[P]resumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney extended his condolences today to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the death of his father.
Ben-Zion Netanyahu, a historian and Zionist activist, died today in Israel. He was 102.
Romney called the Israeli prime minister his "friend" in his statement. The two men have been friends for years, and their relationship was forged in the 1970s when they were young up-and-comers sizing up companies for the Boston Consulting Group.
"This is a loss for all of Israel and for all who care about Israel," Romney said about the elder Netanyahu's death.
As of this writing, there is no word from President Obama.
Obama to give medal of freedom to novelist who accused Israel of genocide
President Obama has got Israel's back again with that knife.
He's presenting a medal of freedom to British novelist Toni Morrison.
The Nobel-winning author is one of 13 recipients of the prize this year, alongside Bob Dylan, former US secretary of state Madeleine Albright and Israeli president Shimon Peres, said the White House.
"These extraordinary honourees come from different backgrounds and different walks of life, but each of them has made a lasting contribution to the life of our nation," said Obama. "They've challenged us, they've inspired us, and they've made the world a better place. I look forward to recognising them with this award."
Toni Morrison was one of 18 FAMOUS WRITERS including 3 Nobel Laureates who in an Open Letter published worldwide in 2006 slammed Apartheid Israel’s Palestinian Genocide as “[Israel’s] long-term military, economic and geographic practice whose political aim is nothing less than the liquidation of the Palestinian nation”:
“The latest chapter of the conflict between Israel and Palestine began when Israeli forces abducted two civilians, a doctor and his brother, from Gaza. An incident scarcely reported anywhere, except in the Turkish press. The following day the Palestinians took an Israeli soldier prisoner--and proposed a negotiated exchange against prisoners taken by the Israelis--there are approximately 10,000 in Israeli jails.
That this "kidnapping" was considered an outrage, whereas the illegal military occupation of the West Bank and the systematic appropriation of its natural resources--most particularly that of water--by the Israeli Defense (!) Forces is considered a regrettable but realistic fact of life, is typical of the double standards repeatedly employed by the West in face of what has befallen the Palestinians, on the land allotted to them by international agreements, during the last seventy years.
Today outrage follows outrage; makeshift missiles cross sophisticated ones. The latter usually find their target situated where the disinherited and crowded poor live, waiting for what was once called Justice. Both categories of missile rip bodies apart horribly--who but field commanders can forget this for a moment?
Each provocation and counter-provocation is contested and preached over. But the subsequent arguments, accusations and vows, all serve as a distraction in order to divert world attention from a long-term military, economic and geographic practice whose political aim is nothing less than the liquidation of the Palestinian nation.
This has to be said loud and clear, for the practice, only half declared and often covert, is advancing fast these days, and, in our opinion, it must be unceasingly and eternally recognized for what it is and resisted.
PS: As Juliano Mer Khamis, director of the documentary film Arna's Children, asked: "Who is going to paint the 'Guernica' of Lebanon?"
John Berger Noam Chomsky Harold Pinter José Saramago Eduardo Galeano Arundhati Roy Naomi Klein Howard Zinn Charles Glass Richard Falk Gore Vidal Russell Banks Thomas Keneally Chris Abani Carolyn Forché Martín Espada Jessica Hagedorn Toni Morrison.
The Israeli kidnapped was Gilad Shalit. There was no 'Palestinian' doctor kidnapped.
But I would venture to guess that there is a better chance that Bob Dylan won't show up at that ceremony as a result than that Shimon Peres won't show up. And that's the problem. As long as our 'leaders' allow us to be abused, we will continue to be abused.
Ultimately, Israel was created as a result of the partition the revisionists opposed. Nonetheless, Rafael Medoff, director of the David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies, said in a letter to The Jerusalem Post in 2005 that Mr. Netanyahu was instrumental in building American support for the smaller Israel that did emerge. Mr. Medoff said Mr. Netanyahu persuaded the leadership of the Republican Party to put a call for a Jewish state in its 1944 platform. It was the first time a major party had done this, and the Democrats followed suit. In his 1995 book, “The Origins of the Inquisition in Fifteenth Century Spain,” Mr. Netanyahu offered a radical new way of viewing the Inquisition. Rather than seeing it as the persecution of Jews for secretly practicing their religion after pretending to convert to Roman Catholicism — which had been the predominant view — Mr. Netanyahu offered evidence that most Jews willingly became enthusiastic Catholics. Jews were thus burned at the stake, he concluded, for being perceived as an evil race rather than for anything they did or believed.
Ben-Zion Netanyahu was born in Warsaw on 25.3.10, named Ben-Zion Mileikowsky. In 1920, he and his family immigrated to the Land of Israel. In 1944, he married Tzila, whom he had met during his studies in the Land of Israel. Ben-Zion Netanyahu had three sons – the late Col. Yonatan Netanyahu, who fell during Operation Yonatan at Entebbe; Benjamin, the Prime Minister of Israel; and Ido, a doctor, author and playwright. Prof. Netanyahu was among the great historians of the Jewish People. In his research, he focused on the history of the medieval Spanish Jewish community and the history of Zionism. Among his books area biography of Don Isaac Abravanel, a history of the Spanish Marranos and his major work, 'The Origins of the Inquisition in Fifteenth Century Spain', which received global acclaim. He also authored 'The Founding Fathers of Zionism' about the lives of the founders of political Zionism – Leon Pinsker, Theodor Herzl, Max Nordau, Israel Zangwill and Zeev Jabotinsky.
By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, including section 7040(b) of the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 2012 (Division I, Public Law 112-74) (the "Act"), I hereby certify that it is important to the national security interests of the United States to waive the provisions of section 7040(a) of the Act, in order to provide funds appropriated to carry out Chapter 4 of Part II of the Foreign Assistance Act, as amended, to the Palestinian Authority.
In Context provides the context of the waiver (it is part of the legislation) but notes:
Bottom line: not only is such a waiver not in the national security interest of the United States, it runs directly counter to any such interest. There is no national security interest in propping up a failed dictator who is now more than three years past the term of his elected office. There is no national security interest in continuing to feed US taxpayer dollars, even if we had them to spare (which we do not), into an anti-US, anti-Western, antisemitic kleptocracy that knows no bounds.
"Everyone expects these Arab revolutions to solve the problems, but what they are actually doing is revealing the existence of all these problems that were put in a freezer,” the Arab commentator Hazem Saghieh told me. “All these years, the only thing that was allowed to come to the surface was that there is a consensus on the beloved leader and animosity to Israel and imperialism. There was no room for politics and differentiation. Behind this facade, Arab society became rotten, and now we are seeing the return of the repressed.” It’s like a kid who was beaten and left uneducated by his parents for 50 years and one day the kid finally decides to fight back, he added. “Morally, you have to support his right to revolt, but this guy is very traumatized.” So let’s help in an intelligent, humane way, but with no illusions that this transition will be easy or a happy ending assured.
Ten years ago Friedman gave a clean bill of health to the members of the Arab League. Why? Because they had offered Israel a "peace" initiative. Friedman didn't care that they were repressing their own people, just that they had supposedly made an offer of "normalization" with Israel, if Israel would accede to their demands. Back then, Friedman was supporting the consensus that his source now disparages.
If he wishes to quote Simon and Garfunkel, I'd recommend, "A man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest."
They say that — and then they speculate about when and whether the Obama administration might decide to abandon its passivity. The United States, after all, is more than capable of creating and defending a humanitarian zone in Syria, with help from Turkey and NATO. If it were to support the arming of the Free Syrian Army, there is little question that the army would soon have more weapons. Many in the Syrian opposition believe that merely the announcement of such U.S. initiatives would cause Assad’s regime to crumble from within. What’s missing, of course, is a decision by President Obama to make that commitment. To do so, he would have to set aside the idea that any action must be authorized by the U.N. Security Council. He would have to forge an ad hoc coalition with Turkey and other NATO members, led by the United States. And he would have to order U.S. diplomats to work intensively with Syria’s opposition movements and ethnic communities to build an accord on a post-Assad order. In other words, Obama would have to behave as if the United States were still what Bill Clinton understood it to be: the indispensable nation.
Your tax shekels and charitable donations at work: Birthright bringing non-Jews to Israel
According to this report on Israel Radio's website, if you're a non-Jew living in any country in the world that was not a part of the former Soviet Union, you can fill out a form that says you're Jewish and get a free 10-day trip to Israel, at the expense of the Israeli government and charitable donors in the United States and other countries (link in Hebrew).
While Birthright officials deny the report, and claim that they check very carefully whether prospective Birthright participants are Jewish, Birthright employees here in Israel describe the phenomenon of non-Jewish participants in Birthright as not being rare.
The Israeli military on Monday began building a wall that will run several kilometers along part of its border with Lebanon, a military spokeswoman told Agence France Presse.
"This construction, which began on Monday, is being carried out in coordination with UNIFIL (the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon) and the Lebanese army. The wall is intended to avoid frictions on the border," she said.
Israeli public radio said the wall would be several meters high and intended to protect the Israeli border town of Metulla from fire coming from the Lebanese side. It is expected to take several weeks to build.
Israel's military announced the project in January, saying it would protect recently-constructed apartment blocks in Metulla from sniper fire coming from the Lebanese border town of Kfar Kila.
Hmmm. It sounds like we will soon be walled in on all sides.
The poll found that 72% would back an international strike, while just 14% would oppose it, and 14% did not express an opinion.
When asked whether they supported Israel taking action if the US declined, support was much lower. Only 45% said they would back an Israeli strike, 40% opposed it, and 15% had no opinion.
Israelis who identified themselves as right-wing and religious were more likely to support an Israeli strike on Iran. Support for such an attack is wider among people over 50 than people under 30.
Responding to the poll at the conference, Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon said: "The results reflect a common sense shared by the Israeli people that since Iran is a threat to the entire international community, this threat should be removed by the international community led by the US. However since we have witnessed through past and recent history that the international community response is not always effective nor timely, we should keep all options available to us, since no one will take better care of our security and national interests than ourselves."
I doubt this will have any influence on the Obama administration.
EU member states had proposed participation by some of the top EU bureaucrats, including European Commission President José Manuel Barroso and President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy, who are now unsure whether they will be able to attend the summit taking in Chicago on May 20-21 as representatives of the union due to the objections from Turkey, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported on Friday. Raising the EU's commitment to a NATO peace mission in Afghanistan, EU member countries including France had argued that the EU should be represented, while Turkey is maintaining that there should only be member state participation in the summit, the WSJ claimed.
“If non-NATO members will also participate, the OIC should be represented [in the Chicago summit] first and foremost,” Turkish diplomatic sources said in explaining Ankara’s position, speaking to Today’s Zaman on Sunday. The sources claimed that the OIC’s commitment exceeded the EU contribution in the Afghanistan peace mission.
The EU has exerted efforts for the reconstruction and democratization of Afghanistan in preparation for the post-NATO-mission period in the country. The EU launched a rule of law mission (EUPOL) under the banner of the European Security and Defense Program (ESDP) in June 2007. The union has also initiated a program for justice reform and is helping to fund civilian projects in NATO-run Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs).
Meanwhile, the OIC, a bloc of 56 countries, is also taking a growing interest in the situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and in 2010 it accepted a proposal by member states Turkey and the United Arab Emirates to appoint an OIC permanent representative for Afghanistan.
But wait for it.... This wasn't Turkey's idea. It was Obama's.
The US administration has joined the push for greater OIC involvement in Afghanistan for the last couple of years, which would bring benefits in efforts towards reconciliation between the Afghan government and the Taliban.
Huh? Okay, I don't watch Afghanistan too closely, but I thought that the whole point of the US being in Afghanistan was to get rid of the Taliban.
In any event, it appears that the Obama administration is complicit with Israel being excluded from NATO and with the OIC being included in NATO. I guess that's all part of what Hussein Obama calls 'having Israel's back.'
Defense lawmakers in the House have agreed to invest millions of dollars in the Iron Dome anti-missile weapon for Israel, as long as the United States can acquire the development rights to the weapon system.
Members of the House Armed Services Strategic Forces subcommittee elected to set aside $680 million to assist Tel Aviv in buying the Iron Dome weapon in its version of the fiscal 2013 defense spending bill.
In fiscal 2011, Congress approved roughly $200 million for Iron Dome buys. The Pentagon claims the weapon has been vital in repelling short-range rocket and mortar attacks from the Gaza Strip into Israeli territory.
The funding would work to "ensure long-term cooperation" between the United States and Israel on Iron Dome development, according to members.
But before any money is moved, House members want Missile Defense Agency chief Lt. Gen. Patrick O'Reilly to "ensure the United States has appropriate rights to this technology."
The United States has invested nearly $900 million into Iron Dome work, "yet the United States has no right to the technology involved," according to the subcommittee's legislation.
The House proposal would share rights to the weapon's proprietary technology "as is consistent with prior U.S.-Israeli missile defense cooperation," according to the subcommittee.
In addition DOD and O'Reilly "should explore any opportunity to enter into co-production of the Iron Dome system with Israel, in light of the significant U.S. investment in this system," according to the panel's draft bill.
Based on past agreements, Israel should be seeking (a) the right to sell the system to whomever it wants (remember the China story several years ago), (b) the right to veto sales to countries that are hostile to Israel (e.g. Turkey) and (c) royalty rights on any sales not to the United States.
Lest you think this is nasty, let's face reality: Israel developed Iron Dome because the United States and the Europeans don't want us to do what really needs to be done, namely to flatten Gaza. I still think we ought to get rid of the terrorist vipers in Gaza, but if we're not going to do that, we at least ought to retain some control over the technology we developed to keep them under control.
Ben Zion Netanyahu z"l (Binyamin Netanyahu's father passes away)
Ben Zion Netanyahu, the father of Binyamin Netanyahu passed away this morning. Professor Netanyahu, a prominent scholar of the history of Jews in Spain, and the co-author of the Hebrew encyclopedia, was 102 years old.
[W]ould Netanyahu, a prime minister with an acute understanding of the essential role America plays in securing the existence of Israel (Netanyahu is a graduate of both Cheltenham High School, outside Philadelphia, and MIT, and is the most Americanized prime minister in Israel’s history, more so even than the Milwaukee-raised Golda Meir), actually take a chance on permanently alienating American affection in order to make a high-risk attempt at stopping Iran? If Iran retaliates against American troops in Iraq or Afghanistan, the consequences for Israel’s relationship with America’s military leadership could be catastrophic. (Of course, Netanyahu would be risking more than his relationship with the United States: a strike on Iran, Israeli intelligence officials believe, could provoke all-out retaliation by Iran’s Lebanese subsidiary, Hezbollah, which now possesses, by most intelligence estimates, as many as 45,000 rockets—at least three times as many as it had in the summer of 2006, during the last round of fighting between the group and Israel.)
“The only reason Bibi [Netanyahu] would place Israel’s relationship with America in total jeopardy is if he thinks that Iran represents a threat like the Shoah,” an Israeli official who spends considerable time with the prime minister told me. “In World War II, the Jews had no power to stop Hitler from annihilating us. Six million were slaughtered. Today, 6 million Jews live in Israel, and someone is threatening them with annihilation. But now we have the power to stop them. Bibi knows that this is the choice.”
Numerous Israeli commentators and analysts have pointed out to me that Netanyahu is not unique in his understanding of this challenge; several of the prime ministers who preceded him cast Iran’s threat in similarly existential terms. Still, Netanyahu is different. “He has a deep sense of his role in Jewish history,” Michael Oren, Israel’s ambassador to the United States, told me.
To understand why Netanyahu possesses this deep sense—and why his understanding of Jewish history might lead him to attack Iran, even over Obama’s objections—it is necessary to understand Ben-Zion Netanyahu, his 100-year-old father.
BEN-ZION NetanyAHU—his first name means “son of Zion”—is the world’s foremost historian of the Spanish Inquisition and a onetime secretary to Vladimir Jabotinsky, the founder of the intractable, “revisionist” branch of Zionism. He is father to a tragic Israeli hero, Yonatan Netanyahu, who died while freeing the Jewish hostages at Entebbe in 1976; and also father to Benjamin, who strives for greatness in his father’s eyes but has, on occasion, disappointed him, notably when he acquiesced, in his first term as prime minister in the late 1990s, to American pressure and withdrew Israeli forces from much of the West Bank city of Hebron, Judaism’s second-holiest city. Benjamin Netanyahu is not known in most quarters for his pliability on matters concerning Palestinians, though he has been trying lately to meet at least some of Barack Obama’s demands that he move the peace process forward.
“Always in the back of Bibi’s mind is Ben-Zion,” one of the prime minister’s friends told me. “He worries that his father will think he is weak.”
Yet another reason for all Israelis to pray for Ben Zion's health and well being....
Ben-Zion Netanyahu’s most important work, The Origins of the Inquisition in 15th-Century Spain, upended the scholarly consensus on the roots of that bleak chapter in Jewish history. He argued that Spanish hatred of Jews was spurred by the principle of limpieza de sangre, or the purity of blood; it was proto-Nazi thought, in other words, not mere theology, that motivated the Inquisition. Ben-Zion also argued that the Inquisition corresponds to the axiom that anti-Semitic persecution is preceded, in all cases, by carefully scripted and lengthy dehumanization campaigns meant to ensure the efficient eventual elimination of Jews. To him, the lessons of Jewish history are plain and insistent.
The original source for that quote was a lengthy article that Jeffrey Goldberg did about Prime Minister Netanyahu and the Iranian nuclear threat, which may be found here.
Here's another curious thing: Israel Radio reported that Professor Netanyahu - who moved back and forth between the United States and Israel after the State was established - never really fit into Israeli academia because of his hawkish political views. What a shock.... I wish the apple would stay closer to the tree.
President's residence served treif meat on Independence Day?
Citing this report in Maariv (link in Hebrew), Israel Radio reported on Monday morning that the Rabbinic body that supervises the Kosher caterer at the President's residence has demanded that the certificate be returned - i.e. it is withdrawing the certificate - because the President's residence served non-Kosher meat from a butcher shop in the Arab village of Abu Ghosh to the 'outstanding soldiers' luncheon on Independence Day.
The caterer has admitted that the meat for the event was spoiled, but claims that it got the meat from its own storage area in a Kosher kitchen in Kibbutz Givat Chaim. But Maariv reports that an Arab butcher in Abu Ghosh claims to have sold the exact quantity of meat - 80 kilos - to the caterer on Thursday (Independence Day - when all the butchers in Jewish towns were required by law to be closed), and claims to have a receipt to prove it. An Arab restaurateur in Abu Ghosh who is a personal friend of President Peres claims that he was approached by the President's residence to cook the meat, but refused because 'I don't deal with chaperim' (a term that doesn't really translate well, but it means someone who does something quickly and in a careless way).
Israel Radio reported this morning that the Rabbinate of Emek Chefer, which supervises the caterer, Pri HaAretz, demanded the Kashruth certificate's return.
Video: Marine cuts up Best Buy card and new center-right news feed site
I'd like to tell you about Bad Blue - a new center-right news feed site where yours truly has recently been featured. The site follows 525 sites and counting and it's got some really great links. Here's one of them. An ex-marine snips his Best Buy card and joins the boycott of the electronics chain that supports CAIR.
THIS WEEK, a Palestinian court sentenced Muhammad Abu Shahala to death for selling a home in Hebron near the Cave of the Patriarchs to Jews. Shahala was arrested shortly after several Jewish families moved into the house last month. He was reportedly tortured and quickly tried and sentenced to die by a PA court.
The PA was established in May 1994. The first law it adopted defined selling land to Jews as a capital offense. Shortly thereafter scores of Arab land sellers began turning up dead in Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria in both judicial and extrajudicial killings.
Leaders of the Jewish community of Hebron wrote a letter to international leaders this week asking them to intervene with PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and demand that he cancel Shahala's sentence. They addressed the letter to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy, the director-general of the International Red Cross, Yves Daccord, as well as Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and President Shimon Peres. In it they wrote, "It is appalling to think that property sales should be defined as a 'capital crime' punishable by death.
"The very fact that such a 'law' exists within the framework of the PA legal system points to a barbaric and perverse type of justice, reminiscent of practices implemented during the dark ages."
They went on to make the reasonable comparison between the PA's law prohibiting land sales to Jews to Nazi Germany's Nuremburg laws that constrained and finally outlawed trade between Jews and Germans. The letter concluded with the question, "Is the Palestinian Authority a reincarnation of the Third Reich?"
And who is protesting Muhammad Abu Shahala's death sentence? Only the Jews.
Certainly this is newsworthy. Yet a search of the New York Times Web site turn up zero matches for the search term "Muhammad Abu Shahala," only asking if you meant someone else.
Similarly, a search of the Washington Post Web site also turned up zero matches for "Muhammad Abu Shahala."
And a search on the Wall Street Journal Web site returned, "Sorry, there are no results for your search query, please try another search."
Maybe the fact that even the sale of property by a Palestinian to a Jew is a crime punishable by death under the Palestinian Authority is "another example of why there is no peace." And remember, this is the "moderate" regime to which Israel is supposed to make concessions.
Where's the good sense? Where's the tolerance? Where's the coverage?
Where? It's just Muslims killing Muslims. No one is interested in that. Peace?
Whatever the reason for the decision, it has squandered one of the Egyptian energy industry's most precious resources. The one thing more important for gas customers than attractive prices is security. As Algeria discovered in the early 1980s and Russia and Ukraine in 2009, once a gas supplier gains a reputation for unreliability, it is very hard to shake off. With the pipeline bombings and now this contractual action, Egypt has squandered a lot of hard-won trust.
This incident marks the definitive end of a very successful period for Egypt's gas industry. Beginning in the early 1990s, Cairo liberalized its natural gas exploration policy, invited foreign investment, and developed new gas exports, including building liquefied natural gas (LNG) plants and pipelines to Israel and its Arab neighbors Jordan and Syria. Major new fields were found offshore in the Nile Delta, and in the two decades since 1990, gas reserves increased nearly sixfold and production almost eightfold.
But this policy had already run into trouble before the revolution. Low, fixed prices made new developments unviable, while encouraging demand to grow at 9 percent annually. Egypt's LNG plants are running below capacity, and its promising shale-gas potential and new offshore fields will not be exploited without price increases. Political paralysis in Cairo, however, makes it all but impossible to reform the subsidized domestic market.
The horizon of Egypt's gas sector is also steadily shrinking. Ambitious plans to expand the Arab Gas Pipeline as far as Turkey, to link it to the European market, have been relegated to the realm of dreams. It also remains to be seen whether prices to Jordan will be raised further or whether that deal too will be annulled. Hassan Younis, minister of electricity and energy, made it clear that the gas originally sent to Israel will now be diverted to the domestic market. But despite claims that Egypt could benefit from using the gas at home, the 2.1 billion cubic meters (BCM) shipped in 2010 is a small part of Egypt's total output of 61 BCM.
Israel will suffer some short-term pain for Egypt's decision. It has already begun contingency plans, however, stepping up output from its existing domestic fields and planning a fast-tracked LNG import terminal. It could be operational as early as the end of this year and would more than replace the lost Egyptian gas -- though at three times the price.
Additionally, while Egypt's gas future looks gloomy without major reforms, Israel's has been transformed by new discoveries in the deep waters of the eastern Mediterranean. The first big find, the Tamar gas field, is due to start production in April 2013. Egypt has thus given Israel a useful opportunity not only to escape from a deal that was about to become unnecessary, but also to claim damages and the moral high ground.
To whom else can Egypt sell gas at a reasonable price? How will they transport it?
Here’s the thread: No three men were closer to the United States during the years of negotiations under Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush than Fayyad, Abed Rabbo, and Dahlan. Developments in Palestinian politics appear to be reducing, not enhancing, their influence. Dahlan has been pushed to the sidelines, and it seems that Abed Rabbo will be next. Fayyad is, for now, protected by his reputation among donors: “Donor countries have warned Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas against trying to replace Prime Minister Salam Fayyad or confiscate his control over the PA Finance Ministry,” the Jerusalem Post reported last week. But over time, it is likely that politics with the PLO and the Fatah party will turn against Fayyad, who is an official of neither organization. And it is unlikely that the successors to officials like Fayyad and Abed Rabbo will have ties to the United States like they do now or the respect among American officials that they have earned over the years.
No, this is not a post about ugly women, nor is it a post (exclusively) about female dogs. It's not even a post about women who keep man's best fried as a pet. Rather - as you might have deduced from the graphic - it's a post about a very funny Mark Steyn column that makes light of the Obama campaign's efforts to find clubs with which to beat up on Mitt Romney (Hat Tip: Rick Moran).
For those coming late to the feud, the Democrats started it, assiduously promoting accounts of a 1983 Romney vacation to Canada in which the family pooch Seamus rode on the roof of the car. Axelrod and the boys thought they could have some sport with this, and their poodles in the media eagerly played along. The New York Times columnist Gail Collins alone has referred to it dozens of times.
And then Jim Treacher, the sharp-eyed wag of the Daily Caller, uncovered this passage from Chapter Two of Obama’s bestselling but apparently largely unread memoir Dreams from My Father, in which the author recalls childhood meals with his stepfather Lolo Soetoro....
Jeremy Funk, communications director of “Americans United for Change,” is still bulk-e-mailing links to the dogsagainstromney.com video “Should We Have a President Who Isn’t Even Qualified to Adopt a Pet?” Confronted by the revelation that his preferred candidate only swings by the Humane Society for the all-you-can-eat buffet, he huffs that this is “false equivalence.” “A six-year-old with no choice in the matter” is not the same as a grown man choosing to place his dog on the roof of his vehicle. My Canadian compatriot Kate McMillan, a dog breeder, advised Mr. Funk to “try this experiment–sit a normal, American 6 year old down at a plate and tell him it’s dog meat. Watch what happens.”
For their next exploding cigar, the Democrats chose polygamy. Brian Schweitzer, the Democratic governor of Montana, remarked that Romney was unlikely to appeal to women because his father was “born on a polygamy commune.” Eighty-six percent of women, noted Governor Schweitzer with a keenly forensic demographic eye, are “not great fans of polygamy.” You can understand the 86 percent’s ickiness at the whole freaky-weirdy idea of a president descended from someone who had multiple wives. Eww.
Just for the record, Romney’s father was not a polygamist; Romney’s grandfather was not a polygamist; his great-grandfather was a polygamist. Miles Park Romney died in 1904, so one can see why this would weigh heavy on 86 percent of female voters 108 years later.
Meanwhile, back in the female-friendly party, Obama’s father was a polygamist; his grandfather was a polygamist; and his great-grandfather was a polygamist who had one more wife (five in total) than Romney’s great-grandfather. It seems President Obama is the first male in his line not to be a polygamist. So, given the “gender gap,” maybe those 86 percent of American women are way cooler with polygamy than Governor Schweitzer thinks. Maybe these liberal chicks really dig it.
As I am sure many of you have already heard, over the weekend, retired General Security Service chief Yuval Diskin attacked Prime Minister Netanyahu and Defense Minister Rabin over their handling of the Iranian nuclear threat. While the reaction here in Israel has been largely mooted (except for an overdone piece about it on Israel Television's nightly news magazine on Sunday), it has drawn a lot of reaction abroad. It's important to point out, as Jonathan Tobin does, that the criticism is really a tempest in a teapot.
Though foreign news outlets treated Diskin’s remarks as a huge story that can be spun as part of a negative trend for Netanyahu, even the left-wing press in Israel is skeptical about that. Haaretz’s Yossi Verter noted that the personal nature of Diskin’s rant against Netanyahu and Barak at what he termed a “gathering of defense establishment pensioners” undermined their credibility. Unlike the foreign press, most Israelis are aware that Dagan’s animus against Netanyahu and Barak stems from the fact that he was fired from his post. That Diskin was passed over to replace Dagan may also explain his hard feelings. Moreover, the utter lack of public support for alternatives to Netanyahu or his policies makes farcical the claim in today’s New York Times that there is an “avalanche” of criticism about his stand on Iran.
The animus against Netanyahu and his center-right government from the defense establishment and the government bureaucracy as well as most of the country’s traditional media outlets is well-known. Their frustration about his survival in power is compounded by the fact that he appears to be set for a cakewalk in the next elections which, incredibly, some opposition parties are pushing to be advanced from their scheduled date next year. As journalist Amir Mizroch writes, Dagan and Diskin — two men with axes to grind against the prime minister – may be “smelling elections in the air.”
Although the Dagan and Diskin affairs are in a sense unprecedented, because until now Israeli defense and security officials have not misbehaved in this manner, what is going on is just Israeli politics as usual. If these men and those Israeli and foreign journalists who are trying to make this into a major story are frustrated and angry now, just imagine how they’ll feel after Netanyahu is re-elected.
And it's looking more and more like elections will be in August or September.
My mother-in-law, though youthful in outlook and an all-around very attractive person, is also 79-years-old, 4'11" if she's lucky, and weighs about 110 pounds. She was in Washington to visit her grandchildren, and to lobby the Rhode Island congressional delegation as part of the American Library Association's National Library Legislative Day. She is not a threatening person, in appearance or demeanor. I don't know this for sure, but I think she was probably carrying a library tote bag of some sort -- or perhaps it was an NPR tote bag -- as she approached the security checkpoint. A general rule: terrorists don't carry tote bags.
She entered the machine and struck the humiliating pose one is forced to strike -- hands up, as in an armed robbery -- and then walked out, when she was asked by a TSA agent, in a voice loud enough for several people to hear, "Are you wearing a sanitary napkin?"
Remember, she's 79.
My mother-in-law answered, "No. Why do you ask?"
The TSA agent responded: "Well, are you wearing anything else down there?"
Yes, "down there."
She said no, at which point, the friend with whom she was traveling, also a not-young volunteer library advocate, came over and asked if there was a problem.
The TSA agent said, again, in full voice, "There's an anomaly in the crotch area."
Read the whole thing. I can envision Jeffrey's mother-in-law going through this, and I can only feel sorry for her indignity, but I have to ask one question from Jeffrey, who is identified with the center-left of the political map, and who has been known to glance at this blog from time to time: Would you be willing to have passengers profiled, Israeli style, to spare your mother-in-law indignities like this in the future? I would, and I bet she would too. Think about it.
Some of you might recall the conditions under which former PFLP Secretary General Ahmed Saadat, the leader of the assassination squad that murdered Tourism Minister Rechavam Zeevi in 2001, was being held prior to his capture by Israel in 2006. Saadat, who had hoped to be released as part of the terrorists for Gilad deal, is now on a hunger strike demanding to be held in more hotel-like and less prison-like conditions.
Ahmad Saadat, leader of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), was transferred to a hospital Sunday after suffering a serious deterioration in his health, according to a PFLP statement obtained by Ma'an news agency reported.
Saadat was moved to Ramla prison hospital by the Israel prison service (IPS) after joining a hunger strike on April 17 protesting certain Israeli policies, such as solitary confinement, in which he has been held for three years.
Other PFLP prisoners rejected an IPS offer to release Saadat from a solitary confinement in return for ending their hunger strike, the report said.
'Palestinians' seethe: Israel has not responded to Abu Bluff's letter
The 'Palestinians' are seething: Prime Minister Netanyahu has not yet responded to Abu Bluff's letter.
Israel has not officially responded to a letter from President Abbas earlier this month, which outlined the Palestinian position in peace talks, a Fatah official said Saturday.
Central Committee member Jamal Muheisin told Ma'an that the only response received from Israel so far has been to grant legal status to three illegal settlement outposts.
An Israeli committee decided to "legalize" the West Bank outposts of Rechalim, Bruchin and Sansana last Monday, a week after receiving Abbas' letter which explicitly called on Israel to halt settlement activity.
The Palestinian side is still waiting for Israel to set a date to deliver their official response, Muheisin said.
The President's letter demanded a halt to Israeli settlement construction on West Bank land captured in the 1967 Middle East war and deplored Israel's lack of commitment to the peace process.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who took the letter from PLO official Saeb Erekat, promised a written reply in two weeks.
The letter was delivered on April 17; it hasn't been two weeks yet. Personally, my response would consist of two words, seven letters total. First word four letters beginning in F, second word three letters ending in u. Can anyone guess?
In sum, everything Obama is saying about Palestinian compliance is a lie. Even if we were not broke, we should not be giving the PA a dime. To borrow money so we can give it to them is truly nuts.
Will Congress do anything about it? There is a very simple answer to this: slash the executive branch’s budget. That is the weapon the framers gave Congress to rein in a corrupt, spendaholic executive branch. You could start with a treble damages rule: Obama gives $192 million to the PA against Congress’s directive, Congress responds by slashing $600 million out of the State Department’s budget. That would be start — though State would still have $51 billion left over to fund the Muslim Brotherhood and its other favorite Islamic supremacists.
Arad's investigation was triggered by a momentary alarm that gripped Netanyahu over a trifling matter - a situation to which he is prone. In the summer of 2010, the Obama administration worked hard to appease Israel, which feared that President Barack Obama had retracted a long-standing presidential understanding not to infringe on Israel's strategic deterrence. Officials in Washington, D.C., and Jerusalem drafted a letter from Obama to Netanyahu. On the Israeli side it was crafted by Arad.
Some Israelis, not Arad, hastened to expose a marginal civilian-commercial point intended for later publication - that the American side had authorized Israel, as an exception to the rule, to conduct talks on the purchase of nuclear power reactors, even though it is not party to the nonproliferation treaty.
It is doubtful whether the reactors' advantage, in reducing the dependence on fuel and gas, would exceed their harm. See last year's Fukushima disaster in Japan as a case in point; or Iran, Hezbollah and Hamas placing them on their target list.
In the spring of 2010, interested parties had started boasting openly of the reactor innovation. In the summer, some Israelis published this clause from Obama's letter. Gary Seymour, the White House official in charge of arms control and nonproliferation, was angered by the publication and considered canceling a visit to Israel.
The storm died down within days. But meanwhile Netanyahu got alarmed, asked the Atomic Energy Committee for a damage estimate (not from the Defense Ministry's experts on the issue ) and launched a Shin Bet investigation - with the attorney general's approval - but without any supervision over proceedings.
The rest of the column may be less interesting to a lot of you. It deals with a Shin Bet (General Security Service) investigation into alleged leaks by former National Security Adviser Uzi Arad, and how the Shin Bet's investigative powers need to be restrained.
But I don't recall a report like that in the summer of 2010....
Hamas Interior Minister Fathi Hamad: Who are the 'Palestinians'?
This isn't the first time we've had some straight shooting from Hamas Interior Minister Fathi Hamad. In this video, he tells us who the 'Palestinians' really are.
Let's go to the videotape (Hat Tip: Elihu S).
Gee, when Joan Peters wrote the same thing in From Time Immemorial, she was lambasted by the Left. Newt Gingrich had it right when he called the 'Palestinians' a fictional people. Just ask Fathi Hamad.
This should make you feel secure: Israeli government planning mass 'temporary' burial in case of mass casualty event
I'm sorry for conjuring up imagery that's probably unfair, but when I read this story, the first thought that crossed my mind was that the State wants to dump bodies in mass graves as happened during the Holocaust R"L (God save us) and that the Chevra Kadisha (Burial Society) is being Halachically (under Jewish law) correct, but maybe in denial of the reality of a true mass casualty event.
What has happened is that the State has decided that in the event of a mass casualty event (like a nuclear attack) it wants to dump bodies in mass graves 'temporarily' until the bodies are identified, and the Chevra Kadisha wants to 'be prepared.'
In a letter sent on Sunday to Home Front Defense Minister Matan Vilnai, the forum, which unites the 12 major Chevra Kadisha branches in Israel, claimed that the national plan for cemeteries, which includes temporary burial for the massive amount of victims or transfer to cooling facilities until final burial can be arranged in civilian cemeteries, is "problematic" from a halachic perspective as well as a humane perspective.
Chevra Kadisha claim that the problematic arrangements can be avoided by regulated preparation.
Under the government plans, the bodies will be buried temporarily, in coffins, at temporary cemeteries. In the second stage, after identification, the bodies are to be transferred for final burial.
"The State and authorities have enough time to prepare to carry out organized burials in emergency situations near the place where the deceased resided, and there is no need to exhume the body to identify it and bury it again at a later and unknown date," the head of the forum of Chevra Kadisha burial services, Ze'ev Rosenberg, claimed.
"The burial solution for emergency situations being promoted by the State is an inhumane and inefficient solution. The plan, where the fatalities are buried temporarily as anonymous bodies in random cemeteries, and only later identified and laid to rest, is a wasteful plan that would cause families needless grief."
Chevra Kadisha also claimed that "the program in question has quite a few problems from both a halachic and psychological perspective – one that can rise as a result of the family's difficulty in dealing with mass burial and the experience of a later reburial."
The alternative presented by the forum includes a few central points, including keeping "extra reserves" of burial sites at the ready – throughout the country – which will be maintained by Chevra Kadisha. The land will be in areas near or adjacent to existing cemeteries so that the necessary infrastructure is already in place if needed in an emergency.
For the record, burial in Israel is ordinarily without a coffin, and inventories of ready graves are not maintained.
Doesn't this make you feel secure? It makes me feel sick and depressed.
Helen Thomas continues to shoot off her anti-Semitic mouth and the media continue to cover for her
It's been nearly two years since a disgraced Helen Thomas was forced to resign as a White House correspondent. But Yid with Lid reports that the nonagenarian Thomas continues to spout anti-Semitic diatribes, as both the diatribes and the circumstances of her firing are covered up by the mainstream media.
If you want more proof of Helen Thomas' hatred, then examine what she has said since her "resignation."
Just six months after her firing retirement Thomas was at it again (again it was captured on video and again the story was broken on The Lid and Big Journalism. Ironically a speech at a Arab anti-bias conference Thomas was asked about her statements on that video.
"I paid the price for that," said Thomas, a longtime White House correspondent. "But it was worth it, to speak the truth. The Zionists have to understand that's their country, too. Palestinians were there long before any European Zionists."
Alluding to the anti-Semitic claim that Jews control the media, Thomas said:
"You can not say anything (critical) about Israel in this country.
That was the nicest thing Thomas said all night. In her speech about discrimination against Arabs she launched into an anti-Semitic tirade about how those rich Jews control America (video embedded below).
In a speech that drew a standing ovation, Thomas claimed:
the whole question of money involved in politics." "We are owned by propagandists against the Arabs. There's no question about that. Congress, the White House, and Hollywood, Wall Street, are owned by the Zionists. No question in my opinion. They put their money where there mouth is…We're being pushed into a wrong direction in every way.
Remember what I said before about examining peoples words? When she said that Palestinians were there long before any European Zionists, Thomas was was simply being historically inaccurate and biased against Israel. But when she said the media Congress, the White House, and Hollywood, Wall Street are owned by Zionists. Thomas was using traditional anti-Semitic libels straight out of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. There is the distinction Michael Mine suggested was non existent.
But the killing of one person has been against the backdrop of a complete disaster for the United States throughout the Middle East and Central Asia.
North Africa is or is on the way to domination by radical Islamists. We pushed Mubarak out without any transition, and the Muslim Brotherhood and even more extreme Islamists are nearing control. The same is true in Libya and Tunisia.
In Afghanistan, the Taliban are resurgent, waiting out Obama’s timeline for withdrawal. In Iraq, the Iranians have extended their influence and the nation again is dividing along sectarian lines, with the unifying factor (except among the Kurds) being hostility to the U.S.
In Syria, where for once we could have dealt a crushing blow to Iranian influence, we have helped Bashar Assad hang onto power to the extent that both sides hate us.
Our one true ally in the region, Israel, is in its most precarious position in decades, surrounded by massive Iranian-backed missile bases in Gaza, Lebanon and Syria.
There is almost nowhere in the Middle East that the United State is better off than it was four years ago.
Obama’s foreign policy has been a profound disaster, subjugating generations of women throughout the region to fundamentalist tyranny as Obama concocts a false “war on women” campaign theme against Republicans.
Yet Obama and his campaign team trot out Osama bin Laden to cure all those political ills, and as political cover for a failed presidency.
One lucky three-point shot doesn’t make you a star.
Abu Bluff under pressure to 'remove' Fayyad after Fatah victories in student elections
The Fatah faction in the 'Palestinian Authority' is urging 'moderate' 'Palestinian' President Mahmoud AbbasAbu Mazen to fire Salam Fayyad and replace him with a Fatah hack. The only small problem is that the 'Palestinians' donors claim they won't go along with that idea.
“President Abbas is facing growing pressure to replace Fayyad with a Fatah prime minister,” said a source close to the PA president. “The recent victories that Fatah scored in university elections show that Fatah continues to enjoy the support of a majority of Palestinians.”
Fayyad, who is not a member of Fatah, heads a list called Third Way that won only two seats in the January 2006 parliamentary election.
Fayyad’s refusal to deliver the letter to Netanyahu deeply embarrassed Abbas, said a Fatah official in Ramallah.
In a bid to ease tensions, Abbas and Fayyad met for three hours last Tuesday, the official added. The official refused to say whether the two men managed to solve the crisis during the meeting, which he described as “friendly and positive.”
The dispute between Abbas and Fayyad also revolves around the PA president’s declared intention to carry out a cabinet reshuffle, the official said.
According to the Fatah official, Abbas faces pressure from his supporters to take away the Finance Ministry from Fayyad.
Western donor countries have warned Abbas not to remove Fayyad or cut his powers, a Western diplomat based in Israel told The Jerusalem Post last week. The diplomat said the donors have made it clear to Abbas that any measure against Fayyad would affect international funding for the PA.
The donors have threatened a lot of things, and we've all seen how they have not followed through on those threats. If Abu Mazen were to replace Fayyad, there might be a cutoff by aid would surely be restored by November 7. At some point, maybe a few months from now, Abu Mazen will decide to take that chance.
If you live in England and support Israel, you should boycott the Cooperative Group. The Cooperative Group, England's largest co-op, has decided to boycott four major Israeli produce suppliers because of their ties to Jewish towns in Judea and Samaria.
The Co-operative Group has become the first major European supermarket group to end trade with companies that export produce from illegal Israeli settlements.
The UK's fifth biggest food retailer and its largest mutual business, the Co-op took the step as an extension of its existing policy which had been not to source produce from illegal settlements that have been built on Palestinian territories in the West bank.
Now the retail and insurance giant has taken it one step further by "no longer engaging with any supplier of produce known to be sourcing from the Israeli settlements".
The decision will hit four companies and contracts worth some £350,000. But the Co-op stresses this is not an Israeli boycott and that its contracts will go to other companies inside Israel that can guarantee they don't export from illegal settlements.
The Co-op's decision will immediately affect four suppliers, Agrexco, Arava Export Growers, Adafresh and Mehadrin, Israel's largest agricultural export company. Other companies may be affected by the policy.
The food retailer clarified that the "position is not a boycott of Israeli businesses, and we continue to have supply agreements with some  Israeli suppliers that do not source from the settlements."It added that it will "continue to actively work to increase trade links with Palestinian businesses."
I have no idea how much of the produce exported by the four companies in question comes from Judea and Samaria, but I suspect it's far less than half (and that the companies will not release information like that). In essence, this is a boycott of Israel and not just of Judea and Samaria.
I also have no idea how muh the Cooperative purchases from the other suppliers, but I would bet that it's far less than it purchases from the four big ones.
Finally, the large Israeli exporters also market 'Palestinian' products. In other words, the 'Palestinians' are losing out.
UPDATE 5:06 PM
Received from a British correspondent:
Actually, it's a chain frequented by vegans and hippies which has cultivated an image of 'ethical' consumerism in order to appeal to a very specific market. The management couldn't care less, but they'll do whatever curries favour with their target consumers, be that banning plastic bags or boycotting Israeli goods.
This is the result of a long campaign which began around 2007. PSC members deliberately joined the Co-op and brought with them fellow travellers who are not necessarily identifiable PSC/BIG people, but friends/family on the same wavelength. Within a fairly short period of time - around 12-18 months - they had managed to dominate local Co-op members groups which, in all fairness, wasn't difficult because the vast majority of Co-op members don't bother going to meetings and/or are sympathetic to 'progressive' causes.
Local branches then send reps to area meetings and from there to national meetings and hence a small number of committed people willing to put in the time managed to dictate the Co-op's agenda through perfectly democratic and legitimate means. Not only does the Co-op's organisational structure lend itself very well to this type of action, but the Co-op management will run with anything it perceives as attractive to the 'ethical' consumer because - unable to compete with giants such as Asda and Tesco on price - it has tried to attract customers through the use of the green/fairtrade/ethical agenda.
This is a prime example of the success of the type of 'creeping' anti-Israel propaganda which is spread at under the radar local levels in the UK. A steady stream of anti-Israel letters to the local newspaper, a few local vicars on board, a PSC demo every few weeks, an annual benefit 'Gig for Gaza' at the local working men's club - and hey presto: the result is an entire town which knows very little of the ins and outs of the Arab-Israeli conflict, but is absolutely sure who is right and who is wrong.
It can technically be turned around, but that requires people from our side to join the Co-op and put in the same kind of effort in attending meetings etc.
The Co-op also has a funeral business, an insurance company and a bank which provides services to 'Viva Palestina'.
Hmmm. Given today's UK, I wonder whether there's any hope of 'our side' getting enough people to join to turn it around.
The White House has run with this, milking bin Laden's death for everything its worth. It's even to the point where if go to "gutsycall.com," your browser will automatically direct you to barackobama.com.
Honestly, if the final decisions were up to President Obama, and no other President would have even considered carrying out the raid that killed bin Laden, the President should have the right to use bin Laden's death any way he sees fit. The problem is that the so-called "gutsy call" never existed. Putting aside the fact that any President with Mr. Obama's intelligence information would have made the same call, a new memo released yesterday that Mr. Obama did not make the "final" call, nor was it terribly gutsy. Instead, it shows that the President merely authorized the possibility for going to Abbottabad... and left everything else up to Admiral William McRaven.
While few American Jews are single issue voters and most consider liberal positions on domestic issues a higher priority than support for the Jewish state when choosing a president, Israelis are only focused on whether the resident of the White House is seeking to undermine their security or force them into unwanted and dangerous concessions. That’s why, although it is fair for Democrats to argue that Obama has not sought to unravel the U.S.-Israel security alliance, most Israelis still see the president as either neutral or hostile to their fate.
The opinions of Israelis ought not be dispositive to American voters on any issue. But those Democrats who will spend the year loudly proclaiming Obama to be Israel’s best friend ever to sit in the White House might want to take a moment and consider the fact that most of the people who they claim to support have a very different view of the question.
The heck with Iran. Prime Minister Netanyahu has apparently decided to go to early elections.
As many of you know, one of the parting gifts we got from retiring Supreme Court Chief Justice Dorit Beinish was the court's declaring the Tal Law - the law which legalized the deferral of IDF service by yeshiva students - unconstitutional. The law becomes void on August 1, and everyone has been waiting to see what happens to it.
Over the weekend, Yisrael Beiteinu leader Avigdor Lieberman, who has proposed a bill that purports to 'equalize' army service, said that his party, the second largest in the coalition, is no longer bound by the coalition agreement, because the coalition has not dealt with most of the thorny religion/state issues that the party wants changed. And three opposition parties - Labor, Meretz and Kadima - are all submitting bills to dissolve the Knesset.
Israel Radio has just reported (2:00 am) that Prime Minister has summoned the members of a coalition that is pushing for universal army service to an 'urgent' meeting at 9:00 am - before Sunday's cabinet session. According to members of the coalition, the meeting means that Netanyahu has decided to play ball with them 'even at the risk of new elections.' And a senior member of the ultra-Orthodox Shas party says that the real reason for dissolving the Knesset - which he also thinks will happen - is an attempt to cut the budget.
The Shas member said expected budget cuts are the real reason for dismantling Israel's governing coalition, rather than talk about drafting ultra-Orthodox Israelis into the military.
Members of another coalition faction, United Torah Judaism, are also preparing for early elections. The party's chairman, Knesset Member Yaakov Litzman, said he doesn't know when elections will be held, but added that "we are preparing for every possibility."
Since the first Intifada, Palestinian Christians created a Muslim-Christian unity to portray Israel as the aggressor, colonizer and invader. They thought that the Islamic-Christian front against Zionism would help secure their position in the Arab world. Indeed, Arab Christians, and especially their judeophobic clergy, have been in the vanguard of the battle for the destruction of Israel. It was a political operation that also served to cover the crimes committed against Christians by the PLO and the Islamic groups: forced marriage, conversions, beatings, land theft, fire bombings, commercial boycott, torture, kidnapping, sexual harassment, and extortion.
The latest victim has been the Baptist Church in Bethlehem, which the Palestinian Authority just declared as illegitimate, as the US church’s message of reconciliation flies in the face of the hateful propaganda permeating Palestinian society. Arab Christians were obliged to make continual compromises, afraid to mention their own suffering for fear of irritating the Muslim authorities. Soon it became a taboo subject even in the West.
When last month Ayaan Hirsi Ali penned the Newsweek cover story on the persecution of Christians under Islam, she did not mention the Palestinian areas, where Christians dropped from 15% of the population in 1950 to just 2% today. With the PA refusing to reveal accurate statistics, the real extent of Christian emigration is unknown.
A few days ago, the head of the Roman Catholic Church in England, Archbishop Vincent Nichols, urged William Hague, the UK Foreign Secretary, to address the “tragic situation” faced by Palestinians - not because Islamist threats, but because Arabs were “displaced” by the Israeli barrier in Beit Jala, despite the fact that in constructing the security barrier no land has been annexed by Israel, no houses have been demolished, and no-one has been required to leave their home.
In fact, the bigger truth ignored by the Western press and the Churches is that Israel’s barrier helped restore calm and security not just in Israel, but also in Bethlehem. The Church of the Nativity, which Palestinian terrorists defiled in 2002 to escape from the Israeli army, is now filled again with tourists from around the world.
The Catholic and Orthodox Churches also frequently asked Israeli authorities to change the route of the fence. They simply didn’t want to live under the Palestinian autocracy. Thus, for example, the Rosary Sisters School in the Dachyat El Barid neighborhood north of Jerusalem was included on the Israeli side of the fence, in light of requests from the Mother Superior of the order.
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