler
March 24, 2013

"In each and every generation they rise up against us to destroy us. And The Holy One, blessed be He, rescues us from their hands" (Passover Hagada)
Wishing all my readers a very Happy Passover
Chag Sameach,
Isi and Naomi Leibler
Both American and Israeli leaders must have heaved sighs of relief as Air Force One departed from Ben-Gurion Airport with President Obama’s visit culminating on a high note for both parties.

Don't Call It Amnesty

Sultan Knish


Amnesty is bad. Everyone agrees on that. Even the senators who support amnesty claim not to support it. Instead they support “Comprehensive Immigration Reform” with “A Path to Citizenship”. They support a comprehensive solution that will be compassionate and work as an immigration policy for the 21st century.

No one uses the term “amnesty” anymore except opponents of amnesty for illegal aliens and their more vociferous advocates. This makes for some confusing speeches and press conferences.

The most bizarre argument that advocates of amnesty are making is that we have “de facto amnesty” now. The argument goes that since we have de facto amnesty now, we should just have the real thing and get it over with.

A lack of proper enforcement is not de facto amnesty. Amnesty is legalization. What Rubio and Rand Paul call de facto amnesty is the difference between not arresting a drug dealer and legalizing heroin.

Al Qaeda Document Reveals Terrorist Plans For Attacks In The U.S., Europe

The Huffington Post | By

Al Qaeda Document Plans
Al Qaeda discussed attacking pipelines, dams, bridges, and other important infrastructure in the U.S. and Europe, according to a document seized from Osama bin Laden's Pakistan compound.
News of the document recently came to light after German newspaper Die Zeit published a story detailing its contents.
The outlet reports that the U.S. Department of Justice gave the letter to the German Federal Office of Justice in April 2012 for the trial of alleged terrorists in Germany, according to a Huffington Post translation of the story.

Does Obama not know the messages Palestinians get?

David Bedein
Published: Sunday, March 24 2013 

President Barack Obama, on his first trip to Israel as president, struck a cord of confusion with the people in Israel on Thursday when he ascribed peaceful intentions to Israel's adversary, the Palestinian Authority, the administrative arm of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), a terror group founded in 1964 by the Arab League, with the purpose of total war against the state of Israel.
Yet, President Obama, speaking on Thursday at the Jerusalem convention center, declared, "While I know you have had differences with the Palestinian Authority, I genuinely believe that you do have a true partner in President Abbas and Prime Minister Fayyad. I believe that. And they have a track record to prove it."

Mini-Guide on Different Groups’ Responses to Obama’s Trip to Israel

Barry Rubin

Since President Barack Obama’s trip to the Middle East was such a turning point for U.S. policy, I thought it should be summarized by showing characteristic responses of different groups. These are, of course, generalizations, and there are many variations.

The Far Leftist: Why has Obama been so nice to Israel? He’s sold out and become just another typical president who backs Israel. How infuriating!
The Left-Liberal: Did you see how Obama told off the Israelis and demanded they make peace? Of course, the people love him and it is only the reactionary leaders who oppose a truly great president who is doing a great job. He hasn’t changed at all; he’s just found a clearer way to articulate his position. 
The “Mainstream” Liberal (Current Version): We told you so! Of course Obama loves Israel despite all of that propaganda against him, and he really showed it this time. I’m so glad I voted for him twice.