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Monday, September 15, 2014

And yes, I am on my way to Boston again....

Should be there by mid-afternoon Boston time.

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'Palestinians' seethe: The world is ignoring them because of Islamic State

The 'Palestinians' are seething because the world is ignoring them in favor of the Islamic State terror organization.
The Palestinian Authority has expressed concern that the international coalition against Islamic State would divert attention from the Palestinian issue.

PA President Mahmoud Abbas chaired a meeting of the Palestinian leadership in Ramallah over the weekend to discuss the US efforts to form a coalition to fight Islamic State terrorists in Iraq and Syria.

Following the meeting, the Palestinian leaders said the “international campaign against terrorism was currently lacking a political dimension that would address the issues of the region.”

They also warned that the campaign did not deal with the “core and central issue, which is the Palestinian cause, so that it would be able to dry up the sources that feed terrorism and extremism.”

The Palestinian leaders called on Arab, regional and international parties to insist on linking their anti-terrorism campaign to a political dimension and not to focus solely on military and security aspects.
I know that much of the 'international community' mouths the platitude that the 'Palestinian problem' is central to anything and everything that goes on in the world. But does anyone actually believe it? Does anyone really think that if there were a 'Palestinian state,' Islamic State would go away?

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Reid breaks with Obama, says Hamas and Islamic State are the same

Greetings from Madrid Barajas Airport.

Senator Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev) has broken with President Hussein Obama, calling out the 'stunning hypocrisy' of condemning Islamic State (formerly ISIS) and not Hamas.
Reid’s speech to the Senate was made last Thursday but excerpts were published Sunday by JNS.
According to the report, Reid affirmed U.S. support for Israel, calling the failure to condemn Hamas as one would condemn the Islamic State group "stunning hypocrisy."
"Hamas and IS are both vicious, corrupt, hateful, evil groups. And both are extreme. Yet, for some reason, Hamas' brutality doesn’t elicit the same horror from the international community as ISIS. How can that be?" Reid wondered as he addressed the Senate.
He added that one of the few differences between Islamic State and Hamas is the latter's narrow focus on one single objective -- the destruction of Israel.
"Consider its actions over the past several months: Hamas raided its own limited supplies for housing and general infrastructure, intended to repair the destruction that occurred during the last conflict they initiated. But Hamas instead used the stolen materials to build tunnels to hide and infiltrate Israel -- infiltrating to kill, maim, kidnap and murder the innocent. These depraved agitators launched thousands of rockets into Israel, hoping to inflict death and destruction. Their rockets had no aiming capabilities -- they fired indiscriminately, not caring whether they hit a child, a family or anyone," he said.
During Operation Protective Edge, Reid's party's leaders - President Hussein Obama and Secretary of State Kerry - sought to replace Egypt with Qatar and Turkey as 'mediators' with Israel because the latter two are closely connected to Hamas. 

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Today is a travel day....

Today is a travel day - my flight boards in a few minutes. The airport is much more crowded than the picture above.

More when and if I am able to access the internet.

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Sunday, September 14, 2014

Join the Get Well Mandy thunderclap!


The most amazing TEDTalk you have ever heard

If you’re raised on dogma and hate, can you choose a different path? Zak Ebrahim was just seven years old when his father helped plan the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. His story is shocking, powerful, and ultimately, inspiring.

TEDTalks is a daily video podcast of the best talks and performances from the TED Conference, where the world's leading thinkers and doers give the talk of their lives in 18 minutes (or less). Look for talks on Technology, Entertainment and Design -- plus science, business, global issues, the arts and much more.
Find closed captions and translated subtitles in many languages at http://www.ted.com/translate

Let's go to the videotape.

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When the shoe was on William Schabas' other foot

William Schabas has been asked to recuse himself from chairing the United Nations 'human rights council's 'commission of inquiry' into Operation Protective Edge because of comments that show he has prejudged the outcome.

Schabas has mocked attempts to unseat him as commission chair, telling an Arab newspaper that “even if Spider-Man were appointed to head the commission they would attack him.

UN Watch reports that when Schabas was in the dock himself - as the President of the militant Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) back in 1974 at the University of Toronto, he had a far different viewpoint
What is particularly ironic, however, is that, according to a decision of the Ontario Divisional Court (Re Schabas et al. and Caput of the University of Toronto et al.), Schabas tried to disqualify the entire panel hearing his case by arguing that they were biased.
The court rejected Schabas’ claims, finding “no evidence whatsoever to support a reasonable apprehension” of bias.
Yes, of course, Schabas was only a doctoral student, and no one should be held to account for all their university indiscretions.
But there is simply no justification for Schabas to continue to refuse to give a legal response to the very genuine allegations of bias, or the reasonable apprehension thereof, on his part.
 I'm shocked at his hypocrisy. Just totally shocked..... (NOT!).

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PA finance minister paid thousands to designated terrorist while working at Arab Bank

Under cross-examination in the Arab Bank terror financing trial in New York, 'Palestinian Authority Finance Minister' Shukri Bishara, the former chief executive officer of the Arab Bank, has admitted that he knowingly paid thousands of dollars to designated Hamas terrorist Osama Hamdan while employed by the bank.
Under cross examination by counsel for the plaintiffs Mark Werbner, Bishara’s tone changed from gregarious to acrimonious. A heated exchange took place when Werbner asserted that Bishara had released funds from a bank account belonging to senior Hamas leader Osama Hamdan.

“You gave this terrorist $8,000, the man who moves weapons and explosives,” Werbner stated. “You had no other choice than to give this terrorist $8,000?” “My concern was to get rid of the account,” Bishara explained, having admitted he knew Hamdan was on the US terrorist blacklist at the time. “There was simply no way” to close the account without a court order or Hamdan being designated a terrorist by Lebanon, he said.

Defense lawyers say the so-called “Beirut account” was first brought to the bank’s attention in 2004 by this lawsuit. After waiting five or six months to find another solution, Bishara said, the Arab Bank ultimately cut a check to Hamdan and closed the account.

This fund transfer has burdened the bank’s main defense, which was that most transfers were made to those who were not on any US watch list at the time.
Of course there was 'another solution.' They could have gotten the court order. Or they could have held the money.

Here's hoping that Arab Bank is barred from using the US banking system. Other countries' banks have been threatened for far less harmful actions.

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Israel to US: 'If ISIS reaches Jordan, we will act'

President Hussein Obama may not know what to do with ISIS, but Channel 2 reports that Israel has told him in no uncertain terms that if ISIS reaches Jordan, Israel will act.
The TV report did not specify what actions Israel might take if Islamic State started impacting upon Jordan, but Israel is wary of its eastern neighbor being challenged by the brutal terror group, and would seek to guard against further inroads that would directly threaten Israel.
Israel has provided the US with intelligence and satellite images on Islamic State positions, as well as information on Westerners joining its ranks, to assist Washington in its ongoing operation against the Islamic State, reports earlier this week indicated.
Waiting for Obama to try to stop us in 4... 3... 2... 1....

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What a surprise! ISIS outflanks Obama

Jennifer Dyer has an important and lengthy post on how President Obama's 'strategy' for stopping ISIS crumbled between his White House speech on Wednesday and Saturday afternoon. Some excerpts....
ISIS is busy neutralizing the Syrian factions that might make common cause with the United States.  On Thursday, Breitbart London reported that several dozen leaders of Syrian rebel factions opposed to ISIS, who were gathered at a meeting in northwestern Syria, were killed in a massive explosion on Wednesday.
Huffington Post on Friday evening summarized reports that ISIS has signed a non-aggression deal with a separate group of rebel factions in Syria, nominally so that all of the factions can continue to fight the Assad regime.
According to the Dubai-based Arabic news site Orient News, one of the signatories to the agreement is the Syrian Revolutionary Front (SRF), a group that has received U.S. support and has been touted as a likely partner for a U.S. strategy to oppose ISIS in Syria.
The SRF has been losing ground in recent weeks, suffering a major blow when one of its top commanders was killed at the end of August.  At the same time, the SRF was reported to be fighting alongside al-Qaeda-affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra in southern Syria, including the battle for the crossing point with Israel in the Golan over which the rebel factions claimed control on 27 August.
Now it appears that the non-aggression pact with ISIS was brokered by Jabhat al-Nusra.  None of this comes as a surprise to those who’ve been following along with Patrick Poole at PJ Media.  On 3 September, Poole outlined the continuing cooperation of factions in the Free Syrian Army with ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra – cooperation that has resulted in a flow of U.S.-supplied weaponry to the latter two armies.  On 9 September, he expounded on a report from the Los Angeles Times that one of the “vetted moderate” groups, Harakat Hazm, is quite open about fighting alongside Jabhat al-Nusra.
The U.S. has already given this group anti-tank missiles.  Appended to Poole’s analysis is the tweeted text of an alliance agreement concluded by “vetted moderate” faction Harakat Hazm and other similar groups with Jabhat al-Nusra.  The text was tweeted on 8 July.
It’s not just credible, it’s highly bloody likely that some of the rebel factions – including U.S. client SRF – have indeed made a pact with ISIS.  The fact that it won’t be worth a bucket of warm spit ought to serve not as an encouragement to U.S. delusions of a meaningful alliance in Syria, but as a warning.
In fact, ISIS hasn’t sat still.  Once Obama made his speech on Wednesday, the option of mounting coordinated attacks on ISIS’s strategic rear in Syria immediately became a major threat posed by the U.S.  If we could do it effectively, we could force ISIS to defend its rear: shift resources away from the campaign in Iraq, and perhaps even rework its overall strategy.
So ISIS promptly took out nearly 50 opposition rebel leaders and signed its non-aggression agreement with America’s potential partners in Syria.
Remember that ISIS doesn’t have to show good faith over time with any of those Syrian factions.  It just has to preempt their cooperation with the United States.  The mechanism for that is straightforward.  We’re an easy read – ponderous making decisions, easily spooked, committed to at least perfunctory public transparency – and our president is a slow learner.
If ISIS can prevent anyone in Syria from cooperating with the U.S., ISIS can concentrate its effort in Iraq, where our forces on the ground will be: small, scattered, un-concentrated, embedded with local groups which may not all be fighting for the same objectives.  Remember this also: Obama is determined not to overlay an obtrusively coherent U.S. framework on this operation.  Kurds fighting in northern Iraq and Sunnis fighting along the Euphrates in Anbar – each with a separate ill-defined connection to the struggling Shia-majority government in Baghdad – will have the lead.
Even in Vietnam and Somalia, I don’t think we’ve ever backed into anything with our hindquarters flapping quite so egregiously in the breeze.  Military success doesn’t just happen.  It’s as much a matter of political will, and a coherent strategy and operational plan, as it is of training, expertise, and weapons superiority at the tactical level.  Assuming we do go ahead with the plan-deficient, few-boots non-war the Obama administration has been proclaiming for the last 72 hours, I am very concerned that American troops could find themselves vulnerable under fire and fighting for their lives within weeks.
I would actually feel better at this point if we weren’t enlarging our footprint in Irbil at all, but instead planned to just keeping flying strike-fighters from Kuwait and Qatar.  There are sound operational reasons to be gravely concerned about Obama’s decision to dismiss the advice of his military leaders and go with a toxic brew of half-measure objectives and exposed deployment situations.
The rapid, cynical, homicidal initiative shown by ISIS in seeking to neutralize Obama’s Syria option is a pretty good indicator of what we’ll be up against.  Pundits and officials who are vocally criticizing the president are not just showing partisan sour grapes.  This is real, and it’s bad.

Read the whole thing.

That last link is particularly important. Obama is playing electoral politics again.
In his war speech last night, President Obama was at strikingly adamant about what the US mission to "degrade and destroy" ISIS would not entail: American ground troops in a combat role.  The 475 additional personnel being deployed to the region are only authorized assist with "training, intelligence and equipment."  Direct American intervention will be limited to a protracted campaign of airstrikes, in Iraq and -- for the first time -- Syria.  The Washington Post reports today that when the president tasked military leaders with devising the best strategy to defeat ISIS, the Pentagon presented a plan that involved a limited number of combat "boots on the ground."  They were rebuffed, in favor of a more politically-palatable light footprint approach:

Such a mission was not the U.S. military’s preferred option. Responding to a White House request for options to confront the Islamic State, Gen. Lloyd Austin, the top commander of U.S. forces in the Middle East, said that his best military advice was to send a modest contingent of American troops, principally Special Operations forces, to advise and assist Iraqi army units in fighting the militants, according to two U.S. military officials. The recommendation, conveyed to the White House by Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was cast aside in favor of options that did not involve U.S. ground forces in a front-line role, a step adamantly opposed by the White House...Recommitting ground combat forces to Iraq would have been highly controversial, and most likely would have been opposed by a substantial majority of Americans. But Austin’s predecessor, retired Marine Gen. James Mattis, said the decision not to send ground troops poses serious risks to the mission. “The American people will once again see us in a war that doesn’t seem to be making progress,” Mattis said. “You’re giving the enemy the initiative for a longer period.”
This turn of events was inevitable, given the instincts and priorities of the Oval Office's current occupant.  According to the New York Times' bureau chief in Baghdad, the Obama administration has serially misled the American people about on-the-ground realities in Iraq in order to protect a politicized "receding tide of war" illusion.  The president shrunk from his own red line in Syria last year due, at least in part, to heavy domestic pressures, ultimately resorting to a fake "solution" that has since collapsed
Having ignored and dismissed ISIS for years, the president has finally been pressed to play catch-up with events.  Public opinion has turned sharply in favor of intervention, likely spurred by grisly images of beheaded American journalists broadcast around the world, but most are still wary of ground troops.  Obama -- once again leading from behind with no discernible strategy beyond 'win the current news cycle' -- is giving the public what it wants at the moment.  Nothing more, nothing less.  Following that "best military advice" would have required the president to forcefully make the case that a limited American ground force was vital to victory. He clearly had no appetite to do so, as it would have entailed further eroding his anti-war cred and infuriating his core base ahead of an election.
Read it all

I've seen a lot of commentary on this, but the bottom line is that the military is horrified at Obama's 'strategy,' and the guy who is supposed to advocate for the military in the White House - Chuck Hagel - has been predictably silent.

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The average American's reaction to President Obama's ISIS speech


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Saturday, September 13, 2014

How to anger just about everyone in Israel

43 IDF reservists from 'Unit 8200,' Israel's showcase intelligence unit from which much of the country's high tech has been spawned, have sent a 'letter of insubordination' to the IDF and the media. The letter says that they refuse to 'harm innocents' as part of their IDF service.
The soldiers, who include extremist leftist activists, complained that their service to Israel's security "harms innocents."
"There is an idea that serving in the intelligence corps does not include moral dilemmas, and only contributes to the lessening of violence and harm to innocents," wrote the insubordinate soldiers in their letter. "But during our military service we learned that the intelligence corps is an inseparable part of the military control of the territories (Judea and Samaria - ed.)."
According to the soldiers, the Arab residents of the region are "completely exposed" to Israeli spying and surveillance, adding "as opposed to Israeli citizens of citizens of other countries, there's no oversight on methods of (intel) gathering, surveillance and use of information in regards to Palestinians, whether they're involved in violence or not."
"The intelligence (corps) allows continued control over millions of people, a deep and penetrating supervision and invasion of (privacy in) most aspects of life. All of this does not allow a normal life, fuels more violence, and distances the end of the conflict," claimed the signatories.
The IDF responded before the Sabbath started. Most of the other responses have come this evening.
In response to the letter, the IDF Spokesperson Unit noted "Unit 8200 has worked from the day of its formation to gather intel, which allows the IDF and security sources to fulfill their missions, and on a daily basis aids in the protection of citizens of the state of Israel."
"The Unit acts through a variety of means and on many fronts, while using methods and rules aimed solely at the necessities of intelligence," added the statement, responding to the claims of invading privacy in numerous aspects of daily life.
The statement added "those serving in the Unit are certified after a strict identification process, in training that has no equal in the intelligence community in Israel and abroad, during which contents learned with a special emphasis on ethics, values and work regulations are imprinted."
"These are implemented effectively through the military service of the soldiers and captains in the Unit, and are overseen through constant inspection by commanders of different rankings," said the statement.
In a particularly low blow, the letter was sent to the media before it was sent to the soldiers' IDF commanders.

After the Sabbath started, Walla reported that a counter letter from current and past members of 8200 was published.
"We are veterans of Unit 8200, soldiers and reserve soldiers, past and present, who wish to express shock, disgust and total renouncement of the letter written by our fellow soldiers, who chose political refusal over our unit," the opposing text said.
"This political refusal has no place in the army in general and in Unit 8200 in particular," it continued. "In the hour that reserve soldiers are called to serve their country, we put aside our preferences and political opinions and go to serve our country."
"We regret that our friends make cynical use of politics in their legal and moral duty to serve in the reserve unit, which in our eyes constitutes the highest honor, and seek [instead] to undermine the activities and achievements in the unit's defense of the country and its people." 
The veterans also rejected the initial letter's outrageous claims that the IDF was using information on Palestinian Arabs to "stalk" them and "harass innocent people" instead of defending Israeli civilians. 
"As those familiar with the unit for many years, we cannot accept the allegations of lack of ethical and moral principles of intelligence work in the unit," it said. "From our first days in the unit, we learned the importance of monitoring and collecting data in accordance with high professional standards and regulations."
"Both in regular and reserve services, we have witnessed many cases where the operation of the unit's intelligence capabilities resulted in the preservation of human life on both sides," it continued. "Even when ethical dilemmas arise on the job, and during the war, witnesses [of crimes] were and still dealt with in a mature and responsible manner, in line with the principles of international law and the code of ethics and morals of the army."
Over 150 people have expressed support for the counter-letter so far, and the initiators are attempting to collect as many signatures as possible before mailing a physical copy of the document to the leftist opponents in the next several days.
Tonight, opposition leader Yitzchak Herzog - a Major in 8200 - came out against the letter.
"Proper disclosure, I am a major in Unit 8200 and have accompanied it for decades,” wrote Herzog on Facebook. "I love the unit, its soldiers and commanders. Its contribution to the security of Israel and its citizens, and even beyond that, is immense. Thousands upon thousands of Israeli citizens owe it their lives. Fighting terror is meticulous and complex work that requires the best minds.”
"I oppose refusal to serve and am wholly disgusted by it,” he added. “This unit and its operations are vital not only for wartime but especially and mostly for peace.”
"When one speaks of a diplomatic arrangement and the setting of borders, one is speaking about advance warning stations and intelligence abilities, in order to locate and block the extremist forces that will do everything to sabotage peace.”
"I am not saying that there are no mistakes. Certainly, these are possible, and Israel's military history is full of them, but there are ways to complain and bring the complaints to an inquiry and discussion. I also think that there are ways of effecting change, certainly when there is a feeling that injustice was done somewhere. But not by encouraging and calling for refusal to serve, or through damaging global publicity whose price we – the citizens of Israel – will pay.”
Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon also slammed the reservists
"I have been familiar with Unit 8200 and is activities for decades, and certainly since I was appointed head of the Intelligence Corps and became aware of the enormous contribution of the men of this unit to the security of the citizens of Israel," Ya'alon said.
Praising he soldiers of the unit for performing "amazingly well" under difficult circumstances, he added that "Unit 8200 preserves the existence of the State of Israel."
"The attempt to harm the unit and its operations via a call for insubordination, based on allegations which do not represent the actions of the unit or the values of its personnel is a foolish and obscene attempt to support the international false delegitimization campaign against the State of Israel and the soldiers of the IDF."
"The soldiers of Unit 8200 are moral and ethical" he insisted, and called on people to support "them and their actions which are so important to the security of the State of Israel and the security of its citizens."
This ought to do wonders for morale - which was of course the goal of the letter writers. But the bigger problem is that it plays into the hands of Israel haters everywhere. The soldiers will likely be dishonorably discharged - and that cannot happen a moment too soon. 

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BDS vote at CUNY postponed

On Friday, I reported that a vote on boycotting Israel was scheduled for 6:00 pm Friday night at the City University of New York. After a lengthy debate, that vote was postponed.
After a lengthy heated debate on Friday evening, that included additional time for both sides to present the arguments, a motion was eventually passed to table the resolution for a future date.
Despite the vote's difficult timing for observant Jews, a number of pro-Israel groups also turned out to support CUNY students and faculty who opposed the resolution.
 “It is a routine tactic of the BDS movement to hold votes on or around Jewish holidays in order to shut out pro-Israel voices,” Jacob Baime, Executive Director of the Israel on Campus Coalition – who attended the Friday evening vote – told JNS.org. “When the facts are known, BDS fails.”
The proposed resolution, which is titled “The Endorsement of Boycott of Israeli Academic Institutions”, called on the CUNY system to endorse a “boycott of Israeli academic institutions and the divestment from Israeli companies” as well as ending academic partnerships with Israeli institutions such as the one between Baruch College and Israel’s College of Management and Academic Studies.
The resolution also expresses support for “Palestinian students and academics in their struggle against the Zionist policies of the Israeli state and its restrictions.”
Baime added that he is proud of the CUNY students and faculty for their strong showing despite having little time to prepare.
We're not out of the woods on this one yet. But it's promising. 

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Not a US ally anymore?

Shavua tov, a good week to everyone.

Turkey - led by President Hussein Obama's best friend forever - is refusing to collaborate with the United States against the Islamic State terror organization (Hat Tip: Joshua I). But Obama is loyal to Recep Tayyip Erdogan - unlike his attitude toward the United States' real allies. Instead of punishing Turkey for its obstinence, within 24 hours of Turkey's refusal to join, US Secretary of State John Kerry was in Ankara meeting with Erdogan.
After a two-and-a-half hour meeting, the pair emerged to announce that they had decided to cooperate “against all terrorist movements in the region,” rather than just against IS.
The announcement, which was brief and contained almost no details, was a signal that Turkey and America will not permit an open rift over Turkey’s reluctance to join the US-led coalition. Instead, Turkey and the US will continue to help the Syrian opposition and to share intelligence. Neither of these developments should come as a surprise.
The compromise is considerably less than the US had hoped for at the beginning of the week.
Thursday’s conference of Arab nations and the United States in Jeddah marked the point when it became clear that Turkey - even though it is the only NATO member in the region - would not be a full member of the coalition. For some observers the realization brought home claims made earlier this week by Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen that Turkey and Qatar were neither definite friends nor enemies, but ‘frenemies’.
The Turkish delegation seems to have had the package of US military measures unveiled to them in Jeddah. But when Turkey’s foreign minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu, phoned home for further instructions, he was told not to sign.
Sabah, a newspaper close to the Erdogan government outlined what it says is the “partial support” that Turkey will give the US-led coalition; humanitarian assistance, intelligence, and border security.
On the face of it, this package adds little or nothing particularly new. Work is already well underway in all three areas. Turkey is a refuge for around one million Syrian refugees and it now recognises that it needs to prepare its borders against possible incursions from IS-occupied areas. Turkish forces are also doing what they can to make the highly porous frontier between Syria and Turkey and between Turkey and Iraq more secure, although with a border stretching more than 820 km with Syria and 350-km border with Iraq this is an extremely difficult task.
Quite apart from a sense of comradery with Sunni activists in Syria and Iraq, Turkey’s hands are also tied by another issue that hung over the talks.
As long as 49 Turkish hostages, diplomats, family and staff from the consulate-general, are being held in Mosul by IS, Turkey cannot take strong moves against the militants without endangering the lives of the captives.
While this consideration was not been openly stated, it was brought up immediately by Turkish officials, who began discussing the problem immediately after their country failed to sign the Jeddah communiqué on Thursday.
It is possible that Turkey is clandestinely providing more support to the anti-IS alliance than it openly admits. Indeed, there are claims that US drones from Incirlik air-base are taking part in strikes on Iraq, but there has so far been no confirmation of this and if Kerry has extracted assistance of this sort, there was no hint of it today. Instead, for the time being, the US and Turkey seem mainly to have agreed to paper over the cracks in a difficult relationship.
In a Saturday editorial, the Wall Street Journal said that Turkey is not a US ally and that the US ought to move its airbase out of Incirlik. Incirlik is less than 100 miles from Turkey's border with Syria. 
US daily The Wall Street Journal has claimed in its editorial on Saturday that it is the "unavoidable conclusion" that the US needs to find a better regional ally to fight the self-proclaimed Islamic State (ISIL) than Turkey, suggesting that the air base Turkey is currently hosting should be moved somewhere else.
Recalling Turkey's reluctance in joining the anti-ISIL coalition, the editorial said not only will Ankara take no military action, it will also forbid the US from using the US air base in İncirlik—located fewer than 100 miles from the Syrian border—to conduct air strikes against the terrorists.
"That will complicate the Pentagon's logistical and reconnaissance challenges, especially for a campaign that's supposed to take years," it added.
The newspaper said the US military will no doubt find work-arounds for its air campaign, just as it did in 2003 when Turkey also refused requests to let the US launch attacks on Iraq from its soil in order to depose Saddam Hussein. It said Turkey shares a 910-km border with Syria and Iraq, meaning it could have made a more-than-symbolic contribution to a campaign against ISIL.
The daily described it as a "reality" that the Turkish government, a member of NATO, long ago stopped acting like an ally of the US or a friend of the West. The editorial quoted former US Ambassador to Turkey, Francis Ricciardone, who said this week that the Turkish government "frankly worked" with the al-Nusrah Front—the al Qaeda affiliate in Syria—along with other terrorist groups. It claimed that Ankara also looked the other way as foreign radical groups used Turkey as a transit point on their way to Syria and Iraq.
The WSJ noted that İncirlik air base has been a home for US forces for nearly 60 years, but perhaps it's time to consider replacing it with a new US air base in Kurdish territory in northern Iraq.
Don't expect Obama to listen to that advice. What could go wrong?

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Friday, September 12, 2014

It's come to this: 'Jewish' university slammed for anti-Israel bias by Fox

Mr. Justice Brandeis has just taken another turn over in his grave. The 'Jewish' university that bears his name has just been slammed for anti-Israel bias by Fox News, and justifiably so.
Boston's Brandeis University may have been founded by American Jews, but it has become a hothouse of anti-Israel sentiment, according to Fox News.

The TV news channel was referring to thousands of electronic messages from Brandeis faculty that were obtained and published by conservative students.

The messages, which were distributed to academics on a closed mailing list known as a ListServ, "reveal a long-standing and vehement anti-Israel bias and anger at Fox News and a human rights advocate who renounced her Muslim faith," according to Fox.

The messages, Fox continues, "were hyperbolic in their condemnation of Israel, regarding the recent fighting in Gaza and prior conflicts with the Palestinians." They also include "accusations that Israel has committed war crimes and 'holocaustic ethnic cleansing' against Palestinians," Fox says.


Fox comments that the "one-sided view of the Middle East is not new at the school, founded in 1948, the same year Israel was established, with funding from the American Jewish community."

The ListServ in question, titled “Concerned,” was started by faculty members in 2002 “out of concern about possible war with Iraq.” It has more than 90 subscribers and is used to correspond about current news, Israel, Jewish people, America and world affairs in general.The messages also include attacks on Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a human rights activist who survived genital mutilation as a child in Somalia, renounced her Muslim faith and now crusades against radical Islam, Fox writes. Ali was slated to receive an honorary doctorate at Brandeis in April before the ceremony was canceled amid campus protests.

Fox quotes a message from Brandeis Professor of English Mary Baine Campbell, who apparently described Ali as “an ignorant, ultra-right-wing extremist, abusively, shockingly vocal in her hatred for Muslim culture and Muslims, a purveyor of the dangerous and imaginary concept, born of European distaste for the influx of immigrants from its former colonies… To call her a ‘woman’s rights activist’ is like calling Squeaky Fromm an environmentalist.’”

Brandeis president Frederick Lawrence commented: “While we maintain our staunch support of freedom of expression and academic inquiry, some remarks by an extremely small cohort of Brandeis faculty members are abhorrent. Such statements, which include anti-Semitic epithets, personal attacks, denigration of the Catholic faith and the use of crude and vulgar terms in discussions about Israel, do not represent the Brandeis community,” he wrote. “I condemn these statements under no uncertain terms.”
Ah, but will Lawrence bring them up on disciplinary charges? Is there anyone to whom he could bring them up if he wanted to? Just yesterday, the University of Illinois voted to deny a faculty position to someone who expressed similar sentiments.  Is there any hope of this 'Jewish university' doing the same?

Read the whole thing. Shabbat Shalom everyone.

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How could a group called 'Islamic state' not be Islamist?

Only in the bizarre world of Barack Hussein Obama could a terror organization called 'Islamic state' (formerly known as ISIS or ISIL as Obama insisted on calling it) not be Islamist. This is from Phyllis Chesler.
He lost me when he referred to ISIS as ISIL, thus undercutting their view of themselves as a routinely Islamist imperialist venture which views not only Iraq and Syria as part of their future "Caliphate," but one which includes Lebanon, Jordan, Israel, and the disputed Palestinian territories—and perhaps Saudi Arabia and the Gulf Emirates--as theirs to command.
He lost me when he said—he actually said—that "ISIL is not Islamic. No religion condones the killing of innocents and the vast majority of ISIL's victims have been Muslims."
ISIS is most definitely "Islamic" as is the far-from-defeated Al-Qaeda, Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood, Al-Shabab, Hezbollah, and the Pakistani and Afghan Talibans, to name only a few such terrorist groups—all non-state actors, most funded by states.
Does President Obama really believe that America must still curry favor with "the Islamic world" by saying that ISIS is not "Islamic?" Does the man not know that, on his watch, America has lost the trust of every Arab and Muslim country?
Does this man not know anything about Islamic history? Of course, the majority of ISIS's victims have been Muslims; the Sunni-Shiia religious split and civil war among Muslims has been the overriding story of Islam for countless centuries.
Why did President Obama mention other "religious minorities" (that means Christians, Yazidis) second? Why did he minimize their persecution and near-extermination by counting their losses as (only) in the "tens of thousands"? If there are currently fewer Christians and Yazidis, not to mention Kurds, in the cross-fire, (let's not forget the Christians of Lebanon or Egypt at the hands of Hezbollah and the Muslim Brotherhood), it is only because those who could, fled long ago or were just forced to flee and now swell the ranks of refugees living on the edge, far, far greater in number than the poster-children among refugees, the Palestinians.
This man does not mention Israel or Jews or the fact that the Arab Middle East has been "judenrein" for a very long time. President Obama did not take this opportunity to bring Israel into the fold nor did he mention Iran, Qatar, or Turkey as primary funders of the very Islamic terrorism which is currently raging in the region and which is not confined to ISIS alone.
Obama certainly did not take this opportunity to point out that Hamas is no different from ISIS and that it has most recently conducted a campaign of terror against civilian Israelis; that the Israelis, acting strictly in self-defense, did not target civilians but on the contrary, targeted mainly adult male combatants. Even Egypt, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia have made a tactical and probably temporary alliance with Israel.
America, under Obama, still refuses to do so.
Read the whole thing. One can only shudder to think what will be left of this region by the time Obama (hopefully) leaves office in 2017. What could go wrong?

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AP forgets what its own reporter reported, Carter Center introduces new legal standard

The Associated Press reports that 'evidence is growing' that Hamas used residential neighborhoods to fire rockets.
Two weeks after the end of the Gaza war, there is growing evidence that Hamas militants used residential areas as cover for launching rockets at Israel, at least at times. Even Hamas now admits “mistakes” were made.
Mistakes? Actually, Hamas has another excuse.
But Hamas says it had little choice in Gaza’s crowded urban landscape, took safeguards to keep people away from the fighting, and that a heavy-handed Israeli response is to blame for the deaths of hundreds of Palestinian civilians.
“Gaza, from Beit Hanoun in the north to Rafah in the south, is one uninterrupted urban chain that Israel has turned into a war zone,” said Ghazi Hamad, a senior Hamas official in Gaza.
That's a load of nonsense. Here's an example. I'm embedding a satellite map of Gaza City below. You will note that various neighborhoods are outlined - some of the names will be familiar. Now notice all that open farmland on the right side on the bottom two thirds of the map. Couldn't Hamas have used that space if it really wanted to avoid harming civilians?

Gaza City satellite map

Then the AP forgets what it reported itself:
During 50 days of fighting, many observers witnessed rocket launches from what appeared to be urban areas. One piece of video footage distributed by the AP, for instance, captured a launch in downtown Gaza City that took place in a lot next to a mosque and an office of the Hamas prime minister. Both buildings were badly damaged in subsequent Israeli airstrikes.
Here's AP reporter Joseph Federman on July 9.

Let's go to the videotape. In this video, watch the question and answer sequence between 1:14 and 2:01.

Note how Federman says that two rockets were launched right outside the AP's Gaza City office!

Then there's the Carter Center's effort to set a new legal standard.
“Yes, Hamas and others may have used civilians as human shields, but was that consistent and widespread?” said Sami Abdel-Shafi, a Palestinian-American who represents the Carter Center in Gaza. “The question is whether Israel’s response was proportionate.”
Umm, no. Those are two independent questions. If Israel's response was disproportionate, that might be a war crime. Or it might not be a war crime. Recall this and this.

But if Hamas used civilians as human shields, that's a war crime regardless of whether it was consistent or widespread. And each time they did was a war crime. Targeting civilians, which is what the 'Palestinians' did on a consistent and widespread basis, is a war crime each time it's done. Imagine what our death toll would have been - God Forbid - if we didn't have Iron Dome.

Finally, here is an IDF video showing 12 examples of rocket launches from civilian areas and Gaza.

Let's go to the videotape.

Notice how most of those rockets were shot from the middle - not even the edges - of civilian areas, and they were shot at our civilians. What was the IDF to do? Do you think we should have stood our ground and not responded? Would your government have responded?

PS This article doesn't even discuss the terror tunnels, all of which used civilian structures. 

Read the whole thing.

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U of Illinois trustees vote 8-1 to reject hate speech purveyor

The trustees of the University of Illinois have voted 8-1 not to hire Native American studies professor Steven Salaita because of his hate speech.
The 8-1 decision came after top university administrators said they could not recommend hiring Salaita. His job offer was pulled last month after he wrote contentious social media posts about Israeli military action in Gaza, some of which contained profane and inflammatory language.
The rare, if not unprecedented, board decision to reject a faculty hire set the stage for either a lawsuit or a financial settlement in a case that already has led to a difficult fall semester at the Urbana-Champaign campus of the state’s flagship public university. Students have held protests on campus while faculty have argued the decision is an affront to free speech and academic freedom — the principle that protects faculty who have unpopular and controversial views.
Salaita’s attorney, Anand Swaminathan, said after the vote that “the only real route available at this point is to pursue litigation.” Salaita was scheduled to start Aug. 16 with a tenured position in the American Indian studies department, but Chancellor Phyllis Wise told him Aug. 1 that she was rescinding the job offer.
Salaita had resigned from his position on the faculty at Virginia Tech University after accepting the U. of I. job in October, but Wise began raising concerns about his Twitter posts after getting feedback from donors, students and parents in July.
Over the summer, Salaita posted prolifically about the Israeli government and its military actions in Gaza, sometimes dozens of times a day. He often focused on the number of children killed in the conflict. His academic interests are colonialism and the Middle East, and the last book he published was titled “Israel’s Dead Soul.”
Salaita has described his Twitter language as “passionate and unfiltered,” and has said his approach in the classroom is different, one where he encourages debate.
One of his posts that has garnered much attention was from June 20, soon after three Israeli teens were kidnapped and later found dead. “You may be too refined to say it, but I’m not: I wish all the (expletive) West Bank settlers would go missing.”
On July 31, he wrote: “Next time a Zionist asks you to ‘dialogue,’ remind him that you heard everything he had to say when #Israel was murdering children in #Gaza.”
It was that kind of language that U. of I. President Robert Easter and Wise alluded to when asking the board not to approve Salaita’s appointment.
Read the whole thing. He sounds like the perfect candidate for a position at Bir Zeit on the Hudson.

Earlier, the Chicago Tribune, which leans pretty far left, came out against Salaita's appointment.
[Referring to the first tweet quoted above] If that one doesn't strike you as reprehensible, substitute "African-American" or "gay" or "women" for "West Bank settlers" and imagine sitting in a classroom run by the author of that remark.. . .
Salaita was supposed to teach in the American Indian studies program, but his social media persona is built around vehement criticism of Israel, particularly its military operation in Gaza. But it wasn't his political views that cost him the job. We're sure there are plenty of other U. of I. professors who have taken sides in the Arab-Israeli conflict.
Salaita was dumped because his tweets crossed the line from caustic commentary to hate speech. Some of his remarks come uncomfortably and irresponsibly close to endorsing violence against individuals or groups of people. Some are racist. At the very least, they would create a hostile environment in which others must work or study.
Salaita has every right to say anything he wants, about Israel or anything else, but not without consequence. The university can and should weigh his public statements when deciding whether he'd be a suitable and productive faculty member.  . . .
There's plenty of room at the U. of I. for passionate intellectual discourse. There's room for profanity, vitriol and provocative language. But there's no reason to make room for hate speech.
Indeed. Although the result is still a pleasant surprise. 


How could a vote to boycott Israel pass at the City University of New York?

How could a vote to boycott Israel pass at the City University of New York? By voting on the Sabbath, of course.
Pro-Israel student activists and others accuse CUNY’s Doctoral Students’ Council (DSC) of intentionally trying to silence opposition to the measure by holding the vote at a day and time not amenable to many who would speak out against the divestment resolution.
The vote was quietly publicized earlier this week only among its supporters, spurring accusations that the DSC is attempting to ram through the divestment measure without input from pro-Israel voices, according to sources who were only made aware of the situation after an internal DSC email about the vote was leaked.
The DSC, a student body group that claims to represent popular opinion, first informed its members of the upcoming vote last Friday, Sept. 5, according to a copy of the email message obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.
Dominique Nisperos, the DSC’s co-chair for communications, informed members that no materials about the resolution would be handed out, a decision that has raised concerns among critics.
“In the interest of being environmentally friendly, we will not provide printed copies of the attached documents at the meeting,” the email said, urging members to “solicit input” from other students about the resolution. “Please arrange to have electronic or paper copies of these materials for your reference at the meeting.”
This is the second time that the DSC will put forth a divestment resolution, which is part of a larger campaign by anti-Israel activists on campus to further the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which seeks to wage an economic and cultural war on the Jewish state. DSC attempted to pass such a resolution in May.
The DSC resolution seeks to enact a boycott of Israeli universities and companies, according to a copy of the measure obtained by the Free Beacon. Critics call the move an insult to free speech and an attempt to discriminate against Israel.
“They have not been particularly forthcoming about it,” said one student who requested anonymity due to the heightened tensions surrounding such votes on campus. “They haven’t made much of an effort to tell the students what they’re doing.”
The date and time of the vote also “suggests they’re basically hijacking a false mandate that they claim to have of representing the students, and unfortunately there’s nobody countering it,” the student said. “The fact it’s going to be this Friday night, and so little time to give people warning of this meeting, makes it difficult for many to come, particularly because of Shabbat. Friday night is not a popular time for being on campus.”
CUNY is not the first university where this kind of foilershtick has been tried either.

Read the whole thing.

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Obama's great fix of US relations with the Arab Muslim world

When President Hussein Obama came to power in 2009, he promised to 'fix' US relations with the Arab world, which he claimed were fraught with tension due to the actions of the Bush administration (who else?). Obama has done a great job of it.

The 'Palestinian Authority's official daily attacked President Obama this week, claiming that Obama's so-called 'support' for Israel's Gaza operation is 'compensation for what happened to the blacks' in previous centuries.
Official publication Al-Hayat Al-Jadida printed an editorial from Ibrahim Abd Al-Majid claiming Obama, as a "black president," has committed "crimes [that] have surpassed those of all the white presidents." 
Palestinian Media Watch translated excerpts, below, into English:
Israel has found an opportunity to start [its] ethnic cleansing [in Gaza],because the Arabs are [currently] busy with what is going on in their countries - as in Iraq IS (Islamic State) expelled the Christians and nobody in the [entire] world objected... There is something unclear about the US position. Of course, it is [the US] that stands behind these [radical] factions who call themselves Islamic and are wreaking destruction in the Arab world,and that allows Israel to declare [itself] a Jewish state; yet, [Israel's] war crimes and crimes against humanity meet with no response from the US... Since the beginning of the Israeli operations, Obama has not said a word... I could find no other explanation for [Obama's] position and for US policy other than that he is a sadist from the times when the whites persecuted the blacks. He is now behaving with the same sadism that was practiced against him in the past. All the massacres of blacks in Africa and America in the 18th and 19th centuries, all the manifestations of racist discrimination that were so widespread in the US even up to the 1970s - this man sees all of these repulsive scenes in Gaza, and is happy, [seeing this] as compensation for what happened to the blacks and as an attempt to repress it, and out of pride in the actions of a black president whose crimes have surpassed those of all the white presidents.
This is not the first time a PA daily has published comments smearing Obama.
But for the fact that there are millions of nut cases out there who actually believe this nonsense, it might even be comical.

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Thursday, September 11, 2014

Border police officer indicted for beating 'Palestinian'-American, victim's uncle calls it a 'cover-up'

A border police officer has been indicted for beating Tariq Abu Khder, the cousin of Mohammed Abu Khder who was set alight and murdered in the Jerusalem forest over the summer. The identity of the police officer remains under cover. Meanwhile, Abu Khder's uncle claims that indictment is an attempt at a cover-up.
The policeman, whose name remains under a gag order, was indicted at Jerusalem magistrate's court on Wednesday for using "excessive force" that could not be justified against Tariq Abu Khder at a July 3 demonstration in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Shuafat. 
According to a justice ministry statement, "evidence was found supporting the guilt of the police officer suspected of severe violent crimes, committed after the arrest of the minor, who was handcuffed at the time." 
Tariq Abu Khder, who was arrested first for attacking a police officer during Jerusalem's riots in early July, has denied taking part in the demonstration at all, saying he was "only an observer" but fled when police "began chasing suspects," as well as claiming that he "fell and was cuffed and beaten." 
A YouTube video showing Israeli border police beating and kicking a handcuffed semi-conscious figure on the ground before dragging him away sparked a US State Department call for a "speedy, transparent and credible investigation." 
An uncle of Tariq, who has since returned home to Florida, called the indictment a "cover up" of the beating and an Israeli attempt to appease the United States.
"If Tariq wasn't an American citizen we would have never seen an investigation," Yassin Abu Khder told AFP, noting that his nephew was attacked by a "group" of policemen who had also "attacked dozens of other kids."
"But we won't see any further indictment because those kids are not American citizens," he added.
We won't see any further indictments for a different reason. The border police has the largest percentage of 'minority group members' (i.e. Arabs) of any Israeli security force. I would bet dollars to doughnuts that the officer indicted was an Arab and that's why it is being kept under raps. You want us to indict a few more Arabs for beating those kids? Sure. Then you deal with the riots and the claims that it's all a cover-up.

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I am Leon Klinghoffer

This is Monday, September 22's stop in the war on terror.

If you're in New York City, please try to be there.

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When - for a brief moment - the Americans got it

Finally, I'd like to re-post something I wrote three years ago.
One of the immediate reactions to 9/11 here in Israel - crass though it might have been - was "now the Americans will finally understand what we've been going through." In the year leading up to 9/11, Israel had suffered dozens of terror attacks. Parents looked to avoid putting their children on public buses (in fact, we have raised a generation where many of the kids no longer know how to use the buses before they are in high school). And yet, we were pushed by Clinton and by Tenet and even by Bush for the first few months, to make more concessions to the 'Palestinians' every time they murdered a few Jews.

For me, one of the most memorable pieces to come out of 9/11 was this one by Deborah Sontag. Sontag was the New York Times' bureau chief here from 1998-2001, and was a constant nemesis. She returned to New York shortly before 9/11. Here's some of what she wrote in the Sunday Times Magazine ten days after the attack.
That terrible Tuesday was the first day of American school for Emma, who was entering third grade, and Adam, who was starting kindergarten. It was a glorious morning as they skipped through downtown Brooklyn. They wore new sneakers (Stride Rite won out) and backpacks that were essentially empty but nonetheless an essential part of the American school uniform. I left Emma designing a name tag to hang above her cubby. In Adam's class, where he was seated at a table designated ''Femur'' in anticipation of a unit on the human body, I patted his blond head and inadvertently said aloud what I was thinking, ''You'll be safe here.''

Then a parent barged into the room and told a few of us that a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center. We walked, because there really was no other choice, straight to the Brooklyn promenade on the East River overlooking Lower Manhattan. The second airplane had just crashed into the twin towers, and flames were devouring the tops of the buildings. It was a perfect view of the horror, and there was nothing we could do but stare.

This was terrorism of a different magnitude. In Israel, such attacks were chillingly intimate. Within hours, everyone in the country knew who had been killed and knew someone connected to the victims. Bombings were also anticipated and routine. With grim efficiency, daily life was restored to the bombed area. But this was so vast that it could not be personalized or swept up. We were struck by the fact that no victims were named on the news that first day. We were breathing the acrid, dusty air that wafted across the river. The attack was palpable. Yet, it was beyond our grasp.

Adam was clueless when we picked him up at the kindergarten annex. In the school's main high-rise building, Emma's class waited in the overheated basement where the elementary students had been herded to stop them from watching the whole thing from their classroom windows. We pushed through the thronged halls to get outside. Passersby were wearing paper masks. ''Aliens!'' Adam said. A woman snapped at us, ''Cover your children's mouths!'' Emma burst into tears. ''My first day of school wasn't fun at all,'' she said. ''You promised. You promised it would be better here.''

In Israel, we could keep our children, who were foreigners, in a relatively secure cocoon, although that meant greatly limiting their universe. We could even isolate them from much of the news. But here, waiting for our apartment to be ready, we were staying in a hotel that was designated an emergency relief center. People were streaming over the Brooklyn Bridge covered in ash and seeking first aid in the Brooklyn Marriott. Security was tight. School for the next day was canceled. A father of one of Emma's classmates was missing. We had to start explaining. At first, I used a silly, gingerly phrase, telling Adam that a plane had ''bumped into'' the twin towers. ''By accident?'' he asked. There was no avoiding the ugly truth.

We turned on the television news. ''It looks like Israel,'' Adam said. He asked if we were going to start seeing soldiers in Brooklyn. I told him no, but then we descended to the lobby and happened on several National Guardsmen in their camouflage uniforms and army boots. We stepped outside. Sirens wailed. We were home?
Although ordinary Americans began to appreciate our plight on 9/11, except for the period between June 2002 (when Bush called for a new 'Palestinian' leadership) and Arafat's death just after the 2004 election, American leadership has largely not recognized that we and you are fighting the same battle. The first indications that would be the case came within a few days of 9/11, and the point was driven home strongly by President Bush's reaction to then-Prime Minister Sharon's Czechoslovakia speech on October 4, 2001.

The discovery of the Karine A weapons ship in January 2002 started to turn the tide with Bush in our favor, and we enjoyed two brief romances with him that have colored perceptions of his Presidency here: From June 2002 until November 2004 and during the final months of his term. Between late 2004 and early 2008, the people who pushed Bush to be more pro-Israel (the neo-cons - Rumsfeld, Cheney, Feith et al) had left the White House and those who came in their place (people like Robert Gates and Condoleeza Rice) were far less favorable to Israel.

Ten years ago today, it looked like the American leadership would understand why you cannot make peace with terrorism. Unfortunately, they no longer do. And the fact that America elected Obama three years ago has to make you wonder how many of the American people get it now either.
What I wrote three years ago about American leadership not getting it is even more true today. But the American people seem to be starting to get it. The American people overwhelmingly want their government to fight ISIS by bombing Syria and Iraq. Will that desire carry over into an election in which the current Islamist-loving American administration is replaced with one with clearer vision? We can only hope and pray. 

The time on this post is 13 years to the minute from the crash of United Airlines Flight 93 in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. The resistance put up by the passengers of that plane likely prevented it from crashing into the US Capitol or the White House. In the meantime, I'd like to remind you all of what was going on in 'Palestine' exactly 13 years ago, just a few minutes from now.

Let's go to the videotape.

That video has only 200,000 views. The one in the previous post has more than 3 million. It's time for Americans to awaken to the reality of who the 'Palestinians' are and how they really feel about the United States. It isn't going to change even if they get their 'state.'

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Video: Inside the Twin Towers

Aired on September 3, 2006 on The Discovery Channel 2007. Inside The Twin Towers. This film re-creates a minute-by-minute account of what happened inside the twin towers of the World Trade Center on September 11th, 2001. Narrated by Terrence Stamp.

If you don't take the time to watch the entire video, please watch at least the last three minutes. 

Let's go to the videotape.

This post is timed 13 years to the minute from when the terrorists crashed American Airlines Flight 77 into the Pentagon.

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The Israeli hero of 9/11

I've talked about Daniel Lewin HY"D (May God Avenge his blood) before on this blog. Danny was certified to be 9/11's first victim. He was stabbed to death while trying to prevent the terrorists from hijacking American Airlines flight 11, while he was on his way from Boston to Los Angeles for a business meeting.

Somehow, I had not seen this video of Danny's brothers talking about him before. I'd like to share it with you.....

Let's go to the videotape (Hat Tip: Leah P).

For those who did not notice, the time on this post is exactly 13 years to the minute from the United Airlines Flight 175 hitting the south tower of the World Trade Center (the previous post coincided with the time that American Flight 11 hit).

And for those of you who did not click on the first link in this post, Danny's mom has been my children's pediatrician since 1991. I saw at least one old picture of her in the video.

May Danny's memory be blessed.

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America and Israel stand together on 9/11

iVoteIsreal presents a message of solidarity on the solemn day that unites America and Israel, September 11th. Filmed in the JNF September 11 Memorial in the Jerusalem Forest.

Let's go to the videotape.

A reminder that Jerusalem's 9/11 memorial - where this video was made - is the only one outside Ground Zero that includes a list of the victims.

And in case you didn't notice, this post is going up 13 years to the minute from when American Airlines Flight 11 hit the north tower of the World Trade Center.

You can search 9/11 on this site for more posts.

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Ted Cruz comments on his appearance before Middle East Christian group

I debated just making this an update to the previous post about Ted Cruz's actions on Wednesday night, but I decided it deserved a post all by itself. I also debated whether to excerpt it or to just embed the whole post. I decided to embed the whole post.

Here's what Ted Cruz posted on his Facebook page around 12:30 am Eastern time Thursday morning (Hat Tip: Sunlight).

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The Syrian chemical weapons hoax

US Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power has all but admitted that the Obama administration's claims to have destroyed '96% of Syria's chemical weapons' are false.
Samantha Power spoke to reporters after the Security Council received a briefing from Sigrid Kaag, who heads the international effort to rid Syria of its chemical weapons.
The joint mission of the United Nations and the Organization for the prohibition of Chemical Weapons will end at the end of the month after destroying nearly all of Syria’s declared stockpile. But Kaag said the OPCW is still working with Syria to resolve discrepancies in its declaration, which she said range from outdated records to discrepancies on the volume of materials.
Power said the U.S. is concerned not only that President Bashar Assad’s regime still has chemical weapons but that any stockpiles left behind could end up in the hands of the Islamic State group, which has seized large swaths of Syria and Iraq.
Gee, ya think? Well, yeah....
[D]oubts shadow the Assad regimes statements. The main one is whether Assad is hiding undeclared poison gases and there is an investigation into reports of alleged chlorine gas use in some Syrian towns. Chorine is not specifically classified as a chemical weapon.
So here are the solid facts – Syria has not give up even a small portion of its chemical weapons. Assad is a master of deception and he found himself in front of a naive west that believed him.
Syria has one of the most advanced chemical warfare (CW) capabilities in the Middle East. The country’s initial CW capability was provided by Egypt prior to the October 1973 war against Israel. Since then, Syria appears to have acquired an indigenous capability to develop and produce chemical weapons agents, including mustard gas and Sarin, and possibly also VX nerve agent. Chemical weapons agents have allegedly been produced since the 1980s at facilities located near the Hama, Homs, and Al-Safira villages in the Aleppo region. However, Syria remains dependent on foreign sources for some dual-use equipment, and for the precursor chemicals critical to CW agent production. In recent years, Iran has been identified as a supplier of technical assistance and facilities for developing and producing CW-related precursors. Syria possesses Scud-B and Scud-C ballistic missiles, artillery shells, and rockets that are believed to be capable of delivering chemical warheads. Until recently, Syria had refused to become a member of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC)
The problem isn't that the West is naive. The problem is that Obama never wanted to deal with Assad's chemical weapons capacity in the first place (particularly because it might have verified claims by the hated George W. Bush administration that Saddam Hussein transferred chemical weapons to Syria for safekeeping before the Second Gulf War).

What could go wrong?

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Lebanese TV parody mocks suicide bombers

This is pretty funny....

Let's go to the videotape.


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Ted Cruz to Christian group: 'If you don't support Israel, I can't support you'

Ted Cruz is simply awesome. On Wednesday night, the Texas Republican Senator spoke to a group called Defense of Christians, which is fighting Islamic slaughter of Christians in the Middle East. Unfortunately, the group also includes some anti-Semites. When Cruz told them that Christians have no greater ally than Israel, some of the group started booing. Cruz didn't back down, and eventually he walked out (Hat Tip: Memeorandum).
Cruz, the keynote speaker at the sold-out D.C. dinner gala for the recently-founded non-profit In Defense of Christians, began by saying that “tonight, we are all united in defense of Christians. Tonight, we are all united in defense of Jews. Tonight, we are all united in defense of people of good faith, who are standing together against those who would persecute and murder those who dare disagree with their religious teachings.”
Cruz was not reading from a teleprompter, nor did he appear to be reading from notes.
“Religious bigotry is a cancer with many manifestations,” he continued. “ISIS, al-Qaida, Hezbollah, Hamas, state sponsors like Syria and Iran, are all engaged in a vicious genocidal campaign to destroy religious minorities in the Middle East. Sometimes we are told not to loop these groups together, that we have to understand their so called nuances and differences. But we shouldn’t try to parse different manifestations of evil that are on a murderous rampage through the region. Hate is hate, and murder is murder. Our purpose here tonight is to highlight a terrible injustice, a humanitarian crisis.”
“Christians have no greater ally than Israel,” he said, at which point members of the crowd began to yell “stop it” and booed him.
Those who hate Israel hate America,” he continued, as the boos and calls for him to leave the stage got louder. “Those who hate Jews hate Christians. If those in this room will not recognize that, then my heart weeps. If you hate the Jewish people you are not reflecting the teachings of Christ. And the very same people who persecute and murder Christians right now, who crucify Christians, who behead children, are the very same people who target Jews for their faith, for the same reason.”
The cries of “stop it, stop it, enough,” and booing continued. “Out, out, leave the stage!” At this point IDC’s president, Toufic Baaklini, came out to the stage to ask for the crowd to listen to Cruz, but Cruz had already had enough.
“If you will not stand with Israel and the Jews,” he said. “Then I will not stand with you. Good night, and God bless.” And with that, he walked off the stage.
Let's go to the videotape (Hat Tip: The Right Scoop). More after the video.

I want to respond to one claim in the Daily Caller piece (the first link) and then I want to give another blogger a say. The Daily Caller wrote:
Many Christians in the Middle East take issue with Israeli military policy, which has made life for Palestinian Christians in their homeland very difficult, and driven many from their homes. “Israel’s policies have led to demographic pressure that’s made the West Bank and Gaza far more Muslim than in 1948,” explained one Middle East analyst.
I don't know who the 'Middle East analyst' was, but he's dishonest and disingenuous. [Quote from an article on the Islamization of Bethlehem that was published in 2002, two years before Arafat's death].
But it's not Israeli Jews who are causing Christians to leave.
Since assuming control in 1995, Arafat has Islamized Bethlehem by changing the municipal boundaries of Bethlehem and its twin towns Beit Jallah and Beit Sahour. Together, they used to constitute the Christian enclave in Judea and Samaria. Arafat transformed the demography there by incorporating into the town three neighboring refugee camps, Dehaisheh, El-Ayda and El-Azeh. Thus 30,000 Muslims were added to the 65,000 residents in Bethlehem's municipal boundaries. He intensified the Islamization of Bethlehem by adding to its population a few thousand Bedouins of the Ta'amrah tribe, located east of Bethlehem, encouraging Muslim immigration from Hebron to Bethlehem, and inducing Christian emigration/flight away from Bethlehem. The Christian population has been reduced from a 60% majority in 1990 to a 20% minority (23,000) in 2001.

As a result, more Beit Jallah Christians reside in Belize (Central America) than are left in Beit Jallah itself! A similar process has also afflicted the Christians of Ramallah, now down to 20,000.

Aware of what was likely to happen under Arafat, Christian leaders had sought to prevent the transfer of Bethlehem to the Palestinian Authority. Between the 1993 signing of the Oslo Accords and the 1995 transfer of Bethlehem to the PA, Palestinian Christians lobbied Israel against the transfer. The late Christian mayor, Elias Freij, warned that it would result in Bethlehem becoming a town with churches but no Christians. He urged Israel to include Bethlehem in the boundaries of Greater Jerusalem, which had been the Jordanian practice until 1967. On July 17, 2000, upon realizing that then Prime Minister Barak recklessly proposed to repartition Jerusalem, the leaders of the Greek-Orthodox, Latin, and Armenian Churches sent a letter to Clinton, Barak, and Arafat, demanding to be consulted before such action was undertaken. Barak's proposal triggered a flood of requests for Israeli I.D. cards by East Jerusalem Arabs, who dreaded PA rule with its oppressive track record.

Setting out to "religiously cleanse" Bethlehem, in 1995 Arafat, defying tradition, slapped Christians in the face by appointing a Muslim from Hebron, Muhammed Rashad A-Jabari, as its governor. Arafat fired the Bethlehem city council (nine Christians and two Muslims) replacing them with a council equally balanced between Christians and Muslims. The entire top level of bureaucratic, security and political officials have been cleansed of Christians. The area is run by the local Muslim Fatah leader and his thugs, along with Tanzim gunmen, mostly Ta'amrah Bedouins. The PA has seized control of the Church of the Nativity, and has tightened the pressure on the Greek-Orthodox, Armenian, Latin,, and Franciscan Order in East Jerusalem. The Abraham's Oak Russian Holy Trinity Monastery in Hebron was seized by the PA on July 5, 1997, which then violently evicted its monks and nuns.

In addition, Arafat and the PA embarked on a campaign of physical and psychological intimidation of Christians. During anti-Israel PA rallies the chant is heard: "After we do away with the Saturday People, we shall take care of the Sunday People." Mosques have mushroomed adjacent to--and usually taller than--churches, implementing the tradition of Saladin, who constructed two taller mosques, Al Khanqa and Abdul Malek, contiguous to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. The curriculum at church schools has been altered, adding Islamic--and reducing Christian--studies. Loudly magnified Muslim sermons have been aired during Christian services, including the April 2000 address by the Pope in Bethlehem, which had to be recessed until the purposely-loud Muslim sermon was concluded. Abusing Church tradition, the PA has transformed a Greek Orthodox monastery, located next to the Church of Nativity, into Arafat's official residence in Bethlehem.


There has been congressional testimony on Arafat's oppression of Christians. According to former Senator Connie Mack (R-FL), "[The Palestinian Christian] was arrested and detained [by the PA] on charges of selling land to Jews. He denied the charge, since he owned no land. He was beaten and hung from the ceiling by his hands for many hours. After two weeks, he was transferred to a larger prison where he was held for eight months without trial... These Christians conveyed to me a message of fear and desperation." (Senate speech, March 3, 2000, www.senate.gov/~mack/issue/statement.htm).

The PA has imported to Gaza, Judea and Samaria in general, and most especially to Bethlehem, its oppressive legacy of Lebanonization. The Christians of Bethlehem, Beit Jallah, Beit Sahour and Ramallah are now undergoing the experiences of Lebanese Christians from 1970 to 1982. They are perceived by the PA--as were Lebanon's Christians--as a potential Fifth Column. Accused of wearing "permissive" Western clothing, Bethlehem Christian women have been intimidated by PA personnel. Rape of Christian women has occurred frequently (especially in Beit Sahour) as was the case in Lebanon. Islamic hostility, disregard for civil liberties and economic jealousy have been harnessed by Arafat and his 20,000 terrorists imported from Iraq, Yemen, Sudan, Tunisia, Jordan, and Lebanon in their campaign against the Christian infidel. Christians who dare oppose PLO oppression are accused of "collaboration" with Israel and face execution.
I don't know whether Ted Cruz was aware of all of the above. If he was, it's a pity that those present at Wednesday night's speech wouldn't have listened to it anyway.

Fellow blogger Moe Lane adds:
It would have been the easiest thing in the world for Senator Ted Cruz (R, Texas) to ignore the fact that the “In Defense of Christians” summit dinner that he was speaking tonight at had far too many people involved with it who, as the Washington Free Beacon notes, “includes some of the Assad regime’s most vocal Christian supporters, as well as religious leaders allied with the Iranian-backed terrorist group Hezbollah.” But he did not. Instead, he told those folks the truth.
I cannot tell you how much I hope Ted Cruz runs for President in 2016. I would support him. But how many American Jews (as opposed to American Jewish expats living in Israel) would support him? Sadly, probably very few. After all, Ted Cruz is a conservative Republican.  

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