Sunday, March 29, 2015

(Full Film in HD) The J Street Challenge

...The J Street Challenge is an important and timely documentary about a significant issue facing the American Jewish community. Since it was founded in 2008, J Street's idealistic message has attracted many Jews, young and old, who are frustrated by the Middle East conflict and sincerely want peace between Arabs and Jews. J Street has been a subject of controversy. Critics claim that J Street has divided the Jewish community and weakened American Jewish support for Israel. "The J Street Challenge" lets viewers hear both sides of this important debate over the elusive solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict.

apeacet..
23 March '15..

The J Street Challenge is an important and timely documentary about a significant issue facing the American Jewish community.

Since it was founded in 2008, J Street's idealistic message has attracted many Jews, young and old, who are frustrated by the Middle East conflict and sincerely want peace between Arabs and Jews. J Street has been a subject of controversy. Critics claim that J Street has divided the Jewish community and weakened American Jewish support for Israel. "The J Street Challenge" lets viewers hear both sides of this important debate over the elusive solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict. The film explores the reasons for J Street's appeal, as well as the diverse and at times contradictory motivations of its leaders and followers. The film is being released at a critical time for the American Jewish community given the intense efforts by the United States to resolve the conflict and influence the community's leadership to support these efforts. The Kerry peace initiative has further divided the Jewish community, with J Street working to weaken the influence of AIPAC while strongly backing the administration.



The film includes distinguished scholars and writers from a wide political spectrum, including Harvard professors Alan Dershowitz and Ruth Wisse, Rabbi Daniel Gordis of the Shalem College in Jerusalem, Caroline Glick, Managing Editor of the Jerusalem Post, Professor Richard Landes of Boston University, Lenny Ben David -- former Israeli diplomat and author, and Bret Stephens, Pulitzer prize winning columnist for The Wall Street Journal.

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9zDZ-BjEisc

Updates throughout the day at http://calevbenyefuneh.blogspot.com. If you enjoy "Love of the Land", please be a subscriber. Just put your email address in the "Subscribe" box on the upper right-hand corner of the page.Twitter updates at LoveoftheLand as well as our Love of the Land page at Facebook which has additional pieces of interest besides that which is posted on the blog. Also check-out This Ongoing War by Frimet and Arnold Roth. An excellent blog, very important work as well as a big vote to follow our good friend Kay Wilson on Twitter
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Over 100 Years of Chronic Arab Rejectionism

The history of the Arab-Israeli conflict reveals 24 major junctures when compromise was offered since the 1920s, dating from pre-state, League of Nations Mandate to the present time. Plan after plan, including patently pro-Arab proposals, were put on the table. Since the 1993 Oslo Accords, 15 agreements and memorandums have been signed. This piece examines those agreements and Arab response or compliance in each case.


Eli E. Hertz..
MythsandFacts.org..
28 March '15..











“The Palestinians never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.“
Israeli Foreign Minister Abba Eban

Arab claims that the Israeli “Occupation” prevents peace is nothing more than a red herring. It is not “The Occupation” that Arabs reject; it is Israel 's right to exist as a Jewish, sovereign and legitimate political entity.

What prevents achieving peace is Arab rejectionism, which began in the 1880s when the first Jewish immigrants returned to the land of Israel . 1 Since the 1920s, long before the establishment of Israel or the 1967 Six-Day War, Palestinian Arabs have used a combination of diplomatic moves and violence, particularly terrorism 2 against Jewish civilians, effectively rejecting every form of compromise.

At the crux of the Arab-Israeli conflict is the Arab world's refusal to accept a non-Muslim political entity in the Middle East.

Peace requires an Arab world that recognizes Israel as a legitimate political entity. Legitimacy means a polity with viable and defendable borders where the Jews can exercise their own rights of self-determination by virtue of demographics (i.e., a Jewish majority) –hegemony that is reflected in the cultural and the political life of the Jewish nation.

The Arab refusal to recognize Israel and their attempts to destroy the Jewish state are among the defining characteristics of Palestinian society. Measures designed to destroy Israel vary from use of force (through wars, Intifadas , violent riots, revolts and terrorism) to use of economic and demographic forces (economic boycotts, demands for jobs in Israel, Palestinian infiltration into Israel without visas or other permits, and demands that Palestinian refugees from 1948 and their descendants be allowed to return to Israel). Absolute antipathy and intolerance towards non-Muslim political entities is a fate Jews shared with the Maronite Christians in Lebanon , even though Israel inhabits no more than 0.01 percent of the Middle Eastern landscape.

For almost 100 years, Palestinian behavior has been based on rejectionism and political violence. The Palestinian refugee problem created in 1948 did not spark those strategies, nor did the “Occupation” of the Territories in the wake of the 1967 Six-Day War, which brought Israeli control over West Bank (Judea and Samaria ) and Gaza .

Arabs have rejected the presence of Jews with political aspirations to rebuild their ancient homeland since the advent of political Zionism. When in 1891 the number of Jewish immigrants leaving the country equaled the number of new arrivals, and nine years of Zionist endeavor, had produced barely a dozen struggling and insolvent Jewish agricultural settlements. Arab notables from Jerusalem called upon the Ottoman administration to ban Jewish immigration and the sale of land to Jews. 3

At each juncture when attempts to reach a ‘live-and-let-live' solution have been advanced, Arab responses have boiled down to a two-pronged offensive that dovetails diplomacy with violence. In short, the Arabs, and particularly the Palestinians, have refused to recognize Israel as a legitimate entity or to negotiate genuine compromise. Instead, they have tried to drive the Jews out through violence and terror.

(Continue Reading)

Updates throughout the day at http://calevbenyefuneh.blogspot.com. If you enjoy "Love of the Land", please be a subscriber. Just put your email address in the "Subscribe" box on the upper right-hand corner of the page.Twitter updates at LoveoftheLand as well as our Love of the Land page at Facebook which has additional pieces of interest besides that which is posted on the blog. Also check-out This Ongoing War by Frimet and Arnold Roth. An excellent blog, very important work as well as a big vote to follow our good friend Kay Wilson on Twitter
.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Israel must take Iran at its word

Yes, Israel must take Iran at its word and recognize that the nightmare of an Iranian regime able to back its rhetoric with substance will soon be its new reality. Under such circumstances, the Israelis would be foolish to respond to the threat with inaction.

Michael Rubin..
Commentary Magazine..
27 March '15..

As President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry rush to a nuclear deal that addresses few of the original issues that have sparked international concern with regard to Iran’s nuclear program, it may be useful to consider just why Israel has come to view a nuclear capable Islamic Republic of Iran as an existential threat. While there is much to criticize in the technicalities of the agreement, the consistency and frequency of Iranian threats against the Jewish state, as well as the prestige within Iran of those who have made such threats, are too often ignored.

Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini was an unabashed racist and anti-Semite. He began his seminal essay on Islamic government—the exegesis that underlays the Islamic Revolution and Islamic Republic—by cursing the Jews. “From the very beginning, the historical movement of Islam has had to contend with the Jews, for it was they who first established anti-Islamic propaganda and engaged in various stratagems, and as you can see, this activity continues down to the present,” he declared.

Then, of course, there have been the repeated declarations about Israel’s destruction. Iranian authorities have declared the last Friday in Ramadan to be “Qods [Jerusalem] Day” and have reserved it for the most vitriolic sermons and threats. It was on Qods Day in 2001 that Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, a former president and one of the most influential regime figures, declared, “If a day comes when the world of Islam is duly equipped with the arms Israel has in possession, the strategy of colonialism would face a stalemate because application of an atomic bomb would not leave anything in Israel but the same thing would just produce damages in the Muslim world.” Hassan Rouhani was, of course, Supreme National Security Council chairman at the time. He applauded. Has he changed? No. One of his first actions as president was to underscore the importance of the annual Qods Day rally.

Other Iranian figures appointed by the supreme leader have also threatened to eradicate Israel by means of nuclear weapons. Why Western diplomats believe the assurances they receive in English when the supreme leader’s inner circle says quite the opposite in Persian is something someone might want to ask America’s nuclear negotiators. Likewise, while Obama seems to embrace the pre-World War I notion of secret treaties, there is no reason why the supreme leader’s fatwa against nuclear weapons should remain secret unless, of course, the assurance which Obama so often cites simply does not exist. Certainly, if the backbone of newfound trust in Iran is such a fatwa, the White House could provide its text. That it chooses not to do so again amplifies concerns that Obama has become Khamenei’s useful idiot.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Managing Obama’s war against Israel by Caroline Glick

...Our current situation is unpleasant. But it isn’t the end of the world. We aren’t helpless. If we act wisely, we can stem Iran’s nuclear and regional advance. If we act boldly, we can preserve our alliance with the US while adopting a policy toward the Palestinians that for the first time in decades will advance our interests and our liberal values on the world stage.

Caroline Glick..
Column One/JPost..
26 March '15..

On Wednesday, the Jerusalem Municipality announced it is shelving plans to build 1,500 apartments in the Har Homa neighborhood. Officials gave no explanation for its sudden move. But none was needed.

Obviously the construction of apartments for Jews in Jerusalem was blocked in the hopes of appeasing US President Barack Obama.

But is there any reason to believe he can be appeased? Today the White House is issuing condemnations of Israel faster than the UN.

To determine how to handle what is happening, we need to understand the nature of what is happening.

First we need to understand that the administration’s hostility has little to do with Israel’s actions.

As Max Boot explained Wednesday in The Wall Street Journal, the administration’s animosity toward Israel is a function of Obama’s twin strategic aims, both evident since he entered office: realigning US policy in the Middle East toward Iran and away from its traditional allies Israel and the Sunni Arab states, and ending the US’s strategic alliance with Israel.

Over the past six years we have seen how Obama has consistently, but gradually, taken steps to advance these two goals. Toward Iran, he has demonstrated an unflappable determination to accommodate the terrorism supporting, nuclear proliferating, human rights repressing and empire building mullahs.

Beginning last November, as the deadline for nuclear talks between the US and its partners and Tehran approached, Obama’s attempts to accommodate Tehran escalated steeply.

Obama has thrown caution to the winds in a last-ditch effort to convince Iranian dictator Ali Khamenei to sign a deal with him. Last month the administration published a top secret report on Israel’s nuclear installations. Last week, Obama’s director of national intelligence James Clapper published an annual terrorism threat assessment that failed to mention either Iran or Hezbollah as threats.

And this week, the administration accused Israel of spying on its talks with Iran in order to tell members of Congress the details of the nuclear deal that Obama and his advisers have been trying to hide from them.

In the regional context, the administration has had nothing to say in the face of Iran’s takeover of the Bab el-Mandeb Strait and the Gulf of Aden this week. With its Houthi-proxy now in charge of the strategic waterway, and with its own control over the Straits of Hormuz, Iran is poised to exercise naval control over the two choke points of access to Arab oil.

The administration is assisting Iranian Shi’ite proxies in their battle to defeat Islamic State forces in the Iraqi city of Tikrit. It has said nothing about the Shi’ite massacres of Sunnis that come under their control.

Parallel to its endless patience for Tehran, the Obama administration has been treating Israel with bristling and ever-escalating hostility. This hostility has been manifested among other things through strategic leaks of highly classified information, implementing an arms embargo on weapons exports to Israel in time of war, ending a 40-year agreement to provide Israel with fuel in times of emergency, blaming Israel for the absence of peace, expressing tolerance and understanding for Palestinian terrorism, providing indirect support for Europe’s economic war against Israel, and providing indirect support for the BDS movement by constantly accusing Israel of ill intentions and dishonesty.

Can Cuba Substitute For Palestine? The Obama Challenge

...A reminder: in the early years of Oslo, Congress made U.S. funding for the PA contingent on full Palestinian compliance. Miracle of miracles. Every official U.S. assessment concluded that the Palestinians were in complete compliance. Expect the same automatic pass if we start moving down a timeline to the creation of a sovereign Palestinian state.

Dr. Aaron Lerner..
IMRA Weekly Commentary..
25 March '15..

Here’s the optimistic scenario: If Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu holds firm, President Obama will ultimately reach the conclusion that all the left wing Israelis and American Jews are wrong in their assessment that Netanyahu will capitulate to pressure. With an eye on his place in the history books, Mr. Obama will then focus on orchestrating a series of photo ops featuring him as the man who restored relations with Cuba. Don’t be surprised to see photo spreads of a presidential family vacation at a Cuban beach resort. No doubt there will also be a cute photo of his wife glaring at him as he lights up a Cuban cigar.

More likely scenario: President Obama keeps turning the screws to the very end of his term. Prime Minister Netanyahu doesn’t buckle to American pressure and make the best of the situation with his coalition of 67 MKs.

Worst case scenario: Buckling to pressure, Israel finds itself locked into a framework, followed by a timeline that includes step-wise Israeli withdrawals subject to Palestinian compliance.

A reminder: in the early years of Oslo, Congress made U.S. funding for the PA contingent on full Palestinian compliance. Miracle of miracles. Every official U.S. assessment concluded that the Palestinians were in complete compliance.

Expect the same automatic pass if we start moving down a timeline to the creation of a sovereign Palestinian state.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

WSJ Review & Outlook - Obama’s Israel Tantrum

...In a day when the President’s chief of staff invokes the lexicon of Palestinian terrorists to describe Israel’s democracy, Americans and the world are left to wonder whose side the leader of the free world is on.

Wall Street Journal..
Review & Outlook..
24 March '15..

You’ll have to forgive President Obama. The leader of the free world is still having difficulty accepting that the Israeli people get to choose their own prime minister, never mind his preferences.

The latest White House tantrum in the wake of Benjamin Netanyahu’s re-election last week took the form of a speech delivered Monday by Chief of Staff Denis McDonough, in which he declared that “an occupation that has lasted for almost 50 years must end.”

When a chief of staff speaks in public, especially as the keynote speaker at a scheduled event, the President has signed off. In this case the audience was also carefully chosen: the annual conference of J Street, a left-leaning Jewish lobbying group that has never met an Israeli concession it didn’t like. Which makes it all the more distressing that Mr. McDonough would talk about Israel in language usually associated with Palestinian terror groups.

Mr. McDonough’s remarks come amid other expressions of presidential pique—including last week’s unprecedented threat that Mr. Netanyahu’s re-election may mean an end to U.S. backing for Israel at the United Nations, and this week’s report in the Journal that the Israelis have been spying on the U.S.-Iran nuclear talks. (Israel denies it, and we don’t condone such spying, but the U.S. also shouldn’t be keeping its allies and Congress in the dark.) Not to mention the more or less constant snubs and insults directed at the Israeli prime minister by unnamed Obama officials, with one calling him a “coward.”

Mr. Obama was counting on Mr. Netanyahu to be defeated in last week’s election, and the President did what he could to help that defeat along. But Mr. Obama’s overt hostility backfired. In the normal course of things, this would be the time for the White House to soften the rhetoric and seek to restore relationships.

Instead, the President and his team seem out for revenge. So while Mr. Netanyahu has clarified his comment about his opposition to a Palestinian state (he says he supports a two-state solution but now is not the time) and apologized to Arab Israelis for his remarks about their votes during the waning hours of the election, the President and his team have been escalating.

Perhaps this is a sign that the nuclear negotiations with Iran aren’t going as well as the President had planned, notwithstanding his willingness to let Iran preserve much of its nuclear infrastructure. So desperate is the U.S. for an Iran deal, the French look like hard-liners, hardly a consoling thought.

Mr. Obama, about that hubris that's lasted seven years...

...While the Obama Administration is lashing out at Netanyahu after unsuccessfully trying to prevent his reelection, the Palestinians keep getting a free pass. Obama has never demanded from Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas to demonstrate his commitment to the two-state solution, nor has he ever threatened to reevaluate his policy toward the PA, despite Abbas’ alliance with Hamas; despite the absence of elections in the PA since 2006; despite Abbas’ failure to respond to former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s 2008 peace offer; despite Abbas’ rejection of Hillary Clinton’s 2011 peace proposal, and his rejection of John Kerry’s last year; despite Abbas’ outrageous charge of genocide against Israel from the UN General Assembly podium; despite the anti-Semitic incitement in Abbas’ state-controlled media; despite Abbas’ repeated declarations that no Jew shall be tolerated in the Palestinian state;...

Dr. Emmanuel Navon..
i24 News..
25 March '15..

Benjamin Netanyahu’s statement on election day about Arab voters was inappropriate, as he himself admitted by apologizing. But Barack Obama had no business commenting on what is an internal Israeli matter. You would think that after seven years of counter-productive Middle East policy, Obama would have learned his lesson. Not at all: in his case, nemesis nurtures hubris.

The Obama Administration is incensed at Israel these days. The President himself publicly reprimanded Israel’s Prime Minister for his election day comment, and expressed concern for the future of Israeli democracy. Obama’s Chief-of-Staff, Denis McDonough, declared at the J-Street conference this week that “an occupation that has lasted 50 years must end.” State Department Spokesperson Mary Harf stated that it is for Israel to “demonstrate commitment to a two-state solution” and hinted that the Obama Administration does not trust Netanyahu: “We just don’t know what to believe at this point”, she said.

Barack Obama’s concerns about Israeli democracy hardly sound genuine in light of recent revelations about his undercover attempts to influence the outcome of Israeli elections. Israeli journalist Avi Issacharoff just revealed in The Times of Israel that a senior Israeli official speaking on condition of anonymity disclosed that the Obama Administration was directly involved in an attempt to topple the Israeli Prime Minister. On March 22, Republican strategist John McLaughlin declared on “The Cats Roundtable” radio show that “President Obama and his allies were playing in the election to defeat Prime Minister Netanyahu”, using US taxpayers' money to fund the V15 campaign against Netanyahu, a campaign guided by former Obama political operative Jeremy Bird.

Obama’s attempt to undermine Netanyahu went beyond V15. On March 6, less than two weeks before Election Day, Israeli journalist Nahum Barnea published a document revealing that Netanyahu had allegedly agreed to a Palestinian state along the pre-1967 lines with land swaps and Israeli recognition of Palestinian claims over East Jerusalem. In other words, that Netanyahu had agreed to concessions he publicly opposes. Who could possibly have leaked such a document if not the Obama Administration? Precisely because Obama was trying to turn right-wing voters away from Netanyahu with this leak, Netanyahu had no choice but to reassure those voters by declaring that a Palestinian state would not be established on his watch. To echo Mary Harf, we just don’t know what to believe at this point: two weeks ago, the Obama Administration wanted us to believe that Netanyahu was a starry-eyed peacenik; now it is warning us that he is a peace renegade.

Who Exactly is Dashing Palestinian Hopes?

...A week before the Israeli elections, the PA dedicated a new monument to Dalal Mughrabi. Dalal Mughrabi’s claim to fame is that she led the most lethal terror attack in Israel’s history. She and other Fatah terrorists hijacked a bus on Israel’s Coastal Highway, killing 37 civilians, 12 of them children, and wounding over 70. Yet you can not find coverage of this event in the Times. Does the Times really believe that actions such as these do not impact Palestinian hopes of statehood?

Yarden Frankl..
Honest Reporting..
24 March '15..

In an editorial entitled Keeping Palestinians Hopes Alive, the New York Times cites the reelection of Prime Minister Netanyahu as dealing a crushing blow to peace, an end to Palestinian hopes for an independent state. The only way forward is to freeze Israel out of the process.

While Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu dealt a grievous blow to a negotiated peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians, for baldly political reasons, the idea of two states living side by side in that region remains the best alternative to violent confrontation and should not be allowed to die.

But who has really dealt a “grievous blow to a negotiated peace agreement?” Has the Times forgotten the record of what really has been going on the last few years between Israel and the Palestinians? While claiming that it is Israel and Netanyahu who are to blame, they ignore the consistent, anti-peace actions of the Palestinian Authority over the years.

The PA has partnered with Hamas, a terror organization committed to Israel’s destruction. The PA has sought recognition for statehood at the United Nations and is joining dozens of international organizations. These moves have been criticized by the US as inconsistent with peace efforts.

There has also been no reduction in the glorification of terrorism and incitement against Israel by the PA.

Absolutely, Mr. President, Time to Stop Pretending About the Middle East Peace Process

...There’s not much secret that Obama’s reaction to Netanyahu’s statements stems largely from his anger about the prime minister’s decisive victory, coming as it did after he spoke to Congress in opposition to the president’s push for a dangerous nuclear deal with Iran. But the problem here is not so much the way the Israeli election demonstrated again what a sore loser the president can be. Rather, it is his determination to distort the facts about the conflict to conform to his pre-existing prejudices about both Israel and Netanyahu that makes his reaction so egregious. It is exactly his fixation on peace hinging on Israel’s acceptance of two states that is so inaccurate.

Jonathan S. Tobin..
Commentary Magazine..
25 March '15..

If only he really meant it. During his joint press conference yesterday with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, President Obama addressed the tension between the United States and Israel by saying that American policy toward the Middle East must be rooted in reality. The remark was yet another White House jab at Prime Minister Netanyahu’s pre-election comments about not allowing a Palestinian state to be created on his watch. The president said that Netanyahu’s statement, even after he had walked it back after his election victory, had changed the reality of the region and that the U.S. can’t base future strategy on events that couldn’t happen. Fair enough. But what the president failed to note was that this is exactly what he has been doing throughout his presidency with respect to the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.


The president’s latest shot over Netanyahu’s bow was not meant to be subtle:

I am required to evaluate honestly how we manage Israeli-Palestinian relations over the next several years. … What we can’t do is to pretend there’s a possibility of something that’s not there. And we can’t continue to premise our public diplomacy based on something that everybody knows is not going to happen at least in the next several years. That is something that we have to, for the sake of our own credibility; I think we have to be able to be honest about that.

The unspoken threat there—made more explicit in comments leaked to the press by officials speaking without direct attribution—was that the U.S. would reevaluate its willingness to stand up for Israel at the United Nations and other international forums. By making it clear that he doesn’t believe the two-state solution is possible in the foreseeable future, Netanyahu had not merely offended Obama but gave him the opportunity to fundamentally change U.S. policy in a way that would tilt it even more toward the Palestinians and against the Jewish state.

The justification for such a switch will be to head off what Obama called the possibility of complications from Netanyahu’s candor:

That may trigger, then, reactions by the Palestinians that, in turn, elicit counter-reactions by the Israelis. And that could end up leading to a downward spiral of relations that will be dangerous for everybody and bad for everybody.

That means Obama believes he must address Palestinian distress at Netanyahu’s foreclosing the possibility of their getting an independent state. The president is right about the possibility of a surge in violence, but not about its cause.

There’s not much secret that Obama’s reaction to Netanyahu’s statements stems largely from his anger about the prime minister’s decisive victory, coming as it did after he spoke to Congress in opposition to the president’s push for a dangerous nuclear deal with Iran. But the problem here is not so much the way the Israeli election demonstrated again what a sore loser the president can be. Rather, it is his determination to distort the facts about the conflict to conform to his pre-existing prejudices about both Israel and Netanyahu that makes his reaction so egregious. It is exactly his fixation on peace hinging on Israel’s acceptance of two states that is so inaccurate.