Wednesday, March 31, 2010

A deepening crisis between U.S., Israel


John Bolton
American Security Council
29 March '10

Passover is an unfortunate time to be asking what has gone wrong between America and Israel. Is today's strenuous disagreement over Israel's West Bank housing policy the real problem, or is this controversy merely a symptom of deeper, more profound differences?

Partly because of the extraordinary secrecy surrounding Prime Minister Netanyahu's recent White House meeting with President Obama, much remains hidden from public view. Nonetheless, after 14 months in office, Obama has made clear he sees the U.S.-Israeli relationship very differently than any of his predecessors.

Consider, for example, Obama's September 2009 U.N. General Assembly speech, profoundly anti-Israeli, and to a body where Israel is perennially even more isolated than the United States. There, among other things, Obama called for a "Palestinian state with contiguous territory that ends the occupation that began in 1967."

That, of course, is the Palestinian position. No wonder they are "outraged" at every subsequent Israeli construction project outside the 1967 borders. No wonder Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas told an Arab League summit on Saturday he would not negotiate with Israel until all settlement activity ceases. They see Obama delivering Israel into their hands, and they will simply insist on their optimal position while they measure how well he succeeds.

More fundamentally, Obama assumes, as do many Europeans, that solving or at least making substantial progress on Arab-Israeli issues is key to many other Middle East problems. In particular, he believes there will be no progress against Iran's nuclear weapons program until there is proof that Israel's commanding position has been reduced.

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Israel's Crisis and Opportunity


Steven M. Goldberg
American Thinker
31 March '10

(Perhaps a bit more on the dire side than my taste, but some interesting points)

Rahm Emanuel famously proclaimed, "You never let a serious crisis go to waste. And what I mean by that is it's an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before." Ironically, although the President's Chief of Staff has proven to be a false friend of Israel, the leadership of the Jewish State would do well to heed his advice.

That Israel is in peril is obvious. Israel's enemies sense the opportunity to destroy it through a perfect storm, a confluence of events that seem to leave Israel reeling and vulnerable. First and foremost is the unmistakable betrayal by the President of the United States, who has loudly broadcast his eagerness to sacrifice the security of the Jewish State to appease the Muslim world. Israel is under enormous duress to surrender vital territory to allow for the creation of a Palestinian state within its borders. That such a development would be catastrophic for Israel is apparent to anyone who knows history. As former Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin stated, "The Palestinian state can only emerge on the ruins of Israel."

In addition, Iran is hell-bent on developing nuclear weapons, and it is clear that the international community will do nothing to stop it. President Obama appears to be pressuring Israel to refrain from military action to stop the Iranian threat. Hezb'allah and Hamas have restocked their arsenals of rockets and missiles, which now threaten to reach the center of Israel, including Tel Aviv. The European Union is championing the Fayed Plan, pursuant to which the Palestinian Authority would unilaterally announce the establishment of the Palestinian state, which would shortly thereafter be recognized by the United Nations Security Council. In view of President Obama's indifference and even antipathy to Israel, the United States cannot be counted on to exercise its veto.

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McCarthyism!

For all the hysteria, no government is behind the "campaigns against groups and people on the Left."


Seth J. Frantzman
Terra Incognita/JPost
30 March '10

Hardly a week goes by here without the claim, usually by groups on the Left, that people are being silenced and censored by McCarthyism. In an October 2009 article, Benjamin Pogrund claimed that university groups such as Isracampus and Israel Academic Monitor were attacking leftist professors in “classic McCarthyite style.” David Newman of Ben-Gurion University has written that “the academic McCarthyism of the right endangers Israeli democracy and society. It threatens the very basis of freedom of speech.”

The hullabaloo over Naomi Chazan, former Knesset member, professor and chief of the New Israel Fund, in early 2010 resulted in a wave of claims of McCarthyism. An interview with her by Donald Macintyre in The Independent was titled “The new McCarthyism sweeping Israel.” Hagai El-ad of the Association for Civil Rights in Israel claimed “these are classic McCarthy techniques, portraying our organizations as enemies of the state.”


Then earlier this month, the Education Ministry ordered its logo removed from a Web site called Common Ground that is supported by the Abraham Fund, an organization that claims it supports “coexistence.” In response, a senior official at a non-governmental organization claimed that “this is a McCarthyist period we’re going through.” Prof. Daniel Bar-Tal and many others have, in recent years, joined the chorus claiming McCarthyism is growing in Israel.

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Lady Gaga Versus Mideast Peace


Bret Stephens
Wall Street Journal
29 March '10

Pop quiz—What does more to galvanize radical anti-American sentiment in the Muslim world: (a) Israeli settlements on the West Bank; or (b) a Lady Gaga music video?

If your answer is (b) it means you probably have a grasp of the historical roots of modern jihadism. If, however, you answered (a), then congratulations: You are perfectly in synch with the new Beltway conventional wisdom, now jointly defined by Pat Buchanan and his strange bedfellows within the Obama administration.

What is that wisdom? In a March 26 column in Human Events, Mr. Buchanan put the case with his usual subtlety:

"Each new report of settlement expansion," he wrote, "each new seizure of Palestinian property, each new West Bank clash between Palestinians and Israeli troops inflames the Arab street, humiliates our Arab allies, exposes America as a weakling that cannot stand up to Israel, and imperils our troops and their mission in Afghanistan and Iraq."

Mr. Buchanan was playing off a story in the Israeli press that Vice President Joe Biden had warned Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu "what you're doing here [in the West Bank] undermines the security of our troops." Also in the mix was a story that Centcom commander David Petraeus had cited Arab-Israeli tensions as the key impediment to wider progress in the region. Both reports were later denied—in Mr. Biden's case, via Rahm Emanuel; in Gen. Petraeus's case, personally and forcefully—but the important point is how eagerly they were believed. If you're of the view that Israel is the root cause of everything that ails the Middle East—think of it as global warming in Hebrew form—then nothing so powerfully makes the case against the Jewish state as a flag-draped American coffin.

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What Makes This President Different from All Other Presidents?


Jonathan Tobin
Contentions/Commentary
29 March '10

As the dispute between the Israel and the United States enters its third week, President Obama’s anger at Israel and his determination to force Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to give in on the question of building in the eastern sector of Israel’s capital is apparently unabated.

Yet this is hardly the first dispute between the two countries. Every administration since 1967 has proposed peace plans and negotiating strategies that Israel disliked or actively resisted. Genuine friends such as Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush, as well as less friendly presidents such as Jimmy Carter and George H.W. Bush, all pushed hard at times for Israeli acceptance of unpalatable concessions. But in spite of these precedents, Barack Obama has managed to go where no American president has gone before. For all the problems created by all his predecessors about settlements in the West Bank, no previous American leader has ever chosen to draw a line in the sand about the Jewish presence in Jerusalem.

It is true that the United States never recognized Israel’s annexation of the eastern sector of the city after Jerusalem’s unification in 1967. In fact, it has never even recognized western Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. But the new Jewish neighborhoods that sprang up along the northern, eastern, and southern outskirts of the city, as well as the Jewish Quarter in the Old City, were never a source of contention even during the presidencies of Carter and the elder Bush. Indeed, the notion that places such as Ramat Eshkol, Pisgat Zeev, Gilo, and even Ramat Shlomo (the site of the “insult” to Vice President Biden) are considered “settlements” by the United States and thus no different from the most remote hilltop outpost deep in the West Bank is something that has come as a complete surprise to most Israelis, let alone American supporters of Israel.

During the course of his first go at Netanyahu, Obama made it clear that, contrary to a promise given by George W. Bush in 2004, he considered the bulk of settlements situated close to the 1967 borders, which Israelis believe they will keep even in the event of a peace deal, to be just as illegitimate as more controversial communities. In the hope of defusing the argument, Netanyahu reluctantly agreed to a freeze in these towns and villages while still maintaining that Jerusalem could not be treated in the same way. But Washington’s demand that the freeze be extended to eastern Jerusalem signals that Obama clearly believes that, like the big settlements of Ariel and Ma’ale Adumim, the homes of the approximately 200,000 Jews who live in eastern Jerusalem are also on the table.

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False settler linkage denies Jewish refugee rights


Bataween
Point of No Return
30 March '10

The fixation with Israel's 'settlements' as the leading obstacle to peace in the Middle East has spawned a worrying trend: a false linkage between Israeli settlers and Palestinian Arab refugees.

In December, Ray Hanania, in his manifesto as Palestinian presidential candidate, put forward a proposal linking Jewish settlers and Arab refugees.

Now it's the turn of the director of the Middle East Centre at St Antony's College Oxford, Eugene Rogan. Rogan brightly unveils a plan, in an article for the Financial Times (28 March) Refugees for settlers is the way forward for Israel, proposing an exchange between Israeli settlers in Judea and Samaria and Palestinian refugees living in Syria and Lebanon.

While Jewish settlers would be allowed to stay in territory that will become a Palestinian state, descendants of Palestinians from refugee camps in Syria and Lebanon, Rogan argues, should be permitted a 'right of return' to their 'ancestral homes' in Israel proper.

"The only way forward is to put a real price on settlements that might make the Israeli government pause before expanding them," Rogan writes.

There are several things wrong with Rogan's plan. It is nothing more than a proposal to allow a Palestinian 'right of return' to Israel by subterfuge - a red line Israel has always refused to cross. Assuming that principle is enshrined in international law - a dubious proposition - why limit that 'right of return' to Palestinians from Syria and Lebanon? What about Palestinians in Jordan? Egypt? Kuwait? Chile? An influx of hundreds of thousands, largely radicalised, Arabs displacing current occupants from their 'ancestral homes' in Israel (assuming these homes still exist) would be a recipe for chaos and violence.

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Middle East: Are Europeans Thwarting Normalization?


Khaled Abu Toameh
Hudson New York
30 March '10

Like most of the Arab world, Fatah and Hamas are strongly opposed to any form of normalization with the Jewish state.

Ironically, the anti-normalization movement in Egypt and Jordan - the only two Arab countries that have signed peace treaties with Israel - is the strongest and most vocal.

Similarly, Fatah, whose leaders signed the Oslo Accords and supposedly recognized Israel's right to exist, has long been spearheading the anti-normalization campaign in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

It is easy to understand why Hamas and Muslim fundamentalists are opposed not only to normalization with Israel, but to the very existence of the Jewish state. However, it's hard to see why the "moderates" in Ramallah, Cairo and Amman continue to call for the boycott of Israel.

It is even more difficult to understand why EU-funded NGOs in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and the Arab world are taking an active role in the anti-normalization campaign. Why are Dutch, Swedish, Danish and Belgian tax-payers funding organizations whose main goal is to widen the gap between Jews and Arabs instead of bringing them closer to each other?

Wouldn't be better and more beneficial if Europeans started investing their money in programs and seminars that promote coexistence and tolerance between Arabs and Jews? An organization that combats normalization with Israel is actually serving the interests of the extremists of the Arab world who want peace without - and not with - Israel.

On the other hand, there's a large degree of hypocrisy in the fact that Fatah is opposed to normalization with Israel.

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Next Year in Occupied East Jerusalem!


Avi Davis
The Intermediate Zone
28 March '10

Over the weekend I was a victim of a hoax. An internet scenario played out a scene in which Barack Obama tells a visiting Israeli delegation to the White House, headed by Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, that he believes the cause of peace would be advanced if the words “Next Year in Jerusalem” were excised from the Passover Haggadah.

The prime minister, squirming uncomfortably in his seat, looks from aide to aide before finally offering to remove the words from the Yom Kippur service but not the Haggadah. Not satisfied with the response, Obama stands up to excuse himself for dinner, indicating that he will be back later. ” I’ll give you some time to think about it and will return to have you sign the new edict.”

I believed it for a moment because, like all parody, it possesses an inkling of truth. Given this administration’s impatience with the Netanyahu government’s obduracy in attaching itself to a united Jerusalem, one would think that there is indeed some substance to the idea that the Obama administration not only wants to sever East Jerusalem from West, but the Jewish people’s attachment to the city in general.

Maybe that is why an unconfirmed rumor circulating the Internet, that the Obama White House seder will not conclude with the traditional words ” Next Year in Jerusalem” for fear of offending Palestinian sensibilities, has gained such currency.

It may all be nonsense but still it leaves many with the sense that things seem to have gone very wrong. During his electoral campaign, Obama’s own platform called for a united Jerusalem and the U.S. Congress itself has been behind that very notion since at least 1995 when it passed The Jerusalem Embassy Relocation Act.

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Leaving Behind All Logic and Rational Policy in an Effort to Bash Israel


Barry Rubin
The Rubin Report
29 March '10

When you barely scratch the surface of what's being said by the Obama Administration and supporters about its current one-way feud with Israel it is easy to see how ludicrous are the claims being made.

For example, here's Thomas Friedman producing a much-quoted statement where no one seems to see the glaring omission:

“This tiff actually reflects a tectonic shift that has taken place beneath the surface of Israel-U.S. relations. I'd summarize it like this: In the last decade, the Israeli-Palestinian peace process — for Israel — has gone from being a necessity to a hobby. And in the last decade, the Israeli-Palestinian peace process — for America — has gone from being a hobby to a necessity. Therein lies the problem.”

Typically, of course, he leaves out the second main party: the Palestinians. Imagine, in a conflict between two sides, the attitude of one of them has been completely left out of this formula. So I would add: for the Palestinians (or, if you wish, Palestinian Authority) the peace process has gone from a necessity to a nuisance.

And by the way: can anyone make a serious argument that obtaining a quick peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority is either possible or a necessity for the United States? No. And the only way that this claim can be asserted is by systematically censoring out a dozen counter-arguments.

Moreover, as the United States fights for an instant peace process—only a few weeks after President Barack Obama admitted in January that it wouldn’t go anywhere—the Palestinians have been the main factor blocking it. The PA has refused to negotiate for 14 months while daily Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has expressed the willingness to talk immediately.

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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Tom Friedman sings in the Obama Chorus


Fresnozionism.org
29 March '10

I don’t know why I keep expecting better from Friedman. But his recent op-ed in the NY Times puts him squarely on the Dark Side.

Sometimes the brightest guys can’t see their noses in front of their faces. I’m going to quote him at length. As you read this, ask yourself a) what he is leaving out, and b) what he assumes about Israeli intentions and character.

The collapse of the Oslo peace process, combined with the unilateral Israeli pullouts from Lebanon and Gaza — which were followed not by peace but by rocket attacks by Hezbollah and Hamas on Israel — decimated Israel’s peace camp and the political parties aligned with it.

At the same time, Israel’s erecting of a wall around the West Bank to prevent Palestinian suicide bombers from entering Israel (there have been no successful attacks since 2006), along with the rise of the high-tech industry in Israel — which does a great deal of business digitally and over the Internet and is largely impervious to the day-to-day conflict — has meant that even without peace, Israel can enjoy a very peaceful existence and a rising standard of living.

To put it another way, the collapse of the peace process, combined with the rise of the wall, combined with the rise of the Web, has made peacemaking with Palestinians much less of a necessity for Israel and much more of a hobby. Consciously or unconsciously, a lot more Israelis seem to believe they really can have it all: a Jewish state, a democratic state and a state in all of the Land of Israel, including the West Bank — and peace.

Friedman is absolutely right that the collapse of the Oslo process and the violent Arab reaction to Israel’s unilateral withdrawals decimated the Israeli “peace camp.” But he somehow manages to ignore the causality involved.

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Journalists From The West Always Collaborate With Me


Tuvia Tenenbom
Hudson New York
29 March '10

Mahmoud Darwish, heard of him? His books are sold here at the “Yafa: Book Store & Coffee Shop,” where you sip your sweet and bitter coffee at about quadruple the cost other caf├ęs in the area charge, but you get the chance to entertain your mind with the loftiest of issues.

Haven’t heard of him? Don’t feel bad. Mahmoud Darwish, who passed away in August of 2008, is the most celebrated Palestinian writer of our time. Many of the books sold here are in Arabic, and nine out of ten Israeli intellectuals who come by don’t read Arabic to start with.

Relax. Sip your hot coffee a while longer, drink a cold soda in between. You certainly won’t be bored here. There are a few books in Hebrew as well, for those Jews who insist on reading, but no pressure to buy.

Drinks are more expensive than paper in this establishment and the owner will be thankful to you no matter how you spend your time. Some folks, those who don’t like to read or to drink, come here to listen. This is a place for peace, anti-war; everyone in sight is peaceful and accommodating.

Most who enter -- surely you won’t be surprised by this -- are left-wing Israelis for whom the Coffee Shops is a Mecca. Some Jews come here to give a speech and sell their wares. Like Prof. Shlomo Sand. Heard of him? If you didn’t, maybe you should. Michel, the Coffee Shop’s owner, for example, is an admirer. “Usually,” Michel tells me as he pours his expensive coffee for me, “I give people one hour to talk. But to Prof. Sand I gave three hours.” Michel is an Arab, Prof. Sand is a Jew, and the love between them crosses borders of national identities. “He has an exceptionally good mind,” Michel says to me. “Did you read his recent book?”

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The Significance of Passover for Contemporary Arab and Muslim History


Barry Rubin
The Rubin Report
29 March '10

One of the greatest little challenges of my life--at least in terms of needing to react instantly--came when I was sitting in a meeting with high-ranking Egyptian officials during Passover. One of them asked me if it was true that the Jews had a holiday about defeating the Egyptians. I realized I had about ten seconds maximum to come up with the best answer.

And it then came to me: "Ah, I replied, those were jahiliyya times."

In Islam, the time before the beginning of that religion is viewed as a time of not only paganism but barbarism. Pharoah is a villain in the Koran. So they instantly accepted my answer: celebrating a story which ends with the drowning of pharoah isn't an act against Egypt but against a hated tyrant.

We are in a similar situation today. Change for the better will only come when the ideas and individuals who dominate the Middle East today--and oppose modernization, women's equality, democracy, peace with Israel, and real friendship with the West--are seen not as heroic leaders embodying Arabism and Islam but as unrepresentative tyrants.

That is not going to happen any time soon. It will take decades. Coincidentally, I just read the following written by George Orwell in 1946:

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Monday, March 29, 2010

Chag Pesach Sameach

The ‘Obama Intifada’ Begins in Israel


Abraham H. Miller
Pajamasmedia.com
29 March '10

This Passover, as in every previous Passover, the struggle for Jewish survival continues.

We now face an administration that has turned a bureaucratic flap over an incomplete building permit into a diplomatic crisis with Israel.

Ramat Shlomo is a Jewish neighborhood. The Arabs never protested building there because the Arabs never envisioned that Ramat Shlomo would be turned over to them in a final peace accord.

Twelve years ago, major construction began in Ramat Shlomo without a stone being thrown.

Today, a fourth stage of a seven-stage building permit and the rebuilding of Jerusalem’s central synagogue, malevolently and illegally destroyed under the Jordanian occupation, creates an Intifada, the Obama Intafada.

Obama has created negotiation positions for the Palestinians they themselves knew were unrealistic. But no Palestinian leader can afford to demand less for the Palestinians than the Americans are willing to demand for them.

First there was the demand for a settlement freeze as a prelude to negotiations. But negotiations took place all the time while settlements were being built. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas never asked for a freeze as a precondition, but once Obama carved out that position, Abbas had to fall into line. Can the Palestinian president be more accommodating to the Israelis than the Americans are?

Then, of course, the Obama administration put the building freeze in Jerusalem on the table. Abbas never asked for a freeze in Jerusalem until after the administration took the lead. Does the Obama administration believe they can make Jerusalem Judenrein (“Jew free”)?

Building in Ramat Shlomo, and the reopening of the central synagogue, the Huvra, transformed into rallying cries for a new Intifada, about which the administration remains mute. Whenever Jews choose to return to where they lived before the Jordanians evicted them, they are met with outcries from the international community. This is the same international community that chose to be blind and mute about Jews being evicted from their homes and cut off from their holy places during the Jordanian occupation.

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Obama's Jewish Defenders


Caroline Glick
carolineglick.com
29 March '10

Two weeks ago, President Barack Obama opened a diplomatic war on Israel. The proximate cause of his offensive was the Jerusalem District Planning and Building Board's decision to approve the future construction of 1,600 housing units in northern Jerusalem.

The goal of the assault is twofold. First, it seeks to undermine the legitimacy of Israel's control over Jerusalem in order to weaken Israel's standing among the American public. As Obama advisor Martin Indyk mocked, Obama's onslaught against Israel has made the Netanyahu government "supersensitive," about Jerusalem.

Second, as Obama's advisors explained to The Atlantic, through his unprecedented attacks on Israel's right to sovereignty over its capital city, Obama is working to topple Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's government in the hopes of replacing it with a leftist government led by Tzipi Livni and Kadima.

It is a startling turn of events. Obama of course was elected to the presidency with the overwhelming support of the American Jewish community. Part of that support - which netted him 78 percent of the Jewish vote -- was based on his repeated assertion that he is absolutely committed to Israel's security.

Obama's expressed desire to overthrow the democratically elected government of Israel stands in contrast to his refusal to acknowledge the basic illegitimacy of the Iranian regime he seeks to appease. That government is founded on last June's stolen presidential elections which returned Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to power amidst massive opposition from the Iranian people. And of course, the Iranian regime which Obama coddles is publicly developing nuclear weapons with the declared purpose of destroying Israel; serves as the leading state sponsor of terrorism; and according to the US and British militaries is training al Qaida and Taliban fighters to kill US and British forces in Afghanistan and Iraq.

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President Obama Follows Up on His Middle East Victory, A Satire


Barry Rubin
The Rubin Report
29 March '10

“President Obama! President Obama,” said the aide in a cheery voice as he entered the Oval Office, “we just heard that Prime Minister Netanyahu is going to stop all construction in Jerusalem and give in to all your demands!”

“That is wonderful news,” chortled the chief executive. ‘’And as you know I never waste a moment. Quick! Get me my friend Mahmoud Abbas on the phone.”

With the magical swiftness of the White House communications equipment, within moments the leader of the Palestinian Authority was on the line. Quickly, Obama explained to him what had happened, adding, “and now we can move quickly to a comprehensive peace.”

“Not so fast,” answered Abbas. “Since you got the Israelis to back down on that issue—and a great job you did, Mr. President-- surely you can now get them to agree to a return to the 1967 borders, accept all the Palestinian refugees who want to go live in Israel, and drop all the demands they have on us to do anything. Oh, and they have to agree that if we sign a peace treaty that doesn’t mean the conflict is over so we can then launch another round to get everything.”

“But you said that’s all you needed to make a peace treaty!”

“Oh, yes, Mr. President, it’s all I need. But then there are all those Fatah leaders who have the real power and they have their heart set on a Palestinian state from the Jordan river to the Mediterranean. Then there are those Hamas leaders, and you know how unreasonable they can be! Why if I settled for anything less they’d have my head! Oh, yes, that reminds me, unless Hamas agrees do keep in mind that anything I accept doesn’t apply to the Gaza Strip and Hamas. They can just go on fighting. Hope you don’t mind.”

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Obama's Israeli coalition members


Caroline Glick
carolineglick.com
28 March '10

Americans watching in horror as Barack Obama makes clear that he is an enemy, not a friend of Israel, will be shocked to know that while the Israeli public shares their estimation, the Israeli media and the political left are taking Obama's side against Israel.

It is important to understand the context behind what is happening today in Israel because the powers that be on the Israeli Left are advancing several different agendas at once by attacking Netanyahu.

For their part, Yediot Ahronot, Ma'ariv and Channel 2 television news which is owned by more or less the same people as Yediot, are all battling Netanyahu as a proxy against his political supporter US billionaire Sheldon Adelson. Adelson owns the new free daily newspaper Yisrael Hayom and his is distributing for free in 350,000 copies a day. Recently, Yisrael Hayom began publishing a weekend newspaper as well.

Before establishing Yisrael Hayom, Adelson made two attempts buy Ma'ariv which has been hemorrhaging cash for years. After the leftist media establishment circled the wagons to block him, Ma'ariv's primary owners, the Nimrodi family rejected his offer.

Just this month, they sold a large share of the newspaper to high-tech multimillionaire Zaki Rakib. Media analysts suspect that something other than financial interests played a role in the deal because no one believes that Ma'ariv has a future in light of Adelson's move to capture the newspaper advertising market with his free paper. Among other things, it has been reported that Rakib has just formed an investment fund with Yediot's heiress Judy Shalom-Nir-Mozes.

So too, in Jul 2008 Yediot lost its monopoly, (i.e. more than 50% share) of the Israeli daily newspaper market due to Yisrael Hayom's erosion of its readership. Both Yediot and Ma'ariv declared war against Netanyahu in the hopes that by putting the squeeze on him, he will prevail on Adelson to cut back on Yisrael Hayom's circulation. In light of Yediot's owners' ownership shares in Channel 2, financial interests have played a role in the television station's animosity towards the premier.

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The hard truths the UN does not want to hear


Bataween
Point of No Return
28 March '10

When David Littman of the NGO World Union of Progressive Judaism chose to address a poorly attended session about the rights of Jewish refugees from Muslim lands at the UN Human Rights Commission in Geneva (sic) on 23 March, it was too much for the vice-president of the session to take: to Littman's point that there were more Jewish refugees than Palestinian Arab refugees, the vice-president blurted out his surprise: "Excuse me, sir?" and promptly cut Littman off. He allowed other delegates to have their say uninterrupted. Via Jihadwatch (With thanks: Eliyahu)



Here is most of David Littman's text:

"Our written statement *contains full facts and figures relating to the British Partition Plan of 1922, by which more than 77% of the 1921 League of Nations designated area of Palestine [120,000 km²] became the Hashemite Emirate of Trans-Jordan, renamed The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan in 1946. Then came the UN General Assembly 1947 Partition Plan, whose aim ** was to divide the area west of the river Jordan - covering the remaining 23 percent of the original Mandate area - into "independent Arab and Jewish States", with Jerusalem as a corpus separatum administered directly by the United Nations. This UN 'Partition Plan' was categorically refused by all Arab League countries, five of whom then invaded Israel [- a day after its rebirth on 15 May 1948].

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New World’s Record for Chutzpah: Obama’s Seder


Jonathan Tobin
Contentions/Commentary
28 March '10

Some 29 years ago, the first president Bush earned the enmity of American Jews with his rant about being “one lone guy” standing up against the horde of AIPAC activists exercising their constitutional right to petition Congress. Bush’s statement symbolized the intolerance and enmity that his administration felt toward Israel and its American friends. But say one thing for that Bush and his secretary of state, James “f@#$ the Jews” Baker: at least they never pretended to be anything but what they were, country-club establishment Republicans who were not comfortable with Israel or Jewish symbols. Not so Barack Hussein Obama.

After a week spent beating up on Israel, blowing a minor gaffe into an international incident, subjecting Israel’s prime minister to unprecedented insults that Obama would never think of trying on even the most humble Third World leader, and establishing the principle that the Jewish presence in eastern Jerusalem — even in existing Jewish neighborhoods — is illegal and an affront to American interests – after all that, Obama plans on spending Monday night mouthing a few lines from the Passover Haggadah at a Seder held in the White House.

According to the New York Times, Obama will take part in a Seder in the Old Family Dining Room along with a band of court Jews such as David Axelrod and Valerie Jarrett. The Seder, as the newspaper notes, will end, according to tradition, with the declaration of “next year in Jerusalem.” (Never mind the current chill in the administration’s relationship with Israel.)

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Bombers For Settlements


Avi Davis
The Intermediate Zone
25 March '10

I can’t say I disagree with the Wall Street Journal’s Bret Stephens all too often. His is the first piece of writing I turn to every Tuesday morning, so certain am I that I will be greeted by a succinct, well argued editorial, wrapped in elegant, wry prose.

But his last two pieces for the print version of the Journal have angered me, not for the thrust of his arguments, but for some ancillary matters that he allowed to slip into the writing which betrayed a bias out of keeping with his generally level headed approach.

On Tuesday, March 16, his piece Settlements Aren’t the Problem, he let fly this doozy of a paragraph:

“It’s easy to dislike Israel’s settlements, and still easier to dislike many of the settlers. Whatever your view about the legality or justice of the enterprise, it takes a certain cast of mind to move your children to places where they are more likely to be in harm’s way. In the current issue of The American Interest, former U.S. Ambassador to Israel Daniel Kurtzer persuasively spells out the many ways in which the settlement movement has undermined Israel’s own rule of law, and hence its democracy.


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Another Triumph of Smart Power


John Noonan
The Weekly Standard
26 March '10

Over at the Washington Post, Jackson Diehl dives into an unnecessarily tense meeting between Israeli prime minister Netanyahu and President Obama.

Obama has added more poison to a U.S.-Israeli relationship that already was at its lowest point in two decades. Tuesday night the White House refused to allow non-official photographers record the president’s meeting with Netanyahu; no statement was issued afterward. Netanyahu is being treated as if he were an unsavory Third World dictator, needed for strategic reasons but conspicuously held at arms length. That is something the rest of the world will be quick to notice and respond to. Just like the Palestinians, European governments cannot be more friendly to an Israeli leader than the United States. Would Britain have expelled a senior Israeli diplomat Tuesday because of a flap over forged passports if there were no daylight between Obama and Netanyahu? Maybe not.

President Obama's stewardship of the special U.S.-Israel relationship has been nothing short of shameful. But, beyond that, his behavior towards Netanyahu doesn't make a lick of sense. There's no quantifiable end game here. Obama is either so caught up in his own personality cult that he honestly believes he can drive a wedge between the Israeli electorate and Netanyahu's fragile government (unlikely), or he's just that infantile -- throwing a temper tantrum over an ill-timed settlement announcement.

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'Jews not allowed to pray' in Maimonides synagogue


Bataween
Point of No Return
28 March '10

More proof, if proof were needed, that Egypt intends its synagogues to be museums. Lord forbid any Jew should actually want to pray in one. From the Elder of Zion blog, via Solomonia:

Zahi Hawass, the Jew-hating general secretary of Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities and Egypt's top archaeologist, has announced that he will not allow any Jew to pray in the restored Maimonides synagogue in Cairo.

He told a Muslim scientific forum that "his decision to close the temple was a reaction to Israeli attacks on Islamic holy sites in Jerusalem."

He stressed that he would treat the Maimonides synagogue the same as any other Egyptian antiquities, and that the decision to cancel the opening rededication ceremony of the synagogue was to keep history and politic separated.

But he would not allow any Jew or Israeli to pray there and he would not allow the Egyptian Jewish community to administer the site. He also said that this was a reaction to "provocative practices that carried out by the Jews in their celebration which was held in the temple." He was referring to the dancing and drinking of wine, which he felt offended a billion Muslims.

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A portrait of the extremist mainstream in Great Britain, a man with a problem with Jewish names


Robin Shepherd
Robinshepherdonline.com
28 March '10

Back in 2003, Richard Ingrams, one of Britain’s best known columnists and a co-founder of the satirical weekly Private Eye wrote in the Observer (sister newspaper on Sunday to the Guardian) the following gem about his attitude to Israel and the Jews:
“I have developed a habit,” he said, “when confronted by letters to the editor in support of the Israeli government to look at the signature to see if the writer has a Jewish name. If so, I tend not to read it.”

As I have said on many occasions (see previous entry for example), there is now no price to be paid in mainstream Britain for such attitudes. They are taken as normal. Now consider his latest piece of writing, this time in the Independent, as an example of what happens when such “normal” attitudes are allowed to fester.

Ingrams writes his column in the form of a diary which then goes on to address other subjects. Yesterday, he opened his piece by reflecting on Britain’s decision last week to expel an Israeli diplomat over the Dubai assassination of a Hamas terrorist. Here is what he said, with my italics to highlight the tone he adopts:

“The expulsion of a Mossad man from London following the affair over the forged passports used by a gang of Israeli assassins in Dubai is welcome, if only to remind us that regardless of this single expulsion Mossad operates openly out of London with the full approval of the British Government.

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Sunday, March 28, 2010

It Is Not A Capital Offense For Israel To Disagree With An American Administration Regarding Policy


Dr. Aaron Lerner
IMRA
Commentary
28 March '10

It is not a capital offence for Israel to disagree with an American administration regarding policy.

I can appreciate that President Obama thinks that our leaving the Golan, dividing Jerusalem, etc. will bring us utopian peace and that not taking his advice may even have a negative impact on America in the Moslem world, thus he has every reason to use "tough love" to force us to do what is in our own best interest - and that he has an Amen chorus of Jews supporting this view.

However, it is not a capital offense for a democratically elected Israeli government to reject American policy recommendations.

President Obama has a broad range of instruments available to promote his views other than giving our enemies the impression that if we don't march to his drum that America may opt to turn its back on us at a time of crisis.

That such ideas are being allowed to float around without being explicitly and clearly denied and denounced by President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton could very well invite disaster.

Claims from the White House that the Obama-Netanyahu meetings were not insulting do not address this critical point. In particular since the entire policy dictat (it is not a discussion or debate because the Obama team is unwilling to even entertain the possibility that they could be wrong) is presented as an American initiative to force Israel to do what "we all know" is in Israel's best interest.

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Hostility to Israel Plays out


Jennifer Rubin
Contentions/Commentary
28 March '10

Given the Obami’s assault on Israel’s building in its eternal capital, this should come as no surprise:

The chief of the Arab League warned Saturday that Israel’s actions could bring about a final end to the Middle East peace process. Amr Moussa urged an Arab leadership summit in Libya on Saturday to forge a new strategy to pressure Israel, saying the peace process could not be “an open ended process.”

“We must prepare for the possibility that the peace process will be a complete failure,” Moussa said. “This is the time to stand up to Israel. We must find alternative options, because the situation appears to have reached a turning point.”

Speaking at the event, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said there would be no peace agreement without ending the occupation of Palestinian land, first and foremost east Jerusalem. He accused Prime Minster Binyamin Netanyahu’s government of trying to create a de facto situation in Jerusalem that would torpedo any future peace settlement.


Then the increasingly Islamic-tilting Turkish government gets into the act:

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a guest at the summit, said in his speech that the Israeli “violation” of peace in Jerusalem and Muslim holy sites was unacceptable. Erdogan said that the Israeli position defining the whole of Jerusalem as its united capital was “madness.” Israeli construction in east Jerusalem was completely unjustified, he said


The UN, of course, can’t be left out of the Israel bash-a-thon. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon pipes up:

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NY Times Defends Obama, Not U.S. Interests; Blames Israel, Not White House or Palestinians For All Problems


Barry Rubin
The Rubin Report
28 March '10

The New York Times has now crossed the line from being a grossly slanted newspaper in its Middle East coverage to being one so partisan, blinkered, and defensive as to lose its value altogether. I do not write this lightly and have no wish to exaggerate. But the newspaper’s editorial of March 26 is so mendacious, so made up to suit the political purposes of the Obama administration without any reference to the facts that it is a work of politically tailored fiction.

Basically, the themes or omissions are as follows:

--Israeli policy is the result of extreme right-wing politicians.

--Most Israelis support Obama rather than their own government.

--The U.S.-Israel agreement of last October never existed.

--The Palestinians don’t exist and one doesn’t need to mention their actions or the administration’s total catering to them.

--Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has done something so awful that it proves he doesn't want peace. What did he do? Precisely what he told the U.S. government he was going to do five months ago and which they then called a major step toward peace!

The goal is to portray the issue as not being Obama versus Israel but rather Obama plus the Israeli majority against a relatively small number of extremists who have hijacked the country.

If only such tactics were used against America’s enemies.

Unfortunately, it is necessary to discuss this editorial in detail. It begins:

(Read full post)

Related article: The New York Times, Obama, and Israel: A New Low for the Paper of Record
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Positioning Israel as the Nazi of Nations

Richard L. Cravatts
American Thinker
28 March '10

Richard L. Cravatts, Ph.D., director of Boston University's Program in Publishing, just finished a book about the worldwide assault on Israel taking place on college campuses: Genocidal Liberalism: The University's Jihad Against Israel & Jews.

Jews have been accused of harming and murdering non-Jews since the twelfth century in England, when Jewish convert to Catholicism Theobald of Cambridge perjuriously proclaimed that European Jews ritually slaughtered Christian children each year and drank their blood during Passover season.

That medieval blood libel, largely abandoned in the contemporary West, does, however, still appear as part of the Arab world's vilification of Jews -- now transmogrified into a slander against Israel, the Jew of nations. But in the regular chorus of defamation against Israel by a world infected with Palestinianism, a new, more odious trend has begun to show itself: The blood libel has been revivified, but to position Israel and Zionism as demonic agents in the community of nations, its primitive superstitions are now masked with a veneer of academic scholarship and politicized scientific study.

In March, to cite the latest instance of this trend, the findings of a study conducted by the New Weapons Research Group (Nwrg), a team of scientists based in Italy, were announced on "the use of unconventional weapons and their mid-term effects on the population of after-war areas" -- in this, case Gaza after Israel's "Cast Lead" operations last year. "Many Palestinian children still living in precarious situations at ground level in Gaza after Israeli bombing," the study found, "have unusually high concentrations of metals in the hair, indicating environmental contamination, which can cause health and growth damages due to chronic exposure," and these high levels were the direct result of Israeli bombs.

Moreover, suggested Professor Paola Manduca, one of the investigators, the presence of metals in children's hair "presents serious problems in the current situation in Gaza, where the construction and removal of damaged structures is difficult or impossible, and," in case anyone does not know whom to blame, "certainly represents the major responsibility of those who should remedy the damage to the civilian population under international law."

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To only say Iranian nukes are unacceptable is to accept them


William Kristol
Washington Post
28 March '10

In March 1936, Hitler occupied the Rhineland. The French prime minister, Leon Blum, denounced the act as "unacceptable." But France, Britain and the rest of the world accepted it. Years later, the French political thinker Raymond Aron commented, "To say that something is unacceptable was to say that one accepted it."

In March 2010, as Iran moved ahead with its nuclear weapons program, the American secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, speaking at the policy conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee last week, said no fewer than four times in one paragraph that a nuclear-armed Iran would be "unacceptable." It would be unacceptable simply, "unacceptable to the United States," "unacceptable to Israel" and "unacceptable to the region and the international community."

Then, perhaps sensing the ghost of Raymond Aron at her shoulder, Clinton hastened to add: "So let me be very clear: The United States is determined to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons."

But this attempt at reassurance merely conjured up (at least for me) another ghost: that of Richard Nixon. Didn't Nixon always say, at moments of utmost insincerity, that he wanted to make something very clear?

In March 2010, as Iran moved ahead with its nuclear weapons program, the American secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, speaking at the policy conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee last week, said no fewer than four times in one paragraph that a nuclear-armed Iran would be "unacceptable." It would be unacceptable simply, "unacceptable to the United States," "unacceptable to Israel" and "unacceptable to the region and the international community."

Then, perhaps sensing the ghost of Raymond Aron at her shoulder, Clinton hastened to add: "So let me be very clear: The United States is determined to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons."

But this attempt at reassurance merely conjured up (at least for me) another ghost: that of Richard Nixon. Didn't Nixon always say, at moments of utmost insincerity, that he wanted to make something very clear?

(Read full article)
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Obama ensures that terror has no consequences


Elder of Ziyon
26 March '10

From YNet:

The Obama Administration is demanding that Israel hand over more West Bank land to exclusive PA control, including the Abu-Dis area adjacent to Jerusalem, Palestinian sources told Ynet Thursday.
According to the US vision, the move will take place as part of reverting to the state that prevailed in the West Bank before the outbreak of the last Intifada.

"The most significant demand is to restore the situation to what it was on the eve of the Intifada," one source said.

Because what could possibly be wrong with turning back the clock to the day before a war began that killed a thousand Israeli civilians?
Starting and losing a war has consequences in every part of the world except for one. Since 1967, the world - and "international law" as interpreted by most - is fixated on the idea that the Arabs can start all the wars they want against Israel. If they lose, international pressure will ensure that the previous status quo can be returned to, so there are no consequences for losing.

We have seen Egypt, Syria, the PLO, the PLO again, Hezbollah and Hamas start wars with Israel, secure in the knowledge that they will not lose anything of consequence if they lose the war. Just expendable people who are less important than "The Struggle" and perhaps a few years of negotiations and pressure.

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Obama’s message


Fresnozionism.org
27 March '10

When Binyamin Netanyahu visited the White House last Tuesday, he was not treated like the Prime Minister of just any banana republic. He was treated like Manuel Noriega. No interviews, no photo-ops, no dinner, and a whole pile of demands. He and Defense Minister Ehud Barak were lucky not to have been locked in a room and forced to listen to heavy metal at top volume.

As a citizen of Israel and of the US, I was insulted and embarrassed in turn. As a Jew and a Zionist who believes that the survival of the Jewish people depends on the state of Israel I was horrified. Even Barry Rubin, who has been saying for the last couple of weeks that the crisis in US-Israeli relations has been blown out of proportion, admitted today that

…now it has become reasonable to ask whether the Obama White House is running amuck on Israel, whether it is pushing friction so far out of proportion that it is starting to seem a vendetta based on hostility and ideology.

Ehud Ya’ari, one of Israel’s most respected commentators, said,

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President Obama’s Priorities: Human Rights Be Damned


Anne Bayefsky..
Commentary
26 March '10

On Friday, March 26, 2010, the UN Human Rights Council’s month-long session ended, along with any justification for believing that President Obama is a champion of human rights. The president insisted that America join the UN’s lead human-rights body for the first time very early in his presidency, and the consequences are now painfully clear. The enemies of democracy and freedom are having a field day at the expense of American interests and values.

The Council, which meets in Geneva, is the personal playground of the Organization of the Islamic Conference. They hold the balance of power by controlling the Asian and African regional groups, which together form a majority at the Council. The Council’s agenda is accordingly fixated on issues of priority to the Islamic bloc -- number one, delegitimizing Israel; number two, trumping free speech in the name of Islam; and number three, avoiding any criticism of human-rights violations in their own backyards. None of which has anything to do with protecting human rights.

More troubling than the Council’s growing infamy, however, is the Obama administration’s relationship to it. The America on display in Geneva is an embarrassment, and the only people oblivious to how the U.S. is perceived by those assembled are the American representatives themselves.

Having jumped on the Council bandwagon last year without insisting on any reform-minded preconditions, U.S. diplomats now sit there taking it on the chin and lending predictable and immutable Council routines undeserved legitimacy. This past session, the Council adopted five resolutions condemning Israel and fewer resolutions on the rest of the world combined: one each on the Democratic Republic of the Congo, North Korea, Burma/Myanmar, and Guinea.

The other 187 states on the planet got a free pass from the Council, notwithstanding the pressing reality of Nigeria’s butchered Christians, Saudi Arabia’s gender apartheid, Egypt’s systematic torture, China’s iron fist, Sudan’s genocide, and Russia’s slain human-rights defenders. In fact, over the entire four-year history of the Council, more than half of all resolutions and decisions condemning any state have been directed at Israel alone.

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The New York Times, Obama, and Israel: A New Low for the Paper of Record


Ron Radosh
Pajamasmedia.com
27 March '10

If one needs any more proof of the animus towards Israel coming from the editors of The New York Times, look no further than today’s editorial — which marks a new low for the paper. Perhaps they were merely lazy and decided to plagiarize editorials appearing regularly in the pages of The Nation. Or perhaps they just realize that most of their readers don’t subscribe to the official publication of the far Left, and need to get the message out on their own.

Whatever the explanation, the editors felt the need to both chastise Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel for defending his country’s interests, and to praise to the skies President Barack Obama for his highly extraordinary and rude treatment of Netanyahu two days ago. According to their account, “the Obama administration had hoped Mr. Netanyahu would give it something to work with.” But instead, he unceremoniously would not condemn the very legal building in Jerusalem that all previous administrations had not contested. Instead, Netanyahu’s firm stance is interpreted by them as an assault on the supposed but really non-existent “peace process,” and a barrier to reaching a “two-state solution” for the Middle East.

As usual, the editors call the government “right-wing,” which means to the Times readers it is evil personified. Moreover, by insisting on the right to build in an area which everyone knows will be part of Israel once peace is attained, somehow to the editors it is to take place in an area “which Palestinians hope to make the capital of an independent state.” So by refusing to accept Obama’s demands, the editors assert that Obama “has been understandably furious at Israel’s response.”

Meanwhile, just a few days after Secretary of State Clinton told AIPAC that the U.S. would demand “sanctions that bite” on Iran, we have all learned that instead, U.S. policy is to soften any talk of sanctions in the vague hope that Russia and China will work with us to convince Iran to move away from its program for a nuclear bomb capacity. But while the U.S. can play nice with Iran, the announcement that an apartment complex will be built someday in Jerusalem means to the Times that the administration has to get even tougher with Israel.

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Obama: Passover Wrap Up, "Next Year In Jerusalem ," Deemed "Provocative"(Satire)


Doc's Talk
27 March '10

Shana Habbab (AP White House Correspondent)

(AP) — An unidentified Israeli official has confirmed that private discussions between President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu included an urgent request from the President that the traditional closing refrain “next year in Jerusalem” be deleted during the upcoming Passover holiday, calling the ancient passage provocative and unhelpful for the future of peace talks. Calling it “an easy fix,” Obama strongly urged the Jewish People to replace it with “next year in peace” or “next year in Tel Aviv,” leaving the exact wording to final status talks between Israelis and Palestinians. Netanyahu is said to have balked at the request, indicating that the refrain dates back well before the UN Partition of 1947 and well before the U.S. Declaration of Independence, for that matter. The Prime Minister reportedly attempted to diffuse the situation by offering to remove it from the conclusion of the lesser-known Yom Kippur service, and suggesting the phrase was defunct anyway since Jews have controlled all of Jerusalem since 1967. However, a visibly irritated President Obama flatly rejected the compromise, adding it was another indication the “stiff-necked” Prime Minister did not appear “serious about peace.”

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The Error-Ridden Obama Middle East Policy


Jennifer Rubin
Contentions/Commentary
27 March '10

In a must-read analysis of the Obami assault on Israel, Elliott Abrams writes:

Since the Oslo Accords of 1993, 17 years of efforts under three American presidents and six Israeli prime ministers have taught five clear lessons. Each of them is being ignored by President Obama, which is why his own particular “peace process” has so greatly harmed real efforts at peace. Today the only factor uniting Palestinian, Israeli, and Arab leaders is distrust of the quality, sagacity, and reliability of American leadership in the region.


The lessons Abrams enumerates suggest that we are in for a dangerous and destabilizing period in which the U.S.-Israeli alliance is torn asunder. First in the list of grievous errors: rather than provide Israel with security and reassurance, the Obami are out to bludgeon the Jewish state to cough up concessions:

During the George W. Bush years, the leader of the Israeli right, Ariel Sharon, decided to abandon the idea of a “Greater Israel,” impose constraints on settlement construction in the West Bank (no new settlements, no outward expansion of settlement territory), and remove every settlement in Gaza and four small ones in the West Bank. His closest advisers say all of this was possible for him only in the context of unwavering American support for Israel’s security steps—including the targeting and killing of Hamas terrorists and the refusal to deal with a terrorist leader like Arafat. What was the turning point for Sharon? Bush’s June 24, 2002, speech, where he abandoned Arafat, denounced Palestinian terrorism, and said thorough reforms were the only possible basis for Palestinian statehood. Reassured, Sharon began to act.

Contrast this with the Obama administration, where Israel has been “condemned”—the toughest word in the diplomatic dictionary—for a housing project.

Second, the Obami have failed to hold the Palestinians accountable for their own behavior or make any demands that one would ordinarily place on a party to a negotiation:

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Israel Won’t Be Bullied by Obama, But Bibi’s Tactic Could Fail as Well

Israel is thoroughly united against Obama, but Netanyahu's willingness to categorize parts of Israel as having less status than Jerusalem is dangerous.


Moshe Dann
Pajamamedia.com
27 March '10

Harsh condemnations of Israel for building in areas of Jerusalem acquired after the Six Day War in 1967 have backfired. If President Obama thought that he would move negotiations ahead and force Israel to make more concessions, he caused the exact opposite situation. Israelis have united in support of Prime Minister Netanyahu, while Arab Palestinian leaders have, on cue, stepped back.

Equating the issue of where and when Jewish communities can be built within the land of Israel with the issue of “settlements” was a mistake — it gave Israel an easy position to defend, especially domestically. Opposing the right of Jews to live in all parts of Jerusalem is not a change in the American position; Obama has made U.S. policy on Jerusalem consistent with that in Judea, Samaria and Gaza, and the Golan Heights. In so doing, however, he has rallied Israelis, Jews, and Zionists around the world.

The premise of Obama’s demand that Israel stop all construction in all areas conquered by Israel in 1967 is logical: if Israel has violated international law by “illegally occupying Palestinian land,” then there are no differences between one area and another. But PM Netanyahu distinguishes between Jerusalem and the rest of Judea and Samaria, hinting that he’s open to more withdrawals.

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The taboo on Israeli chauvinism


Sarah Honig
Another Tack/JPost
26 March '10

Those Israelis not shunned in the media and on campuses abroad are predominantly left-wing trashers of their own country.

Truth is often an unwelcome guest. Truth can be unpopular. Truth can disconcert. Truth can be bad for business. Truth can be counterproductive for certain reputations – even for the reputation of professionals whose status is ostensibly derived from their dedication to seeking truth.

Truth can be denied even when solidly backed by history. In our postmodern moral-relativist environment no truths exist, only self-serving narratives, claims and counterclaims. Hence truth can be spurned as a biased assertion aimed at furthering someone’s narrow interests. This is all the more insidious because it’s so fashionable.

It’s simplistic to dismiss any fact as an expedient and calculated misrepresentation. This isn’t just intellectual indolence. It’s also intellectual anarchy. Everything can be willy-nilly turned upside down. With nothing rooted to actual sequences of events, liars are liberated. Falsehoods are granted equal standing with truth. Frequently they even gain ascendency and are paraded as unquestionable. Values are devalued. Good and evil are interchangeable. Anything goes.

MY ABOVE ruminations were inspired by twin events. An opinion piece I wrote for an Australian newspaper elicited a deluge of noxious e-mails sent to my private mailbox. In these my ancestors and I were dispatched to the lowest levels of hell and my offspring and I were threatened with torture and death.

Yet somehow worse, because it didn’t come from the loony fringe, was a very polite letter sent by a highly respectable German magazine editor to an acquaintance (also German) who suggested the periodical print his translated version of my column “A good cop goes to Auschwitz” (January 20). The column revisited the World War II avid Arab collaboration with the Nazis (in the wake of MK Muhammad Barakei’s provocative participation at the Auschwitz liberation memorial).

It was flatly rejected on the grounds that it’s “too pro-Israel” and “too massively partisan.” The editor judged it unsuitable, saying it raises “the specter of chauvinism” (in its original sense of ultra-nationalism, before it was hijacked by gender polemics).

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Bibi’s Predicament


Noah Pollak
Contentions/Commentary
27 March '10

(While I'm sure I'll be posting additional thoughts on this, there is quite a consensus that this is not a passing phenomenon but something both dangerous and with malice. We're going to need to reach inside and find some real strengths we haven't had to use lately, a lot of effort, a lot of tefilot. Y.)

It should be clear by now that President Obama intends to pursue the “peace process” in the same way that he pursued health care — by ramming it down his opponent’s throat, in this case, Israel’s.

According to news reports, Obama has presented Bibi with a long list of demands, acquiescence to which would “resolve” the immediate Obama-created crisis and “allow” a move toward proximity talks (never mind that Israel has always been willing to hold direct talks). Obama thus places Bibi on the horns of an impossible dilemma: Both accepting and rejecting the demands carries immense costs.

Accepting the demands would be humiliating to Bibi. He would have to roll over and — in front of a global audience – expose his stomach to Obama like a defeated dog. This would surely please our thuggish president, but it would carry severe costs for Netanyahu: 1) He would be vilified in Israel and his domestic position imperiled. 2) Even if he wanted to roll, his government may not allow it; one or several of his coalition partners may abandon him. At a moment of critical national-security threats, the government might descend into crisis. Bibi knows that to allow this to happen in the decisive phase of the Iranian nuclear standoff would be supremely dangerous. And 3) Obama’s vindictive and outlandish behavior raises legitimate Israeli suspicions that the “proximity talks” would actually be a trap — and therefore Israel should reject the immediate demands as a way of forestalling the next round of bullying. Let us recall that just four months ago, the administration hailed the settlement freeze as an unprecedented concession; today Obama pretends that he never made the agreement.

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Saturday, March 27, 2010

Has the Obama Administration, against U.S. interests, declared diplomatic war on Israel?


Barry Rubin
The Rubin Report
27 March '10

Has the Obama Administration, against U.S. interests, declared diplomatic war on Israel?

Up to now my view has been that the U.S. government didn’t want a crisis but merely sought to get indirect negotiations going between Israel and Palestinians in order to look good.

Even assuming this limited goal, the technique was to keep getting concessions from Israel without asking the PA to do or give anything has been foolish, but at least it was a generally rational strategy.

But now it has become reasonable to ask whether the Obama White House is running amuck on Israel, whether it is pushing friction so far out of proportion that it is starting to seem a vendetta based on hostility and ideology. And if that's true, there is little Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu or any Israeli leader can do to fix the problem.

A partial explanation of such behavior can be called, to borrow a phrase from the health law debate, a "single-payer option" as its Middle East strategy. That is, the administration seems to envision Israel paying for everything: supposedly to get the Palestinian Authority (PA) to talks, do away with any Islamist desire to carry out terrorism or revolution, keep Iraq quiet, make Afghanistan stable, and solve just about any other global problem.

What makes this U.S. tactic even more absurd is doing so at the very moment when it is coddling Syria and losing the battle for anything but the most minimal sanctions on Iran.

During his visit to Washington, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tried to defuse the tension. His partners in government, we should never forget, are Defense Minister Ehud Barak, leader of the Labour Party, and President Shimon Peres, who has done more to promote Middle East peace than any other living Israeli leader.

But according to reliable sources, Obama went out of his way to be personally hostile, treating Netanyahu like some colonial minion who could be ordered around.

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Israel's Unwavering Guardsmen


Caroline Glick
Carolineglick.com
26 March '10

As the local and international press corps converged on Jerusalem's Old City to cover the Arab riots at the Temple Mount two weeks ago, little mention was made of the fact that Jerusalem was not the only flashpoint. In Tel Aviv-Jaffa, Israeli Arab rioters supported by far-left protesters stoned buses. Israeli Arabs firebombed motorists on Highway 443 and on the roads to Beersheba. In the North, cars were stoned.

These little-reported attacks are the consequence of one of the most dangerous emerging threats to Israel's national survival: the rapidly escalating radicalization of Israel's Arab citizens.

Over the past decade and at a frenzied pace since the 2005 withdrawal from Gaza, acting at least partially at the direction of the Israeli Islamic Movement and with the active support of the far left, Israeli Arabs and Beduin have launched a massive assault on the state. The relevant national authorities including the courts, the state prosecution, the police, the IDF, the Jewish National Fund, the Israel Lands Authority and the Ministry of Interior have failed to defend against it.

Firebombing Jewish-owned vehicles is small potatoes in comparison to developments at the center of mass of the Israeli Arab onslaught: state land. Over the past decade, Israeli Arabs have seized millions of dunams of state land.

The dimensions of this phenomenon were spelled out in last year's State Comptroller's Report. While the local and international Left pillories Israel when the state tries to demolish a handful of the thousands of illegal Arab buildings in Jerusalem, what goes unmentioned is that by the end of 2007 there were more than 100,000 illegally built structures in Israel. The overwhelming majority were constructed on state land seized by Arab land thieves in the Negev and the Galilee. By the end of 2009, the number of illegal buildings grew to an estimated 150,000. The scope of the theft is so vast that the Comptroller's Report referred to it as a "national scourge."

(Read full article)

If you were inspired by the story of the New Israeli Guardsmen (Hashomer Hahadash) and would like to support their efforts, here is the information you need to contribute.
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Biden's knee-slapper


Soccer Dad
25 March '10

Stand up comedian: Vice President Biden (h/t The Muqata last week):

"I just got back from five days in the Middle East," Biden said. "I love to travel, but it's great to be back to a place where a boom in housing construction is actually a good thing," he said. Israel announced during Biden's visit that it had approved construction of 1,600 homes in East Jerusalem, a move which the U.S. called an "insult" due to its timing. (Haaretz)

Israelly Cool observed:

That's really funny, especially to those who have lost their homes and may stand to lose their homes in future thanks to the US pressure on Israel.

And then there's the larger issue of what the administration is trying to accomplish. Israel Matzav wrote two weeks ago:

Because Jerusalem rent is so expensive, young families are trying to move out of the city. But the places that are cheaper that would be attractive to ultra-Orthodox families who would like to be near Jerusalem - Kiryat Sefer and Beitar Ilit - are over the 'green line' where the government has implemented a 'settlement freeze.' So they are looking for solutions in Jerusalem.

People have to live somewhere. Unfortunately, most of the 'international community' would rather that we just leave.

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Obama’s Humiliation of Israel May Only Be Getting Started


Jonathan Tobin
Contentions/Commentary
26 March '10
Posted before Shabbat

After days of a news blackout about the details of the meeting on Tuesday between President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the Britain’s Telegraph has broken a story with details about what can only be described as an attempt to humiliate the Israeli.

According to the Telegraph’s account, the meeting began with the president presenting a list of 13 demands to Netanyahu. These included a complete freeze on Jewish building in eastern Jerusalem. When Netanyahu did not immediately accede to this diktat, Obama left him saying he was going to go eat dinner with his wife and daughters. Netanyahu and his party were left to wait for over an hour for Obama’s return. The paper claims that as Obama left, he told the prime minister to consider “the error of his ways.” Yediot Ahronot reported that Obama merely said, “I’m still around. Let me know if there is anything new.” A second brief meeting followed, which apparently consisted of the president restating his demands. As a punishment for Netanyahu’s failure to immediately bend to Obama’s ultimatum, there was no joint statement issued about the meeting and no press coverage of the visit. Friday’s Ma’ariv describes the scene thusly: “There is no humiliation exercise that the Americans did not try on the prime minister and his entourage. Bibi received in the White House the treatment reserved for the president of Equatorial Guinea.”

The Jerusalem Post is reporting that Obama wants an answer to his demands by Saturday so he can then present them to a meeting of the Arab League going on in Libya so that ineffectual body can endorse the so-called proximity talks in which the Palestinian Authority refuses to directly negotiate with Israel.

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