Saturday, March 08, 2014

The Zionist Organization of America – A personal postscript

Martin Sherman

ZOA’s current condition reflects the accumulative result of the incumbent president’s best efforts over the past 20 years. His reelection is unlikely to induce the change that even his proponents admit is needed.

Mort Klein, Glenn Beck and Michele Bachmann.
Mort Klein, Glenn Beck and Michele Bachmann. Photo: (Courtesy Joshua Teplow/ZOA
 …the ZOA is in crisis today… the ZOA’s crisis isn’t about its direction. It is about its leadership...right now, the most important thing for the ZOA and the American Jewish community as a whole is for Klein to be reelected.

– Caroline B. Glick, “The ZOA’s leadership challenge,” The Jerusalem Post, March 3

This is not the topic I was hoping to deal with in this week’s column.

I had intended to devote it to a critical analysis of the (borderline anti-Semitic) interview Barack Obama gave to Bloomberg’s Jeffrey Goldberg on March 2.

I even had a title for it: “The bitter fruits of Bibi’s Bar-Ilan blunder.” In it I planned to show how the causal chain of events that led to the predicament in which Israel finds itself with the US administration can be traced back – link by unfortunate link – to Binyamin Netanyahu’s regrettable June 2009 speech at Bar-Ilan University, when, reneging on his electoral commitments, he endorsed Israeli acceptance of Palestinian statehood.

Or perhaps, given breaking news on the spectacularly successful IDF marine interception of the Iranian rockets bound for Gaza, I would have composed a piece pointing out that — for all our unmitigated admiration for the astounding feat – the only reason such risk-fraught operations are necessary is that Israel abandoned Gaza in 2005.

But the fallout from last week’s column on the upcoming Zionist Organization of America elections in Philadelphia on March 9-10 dictates otherwise.

International Women’s Day: Facts You Need to Know About Women in the IDF


Women have proudly served in the IDF since the very beginning. Israel’s first Prime Minister, David Ben Gurion, wrote an impassioned letter to religious communities outlining the necessity of women serving and protecting Israel. Since then, women have taken increasingly high-level positions in the IDF. These female Israeli soldiers challenge stereotypes through the work they do every day. 

1. Lt. Shelly Markheva, IDF Intelligence Commander

Shelly Marhevka is an IDF intelligence commander who keeps watch over Israel’s southern border. In the event of a terrorist infiltration, Shelly and her soldiers are those responsible for detecting and thwarting an attack.
Lt. Shelly Markheva, Female Israeli Soldier

2. Cpl. Dylan Ostrin, Combat Engineering Corps Explosives Expert

Corporal Dylan Ostrin made aliyah (immigrated to Israel) from the US at the age of seven with her family. Today, Cpl. Ostrin is an explosives instructor in the Combat Engineering Corps. She teaches all things explosive: from how to handle the explosives themselves to utilizing them in operations, such as gaining access to buildings. She has already begun receiving job offers to work on bomb squads and similar security-related teams both in Israel and abroad.

3. Lt. Amit Danon, Gymnastics Champion & Combat Platoon Commander

Lt. Amit Danon was the Israeli national champion in rhythmic gymnastics when she enlisted in the IDF. After embarking on her path as a soldier, she decided to leave her previous life behind and became a combat officer in the mixed-gender Caracal Battalion. Lt. Danon now leads other soldiers as platoon commander.

Friday, March 07, 2014

Attorney Accuses Opposition Leader of 'Treason'

Ari Yashar Attorney Accuses Opposition Leader of 'Treason'

Attorney Yoram Sheftel slammed Opposition leader and Labor Party Chair Yitzhak Herzog on Friday, accusing him of betraying the state of Israel.

"Again the frightening truth has been revealed, that the Labor party is acting as a fifth column in every sense of the word," said Sheftel to Arutz Sheva.

"A day before the meeting of (Prime Minister Binyamin) Netanyahu and (US President Barack) Obama, Herzog of his own initiative met the bitter enemy (US Secretary of State John) Kerry, expressing his support for the US's position against the state of Israel," noted Sheftel, in what he termed "treason."

Obama’s Misconceptions on Iran

Hassan-Rouhani1This week, I was invited to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) policy conference, and when listening to Secretary of State John Kerry’s and Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speeches and their major points about the Islamic Republic of Iran, several underlying issues appeared to highlight the Obama administration’s misconceptions and its uninformed foreign policy towards the Mullahs.

One of the crucial misunderstandings and misconceptions of the Obama administration is that it views the current status of American-Iranian rapprochement as similar to the American-Chinese rapprochement in the early 1970s with President Nixon’s trip to Beijing. 

One the fundamental flaws in such an analogy is misunderstanding the character of the policies and political moves of the Iranian leadership. It is crucial to point out that the shift in policy made by Mao Zedong was a strategic one, while the current policies carried out by the Rouhani government and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Al Khamenei are tactical. 

A state of all its nationalities?

Dror Eydar

1. The relatively new line in the political controversy going on in Israeli society becomes clearer with the passage of time. This line can be drawn relative to the demand for recognition of Israel as a Jewish state as preliminary, inviolable condition for any future peace agreement. The left wing's contention is that we do not need Palestinian approval for our identity as a Jewish country. The Palestinians themselves claim, using sophistry, that they recognize us according to the name by which we are known in the world: the State of Israel.
This refusal, which seems a trivial matter (one might ask our opponents: What difference does it make? Say that you grant the recognition and get what you want) is the tip of the iceberg of the conflict. Not a territorial conflict -- that we could have solved a hundred years ago and after -- but one of principle: Does the Jewish nation have any right to this land, at least as much as those who are negotiating with us? Or it is only because the Jews cannot be forcibly expelled? What about the elegant claim that considering that more than six million Jews live on this expanse of land, the other side recognizes, under duress and ex post facto, the political entity known as Israel? Take good note: some may define the phrase "recognize Israel" as "recognizing Israel's right to exist," but not recognizing the Jewish people's right to a state in this land.

03/06 Links Pt2: Israel and the Rest of the World; Mairead Maguire deported from Egypt

Elder of Ziyon

From Ian:

Israel and the Rest of the World
Whatever its detractors may say, Israel declares loudly that it is a country where the best Western values are honored, where democracy, the rule of law, the creation of new laws through an elected parliament, the fair treatment of all minorities, rights for women, for gays, for all citizens, Jews and non-Jews alike, are demanded. But say it is also a Jewish country based on Jewish ethics, and someone of limited intellect will come along clutching a copy of the Torah, the Talmud, the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, or anything else they can lay their hands on, and declaiming that they can prove Judaism is a bloodthirsty religion that has always worked to defeat and mistreat non-Jews. In the past years, I have only known a violent and angry Islam; yet the world is silent. The world excuses Islamic murder, but focuses on flaws, often imaginary, on the part of Israel.
The very establishment of a Jewish state stood for more than even its founders guessed. It was open defiance of the universal impulse to persecute and kill Jews.
Israel: A failed state (satire)
I grew up in South Africa and left for Israel in the 1970`s. So I consider myself somewhat knowledgeable on South African apartheid. In view of the criticisms of Israel as an apartheid state, I felt it my duty that my understanding and knowledge of apartheid should be put to good cause by exposing the evil manifestations of apartheid in Israel.
I started in my neighbourhood. I went to the municipal park. In South Africa, only whites would have been allowed to enter. I could not believe my eyes. Arabs and Jews were mixing peacefully, Arab and Jewish children socialising and shouting at each other in their home languages. This cannot be, where is the separation? So I went to the shops and restaurants of the adjoining mall. What a major let down! Arabs and Jews shopping together as customers, Arabs and Jews employed together in the shops as assistants and cashiers, Arabs and Jews sitting in restaurants, an Arab dentist with his sign for all the world to see and the only missing ingredients were the “blankes alleen – whites only” signs. Clearly, in matters of commerce and common use of public and transport facilities, open to all, Israel is a failure in implementing apartheid: there is clearly no South African style apartheid to be found in public areas.
Expert bashes UN’s ‘politicized’ West Bank numbers
Claim that 300,000 Palestinians live in areas under full Israeli control is not quite true, says ex-official who drew the map

Radical Islam's Intimidation in Kosovo

Stephen Suleyman Schwartz

"Society in Kosovo has two options, either to fight the evils within it of crime and corruption, or to remain on the margin of democratic countries... The cause of democracy has been betrayed by many people, including some who won seats without deserving election to them." — Alma Lama, Member of Parliamentary Assembly from the LDK Party, Kosovo
The name of Alma Lama, a feminist political leader in the Balkan republic of Kosovo, is unknown to Americans and Western Europeans. That is unfortunate, because Lama has taken a necessary, strong stand in favor of women's rights. Although Kosovo is under U.S. protection, the legacy of Yugoslav Communism and recent radical Islamist infiltration have merged to foster incidents of aggression against dissenters.
Ostracism is a common form of intimidation employed by the Stalinist left. While fascists and Islamist extremists act typically against their opponents by direct physical assault, Stalinists in the West have reserved such crude methods for the few opponents they consider genuinely dangerous to them. They prefer, when they can, to isolate their critics by oral slander and gossip, supplemented by printed libels, with the aim of discrediting them and preventing a wider audience from paying attention to their views.

Thursday, March 06, 2014

Israeli agent Jonathan Pollard hospitalized

GIL HOFFMAN The Jerusalem Post 03/06/2014 08:47

Israeli agent Jonathan Pollard was hospitalized on Wednesday night after a 
deterioration of his medical condition.

Pollard had been suffering from various medical ailments and has suffered 
from extreme pain for an extended period of time.

Sources close to him hope to receive more information when it is morning in 
United States.

The long list of ailments that he has suffered from over the years include 
diabetes, nausea, dizziness, blackouts and ongoing issues with his gall 
bladder, kidneys, sinuses, eyes and feet. He also suffers from Meniere’s 
disease, which causes him to lose consciousness and fall without warning.

Last month, thousands of people chanted “Free Pollard now” and “Enough is 
enough” in a demonstration for the release of Pollard opposite the US 
Embassy in Tel Aviv.

Israel exposes what world refuses to see

Yoav Limor
After the successful capture of the weapons shipment bound for the Gaza Strip, it was hard to miss the Israeli frustration on Wednesday evening: the world, especially the Western part of it, still refuses to see what was exposed as Iran's mask was ripped off.
It comes as no surprise, but still. As reported, Israel was involved for the second time in a week in actions countering weapons smuggling originating from Tehran: once on dry land, via Syria, to Hezbollah in Lebanon, and once by air and by sea -- also via Syria -- to terror groups in Gaza. While activity in the northern arena has become somewhat routine -- six attacks attributed to Israel this past year -- yesterday it became clear the southern one is waking up after a comparatively long period of quiet, ever since the air force reportedly destroyed weapons caches near the Khartoum International Airport.

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Israeli Navy intercepts boat carrying missiles to Gaza

Israeli naval forces board Panamanian-flagged Klos C in the heart of the Red Sea, as the ship was sailing to Port Sudan • Hidden weaponry on board includes Syrian-made M-302 missiles, which have a range of 100-200 kilometers.

The Klos C

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Demography vs. Demagoguery: Europe vs. Israel

Michael Widlanski
People who predict population trends need to learn from weather forecasters: when your forecasts are wrong more than right, go home before they lock you at home.‎
Many who yell “demography” when discussing Israel’s future, pretend to have the facts on their side. Actually, they do not have a clue. Some politicians and think tanks claim to have examined “demography,” the study of population, but, actually, they practice “demagoguery,” the art of swaying populations and gaining popularity.
“I‎n a hundred years the Jewish population of Palestine will reach one hundred thousand men,” the Jewish historian Simon Dubnov predicted in a critical letter he wrote to Zionist leaders in 1898. Dubnov’s estimate was only off by a ratio of 50 to 1. 
This is THE classic example of a wild population prediction about ‎Israel. Had Zionist leaders accepted Dubnov’s dire demographic view, they might have aborted a modern state of Israel before it was born. But 50 years later, Israelwas born, and it has survived and thrived, despite incorrect population predictions.‎

The "Iran deal," Washington's gravest mistake in Foreign Policy

The Obama administration, in its first and second terms, has committed strategic mistakes in the Middle East which will undermine U.S. national and security interests for many years, even under subsequent administrations after 2016.

The damage done is severe, and a remedy seems out of reach unless earth shattering changes are applied to Washington's foreign policy-either under the incumbent's administration or the next. The common core of U.S. strategic mistakes has been the perception of partners in the region since day one of the post-Bush presidency. While Bush's narrative on backing pro-democracy forces was right on track, the bureaucracy's actions betrayed the White House's global aim. By the time the Obama administration installed itself on Pennsylvania Avenue in 2009, little had been accomplished by the Bush bureaucrats in regards to identifying these pro-democracy forces and supporting them. When the current administration replaced Bush, however, civil society groups in the Middle East were systematically abandoned-aid to their liberal forces was cut off and engagement with the radicals became priority. The mistakes of the Bush bureaucracy became the official policy of the Obama administration.

Lebanon's New Government Threatening Israel?

Joseph Raskas

Hezbollah's "eleventh hour" consent to join a compromise government with the "March 14" bloc ought not to be viewed through the prism of a peace offering. The compromise is more likely a tactical attempt by Hezbollah to restore its shattered image by fabricating an alleged threat against it from an outside source.
Amid declining support in Lebanon – due to blowback from its role in supporting the Assad regime's brutal civil war in Syria – the Iran-backed terrorist group, Hezbollah, seems to be trying to restore credibility among its own constituencies by agreeing to a compromise government, called the Future Patriotic Movement, with the anti-Hezbollah "March 14" bloc. According to some analysts, the move is intended to manufacture conflict with a common enemy – Israel.
Lebanon has been without a functioning government since Prime Minister Najib Mikati resigned last March. Since then, the parties aligned with Shi'ite Hezbollah and its Sunni-led rivals have been locked in a power struggle.

Monday, March 03, 2014

Obama does it again


Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu will be meeting with President Obama tomorrow. In a long interview with Jeffrey Goldberg, the President revealed — or at least presented the public face of — his thinking on the Palestinian question, Iran, Syria and other Mideast issues.
If what he told Goldberg truly reflects his thinking, it is profoundly depressing, because his remarks display both ignorance and prejudice. And the timing, when Bibi is already on his way, is ugly.
…with each successive year, the window is closing for a peace deal that both the Israelis can accept and the Palestinians can accept — in part because of changes in demographics; in part because of what’s been happening with settlements; in part because Abbas is getting older, and I think nobody would dispute that whatever disagreements you may have with him, he has proven himself to be somebody who has been committed to nonviolence and diplomatic efforts to resolve this issue. We do not know what a successor to Abbas will look like.
The “time is running out” theme is pervasive (Goldberg headlines the interview with it). But “changes in demographics,”  at least if you exclude Gaza, are definitely in favor of Israel. The Jewish birthrate is high, and the Palestinian one is declining. There are far fewer ‘Palestinians’ than official numbers would have it. “What’s happening with [Jewish] settlements” — a few additional homes within existing communities are planned — is irrelevant, and one can even argue that illegal European-sponsored Arab construction in Area C is more significant as a fact on the ground.

Obama’s Convoluted Priorities

obama-foreign-policy-policy-second-term-john-bolton-480x307As President Obama greets world crisis after crisis with confused vacillation and impotence, a recent Gallup poll unsurprisingly suggests that Americans no longer believe that their president commands respect from foreign leaders. And why should they? The President’s foreign policy has proved to be an exercise in defeatist isolationism, where tyrants are appeased and allies are thrown to the wolves.

In Ukraine, a nation where democracy advocates risk losing to the forces of extremism and where Russia stands poised to intervene militarily, our president remains mute while our defense chief expresses “concern.”  The same scenario is currently unfolding in Venezuela where students and the middle class, fed up with rampant crime, autocratic rule and a tanking economy, have banded together against the Cuban- and Iranian-backed thuggish ruler of that country, Nicolás Maduro.  Aside from expelling some Venezuelan diplomats, the administration has done nothing to bolster pro-democracy protestors.

Political Rights in Palestine Were Granted to Jews Only

March 3, 2014  |  Eli E. Hertz
The “Mandate for Palestine” clearly differentiates between political rights referring to Jewish self-determination as an emerging polity—and civil and religious rights, referring to guarantees of equal personal freedoms to non-Jewish residents as individuals and within select communities. Not once are Arabs as a people mentioned in the “Mandate for Palestine.” At no point in the entire document is there any granting of political rights to non-Jewish entities (i.e., Arabs). Article 2 of the “Mandate for Palestine” explicitly states that the Mandatory should:
“be responsible for placing the country under such political, administrative and economic conditions as will secure the establishment of the Jewish National Home, as laid down in the preamble, and the development of self-governing institutions, and also for safeguarding the civil and religious rights of all the inhabitants of Palestine, irrespective of race and religion.”
Political rights to self-determination as a polity for Arabs were guaranteed by the League of Nations in four other mandates – in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, and later Trans-Jordan [today Jordan].
International law expert Professor Eugene V. Rostow, examining the claim for Arab
Palestinian self-determination on the basis of law, concluded:

Netanyahu: In Middle East, it takes three to tango

Bloomberg View columnist Jeffrey Goldberg says U.S. President Barack Obama will warn Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of "bleak future" for Israel without peace with Palestinians • PM upon landing in U.S.: I will uphold Israel's vital interests.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and U.S. President Barack Obama during a past White House meeting [Archive]
Photo credit: Reuters

Sunday, March 02, 2014

A lesson to USA

David Flint

The Swiss Solution

What the Swiss rejected at the ballot box was not immigration as such. What they voted against is the notion that their government must bow before Brussels and surrender the right to determine who takes up residence in Switzerland, for how long and under what circumstances
swiss small
It wasn’t a racist mob pulling down the shutters. The Swiss referendum on February 9, 2014, was not a vote against immigration. It was a referendum against the outsourcing of immigration. Just as Australians rejected the outsourcing of immigration by the Rudd and Gillard governments to people-smugglers in Indonesia, so the Swiss have decided that they will no longer leave the outsourcing of immigration to  bureaucrats and politicians in Brussels.
They were giving voise, in effect, to what John Howard said on 28 October, 2001: “We will decide who comes to this country and the circumstances in which they come.”
What the Swiss rejected — albeit narrowly, at 50.03% –  is not immigration as such. What they voted against is the freedom for any citizen from the European Union, or members of the immediate family of any citizen (whether or not he or she is a citizen) to settle in Switzerland.
Note that Switzerland has refused to become a member of the European Union. It is fair to say that if the Swiss people did not have the right to make laws themselves by petitioning for a referendum, Switzerland would now be a member of the European Union.

Obama's victory

Richard Baehr

As the annual American Israel Public Affairs Committee Policy Conference begins in Washington, the lobbying organization will once again break attendance records, with estimates of 14,000 attendees. But the conference will be a subdued event, regardless of the obligatory cheering for any speaker who says that Iran must not get the bomb. Cheering will not end the Iranian nuclear program. Unfortunately, neither the P5+1 nor U.S. President Barack Obama, assuming he ever really cared to accomplish this, are likely to do that either.
The president is sending Secretary of State John Kerry and Treasury Secretary Jack Lew to fly the administration's colors and fake that all is well between the Obama administration, AIPAC and Israel. Lew is an observant Jew, but has had no real role since he joined the administration in either the Iranian nuclear issue or the Israeli-Palestinian talks. So his presence is window dressing.
Kerry is of course central to both issues, and he will attempt to reassure the assembled delegation that the White House is not blind to the realities of negotiating with Iran, and has not been giving away the store to the mullahs (despite much evidence to the contrary) in a desperate attempt to negotiate a deal, any deal that would bring Iran into the "community of nations."

The Two-Way US-Israel Street

Israel Hayom”, 
Repost from 2013
In 1948, US-Israel relations were a classic case of a one-way-street: the US gave and Israel received, economically and militarily.
In 1952, the US Administration rejected a proposal by General Omar Bradley, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs-of-Staff, to elevate Israel to a role of a major ally, just like Iran and Turkey. 
In 2013, notwithstanding President Rouhani’s rhetoric, Iran is the fiercest enemy of the US. Erdogan’s Turkey follows a Muslim Brotherhood, rather than a NATO-oriented policy. Egypt is increasingly unstable, unpredictable and anti-US country. And, the long-term stability, reliability and capabilities of Saudi Arabia – as an ally of the US – have been severely eroded by the ongoing Arab Tsunami. 
In 2013, the combusting Arab Street highlights Israel as the only stable, reliable, predictable, capable, democratic and unconditional Middle Eastern ally of the US.
In 2013, Israel is the only ally of the US, which is able and willing to extend the shortened strategic hand of the US, while the threats to the US are mounting and Russian and Chinese penetration of the Middle East is intensifying.