Saturday, August 24, 2013

Into the Fray: Muted, myopic, and moronic


It is difficult to know what would be more troubling: whether the US secretary of state believes the preposterous poppycock he presented in his “strategic assessment”; or whether he doesn’t.

Secretary of State John Kerry hold press conference with Tzipi Livni and Saeb Erekat, July 30, 2013.
Secretary of State John Kerry hold press conference with Tzipi Livni and Saeb Erekat, July 30, 2013. Photo: REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
It would be so nice if something would make sense for a change. 

– Alice in Wonderland

Almost five months ago in this column (April 7), I warned: “With US foreign policy everywhere beleaguered by failure and paralysis, the only hope of any foreign success for the administration is by pressuring a pliant Israel on the Palestinian issue.”

Yet despite the clear signs of the gathering storm on the horizon, no discernible steps were taken to prepare for it. There was no sign of preemptive evasive action, no sign of battening the hatches in order to weather the approaching tempest; no call to US Jewry to circle the wagons until the foreseen onslaught passes.

So like a rudderless ship Israel drifted – seemingly helpless – headlong into the raging gale that is now upon it.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Why It Matters Who Wins in Egypt

These days and weeks of bloody struggle in Egypt have implications that go far beyond the country and the region.

The conflict between the Muslim Brotherhood and its opponents will determine whether an Islamic terrorist group will run Egypt.

Forgotten in all the Arab Spring cheerleading is the simple fact that the Muslim Brotherhood is a terrorist group. And not only is it a terrorist group but it is the single most influential Sunni Islamic terrorist group in the world, spawning entire networks of terrorist organizations; including Al Qaeda.

Egypt holds great resources and great wealth, advanced weapons and even limited nuclear capability. But beyond that it is also where the modern age of terror began, where Western ideas crossbred with the ancient Jihad of Islam to create a new strategic threat.

The Arab Spring, the Islamist Winter and the Military Summer are more than just seasons for Egypt, they are also transformative phases for the country that long stood at the crossroads of terrorism.

The road to America’s modern confrontation with Islamic terrorism began in Egypt. The World Trade Center bombing was spawned by a leader of the Egyptian Islamic Group, an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood. Mohamed Atta, the key figure in the September 11 attacks, was an Egyptian member of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Two States for Two peoples on Two Banks of the Jordan

Few have mastered the art of dissimilitude more than long time Palestinian Arab spokesman, Saeb Erakat
By Victor Sharpe  Thursday, August 22, 2013

I wrote an article once titled: Lies, Damned lies, and Palestinian Propaganda in Descending Order. That title paraphrased 19th century British Prime Minister, Benjamin Disraeli’s aphorism: Lies, damned lies, and statistics in descending order.

Few have mastered the art of dissimilitude more than long time Palestinian Arab spokesman, Saeb Erakat, who continues to be taken seriously by the ever gullible western media.

Now, according to a report by Elad Benari in the August 21,2013 edition of Israel National News, Erakat has baldly stated that, “the U.S. had assured the PA in writing that talks would recognize the indefensible pre-1967 borders (they are in reality the armistice lines) as the basis of a Palestinian state, would deal with all core issues (Jerusalem, refugees, borders, security and water), would take place within six to nine months, and would not allow for any interim solutions before a final status agreement is signed.”

"Without End"

Or so it seems, with the obscenities in Syria growing ever greater.  Reports -- as yet not fully confirmed -- have surfaced that Assad used gas against people -- sleeping people including children -- in the rebel-held area of Ghouta, killing over 1,000.  This is the most horrendous charge against him yet. Previously reports were of perhaps 40 killed in any given attack.
And the world? The world, disinclined to be involved, will do nothing.
The US is concerned that the only way at this point to successfully secure Assad's chemical weapons would be via a full scale invasion, something that is not going to happen -- not the least of which because the Pentagon has estimated this would cost about $1 billion per month.  Air attacks have been ruled out because of the danger of spreading toxins in the air.
As an analyst put it in the JPost, "Assad may have determined that the toxicity of his war is too much for the Americans to handle."
Shut up and fade into the woodwork.

By Annika Hernroth-RothsteinThe following, written as a private letter to Michel Gurfinkiel, appears here by permission of the author.

Dear Mr. Gurfinkiel,
On April 26 of this year, I was on a train with my five-year-old son Charlie. We were on our way to spend shabbat with friends in the city. You see, our town, significant in the history of Swedish Jewry, shut its synagogue in the late 90s. All that remains now is a plaque stating that there was once Jewish life here, while we are left with an hour-long train ride every weekend to attend services.
 My son was wearing his kippah as we got on the train. He loves his kippah. He is not yet old enough to know the dangers entailed in wearing it, for this is a fact from which I have tried to protect him. But April 26 would change all that.

There was a gentleman sitting in our reserved seat. An Arab, maybe fifty years old, listening to music. Apologizing for the inconvenience, I asked him politely for our seat. He got up, inspected my son, and then leaned over me, saying: You people always take what you want. You need to learn.

He then walked straight into my son, causing him to fall over, and took the seat behind us.

We sat. Hiding my trembling hands from my son’s sight, I picked up Shabbes for Kids and started to review the week’s Torah portion with him. We hadn’t progressed as far as a page before the man stood up and screamed:  Quiet! I don’t want to hear that! You take what you want and never think of others! Shut up!

Abed Rabbo: The Americans Did Not Take Any Part in the Talks

RAMALLAH,  (WAFA) – The American team to the peace talks between the Palestinians and Israel did not so far take any part in the negotiations, secretary of the Palestine Liberation Organization, Yasser Abed Rabbo, said Thursday.
“The Americans did not participate in any negotiating session so far in spite of assurances that they will play a direct role,” he told Voice of Palestine radio.
Three rounds of peace talks have been held so far, one in Washington and two in Jerusalem, since the two sides agreed at the end of July to resume negotiations after three years of no talks.
US Secretary of State John Kerry appointed veteran diplomat Martin Indyk to be a special envoy to the peace talks. Indyk was in Jerusalem during the talks but apparently he did sit in on them.
Abed Rabbo said the Americans did not participate in the talks “due to an Israeli stance and demand,” adding that “this is one sign of how and where the talks are heading if the US is not able now to assert itself in the peace process.”

WWII Deja Vu: Pro-British Arabs vs. Pro-Nazi Muslims

Mark Langfan, the writer, often writes on security issues .
 Arutz Sheva

As Yogi Berra used to say: Its deja vu all over again. Incredibly, virtually the same Arab countries which were, in 1941, on the British side ranged against the Muslim countries on the Nazi side are today, in August 2013, fighting again for what is nothing less than the survival of the free world. And what is even more astonishing is the free world is actively rooting for the Islamo-Nazi forces to win.

There is a reason why Ehud Barak, although his views are non-official today, rightly thinks the world must support the Egyptian generals. No General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, no moderate Arabs, no Israel, no free world. It’s that simple.

But first, a little background: In World War II, May 1941, before Hitler invaded Russia (June 1941) and Japan attacked Pearl Harbor (Dec. 1941), the Eastern Mediterranean/Middle East/East-African Theater war was fought by the Nazi Italians and Germans against the British. The virtually unknown May 1941 battles were to be the heart of the entire World War, and determined the ultimate winner.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Supermodel Bar Rafaeli Puts ‘Dumb’ Roger Waters in his Place

 Roger ‘Pink Floyd’ Waters learns not to start up with Israelis, especially a woman. And especially supermodel Bar Rafaeli. She exposed his hypocrisy of boycotting Israel but using her photo for his concerts. 

By: Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu Published: August 21st, 2013 Latest update: August 22nd

Bar Rafaeli exposed Roger Waters' hypocrisy for boycotting Israel but using her picture to promote his concerts Bar Rafaeli exposed Roger Waters' hypocrisy for boycotting Israel but using her picture to promote his concerts Israeli supermodel Bar Rafaeli is not all bad. She dodged the IDF and romanced tie with a non-Jew, but she draws the line at Roger Waters’ using her photo for his Boycott Israel campaign. Bar Rafaeli put Waters on the spot Wednesday after he once again appealed to artists to boycott Israel, even though he once used a picture of Rafaeli to promote one of his concerts. Waters’ latest letter to entertainers, part of which can be read here, asked them “to declare a cultural boycott on Israel…and support all our brothers and sisters in Palestine and Israel who are struggling to end all forms of Israeli oppression.” 

How Israel has Rebranded Amid a Volatile Geopolitical Backdrop

Three Questions with Israel's Consul General and CMO Strategy Summit Speaker Ido Aharoni

By:   Published: August 20, 2013
Israel has more than 100 embassies and diplomatic missionaries worldwide, and Ido Aharoni is head of its largest one. As consul general of Israel in New York since 2010, Mr. Aharoni's job is to cultivate ties on a grassroots level and open America's eyes to Israel's culture and industries. He oversees seven departments in the consulate, which was the first office in the world to hold a press conference on Twitter.

Mr. Aharoni launched "Brand Israel" in 2005 when he was serving as consul for media and public affairs at the IsraelConsulate in New York. The campaign is meant to "rebrand" Israel, emphasizing its relevance and modernity. Mr. Aharoni, who joined the Israel foreign service in 1991, calls his specialty "country positioning." In short, he's worked to define what makes Israel attractive for tourism, foreign investment and export, and then used those advantages to promote his country to relevant audiences.

At Ad Age's CMO Strategy Summit in San Francisco on Oct. 16, Mr. Aharoni will share how he's worked to define Israel's brand and discuss how he deals with the obstacles Israel faces, given its difficult geopolitical situation.

The Muslim War Against Christians

Noah Beck

As Egypt’s Islamists blame Christians for the ouster of Mohammed Morsi, anti-Christian violence has reached epidemic levels, with an estimated 82 churches across Egypt attacked and heavily damaged by Morsi supporters in a mere 48 hours.

Unfortunately, the persecution of Christians is nothing new in Egypt or other Muslim-majority countries. But thanks to the mainstream media, few Westerners understand the true scale or nature of the horrors involved.
As you read this, Christians around the world are being murdered, raped, plundered, abducted, forcibly converted to Islam, or otherwise oppressed by Muslims. Christians in Muslim-majority areas are some of the most vulnerable and horribly oppressed people on Earth; they live at the mercy of the mob and receive little or no protection from the police or other government institutions.
The reach of this silent tragedy is sweeping – a global religious genocide on “slow burn” with occasional conflagrations that make it into the mainstream media. There are an estimated 100 million persecuted Christians.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Stephens: A Policy on Egypt—Support Al Sisi

In a zero-sum game, the U.S. should hold its nose and back the military.


On the subject of Egypt: Is it the U.S. government's purpose merely to cop an attitude? Or does it also intend to have a policy?

An attitude "deplores the violence" and postpones a military exercise, as President Obama did from Martha's Vineyard the other day. An attitude sternly informs the Egyptian military, as Sen. Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.) did, that it is "taking Egypt down a dark path, one that the United States cannot and should not travel with them." An attitude calls for the suspension of U.S. aid to Egypt, as everyone from Rand Paul (R., Ky.) to Patrick Leahy (D., Vt.) has.

An attitude is a gorgeous thing. It is a vanity accountable to a conscience. But an attitude has no answer for what the U.S. does with or about Egypt once the finger has been wagged and the aid withdrawn. When Egypt decides to purchase Su-35s from Russia (financed by Saudi Arabia) and offers itself as another client to Vladimir Putin because the Obama administration has halted deliveries of F-16s, will Mr. Graham wag a second finger at Moscow?

The Palestinians' two-faced solution

Ruthie Blum | Tuesday August 20, 2013
The Palestinians' two-faced solution
Last week, while the first batch of Palestinian terrorists was being released from Israeli jails, the Palestinian Authority was too busy condemning Israel to express satisfaction. This is because the Israeli government had approved the construction of hundreds of new houses in east Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria. 

The plans to build these new units were made public well before the start of the current pre-negotiation discussions, brokered by the United States. Furthermore, the additional housing is slated for areas that the Palestinian Authority ostensibly agreed would remain in Israel after a "two-state solution" was reached.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

What the IDF Stands For: Defense of the State, Its Citizens and Residents

Israel Defense Forces
“The defense of the state, its citizens and residents” -  this seems like an obvious value for an organization called the Israel Defense Forces. Yet in the IDF, this value is  something much more fundamental. This is a concept that dates back to the source  and cultural essence of the Jewish people.

The defense of the state

Before the establishment of the State of Israel, the inhabitants defended their towns and villages themselves. As generations of Zionists arrived on Israel’s shores, they formed organized groups to defend Jews proudly as Jews. Once independence was declared, a new responsibility fell into the hands of the fighters who had now become IDF soldiers: they would have to defend the Jewish state, to respect its sovereignty and to serve its leaders.
Yigal Alon

Its Citizens

The most important part of defending a state is defending its citizens; both those living in Israel and those living beyond the country's borders. It is for this reason that the Israeli security services and intelligence community work tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure the safety of Israeli citizens in the four corners of the world. For example, the case of Operation Entebbe, in which the IDF sent soldiers to Uganda to rescue passengers of a flight hijacked by terrorists. Or the Sabena plane that took off from the city of Vienna, was hijacked by the terrorist organization Black September, and was rescued by IDF soldiers.


Obama meets with members of his national security team to discuss developments in the Boston Marathon bombings investigation, in the Situation Room of the White House on April 19, 2013. Pictured, from left, are: FBI Director Robert Mueller; Lisa Monaco, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism; Attorney General Eric Holder; Deputy National Security Advisor Tony Blinken; and Vice President Joe Biden.
Obama meets with members of his national security team following the Boston Marathon bombings investigation. Pictured, from left, are: FBI Director Robert Mueller; Lisa Monaco, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism; Attorney General Eric Holder; Deputy National Security Advisor Tony Blinken; and Vice President Joe Biden.

Why has the U.S. government called certain Islamic groups supporters of terror in federal court, and then turned around and called these same organizations “moderates” and embraced them as outreach partners? In a number of cases from the Clinton, Bush, and Obama administrations, the leaders of these organizations (some of whom are now in federal prison) were under active investigation at the same time they were meeting with senior U.S. leaders at the White House and the Capitol and helping develop U.S. policy. Now these same Islamic organizations and leaders have openly encouraged a purge of counterterrorism training that have effectively blinded law enforcement, homeland security, and intelligence agencies to active terror threats as seen in the inaction of the FBI concerning the Boston bombing suspects and other terror cases. This study poses serious questions as to the efficacy and even security concerns about U.S. government outreach to Islamic groups, which often turn out to be Islamist militants, enemies of Islamic moderation, and even supporters of terrorism.

The aftermath of the April 15, 2013 bombings in Boston, Massachusetts, has focused attention on the failure of the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) to carry out an adequate investigation of the suspected bombers despite warnings from Russian authorities. This failure has partially been attributed to a full scale campaign of political correctness waged inside the bureau and throughout the U.S. government under the Obama administration against any attempt to link jihadi terrorism with anything remotely connected to Islam of any variety (the most radical versions included).[1] This has extended into other segments of the government as well, particularly the Department of Defense.[2]

Egypt Warns Hamas Over Jihadi Threats

John Rossomando

An Egyptian official has warned Hamas that Egypt will take "the appropriate measure" in response to its "silence" following calls by the Gaza-based Jaishal-Ummah (Army of the Nation) to wage "jihad" against Egypt's military rulers.
The Egyptian media has accused Hamas of conspiring to support the Muslim Brotherhood since Egyptian Defense Minister Gen. Abdul Fattah al-Sisi deposed Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi on July 3, an accusation which Hamas has denied.


Right now we are encountering ironies in a variety of situations, both predictable and unexpected.  
Among the predictable we have the behavior of the Palestinian Authority/PLO.  Once negotiations, which were supposed to be conducted under cover of a media blackout, started, I guessed that we'd be hearing from the Palestinian Arabs before long.  It took about 24 hours before Abbas announced at a press conference with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon in Ramallah that the first session had addressed all key issues, including Jerusalem, refugees, borders, settlements, security and prisoners. 
That was quick. It seems rather surprising that all these issues could have been addressed in just one session. But never mind.  The Palestinian Arabs were off to a start, with regard to talking publicly about the talks.  This is their style:  Not quiet, steady sustentative negotiations, but negotiations via public opinion.

Monday, August 19, 2013

A bank of centrifuges at nuclear facility in Iran Israeli officials: Iran talks do only one thing – give Tehran more time

EU's Ashton says P5+1 is eager to restart nuclear talks.
A bank of centrifuges at nuclear facility in Iran
A bank of centrifuges at nuclear facility in Iran Photo: REUTERS
The only thing talks between Iran and the world’s powers have achieved until now is buy Tehran more time, Israeli officials said Sunday, following EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton’s comment that the P5+1 group is eager to restart the talks.

“We are skeptical in the extreme,” one official said of a new round of talks. He said there was no hope the talks would help “unless the Iranians feel the pressure is being upgraded.”

Ashton phoned new Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Saturday, just after he was inaugurated in his post, to congratulate him on his appointment. According to a statement put out by her spokesperson, Ashton “underlined her continued determination and commitment to seek a diplomatic solution to the Iranian nuclear issue.”

Sunday, August 18, 2013

"Ugly and Horribly Wrong"

August 18, 2013
"Ugly and Horribly Wrong"
Were that this story did not need to be told -- because it is ugly.  But it does -- precisely because it is ugly.  We are dealing here with issues of how the State of Israel conducts herself in internal matters and how Israeli citizens are treated.
There is a man living in the community of Yitzhar in Samaria, whose name is Boaz Albert. He and his wife Irit have six young children and do grape farming. 

Credit: Yitzhar spokesman
Recently Boaz was put under administrative order to leave his home for six months.  And here, immediately, I must pause to explain:
There is on the books from the time of the British Mandate a law that permits a person to be detained or expelled from an area without explanation if there is a security risk. This applies today only in Judea and Samaria, and requires no court order, no due process. It is an order that proceeds from the Shin Bet (internal security).  It proceeds without hearing, i.e., the Shin Bet does not have to go into a court and present a case and secure permission to levy the procedure.  In this instance, IDF Central Region Commander Gen. Nitzan Alon gave the order.

Obama's Strange Dependence on Valerie Jarrett

Karin McQuillan

American Thinker
August 14, 2013
President Obama canceled the operation to kill Osama bin Laden three times before saying yes, because he got cold feet about the possible political harm to himself if the mission failed.  Instead of listening to advisors from the U.S. military, Defense, or even State, Obama was acting on the advice of White House politico and close friend Valerie Jarrett.  Valerie Jarrett? 
This account comes from Richard Miniter's upcoming book Leading From Behind: The Reluctant President and the Advisors who Decide for Him.  Miniter has written a half-dozen books on the war on terror.  He is relying on an unnamed source within the U.S. military Joint Special Operations Command who was directly involved in the operation and planning of the Osama bin Laden kill mission.

Al Qaeda in Iraq now Operating Out of Syria, Planning to Invade Lebanon and Iran

You might ask what the downside to any of this is. And it’s not readily apparent at first. AQI turned Iraq into hell back when we were there, but we’re no longer there, and its current plans for killing Shiites in Lebanon and even Iran, are not exactly cause for urgent action on our part.

A fight between Hezbollah and Al Qaeda ought to be welcomed and Al Qaeda’s swing into Takfirism is a great thing. It means Muslim terrorists killing each other as their first priority.

But on the other hand, the situation not only highlights the flaws of Obama’s Iraq policy, they pose a greater threat. For the moment AQI is happy to kill Shiites, but it’s gathering numbers and polishing skills that will be put to use against us.
The AQI chem weapons lab in Iraq that apparently panicked the Iraqi Shiite government into ordering a billion dollars worth of chem weapons gear from the US was first aimed at the Shiites and then at us.

In a game of terrorist vs terrorist, the losing side may have its capabilities degraded, but the winning side will emerge bigger and stronger and more dangerous than ever.

And AQI has to be seen through that lens.

Movement that Toppled Morsi Targets Peace Deal with Israel

Tamarod, the Egyptian movement which led the opposition to Morsi, is now calling to cancel the peace treaty with Israel.

By Elad Benari
First Publish: 8/18/2013, 5:59 AM

Supporters and opponents of Morsi clash in Alexandria
Supporters and opponents of Morsi clash in Alexandria
AFP photo
Tamarod, the Egyptian movement which led the opposition to ousted President Mohammed Morsi, apparently now has a new target: the peace treaty with Israel.
Egyptian media reported on Saturday that Tamarod, which amassed 22 signatures to a petition demanding Morsi’s departure before the army ousted him in July, is now collecting signatures to a new initiative calling to cancel the peace treaty signed between Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin in 1979.
Tamarod’s latest initiative, according to the reports, comes in the wake of what they called the “unacceptable U.S. interference in Egypt’s political affairs.” The members of the group are demanding that the Israel-Egypt treaty be put to a referendum.
The opposition movement is arguing that the agreements with Israel prevent Egypt from deploying large-scale military forces to the Sinai Peninsula which has been rampant with terrorists.