Brig. Gen. (Res) Meir Indor, already a terror attack victim once before and the head of the Almagor terror victims' organization, was wounded by an Arab mob on Wednesday morning as he returned from an all-night Torah study session at a yeshiva on the Mount of Olives.
Jerusalem Arabs, including children from an Israeli government school, attacked and wounded the director of the Almagor terror victims group early Wednesday morning. He and his wife narrowly escaped murder at the hands of the rioters.
The victim, former senior IDF officer Meir Indor, suffered head wounds and is being treated at Hadassah Mount Scopus Hospital.
His daughter Sarah Beck, a journalist for Channel 2 television, told Israel National News her mother was driving Indor back from an all-night Torah study session at a Jewish neighborhood at the Mount of Olives (Har HaZeitim), a tradition on the last day of Sukkot, known in Hebrew as Hoshanah Raba.
“My father was sitting next to my mother, and they were stuck in traffic and blocked by a car full of Arabs,” early Wednesday morning, she reported. “Suddenly, the Arabs attacked them with metal rods, cinder blocks and rocks with the participation of children from the adjacent Al Tur school.
Beck pointed out that the school is administered by the Israeli Ministry of Education.
The attack continued for several minutes, and Indor’s wife managed to get out of the traffic jam, but not before her husband was wounded and their car damaged beyond repair. She was able to drive the vehicle to the hospital.
They're lucky they knew their way around. I get lost every time I try driving in that area.
Joe Lieberman: Obama must make clear that he will stop Iran
Senator Joe Lieberman (I-Ct) told the Council on Foreign Relations on Wednesday that President Obama must make it clear that the United States will stop Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.
“Some have suggested that we should simply learn to live with a nuclear Iran. In my judgment, that would be a grave mistake. And as one Arab leader I recently spoke with pointed out, how could anyone count on the United States to go to war to defend them against a nuclear-armed Iran, if we were unwilling to go to war to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran? Simply put, having tried and failed to stop Iran’s nuclear breakout, our country will be a poor position to contain its consequences.”
“It would also be a failure of U.S. leadership if this situation reaches the point where the Israelis decide to attempt a unilateral strike. If military action must come, the United States is in the strongest position to confront Iran and manage the regional consequences. This is not a responsibility we should outsource. We can and should coordinate with our many allies who share our interest in stopping a nuclear Iran, but we cannot delegate our global responsibilities to them.”
“The single most important test of American power in the Middle East today is whether we succeed or fail in stopping Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons capability, and how we fare on that test will surely affect our standing in the rest of the world.”
“It is time to retire our ambiguous mantra about all options remaining on the table. Our message to our friends and enemies in the region needs to become clearer: namely, that we will prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapons capability -- by peaceful means if we possibly can, but with military force if we absolutely must.”
But President Obama is only capable of using military force against white imperialists exploiting indigenous people of color (if that). What could go wrong?
You will recall that Bill Benter was the friend of J Street who allegedly solicited a donation of more than $800,000 from a previously anonymous Fillipina resident of Hong Kong named Connie Esdicul (yes, that's his Facebook picture). Roger Simon comes up with a bit more about Mr. Benter.
His own foundation is determinedly and publicly apolitical, showing uncontroversial donations like the Boy Scouts. But the Way Back Machine (2007) tells us a bit more about this guy than that he had a Tibetan Buddhist wedding. He was a supporter of a group called CALME, a Middle East peace organization with peacenik rhetoric similar to J Street’s. The list of CALME’s supporters is short, but if you scroll it, you will find William Benter and further up S. Daniel Abraham, another of the small number of donors on the J Street 990.
This all happened at virtually the same time Benter’s “associate” Connie made her donation. Does this mean Benter laundered 800k of gambling profits through Esdicul to J Street? Of course not. But it certainly sounds suspicious.
And there’s more. Benter had a partner named Alan Wood, now deceased. Wood made frequent trips to Manila, apparently. I could go on, but I’d like our crack investigating team to do more research.
For those who don't recognize the name, S. Daniel Abraham is the founder of SlimFast and a longtime activist for Leftist causes in Israel. If you scroll down, there are some other interesting names on that list.
But back to Alan Wood (actually Woods), you can find his obituary here.
Working as an actuary in the late 1970s, Woods learned to count cards at blackjack and became a serious gambler for the first time in his life, travelling the world for three years as a professional card counter and undertaking all kinds of disguises and subterfuge to avoid identification by the world's casinos.
But his earnings at blackjack were tiny compared with his subsequent career in racing. Woods turned to horseracing in New Zealand in 1982 then shifted his life and focus to Hong Kong, and its big pools, in 1984.
A founding partner in the earliest computer betting team in Hong Kong, which split after a dispute between the partners in the early 1990s, Woods established his own hugely successful betting operation, with employees based around the world and had built a fortune estimated at more than US$600 million before his death.
Even as Woods grew to the point of dominating the Hong Kong betting scene in recent years, even over and above other successful computer teams, he also enjoyed his wealth and was famed in Hong Kong racing circles for his bacchanalian parties and celebrations.
Once a regular in Wan Chai's bars and nightclubs, Woods had become more reclusive and relocated to Manila several years ago, but his operation continued to annually lay out between one and two per cent of Hong Kong's entire racing turnover (which totalled US$64 billion in the last completed season).
He is survived by two ex-wives, two sons and a daughter.
Okay Roger, is Connie Esdicul Alan Woods' last significant other? Or one of the ex-wives (which seems less likely)? Or was she just domestic help that he took with him from the Philippines to Hong Kong? Hmmm.
There's another obituary for Woods here. It mentions another name we have not heard before: Zeljko Ranogajec, who is also known as the Loch Ness Monster. No connection to J Street yet.
But let me leave you with this: Alan Woods died on January 26, 2008. Connie Esdicul put her money into J Street sometime after June 30, 2008. Hmmm.
Incredibly, even the Brits found the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign's 'Holocaust Memorial Day' commemoration offensive.
The British government has branded a Holocaust Memorial Day event organized by a radical anti-Israel campaign group earlier this year “offensive,” banning any mention of it on the official Holocaust Memorial Day Trust’s website.
The matter came to light after Mick Napier, head of the fringe group Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign (SPSC), posted the government’s letter on the organization’s website on Monday.
Napier wrote to Home Secretary Theresa May in July asking why its event, which had been organized to coincide with Holocaust Memorial Day – commemorated internationally every year on January 27, the day Auschwitz-Birkenau was liberated – was not listed by the trust.
Speaking at the event, on the subject of “Israeli mass killings in Palestine,” had been Holocaust survivor and anti-Israel activist Hajo Meyer, author of the book The End of Judaism.
Meyer has claimed that Judaism was supplanted by the “Holocaust religion” that was “invented by the High Priest Elie Wiesel.”
Meyer is also known to rebuke Israel for “treating the Palestinian people in the same way the Nazis treated Jews during the Second World War.”
On Holocaust Memorial Day last year, SPSC hosted Azzam Tamimi, a Hamas supporter who condones suicide bombing in Israel, at an event titled “Resistance to Genocide and Ethnic Cleansing: from Europe in the 1940s to the Middle East Today.”
In 2006, it staged Perdition, a play that implies Zionist complicity in the Shoah. The same year, it hosted Gilad Atzmon, an alleged Holocaust-denier and anti-Semitic musician.
In his writings, Atzmon has said, “To regard Hitler as the wickedest man and the Third Reich as the embodiment of evilness is to let Israel off the hook,” and, “Perhaps we should face it once and for all, the Jews were responsible for killing Jesus.”
In a written response to SPSC last month, the government said it deemed the content of the event “offensive” and that it was the trust’s policy to bar anything “inappropriate.”
It's great that the British government finally woke up in 2010 and decided it found the SPSC's 'Holocaust memorial' offensive. Given that Britain has since elected a Prime Minister who refers to Gaza as the World's largest prison, is there any chance that the British government will find next year's SPSC 'commemoration' to be offensive?
Amnesty calls on ICC to take jurisdiction over Goldstone findings
Amnesty International has called for the United Nations to refer the outrageously biased Goldstone Report findings to the International Criminal Court. Israel has not signed the treaty acceding to the International Criminal Court, nor has Hamas. The 'Palestinian Authority' has not signed the treaty but has agreed to the 'court's jurisdiction.
“Both Israeli and Hamas authorities have been given adequate time and opportunity to ensure justice for the victims, yet they are both failing to do so,” said Widney Brown, a senior director of international law and policy at Amnesty.
“An international justice solution must now be found.”
“Victims have waited long enough,” Brown said. “It’s now time the ICC prosecutor sought a decision on whether the Palestinian declaration submitted in 2009 allows him to act. If the Pre-Trial Chamber determines that the ICC has jurisdiction, the prosecutor should open an investigation into crimes committed by both sides during the Gaza conflict, without delay.”
Amnesty also called on national authorities of all states to investigate and prosecute crimes committed in the Gaza conflict in their national courts on behalf of the international community, saying that all states can prosecute war crimes and crimes against humanity, regardless of where they are committed. This is commonly known as universal jurisdiction.
The controversial principle has been exploited by activists over the years to try and arrest Israeli officials visiting the UK.
Amnesty also urged the UN Human Rights Council to “recognize the failure” of the investigations conducted by Israel, and called on the Hamas de facto administration in the Gaza Strip to comply with international law and standards.
Amnesty also wants to refer the committee of independent experts’ report to the UN General Assembly and asks that UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon place the report before the Security Council.
I assume the 'victims' to whom they are referring are the Hamas terrorists, because Israelis were being rocketed for more than three years (actually longer but for these purposes it's sufficient to measure the rocket fire after the Gaza expulsion) and no one at Amnesty or any other 'international organization' gave a damn. As to the Hamas terrorists - the overwhelming majority of the Operation Cast Lead casualties - they got their justice during Operation Cast Lead.
A good winter to everyone, although it sure doesn't seem like winter is anytime soon given that Friday's predicted high in Jerusalem is 36 degrees Celsius (97 Fahrenheit). But that's the traditional greeting after the holidays end, and they have ended here in Israel although not yet abroad.
Israel Radio reports that the University of Johannesburg has decided not to boycott Ben Gurion University... for now. However, they have told Ben Gurion to make joint ventures with 'Palestinian' universities - or else.
You might have thought that a university whose faculty promotes boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel would already have relationships with 'Palestinian' universities. You would be wrong. You see, even for the Leftist Jews, this isn't about helping the Arabs. It's about destroying the State of Israel. In fact, the biggest racists in this country are the Leftists.
Here's a video about the Islamization of London. It's in French with English subtitles. Toward the end, there's a demonstration of the English Defence League with one participant wrapped in an Israeli flag. I leave it to my British readers to comment on how many Jews join the EDL.
With this past week's revelations about J Street taking funding from foreigners and from George Soros, Joel Pollak, the Republican candidate for Congress in Illinois 09, is urging his Democratic opponent Jan Schakowsky to return some $50,000 - $100,000 in contributions that Schakowsky received from Obama's blocking back (Hat Tip: Jennifer Rubin via Daniel Halper).
Thus far this election cycle, Schakowsky has received tens of thousands of dollars from J Street--close to $50,000, according to OpenSecrets.org, and perhaps twice as much in reality. J Street has made me their #1 target in the 2010 election, because I have taken on their leaders and their misguided policies--and also because I received the endorsement of Alan Dershowitz, whom J Street attacks, among other Jewish leaders.
The Obama administration, which is now backing away from J Street, has used the group to divide the Jewish community and to push Congress away from its traditional support for Israel. Though there are some who support J Street out of sincere--if often misinformed--conviction, many of those who hate Israel with a passion have delighted in J Street’s emergence as a Washington project under the administration’s protection.
I recently received a bizarre anti-Israel and anti-Jewish screed from an organization calling itself “Goals for Americans,” and run by a certain “Paul Flum” from Missouri. Evidently “Mr. Flum” has been sending his materials to as many political candidates as possible, with the note: “If you need any more evidence that Israel (with American help) is the Oppressor of the people of Gaza and Palestine and the civilized world--Here it is!”
The “evidence” is a pair of glossy, colorful propaganda pamphlets, one of which is an ode to Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH). The Kucinich pamphlet also features a plainly disgusting antisemitic cartoon which portrays a giant beast with several arms, tentacles, and horns that is meant to represent the global Jewish conspiracy to control humanity. Kucinich is lauded for supporting the Goldstone Report and hence fighting the “beast.”
In addition to celebrating Kucinich and Richard Goldstone, the pamphlet singles out J Street and its executive director, Jeremy Ben-Ami, for unique praise. On one page, Ben-Ami is depicted as “Saving the Jewish Heritage.” On the next, he is pictured beneath a figure waving a banner that reads “J Street,” shouting: “HEY! Stop This!” The figure, and Ben-Ami’s face, appear with the captions: “‘J Street to the Rescue!’ ‘Humanity May Win!’”
Illinois 09 is a heavily Jewish suburban Chicago district (where Mrs. Carl grew up), which includes large Orthodox communities in places like Skokie, Lincolnwood and West Rogers Park. It should not be particularly hospitable to a candidate sponsored by George Soros who is running against one of their own. But if you live in that district, please make sure to vote for Joel Pollak.
Assad tells Ahmadinejad not to throw stones at Israel
Israel Radio reports at 2:00 that according to a report in a Kuwaiti newspaper, when Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad visited Syrian President Bashar al-Assad ten days ago, Assad advised his Iranian counterpart not to visit the border area between Lebanon and Israel, and that throwing stones at the Israeli border was 'inappropriate.' Assad also called a visit to the border area 'dangerous.'
Israel Radio reported in its 2:00 newscast that Iran has announced a two-month delay - to January or February - in the Bushehr nuclear power plant going online. Iran claims the delay is caused by concern about safety, which requires that due to the warm temperatures in Iran, work only be done at night.
Stuxnet worms apparently only come out in the daytime.
Arafat asked Hamas to carry out 'military operations'
It probably won't come as news to most Israelis that Yasser Arafat asked Hamas to carry out terror attacks in the aftermath of the 2000 Camp David summit. After all, when the IDF raided the Mukhata in 2003, it found documentation of Arafat paying Hamas for the very same terror attacks. But the admission by Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahar that Hamas acted in concert with Arafat was enough to put the story on the front page of the print edition of the JPost on Wednesday.
Former Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat instructed Hamas to launch terror attacks against Israel when he realized that the peace talks weren't going anywhere, Mahmoud Zahar, one of the Hamas leaders in the Gaza Strip, revealed on Tuesday.
"President Arafat instructed Hamas to carry out a number of military operations in the heart of the Zionist entity after he felt that his negotiations with the Israeli government then had failed," Zahar told students and lecturers at the Islamic University in Gaza City.
Zahar did not say when and how Arafat instructed Hamas back then to launch the "military operations" – most of which were suicide bombings targeting Israeli civilians.
However, it is believed that Arafat issued the order to Hamas following the failure of the Camp David summit in 2000.
This was the first time that a senior Hamas official disclosed that some of the suicide bombings in Israel during the second intifada, which erupted 10 years ago, were ordered by Arafat.
Until now it was widely believed that Arafat had ordered his Fatah militiamen to carry out terror attacks on Israel.
And it took from January 2001 to June 2002 for the Bush administration - which was basically sympathetic with Israel - to figure out that Arafat was the problem. Actually, if today's reports are correct, that's about how long it took the Obama administration to figure out that Abu Bluff is the problem.
Lieberman tells UN full peace could take 'decades'
Give Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman (pictured with Secretary of State Clinton) credit: He's willing to say things that people don't want to hear. On Tuesday, he told the United Nations General Assembly that full peace in the Middle East could take decades, and that we need to set our sights at a lower and more realistic level.
Addressing the United Nations General Assembly Tuesday, Israeli Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Avigdor Lieberman recommended a “two-staged” solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that “could take a few decades,” and said a final status agreement would entail “not land-for-peace, but rather, exchange of populated territory.”
Lieberman said a “long-term intermediate agreement” prior to final status agreements would most likely be necessary as a first component of a “two-staged” solution.
An intermediate agreement, Lieberman said, would be motivated from the “need to raise an entire new generation that will have mutual trust and will not be influenced by incitement and extremist messages.” Lieberman added that creating such an emotionally conducive climate “could take a few decades.”
Lieberman stressed that he was not advocating population transfer as part of a final status agreement, but rather, stating that “moving borders to better reflect demographic realities” would be part of an effort to recognize and address the deep-seated friction between the two nations.
Citing examples in East Timor, as well as the former Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia, Lieberman said “where effective separation has been achieved, conflict has either been avoided or has been dramatically reduced or resolved.”
Lieberman said that “precisely this notion – that a mismatch between borders and nationalities is a recipe for conflict – has long been accepted as a virtual truism in the academic community,” referencing the term “right-sizing the state.”
“States and nations must be in balance in order to ensure peace,” Lieberman said. “This is not a controversial political policy. It is an empirical truth.”
“Israel is not only where we are,” Lieberman said. “It is who we are.”
Now, I don't favor giving up parts of the Land of Israel, and I don't favor giving up any land without an end of conflict resolution (even though a state with 'temporary borders' is part of the road map) but Lieberman makes many valid points and they ought to be addressed rationally. But they weren't. Instead, Lieberman is dismissed as a war mongerer by Prime Minister Netanyahu ('he doesn't speak for me'), lambasted by Defense Minister Barak and ignored by the Americans.
Instead of confronting the elephants in the room, as Lieberman tried to do on Tuesday, both Israel and the Americans are ignoring them as if doing so will make them go away. And all because the elephants won't abide by President Obama's timetable. What could go wrong?
P.S. I disagree with Ben Smith that Lieberman shows what Netanyahu is up against. Lieberman ultimately believes that there has to be a 'Palestinian state.' Many Israelis are unalterably opposed to one.
UN 'Human Rights Council' ignores international law
Here are some awesome pearls of wisdom from members of the special flotilla commission appointed by the UN 'Human Rights Council.'
The U.N. commission into Israel’s May 31 flotilla clash declared during a U.N. Human Rights Council debate today that “even if Bin Laden himself were on the Mavi Maramara, Israel’s blockade would still be illegal.”
The statement was made by commissioner Desmond de Silva in response to questions posed in the council plenary by the Geneva-based UN Watch as to why the probe ignored voluminous evidence it submitted regarding the stated intentions of the Islamist flotilla members to physically confront Israel and become “Shahids,” or martyrs.
The chair of the flotilla probe, Judge Karl T. Hudson-Phillips, said that he had never heard the term “Shahid” before. However, he insisted that, in any event, the intentions of the IHH activists carried no legal relevance.
Aside from incredible stupidity, their interpretation of international law is way off base.
By the way, they're also claiming that Israel is suppressing video footage from the ship. Given that Israel confiscated all the video on the ship, disproving that is going to be like disproving that you beat your wife without her testimony.
A Nobel Peace Prize winner has been barred from entering Israel. No, not Jimmy Carter, Barack Obama or Desmond Tutu. It's Mairead Maguire, an Irish pro-'Palestinian' activist who won a Nobel Peace Prize for work in Northern Ireland in 1976. And she's barred (and currently being held at the airport), because the last time she tried to arrive here it was on a boat headed to Gaza.
Maguire, 66, was deported from Israel in June after she participated in the Rachel Corrie flotilla. According to the Interior Ministry, she was told that in order to enter Israel in the future, she would need to obtain a special permit in advance, which on this occasion she did not.
A lawyer for Maguire confirmed that his client was detained at an airport lockup after landing early Tuesday in Tel Aviv. She was part of a human rights delegation visiting Israel and the West Bank.
According to attorney Fatmeh el-Ajou, the government said Maguire was banned from entering the country because of her participation in the June flotilla.
When Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad accused the United States of carrying out the 9/11 terror attacks at the UN last week, Americans were outraged at the obvious fraud and blood libel contained in Ahmadinejad's statement. But they weren't the intended audience.
Could it work? Like any politician, Ahmadinejad knows his demographic. The University of Maryland's World Public Opinion surveys have found that just 2% of Pakistanis believe al Qaeda perpetrated the attacks, whereas 27% believe it was the U.S. government. (Most respondents say they don't know.)
Among Egyptians, 43% say Israel is the culprit, while another 12% blame the U.S. Just 16% of Egyptians think al Qaeda did it. In Turkey, opinion is evenly split: 39% blame al Qaeda, another 39% blame the U.S. or Israel. Even in Europe, Ahmadinejad has his corner. Fifteen percent of Italians and 23% of Germans finger the U.S. for the attacks.
Deeper than the polling data are the circumstances from which they arise. There's always the temptation to argue that the problem is lack of education, which on the margins might be true. But the conspiracy theories cited earlier are retailed throughout the Muslim world by its most literate classes, journalists in particular. Irrationalism is not solely, or even mainly, the province of the illiterate.
Nor is it especially persuasive to suggest that the Muslim world needs more abundant proofs of American goodwill: The HAARP fantasy, for example, is being peddled at precisely the moment when Pakistanis are being fed and airlifted to safety by U.S. Marine helicopters operating off the USS Peleliu.
What Ahmadinejad knows is that there will always be a political place for what Michel Foucault called "the sovereign enterprise of Unreason." This is an enterprise whose domain encompasses the politics of identity, of religious zeal, of race or class or national resentment, of victimization, of cheek and self-assertion. It is the politics that uses conspiracy theory not just because it sells, which it surely does, or because it manipulates and controls, which it does also, but because it offends. It is politics as a revolt against empiricism, logic, utility, pragmatism. It is the proverbial rage against the machine.
Chances are you know people to whom this kind of politics appeals in some way, large or small. They are Ahmadinejad's constituency. They may be irrational; he isn't crazy.
Sol Stern writes that if 'moderate' 'Palestinian' President Mahmoud AbbasAbu Mazen is really serious about peace (which he is not), he must break down the walls of the 'Palestinian' 'refugee camps,' including the ones located within the 'Palestinian Authority.'
A few years ago I briefly visited the Balata refugee camp with its 20,000 residents. The camp is inside the West Bank city of Nablus—that is, within the jurisdiction of the Palestinian Authority (PA). It is where many of the Arabs of Jaffa settled when they fled the armed conflict that flared up immediately after the November 1947 UN partition resolution dividing Palestine into separate Jewish and Arab states. Most of Balata's current residents are the children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren of the original refugees. Thus, a new baby born in Balata today is still designated by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) as a refugee dislocated by the 1948 Arab-Israeli war and hence entitled to substantial material benefits for life, or at least until the conflict is settled. That infant will grow up and attend a segregated school run by UNRWA. In UN schools and cultural clubs financed by American tax dollars, Balata's children, like the children in similar camps in Gaza and neighboring Arab countries, are nurtured on the myth that someday soon they will return in triumph to their ancestors' homes by the Mediterranean Sea.
While awaiting redemption, Balata's Palestinian residents are prohibited, by the Palestinian Authority, from building homes outside the camp's official boundaries. They do not vote on municipal issues and receive no PA funding for roads or sanitation. As part of Prime Minister Salam Fayyad's "economic renaissance" and state-building project, a brand new Palestinian city named Rawabi is planned for the West Bank near Bethlehem. But there will be no room at the inn for the Balata refugees. Sixty years after the first Arab-Israeli war, Balata might accurately be defined as a UN-administered, quasi-apartheid, welfare ghetto.
This historical and political absurdity—unique in the experience of the world's tens of millions of refugees displaced by modern war and political conflict—helps explain why Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas walked away from the best deal his people have ever been offered. It happened in November 2008, when Ehud Olmert, then the prime minister of Israel, presented him with a detailed map of a future Palestinian state that, with land swaps, would constitute close to 100 percent of the territory of the West Bank and Gaza prior to the June 1967 war. Olmert also offered to divide Jerusalem, enabling the Palestinians to locate their capital in the eastern half of the city. The only thing he would not agree to was a right of return for Palestinian refugees—for the obvious reason that this would mean the end of the Jewish state.
As I have reported elsewhere, Abbas, promising to come back for further discussions, took the map to his Ramallah office for his aides to study. But he never returned with the map, and this was the last time the Israeli and Palestinian leaders met. The reason, I believe, is clear: if Olmert's offer had ever become the basis of serious negotiations, Abbas would have had to admit to the residents of Balata and the other refugee camps on the West Bank that their leaders had lied to them for 60 years and that they were not returning to Jaffa. Among those leaders was Abbas himself, who in his 2005 campaign for the PA presidency declared repeatedly that he would never bargain away the Palestinian refugees' right of return.
Today, two years later, face-to-face meetings, brokered by the Obama administration, are again being held between Abbas and an Israeli prime minister. But just like the Abbas-Olmert meetings, the current talks will go nowhere until Washington recognizes that the official Palestinian stance on the refugees presents a far more serious obstacle to Middle East peace than the issue of construction within Jewish West Bank settlements. The latter is no more than a complication, while Palestinian insistence on the right of return is a deal breaker.
Ahmadinejad to throw stones at Israel; Will the IDF open fire?
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad plans to 'symbolically' throw a rock at Israel during a visit to the Lebanese side of our border with that country on October 13.
Ahmadinejad plans to meet with Lebanese President Michel Suleiman, as well as other Lebanese officials, on October 13. During the two-day visit, the Iranian president will participate in events near the Israeli border.
One event is the inauguration of a garden in southern Lebanon, during which Ahmadinejad plans to throw the rock, Al-Quds reported.
Another event is the establishment of an Iranian center in the village of Maron A-Ras, where there IDF soldiers fought in the Second Lebanon War.
Ahmadinejad is expected to discuss Israeli-Palestinian peace talks in a speech in Bint-Jbil, another battle site.
Security for Ahmadinejad is being provided by Hezbullah.
The chief of staff told cabinet ministers that according to the IDF directive, troops were permitted to fire in the air and then at the legs of those hurling rocks in their direction. In addition, in the event that the troops sensed that they were in real danger they were granted permission to shoot to kill.
Cabinet ministers at Wednesday's weekly meeting were outraged over a protest Friday in which several dozen yellow-clad Hezbollah supporters on the Lebanese side of the border threw stones at soldiers on the Israeli side of the border. Some of the ministers criticized the army for not responding to the violent protest.
To my knowledge, those orders have never been countermanded.
Will the IDF shoot stone throwers on the Lebanese border on October 13? I hope they do.
Shocker: Israel's 'Supreme Court' enforces Jewish property rights in 'east' Jerusalem
Israel's 'Supreme Court' has issued an important ruling that recognizes the property rights of Jews in the Western half of the Shimon HaTzadik (Sheikh Jarrah) neighborhood, located just east of the former 1949 armistice line. The result, according to Haaretz, is that hundreds of 'Palestinians' may be evicted from the Jewish-owned homes in which they have been living rent-free for the past 62 years.
Sheikh Jarrah has been a bone of contention between Jewish groups - who call the neighborhood Shimon Hatzadik after the ancient rabbi they believe is buried there - and Palestinians living there. Tensions have risen over the last year as the court has allowed Jewish groups to reclaim homes they said they were forced to leave after 1948, thereby allowing them to evict Palestinian families in favor of Jewish ones.
To date the struggle had focused on the eastern part of the neighborhood. Three families have thus far been evicted from the area and 25 more are under threat of eviction.
Following the Six-Day War, the custodian general took over the homes and the properties in the area. Over the years the custodian general restored some of the properties to the legal Jewish owners. Other properties were bought by groups that identify themselves with the settlers - either directly by the custodian general or by the inheritors.
Among those owning property in the neighborhood is American businessman Irwin Moskowitz, who is considered an important patron of settlement activity.
Yithzak Memo, another right-wing activist involved in settlement in the western portion of the neighborhood, also bought property in the area.
King says that right-wing groups own about half the homes in the neighborhood.
In 1997 Palestinians sued, arguing that the property on which Jews settled in the 19th century had not been sold to them but leased and that the ownership remained Palestinian. In 2006 the Jerusalem District Court rejected the suit and they appealed to the Supreme Court.
Sunday the Supreme Court rejected their appeal and ruled that Jews are the owners of the homes. The ruling, written by Danziger, states that the Palestinians failed to prove the terms of the lease between the original owners and the Jews who lived in the neighborhood.
Evidence that payments for the lease were made were rejected by the court as constituting evidence that the Jews did not buy the property.
The legal significance of the ruling is that the status of the Palestinians living in the eastern portion of the neighborhood is now the same as that of those living in the western side - subletting Jewish owned property.
Sources familiar with the issue say that henceforth it will be easier for settler groups to evict Palestinians from the area.
Tuesday night and Wednesday are Hoshana Rabba, the day on which we get the final note (pitka) sealing the judgment for the year that was entered on Rosh HaShanna and preliminarily sealed on Yom Kippur. This is our last chance to pray that this should be the year in which Redemption finally comes.
I'd like to wish a pitka tava - a good note - to all of you.
Here's Mendy Jeruffi singing Hosheanu (God, please save us and gather us from among the nations).
I strongly advise those who are able to do so to read the Hebrew that accompanies this song.
There has been a subtle shift in the 'direct talks' reports Politico's Ben Smith, but from Israel's perspective that shift could be the most important one of all: Israel is winning the 'blame game' for the talks' failure.
Last summer, Israel owned the dead cat. Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made plain their view that Netanyahu’s failure to stop all settlement construction on the West Bank was the obstacle to resumed talks, and after an ill-timed construction announcement, Clinton’s office released details of the unusual 43-minute tongue-lashing she delivered to the Israeli.
Obama then brought Netanyahu and Abbas to the White House early this month with the exhortation to begin direct talks. Looming over the celebratory announcement that they would was the impending expiration of Israel’s moratorium on new settlement construction.
Now that the moratorium has expired, the Obama administration has completed a subtle tilt toward Israel’s point of view. The problem is no longer Israel’s actions: It’s the Palestinian insistence that one issue – settlements – be resolved before talks can begin.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is now feeling some of the heat reserved last year for Netanyahu, and facing the prospect that if he fulfills his promise to withdraw from talks, he will bear the full blame for their collapse.
“The onus is on the Palestinians not to walk away. That’s not fair but it’s the way it is,” said Hussein Ibish, a fellow at the American Task Force on Palestine, which backs the talks. “There are people on both sides who have no confidence [in the peace process] and so the name of the game is who gets blamed. Which is why the Palestinian can say a million times that they’ll walk out — but they can’t.”
It's beginning to look more and more like Abu Mazen is going to walk away from the talks. For the last week, I've expected him to keep repeating a mantra that hides behind the Arab League, makes no commitments, and just keeps saying that he will abide by whatever the Arab League decides. But instead, Abu Mazen and his negotiating team, especially Yasser Abed Rabbo, keep repeating over and over again how they 'cannot' negotiate without a freeze in place. Unless the Arab League decides to save Abu Mazen by overruling him, I think he has backed himself into a corner where he must walk away.
If Abu Mazen does walk away, I would say that we get a respite from the Obama administration for a couple of months anyway. No, it doesn't mean the game is over. But for now, Advantage Bibi.
In light of the revelations regarding J Street over the past several days, the Washington Times is reporting that the White House is backing off its connection with J Street.
White House spokesman Thomas Vietor declined to comment when asked on Monday if the White House would continue its past practice of inviting J Street's leaders to take part in conference calls with senior White House officials and to other White House events, and whether senior Obama administration officials would take part in future J Street conferences.
Reaction to J Street's funding sources intensified in recent days after The Washington Times reported on Friday that the group received $750,000 from Hungarian-born billionaire George Soros and his family. The Times obtained copies of J Street's federal tax documents that also disclosed how nearly half of J Street's revenue from July 2008 to June 2009 - a total of $811,697 - came from a single donor in Happy Valley, Hong Kong, named Consolacion Esdicul.
J Street's Mr. Ben Ami said that Ms. Esdicul gave the money to J Street in multiple wire transfers at the behest of William Benter, a Pittsburgh-based philanthropist and the CEO of Acusis, a medical-services company.
In an interview Monday, Rep. Eric Cantor, Virginia Republican and House minority whip, said: "The White House needs to disassociate itself from J Street, denounce J Street and cut off all ties."
Mr. Cantor, the only Jewish Republican in the House, added that "I am hopeful this revelation will now cause people to begin to ignore what they say. They are not reflecting the mainstream position of the pro-Israel community in America, nor do I think they help benefit the U.S.-Israel relationship."
One can only hope that the White House will cut off its connection with J Street.
I also have to wonder whether there is a connection between the timing of the J Street scandal and Rahm Emanuel's apparent departure from the White House later this week. In the past, I have noted parallels between Emanuel and J Street President Jeremy Ben Ami. If Emanuel is J Street's patron in the White House (and I believe he is), then leaving the White House now could spare him a lot of embarrassment regarding J Street.
IAF drilling to continue airbase operations under misssile attack
Fearing missile attacks by Hezbullah and/or Hamas, the IAF has more than doubled the number of drills it conducts for operating its bases while under attack, and it has developed specific answers for scenarios like a missile falling on a runway.
At the Hatzor IAF base, for example, airmen have carried out 25 drills since the beginning of the year, compared to just 12 last year. The drills vary and include scenarios that involve missile attacks on the base’s runway, living quarters and plane storage facilities.
The increase in training stems from intelligence assessments that in a future conflict with Hizbullah in Lebanon or Hamas in the Gaza Strip, Israel’s air force bases will be targeted.
During Operation Cast Lead last year, a number of rockets were fired in the direction of Hatzor, which is located near Gedera, as well as at Hatzerim, near Beersheba. During the Second Lebanon War in 2006, Hizbullah also tried to target the Ramat David base in the north.
“We do not have other bases that we can just move our aircraft to, and we need to learn how to continue operating as rockets and missiles are landing in the base,” a senior IAF officer who serves as a base commander told the Post.
The main concern is that a missile could hit a runway. To deal with such a scenario, the IAF has established specially trained teams that are capable of fixing holes in runways within a matter of minutes. These teams have already deployed mounds of material needed at different places alongside the runways.
I've been in Israel for 19 years, and I don't remember ever hearing sustained talk of war preparations like I have heard in the last several months.
Over the summer, an acquaintance who had finished his last reserve duty (due to age) called to tell me that the army had given them a complete rundown of what to expect in case of war. It's coming folks. Pray for us.
The Pentagon has said that it has no comment about the Stuxnet computer worm that is infecting many computer systems in Iran, apparently including Iran's nuclear facilities.
The Pentagon is refusing to comment on widespread accusations that it is responsible for coordinating a cyber-attack against Iran's nuclear facilities. Earlier this month the Iranians acknowledged the "Stuxnet Worm" had invaded software it uses at multiple nuclear production plants.
Pentagon Spokesman Col. David Lapan said Monday the Department of Defense can "neither confirm nor deny" reports that it launched this attack.
But in a lengthy post about the Stuxnet worm, Allahpundit points to a post by Jennifer Dyer, who argues that neither the United States nor Israel is behind the worm.
This frankly doesn’t sound to me like something the US or Israel would cook up. Besides being irresponsible, it’s inelegant, and dramatically increases the likelihood of detection before the worm can achieve its goal. It’s unnecessary – if the goal is sabotage.
The emphasis on eruptions in India, Indonesia, and Iran is also hard to explain. Why not two other nations and Iran? That it could be random seems very unlikely. One’s first thought would be that a set of similar USB drives was shipped to each country for some innocuous, probably even non-nuclear-related purpose. Siemens does business with all three, although if a set of drives was tampered with, the provenance wouldn’t have had to be Siemens. It would, however, have presumably been a company that does business with all three nations.
There is also the weird fact that in the alphabetical (English) list of world nations, India, Indonesia, and Iran occur one after the other in direct sequence. Silly as this seems, it’s a remarkable coincidence, and may lend weight to the theory about a shipment of altered drives. It’s hard to find another link between the nations that would make these three, and no others, overwhelmingly susceptible to the Stuxnet infestation.
Of the nations that could have pulled this off, however, there is one that might have a reason to target the three most-infected countries in particular, and that’s China. Although this week’s reports have all focused on the design of Stuxnet for industrial sabotage, it was clear in July that its design also suits it for industrial espionage. Some tenuous indications have been alluded to that suggest a Chinese link to the worm, but no concrete proof has been unearthed.
In their excitement over the undoubted sophistication of the worm, commentators seem to be missing the operational – as opposed to technical – fact that it has been detected and analyzed, but it hasn’t succeeded in shutting down Iran’s nuclear program, or even in materially hindering it. And now it isn’t going to. Spreading Stuxnet unnecessarily to so many computers doesn’t jibe with a goal of achieving a dastardly and decisive effect against Iran’s nuclear program. The more computers something proliferates to, the more likely it is to be detected somewhere – and detection ends Stuxnet’s career.
So I am unconvinced right now by the argument that the US or Israel designed this thing to attack Iran’s nuclear program. It would make more sense if China designed it to gather and update information on Siemens controllers, and to serve under limited and specific conditions as an executioner. But if Iran was the main target of such a project, that suggests a whole set of fresh analytical factors in the China-Iran relationship.
One other great quote from Allahpundit's post:
That’s one of many mysteries here — not only who rolled it out, but how long has it been around and what, precisely, is it up to? Rather than drone at you, let me instead recommend this useful primer about the worm at New Scientist explaining how it works and why it’s blowing the minds of cybersecurity experts who deal with it. In a nutshell, it’s fantastically sophisticated, hacking four previously unknownvulnerabilities of Microsoft Windows in order to gain entry to a system. It’s also fantastically specific, targeting industrial machinery operated by the German electronics company Siemens, which just so happens to run a bunch of Iranian nuclear infrastructure. And it’s potentially fantastically dangerous: Unlike most worms, which are used to gather information and spy, Stuxnet is aimed at messing up the timing of heavy industrial machines, which could lead to mechanical breakdowns or even explosions.
I'm going to stop right here because this entire subject is one on which a lot of time could be spent, and it's one about which I understand very little. But read the whole thing here and here and follow some of the links to understand a bit more.
Speaking of arrogance... Obama's most arrogant adviser may be leaving the White House by the end of this week to run for Mayor of Chicago.
And the best news of all is that if you listen to the list of possible replacements does not seem to include an former Israeli Jews with a special interest in trying to force Israel into a deal that says "we know better than you do what's in your best interests."
And Emanuel now gets to keep himself clear from the impending disaster for Democrats in November.
Farid Ghadry has a great short piece about how President Obama is being repaid for the arrogance with which he has treated foreign leaders. Here's the punch line.
As Obama loses his luster, he is quickly finding out that his elitist and acrimonious personality is pressing him against the wall. A lame duck president after only 2 years at the White House? Unheard of in US politics.
'Settlement freeze' extension proposal cut back to 60 days; UPDATED
The United States is now proposing a 60-day extension of the 'settlement freeze' to Prime Minister Netanyahu. Earlier, they had talked about three months.
Middle East peace envoy George Mitchell is flying back to the region tonight with his deputy David Hale and the NSC’s Dan Shapiro, the State Department said, and will be meeting with the Israeli and the Palestinian parties later in the week.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said in Paris Monday that he would refrain from issuing an announcement on whether he would stay or leave Israeli-Palestinian direct talks until an Oct. 4 meeting of the Arab League.
That gives U.S. negotiators a week to try to salvage the talks.
In addition to proposing a 60 day settlement freeze extension, the new U.S. package puts forward some assurances to Israel on security issues, Makovsky said.
Earlier Monday, former U.S. Ambassador to Israel and Egypt Daniel Kurtzer said he was not optimistic that the immediate crisis had but been postponed.
"All [Abbas] has done is defer the issue for a few days, while he consults” with various foreign leaders and advisors, Kurtzer said. “Maybe they will come up with some magical formula. ….But I don’t know if the problem is solved so much as the fight has been deferred” for a few more days.
“If the building that is taking place ... in fact gets confined to [major settlement] blocks, maybe this one will go away,” Kurtzer continued. “But it doesn’t look that way. The celebrations last night were in out of the way settlements.”
That said, some reports suggested new settlement building was more limited than first appeared from settler celebrations as the freeze expired Sunday, due to Israel being in the midst of a seven day Jewish holiday.
The holiday ends on Thursday night, and building is likely to start in earnest on Sunday.
No word whether the discussion is going to be about borders during those 60 days (do they really think they can resolve borders within 60 days?) although the mention of security makes it more likely that things are moving in our direction.
The word is that the Obama administration is finally understanding that Abu Mazen is the problem and not Netanyahu. I will have more on that later.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke with Netanyahu twice on the telephone Monday to discuss the proposal, which would include U.S. guarantees over core issues in the negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians on issues including refugees, security arrangements and Israel's status as a Jewish state. In return for the American guarantees, Israel would extend the suspension of construction in West Bank settlements for several more months. At this stage Netanyahu is believed to be resistant to the offer.
According to an Israeli source who is familiar with the details of the conversations between Clinton and the prime minister, Netanyahu was not impressed by the proposal and did not give a positive response to it.
A European diplomat who has been briefed on the latest developments said Netanyahu has made it clear to U.S. officials that any extension of the freeze will not apply to the large settlement blocs, and that construction on 2,000 residential units for which permits have already been issued will be permitted to continue.
Abbas is demanding a total suspension of construction in the settlements. The Palestinian leader met Monday in Paris with Nicolas Sarkozy.
But Haaretz with its extreme Leftist bias goes on to say that the pressure is being placed on Netanyahu. That's not what I'm hearing.
And it looks like both Netanyahu and Abu Mazen will meet with Sarkozy in October. Although it's being done 'in coordination with the United States,' you can't help but wonder whether that means that Obama has had it or that the parties have had it with Obama.
Video: Ship of moonbat Jews boarded, diverted to Ashdod
On September 28, 2010, the Irene, a small boat with several passangers headed to Gaza were peacefully intercepted by the Israel Navy and rerouted to Ashdod Port. Israel has implemented a maritime closure on the waters off of Gaza, which is currently under the control of the terrorist organization Hamas. Ships that attempt to enter the waters off of Gaza are in violation of the maritime closure and are intercepted by the Israel navy.
In this particular case the ship was intercepted and boarded without incident of any kind and the Irene is currently sailing to Ashdod port.
Let's go to the videotape.
I guess there were no IHH terrorists on this ship.
In an earlier post, I noted that 87 Senators have sent a letter to President Obama urging him to pressure Abu Mazen not to walk away from the 'direct talks.' Who are the 13 who did not sign? I'm glad you asked.
The thirteen are:
1. Chris Dodd (D) – Connecticut 2. Dan Akaka (D) – Hawaii 3. Tom Harkin (D) – Iowa 4. John Kerry (D) – Massachusetts 5. Jeff Bingaman (D) – New Mexico 6. Tom Udall (D) – New Mexico 7. Jeff Merkley (D) – Oregon 8. Patrick Leahy (D) – Vermont 9. Jim Webb (D) – Virginia 10. Jim Bunning (R) – Kentucky 11. Judd Gregg (R) – New Hampshire 12. Robert Byrd (D) – West Virginia 13. Bernie Sanders (I) – Vermont
File that away somewhere for some future election.
By now, you would have thought that President Obama would have figured out that continuing to push Israel on 'settlements' is the wrong way to go. But he hasn't figured it out yet says... Richard Cohen!?! (Hat Tip: Memeorandum).
We will see if the end of the moratorium means the end of peace talks. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has not -- or not yet -- ended negotiations. He's going to confer with his fellow Arab leaders. In the meantime, Obama ought to confer with someone who knows the region -- and listen to him or her. Trouble is, many experts have told him that his emphasis on settlements was the wrong way to go. As late as last week and the succession of meetings held at the United Nations, it was clear that Netanyahu would not ask his Cabinet to extend the settlement freeze. Yet not only did the White House reject this warning, the president repeated his call for a freeze. "Our position on this issue is well-known," Obama told the U.N. General Assembly. "We believe that the moratorium should be extended." Well, it wasn't.
From the very start, the president has taken a very hard line against settlements, refusing to distinguish between an apartment in Jerusalem and a hilltop encampment deep in the West Bank. He also seems not to understand their religious, cultural or historical importance to some Jews.
The Obama approach to the Israeli-Palestinian problem has been counterproductive. Either the Palestinians have to back down from their -- even more importantly, Obama's -- insistence that all settlements be frozen in place or Netanyahu has to back down from his pledge that any moratorium would be temporary. Either Abbas or Netanyahu has to lose credibility and neither man can afford to. They are not mere negotiators; they are heads of government.
Obama, too, has to husband his credibility. He foolishly demanded something Israel could not yet give. It was bad diplomacy, recalling neither Metternich nor Kissinger but the ol' professor and his question about the inept Mets. The answer, so far, is no.
I don't believe that Obama is capable of changing his approach because he sees displacing Israel from its historic homeland (or at least the more historic parts of it) as a fierce moral imperative. I believe he understands perfectly well how many Israelis (and unlike Cohen, I would argue it is a majority) feel about the Jewish history in places like Hebron and Shilo and Beit El and Shchem and Bethlehem, but Obama doesn't care.
Given his manifestly unpresidential comportment, including a lifestyle of “fun and games” while a country groans, it is hard to resist a contemporary analogy. Assuming it is not Herostratic fame he is after but the destruction of free-market republicanism, Obama is the living incarnation of ideological malware. He is like a Stuxnet-bearing USB memory device inserted into America’s political operating system and gradually but ineluctably infecting the entire network, from foreign policy to almost every aspect of domestic management, turning the state against itself. Like Stuxnet, the president appeared on the scene without much, if any, in the way of prior warning, exploiting the flaws and vulnerabilities in the system, reprogramming the governing process with the help of default passwords, that is, fine-sounding slogans, and mutating through the software of administrative command. No one has yet come up with an effective counteragent or a way to patch the loopholes in the legislative architecture. The “worm” continues to seize control of its target, replicating from node to node along the democratic circuitry which nerves the country, with something like the same insatiable appetite of the “great Worm” in Dante’s third circle of the Inferno, rending “the people embogged about his lair.”
Meanwhile, the septic travesty persists. In less than two years under Obama’s once-clandestine tradecraft, the United States has become almost unrecognizable, saddled with astronomical deficits, printing fiat currency, shredding the protocols of investment security, retreating before the threats looming on the international front, bowing to autocratic belligerents, utterly misconstruing the volatile Middle East to everyone’s eventual detriment, ceding to the most corrupt institution on the face of the planet, a.k.a. the United Nations, promoting costly and dubious new-age fantasies like cap and tax, distorting the concept and practice of justice as it pertains to the treatment of its own people, and showing itself hospitable to the creeping advance of Sharia jihad into the nation’s vitals.
Barry Rubin discusses some of the biases in the September 6, 2010 edition of Junior Scholastic that his son received in school.
Main Article: “Obama’s In-Box” pp. 6-8. An article about challenges facing the President. Most of the short items are balanced—immigration, oil spill, terrorism (domestic only), Iraq and Afghanistan, Iran and North Korea-- in that they present more than one side and avoid partisan language.
There are three exceptions, however:
--The Middle East: This is seriously slanted. After being told Obama wants to make peace the kids are instructed:
“Muslim extremists often use U.S. support for Israel as an excuse to commit terrorist acts. But some Israeli policies, Obama says, work against peace.”
While the first sentence is certainly true, in this context (with no other factors being presented) the kids are being taught that U.S. support for Israel threatens their lives. (Obvious answer: Protect yourself by ending support for Israel.)
As for the second sentence, Obama’s considerable prestige is thrown in to blame Israel for the lack of peace. That’s it. No criticism of the Palestinians. Nothing about Hamas or any hint of anti-Israel terrorism or the goal of wiping Israel off the map.
Do I think this was conscious and deliberate? Probably not. Is it damaging and dangerous? Definitely yes.
Is the way elementary school kids in the US think about Israel being molded by people who are hostile to Israel? Possibly.
There are a lot of other biased statements there too, which would bother me greatly if my kids lived in the US and reading Junior Scholastic.
Ben-Gurion University officials said Monday they were closely following political groups affiliated with Islam pressuring South Africa's University of Johannesburg to impose an academic boycott on the southern Israel institution.
Such boycott would see the termination of a signed agreement on a joint research project between the two schools.The project aims to solve water contamination problems in a reservoir near Johannesburg.
An official response issued Monday evening read, "The leadership of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) is deeply disturbed by the attempts of certain political groups...applying pressure on the University of Johannesburg to boycott BGU and cancel a signed research collaboration agreement."
President Prof. Rivka Carmi said that "those opposed to this collaboration accuse BGU of 'abusing academic freedom, abusing human rights and being an accomplice to an Apartheid government system in Israel.' These accusations – and others made in their statements – are totally false and based upon ignorance and prejudice."
More on that strange Hong Kong contribution to J Street
You may recall that I raised some suspicions regarding Consolacion Esdicul's $811,697 contribution to J Street here. Lenny Ben David, who has been on the J Street story since the very beginning, raises some more suspicions.
Beyond the Soros contributions to J Street, equally troubling is a huge $811,697 contribution from a “Consolacion Esdicul” from Hong Kong. It appears that Consolacion is “Connie” Esdicul, who Google reveals as a member of the Hong Kong Rotary Club and lives in the Happy Valley section of Hong Kong. But little is known about the woman. J Street claims that she was solicited by Bill Benter, “a prominent J Street supporter from Pittsburgh.” Actually, Benter, who is not Jewish, is considered the world’s most successful bettor on horse races, and he hangs out at the Happy Valley horse track in Hong Kong. Racing sheets report that Benter places $250,000 bets on a race. According to Wired.com, “Nobody's more skilled at masking bets than Bill Benter, regarded by many of his peers as the most successful sports bettor in the world.”
Esdicul’s contribution is a strange number unlike all the others which are rounded off to three zeroes. The figure may make sense, however, if it were a foreign currency conversion. What currency does $811,697 equal? Until J Street fesses up, we can only speculate. Using today’s conversion rates, Esdicul’s contribution equals 6,298,308 Hong Kong dollars, or 606,491 Euros, or 517,388 British pounds or 3,044,756 Saudi riyals.
Why would a Hong Kong individual contribute as much as one-half of J Street’s budget? Actually, Esdicul’s contribution is in line with J Street’s corrupt practices of taking money for its political action committee from decidedly non-pro-Israel sources: pro-Saudi activists, Arab-American leaders, Muslim activists, State Department Arabists, a Palestinian billionaire, and even a Turkish American who helped produce the anti-American and anti-Semitic film, Valley of the Wolves. According to the U.S. Federal Election Commission, the largest contribution to J Street’s Political Action Committee is $36,000 from a Latin teacher from Teton Village, Wyoming named Bob Morris. How do you say “strange” in Latin?
With such contributions, it’s easy to understand how J Street’s operation on Capitol Hill grew exponentially in the last 12 months. According to lobbying records on file at the Clerk of the House of Representatives and the Secretary of the Senate, J Street’s lobbying budget went from under $5,000 in the first quarter of 2009 with one registered lobbyist to $130,000 in the first quarter of 2010, when J Street registered six lobbyists.
The $811,687 contribution from Hong Kong should raise the question whether under federal law the lobbyists need to register as foreign agents, and not domestic lobbyists.
When Lenny wrote that Benter was not Jewish, that struck me as odd. Naively, since J Street described him as a supporter, and with his not-so-obvious last name, I assumed he was Jewish. So I started searching Bill Benter's name in Google, and one of the associations that came up was Vivian Fung. It turns out that Vivian Fung - who is a native of Hong Kong - is Benter's wife. (By the way, that article is a doozer. It doesn't quite come out and say it, but apparently Benter arranged for President Obama to meet with the Dalai Lama. The article notes Beijing's objections, says the President can meet with whomever he wants, and wonders why he won't meet with Hamas and Hezbullah. I suspect Benter agrees).
Is there a connection between Connie Esdicul and Vivian Fung Benter other than the fact that they are both in Bill Benter's circle of friends? Pamela Geller notes:
And this from a commenter:
The mysterious large donor, Consolacion Esdicul, is better known as "Connie Esdicul" and even has a Facebook page. She appears to be a middle-aged woman who lives in the wealthy Happy Valley area of Hong Kong.
Ms.Esdicul has some unknown relationship with the New York hedge fund Black Rock and represented them at a charity event in HK. She presented a donation for Quality Camp to actor, Jackie Chan, from the Black Rock Advantage Fund in HK.
Black Rock has close ties to Soros ever since one of its founders, Keith Anderson, was appointed Chief Investment Officer of Soros Fund Management 2 years ago.
Bill Jacobson has more on the Blackrock connection here.
Vivian Fungand Bill Benter both have Facebook pages (Benter's lists J Street as a "like"). (Vivian Fung Benter is not the composer Vivian Fung, who has born in Edmonton - they look nothing alike).
It occurred to me that Vivian Fung Benter and Connie Esdicul could be sisters, but so far I cannot prove that.
A Google search of Bill Benter's name with Israel turns up 132,000 results. I'm still combing through those. Most of them are related to the recent story, but there was this curious one written by Steve Clemons of the Washington Note, a pro-Arab publication (I've seen it cited elsewhere but unsourced).
A quick note on schedule. This morning, I am hosting a delegation of the International Women's Commission comprised of Israel, Palestinian and international women calling for final status negotiations between Israel and Palestine as opposed to the imposition of a unilaterally decided border.
This Commission issued a release last night, and I know that I'm their first meeting today as I'm arranging the bagels.
I think that what they are doing is important and will offer more reactions later, but here is the press release.
Later today, I am rushing off to Lisbon, Portugal to drive out to a retreat at the Arrabida Monastery.
The theme of discussion for the weekend are the growing, overlapping arcs of instability and crisis on the Eurasian continent.
Participants include European Parliament Member Cem Oezdemir, Georgetown University Professor and Council on Foreign Relations Senior Fellow Charles Kupchan, Geneva Initiative co-drafter Daniel Levy, Acusis CEO Bill Benter, Peace & Security Initiative Director Deepti Choubey, Brookings Senior Fellow Flynt Leverett, International Policy Director in the Palestinian President's Office Ghaith Al-Omari (still tentative), Princeton professor G. John Ikenberry, UPI Editor Emeritus Martin Walker, New America Foundation Fellow and fast-rising terrorism journalist Nir Rosen, World Policy Institute Senior Fellow Sherle Schwenninger, Al Hayat Diplomatic Correspondent Raghida Dergham, University of Chicago professor and author Robert Pape, Middle East Policy Institute fellow Trita Parsi, former Senator Gary Hart, IPRI-Lisbon scholar Carlos Gaspar, and others.
You all should know why I emphasized the names I did.
I am an Orthodox Jew - some would even call me 'ultra-Orthodox.' Born in Boston, I was a corporate and securities attorney in New York City for seven years before making aliya to Israel in 1991 (I don't look it but I really am that old :-). I have been happily married to the same woman for thirty-two years, and we have eight children (bli ayin hara) ranging in age from 10 to 30 years and seven grandchildren. Our eldest daughter and eldest son are married! Before I started blogging I was a heavy contributor on a number of email lists and ran an email list called the Matzav from 2000-2004. You can contact me at: IsraelMatzav at gmail dot com