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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Bibi for President?

Andrew Sullivan goes off the deep end, naming Prime Minister Netanyahu as President Obama's most dangerous GOP opponent. Let's fisk this paragraph.
So Israel would, without warning, put US troops and Western civilians at direct risk of terrorist assaults, would likely tip Pakistan into even more outright hostility to any cooperation with the West, and rally the Iranian opposition to its foul regime.
It isn't exactly without warning and it's not putting US troops in danger. US troops are already in danger of terrorist assaults. And the US will know immediately when an assault starts, as will the rest of the world. But the mistrust level between Israel and this administration is so high that no one wants to take the risk that Obama gets advance notice and uses it to tip off Iran. Of course, Sullivan ignores that because if he even acknowledged it, he'd have to deal with the reality that the Obama administration is the most anti-Israel administration since at least the Eisenhower days.

As to Pakistan, it's beyond hope and most of America knows it. Pakistan's approval rating in the US is 15%. Nothing the US can do short of implementing Shari'a law will make Pakistan happy.

It is far from clear that Iranians will rally around Ahmadinejad if Iran is attacked by Israel, especially if it is done in a manner that minimizes civilian casualties.
It would destroy the global coalition against Iran,
Which coalition would that be? The one that doesn't include Russia or China? The one where Turkey keeps saying that they're not bound? The one where Germany continues to do more than $4 billion in annual trade with Iran? Do I need to go on or can we agree that there is no coalition?
increase even further its own global isolation,
Whom is he calling isolated?
and only set back Iranian nuclear development for a few years
That was all we did in Syria and Iraq and they never resumed their programs afterward. A lot can change in few years. And some people think it could be more than a few.
- and make it, or a Third World War based on religion, inevitable. My own fear is that global recruitment for Jihad would boom as well - reversing all the gains of the last three years.
What gains?
The war would also galvanize Islamist parties in the new Arab democracies,
As if they're not already.... giving Israel more ammunition in blocking any rapprochement between the US and the Muslim world. And following this essential blackmail, the Israeli government would doubtless rally much of the US Congress, the entire GOP, its media outlets (like Fox, and the Washington Post), and a key part of the Democratic fundraising machinery to side entirely with Israel against the US president. Comical. Scarily comical.

Read the whole thing. Sullivan is a conspiracy theorist when it comes to Netanyahu and the Republicans. And we don't consider Obama an anti-Christ, although we have considered the possibility that he's the 12th imam. (Just joking...).

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Shimon Peres on The View with Barbara Walters (full interview)

Here's the full interview with Shimon Peres on The View with Barbara Walters.

Let's go to the videotape.

video

You can bet that line about Obama being the best for Israel's security is going into an Obama campaign ad.

Something tells me that they won't be inviting Prime Minister Netanyahu to be on The View. And no kiss from Barbara Walters either.

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Just when you thought Israel's PR could not get worse....

Shimon Peres on the View.

Let's go to the videotape.



If you all want more of it, let me know and I'll try to get it....

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Turkey's foreign policy epic fail

In Turkey's Hurriyet, Burak Bekedil concludes that Turkish foreign policy hasn't gone exactly the way they wanted it to go since 2010, when Turkey made its major foreign policy center on isolating Israel. In fact, the Turkish policy has been a complete failure.
Most ironically, as the Turkish Parliament condemned the Khojaly Massacre, in which Armenian troops killed more than 600 Azeris in Khojaly, Nagorno-Karabakh, and more than 20,000 Turks, including Interior Minister İdris Naim Şahin, staged a colorful protest rally at Taksim Square in Istanbul, Israeli defense officials said Israeli Aerospace Industries had secured a $1.6 billion contract to sell drones and anti-aircraft and missile defense systems to Azerbaijan.

Now, this does not much fit into the famous slogan, “one nation, two states,” between Turkey and Azerbaijan. It also does not look like Israel has been terribly isolated because a major arms client, Turkey, no longer buys weaponry made in Israel.

If the “Israeli defense officials” chose the timing to announce the lucrative Azeri deal, they must have a genuine sense of humor: A $1.6 billion handshake between Israel and “one nation-two states” Azerbaijan on the same day when the other of the (one nation) two states was exhibiting solidarity for the Azeri victims of Karabakh in demonstrations previously unseen!

If there is one region that is the ostensible reason for all this reshuffling of political balances in this part of the world, it is Gaza (see Ömer Çelik, deputy chairman of Turkey’s ruling party, who said that the “Gaza conflict is Turkey’s domestic issue”). If there should be another, it is Jerusalem.

Now we have Deputy Prime Minister Beşir Atalay swinging his sword in the Battle for Jerusalem. A few days ago, Mr. Atalay said Jerusalem had to be freed of Israeli occupation if a lasting settlement was to reign in the Middle East. “Without the liberation of Jerusalem,” he said, “No real peace and stability can be achieved.” Speaking at the International Conference for the Defense of Jerusalem in Doha, Qatar, Mr. Atalay described Jerusalem as “a captive city in the hands of Israel.”

Ah, the hunt and the hunter…
Read the whole thing. Imagine where we would be if the President of the United States regarded Israel as a more important ally than Turkey and sought to cultivate a better relationship with Binyamin Netanyahu than with Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Messiah's times on the way. Heh.

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Obama 'polls' Israelis

It was a tall order for Brookings' Shibley Telhami. Telhami needed to come up with a poll of 'representative Israelis' that opposed a unilateral attack on Iran, wasn't particularly excited about any strike on Iran, and showed Israelis supporting Hussein Obama over any of his rivals. And then, Telhami had to get one of Israel's mainstream media to publish it. By golly he succeeded.

The newly Leftist JPost publishes Telhami's poll, which shows a paltry 19% of Israelis favoring a unilateral strike on Iran, less than a majority favoring a strike at all, and Obama leading every one of his Republican rivals among 'Israeli Jews.' You've got to be kidding.
Only 19 percent of Israelis support an attack against Iran without the backing of the United States, a new poll released on Wednesday found.

In the poll conducted by Shibley Telhami, Brookings Nonresident Senior Fellow and the Anwar Sadat Professor for Peace and Development at the University of Maryland, 42 % of respondents said they support a strike against Iran only if there is US support for the move. Nearly a third (32%) of those polled oppose an attack regardless of US support.

According to the poll, 38 % of Israelis believe the US would support Israel diplomatically if the Jewish State carried out a unilateral strike against Iran, whereas 27 % of respondents think Washington would join in militarily to support Israel even if it struck the Islamic Republic without US approval.

The survey also polled Jewish Israelis' feelings on the US presidential race, with respondents preferring US president Barack Obama to all his potential Republican rivals.

Overall, among Israeli Jews, Obama led Santorum 34% to 21%, Gingrich 31% to 27%, Paul 34% to 24%, and Romney 32% to 29%.

The poll's conductor Telhami concluded that "the Israeli public is neither enthusiastic about the prospect of war with Iran nor swayed by the seeming embrace of Israel by our presidential candidates.” He added: “They have to live with the consequences of war, and they appear to take the American assessment of these consequences seriously.”
Find me a pollster with a different agenda, and I will guarantee you a completely different result. No, this poll is just spin.

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Peace Now's Friedman has her eyes opened

I've been holding this post in the hope of finding video of Lara Friedman's appearance on James Zogby's Viewpoint on Sunday night in which this issue was discussed. I haven't found it yet.

In an earlier post, I reported that 'Peace Now's Lara Friedman attended the 'International Conference to Save Jerusalem' in Qatar. At the time, I was appalled by Friedman's attendance and apparent support for the disgusting pretense that there is something wrong with Israel exercising sovereignty in its own capital. But maybe some good will come out of Friedman's attendance. On Sunday night, Friedman wrote a piece for the Forward in which she might even be having an epiphany. Friedman has suddenly realized that the Arabs don't intend to 'share' Jerusalem. No kidding.
When I was invited to this conference, I took this as a sign that the Arab League wanted to capture the full complexity of the issues related to Jerusalem, including openly pro-Israel, pro-peace voices. However, it seems that virtually every conversation I am having here involves me, to a greater or lesser degree, having to defend the two-state solution and having to assert and defend the Jewish stake in Jerusalem. The fact that I am forced to do so points to what is clearly, from my point of view, a major flaw in this event. That flaw is the absence of more voices like mine, which represent the mainstream of American Jewish opinion and Israeli opinion. People who care about Israel and are committed to the two-state solution, including in Jerusalem. This solution is the only thing that will guarantee peace, security, and a future for either Israelis or Palestinians.

I don’t know who else was invited to this conference and couldn’t (or chose not to) attend, but it seems to me that by not having more pro-two-state solution, Jewish voices here, the Arab League is doing a disservice to the cause it is ostensibly concerned with — the health and status of Jerusalem — and missing an opportunity. The Arab world, and activists around the globe concerned with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, do themselves no favors when they listen to voices that tell them only a piece of the story that is comfortable to their ears (just as Israel and the American Jewish community do themselves no favors when they choose not to hear unpleasant truths).

Speakers at Sunday’s opening session, including Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, one after another laid out laundry lists of criticisms of Israel — many of them regrettably marked with exaggerations. All also spoke a great deal about Muslim and Christian attachments to Jerusalem and the importance of defending the holy sites and communities associated with both religions. However, only one speaker, Michel Sabbah, formerly the Latin Patriarch in Jerusalem, mentioned any Jewish connection to the city. This is a serious problem. If President Abbas cannot acknowledge Jewish claims in Jerusalem, even as he asserts Palestinian claims (a problem Yasser Arafat suffered from), he should not be surprised if it is more difficult for Israelis and Jews, wherever they are, to believe that he can be trusted in a peace agreement that leaves Jerusalem sites precious to Jews under Palestinian control.

If representatives of the organization that sponsored the Arab Peace Initiative cannot bring themselves to acknowledge the legitimacy of Jewish equities in Jerusalem, they should know that they discredit their own professed interest in peace. Their framing of the future of Jerusalem as a zero-sum game only makes it more likely that Israel will continue asserting its current power over East Jerusalem to hinder the vision of two states living in peace with a Jerusalem as a shared capital.

All throughout the day, it was unfortunately the same story. Participants talked about Jerusalem as if Jewish history did not exist or was a fraud — as if all Jewish claims in the city were just a tactic to dispossess Palestinians.
I find it curious that although Friedman laments the absence of more Jewish voices favoring the 'two-state solution,' she apparently didn't expect there to be any (or many) Arab voices that favor that scenario. She only cites one.

Read the whole thing.

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Wikileaks (Stratfor): Israel Defense Intelligence like Stratfor?

A Stratfor email released by Wikileaks gives the impression that Stratfor operates a lot like Israel's Defense Intelligence agency.
On 12/15/11 10:30 AM, Marc Lanthemann wrote:

Source is an old friend from college who is now a major in IDF intelligence. Had not seen one another in years. Very secretive of what they do; seemed pretty suspicious about what exactly I was doing in Israel. Nothing too groundbreaking, just some interesting observations.

...


- Opsec at IDI (Israel Defense Intelligence) seems pretty extreme. If you try to email this person, you don't hear back for a month, minimum - usually even longer. Reason is because no websites that have passwords are allowed at work. Emails for internal comms only.

- Source is in D.C. frequently for meetings with DIA. When I asked if they are often trained by the Americans, the response was a smirk and, "We like to think we don't need the Americans to train us." IDI, source said, is "more creative" than American counterparts. The way they work sounded similar in philosophy to STRATFOR, actually. For example, there is a specific officer who is referred to as the "Devil's advocate" at the IDI offices. This person is allowed to challenge any random paper on any topic, produced by someone of any rank. If a paper is written that says, hypothetically, that Bashar will fall in three weeks, the Devil's advocate can then say, "Okay, I'm challenging this assertion. Now, I want you to write the exact opposite argument and play out the logic." Source did not deny that they, too, can fall prey to groupthink like any other intelligence body, but was a firm believe that this was a good way to avoid it.

- "Where are the moderates in the Muslim world?" That was the theme of the conversation on source's end. If you listen to this person, you come away with the notion that the Israelis seem extremely unnerved about the future of the region, with the primary focus being on the Iranian threat. (Again, this is not groundbreaking insight.)

- Source openly said that none of this shit would be happening right now had Obama not abandoned Mubarak like he did. When I later criticized Bush for shattering the balance of power in the PG, source shot back, "Well what about Obama?" I said that Obama had maintained the same FP as Bush, a claim with which the source agreed. And yet the source loves Bush's policies and hates Obama's. Israelis are not a fan
of Barack.

- Because Obama abandoned Mubarak, source lamented the fact that Egypt was no longer the leader of the Arab world. This does not mean source believes the MB is on the verge of completely taking power in Egypt - (I specifically asked if that was the belief the IDI holds) - but it does mean that there is a steep drop in faith that the SCAF has ability to maintain the status quo. Overall I found the message on Egypt a bit confusing.
Since they don't allow access to websites with passwords, at least the IDI will (hopefully) avoid being hacked by Wikileaks like Stratfor was. I suspect that the IDI would be a lot more interesting.

Elder has an amusing piece on a Maan reporter whom the source calls 'batsh*t insane.'
Here's the inside scoop on Nasser and the key to understanding how Maan remains the only truly independent news source in Palestine: He's a decades long supporter of the Popular Front, was president of the PFLP at Bethlehem Univ. and went to jail six years for it.

As a PFLP supporter, he detests organized religion and its mixing in politics (Hamas) just as much as he hates materialism/capitalism/corruption (Fatah). (On that second point, he's probably the most beloved media personality in the country and has huge influence, yet he never thought to move out of the refugee camp where he was born. Badass.)

The other important thing to know about Nasser, more important than anything else I just mentioned, is that he is batshit insane. Really do love the guy but something is off up there, trust me. He will spout out the craziest theories every once in a while.
Heh.

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Wikileaks (Stratfor) CIA alive and well in Lebanon?

Some of you may recall that back in November, it was reported that several CIA operatives in Lebanon were 'outed,' and that as a result it was reported that the crucial CIA listening post in Beirut was shut down. Stratfor documents released by Wikileaks on Wednesday report that the station is still alive and well, and that the claim that the CIA was shut down was one that was made to get Hezbullah off the CIA's back.
Email-ID 5287911
Date 2011-11-21 16:10:50
From Anya.Alfano@stratfor.com
To burton@stratfor.com, alfano@stratfor.com, korena.zucha@stratfor.com
Some of this feels like disinfo. If the CIA lost a few people in Beirut,
it would be reasonable for them to send a few "current and former US
Officials" to the AP to "leak" a story that the all US coverage of Hez has
been "wiped out" -- best way to stop the search for more informants.

On 11/21/11 10:03 AM, burton@stratfor.com wrote:

Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

----------------------------------------------------------------------

From: "Goldman, Adam"
Date: Mon, 21 Nov 2011 08:56:44 -0600 (CST)
To: Fred Burton
Subject: RE: CIA spies outed in Lebanon

Thanks! Been working on this for a while. It's bad. CIA's Hezbollah
coverage has been wiped out.

From: Fred Burton [mailto:burton@stratfor.com]
Sent: Monday, November 21, 2011 8:05 AM
To: Goldman, Adam
Subject: Fwd: CIA spies outed in Lebanon

Great work Adam!

AP Exclusive: Spies Outed, CIA Suffers In Lebanon

http://www.salon.com/2011/11/21/ap_exclusive_spies_outed_cia_suffers_in_lebanon_2/

Monday, Nov 21, 2011 10:17 AM 11:15:26 GMT+0200

By Adam Goldman and Matt Apuzzo, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) - The CIA's operations in Lebanon have been badly
damaged after Hezbollah identified and captured a number of U.S. spies
recently, current and former U.S. officials told The Associated Press.
The intelligence debacle is particularly troubling because the CIA saw
it coming.
The CIA may not have anyone on the ground in Beirut (or more likely they do), but you can bet that the Mossad does. Heh.

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Free Syrian army claims to have US and French weapons, Bouvier still in Homs

A man claiming to be a General in the Free Syrian Army told Reuters that his group has received weapons and anti-aircraft missiles from the US and France as forces loyal to Bashar al-Assad launched an all-out assault on Homs' Baba Amro neighborhood, where several Western journalists are holed up.

Let's go to the videotape.



This morning it was reported that while British photographer Paul Conroy did escape from Homs to Lebanon on Tuesday, contrary to earlier reports, French journalist Edith Bouvier was too badly wounded to be able to escape and that she remains in a 'safe house' in Homs.

JPost adds from Reuters:
Syrian troops launched a ground attack in Homs on Wednesday in an apparent attempt to overrun the rebel-held Baba Amro neighborhood that has endured 25 days of siege and fierce bombardment, opposition sources said.

"The army is trying to go in with infantry from the direction of al-Bassel football field and fierce confrontations with automatic rifles and heavy machine guns are taking place there," activist Mohammad al-Homsi told Reuters from Homs.

He said the military had shelled Baba Amro heavily on Tuesday and overnight before the ground attack started.
Of course, reports from Homs cannot be verified.

The United Nations said on Tuesday that over 7500 civilians have been killed since the Syrian uprising started last March.

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What would Iran do?

What kind of explosions would we see in the event that Israel attacks Iran's nuclear program? Retired US General James Cartwright has told the New York Times that the Iranians have become masters of 'escalation control.'
While a missile retaliation against Israel would be virtually certain, according to these assessments, Iran would also be likely to try to calibrate its response against American targets so as not to give the United States a rationale for taking military action that could permanently cripple Tehran’s nuclear program. “The Iranians have been pretty good masters of escalation control,” said Gen. James E. Cartwright, now retired, who as the top officer at Strategic Command and as vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff participated in war games involving both deterrence and retaliation on potential adversaries like Iran.

The Iranian targets, General Cartwright and other American analysts believe, would include petroleum infrastructure in the Persian Gulf, and American troops in Afghanistan, where Iran has been accused of shipping explosives to local insurgent forces.

Both American and Israeli officials who discussed current thinking on the potential ramifications of an Israeli attack believe that the last thing Iran would want is a full-scale war on its territory. Their analysis, however, also includes the broad caveat that it is impossible to know the internal thinking of the senior leadership in Tehran, and is informed by the awareness that even the most detailed war games cannot predict how nations and their leaders will react in the heat of conflict. Yet such assessments are not just intellectual exercises. Any conclusions on how the Iranians will react to an attack will help determine whether the Israelis launch a strike — and what the American position will be if they do.

...

If Israel did attack, officials said, Iran would be foolhardy, even suicidal, to invite an overpowering retaliation by directly attacking United States military targets — by, for example, unleashing its missiles at American bases on the territory of Persian Gulf allies. “The balance the Iranians will try to strike is doing damage that is sufficiently significant, but just short of what it would take for America to invade,” said General Cartwright, now at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

A former Israeli official said the best way to think about retaliation against Israel was through a formula he called “1991 plus 2006 plus Buenos Aires times 3 or 5.” The reference was to three instances in the last two decades when Israel came under attack: the Scud missiles sent by Saddam Hussein into Israel in 1991 during the first gulf war; the 3,000 rockets fired at Israel by Hezbollah during their 2006 war; and the attacks on the Israeli Embassy and a Jewish center in Argentina in the early 1990s. Those attacks each killed 100 to 200 people, wounded scores more and caused several billion dollars of property damage. Hundreds of thousands of Israelis in the north had to be evacuated from their homes to bomb shelters or further south during the 2006 war.
JPost adds:
Arieh Herzog, who recently stepped down as head of the Defense Ministry’s Homa Missile Defense Agency, told the Post that while there “is no such thing as 100 percent defense,” the Arrow missile defense system is fully operational and capable of providing an adequate defense against Iran’s Shahab and Sajil ballistic missiles, in an interview marking his retirement several weeks ago after a 12- year term that will appear in full in Friday’s paper.

“The Iranians have the ability to launch barrages and that is an important part of their capabilities,” he said.

“But we are prepared and have the ability to intercept those barrages if they are launched.”
The Times quotes a retired Israeli general (they don't say if it's Herzog) who best sums up the thinking here.
But there is a broad Israeli assessment that Iran’s response to an attack would be limited.

“If Iran is struck surgically, it will react — no doubt,” said the former Israeli official, echoing Mr. Barak’s comments last year. “But that reaction will be calculated and in proportion to its capabilities. Iran will not set the Middle East on fire.”

“Is 40 missiles on Tel Aviv nice?” the official asked, summing up the Israeli calculus. “No. But it’s better than a nuclear Iran.”
And that's the bottom line of people's thinking here.

There will be an attack on Iran between now and November 6. It could come sooner (not today - it's pouring here) and it could come later. But there will be an attack on Iran. The question is whether the Americans or the Israelis are the attackers. So far, everyone seems to be assuming it will be the Israelis.

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Six pictures of revenants

Hat Tip: Mrs. Carl

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A way for Israel to attack Iran

Above is a map of a possible attack route to Iran (Hat Tip: Mike P).

The problem is that the route is so roundabout that 100 fighter planes traveling it are bound to be noticed.

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The Jewish Federation cop out

Last week, I reported that various Jewish Federations in the United States have given large donations to Media Matters for America, a group that is close to the Obama administration and largely populated by Jewish anti-Semites. Media Matters has gone around labeling various pro-Israel Jews 'Israel firsters,' which raises the spectre of dual loyalty and is considered an anti-Semitic slur by the Anti-Defamation League, the American Jewish Congress and the Simon Wiesenthal Center.

Adam Kredo went to some of the local Federations that were featured in the article and asked them to comment on why they are donating money to anti-Semites. Most of the Federations declined to comment, but the Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Boston, which made the largest donations ($362,500), did comment.
Of the five Jewish charities that have donated to Media Matters, the most prolific is the Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Greater Boston, which has given the group $362,500 since 2007.

CJP president Barry Shrage did not respond to multiple requests seeking comment. However, a statement on the organization’s website states that it is not directly responsible for the donations that were made to Media Matters through its funding arm.

“CJP is now—and has always been—one of Israel’s strongest supporters,” the statement said. “The grant in question was from a Donor Advised Fund, and not from CJP’s communal funding allocations.”

Donor-advised grants are primarily controlled by the funder.

“While owned and ultimately controlled by CJP, [donor advised funds] do not involve communal funds, but rather reflect the interests of those individual donors,” the statement said.

The CJP said that it does “reserve the right to reject a grant to organizations whose missions are in conflict with our own and we have done so on several occasions.”
Let's call a spade, a spade. A 'donor advised fund' is essentially a way to turn a donation that would otherwise not be tax deductible into a tax deductible donation. As I understand it, it's commonly used when someone wants to donate money to - for example - an overseas yeshiva that does not have a US corporation (a "501(c)(3)") set up, and typically the go-between will skim a little money off the top for its troubles. As I understand it, the IRS never intended for 'donor advised funds' to be used to make tax deductible political donations.

Second, nothing requires the Federations to accept 'donor advised funds.' And nothing requires the Federations (as they freely admitted) to donate money from a 'donor advised fund' to an organization that is anti-Semitic. I can guarantee you that if they were asked to donate to the Ku Klux Klan, they would say no. So why donate to the bigots at Media Matters?

Third, according to the list released by the Daily Caller, CJP is lying. Only the 2010 donation ($125,000) is listed as 'donor advised funds.' The bulk of the money in question ($37,500 in 2007 and $200,000 in 2008) is listed as 'social service' and 'social research,' respectively, whatever those two phrases mean.

If I were still living in Boston, I would hang up the phone when the Federation calls to ask for money. This is simply outrageous.

By the way, the Community Foundation of the United Jewish Federation of San Diego, which gave $100,000 in 2009 and $50,000 in 2010, lists the contributions as 'general assistance' and 'general support,' and not as 'donor advised funds.'

Perhaps Michael Steinhardt, who has been involved in real Jewish causes (he is one the founders and funders of Birthright) put it best.
“Sadly, Federations around the country are largely in the hands of secular liberals who have little sense of what’s actually Jewish, much less what’s pro-Israel,” said Michael Steinberg, a Maryland resident who stopped contributing to the Washington Federation for these reasons.
That's good advice for all of us.

Are you outraged yet?

Read the whole thing.

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Prominent supporters of Israel back removing MEK from terror list

Some prominent supporters of Israel, including Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz, former Canadian Justice Minister Irwin Cotler and Nobel Prize winner Elie Wiesel, have called for removing Iranian opposition group Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK) from the list of designated terror groups.
On the record, the people involved insist there is no Israel element to what they say is a humanitarian endeavor to remove the movement’s followers from danger.

“I don’t see any Israel issue at all,” Dershowitz told JTA in an interview, instead casting it in terms of Hillel’s dictum, “If I am only for myself, who am I?”

Off the record, however, figures close to the campaign use another ancient Middle Eastern dictum to describe the involvement of pro-Israel groups: “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.”

A source close to the effort to bring pro-Israel voices into the initiative cited reports that Israel has allied with the MEK, which reportedly maintains agents in Iran and in the past has published details of Iran’s nuclear weapons program.

The organized pro-Israel community, however, has been reluctant to sign on. One official at a pro-Israel group said pushing to de-list MEK without a full review could undercut efforts to keep groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah on the list.

“They're listed as a terrorist group, and until the U.S. government says otherwise, we’re not going to deal with them,” said the official, whose group otherwise counsels a tough posture against the Iranian regime.

The MEK, an Iranian exile group that some accuse of being a cult, has maintained a presence in Iraq since 1986, when Saddam Hussein welcomed it as a useful thorn in the side of his deadly enemy. From its border encampment, Camp Ashraf, it conducted operations against the theocracy in Iran. The MEK claims to have ended military activities in 2001.

Subsequent to the 2003 U.S.-led invasion that removed Saddam, Camp Ashraf disarmed as a condition of maintaining its presence in the country.
Read the whole thing. Supporters of delisting the MEK include John Bolton, Rudolph Giuliani, former Attorney General Michael Mukasey and many others.

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Dempsey walks it back

In preparation for Monday's Netanyahu-Obama meeting, Martin Dempsey, the Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff is walking back some of the 'advice' he gave Israel when he was here last week.
Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey on Tuesday told a Senate panel that he did not instruct Israel against an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who was also speaking Tuesday on Capitol Hill, said that US President Barack Obama’s administration was working as “aggressively” as possible to implement sanctions on Iran, and that they had seen more progress than initially expected.

...

In an interview with CNN, he had said: “A strike at this time would be destabilizing and wouldn’t achieve their [Israel’s] long-term objectives. I wouldn’t suggest, sitting here today, that we’ve persuaded them that our view is the correct view and that they are acting in an ill-advised fashion.”

On Tuesday, Dempsey said that he had merely spoken to Israeli officials about “the issue of time,” and had not advised them against a military strike on Iran.

Dempsey also defended comments in which he described Iran as a “rational” actor, stating in his panel testimony, “We can’t afford to underestimate our potential adversaries by writing them off as irrational.”
Saying that Iran is irrational doesn't equate with underestimating them. In fact, the opposite is true. Categorizing Iran as irrational makes it more likely that it is willing to take undue risks to its own population in order to strike back at others. Saying that they are rational underestimates the possibility that Iran will attack.

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This is protection?

After a series of carjackings involving cars driven by women alone in Judea and Samaria, local females have taken to putting a mannequin dressed as a soldier in the passenger seat to ward off the terrorists.
The dummies are supposed to give off the impression that the women are not traveling alone but with a soldier, thus reducing the chance of carjacking.

Over the past few weeks at least one crime ring has been operating across the West Bank, targeting Israeli cars while the drivers were still inside. Police have said that 13 such incidents have taken place in the last two weeks; some in Hebron and others in the West Bank.

In all incidents the method used was similar: A a vehicle would rear-end the woman's car and after she got out, the car was stolen from her at knife point.

Monday saw the arrest of a 23-year-old Palestinian while he was trying to steal a car from an undercover policeman near Qalqilya.

Miri Weitzman, a resident of one of the nearby settlements whose car was stolen 10 days ago said that "I was coming home from work, suddenly a white car with a yellow (Israeli) license plate passed me and blocked the road. I understood something bad was happening but it all happened so fast.

"I called my husband as two young men came out. One of them broke the window next to me, the other opened the door, grabbed my phone while screaming at me with an Arab accent 'you want to die?' and he threw me onto the road," she noted.

"Then they got into my car and left me with nothing, without a car or a phone or even the ability to contact anyone." She was alone in an isolated location in the dark.

"Luckily, my friend came by in a car and just rescued me," Weitzman added. "I just stood in the middle of the road waving my arms. I was questioned for several hours the following day and was told that the police consider it as a very serious crime and it is being investigated," she said.
This is protection? Where is the IDF?

Apparently, the IDF is not there, and the Shomron regional council has taken to having men drive a kilometer behind the women just in case. Lovely. Of course the IDF probably couldn't do a whole lot anyway because of the no fire rules.

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Overnight music video

Purim is just ahead and here's another version of LaYehudim Haysa Ora (the Jews had light and joy).

Let's go to the videotape.

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Knesset Law Committee Chairman calls for removal of 'Israeli Arab' judge who would not sing national anthem

Knesset Law Committee Chairman David Rotem has called for the removal of 'Israeli Arab' Supreme Court Justice Salim Joubran after Joubran refused to participate in singing Israel's National Anthem at the conclusion of the installation ceremony for new Supreme Court Chief Justice Asher Grunis. Joubran's silence was shown on live television by Israel's Channel 2 (I have not found the video yet) according to Israel Radio.
A number of MKs from the right wing spoke out against Joubran’s silence during the swearing in of new Supreme Court President Asher Grunis, with Likud’s Tzipi Hotovely saying that such actions are what cause the Supreme Court to lose its status in the eyes of the public.

Yisrael Beiteinu MK David Rotem, who heads the Knesset’s Constitution, Law and Justice Committee, said he would turn to Justice Minister Yaakov Neeman and act to remove Joubran from his chair.

Earlier in the year, MK Michael Ben-Ari pushed to legislate a law which would make army or national service a mandatory criteria for being appointed as a judge in the Supreme Court.

The law was nicknamed the “Joubran law,” and Ben-Ari said on Tuesday evening that Joubran’s silence during the anthem was proof of its necessity. “Who ever doesn’t like the anthem can leave,” he said. “I promise I won’t beg him to stay.”
Rabbi Meir Kahane warned that this would happen. But no one wanted to listen. Instead, Kahane was branded a racist and a terrorist. And Joubran is not a racist?

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Iran demands an explanation

Iran summoned the Azerbaijani ambassador to the Islamic Republic on Tuesday, asking him to explain reports (which are true) that Azerbaijan entered into an arms deal with Israel on Monday that is worth $1.5 billion.
According to the report of Foreign Ministry website on Tuesday, following news concerning arms deal between Azerbaijan Republic and the Zionist regime worth around one and half billion dollars, Javanshir Akhundov was invited by the deputy FM Seyed Abbas Araqchi to the ministry and Iran asked for official explanation about the news.

The ambassador said that purchased equipment from the Zionist regime are solely to free occupied territory of Azerbaijan Republic and that the government will not allow these arms be used against another country, especially Islamic Republic of Iran.

He repeated his country's intention to develop relations with Iran and called for exchanging views to remove any kind of misunderstanding.

Considering declared policy by the Zionist regime on growing penetration in bordering countries with Iran and using these states' territories against it, the Iran’s senior diplomat warned against any kind of use of Azerbaijan Republic territory by the Zionist regime for terrorist acts against Iran.
Heh.

Times of Israel adds:
The ambassador did not elaborate, but the “occupied territory” to which he was referring may be the region of Nagorno-Karabakh. According to Azerbaijan and the international community, the enclave is part of Azerbaijan. Since the end of the Azeri-Armenian war in 1994, however, the majority Armenian region has exerted de facto independence with Armenian military support.

Under the terms of the Israel Aerospace Industries deal, announced earlier this week, the Caucasus nation will receive planes, drones and an advanced missile defense system. The shipment of aerial drones will be accompanied by a large team of security and technology consultants, according to Maariv, which cited an Intelligence Online report.
I wonder which of Iran's other immediate neighbors are working on arms deals with us.

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Wikileaks (Stratfor): Israel traded Georgian UAV codes to Russia for Iranian Tor M-1 codes, Turkey gave Israel S-300 codes

Wikileaks' Stratfor email dump is reporting that Israel gave Russia the codes for UAV's that Israel sold to Georgia in exchange for the codes for the Tor M-1 anti-aircraft systems that Russia sold to Iran. Again, I am putting this in chronological order:
PUBLICATION: ask me first
ATTRIBUTION: N/A
SOURCE DESCRIPTION: MX301 - Former Mexican cop, Latam military analyst,
writes for Jane's
SOURCE RELIABILITY: A
ITEM CREDIBILITY: 1
SUGGESTED DISTRIBUTION:
SPECIAL HANDLING: n/a

...

Ok, here's the really juicy part:
There is a private Mexican company called Idra that the government funded
to make UAVs. They are actually pretty high standard according to him and
beat out the Israeli UAVs in testing. My friend was consulting Idra at the
time and so he was privy to a lot of deals that were on the table. This is
the story --

The Mexican government is now paying some $25m (? can get the #s later)
for UAVs from Israel. Idra is basically like WTF, but the reason is
basically corruption. There is a deal b/w the Mexican interior ministry
and the Israelis where they're getting a hefty kickback.

This is the interesting part, though.

Idra had an offer to sell UAVs to Georgia (this was happening during and
after the war). The reason Georgia needed the UAVs is because the UAVs
they had bought from Israel had been compromised by the Russians. The
Russians got the data link for the UAV (there is some suspicion that the
Israelis after the war may have given this to them. Remember all the
intense mtgs b/w the Israelis and the Russians where the Russians got the
Israelis to back off of defense deals to Georgia in return for Russia
backing off Iran?). Anyway, the Georgians gave Idra a picture of one of
their crashed UAVs. The source explained though that if the UAV were
targeted, it would have been blown to pieces pretty much (it's like the
size of a car basically). But the picture he saw showed the UAV intact. He
inquired and basically what happened was that the Russians acquired the
data link to hack into the system and force the UAV into the ground. I
think they may have crashed another one too.

So, since the Georgian UAVs were compromised, they then tried to sell them
to the Azerbaijanis. I dont know if that deal went through. Idra backed
off the deal to Georgia because they were advised that it would raise a
lot of political complications between Mexico and Russia.

...

PUBLICATION: No, but ask first
ATTRIBUTION: N/A
SOURCE DESCRIPTION: MX301 - Former Mexican cop, Latam military analyst,
writes for Jane's
SOURCE RELIABILITY: A
ITEM CREDIBILITY: 1
SUGGESTED DISTRIBUTION:
SPECIAL HANDLING: n/a

Met with my Mexican source/friend again today and dude is getting shadier
by the day. We followed up on our past discussion on Russia compromising
the Israeli-made Georgian UAVs prior to the August war.

Here is what else I learned

One of the source's friends/colleagues -- formerly military i think but
now does private defense deals on the side (it's Mexico) contacted him in
July (prior to the Georgia war). Apparently the Georgians had contacted
this guy because they were frantically looking for a replacement for the
Israeli UAVs that were compromised....

Here is the most interesting part:

I inquired more about the compromised Israeli UAVs. What he explained was
that Israel and Russia made a swap -- Israel gave Russia the 'data link'
code for those specific UAVs; in return, Russia gave Israel the codes for
Iran's Tor-M1s.

I asked about the S-300 (source tracks a lot of defense deals for Jane's).
He doesn't think the Russians will give it to the Iranians. Besides, he
said... Israel and Turkey have been collaborating very closely on the
S-300s. He explain how about 8 years ago when Russia sold S-300s to Greece
to base in Crete (which were supposed to protect Cyprus), Russia delivered
those with a carrier so that Turkey wouldn't try to sink them. (things got
a bit noisy so i may have misheard some of this). The gist of what he said
is that Turkey has been cracking the S-300 since the Crete sale and has
been sharing intel on the S-300 with the Israelis to ensure that they
retain an advantage over Iran should Iran get them from the Russians.

as far as the Georgian UAVs go, they were interested in the Mexican ones
because the Mexican UAVs had something (forget the name. it was
auto-something' that basically backs up teh UAV system in case someone
hacks into it and immediately returns the UAV to base.
Hmmm.

By the way, that's a Tor M-1 at the top.

UPDATE 1:41 AM

I forgot to add that Israel Radio has been reporting all evening that Georgia's Foreign Minister was here for a one-day 'secret' mission on Tuesday. But if Stratfor was correct and Georgia knew its UAV's had been compomrised, one has to wonder why he was here now. It may have had nothing to do with this.

UPDATE 5:07 PM

Photo updated (thanks to Asher G).

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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

War games coming to... Tel Aviv

Security forces will be conducting war games in Tel Aviv next month in preparation for possible attacks on Israel by Hamas, Hezbullah, Syria, Iran and others.
The "Hit to the Heart" drill will be held on March 14 in the form of a war game held by senior officials and simulating rocket attacks launched without prior warning.

The exercise will involve the National Emergency Authority, IDF Home Front Command, the national information headquarters, Israel Police, Magen David Adom emergency services, the Ministry of Public Security and the Education Ministry.

...

According to the scenario to be simulated, immediately after an anti-rocket siren throughout central Israel the Home Front Command’s hotline will receive tens of thousands of calls from residents wondering why the siren sounded and seeking further instructions.

In the framework of the drill, two minutes after the siren will sound, two rockets will be landing in the center of the country – one in Ramat Gan’s Ayalon Mall and the other in southern Tel Aviv.

As the war game is aimed for senior commanders, no actual siren will be activated and the public will not be asked to take part in the exercise.

At this time, Hamas is believed to possess Fajr-5 rockets that are capable of reaching central Israel. The IDF’s Iron Dome anti-rocket system is meant to provide protection against such incoming missiles.
What could go wrong?

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Obama's human rights charade continues

The Obama administration continues its charade that the United Nations 'Human Rights Council' is actually concerned about human rights.
Last year the UN decided to annualize Council membership and begin terms in January rather than September. It was anticipated that this would also move the election cycle from the spring to the fall of 2012. But since the U.S. is now completing its first three-year term, President Obama’s Council re-election bid threatens to coincide with the final stretch of his presidential re-election campaign. Rather than risk having to defend his UN engagement charade at an extremely visible moment, American diplomats are working overtime pressing for May 2012 elections.

Interestingly, a second Council term would only start January 2013 and staggered elections would allow the U.S. simply to stand down now and run next year instead.

Given that the Bush administration vehemently refused to lend legitimacy to the Council by becoming a member, Obama’s maneuver is either a brazen attempt to shove membership down the throat of a future Republican administration or a cocky assumption of a Democratic win in November 2012.

At the same time, the administration isn’t taking re-election to the Council for granted. This helps explain a few more recent pro-UN and anti-Israel chess moves.

Two weeks ago President Obama put $79 million dollars in his budget for UNESCO and began pressing Congress to remove a prohibition on American funding to the organization.

The congressional injunction had kicked in after UNESCO pre-emptively granted Palestine “statehood” status. The congressional move had successfully put the brakes on Palestinian attempts to achieve statehood via the UN without committing to peaceful co-existence with Israel. By seeking to overturn it, the president makes clear that burnishing his pro-UN credentials is his higher priority -- and worrying about increasing the daylight between his administration and Israel is a distant second.
If there's anyone reading this blog who supports Israel and is nevertheless going to vote for Obama, could you please explain why in the comments? It seems to me that support for Israel and support for Obama are incompatible.

Read the whole thing.

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Obama - yes he can! He's the man!

Now that Obama Girl isn't so crazy about him anymore, President Obama needs a new campaign video.

Here it is.

Let's go to the videotape (Hat Tip: Jack W). Enjoy!



Heh.

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Krauthammer: 'Obama apology didn't soothe the savage mob, it intensified the violence'

Here's Charles Krauthammer on President Obumbler's latest round of apologies.

Let's go to the videotape.

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British and French journalists 'safe' in Lebanon, smuggled out pictures and videos

Paul Conroy, a British photographer working for the Sunday Times, and Edith Bouvier, a French correspondent for Le Figaro, were reported to have travelled safely out of Syria overnight and were in Lebanon on Tuesday morning. Both were wounded while covering the Syrian army's shelling of Homs last week in an attack that killed Marie Colvin of the Sunday Times and Remi Ochlik, a French photographer.

Let's go to the videotape (Hat Tip: MFS - The Other News).



Israel Radio reports that the reason it was so difficult to get them out is because they refused to be evacuated by the Red Cross (yes, they said Red Cross - not Red Crescent - not clear why) because that would have necessitated going through Damascus and they would have had their photographs and videos confiscated by the Syrian forces.

According to Israel Radio, Conroy and Bouvier were evacuated by the Syrian rebels, who were willing to risk their lives to get them out because of what they were carrying with them. In fact, Israel Radio reports that 23 members of the Free Syrian Army were killed in the evacuation.

More here.

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Soccer Dad's Middle East Media Sampler

Here's Soccer Dad's Middle East Media Sampler for Tuesday, February 28.
1) Lara in wonderland

On February 26 and 27, there was an International Conference on Jerusalem
Among those speaking was Mahmoud Abbas, the President of the Palestinian Authority and Israel's supposed peace partner. Elder of Ziyon analyzed his speech.
In 1967, the eastern part of Jerusalem was essentially a neglected slum. There was even a UNRWA refugee camp called Mascar in the old Jewish quarter that UNRWA closed - in 1965! - because conditions there were so horrendous and unsanitary.
Between 1948 and 1967, Jerusalem was a neglected backwater of the Arab world. There were essentially no Muslim pilgrims going there. And while thousands of Christians would indeed visit Jerusalem every Easter, that number increased dramatically after Israel regained possession of the holy city.
Abbas is pushing lies and incitement, and his speech is filled with hypocrisy about things like freedom of worship when he would ban (or, at best, severely restrict) Jews from ever visiting their holy sites in Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Hebron and elsewhere if given half a chance.
This speech reveals the ugly face of Mahmoud Abbas and how he is not interested in peace or co-existence at all, let alone the truth.
Nadav Shragai wrote in Israel Hayom:
You can’t sink any lower than that. Abbas is apparently relying on the world’s short memory – so here is a reminder: The kind of freedom of religion that thrives in Jerusalem today is unprecedented. Before 1967, things were different. The Arabs had vowed in writing (Article 8 of the 1949 Armistice Agreement with Jordan) to allow the Jews access to holy sites beyond the border, but in practice they prevented the Jews from visiting the Western Wall, Rachel’s Tomb and the Mount of Olives.
...
Incidentally, Bethlehem, which, in contrast to Jerusalem, was handed over to the Palestinians, did in fact become “Muslim.” The Christian majority there was severely oppressed by the Palestinian Authority and eventually became a minority.
The myth that the “Al-Aqsa Mosque is in danger,” which Abbas and his followers repeat like a mantra, isn’t only a despicable lie, it is also the direct opposite of the truth. It is precisely with the Temple Mount that Israel made an unthinkable concession -- it essentially handed the Muslims the holiest Jewish site, even though it is only the third-holiest site in Islam. Archaeological excavations that supposedly attempt to “Judaize” Jerusalem have actually uncovered entire chapters of Muslim history alongside the Jewish and Christian findings. The archaeological park on the south side of the wall is just one example of this.
PM Netanyahu responded:
This is a harshly inflammatory speech from someone who claims that he is bent on peace. The time has come for the Palestinian leadership to stop denying the past and distorting reality. For thousands of years Jerusalem has been the eternal capital of the Jewish People. Jerusalem, under Israeli sovereignty, will continue to be open to believers of all faiths. There is freedom of worship for all and Israel will continue to carefully maintain the holy places of all religions.
Abu Mazen knows full well that there is no foundation to his contemptible remarks, including his baseless and irresponsible claims regarding the Al Aqsa Mosque. The State of Israel expects that one who supposedly champions peace would prepare his people for peace and coexistence and not disseminate lies and incitement. This is not how one makes peace.
Netanyahu's point about "denying the past," is especially important.

The Palestinian Authority committed itself to removing the sections of its charter that were inconsistent with the agreements it made with Israel. After one such session in which those sections were supposedly nullified, Yasser Arafat wrote:
We would like to put to rest these concerns. The Palestine National Council's resolution, in accordance with Article 33 of the Covenant, is a comprehensive amendment of the Covenant. All of the provisions of the Covenant which are inconsistent with the P.L.O. commitment to recognize and live in peace side by side with Israel are no longer in effect.
As a result, Articles 6-10,15, 19-23, and 30 have been nullified, and the parts in Articles 1-5, 11-14, 16-l8, 25-27 and 29 that are in consistent with the above mentioned commitments have also been nullified.
Included in the nullification is article 20, which reads:
The Balfour Declaration, the Mandate for Palestine, and everything that has been based upon them, are deemed null and void. Claims of historical or religious ties of Jews with Palestine are incompatible with the facts of history and the true conception of what constitutes statehood. Judaism, being a religion, is not an independent nationality. Nor do Jews constitute a single nation with an identity of its own; they are citizens of the states to which they belong.
The denial of a historical Jewish connection to the land of Israel, is a blatant violation of the terms of Oslo Accords. Unlike the building of apartments in Jerusalem, no creative interpretation is necessary to reach this conclusion. Yet there's been precious little comment about this obstacle to peace declared by the "moderate" leader of the Palestinians.

One American who was at the conference, was Lara Friedman of Americans for Peace Now. Though she denies that she went as a representative of her organization, she is identified as being with APN on the list of participants. Her presence at this anti-Israel hatefest discredits her and her organization.

It was however an eyeopening experience for Dr. Friedman, as she wrote after the first day of the conference in Jerusalem isn't just for Arabs either:
If representatives of the organization that sponsored the Arab Peace Initiative cannot bring themselves to acknowledge the legitimacy of Jewish equities in Jerusalem, they should know that they discredit their own professed interest in peace. Their framing of the future of Jerusalem as a zero-sum game only makes it more likely that Israel will continue asserting its current power over East Jerusalem to hinder the vision of two states living in peace with a Jerusalem as a shared capital.
All throughout the day, it was unfortunately the same story. Participants talked about Jerusalem as if Jewish history did not exist or was a fraud — as if all Jewish claims in the city were just a tactic to dispossess Palestinians. Here I do need to acknowledged the one person the entire day who I heard speak in a serious, credible way on this matter: veteran Palestinian diplomat Afif Safieh. In closing one of the afternoon sessions, Safieh emphasized the international consensus around the idea that in Jerusalem it is necessary to reconcile two national narratives — Israeli and Palestinian — and three religious narratives, Jewish, Muslim, and Christian. Safieh made clear that he thought this was still possible with a two state solution with two capitals in Jerusalem, an Israeli capital in the west and a Palestinian capital in the east.
It is my hope that the rest of the conference will deal more honestly and more constructively with the reality that Afif described and that I, as a Zionist who knows that the two-state solution is vital to Israel’s survival as a democracy and a Jewish state, believe is critical to any meaningful discussion of Jerusalem. I regret that the conference so far has not taken the issues related to Jerusalem more seriously, and I am proud that I am here representing a truly pro-peace — and thus be definition pro-Israel — perspective. Much of the discourse here thus far has been personally objectionable and even painful to me, but I believe my presence here is important for the cause of peace.
What Lara Friedman heard at the International Conference on Jerusalem is nothing new. The commitment of the Arab League and the Palestinian Authority to peace is dubious, as evidenced by statements they continue to make eighteen years after Oslo. If Friedman cared to know about them, she would. But her career as a "Zionist" is marked by holding Israel mostly (if not completely) to blame for the failure of peace despite the many concessions even the most "right-wing" governments of Israel have made.

Will this serve as a wake up call to Friedman? It hardly seems likely. Her response to the hatred and denial she heard was disappointment not outrage. No doubt she will return to the United States and continue finding fault first with Israel.

What will Americans for Peace Now do? Will it disassociate itself from Friedman? Or will it continue functioning without apologizing for the actions of its officer.

2) Why the Sorbonne is better than Harvard
Did you know that Harvard is sponsoring a one state solution (Imagine there's no Israel) conference?
Did you know that the Sorbonne is refusing to host an Israel Apartheid week event? (h/t Israel Daily News Stream)

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Secret memo: Obama ignored SOS from Iranian opposition

I don't know whether the Iranian opposition movement is any less anti-Israel than the Khameni-Ahmadinejad regime. It's unlikely that they could be any worse. And in fact, the letter quoted later in this post implies (and I will bold and italicize the proof) that the opposition might even be willing to drop the nuclear program, or at least the weapons part of it. Regardless, if this story is true, one cannot help but be shocked by the callousness of the Obama administration towards them.

The Washington Examiner is reporting that a secret memo 'suggests' that the Obama administration ignored a plea for help from the Iranian opposition in November 2009, some give months after the rigged Iranian elections (Hat Tip: Memeorandum).
Documents obtained by The Washington Examiner suggest the Obama administration missed at least one major opportunity to help opposition groups in Iran that has not previously been reported. In November 2009, leaders of the Green party, which had staged a revolt on the streets of Tehran in June of that year, sent a long memo through channels to the Obama administration that some analysts said was a clear call for help.

"So now, at this pivotal point in time, it is up to the countries of the free world to make up their mind," states the opposition memo dated Nov. 30, 2009. "Will they continue on the track of wishful thinking and push every decision to the future until it is too late, or will they reward the brave people of Iran and simultaneously advance the Western interests and world peace."

The eight-page memo describes the current regime under Ayatollah Ali Khamenei as a "brutal, apocalyptic theocratic dictatorship."

The memo warns that Iran "with its apocalyptic constitution will never give up the atomic bomb, nor will it give up its terror network, because it needs these instruments to maintain its power and enhance its own economic and financial wealth."

The administration claimed in 2009 that the Green party in Iran did not want American help. And the State Department repeated that this week. "Most leaders in the Green movement made clear they did not desire financial or other support from the United States," a State Department senior official said. "As an organic movement, it was concerned that taking outside support would discredit it in the eyes of the Iranian people. We respect that and do not provide financial assistance to any political movement, party or faction in Iran."

But the memo tells a different story, some critics said.
But without the apocalyptic constitution it would give up the atomic bomb and the terror network? Maybe. And they had an atomic bomb or were well on their way to one in November 2009? Probably.

If this is true (and it sounds plausible) Barack Hussein Obama is even scummier than I ever gave him credit for being.

Read the whole thing. It includes previously undisclosed details of Obama's contacts with Ahmadinejad. This is outrageous.

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In memory of Udi, Ruti, Yoav, Elad and Hadas Fogel HY"D

Wednesday is the yahrtzeit (anniversary of the death) of Udi, Ruti, Yoav, Elad and Hadas Fogel HY"D (May God Avenge their blood). A few hours ago, I received an invitation by email to the dedication of the Beit Medrash (study hall) in memory of the Fogel's, which is taking place in Itamar on Wednesday, and I am going to post it below.

But first, I'd like to show you a video that was made in memory of the Fogel's by Dalia L, who describes herself as a high school student in Melbourne, Australia (which means she's probably only a couple of years older than Tamar Fogel, the oldest of the three surviving Fogel children), and who co-moderates a blog here.

Get some tissues out - I was crying by the end.

Let's go to the videotape.



And here's the invitation to the dedication Wednesday (Hat Tip: David H).

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Obama to deliver new message on Iran at AIPAC? (a/k/a anything to be reelected)

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that President Obama's AIPAC speech on Sunday may include a new approach to Iran with a lot more specifics.
President Barack Obama could use a speech on Sunday before a powerful pro-Israel lobby to more clearly define U.S. policy on military action against Iran in advance of his meeting on Monday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, these people said.

Israeli officials have been fuming over what they perceive as deliberate attempts by the Obama administration to undermine the deterrent effect of the Jewish state's threat to use force against Tehran by publicly questioning the utility and timing of such strikes.

The Israeli leader has told U.S. officials that he wants Mr. Obama to outline specifically what Washington views as the "red lines" that Iran cannot cross, something the administration is considering as it drafts the president's speech at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee and sets the agenda for his meeting with Mr. Netanyahu.

Some administration officials said that if Mr. Obama decides to more clearly define his red lines, he is likely to do it in private with Mr. Netanyahu, rather than state it in his AIPAC speech.

Mr. Netanyahu and other top Israeli officials also are pressing for Mr. Obama to publicly clarify his insistence that "all options are on the table" in addressing the Iranian nuclear threat.
Read the whole thing.

At this point, I doubt there is anything Obama can say that is going to change (a) Israel's decision (and I believe it's been decided) that if the US does not attack before November 6, we will and (b) Israel's decision that when an attack comes, it will not be coordinated with the United States. We've seen enough backtracking by Obama that no one here is going to take his word for anything. If George W. Bush were in the White House, it might be different.

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Bumper sticker of the day

Heh.

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Iran getting closer to nukes?

Is Iran getting closer to a nuclear weapon? That depends whether you believe what the President's minions in the mainstream media publish on a Monday morning or whether you believe what they publishe when they're trying to dump news on a Friday afternoon when no one will notice. (By the way, this is one of the oldest tricks in book - I always try to listen to the last newscast on Friday before the Sabbath starts for exactly this reason). Here's what Reuters published on Monday morning.
But, contrary to some Western media reports in the run-up to Friday's International Atomic Energy Agency report, Iran does not yet seem ready to deploy advanced enrichment equipment for large-scale production, despite years of testing.

Instead, the IAEA document showed Iran was preparing to install thousands more centrifuges based on an erratic and outdated design, both in its main enrichment plant at Natanz and in a smaller facility at Fordow buried deep underground.

"It appears that they are still struggling with the advanced centrifuges," said Olli Heinonen, a former chief nuclear inspector for the Vienna-based U.N. agency.

"We do not know whether the reasons for delays are lack of raw materials or design problems," he said.

...

The IAEA, which regularly inspects Iran's declared nuclear sites, has little access to facilities where centrifuges are assembled and the agency's knowledge of possible centrifuge progress is mainly limited to what it can observe at Natanz.

Asked whether Iran may keep more advanced centrifuges at a location which U.N. inspectors were not aware of, an official familiar with the issue said: "That is, of course, the million dollar question."

If Iran eventually succeeded in introducing the newer models for production, it could significantly shorten the time needed to stockpile enriched uranium, which can generate electricity or, if processed much further, nuclear explosions.

But it is unclear whether Tehran, subject to increasingly strict international sanctions, has the means and components to make the more sophisticated machines in bigger numbers.

"Iran has been testing its second-generation models for several years but they do not appear to be ready for full-scale use yet," said analyst Peter Crail of the Arms Control Association, a Washington-based research and advocacy group.

"Iran's ability to mass produce them is also uncertain."
But here's what Reuters reported on Friday afternoon at link dump time.
Iran has sharply stepped up its controversial uranium enrichment drive, the U.N. nuclear agency said on Friday in a report that will further inflame Israeli fears the Islamic Republic is pushing ahead with atomic bomb plans.

The nuclear watchdog also gave details of its mission to Tehran this week where Iran failed to respond to allegations of research relevant to developing nuclear arms - a blow to the possible resumption of diplomatic talks that could help calm worries about a new war in the Middle East.

"The Agency continues to have serious concerns regarding possible military dimensions to Iran's nuclear program," the International Atomic Energy Agency said in a quarterly report about Iran issued to member states.

Iran's increase of work that can have both civilian and military purposes underlines that it has no intention of backing down in a long-running dispute with the West that has sparked fears of war.

...

The confidential IAEA report showed that Iran since last November had tripled monthly output of uranium refined to a level that brings it significantly closer to potential bomb material, an official familiar with the agency's probe said.

"The concern is that they are trying to give the impression that they are putting in the capability that could much more quickly make weapon-grade uranium," nuclear proliferation expert David Albright said.

"This could all be posturing to show further defiance, but unfortunately it does concern many countries about what is Iran planning." Albright added that Iran seemed to have problems developing newer and more efficient centrifuges.
Hmmm.

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Wikileaks (Stratfor): Mabhouh hit was subcontracted by the Mossad

I'm sure that many of you remember Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, the Hamas murderer who was liquidated in his Dubai hotel room in January 2010, allegedly by the Mossad.

One of the Stratfor email chains that was released by Wikileaks on Monday claims that the Mossad did not liquidate Mabhouh itself. According to the email - which unfortunately has no further follow-up that I have seen - Mabhouh's demise was brought about by a subcontractor acting on the Mossad's behalf. (Unlike previous emails I have posted, this one is in reverse chronological order).
Email-ID 1593553
Date 2010-06-14 16:41:36
From burton@stratfor.com
To sean.noonan@stratfor.com, tactical@stratfor.com
I have VERY good information this was a contract job. The mission was contracted by the MOSSAD. In essence, subbed out under contract. The last few hits have been subbed out. I also have VERY good information that the Iranian physicist hit was also a subbed out job. More in person at the T meeting Tuesday, can't put anything in writing.

Sean Noonan wrote:
> Ah, that makes more sense. That daily mail story was pretty sensationalized.
>
> Looks like Melman is doing his job. I enjoyed his article on the matter:
>
> http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/germany-may-have-intentionally-leaked-alleged-mossad-man-s-arrest-1.295977
>
> Fred Burton wrote:
>> No, I made no statement. Forwarded Yossi the link to the story and that
>> was his response.
>>
>> Sean Noonan wrote:
>>
>>> Was your statement that the arrest was over the Dubai murder? Brodsky is
>>> wanted for the passport issue. The Sherrif of Dubai, Lt. Gen. Dhahi
>>> Khalfan Tamim (remember him?), has said they have no interest in the
>>> suspect unless directly linked to the murders themselves.
>>>
>>> Fred Burton wrote:
>>>
>>>> -------- Original Message --------
>>>> Subject: RE: Mossad agent arrested over Dubai murder
>>>> Date: Mon, 14 Jun 2010 08:44:02 +0300
>>>> From: Yossi Melman
>>>> To: Fred Burton
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>
>>>> Not true he was arrested by a request of germany and not dubai over the
>>>> obtaining a german passport deceptively which Was used in the murder/
>>>>
Hmmm.

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The more things change...

Khaled Abu Toameh reports that Hamas and Fatah are pushing for another intifada against Israel to cover up for their own failure to reach a reconciliation agreement (Hat Tip: Act for Australia).
The two rival Palestinian parties are hoping that Palestinians would turn their anger and frustration toward Israel and not toward either of them.

This is why over the past few weeks leaders and officials representing Hamas and Fatah have been talking about a third intifada that is about to erupt in the West Bank and Gaza Strip against Israel.

Both Hamas and Fatah have been urging Palestinians to step up "popular resistance" against Israel.

The two parties are telling Palestinians that Israel does not want peace or a two-state solution and is only interested in maintaining control over Palestinian lands and "Judaizing" Jerusalem.

The stepped-up anti-Israel rhetoric has resulted in a sharp increase in Palestinian violence against IDF soldiers and settlers in the West Bank and Israeli policemen in east Jerusalem.
Well, I'm sure glad that Hamas and Fatah can agree on something. We wouldn't want them throwing each other off the roofs of buildings, would we?

Of course, Haaretz (with a boost from Israel's Leftist-dominated Foreign Ministry) is already getting set up to blame the future intifada on the lack of 'progress' in the 'peace talks.'
The ministry's intelligence report, which was presented a few weeks ago to the ministers in the security cabinet, runs more than 50 pages. Parts of the report were obtained by Haaretz, including the sections relating to the Palestinians, ties with Jordan and Egypt and the Iranian nuclear issue.

The assessment puts forth a scenario of a third intifada breaking out during 2012, either as a result of a Palestinian Authority leadership decision or as a popular uprising influenced by the wave of revolutions in the Arab world.

"On the ground, at this point, neither the Palestinian leadership nor public opinion seems to want a violent escalation with Israel," the report states. "Still, the continuing freeze of the diplomatic process, combined with any drastic Israeli moves in the military and/or economic realm and the continuing stormy situation in the Middle East, could bring about a change in this approach."

The report states that the Palestinian leadership does not see the Israeli government as a partner with which it can make progress on the peace process. Therefore, the report says, PA President Mahmoud Abbas worked to increase the involvement of the international community in the events of the West Bank and Gaza.

According to the report, the PA is interested in working with the rest of the world to obtain better opening terms for any future negotiations with Israel.
And this time, they warn, Egypt might not take too kindly to an Israeli invasion of Gaza. As if the Egyptians are in any position to go to war with us right now and would go to war with us for the sake of the 'Palestinians.'

Well, the more things change, the more they stay the same. The Arabs continue to use Israel as a way to keep their own populations in line.

What could go wrong?

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