Iranian parliament's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Chairman Aladdin Burucerdi warned Wednesday that the UK will suffer "the consequences" of its decision to expel Iranian diplomats stationed in London following the storming of its embassy in Tehran on Tuesday.
Following the announcement by UK's Foreign Secretary William Hague on Wednesday, Burucerdi called other European countries to avoid taking similar measures, after Germany, the Netherlands, France and Italy had already taken diplomatic steps against Iran.
"We recommend that other European countries avoid following in Britain's and the Unites States' footsteps," Burucerdi said. "The parliament approved downgrading the diplomatic relations with Britain but Iran's public is pleased that the British diplomats are no longer in Tehran."
France, The Netherlands, Italy and Germany have all recalled their ambassadors to Iran for 'consultations.'
Endangering diplomats is one of the few things that can even rile up the Europeans, and Iran's failure to protect the British embassy on Tuesday has apparently touched a raw nerve. Whether this will translate into a new willingness to impose effective sanctions against Iran even at the cost of each individual country's trade with the Islamic state remains to be seen.
The amazing thing about Tom Friedman is that no matter what happens in this region and no matter what dangers Israel is in, his solution is always the same: That Israel should take (foolhardy) risks by giving the 'Palestinians' everything they want.
This time, Friedman acknowledges that Prime Minister Netanyahu's concerns over the Arab spring in Egypt are valid. But Friedman wants us to strengthen 'Fayyadism,' which will soon be lost (if it ever existed) as a result of the Fatah - Hamas reconciliation. And he wants us to attempt to ward off Islamism in our midst by creating a 'Palestinian state' which will likely be controlled by... Islamists.
All of that, of course, assumes we can reach an agreed solution with the 'Palestinians' short of committing suicide, which we all know we can't.
So Tom, maybe it's time to find another subject beside Israel. Why don't you try Iran?
Opposition leader Tzipi Livni met with 'moderate' 'Palestinian' President Mahmoud AbbasAbu Mazen in Amman on Wednesday, along with MK Ronnie Bar On and former MK's Tzachi HaNegbi and Haim Ramon. Livni met with Abu Mazen to urge him to 'return' to the 'negotiating table' before it's too late. Upon her return to Israel, she and her cohorts held a press conference at the Knesset, and then briefed Prime Minister Netanyahu, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and President Shimon Peres.
“The purpose of the meeting was to call for Abbas to return to negotiations with Israel at a time that the whole Arab world is changing and extremists are getting stronger,” Livni said. “We need to return to talks before the [PA’s] treaty with Hamas is signed.”
“Now is the time to talk, before Hamas tries to force its opinions on the PA. We must take advantage of this window before it is closed,” she added.
The opposition leader said that she did not meet with Abbas to “negotiate instead of the Israeli government,” and if Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu takes steps to re-start talks, Kadima will support him.
At the same time, however, she said that the PA “must accept the Quartet’s conditions and recognize the State of Israel.”
“Both sides are responsible,” Livni explained.
The Kadima leader would not give further details of her conversation with Abbas, saying that she must meet with Netanyahu first.
I cannot remember the last time Livni met with Netanyahu before today, but I must admit that for once she seems to be behaving responsibly. The 'Palestinians' may have an idea that if Israel's opposition ever takes power, they will be better off and have less requirements in order to get their reichlet. Livni seems to have told him (and I hope that she did tell him) that will not be the case. While Kadima may be willing to give away more land and expel more Jews from their homes, the 'Palestinians' will still have to accept Israel's existence as a Jewish state even under a Kadima government (God forbid).
Britain brings home diplomatic staff, expels all Iranian diplomats
Following the Iranian attack on Britain's embassy in Tehran on Tuesday, Britain has shut down its embassy in Tehran and removed all its diplomats. Then it shut down the Iranian embassy in London and gave Iran's diplomats 48 hours to leave.
JPost reports that according to Der Spiegel, Germany has also recalled its ambassador to Tehran for consultations, and according to Israel Radio a long list of European countries called in Iran's ambassadors in their capitals on Wednesday to protest the attack in Tehran on Tuesday, and Italy is considering closing its embassy in Tehran.
According to this report, Norway has closed its embassy in Tehran and Germany has recalled its ambassador for consultations. If the Germans close their embassy, that would be very significant - Germany is Iran's largest trading partner in Europe doing $4 billion per year.
"If any country makes it impossible for us to operate on their soil they cannot expect to have a functioning embassy here," [Foreign Secretary William] Hague said.
"This does not amount to the severing of diplomatic relations in their entirety. It is action that reduces our relations with Iran to the lowest level consistent with the maintenance of diplomatic relations," he added.
Hague said it was "fanciful" to think the Iranian authorities could not have protected the British embassy, or that the assault could have taken place without "some degree of regime consent".
He said European Union foreign ministers would discuss the embassy attack at a meeting in Brussels later on Wednesday and on Thursday. The EU ministers would discuss "further action which needs to be taken in the light of Iran's continued pursuit of a nuclear weapons program," he said.
Let's go to the videotape.
There's a summary of other European reactions to Tuesday's events in Tehran here.
The United Nations peacekeeping force in Lebanon called for “maximum restraint” on Tuesday after an exchange of fire over the Israel-Lebanon border overnight. Rockets fired from southern Lebanon struck northern Israel for the first time since 2009, and the Israeli military responded by firing artillery shells at the area where the rockets were launched. ... This is a serious incident, in violation of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1701, and is clearly directed at undermining stability in the area,” the commander of the peacekeeping force, Maj. Gen. Alberto Asarta Cuevas, said in a statement.
Very nice of General Cuevas to acknowledge the violation of 1701, but the acquisition of those rockets was itself a violation of that resolution. It was a violation that UNIFIL had clearly failed to prevent. There would be "maximum restraint" from Israel had UNIFIL been doing its job.
Whatever job UNIFIL has been doing, Elder of Ziyon notes that it has a hard time staying on message. While the New York Times seems uncertain about Hezbollah's involvement in the rocket fire, Elder of Ziyon notes that Hezbollah's control over southern Lebanon is such that the rockets couldn't have been fired without Hezbollah's acquiescence. Similarly Lee Smith writes (h/t Challah Hu Akbar ):
The Galilee region was bombarded heavily during Israel's 2006 war with Hezbollah, but in the last five years that area, as well as the Lebanon-Israel border, has been largely quiet. It's still not clear if Hezbollah is behind the attack, but given the organization's control of south Lebanon, from where the rockets seem to have been launched, it is unlikely that any military operations of this nature could take place there without Hezbollah's knowledge.
2) A great global thinker makes at least two mistakes
Diagnosis: From the very start, Israeli officials have insisted that Obama helped to push Mubarak out rather than saving him. Nonsense. The Arab dictators were pushed out by their people; there was no saving them. In fact, Mubarak had three decades to gradually open up Egyptian politics and save himself. And what did he do? Last year, he held the most-rigged election in Egyptian history. His party won 209 out of 211 seats. It is amazing that the uprising didn’t happen sooner.
But as Barry Rubin observes, Mubarak's downfall was essentially a coup. (In general, Prof. Rubin's column points out that throughout the "Arab spring" the military has been the crucial factor in determining whether the revolution succeeds or fails.) The protests would not have forced Mubarak out, without the military turning against him too.
Friedman's observations are not without merit. The reform movement was getting stronger in Egypt and might have been making headlines even on its own. That still doesn't mean that it was the protests that, in the end, forced Mubarak out.
Further on he writes:
Netanyahu’s prescription is to do nothing. I understand Israel not ceding territory in this uncertain period to a divided Palestinian movement. What I can’t understand is doing nothing. Israel has an Arab awakening in its own backyard in the person of Prime Minister Salam Fayyad of the Palestinian Authority. He’s been the most radical Arab leader of all. He is the first Palestinian leader to say: judge me on my performance in improving my peoples’ lives, not on my rhetoric. His focus has been on building institutions — including what Israelis admit is a security force that has helped to keep Israel peaceful — so Palestinians will be ready for a two-state solution. Instead of rewarding him, Israel has been withholding $100 million in Palestinian tax revenues that Fayyad needs — in punishment for the Palestinians pressing for a state at the U.N. — to pay the security forces that help to protect Israel. That is crazy.
First of all, Friedman is now reversing himself. Earlier on he's written that Israel must accede to Palestinian demands in response to the Arab spring. Now he's writing that he "understands" Israel not ceding territory.
In addition to these two specific errors, Friedman makes one of his patented sweeping assertions that seem to make sense, but fall apart under slightest scrutiny.
Arab dictators were convenient for Israel and the Islamists — but deadly for Arab development and education. Now that the lid has come off, the transition will be rocky. But, it was inevitable, and the new politics is just beginning: Islamists will now have to compete with legitimate secular parties.
The dictators were not convenient for the Islamists as they persecuted them. The Islamists though, took advantage because they had a long term vision and were patient. Of course given the Islamists long term thinking and patience, they will not just compete with, but dominate the legitimate secular parties.
Given the number of wars that Arab dictators started with Israel, it's hard to say that they were convenient for Israel. But if he means that Sadat and Mubarak largely observed the peace in their time in power he has a point, but it is a very limited one. After 1967 and 1973, those Arab dictators may have rejected open warfare with Israel but sponsored terrorist organizations like the PLO, Hamas and Hezbollah to carry on the fight for them. (I would point out that the so-called Arab peace initiative of 2002 was advocated by these very same dictators whom Friedman now derogates; yet then, they were convenient for him to declare that Arabs wanted peace and Israel didn't.)
Noah Pollak reports that the Israeli 'human rights' group B'Tselem is sharing a 'human rights' award from a Danish foundation with the 'Palestinian' terror supporters at al-Haq.
The award will be presented in Copenhagen a few days from now, but only Jessica Montell, the head of B’Tselem, will be on hand to receive it. The head of Al Haq, Shawan Jabarin, cannot fly to Europe, or in fact anywhere — because he is banned from travel by both Israel and Jordan owing to his extensive involvement with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, an infamous Palestinian terrorist group.
Remarkably, Montell will accept the award, and so proud is she to be sharing a prize with a terrorist that B’Tselem sent out a press release announcing it.
Al Haq, for its part, barely pretends to be interested in human rights. It advances spurious war crimes allegations against the Jewish state, promotes the worst kinds of anti-Israel (and anti-Semitic) activism, such as the Russell Tribunal and the Durban Conference, is deeply involved in the BDS and lawfare movements, and seeks the indictment of Israeli officials in European courts — goals, of course, often shared by Montell and B’Tselem.
Here's Noah's key paragraph.
The willingness of Montell to share an award with a terrorist is but a small window into the perverse world of the “human rights” community in Israel. The Palestinian groups specialize not in promoting peace and tolerance, but in attacking the legitimacy of Zionism and tarnishing Israel’s image in the world. Greatly enamored of international prosecutions of Israelis, I cannot recall a single instance in which one of the groups recommended the same treatment for a Palestinian. Tellingly, none of them takes a prominent stand against Palestinian terrorism or defends the human rights of Israelis not to be victims of attacks — and in the case of Al Haq, terrorism is in fact endorsed as legitimate “resistance.”
First, this particular moral rot isn’t confined to a few NGOs; it pervades the entire system of what is fondly called “international law” – which is why no self-respecting democracy should grant international law any credence.
Consider, for instance, a recent statementby one Awn Shawkat al-Khasawneh: “The expulsion of Hamas from Jordan in 1999 was a political and legal error. I will tell you openly, when the expulsion took place, I opposed it.” Khasawneh is Jordan’s new prime minister, and if that were all he was, the statement wouldn’t be shocking. But he also spent more than a decade as one of the 15 judges on the International Court of Justice, including three years as the court’s vice president, and before his first nine-year term expired in 2009, he was reelectedto a second.
In short, the world’s highest court included a judge who sees nothing wrong with blowing upbuses, pizzerias and Passover seders(at least as long as the slain women, children and senior citizens are Israelis), and therefore thinks it was wrong to have expelled the perpetrator of these atrocities. While almost every democracy worldwide has declared Hamas a banned terrorist organization, the distinguished judge thinks Hamas’ expulsion by his own country was an “error.”
Rachid Ghannouchi, the head of Tunisia's Ennahda party, spent Tuesday on Capitol Hill as a guest of the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC). Both Ghannouchi and his party are being promoted as 'moderate' Muslims. Sadly, they are not moderates.
In a May interview with the Al Arab Qatari website, for example, Ghannouchi called for the destruction of Israel and expressed optimism that the Jewish state would disappear in the very near future.
The Arab Spring "will achieve positive results on the path to the Palestinian cause and threaten the extinction of Israel," Ghannouchi said. "I give you the good news that the Arab region will get rid of the bacillus of Israel. Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, the leader of Hamas, said that Israel will disappear by the year 2027. I say that this date may be too far away, and Israel may disappear before this."
Ghannouchi has also blessed the mothers of Palestinian suicide bombers, defended rocket attacks carried out by Hamas against Israeli civilians and "martyrdom operations," and called for Muslims to fund and provide logistical support for Hamas.
Similar sentiments prompted the U.S. State Department to deny Ghannouchi a visa in 1994, when he was invited to speak to audiences in America, including a forum in Tampa organized by a think-tank run by Sami Al-Arian, who was a member of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad's governing board. The State Department did not immediately return a call seeking comment.
MPAC's promotion of the event lauded Ghannouchi as "One of the most important figures in modern Islamic political thought and theory."
So long as the Obama administration is in power and the radical Hillary Clinton is Secretary of State, the likes of Ghannouchi will continue to have a voice and a place in Washington. It's time for a change.
If they can't send 'Palestinians' they'll send Eritreans?
On Tuesday, I did a post about the influx of illegal African 'refugees' into Israel. The person who sent me the material for that post also sent me a couple of corrections. First, there are not 20,000 illegal 'refugees' in Israel, but 45,000. And they no longer pretend to be from Darfur (which has now become South Sudan). They pretend to be from Eritrea and Sudan - two countries whose refugees are not sent back. And as noted in my previous post, they're not here because they're persecuted in their home countries - they're mostly (95%) here for economic opportunities.
I'd like to supply you with a few more data points.
You will recall that at the beginning of the month, I posted a video about organ trafficking in the Sinai. I'm going to re-embed the video below to save you all the trip to the previous post.
Let's go to the videotape. Warning - this is quite graphic.
On Wednesday, November 9th, 2011, even if there was no mention of it in the media, another miracle took place. After the story of the prisoners in the Sinai was broadcast by the CNN in a documentary made in collaboration with EveryOne Group and the New Generation Foundation for Human Rights; after the news of the trafficking in human beings and organs was reported in the world’s most important newspapers, along with the killings, the episodes of rape, and the crimes committed by Egyptian border guards, it finally appeared in the Egyptian media (from the Daily News Egypt to the state TV). So much attention was then focused on the North Sinai Governorate that it has made it very difficult for the traffickers to carry out their dirty work. The world's media are all there, at Arish, Gorah and Rafah. They investigate, ask questions, patrol the city in search of the underground containers and groups of sub-Saharan refugees in the hands of the smugglers. The criminals’ names are on a thousand lips: Abu Kahled, Abu Ahmed, Abu Abdellah, the Sawarka family. In the meantime, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, the Special Rapporteur on Trafficking in Human Beings, the EU Commissioner for Human Rights, the European Committee against Torture and dozens of MPs and MEPs, NGOs and intellectuals have sent letters of protest and reported the crimes to the Egyptian and international authorities. In this climate, many chief-traffickers were afraid of being pursued by the authorities and on Wednesday, November 9th, 2011 decided to release most of the groups of refugees they were holding prisoner.
They were released on the border with Israel. They came from Arish, Gorah, Rafah and other cities of the Sinai, a total of 600 people according to numbers released by the UNHCR, and reported in the Italian newspaper L'Avvenire (http://www.avvenire.it/Mondo/Pagine/ Eritrean-reserves-to-organi.aspx). EveryOne Group is trying to verify the accuracy of these numbers.
Hamdy Al-Azazy, the human rights activist, told Everyone Group that after being freed by the traffickers, at least 100 Eritrean refugees reached the state of Israel. Hundreds of human beings destined for a terrible future, often death, are now free thanks to humanitarian activism and the human rights activists who never gave up, not even in the face of silence and indifference that lasted far too long.
EveryOne Group has now asked the High Commissioner for Refugees to ensure that the refugees are protected and resettled in the EU, without the threat of deportation. There will be no security for them while the possibility of deportation still exists. Although we must not lower our guard, we can be satisfied with the results this new form of activism (which uses the Internet, but also exposes itself on the frontline, running serious risks to save human lives) can achieve in today’s troubled world, a world that is still far from the ideal of peace and social justice.
But none of those refugees is in the European Union. 611 of them are in Israel (link mostly in Hebrew). And according to the website I just linked, they're there through the efforts of an Egyptian in El-Arish, Hamdy Ahmed Al-Azazy, who 'instructs' Muslim refugees how to reach Israel with the help of his assistant and with the guidance of one Ellen Rosser, a California English professor and 'peace activist,' who took part in Code Pink's 'Gaza Freedom March' in January 2010.
By the way, if Hamdy looks familiar, it's because he should. Go back and watch that CNN report again.
Is Israel being forced or encouraged to save African 'refugees' from Egyptian Bedouin as part of a plot to increase our Muslim population? 45,000 people is an awful lot in this country. We have a population of about 7,000,000, so that works out to be equivalent to 1.93 million 'refugees' like that in the US. Do you think that's a lot of people for our government to support? Do you think that's got the makings of a recidivist minority?
Dovid Efune ranks the declared Republican candidates for the Presidency based upon how good they would be for Israel. The winner? Rick Santorum.
It is correct, that in the United States, due to overwhelming popularity among the general populace, Israel as a political issue stands alone. Candidates take sides on every issue, from abortion to gay rights, to the size of government and deficit reduction. However when it comes to Israel, a mainstream American politician that openly champions an anti-Israel stance, more than likely renders himself unelectable.
In order to bypass this inconvenience, many politicians with divergent views on sticky Israeli issues have attempted to redefine what it means to be pro-Israel by formulating their own definitions on what is in Israel’s best interests. If Mahmoud Ahmadinejad wanted to run for Congress, he would first proclaim his great love for the Jewish State and then go on to explain that in his well-considered opinion it is in Israel’s best interest to be nuked.
This is precisely the collective point of Republican divergence from Obama Administration positions on Israel. Every single candidate, including Ron Paul (with the exception of his opinion on aid) would look to Israeli government positions as the guide to its interests and for use as a barometer by which to gauge support. While this is the case, for the sake of clarity and definitive evaluation, I set out to rank the Republican candidates purely in order of ‘how good they would be for Israel.’ Some of their positions on various intricacies have yet to be clarified, and not all relevant information was available to me at the time of publication. As the primary process progresses I suspect that this list will need to be tweaked, but for now, here is my assessment from worst to best:
Make your list and see where you agree or disagree with Efune. We ought to be able to have a lively discussion about this. I think his top two sound great and his third one (who is a front-runner) sounds very good.
Israel was able to occupy Wall Street on Tuesday, as the New York Stock Exchange celebrated its annual Israel Day in conjunction with the America - Israel Friendship League and the Israel - America Chamber of Commerce.
The Israeli presence on the American financial scene is significant. The total market capitalization of the 14 Israeli companies listed on NYSE Euronext markets is approximately $11.4 billion.
The day’s conference, titled “A Partnership of Business Innovation,” featured speakers including [Israel - America Chamber of Commerce Chairwoman Ofra] Strauss, Israeli Ambassador to the UN Ron Prosor and Israeli Consul-General Ido Aharoni.
Roundtable sessions at the end of the day focused on showing that Israel can be a good partner for American businesses both to increase exports and create jobs.
Tamar Guy, CEO of the Israeli-American Chamber of Commerce, noted that this particular conference is different from all other conferences in that where other meetings are highly specialized, this one is deliberately broad. This is in order to serve as a cross-section of the variety of opportunities available to cross-border investors.
“The thing we’re trying to show is that partnership and innovation are beneficial to both Israelis and Americans,” Guy said. “One of the best places to create jobs in the US is through innovation, and the best source for innovation is, naturally, Israel.”
I'm sure the conspiracy theorists outside the Exchange have a very different view, but I would have loved to be inside.
This is a must see. This is the speech given in the UN General Assembly on Tuesday by Israel's ambassador to the United Nations, Ron Prosor. The occasion was the General Assembly's annual bash Israel fest, which takes place every year on the anniversary of the UN resolution approving the partition of Britain's Palestine Mandate in 1947.
In his speech read by Palestine’s Permanent Observer to the United Nations office at New York, Riyad Mansour, and read by Ibrahim Khraishi, Permanent Observer of Palestine to the United Nations Office at Geneva, Abbas said, “The Palestinian state, will be, a multi and democratic state, where there will not be a religious or racial discrimination, a peaceful state that wants to live in security and peace side by side with Israel and the rest of the region’s countries.'
Fortunately, most Israeli Jews have been through enough in the last ten years that we no longer believe that. Unfortunately, from 1993-2000, a lot of Israeli Jews did believe it and did severe damage to our country.
Is the result of the Arab Spring to be a Muslim Brotherhood-dominated Arab world? That's what appears to be the case after the Brotherhood won the recent election in Morocco (whose King, Mohamed VI, is pictured at the top of this post) after the Brotherhood won the elections in Tunisia a few weeks ago.
In Egypt, the three-stage elections begin on 28 November 2011, and the Muslim Brotherhood has a chance to make substantial gains. The Muslim Brotherhood in Syria, which is fighting to overthrow the Alawite regime of Assad, is backed by Turkey, which regards it as an alternative to the existing government. In Libya, the new government has undertaken to make Sharia law a primary source of legislation. In Yemen, the Islamist movements have played a central role in the revolt against the rule of Ali Abdullah Saleh. Earlier, in 2006, the Hamas movement – the branch of the Muslim Brotherhood in the Palestinian territories – triumphed in the Palestinian Authority elections, and since then Hamas has entrenched its rule in Gaza and, for all intents and purposes, has become an independent political entity.
The Muslim Brotherhood branches in the various countries are full partners to the worldwide movement’s ideology. Each one, however, has freedom of action to devise its own tactics in line with specific political conditions. In Morocco, the Justice and Development Party chose to downplay the extreme Islamist message and mainly focus on fighting corruption and improving the economy, issues that took the lion’s share of its electoral platform.
That platform, in its brief political section, stated that the party would aim to strengthen dialogue and cooperation with all of the EU countries and Canada while, in Morocco’s relations with the United States, pursuing an appropriate diplomacy and safeguarding national interests. The formulation in the Israeli context was restrained, and included a commitment to the “defense of the just issues of the people and first and foremost the issue of Palestine, and the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination and the establishment of its independent state whose capital is Jerusalem, the Palestine problem being a national problem.”1
But the moderate face presented in Morocco is not the true face of the Muslim Brotherhood.
The ideological platform of the parent party, the Uniqueness and Reform movement, reveals its true Islamist face. The section on the movement’s goals states that it seeks to instill the Islamic religion in the heart of the individual, the family, the society, the state, and the ummah, and to help spread Islam throughout the world.2 The movement expressed unequivocal support for the armed struggle against Israel in the context of the Second Intifada, and for the terror attacks against U.S. forces in Iraq. It referred to “Zionist and American aggression” as “the greatest and most dangerous manifestations of terror that modern history has known.”3
In recent years Abdelilah Benkirane, leader of the Justice and Development Party and the designated prime minister, has made harshly anti-Israel statements that deny Israel’s right to exist and favor the armed struggle against it.
In sum, the Muslim Brotherhood is hiding its real goals. While I could tell you how the Brotherhood's election shows that there is more to democracy than a free vote and that the local populations just don't get it, I should probably also point out that the United States also fell for a 'moderate' who turned out to be a radical three years ago. No one is immune.
Egyptian Presidential candidate: 'Only' 60% of Jews are evil
I mentioned this video in an earlier post, but this paranoid rant ought to be spread far and wide. This will make you really happy that the US government is promoting 'democracy' in Egypt, forced out Hosni Mubarak and is in the process of forcing out Tantawi and the army. Democracy isn't just about free elections and it can't just be imposed immediately on people who have no idea what it's about. This video - Tawfik Oqasha is a serious candidate for the Presidency of Egypt - will show you why.
The challenge to Israel’s illegal siege of Palestine has to move from words to deeds; a small flotilla of boats challenge the siege of Gaza by sea and the Welcome to Palestine 2012 initiative will fly in to Tel Aviv Airport on April 15th to insist on the rights of all Palestinians to freely receive visitors from abroad. Hopefully, hundreds of international visitors will celebrate with Palestinian friends on that Sunday a tiny progress towards the realisation of their full human rights.
The Israelis may, however, as in 2011, imprison air travellers without charge for trying to go openly to Palestine, but the numbers and international scope this time will make it much more difficult and politically costly for them. If, in addition, international air carriers agree to act as auxiliary prison guards for Israel’s illegal occupation by refusing boarding to some ticket-holders in our home countries, we will know how deal through the courts and otherwise with this violation of our rights to travel.
As with other countries, UK involvement in WtP 2012 will be much greater than last year. Most will be participating for the first time, but some will be veterans of WtP2011. Organisers are already in place in London, the North of England, Wales, Scotland and elsewhere to be a point of recruitment, to fundraise, to set up support systems here, to liaise with Palestinian and Israeli welcomers, and to organise the groups that will fly into Tel Aviv Airport on April 15th from many airports internationally. Join us.
Read the endorsement of WtP 2012 from Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Noam Chomsky and many others:
THE “Admiral Kuznetsov” class aircraft carrier is currently off the coast of Malta and heading for eastern Mediterranean from their base in the Barents Sea.
Informed sources have said that the Russian navy and Israeli military will hold joint exercises next week close to Cyprus Exclusive Economic Zone.
The exercises are slated to begin on the 28th November and last a week.
Commentators say that Russia is determined to send the message that they have invested interests in the region and will secure them.
It is understood that the aircraft carrier is carrying 24-fixed wing planes and a number of helicopters. It has also been reported in the press that the Russian navy may request to use port facilities at Limassol.
But where’s the world’s “responsibility to protect” the thousands of Syrians who even at this moment are enduring Assad’s savagery in bloodied streets and interrogation rooms across their country? How many more little boys must be tortured, raped, and slaughtered before real action is taken against him? He is brutality incarnate. Monsters like him can’t be contained—not by tepid demands, too little, too late, for their letters of resignation; and not by condemnation by sullied states with not a little blood on their own hands. Monsters like him proliferate. Only bombs can do them justice. Ask the survivors.
In an earlier post, I talked about the Defense Ministry's apology to New York Times photographer Lynsey Addario and why I thought it odd that she apparently classified it as more outrageous than the 48 hours of sexual abuse she endured at the hands of the Libyans.
In case some of you are wondering why Addario would have had such an extensive search at a crossing from Gaza into Israel, let me remind you.
The plan was to plant explosives in the belly of the plane; the explosives were to be transported by a duped and innocent passenger entirely unaware of their existence. El Al security agents at the London stop uncovered the explosives and prevented the terror attack. After the discovery of the explosives, local authorities took over and arrested the passenger; later also arresting the man who sent her, a Jordanian Arab named Nizar Hindawi.
The passenger, a 32 year old Irish woman named Anne-Marie Murphy, who was six months pregnant, arrived at the check-in desk some forty minutes before it closed. She was approached and questioned by the deputy security officer as part of routine passenger security checks.
No suspicious signs were revealed during her questioning. The passenger, who gave the impression of being a simple woman, responded in the negative when asked if she had been given anything to bring to Israel. During the questioning she was calm, and revealed no sign of nervousness. In the check of her baggage, suspicious signs came to light: a Commodore scientific calculator with an electric cable was found; the bag raised suspicion due to its unexpectedly heavy weight. The security officer’s examination of the bag revealed explosives concealed in the bottom of the bag, under a double panel. He called the police, and the passenger was arrested.
Examination of the bomb by the local police revealed a detonator in the Commodore calculator coated with plastic Simtex explosives, connected to an electronic timing device which was set to activate the major explosives cache hidden inside the bag. An examination of the timer mechanism, once it was disconnected from the explosives, revealed that the jet was intended to explode about two and a quarter hours after its takeoff for Israel, at a height of 39,000 feet, when it would have been airborne between Italy and Greece.
Addario was part of the media? So was Ahlam Tamimi. For that matter, so was Nezar Hindawi - Murphy's boyfriend. Or at least, so he claimed.
Advertising campaign to encourage Israelis to return home
Israel's Absorption Ministry has a number of advertising campaigns in the US to try to convince Israelis to return home to Israel (and to try to convince their families here to keep trying to convince them).
Here are some of the advertisements (they're short). Parts of them will be difficult for the Hebrew challenged. This one is Yom HaZikaron (Memorial Day).
Let's go to the videotape (Hat Tip: Gary P).
Here's another one. This one is called Before Chanuka becomes Christmas.
Let's go to the videotape.
And this one is called Before Abba becomes Daddy.
Let's go to the videotape.
It's sad that Israelis need to be reminded like this, but they do.
The conventional wisdom used to be that adjustment problems were only getting used to Israel, and not getting used to another country (usually the US). Recently, we heard about some friends' kids who moved back to the US because they weren't making it here financially, but we heard that their kids are totally miserable. Maybe they'll come back someday.
The brawl erupted after dozens of Arab and Jewish girls clashed on one of the train cars. At one point, a Jewish girl at the site pulled out a personal canister of tear gas and sprayed it at the Arab girls.
The gas spread throughout the train and hurt other passengers uninvolved in the incident. Following the subsequent commotion, the driver was forced to stop the train and let passengers out, as the gas was bothering those onboard.
CityPass, which operates the Light Rail line in the capital, issued the following response after the incident: "We will not be accepting any act of violence. We call on all residents to show tolerance."
Good luck with that. For those of you who are wondering, the Arabs are on the tram mostly because it goes through the predominantly Arab neighborhoods of Shuafat and Beit Hanina. That was done so that we could show that we are providing services to the Arabs in our united city (which of course drew worldwide condemnation).
Twenty years ago, when we made aliya, Jews and Arabs used to ride many of the same buses. That was before the days of the suicide bombers, who started in 1994. But it's been years since large numbers of Jews and Arabs shared public transportation. I would suggest that the tram company start using security guards in every car of every train. Otherwise, a much more serious incident is inevitable.
A BBC journalist named Thomas Dinham recently wrote of his own encounter with anti-Semitism in Cairo. Dinham, who is neither Israeli nor Jewish, told of one potentially dangerous confrontation: “Someone pushed me from behind with such force that I nearly fell over. Turning around, I found myself surrounded by five men, one of whom tried to punch me in the face. I stopped the attack by pointing out how shameful it was for a Muslim to assault a guest in his country, especially during Ramadan.” He went on, “I was appalled by the apology offered by one of my assailants. ‘Sorry,’ he said contritely, offering his hand, ‘we thought you were a Jew.’”
Expressions of anti-Semitism are common even at the higher reaches of Egyptian politics. Presidential candidate Tawfiq Okasha, speaking on the television station he owns, recently said, “Not all the Jews in the world are evil. You may ask: Tawfiq, what is the ratio? The ratio is 60-40. Sixty percent are evil to varying degrees, all the way to a level that words cannot describe, while 40 percent are not evil.” He noted that French President Nicolas Sarkozy is “one of those Jews who adhere to the Zionist ideology, which is one of the worst ideologies.”
Okasha did concede that, while even among the 40 percent of non-evil Jews there is only one in a million who is blameless, it is possible to “coexist” with this sort of Jew because they “do not betray, conspire, extort or view others as Gentiles.”
In Cairo today, this might count as a progressive idea.
The Arab Spring should liberate people not only from oppressive rulers, but also from self-destructive and delusional patterns of belief. Anti-Semitism, the “socialism of fools,” not only threatens the Israel-Egypt peace treaty and dehumanizes Jews. It also undermines rationality. It prevents its adherents from seeing the world as it is -- and it will only be an impediment to actual change in the Arab world.
Read the whole thing because it's not just about Egypt. It's about every country that has been affected by the Arab spring. Maybe all those dictators were just playing on the way their people felt about Jews anyway. I wonder what else could have caused all that anti-Semitism. Hmmm.
In Thailand, Israelis save drowning Iranians who flee
I blew the picture up because I figured that a lot of you might like to see a beach at this time of year.
The picture is from Koh Samui, Thailand, where last week, 27-year old Nimrod Machani was visiting his 60-year old father Shimshon, who rents surfboats to tourists. YNet picks up the story from there.
Last week the father-son team went out on their daily rowing course. "The weather here is tropical," Shimshon explained. "Things can change in a second. And indeed, on the way back, the weather changed all at once. The winds got stronger and the waves grew tall."
Suddenly, they noticed two swimmers who were crying out for help. "Their Kayak had overturned in the storm and was swept away, they were left alone in the water," said Shimshon. "They didn't have much of a chance."
The two lifeguards rowed towards the drowning men. "When we reached them they were already at the point of exhaustion," nimrod noted. " "We loaded them on to the surf boat and kept rowing towards the shore, a kilometer away."
For 45 minutes the two battled against the winds and the waves with the swimmers on board. "When they came around and started talking among themselves I noticed they were speaking in Persian. I was born in Iran and speak the language. I told them in Persian: 'Don't be scared, you're in good hands," Shimshon recalls.
When they reached the shore the two, who introduced themselves as Mundar and Ali, hugged and kissed their rescuers and thanked them.
"When we told them we're Israelis they just got up and fled," Nimrod noted.
They'd rather have died? Maybe they just remembered what happened to this guy.
One fifth of Israel’s citizens cannot afford to purchase an adequate amount of food in order to subsist, new data from the National Insurance Institute (NII) released Tuesday at the Sderot Conference for Society have revealed.
Presented at a panel featuring representatives of the Ministries of Welfare and Social Affairs and Finance, local authorities and the non-profit sector, the NII shared the findings of a survey of some 5000 families showing that ten percent of the population suffers from some level of starvation or nutritional insecurity and nearly 20% feel extreme financial insecurity.
The survey’s results also showed that 13% of those questioned said they are often forced to go without enough food and 4% said they forgo food completely.
In addition, one third of the respondents said they had used money for food to make other essential purchases instead and 20% they had to turn to friends or family members for help in buying food.
But as usual, the government is suggesting the wrong solution.
“There is a serious problem with nutritional insecurity whereby people are forced to go without enough food or without food completely; in other cases families find food but it is not appropriate or healthy,” commented the Welfare Ministry’s Director General Nahum Itzkovitz.
However, he said to use the term “hunger” might be a little extreme.
There are problems feeding the needy, admitted Itzkovitz: “a close examination of food distribution by the third sector reveals that while some families are receiving ample food, there are others who get no help at all.”
“There is also a problem with the quality of the food,” he said.
Itzkovitz suggested a program of distributing ration cards so that those in need will be able to “purchase food with dignity.”
Such a program, he added, had already been presented to the Prime Minister and an agreement was reached to create it on a small scale.
The last thing this country needs is another entitlement program.
The cost of food in this country is outrageous. The cost of cottage cheese has come down (slightly) since last summer, but staples like milk, bread and produce - let alone meat, chicken and fish - continue to be outrageously expensive due to a lack of competition, government regulation and government subsidies. The percentage of its budget that an Israeli family spends on food is often 30% or more - even higher for poor people with large families.
Giving people food stamps will give those who sell the food another excuse to raise the prices.
We don't need another subsidy. We need the price of food to come down for everyone. We need real competition (including imports).
Both the Washington Post (Hat Tip: Soccer Dad) and HuffPo (Hat Tip: Memeorandum) picked up an AP story about Israel's Defense Ministry apologizing to pregnant New York Times photographer Lynsey Addario, who was allegedly forced to walk through an x-ray machine three times, and then to strip down to her underwear, while going through security crossing from Gaza into Israel.
I'm not going to get into all the gory details - the Defense Ministry claims that the request to avoid the x-ray machine was not received properly. I just want to focus on one line in this report:
In the Oct. 25 letter sent by the newspaper said Addario, a Pulitzer Prize winner who is based in India and has worked in more than 60 countries, had never been treated with “such blatant cruelty.”
That's pretty blunt. Does the name Lynsey Addario ring a bell for any of you dear readers? It should.
One man grabbed her breasts – the start of a pattern of sexual harassment she endured over the ensuing 48 hours.
‘There was a lot of groping,’ she said. ‘Every man who came in contact with us basically felt every inch of my body short of what was under my clothes.’
As she was being driven away from Ajdabiya, she said another of her captors stroked her head and told her repeatedly that she was going to be killed.
‘He was caressing my head in this sick way, this tender way, saying, "You’re going to die tonight. You’re going to die tonight",‘ she added.
Thankfully, I have never had either experience, but I would think that 48 hours of a woman being threatened with death while having her private parts groped by strange men would leave a much stronger memory of cruelty than three trips through the x-ray machine, and having to strip down to her underwear (not exactly what I would call a 'strip search' as AP calls it) in front of a female worker.
Militant students are said to have removed the British flag, burnt it and replaced it with the Iranian flag.
They were also shown live on Iranian state TV throwing stones at embassy windows and breaking them.
The move comes after Iran resolved to reduce ties following the UK's decision to impose further sanctions on it.
The students clashed with anti-riot police and chanted "the embassy of Britain should be taken over" and "death to England", AP reports.
One protester was reported to be waving a framed picture of Queen Elizabeth II.
On Sunday, Iran's parliament voted by a large majority to downgrade diplomatic relations with the UK after the UK Treasury imposed sanctions on Iranian banks the previous week, accusing them of facilitating the country's nuclear programme.
Iranian police have reportedly managed to take control of the rally and asked the protesters to leave the territory of the embassy.
Earlier a group of students clashed with riot police as they climbed over the embassy’s gate, rushed into the building and started throwing documents from the windows.
Protesters have also started burning documents seized from the embassy’s offices, Mehr News Agency reports.
The British government has confirmed "a serious incursion" at UK embassy in Tehran and asked Iranian government to make every effort to end the crisis immediately.
Britain’s Foreign Office is "outraged" by the incursion by a "significant number of demonstrators" into the British embassy in Tehran, the BBC reports.
Tuesday’s protest was initially staged as a peaceful one, as thousands gathered to commemorate the anniversary of Iranian nuclear scientist Majid Shahriari’s death. According to the Iranian government he was murdered in a joint operation by Israel’s Mossad and UK’s MI6.
More pictures that make it clear that this incident was much more serious than appears in the video here.
Are you busy today? How about demonstrating against illegal immigration
If you're in Israel and you're not too busy today, you may want to consider going out to Metzudat Zev, the Likud party headquarters in Tel Aviv, where a group of activists is going to be demonstrating against the onslaught of illegal African 'refugees' in Tel Aviv and Ashdod. According to Anna, here's what's been going on:
My name is Anna and for the last year or so I started co-operating with Southern Tel Aviv and Ashdod residents in their plight to fight the illegal immigration which plagues their cities. Since then the situation has worsened even more.
I believe there's no city/town left in Israel today which isn't infiltrated by illegals.
So why I'm now trying "levalbel leha et hamoah"? [Literally - to mess up your head. CiJ]
I think that your blog is pretty popular in the Jewish English-speaking community here and abroad. You write about the burning matters of our reality and I believe this issue is definitely one of them.
We try desperately to push the issue to the journalists, but so far there were very few we could reach and who respond and try to put it in the public light. Though there was one pretty fair account of Dani Kushmaro this Saturday on arutz 2, yet it's more like a stand out than norm and isn't enough.
One of the main problems we discovered was the immense financing, mostly by foreign private funds and well-off Jews from abroad, for the so called "enlightened" organizations which support the illegal net here by all means possible. [Emphasis mine. CiJ]
I wanted to ask - can you publish such kind of information in your blog for all the English-speaking bloggers to see and spread the information? Or you can give me some tip on how to do it?
This is the link to our latest co-operation with "My Israel" :
Not three minutes after I opened Anna's email, someone else (whom I know personally) sent me the Channel 2 video report. It's in Hebrew, but let's go to the videotape and then I'll put some highlights below the fold.
The report is about a decade-long study done by the National Security college at Haifa University.
Only 5% of the illegal immigrants come from Darfur and under a UN mandate cannot be sent back because their lives would be endangered. The other 95% are from assorted African countries (Eritrea, Ivory Coast, Sierra Leone, Congo, Cameroon, Senegal, Mali and others were mentioned) and from Iraq. They pretend to be from Darfur to avoid being deported immediately. They may legally be returned to their home countries. They are just looking for economic opportunities in Israel (which is how we got stuck with the 'Palestinians' 80-100 years ago). In all, 20,000 illegal immigrants arrived here between 1999 and 2009. (That's the equivalent - based on our relative population - of 8,000,000 illegal immigrants in a 10-year period in the US).
30% of the illegal immigrants are AIDS carriers. 10% of them have tuberculosis. 50% of the cases of tuberculosis in Israel come from these African illegals.
Prison workers who have come in contact with these Africans have become infected with tuberculosis, and the United Nations has forbidden its employees from coming into contact with the refugees as a result.
By the way, the barbed wire in the sand (not snow) is the Egyptian-Israeli border. Yes, that's all we have right now.
And you thought you had it bad with the Mexicans in the US....
Here's Soccer Dad's Middle East Media Sampler for Tuesday, November 29.
1) The story that Time manufactured
In September, 2010, Time Magazine featured a cover story, Why Israel doesn't want peace. It was written by Time's new Middle East correspondent, Karl Vick. Vick, in writing such tripe, showed himself to be a worthy heir to the likes of Tony Karon and Tim McGuirk, willing to push an anti-Israel narrative to substitute for news.
Now Vick has graduated to explaining how the terrorist organization, Hamas, really does want peace. But as Honest Reporting points out, the source for Vick's positive assessment is his inability to understand the word, "popular."
The disconnect is simple. When Palestinians say “popular” Vick hears “non-violent.” But what they mean is grassroots. In the Palestinian dictionary, kids throwing stones at Israelis is grassroots “popular” resistance no less than adults holding a grassroots “popular” candlelight vigil. Gilad Shalit wasn’t kidnapped by any old resistance committees. He was snatched and held captive by the Popular Resistance Committees. Their popularity comes from promising to kidnap more soldiers, not holding marches, witty chants, or clever signs. Whatever Hamas signed onto in Cairo doesn’t represent Hamas moderation but Fatah extremism.
Elder of Ziyon takes issue with Vick's assertion that Hamas is moving closer to Fatah, which, at least, makes a pretense of coexistence with Israel.
Hamas cannot and will not recognize Israel. It cannot and will not accept a Jewish state in any form whatsoever. Literally. Its entire charter is based on Israel's destruction, and if Hamas can be counted upon for anything, it is to remain true to its principles. They have been remarkably consistent in their stated positions since their inception. If Vick actually believes that Hamas is one bit closer to recognizing Israel than they were in 2005 or 1995, then he is an idiot who simply refuses to open his eyes. I can see the PLO muddying the language of its recognition of Israel to accommodate Hamas. But it is absolutely inconceivable that Hamas would accept the current stated PLO position of recognizing Israel and officially being against terrorism (a position the PLO roundly ignored only a few short years ago anyway.) ... Hamas is not moderating, and it never will. Just as there were people who were convinced that Hamas had moderated during the 2005 elections, and that Hamas had moderated before Cast Lead, there will always be credulous and utterly incompetent analysts who believe that Hamas is becoming more peaceful now.
Here we go again. It’s the Islamists’ turn this time to follow the same pattern as they dispose of their former, nationalist partners while simultaneously wiping the floor with the moderates. Why do people keep choosing a path that leads to disaster? For many reasons, one of them being that it can be portrayed as glamorous, heroic, and devoted to justice. Why should we expect more of the Middle East when even Western societies which have full access to historic reality and political philosophy are ready to jump off the cliff?
Ten days ago, frustrated revolutionaries returned to Tahrir Square, the revolt’s birthplace, vowing to stay until the military submits to a civilian authority. More than 40 have died in clashes with riot police and troops. But the square, washed by heavy rain Sunday night, looked bedraggled and relatively deserted today; conflicted militants had left it to go and vote in an election they feel has been stacked against them. “We are truly feeling that the revolution is being stolen,” one of the Tahrir leaders, Shadi Ghazali Harb, told me. He and other young secular liberals have been reduced to a somewhat desperate bet: that a “second wave” of the revolution can prevent a creeping takeover of the country by Islamists, a restoration of the old autocratic order by the military, or some toxic mix of the two.
Consider that instead of putting their energy into organizing, uniting, and getting out the vote, they are engaged in thoroughly useless demonstrations in Tahrir Square. What is the goal of these demonstrations? On one hand, they demand that the turnover of power be moved up; on the other hand, moderate politicians speak of postponing the balloting. Muhammad ElBaradei, once the Americans’ favorite candidate (before the Obama Administration switched to backing the anti-American, antisemitic Muslim Brotherhood) is actually creating his own virtual government! What a putz! Think about it. How can the moderates demand an immediate turnover of power? Turnover to whom? There is no executive authority. Clearly, no serious thought has gone into this campaign. If anything they should be demanding that the military stays in power longer since it is the only thing standing between them and the Muslim Brotherhood. And yet while the moderates are doing their Three Stooges routine over the turnover of power, the issue has already been resolved! The Brotherhood made a deal with the army junta and moved up the presidential elections by a full year. Instead of June 2013, presidential elections will be held around June 2012. That’s only seven months from now. And unless the moderate leaders drop their own candidacy and get behind Amr Moussa, the Brotherhood will win that one, too.
Both describe how the moderates have failed to unite. Prof. Rubin has provided more details and Diehl seems to be more hopeful, even now.
Former Israeli ambassador to Egypt, Zvi Mazel explains why - despite Diehl's stated objections - it is necessary for the army to retain control for now in Egypt. (via Daily Alert)
The political arena is split between secular, Islamists, young revolutionary and other political parties in a state of total confusion. As for the army, it cannot relinquish power because there is no one to take over. There is talk of setting up a civilian presidential committee, or of handing the reins to the Supreme Court, but there is no consensus for either solution and it is hard to see how organizations which are not representative and which have no executive powers could maintain law and order while ensuring an orderly political process in the chaotic situation prevailing today. It seems as if the army will have to stay on while keeping the elections on course, opening a frank dialogue with all political forces and drafting with them the longed-awaited new constitution.
A short while ago, a number of rockets hit the Western Galilee. No casualties were reported. The IDF responded by targeting the origins of the fire. The IDF regards this incident as severe, and holds the Lebanese government and the Lebanese Army responsible for preventing any rocket fire toward Israel. The IDF Northern Command is operationally prepared, and conducting an ongoing situation assessment in light of the incident.
I wouldn't let Hezbullah off so easily. There was a huge explosion yesterday at or near the Iranian nuclear plant near Isfahan. Iran is Hezbullah's patron and whether or not we had anything to do with it, Israel must be a suspect in that blast. Could the Hezbullah rockets have been a warning to us? I would not completely discount that possibility.
The mainstream media, aided largely by politicans, have been flogging the myth of the moderate Islamists, which is exactly what the Brotherhood wants them to do. Because if the media lie for them, they don’t have to. And if they only speak their Jew-hatred in Arabic, well, then, the non-Arabic-speaking editors and writers of the AP, Reuters, the New York Times, Time Magazine, and all of the other media outlets that are carrying water for the Islamist takeover of the Middle East simply don’t report the truth. Because the truth goes against the narrative that Islamists, once in office, are going to change their anti-Israel, anti-Western tune because they have to deal with the day-to-day struggle of governing, doing things like collecting the garbage. This is exactly what every media outlet said about Hamas’ takeover of Gaza. Their extremism would moderate, because they’d be tax collectors and garbage collectors and they’d have to settle municipal issues and ultimately, they’d make peace with Israel. All of that has been proven false. Rockets still fly from Gaza into Israeli kindergartens. Men and women are no longer allowed to mix in hair salons and other places. Hamas is still sworn to Israel’d destruction, and they think they’re getting closer—because the Muslim Brotherhood just took over Morocco and is poised to take over Egypt. This is what will happen in Egypt, along with the persecution of millions of Egypt’s Christians, but the media narrative persists, and a blind eye is turned to the hatred and violence that is coming.
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-four years, and we have eight children (bli ayin hara) ranging in age from 12 to 32 years and seven grandchildren. Three of our children 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