The Atlantic's Jeffery Goldberg got an interview with Binyamin Netanyahu just before the latter was sworn in as Prime Minister on Tuesday, and Bibi shot a message straight as an arrow to US President Barack Obama. "Stop Iran," said Netanyahu, "or I will" (Hat Tip: Memeorandum).
History teaches Jews that threats against their collective existence should be taken seriously, and, if possible, preempted, he suggested. In recent years, the Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has regularly called for Israel to be “wiped off the map,” and the supreme Iranian leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, this month called Israel a “cancerous tumor.”
But Netanyahu also said that Iran threatens many other countries apart from Israel, and so his mission over the next several months is to convince the world of the broad danger posed by Iran. One of his chief security advisers, Moshe Ya’alon, told me that a nuclear Iran could mean the end of American influence in the Middle East. “This is an existential threat for Israel, but it will be a blow for American interests, especially on the energy front. Who will dominate the oil in the region—Washington or Tehran?”
Netanyahu said he would support President Obama’s decision to engage Iran, so long as negotiations brought about a quick end to Iran’s nuclear ambitions. “How you achieve this goal is less important than achieving it,” he said, but he added that he was skeptical that Iran would respond positively to Obama’s appeals. In an hour-long conversation, held in the Knesset, Netanyahu tempered his aggressive rhetoric with an acknowledgement that nonmilitary pressure could yet work. “I think the Iranian economy is very weak, which makes Iran susceptible to sanctions that can be ratcheted up by a variety of means.” When I suggested that this statement contradicted his assertion that Iran, by its fanatic nature, is immune to pressure, Netanyahu smiled thinly and said, “Iran is a composite leadership, but in that composite leadership there are elements of wide-eyed fanaticism that do not exist right now in any other would-be nuclear power in the world. That’s what makes them so dangerous.”
He went on, “Since the dawn of the nuclear age, we have not had a fanatic regime that might put its zealotry above its self-interest. People say that they’ll behave like any other nuclear power. Can you take the risk? Can you assume that?”
Netanyahu offered Iran’s behavior during its eight-year war with Iraq as proof of Tehran’s penchant for irrational behavior. Iran “wasted over a million lives without batting an eyelash … It didn’t sear a terrible wound into the Iranian consciousness. It wasn’t Britain after World War I, lapsing into pacifism because of the great tragedy of a loss of a generation. You see nothing of the kind.”
He continued: “You see a country that glorifies blood and death, including its own self-immolation.” I asked Netanyahu if he believed Iran would risk its own nuclear annihilation at the hands of Israel or America. “I’m not going to get into that,” he said.
Neither Netanyahu nor his principal military advisers would suggest a deadline for American progress on the Iran nuclear program, though one aide said pointedly that Israeli time lines are now drawn in months, “not years.” These same military advisers told me that they believe Iran’s defenses remain penetrable, and that Israel would not necessarily need American approval to launch an attack. “The problem is not military capability, the problem is whether you have the stomach, the political will, to take action,” one of his advisers, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told me.
Read it all. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that there is a possibility that sanctions will work and that they have not been fully tried. However, I believe that there is no longer enough time to try them, and that in any event, the Europeans, the Russians and the Chinese have not shown any willingness to play along with serious sanctions of Iran (recall, for example, this story from yesterday morning). Unfortunately, Israel is not in a position to wait for the world to get its act together anymore.
This is a five-part video from 2007 that tells the story of Israel's 1981 raid on the Iraqi nuclear reactor. It's an amazing story. In this first part, note the parallels between what was being said about Saddam Hussein's Iraq in the early 1980's and what is being said about Khatami's and Ahmadinejad's Iran today. Eerie, isn't it? Note what George Schultz (Secretary of State at the time) has to say about Iraq's intentions. Just like today, isn't it?
Let's go to the videotape (Hat Tip: Masha via NY Nana).
Here's Part 2. The Mossad is pretty efficient, isn't it? You'll also hear how the IAF dropped the wing tanks. Sound familiar? It should. Let's go to the videotape.
Here's Part 3. Note that they didn't train over the Mediterranean then. Amazing that the aircraft were defenseless, isn't it? Let's go to the videotape.
Here's Part 4. By the way, for those of you who are Jewish, this was the eve of the Jewish holiday of Shavuot. Note that there is some luck here too. We'd call it God's will. Boys will be boys? Heh. Note that Bush 41 and Baker were furious. Not surprising, is it? Let's go to the videotape.
Here's the final part. Will this happen again in Iran? Will Netanyahu be another Begin? Stay tuned. Let's go to the videotape.
History would have been different in 1991, wouldn't it?
Military Police investigation on IDF 'war crimes' claims in Gaza: Based on hearsay
I got this from the IDF spokesperson, and since it was sent to me as an email without a link I am going to publish the whole thing. Bottom line: Once again, the biased world media has accused Israel of 'war crimes' with no basis (other than a group of lying, Leftist IDF soldiers). I'm sure you all find that shockingbusiness as usual.
Military Police investigation on Rabin Center statements: Based on hearsay (Communicated by the IDF Spokesperson)
The Military Advocate General, Brig. Gen. Avichai Mendelblit, decided to close the Criminal Investigation Department of the Military Police case of the statements made by soldiers at the Rabin Military Preparation Center about Operation Cast Lead. This decision was made after the Military Police investigation found that the crucial components of their descriptions were based on hearsay and not supported by specific personal knowledge. In particular, this includes the two alleged stories that raised suspicion of acts in which uninvolved non-combatants were fired upon. Additionally, it was found that once the claims were checked, they were not supported by the facts as determined by the investigation.
The investigation was initiated by the Military Advocate General after reviewing claims made during a conference at the Rabin Military Preparation Center in which soldiers who participated in Operation Cast Lead were present. The Criminal Investigation Department of the Military Police was ordered to investigate the claims made, with an emphasis on the alleged firing at uninvolved non-combatants. The investigation concluded from the soldiers who participated in the conference that the stories told were purposely exaggerated and made extreme, in order to make a point with the participants of the conference.
For example, the story in which a soldier was claimed to have been given orders to fire at an elderly woman was clarified during the investigation. In fact, the soldier witnessed no such thing, and was only repeating a rumor he had heard. In an unrelated investigation, it was found that in a similar incident, a woman, suspected as being a suicide bomber, approached an IDF force, which opened fired towards her after repeatedly trying to stop her from advancing.
This same soldier admitted that he had not witnessed the additional disrespectful and immoral incidents he had described during the conference.
A claim made by a different soldier who had supposedly been ordered to open fire at a woman and two children was also clarified as an incident that he had not witnessed. After checking the claim, it was found that during this incident a force had opened fire in a different direction, towards two suspicious men who were unrelated to the civilians in question.
During the Military Police investigation, two additional claims arose regarding improper conduct. These claims were separate from those made at the Rabin Military Preparation Center. It was found that these incidents do not raise suspicion of unjustified opening of fire. This finding is based on a debriefing which had occurred close to the time of one of the incidents and upon further investigation conducted by the Military Police.
It must be stated that during these investigations, the participants at the Rabin Center said that they had based their claims relating to the use of phosphorous munitions on what they had heard in the media and not on their personal knowledge.
The Military Advocate General, Brig. Gen. Avichai Mendelblit, concluded the findings of the Military Police investigation:
"It is unfortunate that none of the speakers at the conference was careful to be accurate in the depiction of his claims, and even more so that they chose to present various incidents of a severe nature, despite not personally witnessing and knowing much about them. It seems that it will be difficult to evaluate the damage done to the image and morals of the IDF and its soldiers, who had participated in Operation Cast Lead, in Israel and the world."
The IDF Spokesperson Unit wishes to stress that the Military Advocate General's conclusions refer solely to the investigations that focused on the transcripts of the Rabin Military Preparation Center conference, in addition to the two separate aforementioned claims. This investigation is additional and not a substitute for the investigations conducted on all levels of the IDF, following Operation Cast Lead.
That sounds pretty definitive. Court martials anyone?
Video: Qadhafi rips Saudi King Abdullah at Arab League meeting
This is rich.
On Monday, at the Arab League meeting in Doha, Qatar, Libyan leader Muamar Qadhafi ripped Saudi King Abdullah some new body parts. Everything he says in this video about how Saudi Arabia was born and how Abdullah stays King is true. What you won't see (aside from some portions in which the audio was cut off that you won't hear) is that right after this tirade, Qadhafi stormed out. So much for 'Arab unity.'
Glenn Beck interviews Binyamin Netanyahu on Beck's show. This is from November 2006. Netanyahu is being sworn in as Prime Minister of Israel today, Tuesday. Bibi's on the top of his game as usual. So is Beck. Make sure to watch to the end to see Netanyahu's last answer - about whether Iran should be engaged.
This is from a Los Angeles Times op-ed by Ali Akbar Javanfekr, the presidential advisor for press affairs to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Note how he blames US policies on Israel.
Mr. Obama's efforts to replace aggressive rhetoric in official U.S. statements with the language of peace and mutual respect is a step forward. If this change of tone is also manifested practically in the official policies of the U.S., it will be an important step toward remedying the impaired image of the U.S. in the eyes of other nations.
The U.S. has too frequently in past decades resorted to violence, war and bloodshed around the world, in part because of its leaders' desire for hegemony and in part because of Zionism's manipulation of U.S. administrations.
The policies of previous U.S. administrations led to a rise in hatred, anger and worries. In all corners of the world, it is worth noting, the only flags being set ablaze belong to the U.S. and the occupying Zionist regime.
President Obama has proclaimed a policy of "change," and the American people have embraced it. But to remedy its image in the world, the U.S. needs to truly change its past methods.
Change is mandatory for the U.S. administration. For as history demonstrates, either you change, or you are forced to change.
Sounds just like Walt and Mearsheimer, doesn't he? Does he believe that Iran can force the US to abandon Israel? Or that Iran won't have to force the US to abandon Israel, because Obama will do it on his own?
Writing in Tuesday's Wall Street Journal, Yossi Klein HaLevi sets out a prescription for Binyamin Netanyahu and Barack Obama to work together. The prescription includes realism about what the 'peace process' can attain, building within the 'settlement blocs' that Israel expects to retain under President Clinton's December 2000 parameters - but not outside them, and setting aside differences to focus on thwarting Iran's nuclear aspirations. While I'm not happy with all of his ideas, if politics is the art of compromise, this prescription is definitely artistic.
The first prerequisite is genuine realism in Washington regarding negotiations with the Palestinians. It will be tempting in the coming months to blame Mr. Netanyahu -- who has refused to commit himself to a two-state solution -- for the absence of a peace agreement. But that breakthrough would have eluded any Israeli government. Outgoing Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and his foreign minister, Kadima leader Tzipi Livni, couldn't have tried harder to reach an agreement with the Palestinians.
Instead of continuing to pursue the unattainable, the American-Israeli approach should focus on creating a civil society in the West Bank that is an essential precondition for the eventual creation of a Palestinian state. Mr. Obama will find a ready partner in Jerusalem for improving economic conditions in the West Bank. That process would present the Palestinians with a stark choice between their two territories: the beginnings of prosperity in a peaceful West Bank, or devastation in a jihadist Gaza.
Inevitably, the most sensitive issue in managing the American-Israeli relationship will continue to be settlements. Under President Bill Clinton's December 2000 Middle East peace plan, settlement blocs like Gush Etzion near the 1967 border would be retained by Israel in an eventual agreement. Indeed, no Israeli government will stop building in those West Bank blocs.
The tacit agreement between Mr. Obama and Mr. Netanyahu, then, needs to be American acquiescence in continued building within the highly populated settlement blocs, in exchange for Israeli restraint in building beyond the blocs. The Netanyahu government has a mandate from the Israeli public to act decisively against any security threat, and to resist international pressure for premature peace agreements. But it doesn't have a mandate to resume massive settlement expansion across the West Bank.
The Israeli Jewish public that voted overwhelmingly for right-wing parties did so primarily for security reasons. The Israeli right of 2009 is a mood, not an ideology. And Mr. Netanyahu understands the expectations of his voters. During the election campaign, he spoke incessantly about stopping a nuclear Iran and the jihadist threat generally -- not about settlement growth. However grudgingly, Mr. Netanyahu's right-wing coalition partners will likely accept some limitation on settlement building. And the presence of the Labor Party in the coalition will ensure moderation on the settlement issue. Indeed, the small National Union party is the only right-wing party that places massive settlement building at the top of its agenda, and it will not be part of this coalition.
America and Israel should emulate the new Israeli government's single-minded focus. This is not the time to be distracted by what are, for now, secondary issues, like eventual Palestinian statehood. Nor should disagreements between Israeli and American intelligence agencies over the pace of Iranian nuclear development distract the two governments from their agreement over the danger posed by a nuclear Iran. By focusing on thwarting Tehran's nuclear ambitions, the U.S. and Israel will find Arab allies like Egypt and Saudi Arabia. That dynamic is already creating a shift in regional alliances, and could eventually lead to a real Middle East peace process.
Read the whole thing. Note that the focus on realism is shared by Eliot Abrams, John Bolton and Dan Pipes. But all of them felt compelled to move into the realm of final settlement - which is surely a mistake at this point in time. Is Klein-HaLevi advocating putting final settlement aside for now? Or is its absence in this article just a reflection of the limited format? While I like the focus on being more realistic about what's attainable, so long as this conflict is existential, no settlement will be possible because no compromise is possible.
The fact that the Obama administration is - unfortunately - unlikely to adopt such limited goals is a separate issue. The Netanyahu-Barak government should be pushing for this kind of working arrangement - at least for the time being.
Two weeks ago, I did a post about the BBC rejecting the radio version of a brief anti-Israel play because it was biased. That play was called Seven Jewish children.
Unfortunately, the play - framed as a discussion among Jewish parents from the Holocaust to the present day - has now made it to New York City, where it is playing to mostly enthusiastic audiences in all the 'right' circles.
Much of the night at the theater is apparently a discussion that takes place after the play. So the play is actually available online and I am embedding it below. This is from the Chicago production of the play. Let's go to the videotape. Here's Part I:
Just what is this supposed to mean? Michael Billington of the Guardian grasped Ms. Churchill's point when he wrote that the play captured "the transition that has overtaken Israel, to the point where security has become the pretext for indiscriminate slaughter." Ms. Churchill herself has written that she "wanted [the play] in some small way to reflect the shock and enormity of what happened in Gaza. I think it does that relatively mildly." (My emphasis again.)
All this makes perfect sense -- provided you're willing to reduce the Arab-Israeli conflict to caricature, magnify it to the exclusion of all others, assign blame (and moral agency) wholly to one side, and suppose that Israelis use the memory of the Holocaust cynically or neurotically as an alibi for gratuitous and wanton bloodletting.
In other words, if you're prepared to manipulate history as dishonestly as our vile little "play" about black America does, then it's easy to draw a damning moral. And if you're clever enough to cast the indictment as a story about some blacks or some Jews, or as one of generational decadence, then you might also acquit yourself of charges of racism or anti-Semitism, since you can point to a few Jews or blacks worthy of your considered respect.
Of course Ms. Churchill does just that, even as she mocks Jewish claims to statehood ("Tell her her great great great great lots of greats grandad lived there"). Of course she cites the authority of Israel's many internal dissenters and Jewish critics as another method of self-justification, thereby using Israel's own openness as a club with which to bludgeon it. Yet if you say, for instance, that Israel is a fascist state and cite the testimony of Israelis who freely argue as much, then you have done nothing except instantly disprove your own premise.
But logic is not the issue here, nor, really, are the facts: Try arguing either with someone determined to ignore them. The issue is about taboo -- a word easy to mock until you realize it often upholds what is best in society. Racism has become taboo in American society, and that's a very good thing. Anti-Semitism used to be taboo, but that's been eroded by an obsessive criticism of Israel that seems to borrow freely from the classic anti-Semitic repertoire ("tell her they're filth") while adopting the brilliant trick of treating Jewish victimization as a moral ideal from which modern Israel has sadly deviated.
In fact, while it is arguably political drama, I am puzzled how anyone would see it as pure art - especially when it deals with so complicated an issue as the Mideast conflict.
Indeed, why choose to comment on this most recent phase of the decades old conflict by restricting it to a supposed discussion between Jewish/Israeli parents, especially repulsive one who are far from representative of Israeli parents who generally preach peace to their children - not war.
More to the point, why examine the Gaza battles and totally ignore the supposed thoughts of Palestinian Gaza parents who allow their children to be systematically taught to hate Christians as well as Jews, whose children are told that there must never, ever be peace with Israelis, whose children are exhorted from toddlership that there is no higher Palestinian goal than to strap an explosive belt around one's waist and then venture forth to murder as many Jewish men, women and children as possible.
The answer is because Ms Churchill, like her Hamas friends, is not interested in promoting true Mideast peace. I don't believe she's even that interested in defending all those hapless Palestinians she claims to identify with (she has forfeited any claim to royalties for this play in exchange for audience contributions to Palestinian medical welfare).
What interests her most, like a dangerously increasing number of left wing Britons, is to strike out at Israelis and Israeli actions, and in doing so to question the Jewish state's very validity. In the end, Churchill has produced a let's-hate-the-Israelis piece of political propaganda disguised as avant-garde drama.
Her work is a sad reflection of a growing tendency among "progressive intellectuals" here as well as abroad not merely to criticize specific Israeli government policies - their perfect right, even obligation - but to openly challenge Israel as such, to challenge its very right to exist as a Jewish state more than 60 years after its renaissance was ratified by the vast majority of the family of nations.
Indeed, it is increasingly chic in supposedly intellectual circles to claim "I'm not anti-Semitic, I'm merely anti-Zionist".
If that means "I disagree with certain Israeli government policies" - than calling oneself "an anti-Zionist", is a dangerous misnomer. Lord knows most of the people of Zionist Israel sharply disagree with their government's policies at one time or another. However, if by "anti-Zionist" one questions Israel's very legality, then this Zionist would argue the term is nothing more than a camouflage for anti-Semitism: it is denying to Jews the right that all nations have to a home on their ancestral land, even if, as in the case of Israel, they must share that land with another people that clearly doesn't want to share it.
Like so many who now proudly define themselves as "anti-Zionists", Caryl Churchill simply loves to hate Israel. And that isn't art.
But it's not just Britain and the phenomenon is not limited to sympathizing with the 'Palestinian' cause. On Thursday, I blogged an article by the Jerusalem Post's Khaled Abu Toameh (who is not Jewish), in which he reported that students on American college campuses are more pro-Hamas than the 'Palestinians' themselves.
The so-called pro-Palestinian “junta” on the campuses has nothing to offer other than hatred and de-legitimization of Israel. If these folks really cared about the Palestinians, they would be campaigning for good government and for the promotion of values of democracy and freedom in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
Their hatred for Israel and what it stands for has blinded them to a point where they no longer care about the real interests of the Palestinians, namely the need to end the anarchy and lawlessness, and to dismantle all the armed gangs that are responsible for the death of hundreds of innocent Palestinians over the past few years.
The majority of these activists openly admit that they have never visited Israel or the Palestinian territories. They don’t know -and don’t want to know - that Jews and Arabs here are still doing business together and studying together and meeting with each other on a daily basis because they are destined to live together in this part of the world. They don’t want to hear that despite all the problems life continues and that ordinary Arab and Jewish parents who wake up in the morning just want to send their children to school and go to work before returning home safely and happily.
What is happening on the U.S. campuses is not about supporting the Palestinians as much as it is about promoting hatred for the Jewish state. It is not really about ending the “occupation” as much as it is about ending the existence of Israel.
Unfortunately, I do not believe that there is any hope of moving the Left to be pro-Israel unless we are willing to return to a socialist economy - something most Israelis are loathe to do. If 9/11 didn't move the Left into Israel's corner, it's not likely that anything else will. The Left has fallen lock, stock and barrel for Islamic fascism.
We Jews who support Israel should be allying with the moderate and conservative Right (I say that to exclude the Pat Buchanan's of the Right) to fight the sort of anti-Israel virulence that this play reflects and that has become chic in the West today. While we must have faith that God will ultimately save us, we also need to make our own effort to point ourselves in the Right direction (double entendre intentional).
Passover is rapidly approaching. Recall that the Sea did not split immediately for the Jewish people. It took a Nachshon ben Aminadav to go into the water up to his neck before God split the Sea. We need to make a start.
There's an alternative play called Seven Muslim Children (which is actually much more even-handed) here. (12-page pdf link).
At the Wall Street Journal's Best of the Web, James Taranto has an incisive comment on the shuttering of that 'Palestinian' orchestra that played for a group of Holocaust survivors last week.
The Associated Press makes vague references to "authorities" and "a community leader," but you have to go to Israel's Arutz Sheva to learn that these leaders are affiliated with the Palestinian Authority and Fatah, the "moderate" faction of Mahmoud Abbas [you could have come to me, James. CiJ].
At one level, this is a comical story. As anti-Israel gestures go, it's hard to imagine one more futile. The orchestra's audience, after all, consisted of people who survived Nazi death camps. No doubt they will survive this indignity. (As for Younes, she lives in an Arab village within Israel, so her banishment isolates Jenin, not her.) Yet there are real victims in this incident--namely, the 13 youngsters who are being deprived of what one surmises is a rare opportunity to engage in a beautiful and elevating activity.
Hindi's comment that Younes "exploited the children for a big political issue" is especially risible given the Palestinian political culture that glorifies so-called martyrdom--that literally sacrifices its children by using them as suicide bombers and human shields.
Yet while using children as instruments of war is far more depraved than forbidding them to play instruments for peace, in purely practical terms the latter is more senseless. Shutting down Younes's orchestra terrorizes no Israeli and inspires no one's sympathy for the Palestinian cause. It accomplishes nothing except to make the Palestinians look both malevolent and weak.
In foreign-policy circles, there is an idea--to which the Obama administration seems more sympathetic than the Bush administration was--that if the U.S. puts enough pressure on Jerusalem, it can bring about peace between Israel and the Palestinians. This idea is often presented under the rubric of "realism." The story of Wafa Younes and her youth orchestra is a timely reminder that Palestinian intransigence is the biggest obstacle to peace, and that this so-called realism is anything but.
Keep telling them that, James. Maybe one day those 'foreign-policy circles will even listen.
Time Magazine reports a slightly different version of Israel's attack on that Iranian weapons convoy that was headed for Gaza via Sudan back in January. In this version, there was only one air attack and the US was notified but did not participate.
The sources revealed exclusive details about the bold air attack on what they said was an Iranian weapons convoy, which had been transporting rockets and explosives destined for Gaza during the Israeli assault on the small Palestinian territory. They denied earlier news reports that U.S. aircraft had been involved in the attack on the arms convoy as it crossed at night through the Sudanese desert heading for Egypt's poorly guarded border. "The Americans were notified that Israel was going to conduct an air operation in Sudan, but they were not involved," a source said. He denied prior claims by a U.S. television network that a ship and a second convoy were destroyed. "There was only one raid, and it was a major operation," he said, adding that "dozens of aircraft" were used.
F-16 fighter-bombers carried out two runs on the convoy, while F-15 fighter planes circled overhead as a precaution in case hostile aircraft were scrambled from Khartoum or a nearby country. After the first bombing run, drones mounted with high-resolution cameras passed over the burning trucks. The video showed that the convoy had only been partially damaged, so the Israelis ordered a second pass with the F-16s. During the 1,750-mile (2800 km) journey to Sudan and back, the Israeli aircraft refueled in midair over the Red Sea.
The bombing raid came after an intelligence tip-off. In early January, at the height of Israel's assault on Gaza, Israel's foreign intelligence agency Mossad was told by an informant that Iran was planning a major delivery of 120 tons of arms and explosives to Gaza, including anti-tank rockets and Fajir rockets with a 25 mile range and a 45 kg warhead. With little time to plan the operation, naval vessels and helicopters were rushed to the Red Sea in case Israel had to rescue a downed pilot, and the plan was rushed through. "The Israelis had less than a week to pull this all together," a source said.
The Iranian shipment was bound for Port Sudan. From there, according to the security sources, the Iranians had organized a smuggler's convoy of 23 trucks that would take the weapons across Egypt's southern border and up into the Sinai. Hamas would then take charge of the weapons and smuggle them into Gaza through the tunnels unscathed by Israeli bombardments.
It was a route used occasionally by Hamas, but never before on such a large scale, sources said. "This was the first time that the Iranians had tried to send Hamas a shipment this big via Sudan — and it is probably the last," he said. Several Iranians were killed in the raid, along with Sudanese smugglers and drivers, the source claimed. "No doubt the Iranians are checking back to see who might have leaked this to the Israelis," he said.
There are a number of points in this version that are worth highlighting. First, the fact that Israel was able to carry out a raid of this scale at the height of Operation Cast Lead puts the lie to stories that were broken last summer about how Israel had 'only' a limited number of fighter jets with which to carry out an attack on Iran's nuclear facilities. The rumor last summer was that the 100 fighter jets that carried out an exercise over the Mediterranean were nearly all the working fighter jets Israel had. If it was true, it is apparently not a limitation.
Second, it's 875 miles to Sudan. It's about 900 miles to Iran via the long route. That's not a very significant difference. If last summer's exercise proved it could be done as an exercise, the raid in Sudan proves that it can be done for real. With midair refueling.
Third, the whole operation was put together in less than a week with a war going on elsewhere. If Iran thinks that it can get Hezbullah and Hamas to run interference for it to - for example - install the Russian S-300 anti-missile defense, it now needs to consider that it may be mistaken.
While this account differs from the earlier accounts that I posted, the key here is that the mission shows that Israel has a credible response to the Iranian nuclear threat. While it may not be able to wipe the program out entirely, it is clear that Israeli jets can reach Iran and drop their loads - at least so long as the S-300 is not installed. That could cause significant damage to the Iranian nuclear program. And that should be keeping Iranian President Mahmoud Ahamdinejad (pictured above with Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir) up at night.
Are you busy Wednesday night? How would you like to be on a conference call with Barack Obama's good friend Rashid Khalidi?
Key Historical Lessons for the Obama Administration in their Pursuit of Israeli-Palestinian Peace
A TOWN HALL CONFERENCE CALL with Rahid Khalidi
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
9:30 pm ET / 8:30 pm CT / 7:30 pm MT / 6:30 pm PT
Dr. Rashid Khalidi will distill from his historical research on the region what he sees as the key lessons the Obama Administration must consider in its pursuit of a two-state resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Khalidi is a leading American public intellectual and a distinguished scholar of Middle East and Palestinian history and of American foreign policy in the region and has written widely about these issues. His commentary will include both general lessons and specific commentary in light of the Administration's actions to date.
TO JOIN: Dial 1-218-936-4700 within 5 minutes of the call's designated start time and then enter the access code 123432#. You are responsible only for domestic long distance charges.
QUESTIONS: The presentation will be followed by an extensive question-and-answer session open to all participants. Please send brief questions before or during the call to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Those are their instructions - here are mine (okay - copied from the person two emails up in this chain).
Andrew Breitbart has it exactly right in today's Washington Times. I think the choices are pretty clear: we can either continue to subdivide into, literally, thousands of yahoo groups and google groups , send each other articles and feel like at least we're doing something or we can organize in the way Breitbart speaks of. This conference call is a perfect testing ground. Khalidi is out of control. Some of you rcvd my email over the weekend about his two-day CUNY conference this week . It would seem to make sense that we somehow organize a way to interrupt peacefully but repeatedly so they cannot accomplish anything on their conference call. I read smart observations all day long on the two listservs I belong to. We need some of that wisdom to organize a machine, to go on the offensive, both online and on the phone. This email is going to Switzerland, San Francisco, Sydney and everywhere in between . We need leaders before it's too late.
The 'two-state solution' was already implemented in 1921
There's a must-read article at the American Thinker today, written by Victor Sharpe. It reviews the entire history of the Zionist enterprise in one computer screen and explains how Winston Churchill implemented the 'two-state solution' in 1921 and how there really is no 'Palestinian' partner for peace - nor is there likely to ever be one.
In 1920, Great Britain was given the responsibility by the League of Nations to oversee the Mandate over the geographical territory known as Palestine with the express intention of reconstituting within its territory a Jewish National Home.
The territory in question stretched from the Mediterranean Sea to the eastern boundary of Mandatory Palestine, which was a border that would separate it from what was to become the future state of Iraq.
The League of Nations created a number of articles, which were in line with the original intent of the Balfour Declaration of November 29th, 1917. At the last minute, however, a new article was introduced by the British Colonial Office: article number 25.
At first the sudden addition of this article was not a cause for alarm but gradually it became apparent that its inclusion directly enabled Great Britain in 1921 to tear away all the territory of geographical Palestine, east of the River Jordan, and give it to the Arab Hashemite family; the territory to become Trans-Jordan and led by the emir Abdullah.
Britain presented this gift to Abdullah, the son of the Sherif of Mecca, as a consolation prize for its awarding of the Hedjaz territory and Arabia, which included Mecca, to the rival Saud family: That vast territory is now Saudi Arabia.
British officials also claimed that the gift of Mandatory Palestine east of the Jordan River was in gratitude to the Hashemites for their contribution in helping defeat the Turks. However, even T.S. Lawrence later described in derisory terms the Hashemite role as "a side show of a side show."
This was the first partition of Palestine and created a brand new entity 87 years ago covering some 35,000 square miles or nearly four-fifths of the geographical territory of Palestine. Immediately Jewish residence in the territory was forbidden and it became in effect judenrein - the German term for the ethnic cleansing of Jews from a territory.
This betrayal by none other than Winston Churchill, the Colonial Secretary at the time, was a devastating blow to the Jewish and Zionist leadership, which now saw the promised Jewish homeland reduced to the remaining narrow territory between the Mediterranean Sea and the River Jordan - an area barely 50 miles at its widest.
Shortly after, in 1923, the British and French colonial powers also divided up the northern part of the Palestine Mandate. Britain stripped away the Golan Heights (ancient biblical Bashan) and gave it to French occupied Syria.
The Balfour Declaration [pictured. CiJ] issued by Lord Balfour, British Foreign Secretary, never envisaged that the Jordan River would be the eastern boundary of the reconstituted Jewish homeland. Indeed, the Zionist leadership had put forward in February 1919 its first submission that the eastern boundary would run well east of the Hedjaz railway. The incorporation of the railway would be an economically essential requirement for the Jewish community living east of the River Jordan as well as providing it with vital security.
Britain's mismanagement of the Mandate finally led to the United Nation's Partition Plan of 1947. The Jewish Agency reluctantly accepted this additional dismemberment of what was left in Mandatory Palestine of the promised Jewish National Home.
They did this in order to provide a refuge for the surviving Jewish remnants of the Holocaust and for the growing numbers of Jewish refugees being driven out of their homes throughout the Arab world. In contrast, the Arab regimes rejected the Partition Plan. Then, as now, they worked against the existence of an independent Jewish state.
Israel was officially re-born as a sovereign nation in 1948 and its 600,000 Jews fought to survive the massive Arab onslaught, which was intended to wipe out the Jewish state.
In 1948, Trans-Jordan, renamed the Kingdom of Jordan since 1946, had joined the other Arab nations in invading the Jewish state, illegally annexing the Biblical and ancestral Jewish heartland of Judea and Samaria and renaming it the West Bank. Only Britain and Pakistan recognized the annexation.
The war ended in tortuous armistice lines resulting in an Israeli border a mere nine miles wide at the most densely populated area, which stretched from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordanian occupied West Bank. Israel's late Foreign Minister, Abba Eban, described these dangerously vulnerable armistice lines as the Auschwitz borders.
Nineteen years later the Arab states declared again their imminent intention to destroy Israel. In the June 1967 Six Day War Israel liberated Judea and Samaria from Jordan in a defensive war. Israel offered to give away the newly liberated West Bank to the Hashemite regime in Jordan and the Gaza Strip to its erstwhile Egyptian occupiers in return for a full and lasting peace. But the Arab League, meeting in Khartoum in August, 1967, delivered the infamous three No's: No peace with Israel, no negotiations with Israel, no recognition of Israel.
It is within the narrow territory remaining for the Jewish state, if one includes Judea and Samaria, that the world now demands the establishment of yet another Arab state. Hamas controlled Gaza would be included in this future state to be called Palestine; a state which has never existed before by that name in all of recorded history - certainly not as an independent Arab state.
It is only if the true history of the Middle East is understood that certain things become inescapably clear: the scale of the monumental lie that has been so assiduously promulgated about the nature of this dispute, a lie which is now generally assumed in the west to be true and which is driving the genocidal hysteria against Israel; the fact that the fundamental cause of this tragic impasse was the repeated British appeasement of Arab terror, illegality and injustice, a policy which continues to this very day; and the immorality and absurdity therefore of believing that today's ‘two-state solution’ – which among other things means that the ‘progressives’ who support it thus support the ethnic cleansing of all Jews from the putative state of Palestine – would be anything other than a Final Solution for the Jews of Israel, not to mention an incalculable victory for the forces waging war against the free world.
Yes, the Brits get a major part of the blame. But unfortunately, they had and have plenty of partners in their crime.
The Jooos come up with a new weapon: A remote control bulldozer
Apparently, the IDF has had these at least since the Second Lebanon War but just didn't bother to tell anyone.
The IDF has adapted the Caterpillar D9 bulldozer so that one very important component is no longer necessary: The driver.
"The unmanned D9 performed remarkably during Operation Cast Lead, clearing roads of mines and explosive devices," explained one officer in the Ground Forces Command. "There was even one vehicle that was damaged, which demonstrates how it did its job since no one was injured."
The Black Thunder looks like a regular D9 bulldozer but is equipped with a number of cameras that transmit images to the operator, who controls the vehicle with a wireless remote control. The unmanned D9 participated widely in Operation Cast Lead as well as in the Second Lebanon War in 2006.
"The unmanned version is important since if there is a concern that an area is loaded with mines it can save lives," the officer said, adding that in the event of a communications malfunction the vehicle can be turned into a manned vehicle and operated like a regular D9.
And now they're planning to double them. Looks like an ordinary bulldozer, doesn't it? Read the whole thing.
Gazans have a feevah and the only prescription is... money?
The title matches what the write-up on YouTube says, but this video from al-Jazeera is mostly about - you guessed it - Israel. You see all the money in the world isn't going to help if Israel isn't going to open the crossing points into Gaza so they can buy something with it. And Israel isn't going to open the crossing points unless and until Hamas releases its hostage - Gilad Shalit. Will this be enough to get the Gazans to take to the streets to demand Shalit's release - even at the price of not getting all those terrorists back? Not likely. You see, Gazans know well that unlike Israel, Hamas will kill them. And besides - it's much easier to whine to al-Jazeera and keep Hamas happy.
Let's go to the videotape. The al-Jazeera write-up on YouTube will follow.
And here's what the summary of the video said:
Israel's war on Gaza has left 100,000 homeless, they have nowhere to go.
Arab states have pledged millions of dollars to reconstruct Gaza, but the money hasnt come through.
The people of Gaza have had enough of empty promises, they remain deeply skeptical as to whether the Arab Summit will offer them anything other than rhetorical support.
From Gaza, Al Jazeera's Sherine Tadros reports on what residents want from this summit.
I would also be deeply skeptical of the Arab summit offering any more than rhetorical support. In fact, I doubt that it will offer even that much. The Arab countries are very happy to have this spectacle of the 'poor refugees' in Gaza. It serves their purposes quite nicely.
The Arab League summit in Doha, Qatar has given Israel one more chance to commit suicide. It has told Israel that it's now or never for the 2002 Saudi initiative.
Arab leaders in Qatar for the Arab League summit sent Israel an ultimatum Sunday: Accept the Saudi Peace Initiative or it will be rescinded.
The draft proposal of the statement states: "The peace initiative being proposed today will not be on offer for a long time. Arab commitment to this initiative is dependent on Israeli acceptance."
The draft proposal was formulated by the Arab foreign ministers, and will be presented to the Arab League's leaders Monday for approval.
The wording is a compromise between the hardline Arab countries, mainly Syria and Qatar, and the moderates, including Egypt and Saudi Arabia.
For those who have forgotten, the 2002 Saudi plan features 'acceptance' (but not recognition) of Israel by the Arab League in exchange for Israel's return to the Auschwitz borders of 1967 and a 'just and agreed upon solution' to the 'Palestinian refugee problem' (i.e. letting whatever is left of Israel after its dismemberment be overrun by 'Palestinian refugees'). Here's a JPost article that explained it (with my comments interspersed):
The Saudi Peace plan of February 2002 was re-launched by the Arab League in March 2007 in Riyadh as the Arab Peace Initiative, and calls for a full Israel withdrawal from all territories taken in the Six Day War, including east Jerusalem and the Golan Heights, in exchange for normal ties with the Arab world. [Those 'ties' are probably not worth much more than our ties with the Egyptians. Egypt continues to shun tourism to and business with Israel and continues to conduct war games that posit Israel as the enemy. CiJ]
It also calls for a "just solution" to the Palestinian refugee problem in accordance with UN General Assembly Resolution 194, but stated that the Arab League would back any plan on the matter agreed by Israel and the Palestinians.
UN General Assembly Resolution 194 from 1948 states that "refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbors should be permitted to do so." [It would mean the end of the Jewish state if all of the third and fourth generation 'Palestinians' who claim 'refugee' status were permitted to return here. CiJ]
At a conference in Haifa over the weekend, Germany (whose Prime Minister, Angela Merkel, is shown opposite Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in the picture at top left) was slammed by an ex-Iranian ayatollah for its trade relations with Iran (Hat Tip: Michael T).
Ayatollah Dr. Mehdi Haeri Khorshidi, a former member of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini's government, said during a convention on Iran at Haifa University that Germany prefers to salvage its billion-dollar deals rather than apply the pressure necessary to stop the Iranian nuclear program.
The ayatollah, who resided in Germany in the years 1986-2003, said the country had extended its dealings with Iran while pointedly disregarding its nuclear program and human rights violations.
He also criticized the EU which, he said, does not take advantage of its power in order to weaken Tehran's nuclear aspirations and prevent a war that would be destructive to the entire region.
"Iran depends on Europe no less than Europe depends on Iran," he said.
Khorshidi's statements stirred an uproar at the conference, which was also attended by Germany's ambassador to Israel, Dr. Harald Kindermann. He stepped on stage unannounced in order to refute the claims made by the ayatollah, stressing that his country had changed its policies towards Iran.
I wonder how recently Kindermann claims that his country has changed its policies regarding Iran. This is from a February article in the Wall Street Journal that I blogged here.
Yet because of the sheer volume of its trade with Iran, Germany, the economic engine of Europe, is uniquely positioned to pressure Tehran. Still, the obvious danger of a nuclear-armed Iran has not stopped Germany from rewarding the country with a roughly €4 billion trade relationship in 2008, thereby remaining Iran's most important European trade partner. In the period of January to November 2008, German exports to Iran grew by 10.5% over the same period in 2007. That booming trade last year included 39 "dual-use" contracts with Iran, according to Germany's export-control office. Dual-use equipment and technology can be used for both military and civilian purposes.
One example of Germany's dysfunctional Iran policy is the energy and engineering giant Siemens. The company acknowledged last week at its annual stockholder meeting in Munich, which I attended, that it conducted €438 million in trade with Iran in 2008, and that its 290 Iran-based employees will remain active in the gas, oil, infrastructure and communications sectors.
Concerned stockholders and representatives from the political organization Stop the Bomb, a broad-based coalition in Germany and Austria seeking to prevent Iran from building a nuclear-weapons program, peppered Siemens CEO Peter Löscher with questions about the corporation's dealings with the Iranian regime. A Stop the Bomb spokesman questioned Siemens's willingness to conduct business with a country known for its human- and labor-rights violations, ranging from the violent oppression of women to the murder of gays to the repression of religious and ethnic minority groups. The spokesman referred to Siemens's Nazi-era history as an employer of forced labor from the Auschwitz extermination camp and asked how, in light of the corporation's Nazi history, the company could support an "anti-Semitic and terrorist regime" that threatens to wipe Israel off the map.
Mr. Löscher replied to the 9,500 stockholders in Olympic Hall that, "For Siemens, compliance and ethics have the highest priority, including where human-rights issues are involved." Yet, after further questions from the Stop the Bomb spokesman, he acknowledged that Siemens and its joint partner, Nokia, had delivered state-of-the-art communications surveillance technology to Iran last spring.
Information-technology experts say that the companies' "monitoring centers" are used to track mobile and land-line telephone conversations, and that their "intelligence platform" systems allow the Iranian secret service to track financial transactions and airplane movements. The technologies could also be used to monitor persecuted minority and dissident groups in Iran.
Trade and security experts assert that Iran cannot easily replace high-tech German engineering technology with that from competitor nations such as China and Russia. The hollow pleas by Chancellor Angela Merkel, who favors a policy of moral pressure to convince corporations to be "sensitive" about cutting new deals with the regime in Tehran, did not prevent her administration from approving over 2,800 commercial deals with Iran in 2008.
Just when does Dr. Kindermann claim that Germany has changed its policies? In the last six weeks?
To the misguided President Obama who wants to make peace with the devil, "Supreme Guide," mullah Ali Khamenei, the civilized Iranians, who are descendants of Cyrus the Great, find mullah Ali Khamenei and his cabal of Islamists guilty of heinous crimes. A partial list of charges is given below.
*He does not represent the Iranian people. He is a usurper of power. He is guilty of transforming a noble nation into a world pariah. He is an Islamic terrorist.
*He is denying and violating a long-suffering people of all its human rights.
* He is guilty of beating, imprisoning and torturing a few dozen women who braved participating in a peaceful demonstration pleading for equal family rights at the International Day of Women.
* He systematically beats, imprisons, and tortures all manner of citizens, from schoolteachers to students to union workers, for daring to raise their voices against the plight to which they have been subjected.
* He has savagely beaten and hauled to his dungeons of torture and death over a thousand of the tens of thousands of teachers who gathered in front of the parliament, requesting nothing more than their back pay and living wage.
* He directs systematic genocidal measures against all non-Shi’a religious minorities, with Baha'is as the prime target.
* He arrests some Christians that even his holy book Quran calls "People of the Book," for observing Christmas.
* He implements barbaric practices of stoning, hanging and amputations for those who are convicted of crimes in his kangaroo courts without due process. He even imprisons those few lawyers who rise in the defense of the innocent.
* He has plundered, mismanaged and doled out Iran's national wealth with the result that the great majority of the people are living in poverty. Iranian women are forced into prostitution to survive or simply sold as sex slaves in Persian Gulf states.
* His fascist misrule of nearly three decades has driven millions of Iran's best children to the four corners of the world. Hundreds of thousands of educated Iranians are compelled to continue the exodus, depriving Iran of their sorely needed talents at home.
* He spends a fortune on the nuclear program that he claims is only aimed for peaceful purposes, while turning Iran into little more than a gas station nation, with its precious oil wealth squandered and its facilities on the verge of collapse through neglect.
* He has created a suffocating social atmosphere that has driven masses of the people to the use of hard drugs as a way of numbing their pain.
* He looks far and wide to support any and all terrorists. His delusional theology mandates the creation of horrific conditions in the world so that the Hidden Imam is compelled to appear and establish his rule.
* He spares no efforts at sabotaging any settlement between the Palestinians and Israelis. He arms and trains all Palestinian factions such as Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and any and all that come.
* He directs similar criminal schemes on his eastern flank, in Afghanistan. He considers any democratic system as the enemy of Islamofascism, and rightfully so.
* He works ceaselessly, expands Iran's stolen funds, and does all he can in support of his Shi’a co-fascists Hezbollah in Lebanon.
* His hands are dripping with the blood of thousands of Iraqis, victims of his bloodthirsty kin mercenaries aiming to kill a budding democracy in Iraq next door.
* He supplied his mercenaries with armor-piercing projectiles for killing and maiming the coalition forces in Iraq. He, cowardly killing by proxy, using roadside-planted bombs, has taken the lives of nearly 200 Americans.
On Sunday, I reported on some of the people who are present at the Arab League Summit in Doha, Qatar. I did not report on who wasn't present, because Israel Radio's correspondent (yes, there is one there) reported that we would not know for sure until Monday morning who was coming and who was not. The correspondent did in fact mention that Egypt would probably not be coming, and I assumed, as others probably did, that was because of Qatar's support for Hamas (during Operation Cast Lead, there were two summits, one in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt and one in Doha, Qatar, with markedly different attendance). Haaretz actually has a different explanation for why Egypt is not at Doha:
Egypt is to be represented at the summit by a very low-level official after Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul Gheit declined to participate, reportedly due to anger at Qatar for making overtures to Hamas. Egypt has demanded Qatar not invite Iranian President Mohammed Ahmadinejad to the summit, and stop its criticism of Egypt on the Al-Jazeera network, which began after Operation Cast Lead.
So much for the Arab theme of 'unity' for the current Arab League summit.
But Israel Radio this morning fills in the blanks in the 'overtures to Hamas.' It seems that Egypt is angry at Qatar for offering Hamas 'unlimited funds' to transfer kidnapped IDF Corporal Gilad Shalit to Qatar rather than to Egypt - presumably (although this is left unsaid) as an intermediate phase in an exchange of Shalit for hundreds of Hamas terrorists. Israel Radio bases itself on a report in Lebanon's al-Akhbar newspaper which is basing itself on French sources. Israel Radio just repeated the report on its 9:00 am newscast.
Is Hamas being bribed to replace Egypt as the intermediary with Israel? If so, Egypt has plenty to be angry about. Egypt is one of only two countries at 'peace' with Israel - the other is Jordan. Israel has lower-level diplomatic representation in Qatar (I believe it's an 'interests section'). Egypt is a more natural interlocutor.
But more importantly, Egypt shares a border with Israel. Qatar does not. Egypt does not want another Arab country interfering in its relations with Hamas. And for good reason from its perspective.
Secretary of Defense Robert Gates predicted North Korea would launch a missile soon and said there's nothing the United States can do about it.
"I would say we're not prepared to do anything about it," said Gates during an appearance on "Fox News Sunday."
The United States and countries in Asia have been closely monitoring activity in North Korea after learning that the communist country had begun placing a Taepodong 2 missile at a launch facility. North Korea says the missile will be used to launch a communications satellite in early April. But the technology for a satellite deployment can also be used to launch a ballistic missile, and that's why the U.S. and allies have expressed concern that North Korea might test its ability to reach the United States with a missile.
Gates reiterated that concern on Sunday. "I don't know anyone at a senior level in the American government who does not believe this technology is intended to mask the development of an intercontinental ballistic missile," he said.
If the United States can'twon't stop North Korea, why does anyone think that it canwill stop Iran?
We Israelis should consider ourselves lucky that Olmert's term in office mostly coincided with Bush's term in office and not with Obama's. Olmert and Obama are birds of feather: The chicken.
Shin Bet chief Yuval Diskin gave the final meeting of the Olmert-Livni-Barak cabinet some statistics on Sunday regarding Hamas-smuggled weaponry and ammunition that has entered Gaza since the end of Operation Cast Lead.
Since Operation Cast Lead ended, Diskin said, 22 tons of dynamite were smuggled into Gaza. Forty-five tons of raw material used to produce dynamite, dozens of rockets, hundreds of mortar shells and anti-aircraft shoulder missiles also made their way to the Strip, he said.
Israel Radio also mentioned anti-tank missiles. Still, Diskin considers this an 'improvement' over the situation before Operation Cast Lead.
Diskin told the cabinet that Egypt was making inroads in its effort to curb arms smuggling through the Gaza-Egypt border, but that Hamas still succeeded in bringing large quantities of weapons into the Strip.
Terror groups in the Gaza Strip were planning to carry out another kidnapping attempt, Diskin warned.
He added that there has been an increase in the efforts of small splinter groups to carry out attacks inside Israel, either by infiltrating through Sinai or by orchestrating local efforts in the West Bank.
Read the whole thing. The Olmert-Livni-Barak government's failure to finish Hamas off while it had the chance will unfortunately come back to haunt us.
Israel Radio reported on its 6:00 pm newscast that UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon is in Qatar for the Arab League conference. Among the other 'diplomats' in attendance is Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir. As you may recall, al-Bashir was indicted for 'war crimes' by the International Criminal Court a few weeks ago for mass murder of non-Arab Darfuris. I guess that's of no consequence to Ki-Moon. The show must go on.
But Ki-Moon is not alone. Since his indictment, al-Bashir has visited Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia and Libya according to the same Israel Radio report. None of those countries thought it proper to turn the fugitive al-Bashir over to Interpol or to another international police agency.
All of which goes to prove that it's okay to murder Muslims, so long as it's done by Muslims.
'Palestinians' force orchestra that played for survivors to disband
This is rich.
On Friday, I reported on a post by Debbie Schlussel that heiress Shari Arison had done a 'good deed' (that neither Debbie nor I found particularly good) by bringing a 'Palestinian' youth orchestra to play for a group of Holocaust survivors.
Now Haaretz reports that 'Palestinian authorities' have disbanded the orchestra and barred its conductor from her 'refugee camp' over the incident.
Adnan Hindi of the Jenin camp called the Holocaust a political issue and accused conductor Wafa Younis of unknowingly dragging the children into a political dispute.
He added that Younis has been barred from the camp and the apartment where she taught the 13-member Strings of Freedom orchestra has been boarded up [as if she committed a terror attack? CiJ].
"She exploited the children," said Hindi, the head of the camp's popular committee, which takes on municipal duties. "She will be forbidden from doing any activities...We have to protect our children and our community."
But the richest part is the explanation for what got Hindi (is he Hamas or Fatah? They don't say so I would assume he is from the 'moderate' Fatah organization - kind of like how no one says 'Democrat' when a member of that party is involved in corruption) so upset:
The move highlights the sensitivity of many Palestinians over acknowledging Jewish suffering, fearing it would weaken their own historical grievances against Israel.
"The Holocaust happened, but we are facing a similar massacre by the Jews themselves," Hindi said. "We lost our land, and we were forced to flee and we've lived in refugee camps for the past 50 years."
Hindi said Palestinians - especially in his hardscrabble cinder block refugee camp - had suffered at the hands of Israel and demanded their grievances be acknowledged first.
Oh really? Has anyone seen 'Palestinians' being forced into gas chambers? Has anyone seen them trudging through snow without coats or shoes in torn clothes? Has anyone seen them lined up en masse and shot - except for 'collaborators' shot by the 'Palestinians' themselves? Has anyone seen them herded into cattle cars and transported hundreds of miles without food or water?
What's so odious about 'Palestinian' Holocaust denial is the effort to equate their own 'suffering' - and to adopt the Jewish narrative as their own (see another example above) - when whatever suffering the 'Palestinians' may have is self-inflicted (or at least inflicted by their own leaders) and of such a miniscule degree as compared with Jewish suffering in the Holocaust.
But there's one way in which one could equate the 'musicians' and the Holocaust survivors.
Hindi said the children's parents were not aware that the orchestra would play for Holocaust survivors.
At last Wednesday's performance, most of the Holocaust survivors did not know the youths were Palestinians from the West Bank, a rare sight in Israel these days. And the youths had no idea they were performing for people who lived through Nazi genocide - or even what the Holocaust was.
It's not so smart to try to trick people on either side, is it? Just ask Daniel Barenboim.
"I feel sympathy for them," Ali Zeid, an 18-year-old keyboard player said after the concert. He said he was shocked by what he learned about the Holocaust, in which the Nazis killed 6 million Jews in their campaign to wipe out European Jewry.
"Only people who have been through suffering understand each other," added Zeid, who said his grandparents were Palestinian refugees forced to flee the northern city of Haifa during the war that followed Israel's creation in 1948.
Someone unearthed a tape of Binyamin Netanyahu as a witness in a mock trial in 1978 in which he discusses whether there should be a 'Palestinian' statereichlet. Let's go to the videotape and I'll have more discussion below (Hat Tip: Eliyahu P).
In the show, he is called as a "first witness" in the mock court case scenario that the TV program employed. He is introduced as "a graduate of MIT, an Israeli and a man who has written widely on the question [of a Palestinian state]."
Asked whether the issue of self-determination is at the heart of the Middle East conflict, Netanyahu replied, "No, I don't believe it is. The real core of the conflict is the unfortunate Arab refusal to accept the State of Israel... For 20 years the Arabs had both the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, and if self-determination, as they now say, is the core of the conflict, they could have easily established a Palestinian state, but they didn't... What we're talking about here is not the attempt to build the state but to destroy one.
"Nobody wants peace more than Israel," he said.
"But the stumbling block to the road for peace is this demand for a PLO state which will mean more war... more violence in the Middle East, and I sincerely believe that if this demand is abandoned, we can have real and genuine peace."
After being quizzed by members of the studio audience, Netanyahu concluded: "I think the US should oppose the creation of a Palestinian state for several reasons, the first being that it is unjust to demand the creation of a 22nd Arab state and a second Palestinian state at the expense of the only Jewish state... I believe we should fight for our survival. If I have to, I will fight again, but I hope not to."
Four years later, Netanyahu was Israel's ambassador to the United Nations explaining Operation Peace for Galilee on Ted Koppel's Nightline.
Deep down, I don't believe that Binyamin Netanyahu has changed his views since that day in Boston more than thirty years ago. I believe that Binyamin Netanyahu does not want to create a 'Palestinian' state. But I don't believe that he believes he has the power to stop it. We Israelis have to give him that power.
Writing in Sunday's Times of London, Martin Ivens describes the preparations that Israel has undertaken for an attack on Iran's nuclear facilities and makes a good case that as far as the Israelis are concerned, time is running out.
The danger to the rest of the world will be that the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, to which Iran is a signatory, will be in ruins. The old hopes of atoms for peace will become atoms for war as unlovely regimes everywhere reach for the nuclear trigger. The doctrine of mutually assured destruction (Mad) kept the United States and the Soviet Union from blowing us all up and making the rubble bounce. Whether Mad works among multiple hostile powers has never been put to the test. It’s an experiment we can do without. The crazy regime of nuclear-armed North Korea has already rattled its neighbours to breaking point.
The Americans have ruled out a pre-emptive strike on Iran for now but the Israeli air force has been on manoeuvres, conducting dummy bombing runs as far afield as the Strait of Gibraltar. Such a course would be militarily hazardous – “it’s at the very outer limit of our capabilities” says a security source – and, because of the distance to the target and the dispersal of the Iranian nuclear programme, even a successful hit might only postpone the evil day.
Few Israeli politicians show any appetite for such a mission. They would far rather work with the United States and their European friends to stop it. Gilad, however, muses: “To delay the Iranian bomb is not a bad idea.” As for the dangers, “in 1981 our intelligence agencies also advised against a strike on Iraq”. That was when Saddam Hussein’s nuclear reactor at Osirak was levelled by an Israeli bombing raid. (I am meeting Gilad on a trip arranged by the British Israel Communications and Research Centre. The sabre-rattling is for my benefit.)
George Bush refused to give the nod to an Israeli raid on Iran, because retaliation against targets in Iraq, the Gulf and the West as well as Israel might follow. Obama will be more reluctant still: the White House’s attempt to reach out to old enemies would be ruined. The president is not standing still as this danger beckons. New US strategies are being applied at breakneck speed across the world – all the old verities are being challenged. This has profound implications for the Middle East: the problem child of the world is about to get a kindly but firm American uncle.
Ivens argues that the United States should 'reassure' Israel to keep it from acting against Iran.
The president’s problem is that Jerusalem is working to a more urgent timetable. As Gilad sees it, the Iranian bomb is “an existential threat” and the point of no return is coming fast. If he is prepared to go to such lengths to save one captured soldier [Amos Gilad has been the lead negotiator in the talks to free Gilad Shalit. CiJ], what will he not do to safeguard his nation? Obama must reassure Israel if he is to hold the ring.
I don't expect Obama to reassure Israel, and I don't believe that Israel - certainly an Israel led by Binyamin Netanyahu - would trust any reassurance that it would receive from President Barack Hussein Obama. In its brief time in office, what this administration has done to American relations with Britain, France and the Catholic Church, pales by comparison to what it has done to American relations with Israel. Here are just some of the affronts that this administration has heaped on Israel in its two months in office.
1. The attempt to appoint Jew-hater Chas Freeman as chairman of the National Intelligence Council (not that Brent Scowcroft is any better).
2. The open anger at Shimon Peres (Shimon Peres!) for sending a New Year's greeting to the Iranian people.
3. The open anger at the government of Israel because the City of Jerusalem deigns to try to enforce its own zoning ordinances.
4. The snubbing of IDF chief of staff Gabi Ashkenazi during his recent trip to Washington.
7. The agreement to allow Hamas to take part in a 'Palestinian national unity government,' apparently without giving up on destroying Israel.
Given all of those actions (and more) against Israel's best interests just since he took office (see the picture above for one of his campaign statements and another issue from the campaign), and given that the United States has essentially given up on preventing Iran from becoming a nuclear power, why does anyone think that Israel will listen to Obama? There is wall-to-wall support in this country for taking action against Iran. Unlike the Obama administration, nearly all Israelis understand that for us a nuclear Iran is an existential threat. Even a US promise of a strike against Iran if it carries out a nuclear strike on Israel is not going to move very many people here.
Israeli will pick its own time and place, but I would bet on Israel going this one alone.
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 10 to 30 years and six 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