Obama's incredible shrinking security cooperation with Israel
Shavua tov, a good week to everyone.
The baby's name is.... I cannot tell you yet because this post is being prepared before the Sabbath....
The Obama administration and its supporters in the Leftist chattering classes (people like Jeffrey Goldberg) love to tell us how Obama has 'enhanced security cooperation' with Israel to 'unprecedented levels.' In fact, anytime anyone mentions the fact that Obama has abused Prime Minister Netanyahu, become the only American President to call for an Israeli return to the indefensible 1949 armistice lines, and been only the second American President (after his idol, Jimmy Carter) to declare Israeli 'settlements' 'illegal,' the response is to ignore the charge, and to talk about how Obama has 'enhanced security cooperation' with Israel to 'unprecedented levels.' Shoshana Bryen reports that security cooperation is shrinking quickly. And one can only imagine what would happen to it if God forbid there is a second Obama term.
Turkey bluntly objects to sharing intelligence information with Israel – specifically the intelligence from NATO's Turkey-based, U.S.-run X-Band early warning radars. At a NATO meeting in Brussels, Turkish Defense Minister Ismet Yilmaz told reporters, "We need to trust states' words. This is a NATO facility and it shouldn't be used beyond the scope of this purpose." The "state" in question was clearly the U.S., and "beyond the scope" referred to sharing information with Israel. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta replied, "Clearly, the NATO members are the ones that will participate in the program and access information produced by the missile defense system." In a meeting in February, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen parroted the Turkish formula. "We do stress that data within this missile defense system are not shared with a third country. Data are shared within our alliance, among allies, it is a defensive system to protect the populations of NATO allies," Rasmussen said.
Agreeing publicly to keep intelligence information from Israel – a more likely target of Iran than Europe/NATO – at the behest of Turkey is a serious diminution of the U.S.-Israel security relationship as well as the Israel-NATO relationship, and elevates Turkey to the role of spoiler.
According to one source, Turkey assured Iran that the X-Band radars were not aimed at the Islamic Republic and that a Turkish military officer was in charge of receiving the intelligence information. Here the U.S. appears to have balked, telling Israel that Americans were in charge of the information, but not reassuring Israel on the subject of information sharing. Further, since the station in Turkey also acquires information from the X-Band radar based in Israel, it raises Israeli concerns that Turkey will have access to security information from Israeli skies.
Turkey also demanded the exclusion of Israel from Anatolian Eagle, a NATO exercise conducted every few years to enhance aerial cooperation. The Turkish decision caused Italy and the U.S. to pull out, and the exercise was canceled – "postponed," according to US sources as was the planned U.S.-Israel missile defense exercise, Austere Challenge, which would have had a strong intelligence-sharing component.
NATO's snub of Israel at the meeting in Chicago in May was simply waved away: "Israel is neither a participant in ISAF nor in KFOR (Afghanistan and Kosovo missions)," said Rasmussen, even as he acknowledged that 13 other "partner" nations would attend because, "In today's world security challenges know no borders, and no country or alliance can deal with most of them on their own."
It was said then that Turkey used its NATO veto. But Israel was similarly not invited to the inaugural meeting of the Global Counterterrorism Forum in Istanbul -- not a NATO meeting.
Coming on the heels of Eager Lion 2012, a Special Operations exercise involving 12,000 troops from 19 countries (excluding Israel and including several countries at war with Israel), the counterterrorism forum was designed by Secretary of State Clinton to "build the international architecture for dealing with 21st century terrorism." The State Department was responsible for the invitations, so Turkey had no veto. If the Administration had wanted to make the point that Israel is a valued partner in counterterrorism activities, it could have insisted that Israel be there or else moved the meeting.
Turkey is riding high with the Administration right now; and President Obama welcomed the Turkish Prime Minister in March as an "outstanding partner and an outstanding friend on a wide range of issues" -- including, apparently, in reducing relations with Israel.
Read the whole thing. So much for Obama's claims of 'unprecedented' security cooperation with Israel. I wonder whether Obama's Best Friend Forever is raising money in Turkey for Obama's reelection campaign. What could go wrong?
Got to get into practice for saying Shma Yisrael with the baby tonight :-) (We have a custom to say the Shma prayer with the baby the night before the Brith, and our grandson's Brith is tomorrow, God willing). Here's Dveikus with HaMalach HaGoel (The Angel who redeemed me).
Let's go to the videotape.
Shabbat Shalom everyone, and may we always celebrate joyous occasions together.
A three-hour tour here today, made with local guides who picked paths around Israeli tanks, showed destruction on a scale far greater than that seen in the other Palestinian cities that have fallen before Israel's offensive, its biggest ground operation in 20 years. Israel says Jenin was a center of terrorism, which it is determined to weed out. Israeli officials have spoken of 100 to 200 dead here, and Palestinians have estimated two, three, or four times that number. No one yet knows how many were killed in fighting that has lasted 11 days, and is now all but over, but already the battle here seems certain to be argued over in the contest between the Israelis and Palestinians. ... Israel says that its soldiers were careful to avoid shooting civilians, and that most of the dead were fighters. Residents of the camp said many civilians were killed.
There is no mention in the article of the dead soldiers, just this:
A public relations struggle is under way over this ruined place. The battle for the Jenin camp is already becoming another significant, harshly contested episode in the history of both peoples.
On the Palestinian side that struggle was marked by the false claim of a massacre in Jenin. The New York Times failed to report on one of the most relevant details in debunking that libel.
Q. Can the IDF code of ethics undergo changes? “The code is stable. The more abstract the values are, the less they change. The doctrines can change because we are in new situations all the time. The doctrine of combating terror, which I dealt with together with Maj. Gen. Amos Yadlin, who was the head of the Military Intelligence Directorate, includes a new situation in which terrorists live among civilians. We must free ourselves from the attitude that regards others’ lives with fear and trembling while holding the lives of our own combat soldiers in complete contempt. International law wants to impose a position on us whereby soldiers are a consumable resource and that the lives of enemy civilians must be protected more than the lives of our own combat troops. Bandages are a consumable resource. Water is a consumable resource. Human beings are not. “If we warned the terrorists’ neighbors to leave the area, in Arabic, in any way — flyers, telephone calls, television broadcasts, a warning noise — and they stay anyway — why are they staying? Because they choose to be human shields for terrorists. I do not want to kill a human being only because he is a human shield, if he is not a threat to me. But should a soldier of mine risk himself for him? Is the blood of a human shield any redder than the blood of my soldier? A soldier has no choice other than to be in Gaza, in that alleyway. But to be sent inside — why? In the battle in Jenin, in the middle of Operation Defensive Shield, the IDF knew that the refugee camp was booby-trapped. But they still insisted on not bombing from the air in order to keep from harming civilians, and they suffered terrible losses. That was a mistake. They should have made an effort to get the civilian population out of the terrorist environment, and then there would have been no need to send in the infantry.”
Even ten years later it's astounding to reflect on how oblivious the world is to the care Israel's takes to avoid collateral damage.
In 2002, Israel was fighting operation Defensive Shield, its ultimately successful effort to destroy Arafat's "suicide factory." Israel didn't start Defensive Shield until after the horrific Park Hotel massacre. Yet Israel found itself judged daily for the necessary force it deployed to protect its citizenry.
Actually, I find it comforting to hear that Professor Kasher recognizes that not bombing Jenin from the air was a mistake. That recognition will likely save the lives of many IDF soldiers in the future.
Already under fire for editing the tape of a 911 call from George Zimmerman as he was following Trayvon Martin in Florida, NBC is now afraid to do any editing of the 'Palestinian' story. Instead, it lets lies stand as facts.
Abusrour is part of the first generation of children born to refugee parents in the Aida Refugee Camp, which was established in 1950 between the towns of Bethlehem and Beit Jala. It is now home to around 5,000 inhabitants all descendants from the 1948 expulsion from Palestine.
Abusrour considers himself “fortunate” to have gotten a scholarship to study in France, where he stayed for nine years and got his master’s and Ph.D in biological and medical engineering. But his heart was always also with theater, painting and photography. He came home with the dream of working with children to help shape the future of a Palestinian state.
Why are descendants in a 'refugee camp'? Because unlike every other refugee program in the world, the goal for the 'Palestinians' is not to resettle them - as Israel did with its refugees from Arab countries without any UN help. The goal for 'Palestinian refugees' is to leave them as a festering sore, a permanent underclass waiting to pounce on the Jewish state.
Most of the Arabs who fled what is now Israel in 1948 did so at the request of the Arab leadership with the full expectation that they would triumphantly return after five Arab armies drove the Jews into the Sea. It didn't happen that way, but there was no '1948 expulsion.'
But he's really suffering, isn't he? A Masters and a PhD in France - and he's not even using them. Can you afford to go to (or to send your kids to) another country for advanced university degrees? Probably not. But your taxes are paying for UNRWA to send 'Palestinians' like Abusrour to get advanced degrees in France. Call it 'charity.'
The center started working with children in refugee camps in the area of Bethlehem and Bet-Jala, but then spread all over the West Bank with mobile “beautiful resistance” programs in theater, dance and music training.
He explained the center’s philosophy: “Resistance, because we are under occupation still until today and we have this right to resist the occupation; and beautiful, to reflect all this beauty, this humanity, this culture, this heritage, this beautiful heritage of unarmed struggle that the Palestinians have carried over the years even before Gandhi and Martin Luther King.”
Huh? Gandhi was resisting Britain in the 1940's, long before the word 'Palestinian' meant anything other than Jew. And 'Palestinian resistance' has been anything but non-violent. Throwing stones is a violent act.
Suicide bombing is a violent act. Sharpshooting is a violent act. Gandhi and King (well, at least King) would have abhorred the manner in which the 'Palestinians' conduct their struggle. But don't expect NBC to tell you that.
For many Palestinians, it is hard to ignore the long-term support the U.S. has given and continues to give Israel for its security. Many find it hard to understand how a country like the U.S., which plays a leading role in shaping the policies of other countries, can help Israel’s continuous violation of the Palestinian’s rights.
“As a Palestinian I see that [the U.S.] is supportive of an apartheid system that is suffocating us, that is continuing a violation of human rights and human values that we share as Palestinians,” said Abusrour. “I see the governments of the United States of America, one after the other, supporting this illegal occupation.”
No response. None. Abusrour's accusations are left to sit as if they are facts.
What happened? Is NBC afraid to edit anymore since the Trayvon Martin incident?
Are you concerned about the Muslim Brotherhood's Mohammed Morsy winning Egypt's elections? Should you be? Well, if you're an Israeli, most of us think the answer is "yes." And if you're not an Israeli? Cal Thomas believes that you should be concerned too.
Morsi, who was educated in America, mouths the words the West wants to hear. He speaks of being president of "all Egyptians," promising to honor all international agreements made by the Hosni Mubarak regime.
A cleric, Safwat Higazi, introduced Morsi at a May 1 campaign rally and stated the Brotherhood's objective: "Our capital shall be Jerusalem, Allah willing." That seems to signal the real direction in which Morsi could take his country. It is certainly in line with Muslim Brotherhood thinking.
After more than three years of pandering and apologizing to the Islamic world, the Obama administration has produced a tree bearing rotten fruit. The White House congratulated Morsi on his victory. What else could it do? It won't admit error or acknowledge that the Arab Spring is starting to resemble a Siberian winter.
Iran continues its nuclear weapons program and threatens to wipe the "Zionist entity" off the map. Russian President Vladimir Putin visits Israel and urges Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu not to attack Iran, to which Russia has been providing nuclear technology. Should Egypt again become hostile to the Jewish state (the recent terror attacks from the Sinai border area are a sign that 32 years of stability there could unravel), Israel may be in greater peril than at any time in its modern history.
The Egyptian parliamentary election confirmed polling that indicates 60 percent of Egyptians favor complete adoption of Shariah law. Shariah does not require that future elections be held. Those polls also show an overwhelming majority of Egyptians want a religious government, stoning as a form of punishment, and limits on women and Christians in office.
The Muslim Brotherhood knows how Westerners think. It is playing us for fools. If we believe what has happened in Egypt and the upheavals in the rest of the Mideast will lead to democracy, human rights, equal rights for women and religious minorities, and freedom of speech and press, then we are fools.
LATMA: The Israeli Left reaches a breaking point with Hamas
As you may recall, LATMA is on a break. But the break is being used to experiment, and we're still being shown at least some of the skits. Most of this video is about the Israeli Left reaching its breaking point with Hamas.
The Egyptian perspective was aired recently by Morsi in a television interview during the presidential campaign. Israel, he said, had not kept its commitment under the Camp David accords to reach a broader Middle East peace, particularly with the Palestinians. Reflecting the views of his movement, the Muslim Brotherhood, as well as wider popular sentiment, Morsi accused the Israelis of acting in bad faith since they signed the peace agreements. “Where is the mutual respect?” he said. “Where is what the agreement says about a just and comprehensive peace among all peoples of the region? Where’s the mutual non-belligerence? . . . Where are the good neighborly relations mentioned in the agreement?”
Afterwards he presents the Israeli view:
In Israel, the treaty raised hopes of developing trade and cultural links, tourism, and cooperation in business and agriculture. But ideological resistance among parts of the Egyptian elite to ties with Israel, along with the strains of the continuing conflict with the Palestinians, had a chilling effect on the relationship. The sense in Israel was that Egypt was not interested in genuine normalization that would go beyond a state of non-belligerence. Egyptian tourists and businessmen did not come to Israel, the Egyptian press carried virulently anti-Israeli cartoons and articles, and trade ties were limited. The reservation emanated from the top; President Hosni Mubarak avoided travel to Israel, coming only once, for the funeral of the assassinated Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in 1995. “Since the early 1980s, Israeli leaders decided that peace with Egypt is too important to argue over every dot and comma, so in many cases they turned a blind eye to large and small Egyptian violations,” said Eli Shaked, a former Israeli ambassador to Egypt.
The Egyptian view was presented emphatically and as "wide popular sentiment." Even the Israeli side is presented with the stipulation that the lack of progress in peace with the Palestinians (if you ignore Oslo, the withdrawals from most of the West Bank and Gaza) as a contributory reason for chilled relations with Egypt. Greenberg doesn't even suggest the likely explanation that the concern for the Palestinians was a pretext for preexisting Egyptian resistance to peace with Israel.
Two other things are worth mentioning.
One as Greenberg reports:
Still, remaining links with Israel could be weakened. A 2005 deal to supply Israel with natural gas, seen as a symbol of Mubarak’s ties with Israel, was canceled in April after criticism that it was tainted by corruption and that the gas was sold at below-market prices, costing Egypt millions of dollars in lost revenue.
But was this criticism accurate? Not having a deal also cost Egypt millions. But Barry Rubin observed:
Oh, by the way, the Egyptians have now said they will not sell natural gas any more to Israel. The pipeline that had been providing 40-50 percent of Israel’s natural gas and has been attacked numerous times by Islamist attackers in Sinai will be closed permanently. The $460 million invested in the pipeline project, mostly by Israeli, is gone forever, plus Israel will have to find a substitute source until its own offshore wells come online .
In other words, Egypt got a good deal from Israel, yet Greenberg only focused on the criticism that cast Israel as benefiting from the old regime.
Also, Greenberg quoted a statement of Mohammed Morsi that sounded perfectly reasonable. No doubt the statement was geared for Western consumption. But it doesn't take much to discover that Morsi hasn't always been so circumspect. Here's how he described Israel two years ago:
In a statement to "Ikhwanweb" Morsy maintained that it appears that the United States is pressuring the Palestinian Authority to engage in fabricated long hauled peace talks, indicating US bias towards the Israel Occupation Authorities at the expense of the Palestinians' wellbeing. He continued "The Arabs disappointing response was clearly evident as they welcomed Israel 's criminal leaders into their countries with the conducting of the Arab Peace Initiative Committee at the Arab League's headquarters. The strong U.S. and Israeli pressure to resume direct talks raises many questions regarding the feasibility of conducting such negotiations amid the continuing Israeli blockade on the Gaza Strip, the progressive steps towards Judaizing East Jerusalem, the seizing of parts of Al-Aqsa Mosque, the imprisonment of Sheikh Raed Salah and the destruction of houses in the Palestinian cities in the West Bank. Morsy called on the Palestinian Authority to view the inter-Palestinian reconciliation agenda as sincerely as discussions with the Israeli Occupation, stressing that it would have been more suitable if the PA and the Arab League had discussed ending the Palestinian division as opposed to discussing the illusional peace initiative.
Later on Morsi praised "resistance" to Israel, which is a code word for terrorism.
Greenberg had a chance to give further background, but instead fell too easily into the blame Israel narrative.
If you think this is pie in the sky, then it isn’t difficult to imagine the “Plan B” of the Muslim Brotherhood. It is to find ways to raise the rent Egypt collects from the West and rich Arabs for its geopolitical position. Call it a shakedown, call it a bailout, it doesn’t matter. The message Egypt is sending is that it’s too big to fail, and that the world, and especially the United States, owes it. The deputy guide, Khayrat ash-Shater, put it directly: “We strongly advise the Americans and the Europeans to support Egypt during this critical period as compensation for the many years they supported a brutal dictatorship.” Egypt, which is one of the largest recipients of U.S. foreign aid, is thus owed compensation. A key part of this narrative is that Mubarak sold peace with Israel on the cheap. In Egypt it is believed that the $1.3 billion that Egypt receives a year in military aid, and hundreds of millions more in economic aid, are just a portion of what Egypt’s adherence to peace is worth. To get more, the plan of the Muslim Brotherhood is to persuade Washington that it can’t take Egypt for granted. The strategy will be to stimulate crises that will be amenable to resolution by the transfer of resources. No one can predict what those crises will look like. It’s hard to imagine that some of them won’t involve Israel.
Let’s start with Israel. For the last 30 years, Israel enjoyed peace with Egypt wholesale — by having peace with just one man, Hosni Mubarak. That sale is over. Today, post-Mubarak, to sustain the peace treaty with Egypt in any kind of stable manner, Israel is going to have to pay retail. It is going to have to make peace with 85 million Egyptians. The days in which one phone call by Israel to Mubarak could shut down any crisis in relations are over.
Both argue that peace with Egypt needs to be bought. But shouldn't peace be of value to Egypt on its own?
Thankfully, none of this anticipated violence came to fruition. But it should not go unnoticed that, in the first presidential election following Egypt’s pro-democratic election, it was the new ruling party—the Muslim Brotherhood—that was preparing for months to reject an electoral outcome against it. By contrast, members of the old, autocratic ruling party, who overwhelmingly endorsed Shafik, swallowed Morsi’s victory without incident. Egypt may have ousted a dictator, but its new rulers will only play by democratic rules so long as they enhance their own power.
Fouad Ajami, though, argues that it's too early to judge the Muslim Brotherhood: Many are eager to rebuke this Egyptian interlude. Those who had given the reign of Hosni Mubarak three decades of indulgence are unwilling to see in the last 18 months the birth pangs of a democratic possibility. They forget or ignore even recent history, how the Egyptian people had abandoned politics and all but given up on their country. A new hope has arisen in that weary country. Are Egyptians not entitled to a decent interval before we consign them, yet again, to a despotic fate?
And here's some surprisingly good sense from Thomas Friedman in The Fear Factor:
The U.S. has some leverage in terms of foreign aid, military aid and foreign investment — and we should use it by making clear that we respect the vote of the Egyptian people, and we want to continue to help Egypt thrive, but our support will be conditioned on certain principles. What principles? Our principles? No. The principles identified by the 2002 U.N. Arab Human Development Report, which was written by and for Arabs. It said that for the Arab world to thrive it needs to overcome its deficit of freedom, its deficit of knowledge and its deficit of women’s empowerment. And, I would add, its deficit of religious and political pluralism. We should help any country whose government is working on that agenda — including an Egypt led by a Muslim Brotherhood president — and we should withhold our support from any that is not.
Once you get past his tropes about the Arab Human Development Report and the deficits it reports, this isn't unreasonable. (One deficit I'd add is a deficit of tolerance for Jews and Israel, specifically.) Of course, given his record, I would assume that if Morsi doesn't abide by those principles, Friedman would be making excuses for ignoring Morsi's record and supporting him regardless.
The past few days we've had an internet outage at home. Verizon seems to have fixed the problem.
Experts are dismissing as unlikely the prospect that Israel liquidated Kamal Ranaja. This is from the first link.
Former senior Mossad member Rami Igra said, "Practically, it's not reasonable that Israel or a Western country would settle accounts with a man like this, at this stage, in Syria. He's not big enough."
"He's not important enough. To assassinate him would be a very complicated, dangerous operation, and it would be taking a huge chance. I don't see Israel or any Western country willing to take this risk," Igra said, noting the unstable Syrian situation.
On the other hand, "it would not be a problem for any gang in Damascus, maybe one working for Assad, to do this," Igra added. "With certainty I can say, it was not Israel."
Dr. Ely Karmon, a senior terrorism expert from the Interdisciplinary Center's Institute for Counter-Terrorism, agreed.
He said the most likely entity behind the killing was the Syrian regime, since Ranaja may well have been "involved in smuggling weapons to the Syrian opposition," particularly to the Muslim Brotherhood.
"If he really was an aide to Mabhouh," Karmon said, referring to reports that Ranaja was the aide of the late Hamas arms smuggler assassinated in Dubai, "the he had connections to weapons smuggling. The Muslim Brotherhood are in a state of crisis with the regime. There is a reasonable chance that he provided arms to the opposition," Karmon added.
A second possibility is that Hamas itself killed Ranaja after suspecting him of pocketing cash given to him to pay for weapons, ships, and smuggling teams. "We saw this happen with Fatah, when Arafat killed his own operatives in Europe for stealing cash," Karmon noted.
The third and least likely explanation is that Israel was behind it, though it is highly doubtful that Jerusalem "would take the chance of sending a team to Damascus, which is under heavy security," Karmon argued.
"Even journalists can't get in to Damascus," he added, and the price of failure would be enormous for Israel. It was also possible, though most unlikely, that a proxy team of Palestinians hired by Israel carried out the hit, Karmon added.
"The fact is, Israel is unlikely to take such a dramatic chance for mid-level operative," Karmon concluded. "I don't believe Israel did this."
The Middle East is amazing place. There are so many people who would have wanted Ranaja dead. Israel is a small fish in this pond. Read the whole thing.
Inevitable: Assad tells Iranian TV his regime under fire due to support for 'Palestinians'
The fact that he has murdered thousands of his own people has nothing to do with the nearly worldwide revulsion for Bashar al-Assad, according to Bashar al-Assad. The reason the world hates Bashar al-Assad, according to Bashar al-Assad, is that he supports the 'Palestinians.'
Syrian President Bashar Assad said that his country is under pressure because of its support for Palestine.
In an interview on Iranian state television aired Thursday, Assad said "we are promoting reforms but they are meaningless to the terrorists and the governments that support them."
The Syrian president noted that his government had a duty to "eliminate terrorists" to protect its people.
"The responsibility of the Syrian government is to protect all of our residents. You have a responsibility to eliminate terrorists in any corner of the country," Assad said in an hour-long interview.
"When you eliminate a terrorist, it's possible that you are saving the lives of tens, hundreds, or even thousands."
I heard that the creation of a 'Palestinian' reichlet will also cure the common cold. Morons.
Muslim Brotherhood calls for destruction of Israel after election
The Muslim Brotherhood has called for the destruction of Israel (Hat Tip: Memeorandum) after the (Egyptian - although it could well be American if God forbid Obama wins) elections, mirroring rhetoric used by Egyptian President Mohammed Morsy. This is from the first link.
"Every Muslim will be asked about the Zionists' usurpation of al-Aqsa Mosque. Why did he not seek to recover it, and wage Jihad in His way? Did he not care about the fatwa of the ulema [scholars] of the Muslims, 'Jihad of self and money to recover al Aqsa is a duty on every Muslim?'" asked Mohamed Badie, General Guide of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, in a June 14th speech translated exclusively by the Investigative Project on Terrorism.
The speech from the Brotherhood's Ikhwan Online website is evidence that the group has not moderated its position even an iota, despite assurances to Western audiences.
"How happy would be the Muslims if all Muslim rulers made the Palestinian cause a pivotal issue, around which Muslims, rulers and the ruled, would line up," he stated. According to Badie, they would ally to make "the sole goal for all of them the recovery of al Aqsa Mosque, freeing it from the filth of the Zionists, and imposing Muslim rule throughout beloved Palestine."
"The Lord of Glory has threatened these murdering Zionists criminals with a penalty of a kind which operates in this world before the Hereafter, he said, before referencing a Quranic quote calling Jews "apes, despised."
"We say to our people and our brothers in Palestine (all of Palestine): Unity, unity, persistence, persistence, reconciliation, reconciliation, and patience, patience. Make your motto and your starting point be in confronting the Zionists," he added.
Badie also made reference to the role of Hamas-tied convoys, in aiding in the effort to eliminate the Jewish state.
"Know that there stands by you every sincere Muslim mujahid from all over the world, and all the honorable nationalists. Do not presume that you are alone in the field, but there stands at your side and with you every free honorable noble man who rejects injustice, murder and bloodshed," he said, before stating, "Not far off are the Freedom flotillas which will come to you from various States, and Miles of Smiles which touched you from all over the world."
The most recent convoy by Miles of Smiles, which is linked to the U.S. terrorist designated, British organization Interpal, was led by Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood head Hammam Saeed. Hamas' Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh called that convoy "the declaration of victory over the siege and the declaration of the enemy's strategic failure in Gaza."
Read the whole thing. The video of Morsy's campaign speech to which they refer is here. It sounds to me like Morsi is doing a great job of taqiyya.
"This decision goes against my instructions," Netanyahu was quoted as saying. "This committee is starting to wear out its welcome."
The prime minister is considering drafting his own recommendations instead of the committee's recommendations. He will meet with Kadima leader Shaul Mofaz Friday in an attempt to settle their differences.
Both Yisrael Beytenu and Habayit Hayehudi quit the Keshev Committee on Thursday following its decision on the Arab sector. Yisrael Beytenu said its MKs would bring to a vote before the Knesset a bill submitted by the party "in which all sectors of the nation share the burden of national service."
Sources in United Torah Judaism also complained about the decision not to make Arab service compulsory, saying that the equality in the share of the military burden required by the Supreme Court cannot mean only for haredim.
"If it's equality they want then it has to be equality for all," a UTJ source said. "How can you have financial sanctions against the haredim but other sectors of the population get off free?"
Kadima MK Shlomo Molla said he and many other legislators in his party believe that Arabs should be required to do national service. He warned that if the Keshev Committee does not equalize the burden of service, part of Kadima could end up leaving the coalition and the party.
"I expect Mofaz to stick to Kadima's values and not compromise," Molla said. "This entire process proves we should not have entered this government in the first place. Had we gone to an election, we might have been able to regain our footing, but now it will be much harder for Kadima to survive."
If MKs leave Kadima, they could form a new party together with former Kadima leader Tzipi Livni. In an interview last week, Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid left open the possibility of Livni running with his party in the next election.
Rick Moran believes that Syria's shooting down of a Turkish F-4 on a reconnaissance mission earlier this week was directed at NATO and not just at Turkey.
In shooting down the aircraft, was Syria sending a message to NATO that the country won’t be the pushover Libya was? That’s the view of Fawaz A. Gerges, Professor of International Relations and Director of the Middle East Centre at the London School of Economics. Gerges points out that radio intercepts by Turkey clearly show the Syrians knew the plane was in international waters and was Turkish in origin — claims denied by Syria who insists it was unaware to which country the air craft belonged. “We had to react immediately, even if the plane was Syrian we would have shot it down,” said foreign ministry spokesman Jihad Makdisi at a press conference in Damascus.
Prime Minister Erdogan isn’t buying that explanation. And while the shooting down of an unarmed jet precipitated the crisis, Syria’s firing on planes sent to rescue the pilots enraged the Turkish government. Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc on Monday accused Syrian forces of opening fire on a Turkish search-and-rescue plane during the search on Friday for the F-4 Phantom jet. He said the attack was called off only when Turkish officials called Syria to tell them of the plane’s mission.
In a speech before Parliament, Erdogan laid down a red line that Syria cannot cross: “Any military element that approaches the Turkish border from Syria and poses a security risk and danger will be regarded as a threat and treated as a military target,” Erdogan said. The Turkish prime minister said that there had already been several border incursions by Syrian forces, including at least 5 incidents involving Syrian helicopters violating Turkish air space.
And Erdogan warned Syria not to mistake its forbearance for a reluctance to act: “No one should be deceived by our cool-headed stance,” he added. “Our acting with common sense should not be perceived as a weakness.”
Professor Gerges believes there is more to Erdogan’s warning about the border than a threat of retaliation. He said that Turkey was intent on “establishing a de facto safe zone that hinders Syria’s ability to move troops close to the border.” He added, “This will allow the Syrian rebels to gather strength in that the border area and advance toward the Syrian heartlands.” It will also facilitate the transfer of arms to the FSA — a task that the US has now become engaged in, according to a New York Times report last week.
Jonathan Schanzer reports that the 'Palestinians' may be gearing up for another run at 'statehood' at the United Nations in September.
Behind the scenes, the Palestinians have even tried to lay a foundation for the coming showdown in September. Hillary Zaken of the Times of Israel first reported that Abbas was angling to use the U.N.'s Rio+20 conference on sustainable development, held June 20 to 22 in Brazil, "to advance the PA's status in the eyes of the international community." Indeed, Abbas wanted Palestine to be identified as nothing less than a state at the conference, despite the fact that the U.N. had not yet done so. The Palestinian ambassador to Brazil, Ibrahim Alzeben, later admitted that he was angling for "full-status participation," while Israel, the United States, and Canada were reportedly fighting this on the sidelines, and apparently prevailed.
Similarly, in early June, the same three countries cried foul when Palestinian U.N. observer Riyad Mansour was treated as a representative of a state during a meeting of signatories to the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea. As the U.N.'s online summary account notes, the Canadian delegation protested where the Palestinian observer was seated, noting that it "did not recognize a Palestinian State" and that the seating arrangement "might create a 'misleading impression.'"
The Palestinians, notwithstanding such resistance from the Great White North, actually have broad international support for their initiative. The PLO's Negotiations Affairs Department claims that 128 countries back the notion of a Palestinian state, and the number could be as high as 140. Either way, this is enough support at the General Assembly, in the words of Abbas during a recent trip to Paris, "to obtain the status of nonmember state, as is the case for the Vatican."
But Abbas will need to weigh this international support against the wall of resistance he's getting from Washington. In an interview with the Saudi Okaz newspaper, Erekat said that U.S. President Barack Obama's administration was threatening to suspend aid and close down the PLO mission in Washington if the Palestinians returned to the U.N.
Obama cannot afford to stand back and watch the Palestinians play for statehood as he campaigns for his reelection. If the Palestinians make it across the finish line at the General Assembly, Obama's domestic critics will charge that he threw Israel under the bus.
Abbas, now 77, smokes more than a pack of cigarettes a day, and he is keenly aware of the passing of time. He has failed to deliver peace. He has failed to deliver unity. Statehood may be his last opportunity to leave any meaningful legacy.
September may be his moment. Again. But it may also be the moment where Washington blocks him. Again.
Here's my bet: If God forbid Obama wins, there will be a 'Palestinian state' - or at least full US support for one - almost immediately. You can look for all parties to drag out the approval vote if it looks like there's a good chance that Obama will be reelected.
If Obama loses, he will cut a deal with which he will try to stick his successor (presumably Romney) along the lines of the US committing to support a 'Palestinian state' bid in 2013 if the 'Palestinians' and Israel do not reach an agreement on one by then.
'Peace partner' television wishes for the end of Israel
A 'Palestinian Authority' television host on official 'Palestinian Authority' television prayed for the realization of a purported CIA report that said that Israel will cease to exist by 2022. Just imagine what they would say if they were not seeking 'peace' with us.
Surprise: Israeli government has no interest in making Arabs do national service
In one of the many stories I missed on Wednesday, the Plessner Committee issued its recommendations regarding army or national service for the Haredi (ultra-Orthodox) sector. The committee called for escalating penalties against men who do not serve and against the yeshivoth in which they continue to study.
On Thursday, the committee made its recommendations for the Arab sector: It aims to increase the number of Arabs doing national service from 2,400 to 6,000 by 2016. There are over a million Arabs in Israel (not counting Judea or Samaria). In response, two parties, Yisrael Beiteinu and HaBayit HaYehudi have quit the committee. Will they quit the coalition next?
Yisrael Beiteinu called the committee's decision "damaging to the importance of equal service" and said that the faction believed that there was only one way to achieve an equal share of the burden, and that was to draft every citizen at age 18: secular, haredi, and Arab alike.
Meanwhile, the committee has proposed a draft plan for haredim similar to the hesder yeshiva program option currently open to the national-religious.
The plan, called Bnei Hayil, allows haredi draftees to study in yeshivas until age 19 or 20 and then serve in the military for 16 to 24 months. After their IDF service, the students will return to yeshiva.
While the committee has not specified target numbers of yeshiva students to be drafted under the new plan, it has – despite the decision not to make service mandatory for Israeli Arabs – set a target for the number of Israeli Arabs performing national service in the civil sector.
The committee wants the number of Israeli Arab national service volunteers to grow from the current 2,400 to 6,000 by 2016.
Moreover, the Plesner Committee recommended adopting a principle of "service for all" under which every citizen who isn't drafted into the IDF will sign up for national service.
The Keshev Committee, tasked with drafting proposals to replace the Tal Law, issued a sharply worded response to Yisrael Beytenu’s decision, called the step a “populist move” and accused the party of “inflaming tensions” instead of working to address the issues.
“Yisrael Beytenu believes that there is only one right path to bring about the genuine equality of burden among all citizens in the country and that is for every Israeli 18 year old to serve in the military or civilian service, whether secular, haredi or Arab,” the party declared in a statement to the press.
The party has insisted throughout the process of drafting a replacement for the Tal Law that the principle of mandatory national service must be extended to the Arab community as well.
Habayit Hayehudi chairman Minister Daniel Hershkowitz told the prime minister that in light of the conclusions reached by the Keshev Committee that it would not draft Arabs into national service his party could not continue to cooperate with it.
Earlier this month, the Abraham Fund coexistence organization told the Keshev Committee that the Israeli-Arab community and political leadership would only be willing to discuss participation in national-service programs if the issue was linked to addressing inequality in the Arab sector.
The Keshev Committee decided that the issue was too complicated to be dealt with comprehensively within the timeframe open to it.
My own view is that we ought to have an all-volunteer army, with a salary and benefit package that are high enough to make it attractive, and with higher pay for combat soldiers in the field than for those with desk jobs (including computer programmers - who can make a fortune once they leave the IDF anyway - and intelligence officers). Let everyone else go out to school or work, and let the army consist only of those who are motivated and paid well. I discussed my proposals at length here. There is no such thing as 'equal service' and there cannot be. The only equal thing that can possibly exist is an equal amount of time spent being legally barred from working or studying.
The IDF has asked for NIS 15 billion to prepare to defend a 'fourth front': Egypt (Hat Tip: Ricky G).
Analysts said that the new situation in Egypt necessitates the opening of a “fourth front” for the IDF. For decades, security along the southern border has been more relaxed, because of the peace treaty between Israel and Egypt, and the IDF was able to concentrate on trouble spots like Gaza and the northern border, as well as “distance missions.” Egypt's new President, Mohammed Morsi, who is identified with the Muslim Brotherhood, has said several times that he wishes to “reexamine” the Camp David Accords. Given his party's open hostility to Israel and its strong support for Hamas, Israel has decided that it can no longer regard the Egyptian border as a “normal” one.
A senior IDF official told the Israeli daily Ma'ariv that while no one expects Egypt to abrogate the Camp David Accords, the new situation requires extreme caution. And thanks to three decades of American military aid and support, the Egyptian army today is extremely sophisticated, and is equipped with the latest equipment, making it, for all purposes, a Western-type army, the official said. Egypt also has the largest army in Africa; it has about 470,000 regular troops and some 480,000 reserve troops. The IDF, by way of comparison, has 180,000 active duty soldiers, and about 560,000 reserve troops.
The IDF will ask for the NIS 15 billion increase to be funded over a five year period. Without this money, officials said, it will be impossible to upgrade the IDF's souther flank, making the country dependent on the graces of Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood. In a statement, an IDF official would not comment directly on the funding issue, saying that “as a matter of course the IDF is studying the changes in the region, and specifically in Egypt.”
A sharply divided US Supreme Court on Thursday upheld the centerpiece of US President Barack Obama's signature healthcare overhaul law that requires that most Americans get insurance by 2014 or pay a financial penalty.
"The Affordable Care Act's requirement that certain individuals pay a financial penalty for not obtaining health insurance may reasonably be characterized as a tax," Chief Justice John Roberts wrote for the court's majority in the opinion.
"Because the Constitution permits such a tax, it is not our role to forbid it, or to pass upon its wisdom or fairness," he concluded. The vote was 5-4.
I wonder how many more expats will give up their American citizenship because of this.
UPDATE 6:23 PM
Much more about the decision here. Roberts was the swing vote. Four justices would have invalidated the whole thing and four would have upheld the whole thing. Obama insisted in 2009 that Obamacare wasn't a tax.
Israel's better off without Alice Walker's The Color Purple translated into Hebrew
In an earlier post, I published an open letter to feminist author Alice Walker, who has refused to allow her novel The Color Purple to be translated into Hebrew. Walker accuses Israel of 'apartheid.' After reading what Walker's daughter Rebecca has to say about her, I think we're better off without Israelis reading Walker's book (Hat Tip: Steve B).
A neighbour, not much older than me, was deputised to look after me. I never complained. I saw it as my job to protect my mother and never distract her from her writing. It never crossed my mind to say that I needed some time and attention from her.
When I was beaten up at school - accused of being a snob because I had lighter skin than my black classmates - I always told my mother that everything was fine, that I had won the fight. I didn't want to worry her.
But the truth was I was very lonely and, with my mother's knowledge, started having sex at 13. I guess it was a relief for my mother as it meant I was less demanding. And she felt that being sexually active was empowering for me because it meant I was in control of my body.
Now I simply cannot understand how she could have been so permissive. I barely want my son to leave the house on a play-date, let alone start sleeping around while barely out of junior school.
A good mother is attentive, sets boundaries and makes the world safe for her child. But my mother did none of those things.
Although I was on the Pill - something I had arranged at 13, visiting the doctor with my best friend - I fell pregnant at 14. I organised an abortion myself. Now I shudder at the memory. I was only a little girl. I don't remember my mother being shocked or upset. She tried to be supportive, accompanying me with her boyfriend.
Although I believe that an abortion was the right decision for me then, the aftermath haunted me for decades. It ate away at my self-confidence and, until I had Tenzin, I was terrified that I'd never be able to have a baby because of what I had done to the child I had destroyed. For feminists to say that abortion carries no consequences is simply wrong.
As a child, I was terribly confused, because while I was being fed a strong feminist message, I actually yearned for a traditional mother. My father's second wife, Judy, was a loving, maternal homemaker with five children she doted on.
There was always food in the fridge and she did all the things my mother didn't, such as attending their school events, taking endless photos and telling her children at every opportunity how wonderful they were.
when I called her one morning in the spring of 2004, while I was at one of her homes housesitting, and told her my news and that I'd never been happier, she went very quiet. All she could say was that she was shocked. Then she asked if I could check on her garden. I put the phone down and sobbed - she had deliberately withheld her approval with the intention of hurting me. What loving mother would do that?
Worse was to follow. My mother took umbrage at an interview in which I'd mentioned that my parents didn't protect or look out for me. She sent me an e-mail, threatening to undermine my reputation as a writer. I couldn't believe she could be so hurtful - particularly when I was pregnant.
Devastated, I asked her to apologise and acknowledge how much she'd hurt me over the years with neglect, withholding affection and resenting me for things I had no control over - the fact that I am mixed-race, that I have a wealthy, white, professional father and that I was born at all.
But she wouldn't back down. Instead, she wrote me a letter saying that our relationship had been inconsequential for years and that she was no longer interested in being my mother. She even signed the letter with her first name, rather than 'Mom'.
That was a month before Tenzin's birth in December 2004, and I have had no contact with my mother since. She didn't even get in touch when he was rushed into the special care baby unit after he was born suffering breathing difficulties.
Read the whole thing. By the way, Rebecca Walker's father, Alice Walker's ex-husband is - you guessed it - Jewish. We Israelis - whether we read English or not - are better off without Alice Walker. And so are her daughter and grandson.
In a last-minute attempt to prevent the evacuation of Migron, the largest illegal outpost in Judea and Samaria, representatives of the outpost recently bought more than 80 percent of its land from Palestinians claiming ownership over it, Israel Hayom has learned.
Residents of Migron hope that the move will now render unnecessary the High Court's order to evacuate the outpost by 1 August.
According to a source involved in the transaction, the land was acquired "in a completely legal and valid manner." While representatives of the community have refrained from publishing details of the transaction, the source said "more than one seller" was involved.
Both sides involved in the deal have also kept the identify of the donor secret, but revealed that he is a Jewish-Zionist American philanthropist who paid hundreds of thousand dollars for the land.
The deal was kept under such heavy secrecy that even Migron residents did not know all of the details of the transaction and were only likely to find out about it on Thursday.
Sounds like Irving Moskowitz to me. If it's him, more power to him.
The Muslim Brotherhood may be in charge, but Egyptian men are as randy as ever
The Muslim Brotherhood may now be in charge in Egypt, but some things haven't changed. One thing that has not changed is Egyptian men and their treatment of blonde, female westerners. I have discussed before on this blog the harassment of women - especially foreign women - by Egyptian men. Now, it's happened again. Another foreign journalist has been attacked in Egypt. This time it's a British journalist... with long blonde hair.
I don't believe that this is an excuse, but note again that Natasha Smith has long blonde hair. Note what I wrote here about the Lara Logan assault.
The second reason I wasn't surprised by the assault was when I saw the picture of Logan at the top of this post. Several years ago, the wife of a friend confided in me that she had been raped before they were married. She was assaulted by an Arab man right here in Jerusalem, and she told me that she attributed the assault that she was blond and that she was wearing her hair loose. She said that blonds have to be particularly careful around Arab men, and she advised wearing their hair tight and in a bun. Look at Logan's picture. See what I mean?
Now, look at Natasha again in the video. See what I mean?
Natasha's full account of the incident is here (via Blazing Cat Fur). I just want to quote a small part of it.
The women told me the attack was motivated by rumours spread by trouble-making thugs that I was a foreign spy, following a national advertising campaign warning of the dangers of foreigners. But if that was the cause, it was only really used as a pretext, an excuse, to molest and violate a blonde young Western girl.
Women were crying and telling me “this is not Egypt! This is not Islam! Please, please do not think this is what Egypt is!” I reassured her that I knew that was the case, that I loved Egypt and its culture and people, and the innate peacefulness of moderate Islam. She appeared stunned. But I’m not really a vengeful person and I could see through the situation. This vicious act was not representative of the place I had come to know and love.
But as you can see from my story about my friend's wife and from Lara Logan, this is very typical behavior for the Arab Islamic world, particularly for foreign women with long, blonde hair.
If Ms. Smith returns to Egypt, I would suggest that she temporarily dye her hair a different color and cut it short. As silly as that sounds, it could save her life.
While speaking at a fundraiser in Miami President Obama congratulated the "Heats" for winning the NBA Finals. Apparently the President, whom the media have built up as a huge basketball fan, doesn't know the actual name of Miami's basketball team.
ABC News called it an “apparent slip of the tongue,” saying: “At the top of his remarks at the Jackie Gleason Theater in Miami Beach, Obama said his public recognition of dignitaries and special guests would be ‘incomplete if I did not congratulate the city of Miami for having the world champion Miami Heats here in town.’”
But radio giant Rush Limbaugh says while the utterance is getting some coverage today, “I don’t know that they are making the right big deal about it.”
Limbaugh believes it was an intentional insult to Miami Heat fans, likening it to Obama flipping them the middle finger.
“I think what you need to know is, this is how, in certain sectors, you insult people,” Limbaugh explained. “You mispronounce the name of their team. You remember, you’ve seen during the campaign in 2008, Obama would scratch his face only with his flip-the-bird finger while talking about McCain? That’s what this was. He was flipping the bird to Heat fans by calling them the Heats.”
He said because Obama himself is a fan of the game, the incident was completely intentional:
“Barack Obama is a huge NBA fan. His team is the Chicago ‘Bull.’ That’s his team. The Chicago ‘Bull.’ The Bulls. People are asking, does he really not know that the name of the champion, NBA champion, team is the Miami Heat? Does he really not know that? I mean he does think it’s ‘Cominsky’ Park in Chicago. Folks, he knows it’s not the Miami Heats.”
There's never a dull moment on the White House beat, is there?
Egyptian Salafi MP says Egypt will honor Camp David accords... but there may be reservations
Here's an Egyptian Salafist MP being interviewed on al-Jazzeera saying that his country will honor the Camp David accords... but there may be reservations. That last phrase is the part that you never hear when these kinds of statements are reported in the media, but it's in this video in black and white.
Moreover, at the end he hints at why Egypt will honor the accords: 'Because we must rebuild our country.' The Egyptian economy is in the toilet, and they cannot afford to risk the $2 billion in annual US aid that they could lose if they cancel the Camp David accords. But if they ever manage to strengthen economically so that they feel that they can get along without that money, watch out.
Compare: Mohammed Morsy during the election campaign
I want to compare the previous video post to this one of Mohammed Morsy speaking during the campaign. The campaign video, as you will see below, is a much more traditional jihadi type speech. Which one is real? Is the campaign speech real and the victory speech toned down to mollify Western donors who would pound Egypt's economy if it's going to become a jihadi state? Or is the victory speech real and the campaign speech just saying what he had to say to get elected?
There's an argument for the campaign speech being what he needed to be elected in the first round (where there were other Islamist opponents), but which was not needed in the second round. The campaign speech is from May 13, and the first round was May 23-24.
Video: New Egyptian President Mohammed Morsy's victory speech
Here's Egyptian President Mohammed Morsy's victory speech translated by MEMRI. It's quite moderate. Will it continue? Suffice it to say that I find it hard to believe that there can be an Islamic state that is not hostile to Israel, and I find it hard to believe that the Muslim Brotherhood will long tolerate a President who is not hostile to Israel.
Kamal Ranaja, the deputy to Hamas terrorist and arms buyer Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, was liquidated on Wednesday in Damascus. Hamas is blaming the Mossad (of course) despite the fact that the Syrians had more than adequate motivation to want to liquidate a senior Hamas figure.
The announcement, posted on the terrorist group's official website said it was unknown who killed Kamal Ranaja, also known as Nizzar Abu Mujhad. However, a senior Hamas official later told AFP, "According to our information, Mossad was behind the assassination."
The statement on Hamas's website added that Ranaja died "in the service of his cause and his people," vowing that his blood would "not be wasted."
The senior Hamas official said that Ranaja was killed in his home in a suburb of Damascus, and implicated "a group of people" for the murder. He identified Ranaja as a former deputy of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, the Hamas operative assassinated in Dubai in 2010.
A delegation of senior Hamas politburo officials including Khaled Mashaal and Mousa Abu Marzook is set to arrive in Jordan to attend Ranaja's funeral.
The group was meant to visit Jordan over the weekend or early next week but its members decided to push up their visit in order to attend the funeral. They are slated to meet Jordanian officials and possibly also King Abdullah II.
There was no word about the manner in which Ranaja met his death. shortly after his death was announced, the new pan-Arabic television station Al-Mayadeen reported that he used to serve as aide to Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, a senior Hamas member who took part in several terror attacks and was also involved in kidnapping and killing IDF soldiers.
The Syrian opposition claimed President Bashar Assad's regime was responsible for Ranaja's assassination.
One opposition activist, a former journalist, said Assad's regime ordered the hit. She claimed Ranaja was tortured before he was killed.
According to her, the hit was a message to Hamas, which turned its back on Assad following the violent crackdown on the opposition.
Israeli ambassador to Cyprus expelled from energy forum by local organizers
Israeli ambassador to Cyprus Michael Harari (right, with Cypriot Defense Minister Demetris Eliades) was expelled from an energy forum in Cyprus after the Lebanese Energy Minister refused to speak with an Israeli present (Hat Tip: Sunlight).
Israeli Ambassador Michael Harari, attend the Energy forum by special invitation, he came to the place - the University of Cyprus - around 10 am.
At 11.15, on schedule, President Christofias arrived with Gebran Bassil, Lebanese Minister of Energy and Water Resources.
According to the agenda - which had been established in advance - Christofias was to give a keynote speech, followed immediately by Bassil, whose address about the future of Lebanon as an energy producer.
Just before the President took a step inside the room, attendees - delegates from the industry and the media - had been asked to stand. It proved a false alarm, because people were asked to retake their seats and wait for the next cue up - which happened a couple of minutes later.
Meanwhile, it seems, Harari was approached by the organizers and asked to leave. He said the Lebanese minister informed them that he would not speak unless and until Harari left.
Once the ambassador of Israel left the room, Christofias and Bassil walked in. Harari confirmed that he was asked to leave the local field at the insistence of the Lebanese Minister of Energy.
"It's a pity that it happened," he later told the news media. "I decided to leave in order not to embarrass the president," he said, adding: ". The organizers should have handled it differently."
Ironically, one of the themes of the forum was the need for energy cooperation among the nations of the region.
As you might recall, there is a dispute between Israel and Lebanon over their maritime boundaries. Cyprus, however, is supposed to be on our side. Their kowtowing to Lebanon is inexplicable and ought to be met with a formal diplomatic protest.
I am sure that many of you have heard that Alice Walker has refused to let her Pulitzer Prize winning novel A Color Purple be translated into Hebrew because (she claims) Israel practices 'apartheid.' Here's an open letter to Ms. Walker from Dr. Denis MacEoin, whose writings I have posted before (Hat Tip: Ricky G).
You have spoken out against racism, yet you accuse a country that is visibly anti-racist to be the opposite of what it is. Please don’t dismiss what I say without further thought. It seems that you condemn Israel because it practices apartheid. Have you ever been to Israel? Have you ever walked Israeli streets, spoken to Jewish and Arab Israelis, sought out clear signs of the apartheid you’ve been told you will find there?
I do not think you have, for had you done so you would have been surprised by the absolute absence in Israel of any of the features of apartheid, as it was applied by the South African government years ago. That apartheid had as its principal aim the separation of blacks and whites and was hell for black people for many, many years. Though it pains me to say so, I find it offensive that you and other anti-Israel activists feel it necessary to indulge in an outright falsehood. Think of South African apartheid and all its ramifications. Did blacks have the vote outside their "homelands"? Did they serve in parliament or as government ministers? Were they sent abroad as diplomats? Did they serve as judges?
You may well say to me, "What about Gaza, what about the West Bank? – those are the places where apartheid takes place." But does it? Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005, and in doing so exposed itself to year after year of rocket and mortar fire from Islamic Jihad and Hamas. The territory is currently under the control of Hamas, one of the world’s most dangerous terrorist entities.
Israel has two functions there: to exercise a wholly legal sea and land blockade in order to prevent Hamas acquiring (mainly through tunneling) advanced weaponry, most of it supplied by Iran, another country which openly calls for genocide in Israel. To mitigate the impact of the blockade, Israel has set up an important border control station, through which thousands of tons of goods pass into Gaza every week. Life is not easy for Gaza, but it is controlled by an armed group whose charter calls for the killing of Jews and rejects peace-making of any kind. This is many things, but it’s not apartheid.
I could write pages more in an attempt to help you see reason, but I don’t think that would, in itself, achieve very much. You don’t want to be preached to, I’m sure of that – and I’ve already preached more than I intended at the outset of this letter. But we do share one thing and that is the power of imagination. It takes imagination to see beyond the dogmas on either side of an argument like this. And that is what I want you to do, to use your imagination to see past the innumerable lies and obfuscations that have blinded people’s eyes to what has really been going on between the Jews and the Arabs.
I am an Orthodox Jew - some would even call me 'ultra-Orthodox.' Born in Boston, I was a corporate and securities attorney in New York City for seven years before making aliya to Israel in 1991 (I don't look it but I really am that old :-). I have been happily married to the same woman for thirty-two years, and we have eight children (bli ayin hara) ranging in age from 10 to 30 years and seven grandchildren. Our eldest daughter and eldest son are married! Before I started blogging I was a heavy contributor on a number of email lists and ran an email list called the Matzav from 2000-2004. You can contact me at: IsraelMatzav at gmail dot com