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Saturday, July 31, 2010

Nine years since the Sbarro terror attack

On Thursday night, I attended a meeting with Arnold Roth. As we went around the table introducing ourselves, you all should have seen the look on people's faces who didn't know him when Arnold said, "I'm here because my daughter was murdered in a terror attack." It's like a kick in the gut, and you (and I) can only imagine how it hit Arnold, and his wife Frimet, nine years ago.

The Sabbath, the 20th day of the Jewish month of Av, was the 9th anniversary of the Sbarro terror attack. Arnold and Frimet's daughter Malki was murdered along with fourteen other people HY"D (may God avenge their blood). Arnold has a brief message to mark the occasion here.

The video below was posted three years ago (not by me) on the occasion of the anniversary of the Sbarro terror attack. It is very difficult to watch, and I don't suggest that it should be viewed by children, even though seven of the fifteen people murdered in Sbarro were children.

Let's go to the videotape.

Y'hi zichrom baruch (may their memory be blessed).

9/11 was a month later. Anyone want to try to argue that there was no connection?

Part Italian, part German and criticized for taking Jewish money... in New York?

Mike Grimm, a Republican candidate for the congressional seat currently occupied by Democrat Mike McMahon (pictured), representing parts of Brooklyn and Staten Island (New York) has come under criticism from McMahon for taking money from Jewish sources (Hat Tip: GWBROS).
Mike Grimm, a G.O.P challenger for Mike McMahon's Congressional seat, took in over $200,000 in his last filing.

But in an effort to show that Grimm lacks support among voters in the district, which covers Staten Island and parts of Brooklyn, the McMahon campaign compiled a list of Jewish donors to Grimm and provided it to The Politicker.

The file, labeled "Grimm Jewish Money Q2," for the second quarter fundraising period, shows a list of over 80 names, a half-dozen of which in fact do hail from Staten Island, and a handful of others that list Brooklyn as home.

"Where is Grimm's money coming from," said Jennifer Nelson, McMahon's campaign spokeman. "There is a lot of Jewish money, a lot of money from people in Florida and Manhattan, retirees."

As a point of comparison, the campaign also provided in-district and out-of-district fundraising totals from McMahon and Grimm's G.O.P primary opponent, Michael Allegretti. However, they did not provide an out-of-district campaign filing from Grimm, but only a file of Jewish donors to him.

Nelson said that the list was compiled by the campaign's finance director, Debra Solomon and that she did not know exactly how the finance team knew who was Jewish and who was not.

"She herself is Jewish so she knows a lot of people in that community," Nelson said.

Nelson stressed that the point of compiling the list was not to show that Grimm had a lot of Jewish support, but that he had little support in the district.

"I don't think ethnicity matters. When people look at who is funding his campaign it's not people who have a direct vested interest [in the district.]"
Allahpundit has some free advice for McMahon (via The Weekly Standard):
When making a charge like this in polite company, the proper terminology these days is “Zionist money.” Wink.
Allahpundit also notes that Sarah Palin endorsed Grimm a few days ago.

Politico reports that McMahon has apologized and has fired Nelson but not Solomon.

By the way, New York's 13th district has voted Republican in the last two Presidential elections. Looks like low-hanging fruit for Republicans to me.

Much more here.

How the UN corrupts

Shavua tov, a good week to everyone.

Two years ago, the founding conference of something called the Global Support Network was held at the United Nations. It was shortly after Ban Ki-Moon had become Secretary General, and Ban wanted to do something for the good of the world. As the name implies, the group that met at the United Nations was meant to bring together victims of terror in a massive, worldwide support group (large pdf link). Not any more.

Two years later, that meeting at the UN has evolved into a slick website, which mentions the meeting at the UN but does not make an explicit connection. Clearly, there is a lot of funding behind it.

The good news is that the connection of Islamists to terror is acknowledged. The bad news is that many of the targets of that terror - Jews and Christians - are unnamed. If you flip through the website, you will find that with the exception of one 9/11 family member, nearly the entire site refers to victims in Arab and Muslim countries: Jordan, Pakistan and Indonesia. Four meetings were held between November 2009 and March 2010 in Amman, Islamabad, Jakarta and Lahore. I have it on good source that not a single Israeli victim or family member was invited to any of them. Not even to Amman. Yet, on a per capita basis, we probably have more terror victims here than anywhere in the World. Isn't it a little strange that Israelis and Jews (Mumbai? Buenos Aires?) are not included?

The group has made a documentary film (in the US, Indonesia and Jordan). Here's the preview.

Let's go to the videotape.

Killing In the Name - Trailer from Carie Lemack - Global Survivors on Vimeo.

Don't get me wrong. I'm happy to see a terror victims support group formed, and I'm even happier that they've acknowledged the connection between Islam and terror. But why are Israelis and Jews excluded?

Friday, July 30, 2010

Sabbath music video

Here's Oorah's video, 8th day, it's Shabbos now.

Let's go to the videotape.

Shabbat Shalom everyone.

And ANOTHER 'Palestinian' precondition: A Judenrein 'state'

Here's yet another 'Palestinian' precondition for talks: They want a guaranteed Judenrein state (Hat Tip: Gershon D).
Almost no notice was taken of another pre talks decision that the PA chairman revealed, as he announced clearly that if a Palestinian Authority state is created in Judea and Samaria, no Israeli citizen will be allowed to set foot inside.The PA chairman also stated that he would block any Jewish soldiers from serving with an international force stationed on PA-controlled land.

"I will never allow a single Israeli to live among us on Palestinian land,” Abbas declared. Israel is home to a sizable proportion of Arab citizens, who have the vote and are represented by Arab parties in the Knesset.
No Israelis or Jews living there and no Jewish soldiers - not even as part of a NATO or UN force. Hmmm.

Why are 'Israeli Arabs' happy in Israel?

I've told you many times that 'Israeli Arabs' are happy in Israel and despite their identification as 'Palestinians,' most of them have no desire to live in a 'Palestinian state.' Here's Professor Mordechai Keidar, an Arabic speaker whom I have featured on this blog before, explaining why the 'Israeli Arabs' are so much better off here than they would be in the Arab world.

Let's go to the videotape.

Tell that to the Obama administration.

LATMA weekly tribal update; Crime and punishment

An Arab-Israeli MK serenades the Supreme Court; and the media hail tragic events -- even before they unfold.

Let's go to the videotape.


The coming Goldstone Report on Afghanistan

I have done several posts on this blog pointing out the danger to the United States and its allies that is presented by the possibility of a Goldstone Report looking at Iraq or Afghanistan. That possibility was completely foreseeable nearly a year ago when Goldstone came out. And yet, so many Western countries, so eager to see Israel lambasted by the media and the NGO's yet again, were silent or complicit in advancing the Goldstone Report. With the release of some 90,000 documents on the United States' and the United Kingdom's war in Afghanistan this week, that silence and complicity now look like they may yet carry a heavy price.

The West's wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have a lot in common with Israel's war in Gaza. In each case, a militarily and technologically superior power or group of powers is fighting an armed insurgency that hides and lusts for casualties among a helpless civilian population. In these circumstances, civilian deaths are - from the great power's perspective - unavoidable. In each case, actions taken on the battlefield always look different with the 20-20 hindsight of European hearing rooms than they did in the heat of battle. And now, maybe, those Western powers who backed Goldstone because of their own latent (or not so latent) Jew-hatred may yet pay a price for their actions. Because if they don't, the full rancid hypocrisy of the Goldstone Report and those who promoted it will be exposed to the World for all to see.

This is Robin Shepherd:
This weekend’s release of thousands of secret official files about coalition operations in Afghanistan paints a harrowing picture of the fog of war, most troubling of all of the accidental killings by our soldiers of hundreds of innocent civilians – revellers at wedding parties, kids in school buses, ordinary people going about their daily business who tragically found themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Given that the Taliban systematically hides behind the civilian population this sort of thing is, of course, inevitable. Nonetheless, it is understandable that the revelations by Wikileaks have caused embarrassment to the governments of all the coalition countries.

But for those coalition countries in Europe – Britain first among them – who are currently cheerleading the passage of the Goldstone Report on Gaza through the United Nations this is more than an embarrassment. In the light of Goldstone, it represents an outright threat to the security of their soldiers on the ground as well as to their national interests in international tribunals.


Of course, I am using Goldstone as both a concrete precedent in its own right, but also as a proxy for the whole panoply of terror-appeasement policies and norms that outfits such as the British Foreign Office have allowed to develop, or have actively supported, in the international community over decades.

The Foreign Office and its equivalents are thus proved not merely to have been engaged in the vilest of discriminatory hypocrisy over Israel, Goldstone and all that it represents, they are shown to have been deliberately and wilfully allowing a depraved anti-Israeli agenda to take precedence over their own national interests.
Read it all.

Evelyn Gordon adds:
Shepherd doesn’t give the numbers, but they are shocking: of the 45 countries with troops in Afghanistan, only 12 voted against endorsing the Goldstone Report in the UN General Assembly. Twelve voted in favor, and 21 abstained.

Notable abstainers included Britain and France — which, as the second- and fourth-largest troop contributors to Afghanistan, are among the most vulnerable to Goldstone-style charges — and Georgia, which faces allegations of similar “war crimes” during its 2008 war with Russia. Turkey, which routinely kills civilians in its battles with the PKK, voted “yes.”

Granted, the Goldstone Report was commissioned by the UN Human Rights Council, which has never shown any interest in investigating any country but Israel. So coalition members probably don’t have anything to fear from that quarter. But the HRC is not the only player on this field.

An acquaintance recently reported being shocked when, at an academic conference, a guest speaker from the International Criminal Court explicitly described the court’s plan as establishing a precedent via the “easy” cases it’s tackling now (egregious human rights violators like the Lord’s Resistance Army in Uganda and Sudanese officials involved in the Darfur genocide) that will grant it legitimacy to prosecute anyone for anything, worldwide, thereafter. And once it establishes this precedent, it intends to use it, the speaker added.
Read the whole thing.

Unless the West wishes to cede the World's battlegrounds to radical Islam, it is time to put a stop to the craven hypocrisy known as the Goldstone Report.

Why anti-Israel blogging is so popular

Last week, Lee Smith took us on a tour of the anti-Israel hate bloggers around the internet. This week, he looks at why anti-Israel blogging is so popular, and why major commercial sites are willing to carry the likes of Stephen Walt, Andrew Sullivan, Phillip Weiss and Glenn Greenwald, and the lowlifes who tag along behind them.
Everyone knows that the media is reeling. For instance, New York Times staffers recently took a 5 percent pay cut after a hundred of their colleagues were laid off. And yet, compared to their colleagues at the Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Tribune, both of which have been gutted after sliding into bankruptcy, journalists at the Times are clearly the lucky ones. None of the big media companies has figured out how to make their Internet presence into a profit center that can sustain operations, even as they turn their hallowed brand-names over to opinion bloggers who can generate copy at a tiny fraction of the cost of traditional reporting. The Israel, or rather anti-Israel, market is one of the most attractive niche markets in this trade because it taps into a passionate audience that is interested in news and can generate immediate and measurable results—page views, hits, and comments. Even on his best days, Stephen Walt can’t hold a candle to premier sports, shopping, or pornography websites traffic-wise. But he can tap into the prurient passions of a niche market.

If Walt and the others may be acquitted of responsibility for their cesspools, what blame lies with their employers? It is hard to believe that if an author had a written a book, like Walt’s, that had been similarly branded as “nasty,” “paranoid,” and “riddled with errors of fact,” and the book was about, say, African-Americans, or Latinos, or gays—and endorsed by David Duke—that the author would be embraced by the U.S. intelligentsia in the name of open debate. Only their employers know why Walt and the others were hired or remain on staff—the editor of The Atlantic, James Bennet, declined comment through the magazine’s spokesman, while Salon editor Joan Walsh and The Nation Institute’s Taya Kitman did not respond to requests for comment—but it’s not outlandish to imagine that the number of commenters and pageviews these writers’ polemics draw would be a factor. Whether Foreign Policy knew they were getting the public sewer Walt elicits, or just a public intellectual, is unclear. (Foreign Policy’s Susan Glasser did not respond to a request for comment.) What is clear is that they decided to host Walt’s blog, give it prominent billing, and tolerate its commenters.

As was the case with Walt’s blog, Weiss’ sponsor must have brought him aboard fully aware of his anti-Israel sentiments (Mondoweiss was hosted by the New York Observer before the Nation Institute), but Greenwald was already on the Salon site before he turned his baleful attention to anti-Zionist polemics, and The Atlantic bought The Daily Dish before Sullivan started ranting about circumcision and the Jews. Unlike the rest, Sullivan doesn’t allow comments, but we still know what his readers think, because he publishes examples of their work. These published emails are scarcely different from the comments published under the posts of Walt, Greenwald, and Weiss, whose arguments serve as a dog-whistle, calling out the pack of haters whose remarks make explicit what was merely hinted at in the original, (usually) more respectable post. The commenters, many of them known to each other from like-minded Internet sites, feed off of each other’s semi-literate rage, elaborating upon their colleagues’ lies, myths, and slanders and serving up anti-Semitic invective. As the Jews, and sometimes non-Jews, arrive on the site to dispute the calumnies, the cyber-sport of Jew-baiting begins, driving up comments and traffic to heretofore-unreachable heights. Even as Sullivan’s technique to summon the mob seems slightly more sophisticated, it still uses a strategy that allows him to walk away with more traffic—he is currently ranked 15th in “standing & influence” in the entire blogosphere—but a little less of the stench.

In his review of The Israel Lobby, Walter Russell Mead explained how Jew-baiting has historically functioned: “Jews are in a double bind: refrain from responding with outrage and the charge becomes accepted as a fact, express utter loathing at the charge and give anti-Semites the opportunity to pose as the victims of a slander campaign by venomous Jews.” For the purposes of driving Internet traffic, it is helpful if Jews respond, but not necessary, as anyone who has waded through the cesspool knows. In this column last week the subject alone, without the rhetorical energies of Walt and company, also brought a record number of comments for this site, thanks to the efforts of commenters migrating from their own safe havens of invective in order to shout down reasoned debate.

To advertising salesmen and advertisers, of course, the subject of any given blog post is presumably immaterial: What matters are the numbers. But is targeting Jews that much more profitable than going after African-Americans or gays and lesbians or women? The answer is simple. People know they can get away with Jew-baiting because history shows that it has been done before and no one did anything to stop it.
I'm sure you're all shocked. Read the whole thing.

Australia adopts sanctions against Iran

Australia has announced that it will follow in the footsteps of the US, the EU and Canada by imposing sanctions beyond those enacted by the United Nations against Iran's oil and gas industry.
"In adopting this package, Australia stands at the forefront of international community efforts to have Iran meet its international obligations in relation to its nuclear program, one of the most serious security challenges facing the international community," Foreign Minister Stephen Smith said in a statement.

The sanctions further reinforce a June UN resolution against Iran that Australia has already implemented.

The new measures include travel and financial bans against more than 110 businesses and individuals in Iran's financial and transport sectors. The sanctions also include a trade ban on all arms and related material, including anything that could be used for nuclear, missile, chemical and biological weapons development.

For the first time, Australia will restrict business with Iran's oil and gas sector. Smith said the UN resolution had noted a link between the revenue generated by that sector and funding for Iran's proliferation activities.

Business dealings in uranium mining or involving nuclear or missile technology are also prohibited under the new sanctions, Smith said.
Faster, faster.

Haaretz's Ari Shavit goes off the deep end

Would you believe that there are still people out there who believe that the Gaza 'disengagement' is an act worthy of repeating? UNILATERALLY!?! Here's Haaretz's Ari Shavit.
The disengagement plan did have a strength, though: It was a bold attempt, the first of its kind, to deal with the lethal virus. The basic logic behind it was valid and remains so.

According to the logic behind the disengagement, Israel has a crucial and moral obligation to end the occupation. Israel has no Palestinian partner with which it can end the occupation. Israel must therefore take limited, calculated steps to gradually move it toward the end of the occupation. No, there's no chance of a complete peace in the foreseeable future. But neither is there any hope, or point, in the existing situation. So Israel must take its fate in its hands and act wisely to create a border between itself and Palestine. Only thus can it ensure its identity and legitimacy as a Jewish and democratic state. Only thus can it turn the Israeli-Palestinian conflict into a tolerable dispute that will ultimately fade into peace.

Five years after leaving Gaza, the picture is clear. The 2005 disengagement was problematic, but strategically, it was and remains crucial. The lesson from the first disengagement is that the second disengagement must be done differently. We must not retreat to the 1967 lines, we must not retreat without international backing, we must not retreat without quiet understandings with moderate Palestinians. We must not retreat without being assured of a real answer to the missile threat.

But ultimately, there will be no other choice. The disengagement is dangerous, but it is less dangerous than any other alternative.
Of course, to Shavit the 'lethal virus' is the (false) demographic bogeyman who will soon leave us without a Jewish majority in Israel, making us choose between being Jewish and democratic. But Shavit assumes the existence of that 'virus' and its lethal character without trying to prove them.

And Shavit buys into the narrative that Israel has a 'moral obligation' to end the 'occupation.' In Shavit's world, history starts with the 1949 armistice lines. The Torah (bible) and 3,000 years of near continuous Jewish settlement in Judea and Samaria are dismissed with the stroke of a pen. Judaism is subverted to the 'higher moral authority' of Liberalism.

But most outrageous of all, Shavit is so eager to denude Israel of its historic legacy and strategic assets that he can't wait for a 'Palestinian partner' to emerge. Instead, Shavit would have us depend on 'international backing' and 'quiet understandings' with 'moderate Palestinians' (an oxymoron if I ever heard one) to surrender territory unilaterally, as if the previous unilateral surrender did not have 'international backing' (the Bush letter that has now been abandoned and the European monitors at the Rafah crossing point who fled as soon as Hamas took power) or 'quiet understandings' with 'moderate Palestinians.'

The takeaway from Shavit's article is that five years after the surrender of Gaza and the expulsion of its Jews, there are still members of Israel's branja who see no reason not to repeat the exercise. They must be fought at every turn.

It's the Nakba, stupid!

Here's why the 'Palestinians' will never make peace with Israel.
A specter is haunting the prospective Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations—the specter of the Nakba. The literal meaning of the Arabic word is “disaster”; but in its current, expansive usage, it connotes a historical catastrophe inflicted on an innocent and blameless people (in this case, the Palestinians) by an overpowering outside force (international Zionism). The Nakba is the heart of the Palestinians’ backward-looking national narrative, which depicts the creation of the State of Israel in 1948 as the original sin that dispossessed the land’s native people. Every year, on the anniversary of Israel’s independence, more and more Palestinians (including Arab citizens of Israel) commemorate the Nakba with pageants that express longing for a lost paradise. Every year, the legend grows of the crimes committed against the Palestinians in 1948, crimes now routinely equated with the Holocaust. Echoing the Nakba narrative is an international coalition of leftists that celebrates the Palestinians as the quintessential Other, the last victims of Western racism and colonialism.

There is only one just compensation for the long history of suffering, say the Palestinians and their allies: turning the clock back to 1948. This would entail ending the “Zionist hegemony” and replacing it with a single, secular, democratic state shared by Arabs and Jews. All Palestinian refugees—not just those still alive of the hundreds of thousands who fled in 1948, but their millions of descendants as well—would be allowed to return to Jaffa, Haifa, the Galilee, and all the villages that Palestinian Arabs once occupied.

Such a step would mean suicide for Israel as a Jewish state, which is why Israel would never countenance it. At the very least, then, the Nakba narrative precludes Middle East peace. But it’s also, as it happens, a myth—a radical distortion of history.


Unfortunately, no amount of documentation and evidence about what really happened in 1948 will puncture the Nakba narrative. The tale of dispossession has been institutionalized now, an essential part of the Palestinians’ armament for what they see as the long struggle ahead. It has become the moral basis for their insistence on the refugees’ right to return to Israel, which in turn leads them to reject one reasonable two-state peace plan after another. In the meantime, the more radical Palestinians continue to insist that the only balm for the Nakba is the complete undoing of the historical crime of Zionism—either eliminating Israel or submerging it into a secular democratic state called Palestine. (The proposal is hard to take seriously from adherents of a religion and a culture that abjure secularism and allow little democracy.)

Nor will the facts about 1948 impress the European and American leftists who are part of the international Nakba coalition. The Nakba narrative of Zionism as a movement of white colonial oppressors victimizing innocent Palestinians is strengthened by radical modes of thought now dominant in the Western academy. Postmodernists and postcolonialists have adapted Henry Ford’s adage that “history is bunk” to their own political purposes. According to the radical professors, there is no factual or empirical history that we can trust—only competing “narratives.” For example, there is the dominant establishment narrative of American history, and then there is the counter-narrative, written by professors like the late Howard Zinn, which speaks for neglected and forgotten Americans. Just so, the Palestinian counter-narrative of the Nakba can now replace the old, discredited Zionist narrative, regardless of actual historical facts. And thanks to what the French writer Pascal Bruckner has called the Western intelligentsia’s new “tyranny of guilt”—a self-effacement that forbids critical inquiry into the historical narratives of those national movements granted the sanctified status of “oppressed”—the Nakba narrative cannot even be challenged.

This makes for a significant subculture in the West devoted to the delegitimization of Israel and the Zionist idea. To leftists, for whom Israel is now permanently on trial, Stone’s 1948 love song to Zionism has conveniently been disappeared, just as Trotsky was once disappeared by the Soviet Union and its Western supporters (of whom, let us not forget, Stone was one). Thus Tony Judt can write in The New York Review of Books—the same prestigious journal in which Stone began publishing his reconsiderations of Zionism—that Israel is, after all, just an “anachronism” and a historical blunder.

Several years ago, I briefly visited the largest refugee camp in the West Bank: Balata, inside the city of Nablus. Many of the camp’s approximately 20,000 residents are the children, grandchildren, and even great-grandchildren of the Arab citizens of Jaffa who fled their homes in early 1948.

For half a century, the United Nations has administered Balata as a quasi-apartheid welfare ghetto. The Palestinian Authority does not consider the residents of Balata citizens of Palestine; they do not vote on municipal issues, and they receive no PA funding for roads or sanitation. The refugee children—though after 60 years, calling young children “refugees” is absurd—go to separate schools run by UNRWA, the UN’s refugee-relief agency. The “refugees” are crammed into an area of approximately one square kilometer, and municipal officials prohibit them from building outside the camp’s official boundaries, making living conditions ever more cramped as the camp’s population grows. In a building called the Jaffa Cultural Center—financed by the UN, which means our tax dollars—Balata’s young people are undoubtedly nurtured on the myth that someday soon they will return in triumph to their ancestors’ homes by the Mediterranean Sea.

In Balata, history has come full circle. During the 1948 war, Palestinian leaders like Haj Amin al-Husseini insisted that the Arab citizens of Haifa and Jaffa had to leave, lest they help legitimize the Jewish state. Now, the descendants of those citizens are locked up in places like Balata and prohibited from resettling in the Palestinian-administered West Bank—again, lest they help legitimize the Jewish state, this time by removing the Palestinians’ chief complaint. Yet there is a certain perverse logic at work here. For if Israel and the Palestinians ever managed to hammer out the draft of a peace treaty, Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority, would have to go to Balata and explain to its residents that their leaders have been lying to them for 60 years and that they are not going back to Jaffa. Which, to state the obvious again, is one of the main reasons that there has been no peace treaty.
Read the whole thing (and if anyone can get This is Israel, get it before the Left 'disappears' it from the market).

Can Turkey give US defense secrets to Iran? Who knows and who cares?

I've asked the same question that Michael Rubin is asking, and I've urged that Israel not sell more Heron drones to Turkey for the same reason.
The truth is we don’t know. We’re on the verge of selling Turkey our most advanced fighter, and there has been little attention given to what the shift in Turkey’s foreign-policy orientation means when it comes to technology-sharing. From some congressional testimony I gave today at a hearing about Turkey:
Precisely because the F-35 will be the fighter the U.S. Air Force will most depend on to maintain air superiority in the decades ahead, the decision to sell F-35s to Turkey, whose future foreign policy orientation is in question, should be reviewed by appropriate Defense Department elements to assess possible loss of critical technology to states of concern. Congress should mandate that review, specify that it be completed within the year, and then make it available to the appropriate committees of Congress.
Would it really hurt for Secretary Gates to explain what steps the Pentagon has taken to ensure that the secrets of the aircraft we are going to rely on for decades to come are safe? Sure, Turkey is a NATO partner, but would our secrets be safe from potential rogue operators in the government or military? Does the Pentagon know? Does President Obama care?
What could go wrong?

Abu Bluff adds ANOTHER pre-condition

Although he didn't explicitly make this a pre-condition to 'negotiations, 'moderate' 'Palestinian' President Mahmoud Abbas Abu Mazen has added yet another impossible pre-condition to entering into an agreement with Israel.
At a press conference in Cairo, Palestinian Authority chief Mahmoud Abbas said that no agreements would be signed with Israel on ending the Middle East conflict as long as Gaza was under Hamas rule. Only when there was “Palestinian unity” and a restoration of the PA government's rule in Haifa could any agreements be signed.

Abbas reiterated that he would agree to direct talks only if Israel agreed to withdraw to the 1948 borders and ended all building in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem. PA sources said that Abbas plans on telling Arab League members in an upcoming meeting that there had been little progress in the indirect talks between Israel and the PA, and that there was no reason to agree to direct talks.
'Palestinian unity'? In HAIFA? Good luck with that.

Overnight music video

Here's Lipa Schmeltzer singing a letter to Moishele. This Moishele.

Let's go to the videotape.

Time to go study a little Torah. Maybe I'll have Moishele in mind in addition to my mother. Mom - may she rest in peace - would have cried over Moishele for days.

US giving away the show behind Israel's back?

Here's a disturbing report about some of the things the United States has promised Egypt (which come on top of what it has promised the 'Palestinians').
A spokesperson for Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak said Wednesday night that the United States had assured him in a phone call that direct talks between Israel and Palestinian Authority would begin soon. U.S. President Barack Obama told Mubarak that the U.S. was committed to the direct talks as a way to resolve the Middle East conflict.

The spokesperson said that Obama had made several “guarantees” to Mubarak on the subject, but did not specify what they were. In addition, he said, Mubarak received a letter signed by Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton “signaling” the commitment of the United States to the establishment of an Arab state in Judea and Samaria.
What could go wrong?

Arab League agrees to direct talks but....

Meeting in Cairo on Thursday, the Arab League decided that it would back 'moderate' 'Palestinian' President Mahmoud Abbas Abu Mazen in the event that he decided to enter into direct talks with Israel.
Earlier Thursday, the Qatari prime minister announced the Arab League's decision, saying that the Arab League would support Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas if he decided to enter direct talks with Israel.

Asked whether the league would back direct talks, Jassim said: "Of course, there is agreement, but agreement over the principles of what will be discussed and the manner of the direct negotiations."

It would be up to Abbas to decide whether to hold talks, based on whatever conditions he sees fit, Jassim said.

Jassim added that he was "full of doubts" about Israel's seriousness regarding final status negotiations.
Prime Minister Netanyahu and Defense Minister Barak dutifully expressed their satisfaction with the League's decision.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak on Thursday also welcomed the Arab League announcement. The prime minister declared that he would be willing to enter into "direct and honest peace talks" within days, adding that "by way of direct negotiations, a speedy peace agreement can be achieved."

Barak, currently in Washington for a series of meetings with top administration officials, said that "only direct negotiations can bring a peace agreement and a solution of two states for two peoples."

"Negotiations will require difficult and brave decisions from both sides," Barak added. "I hope that the Palestinians understand that."
The talks aren't going to be starting just yet.
The U.S. has for the last few months been mediating indirect negotiations between the two sides, but the Palestinian leader said he would only move toward direct talks if Israel agrees to a complete halt in settlement construction and accepts a Palestinian state in territories seized in the 1967 Six Day War - the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem.

"When I receive written assurances [about] accepting the 1967 border and halting the settlement [building], I will go immediately to the direct talks," Abbas was quoted as saying in remarks reported by Egypt's state-owned news agency Thursday.
On Wednesday, Prime Minister Netanyahu told Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Moratinos that accepting an extension to the 'settlement freeze' would likely bring about the collapse of his government. As to the demand to return to the 1949 armistice lines - that would be a non-starter regardless of who is in power.

Don't hold your breath waiting for these talks to happen.

Good news: Iran willing to 'negotiate' over uranium exchange

Iran has indicated its willingness to return to the negotiating table with the P 5+1 powers in September. And the Obama administration is eager to embrace the new negotiations.
Iran has given an assurance that it would stop enriching uranium to 20 percent purity if world powers agreed to a proposed nuclear fuel swap, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu told reporters in Istanbul.

The offer, conveyed to Davutoglu on Sunday, could bode well for an expected resumption of talks in September between Iran and major powers on the Islamic Republic's atomic program, which Tehran says is for peaceful purposes and not for bombs.

Asked about Davutoglu's comments, the U.S. State Department said Iran had often sent mixed signals but that the United States was "fully prepared" to resume talks among the six major powers and Tehran about Iran's nuclear program.

Iran last met the United States, Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia in Geneva in October, when they discussed Iran sending some low-enriched uranium abroad in exchange for fuel for a Tehran reactor that makes medical isotopes.

"We hope to have the same kind of meeting coming up in the coming weeks that we had last October," State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley told reporters. "We are interested in a process -- more than one meeting."
And where would Iran's uranium be stored? Turkey, of course.

Note also that Iran isn't going to stop enriching until a deal is reached. That could take years.

What could go wrong?

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Israel's ruling class

Caroline Glick reports on a pattern in the US in which certain elites are always the elites regardless of who is in power. She notes that regardless of who the President is and what his views are on the Middle East, the same people always hold power. And she reports on their Israeli collaborators.
This week Ha'aretz - the trumpet of Israel's ruling class - gave us all a primer in how this sort of thing works. In an article titled, "Obama has ways and means to check on Netanyahu," military commentator Amir Oren disclosed the close collaboration between the Obama administration and a handful of hard-left retired IDF officers against the Netanyahu government.

Oren reported that ahead of Obama's meeting this month with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, retired IDF brigadier generals Shlomo Brom, Udi Dekel and Baruch Spiegel met secretly in Rome with retired US rear admiral John Sigler who heads the Middle East research institute at the US Joint Chiefs of Staff. The purpose of their meeting was twofold.

First, as Oren put it, they were asked to "clarify whether in the dispute between [the Obama administration and the Netanyahu government] Netanyahu truly represent the majority in Israel." That is, they were supposed to tell Sigler how to drive a wedge between the democratically elected government and the Israel voters who elected it.

And second, they were supposed to furnish Obama with arguments to reject Netanyahu's arguments for why Israel cannot retreat to the 1949 armistice lines. As Oren put it, "When Netanyahu tells Obama there is something he can't do because it would be the death of him, experts like the three brigadiers general can map out Israel's ranges of flexibility to Sigler, and through him pass them along... to Obama."

Activities like those Oren reports are a permanent feature in Israelpolicy circles. Regardless of who is in office, the likes of Brom, Dekel and Spiegel and their leader Yossi Beilin are always working with the Americans and Europeans to force Israel to maintain allegiance to the failed land for peace paradigm. Year in and year out, these anti-democratic and strategically demented but well paid former officials maintain what they euphemistically refer to as "track two," contacts with their counterparts in the European and American ruling class to force the majority of Israelis who don't share their derangement to accept their policy dictates.

Codevilla predicts that a clash between the ruling class and the ruled in the US is just a matter of time, although he makes scant predictions or recommendations for how that clash will play itself out. Just so, the time has come for Israelis to confront our own ruling class and develop methods for weakening its chokehold on Israel's domestic and foreign policy.
Read it all.

Why don't they just shut up?

Barack Obama and David Cameron are only making things worse with Turkey says Marty Peretz. What they ought to do is to shut up.
The fact is that Turkish membership in the E.U. would be tantamount to European approval and support for the values of Turkish society. It once was that Turkey was in dissent from Islamic orthodoxies. This and its antagonism to the Soviet Union--or the antagonism of the Soviet Union to it--were credentials enough for membership in NATO, a membership it has held for half a century. But Turkey under Recep Tayyip Erdogan today represents an altogether different constellation of philosophical values and strategic commitments. Erdogan is not shy about these values or commitments. He has made himself Ahmadinejad's emissary to the world. This is a shameful role for any political leader. As is his deputization of self to Hamas and the Syrian dictatorship.

At the core of Erdogan's redeployment of his country on the map of contemporary politics lies his shift from being a pragmatic ally of Israel to being an eager comrade of virtually all the madmen of Islam. This is of some significance to Israel. But it is more salient to the western democracies of which most important are the U.S. and the U.K. whose troops are fighting an almost unmapped battle in Afghanistan. Roughly 1,500 Turkish troops are also deployed against the Taliban and Al Qaeda. This is emblematic of a two-faced policy, one descending, the other in the ascendancy. It also mirrors the intelligence conundrum. Turkey receives secret information from the Americans and the Brits. It also shares this with its Muslim allies, including elements among the Taliban and the intrinsically fissiparous officer corps in Pakistan....

Back to Turkey and the E.U.: Turkey will not be admitted to the Union. Obama and Cameron are only magnifying the disappointment and the resentment of Erdogan. This disappointment and resentment will only feed the anger of the Islamist Turks and the country further into hands of the Muslim armed doctrine. Obama and Cameron are only raising false expectations. Why don't they just shut up?
Good question.

Change: Gaza tunnel owners shifting to tourism

The tunnel business in Gaza has now become not only dangerous but unprofitable. So wealthy Gazans (yes, there are wealthy Gazans in the 'impoverished' Gaza Strip) are shifting their investments. They have invested $20 million recently in 'resorts.' The shopping mall, swimming pools and hotels we have seen recently are only the beginning.
Samir Saed, owner of Crazy Water Park in Gaza City, said that until now, restaurants had been the only entertainment sites for most families. He rejected allegations that the owners of the resorts were charging high fees and offering expensive food. He said his resort was charging only NIS 10 per person for a variety of attractions, including a clean beach and playgrounds.

Ahmed Sani, owner of one of the city’s fancy tourist resorts, said he established his business after renting a plot on the beach from the Hamas-run municipality.

“I’m renting for a period of five years,” he told the Hamas-affiliated Web site Al-Resalah. “It’s in the interest of the citizen to have as many resorts as possible so that there could be competition.”

Mueen Abu Khair, owner of a popular seaside fish restaurant, said the Gaza Strip had witnessed a “revolution” this summer in the field of local tourism. He estimated that local businessmen had so far invested $15m. to $20m. in an unprecedented number of tourist projects throughout the Strip.

“Many investors now prefer to put their money in businesses that are safe and more profitable than the underground tunnels,” said economist Mueen Rajab. “Most of the money is now being invested in vehicles, restaurants, supermarkets, boutiques and stores for electrical appliances.
If you build it, they will come?

Cameron makes himself irrelevant

The Wall Street Journal argues that David Cameron's speech in Turkey on Tuesday has made him irrelevant to any Middle East peacemaking efforts.
In the late summer of 2005, then-Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon stood up to ferocious opposition within his own party to remove all of Israel's soldiers and settlements from the Gaza Strip. But he did have the support of a Conservative Shadow Minister of Education named David Cameron. At the time, just shortly before becoming Tory leader, Mr. Cameron paid tribute to "Israel's bold decision to withdraw from Gaza and parts of the West Bank," adding that "I am also clear that the Palestinian leadership now needs to live up to its responsibility to end corruption, violence, prejudice and terrorism which has blighted their people's prospects."

It didn't work out that way. Instead, Gaza immediately became a terrorist enclave that intensified its rocket fire on Israeli towns, took an Israeli soldier hostage, and quickly descended into a civil war that concluded with the bloody overthrow of Fatah by Hamas, which the U.K., the European Union and the U.S. all consider a terrorist organization. All this happened before Israel imposed its "blockade" on the Strip, a blockade that was also joined (and enforced much more severely) by Egypt. All the same, in the first quarter of this year alone Israel delivered close to 100,000 tons of aid to Gaza.

Since then, Gaza really has become a prison in many ways....

All this would seem to be ripe for this or any Prime Minister's condemnation. It might also have behooved Mr. Cameron to note that in the first quarter of this year alone Israel supplied 70% of Gaza's electricity. In 2009, more than 10,000 Gazans were treated for medical conditions in Israeli hospitals, including 382 emergency evacuations. All this for a territory the government of which seeks Israel's annihilation.

Instead, Mr. Cameron chose to lay sole blame for Gaza's situation on Israel. This must have surely delighted his Turkish hosts. But it smacks of cravenness and hardly serves the interests of truth-telling, much less any hopes of reconciliation between Ankara and Jerusalem. In a stroke, Mr. Cameron has managed to make himself irrelevant to Middle East peacemaking.

What David Cameron really meant in Turkey

Yes, this does indeed sound like what Cameron meant.

Let's go to the videotape (Hat Tip: Vlad Tepes via Gates of Vienna).

He does sounds like Obama's flunkie, doesn't he? And you thought he was a Conservative.

US laying groundwork for next terror war

Earlier this week, I reported that the US General Accounting Office is complaining that Israel has been delaying the delivery of 'light' weapons to US General Keith Dayton's 'Palestinian police.' I implied (for those of you who follow links) that the reason behind that is a fear that those weapons will eventually be turned on Israel's security forces. David Hornik details what I implied by the link in my previous post.
Israel’s fears are well-founded in grim precedent.

In 1996, in the incident in Jerusalem known as the “tunnel war,” Palestinian policemen who had been armed by Israel turned their guns on Israeli soldiers and killed fifteen of them. On a much larger scale, Palestinian “security forces” took part in many anti-Israeli terror attacks in the second intifada. As recently as February 10 of this year, an Israeli soldier was stabbed to death in a terror attack by a PA police officer.

Also, the fact that the U.S.-trained PA forces are fighting Hamas — to what extent and how effectively depends on which reports one reads — does not mean these forces are Israel’s friends. The Fatah-run PA is in a deadly conflict with Hamas and doesn’t want it to take over the West Bank as it has taken over Gaza. The PA, however, remains mired in its own murderously anti-Israeli ethos that is hardly less vicious than that of Hamas. Considering that Israel is quite capable of quelling Hamas on the West Bank by itself, it is severely irresponsible for the U.S. to be training a PA force under such circumstances.

The Palestinian state that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says Israel could accept would have to be a demilitarized one. Yet even today, a top Israeli general describes the PA as having an “infantry force,” already casting the prospective state’s “demilitarization” in doubt.

And if, as seems very likely these days, that state is actually not going to arise soon, then General Dayton’s words about “big risks” and a short “shelf life” could prove all too prophetic as the well-trained but aimless forces seek a target for their new capabilities.
Peace isn't even a light at the end of the tunnel.

The last thing Abu Mazen wants

The last thing 'moderate' 'Palestinian' President Mahmoud Abbas Abu Mazen wants is a viable 'peace process' leading to a 'Palestinian state.' That's because for Abu Bluff, the name of the game is staying alive.
[T]he last thing the Palestinian leader wants is a viable peace process, a fact that the administration may finally be starting to understand. Had Abbas wanted to accept a Palestinian state in the West Bank, Gaza, and part of Jerusalem, he could have accepted Ehud Olmert’s offer from 2008. He refused to even discuss that proposal because a peace deal would have forced him to accept not only peace but also the legitimacy of a Jewish state, even one inside truncated borders. Abbas knows that he cannot sign a peace agreement of any sort and survive, so he continues to prevaricate and seek excuses for not holding direct talks. The only question is how long it will take before Obama finally understands that although the Israelis have accepted the concept of a two-state solution, it is the Palestinians, who stand to benefit from such a scheme, who are incapable of accepting it. Until he does, the peace-process charade will continue.
Let's go to the videotape.

That's Abu Bluff's real goal. Stayin' alive. What could go wrong?


You're invited to caption this photo.

Ramon advised the 'Palestinians' not to negotiate with Netanyahu

People in Israel are afraid to be heard.

Someone got onto Israel Radio's morning talk program on Thursday morning and claimed in a disguised voice (sounded credible) to have overheard a meeting between Kadima (main opposition party) number 3 Chaim Ramon and 'Palestinian' chief negotiator bottle washer Saeb Erekat. In the meeting in a hotel lobby, Ramon advised Erekat not to go to direct negotiations with the Netanyahu government because Netanyahu won't give him anything anyway.

Ramon is denying that the meeting took place, but says he meets with representatives of the 'Palestinian Authority' all the time.

Erekat is denying that the meeting took place, but says that he meets with Israeli politicians all the time.

I would bet that the meeting took place and that the person on the radio reported it accurately.

We really do need a Logan Act in Israel.

They can't spell and they can't provide internet service

I've just had two and a half hours with no internet service.

We used to have this nice little company called Actcom. We had them from 1994. Unfortunately, a couple of years ago, they were bought out by Bezeq (yes, that's how they spell it), our (allegedly former) monopolist local phone company.

Bezeq's service is AWFUL - we have much more frequent outages than we ever had. If you're in Israel, I urge you to get your service elsewhere.


Within two minutes after I wrote this, the service went down for another two hours.

The flotilla hypocrisy

Israel's Deputy Foreign Minister, Danny Ayalon, goes after Lebanon for flotilla hypocrisy in Thursday's Wall Street Journal.
Today, there are more than 400,000 Palestinians in Lebanon who are deprived of their most basic rights. The Lebanese government has a list of tens of professions that a Palestinian is forbidden from being engaged in, including professions such as medicine, law and engineering. Palestinians are forbidden from owning property and need a special permit to leave their towns. Unlike all other foreign nationals in Lebanon, they are denied access to the health-care system. According to Amnesty international, the Palestinians in Lebanon suffer from "discrimination and marginalization" and are treated like "second class citizens" and "denied their full range of human rights."
Amnesty also states that most Palestinian refugees in Lebanon have little choice but to live in overcrowded and deteriorating camps and informal gatherings that lack basic infrastructure.
In view of the worsening plight of the Palestinians in Lebanon, it is the height of irony that a Lebanese flotilla is organizing to leave the port of Tripoli in the next few days to bring aid to Palestinians in Gaza. According to one of the organizers, the participants are "united by a feeling of stark injustice."
This attitude exposes the dishonesty of the whole flotilla exercise. Whether it is from Turkey, Ireland or Cyprus, those that participate in these flotillas reek of hypocrisy. There are currently 100 armed conflicts and dozens of territorial disputes around the world. There have been millions of people killed and hundreds of millions live in abject poverty without access to basic staples. And yet hundreds of high-minded "humanitarian activists" are spending millions of dollars to reach Gaza and hand money to Hamas that will never reach the innocent civilians of Gaza.
This is the same Gaza that just opened a sparkling new shopping mall that would not look out of place in any capital in Europe. Gaza, where a new Olympic-sized swimming pool was recently inaugurated and five-star hotels and restaurants offer luxurious fare.
Markets brimming with all manner of foods dot the landscape of Gaza, where Lauren Booth, journalist and "human rights activist," was pictured buying chocolate and luxurious items from a well-stocked supermarket before stating with a straight face that the "situation in Gaza is a humanitarian crisis on the scale of Darfur."
For those who don't recognize them, the pictures are all from Gaza; the last picture is a 2008 photo of Lauren Booth (Tony Blair's sister-in-law) in a Gaza supermarket.

The truth is that there are only two places in the Middle East where 'Palestinians' are better off than they are in Gaza. One is Judea and Samaria, which has one of the fastest growing economies in the World. The place in the Middle East where 'Palestinians' are treated best? You guessed it: Israel. Their treatment in Arab countries is far worse - even than Gaza.

Read the whole thing.

Video: Boycott, Divestment, Sanction Israel

You've all heard of the BDS Movement - Boycott, Divest, Sanction Israel. What are they about? This video will tell you.

Let's go to the videotape.

Long-time readers may recall that Ali Abunimah is a buddy of President Obama.

For the record, Ronny Kasrils is a Jewish former minister in the South African government.

Hamastan: No PJ's in display windows

In Hamastan, it is now illegal to display pajamas or lingerie in store windows.
Among the prohibitions include displaying lingerie or pajamas in store windows, having fitting rooms or cubicles inside shops, and using tinted glass for store windows. Security cameras inside women's stores will also be banned.

Gaza police spokesman Brigadier Ayman Al-Batniji said the new restrictions will "protect morals and allow people to feel comfortable as they walk down the street."
So instead of rubbing themselves against the shop windows in frustration, Hamas terrorists who cannot restrain themselves can now walk into stores that have no security cameras and take what they want.

What could go wrong?

8 reasons why Leftists should be pro-Israel

Alan Krinsky makes eight cogent arguments why Leftists ought to be pro-Israel. Each one requires Leftists to look themselves in the mirror and ask why they viscerally oppose Israel. Will the Leftists listen? Based on the comments at HuffPo, I'd say that a third to a half are thinking about it - but they may be the same people who thought about it before.

I thought this comment from Krinsky was most interesting.
I thank readers for posting comments. I want to emphasize one point, missed by at least most of the critics of my essay. My central argument is that there is a difference between criticism and demonization, and that much anti-Israel sentiment and expression is of the latter type and disproportionate to the situation in international and historical context--to the extent that many of Israel's attackers wind up promoting values they ought to oppose and opposing values they ought to promote. I argue that even well-intentioned critics of Israeli policy ought to agree with this claim. Therefore, individual accusations against this or that Israeli policy does nothing to refute my argument. Indeed, the burden of proof ought to be with those who insist that Israel is the worst criminal in the world, if not in all of history, and thus more deserving of U.N. sanctioning than any other nation by far. (Others might be interested in exploring the sociological reasons for the singling out and demonization of Israel, but that's another story.)
He's describing what Natan Sharansky calls the Three D's.

Europe issues threat over Israeli airline security system

The European Union has issued a veiled threat regarding its air services agreement with Israel in response to an Israeli program that requires commercial pilots to have an Israeli-issued card with a personalized PIN that must be entered before a plane can enter into a landing pattern at Ben Gurion Airport. The program is still in a pilot phase, and according to the New York Times, it has led to two incidents in which IAF jets were scrambled to investigate commercial airliners. The Times reports that Israeli pilots are also unhappy about the program (Hat Tip: Joshuapundit).

But alas, the European threat doesn't seem to have much to do with any of those things. It seems that the Europeans are upset with the notion that they might have to designate in advance which pilots can fly into Israel.
In addition to safety concerns, international airlines and the European Union say, the program creates logistical problems by separating pilots into those with PINs who can fly into Israel and those who cannot. The director general for the European Commission’s Air Transport Directorate, Daniel Calleja, told the Israelis this could restrict “the ability of airlines to efficiently allocate their personnel.” In a letter sent earlier this month, Mr. Calleja made a veiled threat that this could “have immediate implications on the current air services agreement between the EU and Israel.”
It makes sense that before Israel issues an electronic card, it will investigate the pilot in question to ensure that s/he is not a hostile person who is likely to try to crash a plane into the Azrieli Center.

The other - bigger - advantage to the system seems obvious: If such a system had been in effect on 9/11, Mohamed Atta and friends would have been shot down rather than being allowed to crash their planes into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a field in Pennsylvania. That might have saved a lot of lives on the ground.

How does that stack up against the EU's personnel allocation concerns?

Read the whole thing.

Overnight music video

Here's Shloime Dachs playing a concert on the beach in Long Beach, California on Sunday. This is a medley.

Let's go to the videotape.

Please send me a ticket next time guys!

The Arabs' shame

'Palestinian' reporter Khaled Abu Toameh reports that many 'Palestinians' would rather in live in Israel.
Many Palestinians feel that neither Fatah nor Hamas has done enough to alleviate their suffering. Many Fatah leaders who stole billions of dollars of international donations earmarked for the Palestinians have invested their fortunes in hotels, tourist resorts and real estate firms in the West. Hamas, on the other hand, prefers to spend millions of dollars on purchasing [and smuggling] large amounts of weapons, including rockets and ammunition.

It is a disgrace for Arab and Muslim dictators, particularly those who make billions of dollars from selling oil, that their constituents have to seek work and refuge in Israel and the West. It is also a disgrace for Fatah and Hamas that thousands of Palestinians cannot find jobs or a good life in the two Palestinian states in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Arab and Islamic regimes are spending billions of dollars on building new mosques and madrasas while nearly half of their people are illiterate and live under the poverty line. University graduates in these countries are forced to search for work in the West because of poor working conditions and lack of opportunities.

The absence of good government, transparency, accountability and democracy in these countries is driving Arabs and Muslims to seek work and a better life not only in North America and Europe, but even in places like Israel.

A wealthy Arab prefers to spend millions of dollars on a private zoo than building a hospital or a university. Why should he when he and his family members could travel anytime they wish to receive medical treatment at Mayo Clinic or study at Harvard University?

In many ways, these Palestinians are not different from the African immigrants who try to infiltrate Israel every day through Egypt. The immigrants come from Sudan, Ethiopia, Eretria, Nigeria and other African countries.

Like the Palestinians, the Africans are prepared to pay a lot of money to get into Israel. Egyptian traffickers charge up to $1,000 for each immigrant.

But for the African immigrants, the journey is also a very dangerous one. In the past three years, Egyptian border guards have shot and killed dozens of African men and women who tried to cross the border into Israel.


True, Israel is not 100% perfect. But an African Muslim or Christian still prefers Israel to countries like Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Saudi Arabia and Iran. As a "refugee" from Darfour, Sudan, who now lives in Tel Aviv, explained: "I feel more secure in the Jewish state than in Sudan or any Arab or Islamic country."

For many Palestinians, it is easier to find a job in Israel and Canada than in any Arab or Islamic country, most of which impose strict travel and work restrictions on them. Palestinians cannot enter most Arab and Islamic countries without a visa.

One can understand why a Palestinian needs a visa to enter the US or any European country. But why does a Palestinian need a visa to visit his relatives in Syria, Lebanon and Egypt?

Many Palestinians from the West Bank who visit Arab countries often find themselves thrown into detention centers for weeks, months and years without trial. Hundreds, if not thousands, of Palestinians are believed to be languishing in prisons throughout the Arab world, especially in Syria and Egypt.
But give them a state and all of their problems will be solved.

Video: Sestak on the ECI ad

Here's Congressman Joe Sestak (D-Penn), Democratic nominee for the US Senate, talking about the ad placed against him by the Emergency Committee for Israel.

Let's go to the videotape.

Jennifer Rubin adds:
First, he tries to suggest that the ad is down. (Well, ECI actually doubled its ad buy.) Then, he claimed he really didn’t know. (He thinks ignorance is endearing? We are supposed to imagine his attorney never told him, “Sorry, but Comcast wouldn’t cave.”) Then he claims that the ECI ad was “false” — but provides no specifics. (I suppose if a pledge not to take money from earmark beneficiaries is not a pledge, then a letter indicting Israel for imposing ”collective punishment” isn’t a condemnation of Israel for inflicting collective punishment.) And once again, he claims he went to CAIR to lecture them on terrorism. (No explanation was given for the slobbering praise for the group, nor was any repudiation of CAIR forthcoming now that several officials have been identified as engaged in terrorist activities.)

What is unnerving about the performance is the total conviction with which he asserts facts that simply aren’t so. He betrays not a hint of self-awareness nor of remorse for dabbling with jihadism. Voters should take note: this is not a pol who takes facts seriously, and consequently not one to be persuaded by experience or evidence that contradicts his strongly held beliefs. Gosh, does that remind you of another liberal politician?

Israelis turning right

Here are a couple of indications that Israel is turning rightward. First, here's a survey on whether people would repeat the Gaza expulsion of Jews. Unsurprisingly, they would not. In fact, most people would like to undo it today.
A Geocartography telephone poll broadcast on Israeli Television's Channel 1 yesterday showed the following results:

62% Israeli Jews oppose additional unilateral withdrawals. 21% were in favor.

Results to the following additional questions appeared to confirm the trend:

Was the 2005 disengagement from the Gaza Strip the right thing to do?
Yes 25% No 54%

Since the disengagement, has your support for the settlers changed?
Increased 39% Reduced 14% No change 32%

Would there be a civil war if another unilateral withdrawal was carried out?
Yes 50% Maybe 18% No 21%

Would you support another unilateral withdrawal?
Yes 21% No 62%

Did the disengagement strengthen or weaken Israel's deterrence?
Weakened 55% No impact 28% Strengthened 8%
That sounds pretty definitive, doesn't it?

But what might be even bigger news is that Yisrael HaYom (pictured at the top) narrowly edges out Yedioth Aharonoth (YNet) as the top circulating newspaper in the country. Yisrael HaYom is owned by Sheldon Adelson, and is a Right wing newspaper - the only non-religious politically Right newspaper among the Hebrew press. Each of Yisrael HaYom (which is handed out free on street corners) and Yedioth has a 35% market share.

Haaretz - to which many of you likely attribute exaggerated importance because of its internet presence - has a paltry 6.4%.

Many Israelis do buy a hard copy newspaper every day. This is because religious and traditional Israelis don't use their computers on the Sabbath. Once you're paying for the Friday paper, you may as well pay for the rest of the week (it's almost the same price).

For the record, we get a hard copy of the JPost every day.