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Monday, May 31, 2010

Video: 'Beating the hell out of Israeli commandos'

Lest anyone believe that the 'peace activists' had peaceful intentions, this video is entitled "Beating the hell out of Israeli commandos' and the person who posted it writes, "See how we attacked them as soon as they landed on deck! Look closely, we decked one of them with a crowbar!"

Let's go to the videotape.

By the way, the comments to this video are surprisingly good (at least the ones that I saw).

Anyone still doubt these useful idiots were looking for a confrontation to create 'martyrs'?

Video: 'Flotilla of fools' ambushes Israeli soldiers; UPDATE VIDEO FIXED

Here's a report from Israel's Channel 10 which combines Turkish television video with Israeli narration. In the video, you will see the 'unarmed peace activists' attacking IDF soldiers with knives, clubs and live fire. The 'peace activists' also attempted to steal IDF soldiers' weapons.

Let's go to the videotape.

Al-Jazeera is reporting that the ships changed course in order to fight the IDF in daylight so that they could get better television pictures.

The boats are being towed to Ashdod, where Israel will undoubtedly ship the cargo into Gaza after searching it for weapons and other contraband.


I just fixed the video on this one.

Why did Israel attack the 'flotilla of fools'?

As noted earlier today, the IDF attacked the 'flotilla of fools' - the group of ships bringing 'aid' to Gaza in the wee hours of Monday morning. The IDF has confirmed that 7 soldiers were injured: 2 severely, 2 moderately and 3 lightly. All of the injured people on the boat - including the 'activists' - have been evacuated to hospitals in Israel.

Reports indicate that anywhere from 2 to 14 passengers on the boats were killed and 'dozens' were injured. This is from YNet (Hat Tip: Memeorandum).
According to an IDF source, "The sail's participants were not innocent and used violence against the soldiers. They were waiting for the forces' arrival."

The NTV network has been broadcasting images of injured passengers on board one of the ships since the morning hours. Some were evacuated on boats and helicopters.

The al-Jazeera network reported that hundreds of soldiers took over the vessels taking part in the sail simultaneously.

According to a reporter on one of the ships, the Israel Defense Forces raided all vessels from the sea and air at the same time and informed all of the passengers that they were under arrest.

The Israeli vessels, the report said, attacked the flotilla in international waters with aerial reinforcement, using gas. A Qatari television channel broadcast live the dramatic images from the ships, with Hamas spokespeople giving interviews and vowing to punish Israel for "the new crime".

The images showed Commando soldiers with their faces covered. A fighter in uniform, wearing a gas mask, tried to block the camera with his hand, while more and more troops raided the ship after sliding down from a helicopter using a rope.

The NTV network showed Commando fighters hanging down from ropes onto the ships' decks. One of the images showed a military doctor treating one of the injured.

At around 4 am, the live broadcast from one of the six ships was disconnected. The broadcast was resumed an hour later and the ship began calling out for help and announced to the Navy that there were injured people aboard.

One of the commenters in the previous post asked why Israel didn't just surround the ships at sea and 'force' them into the port of Ashdod. Israel spent three days trying to 'convince' them to go into the port of Ashdod. Surrounding them at sea and trying to force them into Ashdod would have sacrificed the element of surprise.

And why attack them at sea and not wait for them to get closer to Gaza? Because doing so would mean that Israel would have had to fight with the Gazans on land in addition to fighting the 'activists' at sea.

Did the Israeli government warn the 'activists' before they boarded the ships? You bet they did. Here's an IDF video that shows one of those warnings.

Let's go to the videotape.

If you had heard that warning - knowing that the IDF delivers hundreds of tons of cargo to Gaza every day - would you have continued to try to reach Gaza or would you have gone to Ashdod? Obviously, they were looking for a confrontation, and they were looking for cannon fodder to make into 'martyrs.'

And don't buy the story that these were 'unarmed' 'peace activists.' In the video below, you will see one of these 'unarmed' 'peace activists' hit an Israeli soldier with a pipe and then stab him with a knife.

Let's go to the videotape.

Turkey has recalled its ambassador to Israel. Good. It's time to stop the bluff that Turkey has anything but warlike intentions toward us.

Bottom line: These people committed an act of war - arguably on behalf of the Turkish government. Maybe the next time, after seeing the results of this time, they will think twice.

Turkish media claim 2 dead, 'dozens' injured in IDF boarding of ships

Turkish media is reporting that at least 2 people have been killed (I've seen reports as high as 10) and 'dozens' were injured when IDF commandos boarded the ships of fools comprising the 'Gaza flotilla' in the early hours of Monday morning.
Hundreds of Israelis commandos boarded the ships at once, firing guns and employing gas, according to Al-Jazeera.

Al-Jazeera reported Turkish leaders calling an emergency meeting to discuss responses to the attack at sea. The Israeli ambassador in Turkey was called in to offer explanations, according to a report.
The Turks ought to be told that they committed an act of war by sending the ships, that they should have done what the Cypriots did and barred them, and that if they don't keep their big Islamic mouths shut the bombs will start hitting Ankara.
Prime Minister Haniyeh of Hamas came on Al-Jazeera to condemn the “brutal attack” and call on the UN to intervene on the activists behalf.

Apparently, IDF attempts to prevent broadcasting from the ships were unable to block the Turkish camera crew on board one of the ships.

The flotilla's change of course earlier in the night to force the confrontation with the navy to occur in daylight seemed to have succeeded. The attack began still under cover of dark, but continued in daylight.

Earlier tonight, the IDF contacted the boats by radio, clarified that the Gaza Strip is a closed military zone and offered the sailors two options: to follow the navy to Ashdod Port or be commandeered by commandos, according to flotilla organizers.

The initial contact took place about 200 km. off the Gaza Coast. Flotilla organizers said they detected three Israel Navy ships on the radar.

Passengers on the ships were instructed to don life vests as organizers warned of potential Israeli violence.

Israel Radio quoted the flotilla’s organizers as saying they did not expect the navy to meet them so far out at sea.
The problem is that the IDF has thus far been silent about what happened. Instead, the Turks and Hamas are dominating the media reports.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Gaza flotilla going around in circles

This is too good to check, which is good because I don't have time to check it (Hat Tip: Shaul R):
It seems that most of Gaza bound ships are riding around in circles off shore Cyprus.


east... no 180 degree turn, west, no I changed my mind, east... How long until 700 passengers start eating food they were supposed to bring to Gaza? It has been days, and they have been wasting fuel riding back and forth near cyprus giving interviews for the media.

world media has been talking about them for a week, but they haven't moved 100 miles from cyprus. Either they have worst navigators ever, or they have no intent reaching Gaza and are just riding off shore cyprus as a publicity stunt.

Mavi Marmara, main ship in the convoy, seems to be moving, but doing only 3.6kt (very slow) and they are going the wrong way, they seem to have missed Gaza by 1000 nm and are on their way to Lebanon.


It is not my scoop, if you want to credit someone, credit the guys on militaryphotos.net forum:

N. Korea exporting nuclear and ballistic missile technology to Syria, Iran

A United Nations report indicates that North Korea is exporting nuclear and ballistic missile technology to Syria, Iran and Myanmar.
The seven-member panel monitoring the implementation of sanctions against North Korea said its research indicates that Pyongyang is involved in banned nuclear and ballistic activities in Iran, Syria and Myanmar. It called for further study of these suspected activities and urged all countries to try to prevent them.

The 47-page report, obtained late Thursday by AP, and a lengthy annex document sanctions violations reported by U.N. member states, including four cases involving arms exports and two seizures of luxury goods by Italy - two yachts and high-end recording and video equipment. The report also details the broad range of techniques that North Korea is using to try to evade sanctions imposed by the U.N. Security Council after its two nuclear tests in 2006 and 2009.

Council diplomats discussed the report by the experts from Britain, Japan, the United States, France, South Korea, Russia and China at a closed-door meeting on Thursday.


Under council resolutions, all countries are required to submit reports on what they are doing to implement sanctions but as of April 30 the panel said it had still not heard from 112 of the 192 U.N. member states — including 51 in Africa, 28 in Asia, and 25 in Latin America and the Caribbean.

While no country reported on nuclear or ballistic missile-related imports or exports from North Korea since the second sanctions resolution was adopted last June, the panel said it reviewed several U.S. and French government assessments, reports from the International Atomic Energy Agency, research papers and media reports indicating Pyongyang's continuing involvement in such activities.

These reports indicate North Korea "has continued to provide missiles, components, and technology to certain countries including Iran and Syria ... (and) has provided assistance for a nuclear program in Syria, including the design and construction of a thermal reactor at Dair Alzour," the panel said.
And yet on Friday, the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review conference - with President Obumbler's approval - passed a final 'consensus document' that only discussed Israel. (And please don't tell me that Obama opposed the provision on Israel - had he opposed it enough he could have vetoed the consensus document and then there would not have been one).

Has the world gone mad?

Read it all.

Blame UNIFIL for the next war in Lebanon

When there's another war in Lebanon, UNIFIL will be to blame - but only partly.
UNIFIL's fecklessness became increasingly clear when Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah made several open declarations from 2006 about his organization's acquisition of new medium- and long-range missiles. Indeed, Hezbollah boasted of acquiring about 35,000 rockets and missiles as of 2007 (up from 10,000 before the war in 2006).

Thus, Hezbollah received - via Syria and Iran - thousands of weapons in breach of U.N.S.C.R. 1701. UNIFIL issued no statements. It did not launch an investigation. It simply sat back and allowed the Iranian-backed terrorist group to rearm.

This brings us to April of this year. After Israel publicly warned about Syrian Scuds in Hezbollah's hands, a UNIFIL official declared there were no Scud missiles sent to Lebanon. "We have around 12,000 soldiers and three Lebanese army brigades in a small area. We haven't seen a thing," UNIFIL Commander Gen. Alberto Asarta Cuevas declared.

This reckless statement by a commander of U.N. forces is outrageous. It is even more outrageous considering that U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and Special Envoy Terje Roed-Larsen were complaining about the Hezbollah buildup just as UNIFIL bureaucrats were covering for Hezbollah.

Then there's the statement itself. Gen. Cuevas admits that his forces only operate in a "small area." How, then, can he verify that no Syrian missiles entered Lebanon? Indeed, UNIFIL is deployed only in the southern districts of Lebanon, while the entire Bekaa Valley and Mount Lebanon - the area where most of the weapons transfers are known to take place - are beyond UNIFIL's control.

While Gen. Cuevas says he "hasn't seen a thing," Hassan Nasrallah confirms that he has received thousands of missiles so far. In this way, UNIFIL is facilitating a Hezbollah buildup.
Well, yes. But the fools who agreed to UNIFIL's presence under the terms of Resolution 1701 are to blame too. Aren't they?

Why younger Jews don't feel the same love toward Israel

Richard Baehr has got it right. He shows the connection between a lack of connection to God and Judaism and a lack of connection to Israel among American Jewry. Lack of support for Israel is a symptom of a much larger problem: Lack of religious feeling.
There are many explanations for why younger Jews do not feel the same way about Israel as earlier generations. For one thing, young liberal Jews today are increasingly the product of secular parents, mixed marriages, and homes devoid of serious attachment to not only Israel, but God and Judaism. Secular Jews have become increasingly suburban and affluent and there is little sense of struggle or threat in the lives of the younger generation (other than whether they can get into an Ivy League college or professional school and make their parents proud).

These young liberal Jews know very little or nothing of World War 2, Jewish life in Europe, the Holocaust, the 48 War, the 6 Day War, the Yom Kippur War, or even the scud attacks in the ‘91 Gulf war. They are comfortable. And since most of the people they come into contact with on campus, or in their new professional lives are liberals, they do not want to cross swords with them by backing Israel (the politically incorrect stronger party) against the Palestinians (the weaker party). It is hard to defend Israel, and not lose points earned for all one's good deeds -- attacking capitalism, greedy Wall Street bankers, George Bush, Sarah Palin, Christian conservatives, and Tea party bigots, and backing all the noble causes: abortion rights, ending global warming, raising taxes on the rich, making health care cheap, accessible and high quality through a public option, saving Darfur, and did I mention abortion rights? How can one be for all these noble and moral causes and not also fight for human rights in Gaza and the West Bank?

Blaming AIPAC or the Conference of Presidents for young liberal Jews' lack of enthusiasm for Israel is absurd. This is like blaming the schools as the principal reason for the performance gap between African American kids and Asian kids. I would cast my vote for the differences in the home environment. I think the near 80% black illegitimacy rate, and Asian parents' obsession with educational performance are a lot bigger deal than the public schools in explaining the performance gap, even with all the obvious problems with the union dominated school system, and the effects of tenure in 3 years, protection of incompetents, and teachers' low expectations of minority kids.

The Jewish organizations Beinart attacks are pretty much all that is left in the Jewish community to defend the Jewish state. Such defense will not come from the Reform movement, or the Rabbis fasting for Gaza, or Rabbis for J-street, or Rabbis for Obama, or Jews for Peace and Justice, or the NJDC or Peter Beinart. Does Beinart believe no one should defend the Jewish state? Or would he leave it to the editorial pages of the New York Times to find out the level of support that is acceptable?
Read it all.

The Jewish Left's big lie

Jonathan Mark has one of the best critiques of Joel Beinart I've seen yet. Here's some of it.
I'm fine with any critique of the Jewish establishment from serious Jews and serious journalists, people who deeply love Israel and disagree with its policies. Not acceptable, though, are the assimilationists and anti-Israel -- yes, let's call them that -- leftists who piggy-back on the legitimate Jewish left as a beard to cover their loathing of all things Jewish and Israeli. They are the ones who say they can't enjoy the Salute to Israel Parade or the flag because of the mean ol' Israeli government.

And yet, they never showed up for anything celebrating Israel no matter who was prime minister. They say they show their love for Israel by criticizing it. In what other way have they ever displayed any love for Israel? In no other way.

Basically, we're talking about those assimilationists who have rejected Judaism and prefer to blame Judaism for rejecting them. They are usually identified as self-hating Jews, self-loathing Jews, but it more of a cult of self-pity -- always complaining that they were never coddled enough by the so-called Jewish establishment. Now it is fashionable for them to blame Israel. Their motto is , "Ask not what I can do for Israel, ask what Israel can do for me." What Israel does for them now is to give them an alibii for abandoning Judaism. Their alibi is that they are being stifled, they say the "establishment" (what an adolescent word for them to use) stifles debate. This from the people who tried to stop Ambassador Michael Oren from speaking at Brandeis.

The other week Gil Kulick, of J Street's advisory board. was invited to speak at the Riverdale Temple. As reported by Paulette Schneider of the Riverdale Review, Kulick said, the purpose of J Street is to give voice to those who are "intimidated" by what he called the taboo against expressing criticism of Israel. How is he "intimidated" and where is the taboo if one of the most venerable temples in the city invited him to address the congregation?
Read it all.

What's a Bar Mitzva without catering or music?

What's a Bar Mitzva without catering or music? It's a Bar Mitzva being celebrated for the son of White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel at the Davidson Center at the back of the Kotel plaza.
White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel’s son Zach will celebrate his Bar Mitzvah Sunday at the Davidson Center near the Western Wall but without catering or music. Jerusalem officials accepted a complaint from nationalist activist Itamar Ben-Gvir, who pointed out that the law forbids food and music at the Center, adjacent to the Western Wall

Jerusalem court judge has ordered Ben-Gvir and activist Baruch Marzel to remain at least 1,500 feet from Emanuel and his delegation.

Zach Emanuel is celebrating on Sunday morning. Although Western Wall Bar Mitzvah ceremonies are traditionally held on Monday, Thursday or the Sabbath, the days when the Torah is read, Bar Mitzvah celebration parties can be held at any time.

Emanuel’s diverged from traditional Jewish custom during his trip, although he often has been described in the media as “Orthodox.” He ate non-kosher food publicly in Eilat last week and brought his family to an “alternative orthodox” synagogue in the Germany Colony in Jerusalem Friday night.

Foreign and local media have not noted that the Davidson Center where Zach Emanuel's Bar Mitzvah is being held is in an area that the United States does not recognize as being under Israeli sovereignty.
Hey moron - do what everyone else does and hand out cake and schnapps at the Kotel and then make an affair at the Ben Zakkai shul. Yes, that's in the Old City too, so you lose.

Maybe he should have just let Ben Gvir take the kid on that jeep tour. Heh.

Weathering the storm

Daniel Gordis has a thought provoking essay on the need for American Jewish support for Israel and how to keep it. I suggest that you read the whole thing, but I'd like to highlight a couple of points and make a couple of comments.
The evidence is virtually limitless. We’re witness to a tectonic shift in American Jewish life, but many people would rather ignore it than face the serious work that lies ahead. Thus, when I pointed out (“If this is our future,” Jerusalem Post, May 7) that following Brandeis University’s invitation to Ambassador Michael Oren to be its commencement speaker, the public discourse was captured by those opposed to his invitation, some people responded by pointing out the (obvious) fact that many Brandeis students (and probably the majority) supported the invitation. A petition in favor, signed by 5,000 people, was also reported. And a small number of articles in the Brandeis paper, opined one faculty person in a response to the Post, ought not be taken out of context. “Imagine someone telling you it’s pouring rain outside and you stick your head out the window and see there are just a couple of clouds in the sky,” he wrote.

But what we’re facing would be “just a couple of clouds in the sky” if the story that mattered was about Brandeis, which it obviously is not. Everyone knows that Jewish life on campus doesn’t get better than Jewish life at Brandeis. So why pretend that Brandeis is the issue? What is significant is that even at Brandeis, one of the crown jewels of American Jewish academe, as of the publication of my previous column, there had been four pieces in the student newspaper about the Oren invitation. The Justice’s official editorial and the head of the campus J Street chapter weighed in opposed. So, too, did a member of the computer science faculty. And a student representative to the Board of Trustees aimed to defend the invite by suggesting that Oren was being asked to campus not as a representative of the State of Israel, but as an academic.

WHY DOES any of this matter? Because in not one of these pieces did any of the four writers have a single positive thing to say about Israel. That, not Brandeis, is the story.
He's right, but I don't believe the shift in American Jewish thinking is limited to Israel. What we're really seeing - in the long run - is the separation of American Conservative and Reform Jews from Orthodox Jews. This has been a long time in coming.

Survey after survey shows that Conservative and Reform Jews vote overwhelmingly Democratic and place Israel far down on their priority list. Orthodox Jews are voting more and more Republican and tend to place Israel as a much higher priority even if they won't consider living there ('parnassa' - making a living - 'you know'). I'm not sure there's much we can do to stop the coming fissure among American Jews.

From a political standpoint, I would argue (and have argued) that Israel doesn't need the support of the American Jewish community, because the Christians support us and that is more than enough. But the Christian support is not guaranteed. And the implications of Israel losing the political support of the American Jewish community go far beyond the political.

What we're witnessing is a fissure within the American Jewish community. It's not just about Israel. It's about all the people who would rather that their kids intermarry than become Orthodox. In a way, this was almost to be expected. Throughout Jewish history, those movements that varied from the Torah as taught by the rabbis have been destined to leave the Jewish people altogether. The Karaites, the Sadducees, the followers of Shabtai Zvi - they all disappeared or assimilated into the surrounding non-Jews. Are Conservative and Reform Jews in the US (where they are a much greater percentage of the population of Jews than anyplace else in the World) headed in the same direction? And by the way, how many Halachic (under Orthodox Jewish law) non-Jews are being counted in all the surveys that show declining support for Israel among American Jews?
To me it seems patently obvious that the secure, confident and creative Diaspora community that many American Jews now take for granted is directly dependent on a vital and flourishing State of Israel. Today’s young American Jewish leaders can neither recall nor imagine the days in which Jews hesitated to march on Capitol Hill, or the days in which one could not get a job on Wall Street wearing a kippa. That confidence is the product of Israel, and of the formative experiences that many American Jewish leaders have had in the Jewish state. The image of the Jew, no longer one of victim, but of utter confidence, was born in June 1967. In Israel.

Though many will disagree, it seems equally clear to me that were the State of Israel to be vanquished, the vibrant American Jewish life that we now too easily take for granted would wither away within a generation. And if that were to happen, the two great centers of world Jewry – Israel and America – would each essentially be gone.
I believe that a vital and flourishing State of Israel is a tremendous help to the American Jewish community. But I don't believe that American Jews would necessarily stop marching on Capitol Hill or stop wearing kippot to work on Wall Street (which you couldn't do on Wall Street when I got out of law school in 1984) if God forbid Israel ceased to exist. And I don't believe Jewish life in the US would wither away within a generation. But I do believe that Israel's disappearance - God forbid - would accelerate the creation of a chasm between the Orthodox and the non-Orthodox streams. Quite simply, to the extent that they agree on support for Israel, it's often the only thing on which they agree. I also believe that by the time my and Gordis' generation reach our eternal resting places, either the problem will be solved or it will be unsolvable (Gordis is two years younger than I am). We are members of the last generation in which non-Orthodox American Jews instinctively support Israel. Perhaps that's because we do remember 1967.
And I believe that Israel’s military might, cultural flourishing, strength of spirit and more, important though they all are, are not sufficient to sustain the country. America’s support – financial, military and in the increasingly hostile court of international public opinion – is critical. Yet that support would be much endangered without an American Jewish leadership that instinctively feels deeply connected to Israel, that doesn’t ask, “What does any of this have to do with us?”

Today, we have that leadership. But the future is not as secure as many would like to believe. Nor is that future very far away.
I agree with everything he writes here except that I am not sure that Israel cannot obtain that support without an American Jewish leadership that instinctively feels deeply connected to Israel. And I think that Israel ought to be preparing itself for the day when that type of American Jewish leadership is not there. That day seems to be coming.

Read the whole thing.

Deutsche Bank divests from Elbit

Deutsche Bank, one of Germany's largest banks, has divested from Elbit, one of Israel's most prominent defense contractors (Hat Tip: Lance K).
Deutsche Bank CEO Josef Ackermann announced at Thursday’s shareholder meeting in Frankfurt that the firm had sold all its shares in Elbit Systems, a major Israeli defense company. The company declined to cite a reason for divesting from Elbit, whose stock value has fallen some 30 percent this year.

But two groups critical of the West Bank security fence that had called on Deutsche Bank to divest from Elbit -- International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War and Pax Christi, a Catholic nongovernmental organization that describes itself as a human rights and peace movement -- issued a joint statement Friday calling their divestiture campaign “a major success.”


Pax Christi and the international physicians' group said Deutsche Bank should “not to profit any longer from the violation of human rights and international law through the construction of the Israeli wall on Palestinian lands.”

As of March 31, according to those groups, the bank still had more than 50,000 shares in Elbit, making it one of the Israeli company’s largest shareholders.
Together with the IDF presence in Judea and Samaria, Israel's 'security fence' (95% of it is NOT a wall) has virtually eliminated terror attacks within the 'green line' over the last four years. I guess Pax Christi would rather see dead Jews. Does Deutsche Bank feel the same way? Kind of surprising for a bank that maintains a significant presence in Israel.

Iran hid warhead making equipment from inspectors

The Associated Press reports that Iran hid nuclear warhead making equipment from visiting IAEA inspectors.
UN nuclear inspectors revisiting an Iranian laboratory suspected of involvement in a nuclear weapons program discovered that equipment has been removed, diplomats said Friday.

Senior officials within the International Atomic Energy Agency are concerned that the removal was part of a cover-up.

The equipment can be used for pyroprocessing, a procedure used to purify uranium metal used in nuclear warheads.

Iran had confirmed that it carried out pyroprocessing experiments, but then backtracked in March.

The experiments prompted IAEA experts to revisit a site where they had apparently already seen the equipment, the Jabr Inb Jayan Multipurpose Research Laboratory in Tehran, but they found some of the equipment had been removed to an undisclosed site.

Three diplomats speaking anonymously, said an electrolysis unit used in separating out impurities from uranium metal was among the apparatus that had been removed. Another said chemical apparatus used in the process were now missing.
But let's just go on pretending that Iran is not developing nuclear weapons.

What could go wrong?

Video: The Tribal Update interviews Da Silva and Barak

Here's the latest Latma Tribal Update featuring Brazilian President Lula da Silva and Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak.

Let's go to the videotape (Hat Tip: Norman F).

Liberal abandonment of Israel reflects on liberals, not Israel

Shavua tov, a good week to everyone.

Just to remind you once again, I am in Boston and not in Israel. I depart back to Israel on Wednesday.

David Frum's take on Joel Beinart is pretty much on target.
Beinart is for sure right that Jewish liberals have been drifting away from Israel.

That drift reflects badly on those liberals, not on Israel. It’s a drift based on substituting wishful thinking for real analysis.

Matt Groening — who would later create The Simpsons — in his early career drew a cartoon of an older brother and sister urging their younger sibling to step into the dark basement. “Mom left a present for you downstairs.” The kid answers: “The last time you said that, you locked me in the basement for three hours.” They reply: “This time we won’t.”

That’s the same argument now made about the peace process. Yes, the last round of major Israeli concessions back in 1999-2001 invited a spasm of Palestinian terror attacks that killed 800 people. But the next round of concessions will surely work much better!

You can see why Israelis might answer: “No thanks. We’ll build our security fence and develop our economy, and when you Palestinians have an offer for us, we’ll be glad to listen. In the meantime, your problems are your problems.” That’s not a moral decline. That’s the chastening of experience.

But if there’s one thing that defines liberal thinking about the Middle East, it is precisely that it denies that Palestinian actions matter at all — or even that there are such things as Palestinian actions. Only Israel acts, and anything bad that happens in the region is a response to an Israeli action.

Read it all.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Sabbath music video

Here's Avraham Fried singing Shabbos Hi MiLizok u'Refuah Krova Lavo - it's prohibited on the Sabbath to cry out for healing because on the Sabbath healing is soon to come. This song helped get me through a very difficult period in my life about fourteen years ago. I listed to it constantly.

The video is from a December 2009 concert in Tel Aviv.

Let's go to the videotape.

I still get teary hearing that song.

Shabbat Shalom everyone. Remember that I'm in Boston, so I won't be back online until the early hours of Sunday morning Israel time.

Obama's right: Islam has always been a part of America's story

Yoram Ettinger argues that President Obama was right when he declared in Cairo on June 4, 2009 that Islam has always been a part of America's story. Indeed, Islamic terror has always been a part of America's story. And it will continue to be a part of America's story regardless of whether or not America supports Israel.
The intensification of the Muslim terrorist threat, despite Obama’s rough/critical/cold attitude toward the Jewish State, refutes the claim that the Arab-Israel conflict, the Palestinian issue or the US-Israel friendship are the root cause of anti-US Islamic terrorism.

Anti-US Islamic terrorism has been bolstered by the expansion of Hezbollah’s operational, financial and political infrastructures in Latin America, notwithstanding the contention by Obama and his advisors that supposedly there is no global Islamic terrorism (only Taliban and al-Qaeda terrorism), that ostensibly there is no Jihadist terrorism (“because Jihad means to purify oneself…”) and that terrorism has been seemingly a derivative of Western exploitation of the Third World.

President Obama was right when he declared – at Cairo University – that “Islam has always been part of America’s story.” Indeed, Islamic terrorism targeted US ships between 1776 and the beginning of the 19th century. In fact, John Quincy Adams, the 6th president of the USA, researched the causes of anti-Western Islamic terrorism, concluding that its core cause was endemic hostility toward the “infidel.”

During the 20th century, the US became a chief-target for Muslim Brotherhood hate-education, which was transformed into a manufacturing-line of anti-US terrorists. In 1983 - when US tanks in Lebanon stopped Israel’s hot-pursuit of Arafat - 300 US Marines were murdered by Muslim terrorists who blew up the US embassy and Marines Headquarters in Beirut.
Read the whole thing.

Will Americans wake up to reality in time?

Evidence of Syrian arms transfers to Hezbullah

The Times of London has seen satellite images of Syrian arms depots that supply Hezbullah terrorists with missiles. (Warning: To access that link you may have to go through the most invasive registration process I have ever seen).

The Times has been shown satellite images of one of the sites, a compound near the town of Adra, northeast of Damascus, where militants have their own living quarters, an arms storage site and a fleet of lorries reportedly used to ferry weapons into Lebanon.

The military hardware is either of Syrian origin or sent from Iran by sea, via Mediterranean ports, or by air, via Damascus airport. The arms are stored at the Hezbollah depot and then trucked into Lebanon.

“Hezbollah is allowed to operate this site freely,” said a security source. “They often move the arms in bad weather when Israeli satellites are unable to track them.”

Most of the weapons are sent from depots like the one near Adra and then stored at Hezbollah bases in the Bekaa Valley or southern Lebanon.
Read the whole thing. In the next war, Israel will have to fight Syria. It was a mistake not to do it the last time when we had the opportunity.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Mr. Bluff's coming to the White House

'Moderate' 'Palestinian' President Mahmoud Abbas Abu Mazen has been invited to the White House for a June 9 meeting with President Obama.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas will arrive Washington in two weeks to discuss the obstacles to peace with Israel with US President Barack Obama, the White House announced Thursday in a statement reported by Reuters.

"They will also discuss our continuing effort to work cooperatively to develop the institutions that can advance the aspirations of the Palestinian people, and support the establishment of a Palestinian state," said the statement.
The biggest obstacle is Abu Bluff himself, who has no mandate to make any concessions, and who is two years past the term for which he was elected. Of course, any replacement is even less likely to be interested in 'talks' with Israel at all.

By the way, does that second paragraph mean that the White House supports the Fayyad program including the declaration of a state reichlet in August 2011?

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu will be at the White House on June 1 as part of President Obama's continuing effort to shore up Democratic fundraising from the Jewish community.

What could go wrong?

And I have a bridge to sell you in Brooklyn

If you believe this one, you really are a naive fool.
Iran indicated approval of Syria's indirect peace talks with Israel, Syrian President Bashar Assad said in a interview with US television show host Charlie Rose on Thursday night.

Assad remarked that Iran had publicly and privately supported Syria's informal talks with Israel.

"If we have peace and we're sure that we are going to have our land back then surely Israel will live normally, like any other country in this region," said Assad.

Earlier in the week, Assad said that he was willing to sign a peace agreement with Israel in exchange for the Golan Heights.

The Syrian president also dismissed claims that his country supplied Hizbullah with long-range Scud missiles, stating that it was an "anecdotal story [told by] Israel."
And that's just going to make me kick all the Jews off the Golan Heights and hand it to Assad. Does he really think we're that stupid?

Route 443 opens to 'Palestinian' traffic

Route 443, the 'back road' from Jerusalem to Modiin, opened to 'Palestinian' traffic on Friday morning from just outside Modiin to the Ofer checkpoint outside Jerusalem.
The Association for Civil Rights in Israel might have won a two-year court battle to place the Palestinians on the highway that cuts through 17 kilometers of the West Bank and links Jerusalem with the Tel Aviv road, but December’s judicial victory against what Palestinians have termed “the apartheid road” did not give them the one thing they most wanted: quick access to Ramallah, where they receive essential services.

Now that the deadline is up – the court gave the IDF five months to prepare the road – Palestinians worry that the security checks and circuitous traffic patterns from the creation of two entry points and four exit ones will render the road useless to them.

Israeli motorists, parliamentarians and regional leaders are also unhappy. They fear an increase in traffic jams and accidents, as well as a spike in incidents of Palestinians throwing stones and Molotov cocktails at passing cars.

Worse, they are afraid of fatal terror attacks, such as those that killed six Israeli motorists on the West Bank stretch of 443 during the first two years of the intifada – acts that caused the IDF to ban Palestinians from the road in the first place.

Military sources told The Jerusalem Post the IDF still believed it would be safer to keep Palestinians off the road, but that the court had ruled against it.

As a result, after spending more than NIS 30 million, military sources said, the road will be opened in accordance with the dictates of the court ruling. They were fairly blunt about the fact that their mandate was merely to allow local Palestinian traffic on Route 443, not to turn it into a thoroughfare to Ramallah.


Under the new traffic plan, however, the IDF will stop Palestinian cars at a new three-lane checkpoint set up on Route 443 just 1 km. away from the Ramallah exit.

Even if Palestinians could turn left at the exit, their way would be barred within minutes by the Beitunya checkpoint, which is open only to Israeli commercial trucks that deliver goods to Ramallah. Israeli motorists are stopped there are well, because from that point on, the road is under the Palestinian Authority’s control.

Palestinians can’t go there because the IDF believes it is a security risk to allow them passage through Beitunya. The High Court of Justice, in its December ruling, upheld the IDF’s decision.
Read the whole thing.

'Palestinian' traffic on Route 443 was sparse on Friday, and fear of 'Palestinian' terror attacks will likely make Jewish traffic sparse on Sunday (although Route 1 - the main highway from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv - will likely have heavier traffic than any time since 2002). It makes you wonder why they bothered.

Obama counterterror chief John 'al-Quds' Brennan: Jihad is a legitimate tenet of Islam

In a speech at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, President Obama's chief counter-terror adviser John 'al-Quds' Brennan referred to jihad as a 'legitimate tenet' of Islam and argued against using the term 'jihadists' to describe America's enemies.
During a speech at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, John Brennan described violent extremists as victims of "political, economic and social forces," but said that those plotting attacks on the United States should not be described in "religious terms."

He repeated the administration argument that the enemy is not "terrorism," because terrorism is a "tactic," and not terror, because terror is a "state of mind" -- though Brennan's title, deputy national security adviser for counterterrorism and homeland security, includes the word "terrorism" in it. But then Brennan said that the word "jihad" should not be applied either.

"Nor do we describe our enemy as 'jihadists' or 'Islamists' because jihad is a holy struggle, a legitimate tenet of Islam, meaning to purify oneself or one's community, and there is nothing holy or legitimate or Islamic about murdering innocent men, women and children," Brennan said.
That reminds me of the way Yasser Arafat once described jihad as non-violent. And while Muslims would definitely regard jihad as a legitimate tenet, it's definitely not non-violent says Islam expert Robert Spencer.
Brennan should study the Qur'an and Sunnah in order to discover just how Muslims understand what it means to purify "one's community," and what the Islamic understanding is of the term "innocent." He would find, of course, that a community that is fully purified is one in which non-Muslims live as subjugated dhimmis, and that non-Muslims are never understood in the Qur'an and Sunnah as being "innocent." But he will not undertake such a study, and will never find these things out.


[Jihad] doesn't just "connote" warfare. It juridically means warfare, according to Islamic texts and teachings. There is not a single traditional school of Islamic jurisprudence that does not teach, as part of the obligation of the Muslim community, warfare against and the subjugation of unbelievers.
Read the whole thing.

South Africa also denies Guardian nuke story

A reminder again that this story is posting after the Sabbath starts in Israel because I am in Boston and the blog is running on Boston time today in that I am inputting material before the Sabbath starts in Boston.

Earlier this week, I blogged a story from al-Guardian - vehemently denied by President Peres' office - which claimed that Israel had offered to sell apartheid South Africa nuclear weapons. Now, the South Africans have also denied the story.
Recent reports that Israel offered to sell nuclear weapons to South Africa are "simply ludicrous," to a FW de Klerk, the last president of apartheid-era South Africa.

The news Web site IOL quoted the Nobel Peace Prize laureate as saying that he had "never been informed of any such developments" as those reported in the Guardian's report earlier this week.


De Klerk flatly denied the story, saying, "I have no reason to question the information that was consistently conveyed to me by the relevant authorities that South Africa developed nuclear weapons on its own."

The former South African president's comments were in line with a sharp denial which Peres issued on Monday, saying that the claims had “no basis in reality.”
Would the Guardian make up a story like that? Why?

/rhetorical questions

Live video from the Gaza 'flotilla'

I'm going to embed live video of the Gaza 'flotilla' - the group of ships that is attempting to run Israel's 'blockade' of Gaza below (Hat Tip: Will). I believe this comes from Turkish television.

I should warn you that earlier Friday, they replaced the live video with propaganda films from Operation Cast Lead, and that may well happen again. I apologize in advance if you come on here and find pro-'Palestinian' propaganda. It's not my idea. The IDF has also said that it will block access to the video as the ships approach the Gaza Strip.

As you may recall, I am in Boston, and as a result, posting will go much later today than is usually the case on a Friday, but will not resume until much later than usual Saturday night (at least the early hours of Sunday morning Israel time - Sabbath ends here at 9:23 pm Eastern). Hopefully, before the Sabbath starts here, I will leave those of you in Israel enough to keep busy Saturday night.

And with that, let's go to the videotape.

Watch live streaming video from insaniyardim at livestream.com

'Open the door, this is a shakedown'

Western-looking 'Palestinian' Prime Minister Salam Fayyad is spending some money on 'volunteers' for boycott enforcement.
Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad on Thursday will inaugurate an enforcement program, in which PA “volunteers” will go from house to house in order to “convince” PA Arabs to remove all products made from Jewish-owned businesses in Judea and Samaria from their homes.

Three thousand “volunteers” are participating in the campaign, and will distribute information informing PA Arabs why they should comply with the PA's boycott of Jewish-owned businesses in Judea and Samaria. Fayyad will participate in the effort Thursday as well.
And I'm sure no pressure tactics will be used.


Proof the Gaza flotilla isn't about human rights

IDF Corporal Gilad Shalit was kidnapped by 'Palestinian' terrorists on June 25, 2006. Since then, all his family has received from him is one audiotape and one videotape. Not a single visit from the Red Cross or anyone else.

The Shalit family is desperate for word from their son. So they offered the 'activists' in the Gaza flotilla a deal: If the 'activists' would pressure Hamas to allow contact with and packages to be delivered to Shalit, the Shalit family would pressure the Israeli government to allow the 'flotilla' to land. Can you guess the response?
The Schalit family on Thursday asked for assistance from international left-wing activists due to arrive in the Gaza Strip later in the day.

If the left-wing activists pressure Hamas to allow international organizations to bring letters and food packages to Gilad Schalit, the kidnapped soldier's family has agreed to support the international expedition's attempt to dock, Army Radio reported Thursday.

Lawyer Nick Kaufman presented the offer to the organization "Free Gaza," one of the organizers of the flotilla headed for Gaza, which promptly refused the offer.

"We are disappointed that the organizers of the flotilla have refused to also provide basic humanitarian assistance to our son, who has been held in Gaza four years in contradiction of international law," said the Schalit family.
Real champions of human rights, aren't they?

Overnight music video

I believe this was the first song ever recorded by Avraham Fried - it's from 1980.

Let's go to the videotape.

Yes, I'm at the Red Sox game tonight.

Smart diplomacy: Brazil claims Obama approved Iran deal

Brazil is furious with the United States' rejection of the deal it made with Iran over the latter country's uranium enrichment program. The Brazilians are claiming that President Obama had approved the outline of the deal before the Brazilians negotiated it.
But that new agreement is also causing friction, particularly between the United States and Brazil. Angry at Washington’s dismissal of the deal, Brazilian officials on Wednesday provided a full copy of the three-page letter President Obama sent to President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva of Brazil in April, arguing that it laid the groundwork for the agreement they reached in Tehran.

“There continues to be some puzzlement” among Brazilian officials about why American official would reject the deal now, a senior Brazilian official said. “The letter came from the highest authority and was very clear.”

In the letter, Mr. Obama wrote that an agreement by Iran to transfer about 2,600 pounds of low-enriched uranium out of the country “would build confidence and reduce regional tensions by substantially reducing Iran’s” uranium stockpile. But he also made clear that the United States would continue to pursue sanctions while leaving the “door open to engagement with Iran.”

Susan E. Rice, the American ambassador to the United Nations, said the letter from Mr. Obama to Mr. da Silva should not be taken in isolation. “No one document or discussion captures the totality of the discussion and their mutual understanding,” she said.

Smart diplomacy indeed.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Gaza flotilla participants linked to terrorism

A group of 'supply ships' for Hamas is making its way toward Gaza (Israel has said it will only allow the ships to offload their cargo at Ashdod for inspection and transfer to Gaza over land). Meanwhile, the IDF reports that - surprise - many of the ships' passengers and supporters are linked to terrorism.
While the flotilla organizers present themselves as human rights advocates whose sole goal is to assist the people of Gaza, a new report reveals the groups cooperation with radical human rights violators. According to a report by the Intelligence & Terrorism Information Center, senior Islamic extremists attended the launching ceremony in Istanbul of a boat participating in the flotilla. Among the participants were Mahmad Tzoalha and Sahar Albirawi, both top Hamas terrorists who today operate in Great Britain, and Hamam Said, a leader of the Muslim Brotherhood in Jordan.

Bolant Yilderim, the chairman of the IHH, a Turkish based pro-Palestinian organization that is spearheading the Gaza flotilla, delivered a radical speech at the ceremony to the applause of Turkish politicians and radical Islamic activists. “Israel behaves like Hitler did towards the Jews. Hitler built concentration camps in Germany, and today the Zionist entity is building concentration camps in Palestine,” said Chairman Yilderim.

The rally was also attended by Sheikh Raed Salah, leader of the Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel, who praised the attitude of the Turkish Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and asked leaders of the entire Arab world to follow his example.

Salah has previously admitted in an Israeli Court to conferring with foreign agents and assisting unauthorized organizations, after it had become known that he was in contact with Hamas. He often voiced anti-Semitic hate messages that are based on the most ancient blood libels: “We are not the ones who eat a meal based on bread and cheese in children’s blood,” he said in one of his speeches, and at another event he stated that the Jews are “butchers of pregnant women and babies… Thieves, you are the bacteria of all times… The Creator meant for you to be monkeys and losers… Victory is with the Muslims, from the Nile to the Euphrates.”
If all they really wanted was to get supplies to Gaza, the flotilla organizers would agree to that proposal. But of course, that's not what they want. And the IDF has vowed that it will stop them.
The IDF announced Wednesday evening that it was planning to stop the international convoy of nine ships currently on its way to Gaza carrying hundreds of activists and thousands of tons of supplies.

“If they decide to continue sailing and do not listen to the instructions, then they will be stopped, brought to Israel and dealt with by the Interior Ministry, which will return them to the countries they came from,” an IDF statement said.

The IDF has offered instead to unload the supplies at the port in Ashdod and transfer the shipment to the Gaza Strip, after inspecting it for weaponry, according to an Army Radio report on Thursday.

The Navy has held a number of drills in recent weeks to prepare for the arrival of the small fleet, which is expected to try breaking the Israel-imposed sea blockade on Gaza and dock at its newly expanded port.

The scenarios drilled included the commandeering of the ships, which could, military sources said Wednesday, include violent clashes – depending on the response by the passengers on the vessels.

“This flotilla is a provocation that is not needed considering the humanitarian situation in Gaza, which is stable and good,” said Col. Moshe Levi, commander of the IDF’s Gaza Coordination and Liaison Administration. Levi said that 100 trucks, loaded with supplies, enter Gaza on a daily basis, and that in the past two months over 1,200 tons of medical supplies were transferred to the Strip.
The flotilla is an act of war and should be treated as such. To the extent that it is actually being sponsored by states (hello Turkey), Israel should respond as one responds to provocations by states.

Israeli merchants boycotting Jewish areas of 'east' Jerusalem?

I received the following email from Michael P
Hello Carl,

I've read a post in one of Russian blogs I follow which may interest you. The author lives in Pisgat-Zeev in Jerusalem. She wrote today about an article she read in the local newspaper "Kol ha-Pisga". The article is about a guy who owns a small convenience store on Moshe Dayan str. in Pisgat-Zeev. Some time ago he tried to order some products from a Tel-Aviv company, ___________ Pralines Ba'am.

After the parties had agreed on the price and the quantity, the buyer told the seller where the goods were to be delivered, that is, to Pisgat Zeev. The clerk on the other side of the wire said that unfortunately they would not be able to deliver the order there, because they do not deliver to occupied territories. The guy didn't believe his own ears, because he had lived in the neighbourhood for 23 years and never imagined that it was not in Israel, so he asked to repeat the info and got the same answer. Then the buyer telephoned the owner of the company, who confirmed that yes, they have such a policy not to sell goods to those who live in the Arab territories, which he believes the largest district of Jerusalem - Pisgat Zeev really is.

My question is: Can the owner of _________ Pralines be sued for actually joining the Arab boycott?

Sued by whom?

If the owner had actually taken the order, been paid and refused to deliver, yes. But no one can be forced to do business with anyone else.

The real response to this (assuming that it can be confirmed) is for all Israelis to boycott this company. To do that, we'd have to spread the word around.

I deleted the name of the company, because I wasn't able to confirm that this actually appeared in the local Pisgat Zev newspaper (which has a website here), let alone if it's actually true. If someone has the newspaper and scans and sends it to me, I will post the scan and then those of you who read Hebrew will know the name of the company and can call and confirm whether they in fact refuse to deliver to Jewish neighborhoods in 'east' Jerusalem.

And I live in 'east' Jerusalem. Heh.

By the way, the picture is a "For sale or rent to Arabs only" sign in Pisgat Zev (yes, in the Jewish neighborhood) a couple of years ago.

Uh oh... Israel not ready for chemical weapons attack

For the next several months, Israel is far more likely to (God forbid) face a chemical weapons attack than a nuclear attack. As I have discussed many times on this blog, and as the IDF Home Front Commander is now admitting, Israel is not prepared for a chemical weapons attack.
Israel is not sufficiently prepared for a chemical missile attack, a top IDF Home Front Command officer warned on Tuesday, in response to a report in The Jerusalem Post that the military lacked 40 percent of the gas masks needed to complete their distribution to the public.

“We are ill-prepared for a chemical threat due to the lack of gas masks,” said Col. Hilik Sofer, head of the Home Front Command’s Population Branch. “We have so far distributed just more than 300,000 gas masks, but there is what to improve.”

Kadima MK Nachman Shai slammed the government for not allocating to the Defense Ministry the funding needed to complete the overhaul of the gas masks that were collected from the public years ago.

“The threat on the home front is growing and we now know that the entire country is vulnerable to missile attacks,” the former IDF spokesman said. “Nevertheless, the government is refraining from allocating the billion shekels needed to complete the refurbishment and distribution of gas masks to the public.”
Some of you may recall that I posted information about how to get your gas masks here. My sense is that most Israelis are not aware that gas masks are available, and that unless they have been distributed at your work place (which was how we got ours), most people do not have them. Now we know why the government isn't encouraging people to go get them.

What could go wrong?

Good news: Nuclear disarmament conference final statement will criticize Israel but not Iran

You could just see this coming.
A draft declaration prepared by conference president Libran Cabactulan of the Philippines fails to mention Iran or its nuclear program, though it names India, Pakistan and Israel as NPT holdouts. Diplomats said Iran had threatened to veto any final declaration if it was named.

The draft also names North Korea, which pulled out of the NPT several years ago.

Ray Acheson of Reaching Critical Will, a nuclear disarmament group, said the Iranian delegation had insisted that if it were named, the United States and others should be as well for "serious noncompliance with Article I of the NPT."

Article I of the NPT obliges the five nuclear powers -- the United States, Britain, France, China and Russia -- not to transfer nuclear weapons technology to other countries.

Diplomats said the reference to Article I violations was a dig at Western support for Israel, which is presumed to have a sizable nuclear arsenal but neither confirms nor denies it.

The draft calls on NPT holdouts Israel, India and Pakistan to sign the treaty and allow U.N. inspectors to inspect their atomic facilities. It also says the conference "deplores" nuclear tests by North Korea, which left the NPT in 2003.

A deal on a declaration, Western envoys say, now hinges on whether Arab delegates are willing to compromise on a possible conference to discuss ways of making the Middle East a zone free of weapons of mass destruction. Such a plan could eventually force Israel to give up any atomic arms it has.

"If we can't get a Middle East deal, there will be no outcome document and we'll have another failure," a Western envoy said on condition of anonymity. "The Arabs have to decide whether they want something [on a WMD-free zone] Israel can participate in, or if they just want to beat up on Israel."

There is only an indirect reference to Iran in a paragraph of the 29-page draft declaration, obtained by Reuters, that says the NPT review conference "expresses its concerns with cases of noncompliance of the Treaty by States parties."
What could go wrong?

Rahm Emanuel called a 'hater of Jews' in Jerusalem

Rahm Emanuel and his son visited the Kotel (Western Wall) on Thursday morning, but not before trying to shake off the press, and not before Itamar Ben Gvir was arrested for heckling Emanuel in the Old City's Cardo (did I ever tell you about 'free speech' in Israel?) and calling him a 'hater of Jews' (Hat Tip: Shy Guy).
White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel prayed with his son, who is celebrating his bar-mitzvah, at the Western Wall and inserted a note into its stones on Thursday, after police misled the media into believing Emanuel is on his way to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher and heading there. Following the maneuver, Emanuel's security allowed him to join his son at the Western Wall. Earlier, Emanuel and his family toured Jerusalem's Old City, and met with Western Wall Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovitz.

A bar-mitzva celebration for Emanuel's son, Zach, is to take place on Sunday.

Earlier on Thursday, right-wing activist Itamar Ben-Gvir verbally abused Emanuel and his family, as they were walking through the Cardo in Jerusalem's Old City.

Ben-Gvir also yelled at police officers "for shame," and "you won't shut me up!"

Police immediately surrounded Ben-Gvir, who shouted that Emanuel was "a hater of Israel," and removed him from the scene, taking him into custody.
I was kind of surprised that Emanuel visited the Old City - after all in his book it's 'occupied territory.' Then again, Candidate Obama visited too in the summer of 2008.

But I'd hate to have to take my kids to the Kotel, show them where the Holy Temples were and then tell them that I'm the guy who's leading the fight to force the Jewish people to turn this site over to a terror organization that won't let Jews pray there (as was the case from 1948-67).

You'd think Emanuel would have a little bit of shame.

By the way, the guy in the sunglasses next to Emanuel at the Kotel is Israeli security. I see those guys about once a week (please don't ask how or why). And the guy being manhandled by the police in the second picture is Itamar Ben Gvir.

Liberalism's problems with Israel

Noah Pollak has some interesting comments about Joel Beinart's criticism of Israel. Here's the gist of it.
The liberal Zionists, when it has mattered most, have defected. It has been easier to join the critics of Israel, who are fellow liberals, than to appear jingoistic and tribal by defending the hated Zionists. Some peace processors, such as Israeli “new historian” Benny Morris, have acknowledged the flaws in their thinking and have become cautious and skeptical. But some cannot come to terms with the reality of their mistakes, the failure of their predictions, and the durability of Arab rejectionism. In the liberal imagination, this is not how the world is supposed to work. In the liberal vision, everyone desires progress and the good life, and when given the choice will prefer compromise and material comfort over ideological stubbornness.

Because the history of the peace process repudiates so many of liberalism’s most cherished premises, liberalism is increasingly repudiating Israel, and doing so in a perfectly logical fashion: with people like Beinart now saying that Israel is not in fact an admirable country and that it deserves to be thrown out of the company of liberal nations. In this way, the failure of the liberal vision is transformed from being a verdict on liberalism to being a verdict on Israel.

It is Israel, we are now admonished, that has been dishonest and aggressive and unwilling to compromise. Believing this is the only way to avoid confronting the real problem, which is liberalism’s inability to reconcile its beliefs about human nature with the cruel functioning of humans in practice.

Beinart writes as if none of the tragedies of the past two decades happened, or if they did happen, that Israelis, unique among peoples, may not allow themselves to acquire any fears or resentments or lessons. Even Shimon Peres, one of Israel’s greatest doves, understands what has transpired, telling the Wall Street Journal a few days ago: "I am not surprised that so many Israelis lost their trust when they're being attacked time after time, time after time." Lost their trust indeed: the Meretz/Labor peace-process faction held 56 Knesset seats in 1992. Today they have 16. Normally in politics, such a massive shift in public opinion is accompanied by genuine inquiry about why it happened. Beinart is unreflective. It must be because of the settlers, or racism, or AIPAC.
Read the whole thing.

Sorry if posting is a little slow tonight. It's not often that I get to watch the NBA conference finals on a big screen TV.

Congress agrees to slow down Iran sanctions bill

Well, isn't that just wonderful? Because of all the 'progress' that the Obama administration has made at the United Nations on Iran sanctions, Congress has agreed to slow down its bill.
Despite repeated proclamations by senior leaders in both chambers of Congress and on both sides of the aisle that nothing could stop the Iran sanctions bill, its two lead sponsors announced today that they would delay the conference meant to iron out differences between the House and Senate versions.

"With the progress in negotiations at the Security Council, we believe that our overriding goal of preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapons capability is best served by providing a limited amount of time for those efforts -- and expected follow-on action by the EU at its mid-June summit -- to reach a successful conclusion before we send our bill to the president," Sen. Chris Dodd, D-CT, and Rep. Howard Berman, D-CA, said in a statement Tuesday.

It was only last week that House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-MD, promised to get it done before the Memorial Day recess.

"International sanctions make a lot more sense than unilateral" Dodd said at the time. "But we're not going to retreat from the unilateral sanctions effort."

But today, Dodd and Berman claimed that last week's unveiling of the draft U.N. sanctions resolution by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had convinced them that the Security Council process was actually making progress. They now expect to bring the conference report to be voted on by the entire Congress "in the latter half of June."
What's worse, reports Laura Rozen, is that the stupid Jews are going along:
The pro-Israel lobby group AIPAC endorsed the proposed sequencing and praised Dodd's and Berman's "firm, public commitment to get tough, comprehensive Iran sanctions legislation on the President's desk before the July 4th recess," the group said in a press release. "We urge President Obama to sign and implement that legislation immediately upon its arrival on his desk."
Good luck with that. The only way that Congress is going to pass effective sanctions - unlike the UN variety - is with a veto-proof majority. Dodd and Berman (pictured) are now making sure that won't happen until well into the summer.

What could go wrong?

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Israel should go back to conventional warfare?

Here's an interesting argument from Michael Totten on why Israel should attack Iran and Syria rather than their Hezbullah and Hamas proxies.
Effective counterinsurgency of the type General David Petraeus waged in Iraq is impossible for Israel in Lebanon for three reasons. First, it takes a long time, years when applied correctly, and time is something Israel just doesn’t have. Second, the American counterinsurgency effort in Iraq would have failed if the insurgents hadn’t murdered and terrorized so many Iraqis while fighting Americans — something Hezbollah is most unlikely to do in the Shia regions of Lebanon where it is embedded. Third, anti-Israel sentiment is too broad and too deep in Lebanon for the IDF to recruit sufficient local assistance — especially after the abrupt collapse of its allies in the South Lebanon Army following the withdrawal in 2000.

Prior to getting bogged down in Lebanon in the early 1980s, the Israelis racked up one lightning fast military victory over their enemies after another. That was before hostile Middle Eastern governments learned they stood no chance of prevailing in conventional warfare and before they opted for asymmetric terrorist warfare instead. Hit-and-run guerrilla tactics work for them, sort of, so it’s in the interest of those who haven’t yet made peace with Israel, or at least acceded to some kind of modus vivendi, to keep at it.

It is therefore not in Jerusalem’s interests to let them. Israel has a perfect record against standing state armies in the Middle East foolish enough to pick fights they can’t win. So why agree to fight some of the very same states asymmetrically in wars with ambiguous endings?

The Israelis should consider returning to what they do best, if and when they have to fight again. If they want to beat their enemies rather than fight to bloody and destructive standstills, they’ll wage the kind of war they’re good at and shatter one or both of the governments that field third-party proxies against them.
I don't see Israel having much choice in this. The fact that we are going to have to hit Iran to stop its nuclear program is going to make the decision for us.

Read the whole thing.

Talking to your kids about Israel

Parenting columnist Marjorie Ingall complains about why she has problems talking to her kids about Israel (Hat Tip: Andrew Sullivan).
I had a teetering stack of middle-grade and young adult novels and non-fiction about the conflict on my desk. Josie, my 8 year old, wandered into my office and asked if she could read one. “Sure,” I gulped. She wound up choosing Samir and Yonatan, a poetic, elliptical novel about a Palestinian boy and a Jewish boy in an Israeli hospital. When she returned the book to me, I asked, “What did you think?”

“I’m not sure I understood it,” she said. “Can you explain it a little bit?”

I stumbled desperately through an explanation of why two peoples feel they have a legitimate claim to the same land.

“But having land is like having a seat on a bus,” Josie replied. “You can’t just push someone out of their seat, and you can’t just leave your seat and then come back to it after a long time and just expect the person who is sitting there now to give it to you.”

My panicked reaction to her words surprised me. I found myself trying to convince her that Israel did have that right. But that’s not what I believe. But I’m not sure what I believe. I want my children to love Israel, but I don’t want them to identify with bullies. I was spinning in my own head like the desperate, overwhelmed woman in the Calgon commercial: J Street, take me away!

But Josie’s bus-bully analogy resonated. Baby-boomer Jews seem wedded to a sepia-toned image of Jews as victims—in the shtetl, in the Holocaust, in Israel’s early wars. But in real life, victims can turn into bullies. Perhaps being the parent to girls, rather than boys, helps me see this—in Mean Girl dynamics, the power shifts back and forth almost every day. We want a bright clear line, but heroes and villains in the real world are much fuzzier.
Ingall's problem is that the bus analogy is wrong. It's wrong for two reasons. First, if there were a big sign on that seat that says "this seat belongs to X" and X came along to claim it, assuming the legitimacy of the sign, X would have that right. And of course, if someone has a hospital bed and leaves for surgery, he cannot be displaced by someone who grabs the bed while he's on the operating table.

There's been a sign like that on the Land of Israel for centuries. It's called the Torah. No other people has ever set up an independent state in the Land of Israel. It's always been part of something else - the British Mandate (which originally included Jordan), the Ottoman Empire and so on. No other people was ever interested in Israel. And that's because Israel belongs to the Jewish people even when they are absent from it. The Torah says so.

But even from Ingall's perspective, she wouldn't have a problem if only she were following a true narrative. There were only small numbers 'Palestinians' - or Arabs for that matter - in Israel. Most of them arrived only after the Jews. So the true analogy would be that you're sitting on a bus and some stranger comes up to you and says "this is my seat" - but the stranger only decided the seat was theirs when they saw you get on the bus. And it's the Jew who's in the seat, not the 'Palestinian.'

Finally, liberals like Ms. Ingall, who claim that they believe that Israel has a right to exist, need to think long and hard about why that right ought to be any different in Judea and Samaria than it is in Tel Aviv or Hadera. Because if we don't have a claim to Hebron, we don't have a claim to Tel Aviv or Hadera either.