Twenty female IDF soldiers showed up at the Ashkelon bus station today with their parents to announce to their commanding officers that they refused to report for duty at the basic training station in Zikim, near Ashkelon. As you may recall, nearly seventy IDF basic trainees were wounded three weeks ago when a Kassam rocket shot by a 'Palestinian' terror group scored a direct hit on the camp. The soldiers were threatened by their officers with jail or discharge from the army, and as a result they boarded the buses and returned to Zikim.
There are several things wrong with this story, but to understand them, you have to understand one basic fact about the IDF: Every soldier does the six-week basic training course. Since, as I have noted before, the ratio of combat to non-combat soldiers in the IDF is seven to one, most of the soldiers at the base in Zikim were non-combat soldiers. That means that their parents - who have been quite vocal about the 'children' not being sent to Zikim - are mostly parents who sent their kids to the IDF with the expectation that they would not be facing serious danger during their service.
There are a number of points that need to be made here:
First, there is no mention in the JPost article linked above whether the soldiers in training are going to be sent to real buildings that are likely to survive a hit by a Kassam, or whether they are being sent to tents again as happened in the original attack. If they are being sent to tents again, the IDF is being grossly negligent and the parents have grounds to protest.
Second, it is indicative of the state of affairs in Israel that many parents expect that their children will not be endangered during their military service. You can imagine how motivated many of these soldiers are to follow orders diligently and to perform their duties enthusiastically. In what kind of army do soldiers refuse orders because they would be placed in danger if they follow them? Maybe it is time to end the universal draft and form a volunteer army that won't expect to be coddled.
Third, it is indicative of the state of affairs in Israel that parents from the center of the country expect their children to be kept a safe distance from rocket fire while other families live with 'Palestinian' terror in the form of Kassam rockets like the one that hit Zikim day in and day out. Then again, Sderot and other towns and villages in the western Negev are NotInMyBackYard.
IDF soldiers in basic training are entitled to basic protection from terrorism. So are the innocent civilians of Sderot and other towns in the western Negev. The IDF has its hands tied behind its back by the government and cannot provide the protection it ought to be and is capable of providing. Something has to give. Soon.
A Haifa synagogue was vandalized over the weekend - apparently by neo-Nazis, its Succa burnt down and prayer books and a Torah scroll defaced. In Ramat Hasharon, two swastikas were painted on the wall of a garbage chute.
These are just the latest incidents of neo-Nazi vandalism and anti-Semitism here in Israel. The ancient Jewish cemetery in Hebron was also desecrated over the Sabbath, but that is attributable to local Arabs and not to the mostly-immigrant neo-Nazis.
There were other incidents of anti-Semitic vandalism in Israel this past week:
Also last week, residents of an Allenby Street apartment building in Haifa reported finding anti-Semitic grafitti on the walls of their stairwell. The graffiti included anti-Semitic slogans and at least one swastika.
Among the first Nazi spray-painting in this wave of attacks were two swastikas found on the walls of a Dimona synagogue on the second day of Rosh Hashanah. The swastikas were found on the building's wall and on the fence surrounding it.
Dimona Mayor Meir Cohen, who was among those who discovered the swastikas, promised a reward from his own pocket to anyone who would provide information on the perpetrators.
Neo-Nazis attacked a 70-year-old woman who was walking on the bridge connecting the Meridian Hotel and the Neveh David neighborhood in Haifa, September 17.
"Two gang members beat" her, said the victim, one kicking her, causing her injuries, and the other snapping to a Nazi salute and shouting out "Heil Hitler." She was able to escape when a street sweeper stepped in to help her. The Nazi-youth beat him, too.
Haifa Radio reported that not far from the scene of that attack, neo-Nazis victimized a family from Neveh Yosef the same day.
The family woke up to find their car's tires had been slit and that a huge swastika on top of a Star of David had been painted on the vehicle.
This weekend, the Jerusalem Post Magazine had a lengthy feature about Zalman Gilichinski (pictured above), who has become the country's number one expert on neo-Nazism, a phenomenon that both the police and most lawmakers are more than a bit reluctant to acknowledge. According to Gilichinski, the only lawmaker who was willing to acknowledge there was a problem before the arrest of the Petach Tikva Nazi gang three weeks ago was Colette Avital, the leftist MK who served as consul general in New York for many years. Avital's answer to the problem sounds like something straight out of multi-culti dhimmitude:
Avital's approach is to treat both the cause and the symptom. She sees the phenomenon of Israeli neo-Nazism as an educational challenge. "Why do young people who come as immigrants to Israel feel like total strangers, and feel the need to belong to these organizations?" she asks. But all the same, she has introduced Knesset bills that, if passed, would allow judges to strip the Israeli citizenship from convicted members of neo-Nazi or anti-Semitic organizations.
The answer to why they feel like total strangers ought to be obvious: They are total strangers. They were brought here on false pretenses: they were presented as Jews but they are not Jews. And they shouldn't just have their citizenship revoked: They ought to be deported back to Russia.
And who are these neo-Nazis? Gilichinski explains:
Surprisingly, they are more likely to be middle-class than poor, Gilichinski says. As a rule, they grew up in the former Soviet Union and immigrated to Israel in their early adolescence, then joined the neo-Nazi groups at age 15-17. Those who immigrated as young kids and grew up in Israel are unlikely to drift into these sorts of activities, he adds. Most are in their late teens to early 20s.
The gangs in different cities here are not united, but they are all connected with neo-Nazi groups in Russia through the Russian Web sites. Together, they are the Israeli branch of the Russian ultranationalist and neo-Nazi movements. The most virulent of these Russian movements is Format 18, whose Web site is very popular with Israeli neo-Nazis.
The locals originate not only in Russia, but in various republics of the former Soviet Union. However, they are all ethnic Russians, and look down on the darker-skinned immigrants from the southern republics such as Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan, just as they look down on Jews, blacks, Arabs and Asians.
Those of you who have followed the Israeli scene for long enough know that it is unlikely that the government or the Jewish Agency will acknowledge that it made a mistake by bringing non-Jewish Russians here to meet artificial quotas in the late 80's and early 90's. But perhaps they are doing so in a backhanded sort of way.
In July, I reported that the Jewish Agency, which was responsible for the Russian aliya in the late 80's and early 90's (among others) had cut off funding to Nefesh b'Nefesh, an organization that brings Jews from North America and England to Israel because they were bringing too many religious Jews on aliya. That turned out to be a blessing in disguise. Last week, it was announced that Nefesh b'Nefesh would receive direct governmental funding and would compete with the Jewish Agency to run aliya programs. And today, it was announced that one such program for which Nefesh b'Nefesh is competing with the Jewish Agency is the promotion of aliya from Latin America. If Nefesh b'Nefesh, which is especially strong in Argentina, gets that project, it would be an acknowledgment by the government that the Jewish Agency failed on the Russian front. I'll believe it when I see it.
DEBKA is reporting that a 'delegation' from Tehran showed up in Ankara and demanded to see the remains of Israel's strike against Syria three weeks ago. The Iranians shook their fingers a lot and told the Turks that the next time this happens, the Iranians will retaliate even if the Syrians don't. And the Turks told the Iranians to butt out.
According to our military sources, the Iranian delegation returned to Tehran empty-handed. The Turks refused to answer questions on the identity of the aircraft that struck a suspected nuclear target in Syria, their movements in Turkish airspace or their altitudes. The visitors were not allowed to view the fuel tanks and ammunition which fell on the Turkish side of its border with Syria. Neither were the Iranian officers permitted to visit the area where they fell.
DEBKAfile’s military sources report that Turkey has barred two zones in the area to the public as military sectors. The first is in the southern district of Kilis opposite the North Syrian town of Aleppo, where the fuel tanks were discovered. It is also northwest of the big Syrian missile manufacturing complex of al Safir, where western intelligence sources reported a big explosion in July.
The second zone is in the northern part of Hatay, formerly Alexandretta where Kilis and Hatay interconnect. Turkey has thus excluded the vicinity of the alleged Israeli air raid to outsiders.
This must be the Turkish military speaking and not the Islamist dominated government. The military knows who its friends are.
If you are a country that purports not to have nuclear capabilities why the heck would you try to muscle your way in to an arrangement to be allowed to transfer nuclear technology without having signed the nuclear non-proliferation treaty? And why would you do so in a way that jeopardizes an exception being sought for one of your allies and being promoted by your biggest ally?
That's apparently what Israel's incompetent foreign minister has done according to an article in this morning's Washington Post:
Israel has pushed a key group of nations engaged in nuclear trade to adopt new guidelines allowing the international transfer of nuclear technology to states that have not signed on to nonproliferation rules, and the move may complicate the Bush administration's efforts to win an exemption for India to engage in such trade.
Documents outlining Israel's proposal were distributed to the 45-member Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) in March and have circulated on Capitol Hill in recent days, just as the administration is pushing to clear the final hurdles blocking a groundbreaking agreement with India.
Countries such as India, Israel and Pakistan that have not signed the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty are prohibited from participating in international nuclear trade, including buying reactors, uranium fuel or yellowcake.
Israel, which has a small nuclear program, has not confirmed that it has nuclear weapons, saying only that it would not be the first country to introduce nuclear weapons into the Middle East. Estimates of its stockpile range from 75 to 400 weapons.
The Israeli presentation, made in a "nonpaper" that allows for official deniability, was offered in the context of the NSG's debate over India's bid for an exemption, according to a March 17 letter by the NSG's chairman. Among the nations that have not signed the treaty, only India and Israel would qualify for admission to the NSG under the Israeli proposal.
Let me guess: the country's nuclear suppliers (if there are any it is highly unlikely that they are non-governmental) said they would vote for KadimaAchora if they had the right to transfer technology? The Finance Minister decided selling nuclear technology would be a good source of revenue? What the ^%$# were these people thinking?
Delays in winning approval for India would be troubling for President Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who view the pact as an important part of their foreign policy legacy. The deal is stirring controversy in India while Congress must still give approval, making delay until an election year potentially fatal.
Reflecting that concern, the Bush administration is rejecting the Israeli proposal. "We view the India deal as unique and don't see it as a precedent for any other country, including Israel," State Department spokesman Tom Casey said.
I know: Why don't we drop this in return for Bush dropping the 'peace conference'? That's the only justification I can invent for Israel sticking its nose into this story.
Today's Washington Post features a 'conversation' with 'moderate' 'Palestinian' President Mahmoud AbbasAbu Mazen. I want you to try to understand Abu Mazen's basic argument, because it's not something western minds are used to confronting. When we used to play football in the schoolyard and one team scored a touchdown, the ruled always was "suckers walk." The team that gave up the touchdown had to retreat to the other end of the schoolyard to receive the ensuing kickoff. In Abu Mazen's world, the winner has to give up all its gains in order to appease the loser.
Abu Mazen's argument is "We rejected partition in 1937 [forget for a minute who 'we' might have been since there were no 'Palestinians' until 1964], we rejected partition in 1947, we went to war to try to exterminate the Jews in 1948 and 1967, and therefore if the Jews want to make 'peace' with us, we will 'settle' for what we could have had if we had agreed to partition in 1948." Does anyone see the logic? I'm not making this up.
How do you envision the borders of the future state ?
But '67 borders will include Gaza.
Yes, of course. Without Gaza, we cannot have a state. And we should have a safe passage between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank because Gaza is a part of Palestine. . . . All the Arabs support this vision. At the last meeting of the Arab League, they issued a statement saying that Hamas's deeds were illegal. And they recognized my authority as the legal authority.
Saudi Arabia had reservations in the beginning because the whole situation was very vague. Now everything is clear. Yesterday, I met with Prince Saud al-Faisal, and he was satisfied. So I believe they will attend the conference.
Are there any concessions that you're willing to make in order to reach a deal with the Israelis? Are there any concessions you demand?
We will be flexible, but before 1947, we had 95 percent of Palestine. In 1937, the partition plan gave the Israelis only part of Palestine. And they were very happy at that time. [David] Ben-Gurion was very happy with it. It didn't work. After that [came] the 1947 partition plan -- we rejected this, so we lost.
You should have taken it?
Yes, at that time, of course. But it gave us 46 percent of Palestine. . . . Now, we accept [the pre-'67 borders].
Q. But how does this differ from what President Clinton offered Arafat? Didn't he offer him almost 98 percent of the West Bank?
A. No, no. In Camp David, it was only 92. Ninety-two is unacceptable to us.
Even Olmert and Livni aren't willing (yet - I cannot vouch for this in three months) to give everything that was liberated in 1967 to the 'Palestinians.' Even Ramon has only proposed giving what are currently predominantly Arab neighborhoods in Jerusalem to the 'Palestinians' while keeping the Jewish neighborhoods that are over the 1967 lines (such as Neve Yaakov, Pisgat Zev, Ramot, Ramat Shlomo, French Hill and Ramat Eshkol), which have tens of thousands of Jewish inhabitants. Israel has not 'resettled' the 9000 Jews it expelled from Gush Katif two years ago. Does anyone really believe 400,000 more Jews can be 'resettled' even if this wasn't suicidal due to the security situation?
But there's more to this 'conversation.' Here's Abu Mazen on the 'right of return':
Israelis are firm that they cannot accept the right of return [for Palestinian refugees] to Israel. . . .Do you think Palestinians should be allowed to return? You were born in the Galilee. Do you want to go back there?
This is my right, but how I will use this right is up to me and to the refugees and to the agreement which will take place between us. We want to find a permanent solution. The Israelis want security, and we are in need of independence. How can we deal with these two pillars? There is a gap between the two sides. We want to bridge the gap during the negotiations.
Olmert keeps claiming that he and Abu Mazen have reached an 'understanding.' What does it say on this issue, which is anathema to nearly all Israelis?
And then you might ask, how does Abu Mazen propose to guarantee Israel's security if we withdraw to our Auschwitz borders, particularly given the sorry experience of the aftermath of the Gaza expulsion? Watch how he ducks that question:
The Israelis thought they were doing a good thing when they withdrew from Gaza [in July 2005], but now they have been forced to evacuate a town near Gaza [because it has been repeatedly shelled by rockets from Hamas].
They did it unilaterally. They didn't do it bilaterally with us. We asked them many times to make [the Gaza withdrawal] the result of an agreement between us. But [former Israeli prime minister Ariel] Sharon refused. He didn't want to talk to us. . . .
But will Israelis agree to go to final-status talks when they are constantly threatened with attacks on their cities?
Last night, [our security forces] seized two rockets. We handed [them] over to the Israelis. We are very worried about these deeds and I think we can put an end to all this. Our security apparatus is ready to stop all kinds of violence.
I told you all those 'rockets' were faked and they were manufactured to give the appearance that Abu Mazen's 'security forces' are actually fighting terror. They have never fought terror and they never will because they will never fight with their fellow 'Palestinians' if it means defending Jewish lives.
There's one party that should not show up at this 'conference': Israel. Let President Bush earn his legacy by taking out Iranian nukes and not by creating a 'Palestinian' statereichlet. As to Olmert, he must go.
Children of SLA members doing national service in Israel
YNet had a story over the weekend about how the children of former SLA members are doing national service in Israel, where they now live. For those who have forgotten the SLA was the South Lebanese Army, and they were Israel's allies that helped it to maintain the 'security zone' in southern Lebanon between 1978 and 2000. Unfortunately, when Ehud Barak ordered the IDF to flee southern Lebanon, many SLA members were abandoned to the 'tender mercies' Hezbullah. Still, some members were resettled here in Israel.
Jessica Hashem, an 18-year-old resident of Ma’alot, and daughter of two former SLA members, has been volunteering in the pediatric unit of a Nahariya hospital for the past month. “It is very gratifying,” Hashem said of her service.
“At first I thought of enlisting in the IDF, but my parents refused. My father said it was bad enough that the country stabbed them in the back, and he didn’t want the same thing happening to me.
“I decided that with the motivation I had, I had to do something, so I decided to volunteer in something close to my heart; children and medicine. I was received very well at the unit.,” Hashem explained.
“I don’t feel like I have much to give back to the country, since I see my parents suffering,” she added, “But on the other hand, why should I pass up the opportunity to contribute and help children? If I happen to get recognition from the state while I’m at it, then why not?”
What's more curious is that Lebanese blogger Mustapha at Beirut Spring posted this story without comment and invited comments. Some of what he got back is fascinating:
I see nothing wrong in what she is doing, except for her contemplation of joining an army designed to kill. Helping children is gallant, regardless of where they are. If I live somewhere, I would like to contribute to the community I live within.
Israeli people are no less human than Lebanese are, and being able to see them as such, while hoping that it would be reciprocated, is the only way forward.
If you call me an idealist, then you are just coming up with an excuse for your instinctive hatred and prejudices, an excuse for the laziness to break away from all the preconceived ideas and feelings instilled in you.
Well I don’t see the point of such a question, she belongs there, after all As many have mentioned before me, Israel is a country with humans in it. And no the Israeli army is not an army to kill… At least not more than other armies are, that’s the nature of armies. Take the silliest most simplistic comparison: Lebanese people living, working and fulfilling their military obligations in Syria, are they traitors? No
Ask yourself: what is Lebanon for this woman? the country where she was thrown out off under the threat to be persecuted? the country that calls her father a traitor? The country to which she can never come back?
That sounds more like an enemy rather than a home. And I hope no one will dare say that she “can” come back… None of the SLA members who came back or who never left led a normal life, they either had to flee to europe or the US or they were harassed.
Some body mentioned to me. Palestinians work in Israeli Hospitals. For a long time Shiaa from South Lebanon worked in Saffad hospital. Arab MDs from several countries work for short or long periods in Israeli hospitals. Palestinian and other Arabs who need hospitals use at times Israeli hospitals. Shell I go on?
This is what we can look forward to from Hamastan and other Islamic states.
A 16-year old girl was murdered for 'dishonoring' her family a few weeks ago. The murder was caught on videotape on the girl's cell phone.
The gruesome murder occurred a few weeks ago, when the girl - who looks much younger than her age - was dragged into the street and handed to an mob of angry young men.
Eyewitnesses told The Jerusalem Post that many of those who participated in the lynch were Hamas members and relatives of the girl.
A five-minute video obtained by the Post over the weekend reveals the savagery and mercilessness of the killers.
What's really disturbing is that none of those at the crime scene tried to intervene to save the girl's life.
More than 20 young men are seen beating, stabbing and kicking the little girl before smashing her head with large stones.
It's not easy to watch such a video. The scenes of the girl lying on the ground as frenzied men trample her are unimaginable.
At one point, the girl tries to cover her head with her hands to avoid the kicking. She then tries to rise to her feet, only to be stabbed repeatedly by one of the men.
As she collapses, one of the attackers pulls down her skirt so that the rest of his friends will not see her underwear. The girl is required to maintain her "modesty" even as she is being preyed upon.
And just when you think the lynch is about to end, someone emerges from the crowd carrying a large white stone.
He throws the stone at the girl's back as she lays face down, motionless.
Seconds later, another man throws a large stone at the back of her head. The video ends with the girl laying in a pool of blood.
Mission accomplished. Hours later, a few local reporters sent a terse statement to their news organizations informing them of another "honor killing" in the Gaza Strip. Not a word about the way the girl had been lynched. The story barely made it to the mainstream media.
I know. Let's give them a statereichlet.
If the video is online, I couldn't find it. They'd love to do the same thing to every Jew in this country.
Columbia's sorry history makes Ahmadinejad a winner
When I enrolled at Columbia College in the mid-70's, no one talked about this stuff. The school had endured devastating student strikes that violently shut down the campus in 1968, 1970 and 1972, and when I enrolled in 1974, both my class and the one ahead of me had large contingents of Orthodox Jews. At the time it seemed that the college was seeking to stop the violent radicalism by taking people who would more likely be 'safe.' There was only one serious demonstration in my four years on campus (it had to do with El Salvador if I recall correctly) and not a single strike.
But Columbia's history of anti-Semitism rivals that of Harvard. Growing up in Boston, I was told that my uncle was denied entry to Harvard Medical School due to the 'Jewish quota.' Funny, he still thought it important enough to fly to Cambridge to attend the 350th anniversary reunion a few years before he passed away (he had gone to Harvard College). Harvard has nothing on Columbia as pointed out by Tim Rutten in the Los Angeles Times:
In the 1930s, Columbia was run by Nicholas Murray Butler, to whose name a special sort of infamy attaches. Butler was an outspoken admirer of Italian fascism and of its leader, Benito Mussolini. The Columbia president, who also was in the forefront of Ivy League efforts to restrict Jewish enrollment, worked tirelessly to build ties between his school and Italian universities, as well as with the powerful fascist student organizations. At one point, a visiting delegation of 350 ardent young Black Shirts serenaded Butler with the fascist anthem.
Butler also was keen to establish connections with Nazi Germany and its universities. In 1933, he invited Hans Luther, Adolf Hitler's ambassador to the United States, to lecture on the Columbia campus. Luther stressed Hitler's "peaceful intentions" toward his European neighbors, and, afterward, Butler gave a reception in his honor. As the emissary of "a friendly people," Luther was "entitled to be received with the greatest courtesy and respect," the Columbia president said at the time.
It was such a transparently appalling performance all around that one of the anonymous authors of the New York Times' "Topics of the Times" column put tongue in cheek and looked forward to the occasion when "the Nazi leaders will point out that they were all along opposed to any measures capable of being construed as unjust to any element in the German population or as a threat to peace in Europe."
Arrogance, though, is invincible -- even to irony.
Three years later, Butler sent a delegation of Columbia dignitaries to participate in anniversary celebrations at the University of Heidelberg. That was after Heidelberg had purged all the Jewish professors from its faculty, reformed its curriculum according to Nazi educational theories and publicly burned the unapproved books in its libraries.
It would be interesting to know if any consideration of these events -- and all that followed a decade of engagement and dialogue with fascism -- occurred before Columbia extended a speaking invitation to a man who hopes to see Israel "wiped off the face of the Earth," has denied the Holocaust and is defying the world community in pursuit of nuclear weapons. Perhaps they did and perhaps that's part of what motivated Lee Bollinger, Columbia's president now, to deliver his extraordinarily ill-advised welcoming remarks to Ahmadinejad.
But like Butler before him, points out Rutten, Bollinger came out the loser this week, unless he wanted to help boost Ahmadinejad's popularity:
Back in Tehran, Mohsen Mirdamadi, a leading Iranian reformer and Ahmadinejad opponent, said Bollinger's blistering remarks "only strengthened" the president back home and "made his radical supporters more determined," According to an Associated Press report, "Many Iranians found the comments insulting, particularly because in Iranian traditions of hospitality, a host should be polite to a guest, no matter what he thinks of him. To many, Ahmadinejad looked like the victim, and hard-liners praised the president's calm demeanor during the event, saying Bollinger was spouting a 'Zionist' line."
All of this was bad enough, but the almost willful refusal of commentators in the American media to provide their audiences with insight into just how sinister Ahmadinejad really is compounded the problem. There are a couple of reasons for the media's general refusal to engage with radical Islamic revivalists, like Ahmadinejad. He belongs to a particularly aggressive school of radical Shiite Islam, the Haghani, which lives in expectation of the imminent coming of the Madhi, a kind of Islamic messiah, who will bring peace and justice -- along with universal Islamic rule -- to the entire world. Serious members of this school -- and Ahmadinejad, who was a brilliant university student, is a very serious member -- believe they must act to speed the Mahdi's coming. "The wave of the Islamic revolution" would soon "reach the entire world," he has promised.
As a fundamentally secular institution, the American press always has had a hard time coming to grips with the fact that Islamists like the Iranian president mean what they say and that they really do believe what they say they believe.
Finally, there's the fact that the neoconservative remnants clustered around Vice President Dick Cheney are beating the drums for a preemptive military action against Iran before it becomes a nuclear nation, as North Korea already has, thereby constraining U.S. policy in northwest Asia. After being duped by the Bush administration into helping pave the way for the disastrous war in Iraq, few in the American media now are willing to take the Iran problem on because they don't want to be complicit in another military misadventure.
Fair enough -- but that anxiety doesn't exempt the press from being realistic about who Ahmadinejad really is and the danger he really does pose to all around him.
I disagree with the media having been 'duped' on Iraq, but I wonder how many in the American media other than Rutten are willing to look at Iran independently of what happened in Iraq. Apparently, not many.
Unrealistic realists such as Zbigniew Brzezinski and John Mearsheimer think Iran a conventional power that can be deterred by mutual assured destruction. They do not seriously attend to the most obvious features of the Iranian regime, such as words spoken and deeds done.
During the cold war, through their possession of nuclear weapons, the United States and the Soviet Union each acted as a check to the other's ambitions. The academics referred to the concept as mutually assured destruction (MAD). Since each side had a second-strike capability, the costs to the other side of making a first strike were too high.
But the differences between the leaders of the United States and the Soviet Union of the 1960's and 70's as compared with the Mullah's of Iran today ought to be obvious. Ahmadinejad and those who control Iran believe that by creating a nuclear holocaust in Israel they will bring about the coming of the "twelfth Imam" - a sort of Muslim Messiah. The Mullahs and Ahmadinejad are not rational actors. They have said that having half the population of Iran wiped out by an Israeli nuclear second strike is 'acceptable' so long as the Iranian first strike eviscerates the Jewish state.
Why do purported policymakers like Brzezinski, Walt and Mearsheimer ignore what the Iranians are saying? Why do they believe that the Iranians won't do what they say. As both Caroline Glick and Dan Senor point out, the Iranians have not hesitated to use terror until now. Why should they suddenly become responsible citizens of the world once they have nuclear weapons, whether before or after they - God forbid - wipe out Israel? Why are Brzezinski, Walt and Mearsheimer (and others) so smug that the only country in danger is Israel?
Is their Jew-hatred so powerful as to blind them to the danger that they themselves face?
Why can't they even identify radical Islam as the enemy?
Bollinger’s performance, however skillful, was illusory and narcissistic, precisely because he and his admirers forget that human ideals require the force of political and military institutions to guarantee their relevance. He prefers to think, no doubt, that it is his own idealism—and his knack for projecting it—that is defeating his victim. If Bollinger had to live as Iranian citizens do, he would know that idealism alone does not suffice. Any number of Iran’s jailed pro-democracy dissidents might be just as eloquent as Bollinger, but we can’t hear their voices. They lack the comfort of his illusions.
At Columbia, Bollinger was in the position of an effete mob boss in any number of gangster movies: slapping his victim around while the poor guy’s arms are pinned back. Ahmadinejad is no hero, and he deserves no sympathy. But that shouldn’t stop us from regarding Bollinger as a weakling, and being rather disgusted by the entire spectacle.
The Talmud has a term for people who act like Bollinger - who think they are succeeding on their own and avoid acknowledging the assistance of those around them. The term is "mechzey k'yuhara" - it appears conceited.
For those who have missed it, Parts 1 - 4 of this series may be found here, here, here and here.
The London-based Arabic daily Al-Sharq al-Awsat reports today that 'moderate' 'Palestinian President' Mahmoud AbbasAbu Mazen and 'moderate' deposed 'Palestinian' Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh are on the verge of kissing and making up.
According to the report, Hamas is willing to initiate dialogue with Fatah and transfer control of the border crossings to Egypt.
The report, which presents the general outline of Hamas' plan, said the organization has also expressed its willingness to temporarily transfer control of its security forces and the border crossings in Gaza to Egypt until the formation of a new PA security force with consent of both organizations.
The plan also calls for an end to the mutual smear campaigns in the Palestinian media and the scheduling of a meeting between Hamas and Fatah representatives in one of the Arab countries. Fatah has yet to reply to the proposal, the report said.
Hamas' plan also touches on the sensitive issues that have been discussed by the both sides in the past, such as the reestablishment of a unity government based on the Cairo and Mecca accords, and the fate of the prisoners captured by both sides during and after Hamas' takeover of Gaza.
The plan also calls for the reestablishment of the Palestinian Liberation Organization institutions, as specified by the Cairo accords, as well as the acceptance of a number of principles, including the territorial unification of Gaza and the West Bank and the "rejection of any attempts to divide the Palestinian people".
When will this 'dialogue happen? Here's my guess: It depends on whether the US-sponsored peace conferencegang tackle of Israel actually takes place. At the moment, Jordan, Egypt and Saudi Arabia are all refusing to attend the 'conference' unless Israel waves a white flag of surrender first. If the 'conference' does not take place, look for the Abu Mazen - Haniyeh 'dialogue' to take place in the next few weeks under Egyptian and Saudi sponsorship. If the 'conference' does take place, look for the 'Palestinians' to be 'disappointed' and for the 'dialogue' to take place in response to that 'disappointment.'
A lot of people in Israel were not pleased with Madonna's visit here for Rosh Hashanna. But if they knew more about one of her fellow travelers, they would have been even less pleased. One of those accompanying Madonna on her trip was former talk-show hostess Rosie O'Donnell. According to a new book out by Aaron Klein of WorldNetDaily, O'Donnell is a darling of the terrorists.
Hat Tip: Ashley in Tel Aviv
Muslim jihadist leaders interviewed for a new book were ecstatic about statements from television talk host Rosie O'Donnell about the war in Iraq and the global war on terror, agreeing with her outspoken views.
Some even invited her on a "fact finding mission" to the Middle East.
"I agree with what this O'Donnell says. ...We welcome Rosie O'Donnell to stay among us and to get to know the truth from being here, like many American peace activists are doing," said Ala Senakreh, West Bank chief of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades terrorist organization.
Senakreh and other terror leaders were quoted sounding off about O'Donnell in the new book "Schmoozing with Terrorists: From Hollywood to the Holy Land Jihadists Reveal their Global Plans – to a Jew!," by author and WND Jerusalem bureau chief Aaron Klein.
For one of the chapters of the book, Klein assembles a panoply of senior terrorist leaders and asks them to sound off about the views of high-profile liberals and conservatives.
The terrorists interviewed stated they had never heard of O'Donnell, a former host of ABC's "The View," who made regular headlines with her heated political battles against conservative-leaning co-host Elizabeth Hasselbeck. Klein told the terrorists O'Donnell was a high profile television personality and read to them a series of her political statements, with which they mostly agreed.
One O'Donnell gem Klein writes the assembled terrorists liked the most was when they were informed O'Donnell raised questions on her online blog about the 9/11 attacks, implying the buildings were brought down in part to destroy documents incriminating oil giant Enron and other major corporations.
After pointing out conspiracy "factoids" regarding the World Trade Center's Building No. 7, which collapsed after the two larger "twin towers" fell, O'Donnell writes Building 7 "contained offices of the FBI, Department of Defense, IRS (which contained prodigious amounts of corporate tax fraud, including Enron's), U.S. Secret Service, Securities & Exchange Commission (with more stock fraud records), and Citibank's Salomon Smith Barney, the Mayor's Office of Emergency Management and many other financial institutions consists of a listing of various records supposedly destroyed in the collapse of WTC7."
"I agree with everything O'Donnell said," boasted Ramadan Adassi, chief of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades in the West Bank's Anskar refugee camp. "Regarding September 11, there is no way the American intelligence and administration was not aware of what was going to happen that day. How come the Jews and Israelis disappeared from the buildings? Was it by miracle? They knew that an attack would take place. This meant that Zionist elements and the leading elements of the administration who are aligned with economic companies and interests, like Bush and Cheney's companies of oil, were very interested that the attack would succeed in order to start their campaign for the oil of Iran and Afghanistan," stated Adassi.
West Bank Brigades chieftain Senakreh commented, "Many people have been saying this since the first moment it happened. Of course when it comes from persons like O'Donnell, who you say is respected, it takes a more serious significance. I guess she knows what she is saying."
Senakreh, who was not aware when he made the statements O'Donnell was an open lesbian, went on to invite O'Donnell to visit the Palestinian territories.
"[She can report to Americans that] we are not in love with killing, we like peace, we are human beings, it is the occupation that obliges us to do what we do," Senakreh said.
Maybe O'Donnell should move to Gaza. They have a way with lesbians there :-)
Contrasting with all the optimism (by the Islamists) over Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's visit to New York is the grim reality in Iran itself. Dr. Jack Wheeler reports that the real story of Israel's raid on Syria three weeks ago is not what the target was (which is still a secret) but Syrian silence in the face of the raid. The Syrians are in shock because they had bought the top of the line Russian anti-aircraft equipment. And the Iranians are in a panic because they have the same Pantsyr S-1 missiles. And they failed. Totally.
Why would the Syrian government be so tight-lipped about an act of war perpetrated on their soil? The first half of the answer lies in this story that appeared in the Israeli media last month (8/13): Syria's Antiaircraft System Most Advanced In World. Syria has gone on a profligate buying spree, spending vast sums on Russian systems, 'considered the cutting edge in aircraft interception technology.' Syria now 'possesses the most crowded antiaircraft system in the world,' with 'more than 200 antiaircraft batteries of different types,' some of which are so new that they have been installed in Syria 'before being introduced into Russian operation service.' While you're digesting that, take a look at the map of Syria: Notice how far away Dayr az-Zawr is from Israel. An F15/16 attack there is not a tiptoe across the border, but a deep, deep penetration of Syrian airspace. And guess what happened with the Russian super-hyper-sophisticated cutting edge antiaircraft missile batteries when that penetration took place on September 6th. Nothing.
El blanko. Silence. The systems didn't even light up, gave no indication whatever of any detection of enemy aircraft invading Syrian airspace, zip, zero, nada. The Israelis (with a little techie assistance from us) blinded the Russkie antiaircraft systems so completely the Syrians didn't even know they were blinded. Now you see why the Syrians have been scared speechless. They thought they were protected - at enormous expense - only to discover they are defenseless. As in naked. Thus the Great Iranian Freak-Out - for this means Iran is just as nakedly defenseless as Syria.
I have said in the past that I did not expect a US attack on Iran until the summer of 2008. But maybe the time to hit Iran is now while they're still in a panic.
Arafat was talked out of declaring 'Palestinian' reichlet in the '70's
Recently released British foreign office documents show that Yasser Arafat was talked out of declaring a 'Palestinian' statereichlet in the mid-70's, according to an al-Reuters report carried by Haaretz.
One cable released by the National Archives on Friday records a meeting a diplomat had with Rashad al Shawa, a Palestinian leader in the Gaza Strip, in February 1974, shortly after Shawa had met Arafat to discuss independence.
"Rashad rejected the suggestion made to him by Yasser Arafat on the grounds that any attempt to form an independent Palestinian state would provide the Israelis with an opportunity to insist on maintaining their sovereignty over the whole of Palestine for security reasons," the diplomat wrote.
"Rashad says the vast majority of the people of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank are in favour of the formation of an independent Palestinian state because of their hatred to the Jordan regime but they do not realise that such a state would not survive without foreign help."
Some Arab leaders at the time, principally President Anwar Sadat of Egypt, were encouraging Arafat to declare an independent state, but Shawa warned Arafat that Egypt was merely trying to rid itself of any obligation to the Palestinians.
"Sadat and other Arab leaders are getting fed up with the Palestinians and they are only interested in the welfare of their own people," a diplomat quoted Shawa as saying.
That would explain why three years later Sadat made a separate peace with Israel. Had he lived, the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty would look very different than it does today.
A story that claims that King Hussein of Jordan was willing to make Yasser Arafat deputy Prime Minister "as the king faced the prospect of a Palestinian government in exile attempting to divide his country" seems to get something really wrong.
The story says "The Jordanian West Bank territories — where most Palestinian refugees lived — were occupied by Israel as a result of the Yom Kippur war in October 1973." Forget for a minute that there is no such thing as 'Palestinians,' Jordan was not a party to the October 1973 war! Israel liberated the West Bank territoriesJudea and Samaria in 1967. Moreover the 'territories' were never Jordanian. Jordan occupied Judea and Samaria from 1948-67, but that occupation was only recognized by one country outside the Middle East: England.
But then the story drops its real bombshell:
Mr Arafat, as leader of the Palestinian Liberation Organisation, was agitating for their return to form an independent state. He was backed by Egypt, Syria and Saudi Arabia.
King Hussein feared the break-up of his kingdom, with territory on both sides of the Jordan river being ceded to the Palestinians, and sought to woo Arafat in 1974, according to files released yesterday at the National Archives.
More proof - as if any were needed - that Jordan is 'Palestine.' Yes, 'Palestine' - if it exists anywhere - should exist on the East Bank of the Jordan River, and most of the population of 'Jordan' are 'Palestinians.'
There's more proof this evening that the 'secular' Mahmoud AbbasAbu Mazen is no different than the Islamic Hamas. Abu Mazen has deployed his policemorality police to 'detain' people seen eating in public during Ramadamadan.
The 12-member squad with special red badges appears to be an attempt by PA President Mahmoud Abbas's West Bank government to challenge the claim of rival Hamas, the ruler of Gaza, to a monopoly on religious righteousness.
Islamic custom demands that believers fast and refrain from self-indulgence between sunrise and sunset during Ramadan, which this year began Sept. 13. Across the Muslim world, the fast is largely observed, though in some countries compliance is voluntary and in others, including Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, it's strictly enforced.
In Ramallah, the seat of Abbas's West Bank government, the deployment this year of a Ramadan police seemed somewhat unexpected. Ramallah is the most cosmopolitan and well-to-do of the Palestinian cities.
However, Lt. Murad Qendah of the vice squad said he's been assigned to stamp out public breaches.
"If anybody violates this respect publicly in the street, we take their identity papers and hold them for investigation," said Qendah, 27, who led a six-man squad on patrol one recent afternoon.
While observing worshippers arriving at one of the town's main mosques, Qendah received a radio call telling him a suspect has been spotted imbibing "karoub" - a traditional local soft drink made from carob pods - in the street. He ordered the man's papers seized, pending investigation. Police say violators are usually held for 24 hours.
Ironically in Gaza, where Hamas has set up its own administration to rival with Abbas's West Bank-based government, no such patrol is active.
In addition to booking smokers, snackers and carob-juice drinkers, Qendah is also on the alert for young men whistling at girls or drivers playing their car stereos at excessive volume.
Police spokesman Adnan al-Damari said police arrested at least 50 alleged public morality offenders in Ramallah since the start of Ramadan, but would not be going after fast-breakers in their own homes.
"The duty of the morality police is to preserve public manners in public places, and to preserve the feelings of the people who are fasting," he said. "Violating the holiness of Ramadan is a violation of people's freedom."
But keep telling yourself Fatah is different than Hamas, Ehud.
The Olmert-Barak-Livni government is in the process of deciding how much a Kassam is worth. And the answer is, apparently not much unless it "causes damage or casualties." I guess that kind of fits in with a government whose philosophy is that it's okay to release terrorists who tried to murder but weren't successful because they don't have "blood on their hands."
A committee set up following the cabinet's decision last week to define the Gaza Strip as "hostile territory" has recommended that Gaza be penalized seven megawatt-hours of electricity following every Kassam rocket attack.
The panel was set up by Defense Minister Ehud Barak and includes representatives of the IDF, the Civil Administration of Judea and Samaria and the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency). It has submitted several recommendations for punitive measures that can quickly be implemented following a Kassam attack.
According to a senior defense official, legal experts have said they would not be able to defend punitive steps following attacks that cause no casualties or damage.
"It will need to be a rocket that hits a home or a barrage of rockets in which people are wounded or killed," the official said.
The committee has made several key recommendations, including stopping the supply of mazut - a special diesel fuel for power plants - and cutting off seven-megawatt power lines into Gaza.
In addition, after every mortar or Kassam attack on a Gaza crossing, the defense establishment has decided to automatically close it for 48 hours.
But at least someone in the defense establishment knows the truth:
Some defense officials said cuts to electricity would not be enough to stop the Kassam attacks. The only real way to pressure Hamas, they said, was to completely cut off supplies to Gaza and allow a humanitarian crisis to develop.
"This is not something that we are going to do," one official said. "But it is really the only way."
This statement means that the government is going to continue to sit with its hands tied while Kassam rockets continue to hit the communities that border on the Gaza Strip. What do they think of that in Sderot? Now, just to make the question a bit more pointed, imagine that the government expels all the Jews from Judea and Samaria and the Kassams are hitting Jerusalem and Netanya and Ben Gurion Airport (all within range of Kassams from Judea and Samaria). Does anyone really believe the government will react differently? I don't. Of course, if they could hit Tel Aviv, that would be a different story....
If Israel tries to cut off electricity and fuel supplies to Gaza, you can bet that the Euroweenies will do all they can to make up the shortfall:
Rather than stop supplying utilities, goods and services to Gaza, EU Ambassador Ramiro Cibrian-Uzal said Tuesday the EU wanted to see the crossing points open not only for the passage of goods for humanitarian needs, but also for commercial purposes.
At a press briefing, he reiterated the EU's opposition to last Wednesday's cabinet decision to designate Gaza hostile territory, saying the conditions facing the population in the Strip were difficult enough, and it would "do no good" to make them worse.
Cibrian-Uzal said the EU had publicly articulated its concern about the policy. Israeli officials, he said, viewed last week's decision as an "enabling" one that paved the way for cutting off utilities, but not something that would be implemented immediately.
The EU ambassador said he understood that the decision was meant as a "warning" aimed at "improving the behavior of people doing nasty things." The EU was continuing to appeal for a distinction to be made between Gaza's civilian population and Hamas, he said.
Mario Mariani, the head of the EU's Temporary International Mechanism, which, in addition to bypassing Hamas in the funneling of funds to the Palestinian Authority, also supplies fuel deliveries to the Gaza power plant, said it was not clear how the decision to declare the Strip hostile territory - and the possibility that Israel would cut off utility supplies - would impact on these deliveries, which go through the Nahal Oz depot.
He said the EU provided fuel via Israel to generate 50 megawatt-hours (MWh) in Gaza, with Egypt 17 MWh of electricity and Israel providing 120 MWh.
Around 62.5 percent of Gaza's electricity is provided directly by Israel, 28.6% comes from Gaza's power plant and 8.8% comes from Egypt, according to Stuart Shepherd of the UN's Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
Were Israel to cut off its share, Mariani said, the EU - if it were still able to deliver the fuel through Nahal Oz - could only provide fuel for another 10 MWh, because Gaza's sole power plant cannot generate more than that.
Can someone please explain to me how you can cut electricity to the terrorists without cutting it to everybody else (assuming that there is anyone in Gaza who is not engaged in terrorism)? And why on earth would Israel not close Nahal Oz if it cut off fuel supplies to the 'Palestinians'?
Members of the entourage of Israeli foreign minister TzipiFeigele Livni are denying that she met with Syrian foreign minister Walid Moallem at the New York home of the Emir of Qatar on Tuesday. Moallem and Israel's ambassador to the UN Danny Gillerman, another alleged participant, have also denied that the meeting took place. News of the meeting was first reported on the web site of the Nazareth bi-weekly magazine al-Sinara.
According to the report, which was based on a senior Arab source, the meeting came after Qatari Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani surprised Livni with a proposal that she convene with the Syrian FM at the UN headquarters in New York.
After consluting with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Livni agreed to the meeting, which ended up lasting for over an hour.
During their meeting the two reportedly discussed tensions that have built up between the two countries, and the need to calm things down.
The Arab source said the meeting could be an opening for Qatari mediation between Israel and Syria, especially due to its proximity to the international peace conference set for November.
According to the report, in his previous meeting with Moallem, the Qatari emir brought up the possibility of a meeting with Livni and Moallem agreed.
The report said Moallem demanded clarifications on Israel's real stance, since he claimed that on one hand Israel continues to make calls for peace, while on the other, it infiltrates Syrian airspace.
The Arab source told al-Sinara that Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Danny Gillerman and Syrian Ambassador to the US Mohammed Nassif, who was reportedly involved in setting up previous meetings between Moallem and US and Israeli officials, were also present at the meeting.
Here's my gut reaction to this report - I have no evidence right now whether I am right or wrong:
1. The meeting took place. There are too many details for it not to have happened. Haaretz even places it at the emir's home.
2. Livni did not get Olmert's permission for the meeting. Livni would never have sought it and Olmert would never have given it. Livni is already planning for after Olmert is out of office.
3. The agenda was far more substantive than the reports indicate. The Syrians are not that stupid and they know that the IAF raid three weeks ago was what the Brits would call a "one off." Don't expect anything like it to happen again unless the Syrians are playing with weapons of mass destruction again.
My guess is that the meeting discussed whether Israel is willing to put the entire Golan back on the table in return for a piece of paper from Syria. Olmert is desperate for a 'peace agreement' to keep himself in power, but he doesn't have the political backing to pull it off right now. Syria looks at Livni as Olmert's likely successor and they want to know where they stand with her.
Again, this is all speculation, but that's what I think happened in New York.
"Israel is spreading these rumors in the Israeli press," the Syrian minister told the Arab satellite channel al-Jazeera.
Moallem stressed in the interview that no meeting had taken place between him and the Israeli foreign minister, adding that no such meeting would take place "as long as the Israeli occupation of the Golan Heights and the oppression of the Palestinian people continue."
I think Moallem went a little overboard in his denial. Even Olmert isn't going to give him the Golan without a meeting.
The 'Palestinians' claimed that their security forces had discovered two metal pipes, along with TNT and a briefcase holding documents in an area between Bethlehem's El-Aida refugee camp and Beit Jala, opposite Jerusalem's Gilo neighborhood. They claimed that they were to be used to fire Kassams on Jerusalem.
Palestinian news agency Ma'an said that the "rockets" were 1.5 meters long.
IDF Central Command sources said that it was possible that Kassam rockets were being manufactured in the West Bank and particularly in Bethlehem, the base of a Tanzim terror cell that had fired mortar shells at the neighborhood of Gilo in recent years.
Palestinian intelligence head Tawfiq Tarawi said the so-called rockets were still in the early stage of production and had not yet been fitted with explosives.
Tarawi would not say whether any arrests had been made. He also declined to say who built them, but said the weapons resembled the rockets developed by Hamas and other terrorist groups in the Gaza Strip.
"This is not the first time. Two months ago, we found similar rockets and we destroyed them," he said. "This is unacceptable. We will not allow anyone to use such missiles because he will be destroying the Palestinian Authority and the Palestinian towns," he added, referring to the likely Israeli military response a rocket attack would bring.
I think Tirawi and his buddies 'discovered' this so that they could give the impression that the 'Palestinian security forces' are fighting terror. I don't believe these were Kassams.
Egyptian military exercise to cross the Suez Canal
Daily Alert reported yesterday in the name of the Hebrew Yediot Aharonoth that Egypt is practicing crossing the Suez Canal for the first time since 2002.
Hat Tip: Nathan in Teaneck, New Jersey
The Egyptian Army, under the supervision of Defense Minister Hussein Tantawi, has just concluded a five-day military exercise in Sinai which resembled its crossing of the Suez Canal in the Yom Kippur War.
The last time the Egyptian Army engaged in such an exercise was in 2002.
According to Israeli sources, these exercises involve moving large armored forces across the canal, despite the fact that the peace agreement with Egypt forbids the movement of tanks from Egypt to Sinai.
The exercises indicate that Egypt is preserving its capabilities in the event of possible future changes in the region.
But keep signing those pieces of paper and giving away land, Ehud. That will make us real secure.
Israel Radio reported today that a Jerusalem woman obtained a ruling from the Jerusalem Rabbinical Court barring her ex-husband from having their minor children visit him in his home. The reason: The husband lives in Sderot.
The ruling is temporary for now - it will be reviewed after the Succot holiday that starts this evening. The husband is allowed to take the children to his relatives' homes for visitation, but he is not allowed to have them visit him in Sderot. The wife claimed that she is ill and that her illness would be exacerbated by 'anxiety' over having her children in Sderot.
Leaving aside for a moment the institutional biases that the courts here have in divorce cases (for example, it is well known among lawyers that if you're representing the husband you go to Rabbinical court and if you're representing the wife you go to civil court to file), there are a number of serious issues raised by this ruling:
1. If Sderot is 'unsafe' and off limits, what about all the other places that border the Gaza Strip? What about locations in Judea and Samaria that are not always particularly safe? What if the 'Palestinians' start shooting at the Jerusalem suburb of Gilo again (two Kassam rockets were found this morning in Bethlehem, which is right near Gilo)?
2. From the standpoint of a foreign court reading this decision, the entire country is Sderot. Imagine a New York court telling an Israeli father that if he wants to see his children he has to come to New York because it's not safe to send the children from New York, where the mother lives, to Israel, where the father lives, to see him. (I believe there was already a case like this in New York, but I cannot find it online right now).
3. From the standpoint of the government, it's yet another reason why Sderot needs to be made safe for its residents.
The ruling was issued yesterday. There has been very little reaction so far. Stay tuned.
Prime Minister Ehud K. Olmert's good friend, sexual predator Haim Ramon, wants to divide Jerusalem with the 'Palestinians.' This has even upset some people in Olmert and Ramon's KadimaAchora party. Here's how Ramon defended his 'plan' at an Achora party meeting last week:
"Is Israeli sovereignty over the Shuafat refugee camp an asset for Israel?" Ramon asked. "We didn't pray toward Shuafat for our return to Kafr Akab. Isn't it better to say 'no' to Jabal Mukaber and Aram in return for the Palestinians recognizing the Israeli hold over Jerusalem, including the [Jewish] neighborhoods over the Green Line like Neveh Ya'acov?"
He had harsh words for both Olmert and Vice Premier Haim Ramon. Their intention to take parts of historic Israel and to rename them "Palestine," Levinger said, was one of the "most terrible acts" in Jewish history.
"I want to ask Haim Ramon, 'What have we dreamed of more, Tel Aviv or Hebron?" Levinger said.
Get out some tissues before you watch this. This is a video about Israeli children aged 17 and under who were murdered by 'Palestinian' terrorists between 2000 and 2005. It's scary how many of them I recognize. May God avenge their blood.
There's been a lot of talk lately about what is deemed in some circles to be the disproportionate power of the 'Israel lobby.' That power pales - on an absolute and certainly on a proportionate basis - when one discusses the power of the Saudi lobby.
That there is a Jewish lobby in America concerned with the well-being of Israel is a silly question. It is insane to ask whether the 6 million American Jews should be concerned about the 6 million Israeli Jews, particularly in view of the massacre of another 6 million Jews in the Holocaust. It's elementary, my dear Watson: Any people who do not care for their own are not worthy of concern.
And what the Israel lobby does is what all ethnic lobbies — Greek, Armenian, Latvian, Irish, Cuban, and others — do in this democracy. It is a natural outgrowth of the melting pot that makes this country what it is and helps to provide us with a bridge to our origins.
What everyone has missed is that all these ethnic lobbies have been built from the bottom up, with but a single exception, a sinister lobby that works from the top down: the American lobby for Saudi Arabia.
Maybe now several more books could look into how such a huge lobby exists, even though, unlike the other communities that lobby, there are hardly any Saudi-Americans. Yet we have a lobby composed of American businessmen, oilmen, and academics — as well as Arab-Americans from Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, and elsewhere — all borrowed, hijacked, and, indeed, bribed into filling a void.
To be sure, maybe a handful of Saudis have dual citizenship, but a genuine lobby they do not make. But the noise made on Capitol Hill, in the Pentagon, and inside the White House on behalf of the desert kingdom can be deafening. If Saudi Arabia wants American arms, Saudi Arabia gets arms; if Saudi Arabia cries foul over the bin Laden flock being stuck here the day after their next of kin blew up the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, President Bush lets all 50 of them out, no questions asked. What gives?
The mighty Saudi lobby is made up of concentric circles that emanate from a Saudi Embassy in Washington that acts as a checking account. The dollars flow to Saudi-funded mosques and theological enterprises, to America's academic institutions, which are panting for Saudi dollars, to the American oil and arms industries, and to Arab-Americans in need. Whether those communities of interest have any familial, social, or immigrant ties to Saudi Arabia is totally beside the point. This is how a lobby is built from the top down.
Don't hold your breath waiting for Professors Walt and Mearsheimer to write a book about the Saudi lobby. The royal family isn't going to pay for books to be written about them.
As many of you know already, due to 'security measures' at Columbia University yesterday, there were two protests against the appearance of Iranian tyrant Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. One was 'inside' the campus for those who were allowed in and the other was 'outside' the campus. The Hall of the Goblin was at the 'outside' protest and filed a lengthy report with many pictures and videos that's worth checking out. (Hat Tip: Jameel).
This morning, Israel Radio interviewed former cabinet minister and journalist (and extreme anti-religious leader) Tommy Lapid. Lapid was asked what he thought about reports that only 20,000 people attended yesterday's biggest rally against Ahmadinejad. Lapid said he wasn't bothered by it. I am.
New York has the largest Jewish community in the world outside Israel. There are many other Jewish communities within a few hours' drive time. In November 1974, Yasser Arafat came to speak at the United Nations General Assembly. At the time, I was a freshman at Columbia, but I was home in Boston for the election day vacation. I took one of many buses that were organized by the community and went to New York to protest. I was one of thousands that did so. The rally was promoted for weeks in advance with stickers themed "Humanity v. Arab terror" and my recollection is that there were 200-300,000 people there, including then-President Gerald R. Ford. In that context, 20,000 people being at a rally in New York yesterday is a poor turnout.
Unfortunately, I fear that's because some of Ahmadinejad's arguments resonate even with some members of our community. That's a problem I discussed earlier. The weakness of Israel's government and its lack of commitment to the country's existence and well-being have also weakened our support overseas. That support will take years to recover, if ever.
Despite the deliberative tone of the cabinet's decision -- it noted that "sanctions will be enacted following a legal examination, while taking into account both the humanitarian aspects relevant to the Gaza Strip and the intention to avoid a humanitarian crisis" -- critics hastened to denounce the move. One United Nations official interviewed on Israeli Army Radio termed the decision "collective punishment," and "a violation of international law," while UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon declared that any interruption in the utilities would be "contrary to Israel's obligations towards the civilian population under international humanitarian and human rights law."
The UN statements were, typically, hysterical in tone and dead wrong on the law. If Gaza is territory under the control of the enemy -- as it manifestly is under Hamas -- then the Israeli government is both within its rights and arguably obliged by its responsibilities to its citizens to treat the strip as "hostile territory." Siege and blockade of a hostile territory is a legitimate tactic of war, used in declared and undeclared (e.g., Cuban) conflicts and explicitly recognized by the 1949 Geneva Conventions. The Conventions' sole limitation is that there be "free passage of all consignments of food-stuffs, clothing and tonics intended for children under fifteen, expectant mothers, and maternity cases" (Fourth Convention, art. 23) -- and even this exception was conditioned on there being "no reasons for fearing... [t]hat a definite advantage may accrue to the military efforts or economy of the enemy" (for example, if resources destined for humanitarian aid will be commandeered by the enemy). Israel has carefully respected this requirement.
An anti-Israel pundit will doubtless soon point to the 1977 Additional Protocol I to the Geneva Conventions, which states that "starvation of civilians as a method of warfare is prohibited" (art. 54). But Israel is starving no one. No one responsible has suggested cutting off food supplies to Gaza -- which, ironically, exported food (grown in Israeli-built greenhouses, which were demolished by Palestinians after Israel's withdrawal) before 2005. In addition, Israel is not a party to Additional Protocol I (neither is the United States). Even if that treaty bound Israel, the official commentary to the Protocol does not preclude the right to blockade a declared enemy. In cases of siege the Protocol provides for relief of besieged civilians "subject to the agreement of the parties" (art. 70) -- does anyone think Hamas will sit down with Israel anytime soon? Similarly, the 1998 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court can be read to make it a war crime to deprive civilians of "objects indispensable to their survival" (art. 8 (2) (b) (xxv)). But Israel is not a party to the Statute and, in any event, the context of the provision makes it clear that it refers back to the Geneva Convention's "food-stuffs, clothing and tonics" for children and pregnant women, which Israel is not blockading but which, in any event, Israel is certainly not obligated to itself supply.
Declaring Hamastan a 'hostile entity' was a wonderful idea. But as to Israel actually following through on it, let's just say that I'll believe it when I see it.
Out of all the coverage of Ahmadinejad's visit to New York, I found this short bit on how the story is being covered in Iran most interesting.
PJM’s Ardeshir Arian reports the following from inside Iran regarding Ahmadinejad’s speech today:
1) VOA Television nightly services on HotBird and TeleStar 12 satellites were disrupted in Tehran for about 20 minutes, as soon as he was to be introduced at Columbia university’s podium. Iranian citizens did not hear the criticism of Ahmadinejad by Columbia President Bollinger. The way the Islamic Republic does this is to scramble the signals of these satellites locally, using stationary and mobile microwave dishes.
2) It has been rumored from inside Iran that one of the conditions for Iranian-American Haleh Esfandiari’s release from Evin Prison was for Ahmadinejad to give his speech at Columbia University and to visit Ground Zero. Ahmadinejad’s speech at Columbia was canceled last year.
Yesterday, I blogged a story that said that Ahmadinejad's appearance in New York was a quid pro quo for the release of Dr. Kian Tajbakhsh on bail. It's unlikely we will never know the truth on that one.
But the first item is the more interesting one. I suppose that if Iranians heard what the West thinks of their President, there might be some more gas stations burning.
In 1998, another terrorist was supposed to visit the United States. This time the city was Washington DC and the terrorist was not Iranian - he was Egyptian. His name was Yasser Arafat and he was supposed to do something that would have been nearly as heinous as Ahmadinejad visiting Ground Zero: He was supposed to lay a wreath at the Holocaust Museum. But the former director of the Holocaust Museum, Walter Reich writes in the Washington Post that thanks to Monica Lewinsky, Arafat never came to Washington:
In 1998, the Clinton White House and State Department invited the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat to Washington to lay a wreath in memory of the dead at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. The Israeli-Palestinian peace process had hit a rough patch. Palestinians had been blowing up buses. Arafat's involvement in or condoning of those events was becoming evident. American Jews were growing increasingly distrustful of Arafat's intentions. And the administration wanted to show Jews that Arafat could be trusted.
White House officials hoped that photos of him looking mournfully at images of dead Jews would convince living Jews that he genuinely felt their pain, truly understood their anxieties about Israel's security and could be trusted to protect the Jewish state in a final peace deal. In this they were joined by Miles Lerman, the presidentially appointed chairman of the Holocaust Museum.
When, as the museum's director, I learned of the invitation, I immediately objected to it. I said that the visit had been set up as a photo-op, and that neither the museum nor the dead should ever be used to advance political or diplomatic ends.
Lerman changed his mind, supported my objections and disinvited Arafat. But a chorus broke out, a chorus of wishful thinking that the Palestinian would become a changed man after visiting the museum. On "Meet the Press," then-Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright said she regretted that Arafat had been disinvited. Lerman received political pressure to restore the invitation.
He did. He and his colleagues on the museum's board of trustees, all of them presidential appointees, convinced themselves that the Palestinian leader would be educated and transformed. In a meeting, board members repeatedly asked me to escort him on a VIP tour and a wreath-laying ceremony in front of the museum's eternal flame, set atop a plinth containing soil from concentration camps and ghettos. I refused. Not long after that, I resigned.
In the end, the Arafat visit never took place. On the day he was to come, he canceled. The Monica Lewinsky scandal had just broken and the media had decamped to the White House to cover it. There would be no photo-op. And therefore no political advantage to the visit.
Last week's Ahmadinejad fiasco is eerily similar to that earlier one. True, in this instance it was Ahmadinejad, not the Americans, who wanted to misuse Ground Zero for political purposes. He has been getting heat in his own country, suffering economic and diplomatic consequences as a result of his Holocaust denial, his genocidal threats against Israel and his nuclear saber-rattling. A visit to Ground Zero could have softened his image.
In fact, a miniseries featuring an Iranian diplomat who saved Jews in France during the Holocaust, presumably aimed at repairing Ahmadinejad's image, is playing on Iranian TV. This is deeply illogical: There was no Holocaust, but there was an Iranian who saved Jews from it. But never mind logic.
Still, as in the Arafat affair, some here thought that perhaps Ahmadinejad should be given a chance. Memorials can change men's souls. And if abusing memory can achieve something good, then it's a worthy abuse.
I hope that the future will spare us more such fiascos. But given the widespread readiness to misuse memory and memorials, and the wishful thinking that they have the power to transform evil into good, I doubt that it will.
The more things change, the more they stay the same.
I am an Orthodox Jew - some would even call me 'ultra-Orthodox.' Born in Boston, I was a corporate and securities attorney in New York City for seven years before making aliya to Israel in 1991 (I don't look it but I really am that old :-). I have been happily married to the same woman for thirty-two years, and we have eight children (bli ayin hara) ranging in age from 9 to 30 years and five grandchildren. Our eldest daughter and eldest son are married! Before I started blogging I was a heavy contributor on a number of email lists and ran an email list called the Matzav from 2000-2004. You can contact me at: IsraelMatzav at gmail dot com