Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Bayefsky - UN Palestinian Solidarity Day: Extremism Run Wild

U.N. Palestinian Solidarity Day - The U.N.'s Annual Attempt
to Turn Back the Clock

Anne Bayefsky
For Immediate Release:
November 30, 2011

Notwithstanding alleged U.N. support for a two-state solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict, at New York Headquarters Tuesday only the flag of the non-state of Palestine was flown alongside the U.N.’s own flag. The flag of the member state of Israel was barred.

This is how the U.N. General Assembly marked the anniversary of November 29, 1947 when it adopted the partition resolution that sanctioned a Jewish and another Arab state in the former Mandate for Palestine. “International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People,” as it is called, is the U.N.’s annual attempt to turn the clock back.

This year Palestinian U.N. Ambassador Riyad Mansour tried to gather momentum for propelling the unilateral Palestinian statehood bid forward. A controversial statement of Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, delivered by his Deputy, appeared intended to do just that.

The Secretary-General announced: “The Palestinian Authority is now institutionally ready to assume the responsibilities of statehood…” No matter that the Palestinian gambit violates UN resolutions, the Roadmap, bilateral agreements and repeated international and bilateral commitments to negotiations. Ban also said “Jerusalem must emerge from negotiations as the capital of two states” – despite remembering near the end of his statement that “the goal” was “a negotiated peace agreement on all final status issues including…Jerusalem.” And Ban called “settlement activity” “contrary to international law,” while explaining to “those in Gaza who fire rockets at Israel and smuggle weapons” that “these actions are unacceptable and contrary to Palestinian interests.”

(Video) Dr. Mordechai Kedar on Syria, interviewed by Yishai Fleisher

Yishai Fleisher
29 Nov '11

Yishai Fleisher (Senior Editor, Jewish Press Online) discusses the current situation in Syria with Middle East expert, Dr. Mordechai Kedar. Dr. Kedar analyzes the violent conflict between the long ruling Assad government and the Syrian people now protesting in the streets. What are the causes of the clashes, likely outcomes, and implications for Israel and the Middle East?

Dr. Kedar is the Director of the Center for the Study of the Middle East and Islam (currently in formation at Bar-Ilan University, Israel). He is also a Research Associate at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies, Bar-Ilan University, Israel. Thirdly, Dr. Kedar serves as a member of the Herzliya Inter-Disciplinary Center, Israel - Study team: "Facing Radical Islam". Dr. Kedar held the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in the Israel Defense Forces, Military Intelligence, where he served as head of a branch in the hi-tech 8200 unit.

Jewish Press Online, "News of the Jews, Israel, and the World"

Yishai Fleisher

Dr. Mordechai Kedar's youtube channel

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Fresnozionism - The crystal and the shield
29 November '11

The device above is called a “Red Crystal.” It is the emblem that the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and Israel’s Magen David Adom (MDA) seem to have agreed that Israel must put on its ambulances instead of the traditional Magen David, if MDA is to be allowed to join the international organization (one wonders if MDA will have to change its name as well).

The story of the emblems is instructive. Emblems are practically important, because an ICRC-recognized emblem is ‘protected’ in wartime — shooting at a person or vehicle bearing a protected emblem is considered a war crime.

When the ICRC admitted Turkey and Egypt as members in 1929, they naturally did not want to use the cross, symbol of the hated crusaders, as their emblem; so they requested and got permission to use a red crescent.

But when MDA came along in 1931 and wanted its Magen David to be ‘protected’, the ICRC refused. “What if everyone wanted their own symbol?” they asked, in effect. Only the cross and the crescent were accepted (there is also a ‘red lion and sun’ emblem which nobody uses).

I don’t think I need to point out that it is notable that Muslim sensitivities about the cross were considered important, while Jewish ones — after all Jews suffered at the hands of those bearing the cross no less than Muslims — were not.

Tepper - Capital Crime. Capital Punishment?

Aryeh Tepper
Jewish Ideas Daily
05 July '11

( .... After Awad's conviction, military prosecutor Lt. Col. Robert Noifeld outlined the prosecution's request for punishment, asking for five life sentences and additional prison terms for crimes other than the murders. He said that the decision not to ask for the death penalty was made with the approval of the military advocate-general, and with the knowledge of Israel's attorney-general. Israel Hayom 11-27-'11 Y.)

Since its founding, the only person ever to be executed by the state of Israel has been the notorious Nazi, Adolf Eichmann. But the brutal murders of Udi and Ruth Fogel and three of their young children this past March has the IDF weighing the possibility of seeking the death penalty for the Fogels' murderers, brothers Hakim and Amjad Awad.

One wonders what punishment, aside from the most extreme one, can possibly be in order for the brutal slaughter of a mother, father, and three children. Still, such a sentence cannot be given, or even sought, without offering ample justification. If Israel were to sentence the Awad brothers to death, what would be the purpose: justice, vengeance, or deterrence?

The history of capital punishment in the modern state of Israel begins with the British legal code inherited by the nascent state in 1948. Under that code, capital punishment was permitted for a variety of crimes, including some relatively minor offenses. The British law was abolished in 1954, under the influence, it is often claimed, of the Jewish legal tradition—specifically, the spirit embodied in one well-known talmudic passage:

The Sanhedrin (High Court) that executes one person in seven years is called murderous. Rabbi Elazar ben Azaria says this extends to one execution in seventy years. Rabbi Tarfon and Rabbi Akiva say, "If we had been among the Sanhedrin, no one would ever have been executed." (Makkot 7a)

Often, when this passage is evoked, people neglect to mention that Rabbi Simon ben Gamliel dissents, on grounds of deterrence: "such an attitude would increase bloodshed in Israel."

But the mainstream argument endures to this day. Accordingly, current Israeli law leans towards the talmudic scholars' abhorrence of the death penalty, but still allows for capital punishment in extreme cases: treason, incitement to war, aiding the enemy during wartime, crimes against the Jewish people, crimes against humanity, and war crimes. In addition, Israeli military courts have been given the freedom to demand the death penalty for particularly heinous acts of terrorism. Until now, they've been extremely reluctant to do so—but that might soon change.

Toameh - Hamas and Fatah: The Unity Government That Isn't - and Won't Be

Khaled Abu Toameh
Hudson New York
29 November '11

Each time Fatah and Hamas announce that they are close to ending their dispute, the Palestinians quickly discover that the two rival parties are not telling the truth.

In many ways, the status quo is not all bad for Fatah and Hamas. The two parties have, in fact, a common interest in maintaining the status quo for as long as ever.

For Fatah, which is in control of large parts of the West Bank, the situation could not be better. Thanks to continued American and EU financial aid, the economy in the West Bank is relatively good, and tens of thousands of Palestinian Authority civil servants are receiving their salaries on time.

Those who think that Fatah is dying to go back to the Gaza Strip are deluding themselves. Since it was thrown out of the Gaza Strip in the summer of 2007, Fatah is no longer being held responsible for what goes on in that area. The Fatah leadership is no longer being blamed for the rocket and missile attacks launched from the Gaza Strip, and no one is accusing Mahmoud Abbas and Salam Fayyad of failing to improve the living conditions of the 1.5 million Palestinians living there.

IMRA - Haaretz reporting bias

Quotes critic of report against BGU without mentioning she founder of Peace Now

Dr. Aaron Lerner
29 November '11

[Dr. Aaron Lerner - IMRA:

Question: If a founder of Gush Emunim criticized a report for being prejudiced against the national camp, would the Haaretz article covering the story mention the connection to Gush Emunim?

Of course. And that would be proper.

So here we have Prof. Galia Golan, a founder of of the radical left Peace Now, criticizing a report that slammed the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev's Politics and Government Department for pushing a radical left agenda.

And not a word about Prof. Golan's past.



Education body to vote on report on 'slanted' BGU faculty
Panel member admits criticism in report may also have been political.

By Talila Nesher
Haaretz 01:12 29.11.11

The Council for Higher Education is set to vote Tuesday to ratify the external report it commissioned on the political science faculties at Israel's universities, including Ben-Gurion University of the Negev's Politics and Government Department, which came under heavy criticism. The document lists a series of shortcomings at Ben-Gurion University and even advises, as a last resort, closing down the department entirely if the problems are not resolved.

The report also refers to the fact that students at the Ben-Gurion University department are exposed to the personal political opinions of their professors, noting: "Lecturers must ensure that their personal opinions are presented as such, so that the students can judge things from a critical perspective and be exposed to a wide range of perspectives and alternatives."

Further to claims by members of the teaching staff at Ben-Gurion's Politics and Government Department that the committee's work was motivated by political considerations, committee member Prof. Galia Golan, from the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya, has told Haaretz that the shortcomings exposed at the Negev institution may indeed have been politically biased.

"I felt that some of the committee members, with specific political opinions, were trying to find fault with the place," Golan said. "I don't know if these were instructions from above, but I felt that things were not being conducted fairly."

According to Golan, the same supposed shortcomings that were revealed at Ben-Gurion University weren't even mentioned in the reports on the other institutions, "because they weren't perceived as problematic."

Golan said that "with regard to Ben-Gurion University, [committee] members tended to ignore the positive things and underplay their significance.

"My efforts to convince the committee otherwise came to naught," she added. "The attitude toward the university was unlike the attitude elsewhere."

Golan, who refused to sign the section of the report dealing with the Ben-Gurion University department, also recently sent a letter to the Council for Higher Education warning of the document's lack of fairness and urging that the matter be considered before the conclusions are adopted.

"Distinct political opinions influenced the judgment of some of the [committee] members," Golan told Haaretz. "The chairman of the committee actually tried to be as neutral as possible; but in the end, people were guided by a political approach."

According to Prof. David Newman, the dean of Ben-Gurion's Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences and one of the founders of its Politics and Government Department, "The department has become a target for attack by all those who wish to suppress any pluralist dialogue and trample every piece of academic freedom. One brief glance at this activity is enough to grasp the inherent danger it poses for the existence of Israeli democracy."

A statement from the Council for Higher Education said: "We totally reject the claim of political considerations ... The evaluation committee is made up of experienced individuals of academic renown in Israel and abroad. The assessment of the Political Science Department at Ben-Gurion University was conducted in the same manner in which the other institutions were assessed.

"The committee, which carried out an independent assessment, was of the opinion that the Ben-Gurion University department is acutely lacking senior staff at the core of the field, and that this requires immediate rectification."

Tobin - Board Member’s Hamas Flirtation Shows J Street’s Radicalism

Jonathan S. Tobin
29 November '11

The left-wing lobby group J Street has a problem. On the one hand, their leadership has been trying hard to portray itself as just another liberal pro-Israel Jewish group that deserves a place at the communal table. On the other, the radical instincts of much of its leadership and many of its supporters are so alienated from mainstream Jewish opinion about Israel and the Middle East conflict, the organization often finds itself lurching about trying to square two points of view that are incompatible. J Street first condemned Israel’s counter-offensive against Hamas terror in December 2008 and then eventually backed away from that stand when they realized even Israeli leftists disagreed with them. Their positions on Iran sanctions have similarly wavered. And let’s not even get into their bizarre on-again-off-again lying about getting most of their funding from George Soros.

The latest example concerns a trip to Gaza by one of their founders and board members, New York lawyer Kathleen Peratis. Peratis is also co-chair of the Middle East and North Africa Advisory Committee of the viciously anti-Israel group Human Rights Watch. Peratis penned an article for the Forward published earlier this month in which she discussed her meetings with the Hamas terrorist group and tours of the tunnels by which Palestinians have smuggled arms and material into Gaza. In the piece, she not only failed to criticize Hamas or the tyrannical nature of the Islamist group’s reign over Gaza but also made clear her opposition to Israel’s policies and the blockade of the terrorist enclave. As for J Street, they didn’t send her to Gaza but, as the Washington Jewish Week reported, initially distributed copies of her piece to members of the group and the press via their daily news roundup. But a week later, after some criticism of the association with the group and Hamas began to percolate, J Street predictably folded, issuing a statement today distancing itself from Peratis’ conduct.

Kushner - From Israel: That Sound You May Hear...

Arlene Kushner
Arlene from Israel
29 November '11

Is yours truly, banging her head against the wall.

Prime Minister Netanyahu has just announced that Israel may release to the PA tax funds that have been held since the PA applied for acceptance by UNESCO as a full member.

"Israel will examine this possibility, in light of the current calm situation," he said, indicating that the PA has slowed its unilateral steps at the UN.

It was at this point that head banging suddenly seemed appropriate to me. The reality is that the PA decided not to call for a Security Council vote on membership in the UN because it had become clear that the vote would not pass -- not because of a Palestinian Arab change of heart.

But what does Netanyahu say? "We see things quieting down on the Palestinian side -- they decided to stop these steps. We didn't need a veto in the Security Council. It's in the Palestinian interest to stop."

Wait. Wait. Israel and the US had both lobbied members of the Security Council with sufficient effectiveness so that there would not have been a quorum voting and the PA request would not have gone through, even without that veto. That's why a veto wasn't needed. It was in the Palestinian interest to refrain from calling a vote because it would have made them look like failed fools at the end of the day.

As to applying to other UN agencies for membership following its success with UNICEF -- the PA leadership fully intended to do this, but was specifically asked by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon not to because the agencies would suffer financial repercussions.

Thus the "calm." It came about by virtue of diplomatic victories over the PA, not because its leaders had mellowed.

As to the declared PA intention to seek enhanced observer status at the General Assembly, Netanyahu says the PA has tabled this. This is the first I have heard this and I'm trying to learn more about what went on behind the scenes, if this is the case.

But for this we need to reward Abbas?

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Elder - Useless UNIFIL contradicts itself after Lebanon rocket fire into Israel

One of the Katyushas
Elder of Ziyon
29 November '11

From YNet:

The IDF confirmed Tuesday that two Katyusha rockets were fired at the western Galilee from Lebanon on Monday night. No injuries were reported, but several structures sustained damage.

The IDF's Northern Command has been placed on high alert following the fire. The military stressed that Israel holds the Lebanese government responsible for the indicent.

Hezbollah sources denied any connection to the rocket fire. UNIFIL, which has a peacekeeping mission in southern Lebanon, has launched an investigation into the incident, but a spokesman for the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon was quoted by Beirut's radio as saying that "UNIFIL rejects reports suggesting any violation of UN Resolution 1701 and is working to restore normalcy."

Really? Rockets are fired into Israel and UNIFIL rejects the idea that there was a violation of 1701?

The UNIFIL website says the exact opposite:

(Read full "Useless UNIFIL contradicts itself after Lebanon rocket fire into Israel")

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Jonas - In the Mideast, everything depends on your definition of peace

George Jonas
Full Comment
National Post
26 November '11

It was four years ago that the last White House-sponsored Middle East peace conference was held at Annapolis, Maryland, on Nov. 27, 2007. It produced smiles and hugs, along with joint communiqués. The closest friends don’t hug half as much as mortal enemies do at international gatherings. If counterfeiting affection were a crime, three-quarters of the diplomatic corps would be in jail.

Still, perhaps the most refreshing thing about the Annapolis peace conference was that it was almost illusion-free. Unlike Madrid, Oslo, Wye River and similar chimeras conjured up under the optimistic tutelage of U.S. presidents as different as strait-laced Bush the Elder and mellow Bill Clinton, the curtain rose on George W. Bush’s last-ditch attempt in a mood of total sobriety.

No one expected anything from Annapolis: Not the Americans convening it, not the Middle Easterners observing it and certainly not the Palestinians and Israelis sitting around a U-shaped table in a frescoed hall underneath the chandeliers of the U.S. Naval Academy.

Ettinger - New vs. real in the Middle East

Yoram Ettinger
Israel Hayom
29 November '11

The school of thought about the New Middle East places emphasis on political correctness, but undermines the stability of the Real Middle East. This has been verified recently by Western support for the Arab Spring and the "march of democracy," which has unleashed rampant violence on the Arab street.

The New Middle Easterners call for a quick transition to democracy in Egypt and in other Arab countries, despite the events raging in the Middle East. In spite of intensified intra-Arab violence, non-compliance, shifty policies and unreliability, the New Middle Easterners call for Israel to assume greater risks for peace and concede the hilltops of Judea and Samaria that look over Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and 80 percent of Israel's infrastructure.

On Sept. 15, 2000, a few days before the eruption of another wave of Palestinian terrorism (the Second Intifada), former Knesset member and now President Shimon Peres discussed the central thesis of his book "The New Middle East," his blueprint for the two-state solution, at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. Peres said: "I doubt very much if the Palestinians will go back to terrorism ... I do not see [Yasser] Arafat, a person whom I respect, endangering what he has achieved ... I believe that the previous borders, made of barbed wire, of minefields, of military positions, are irrelevant to our life ... [A] good hotel on the border will provide more peace and security than a military position ... Once a nation turns its focus on land to a focus on brains, borders are irrelevant."

According to Peres, the role model of New Middle Easterners, the region had the potential to become an integrated economic area with open borders, shared natural resources and military technologies converted into peaceful technologies, a Middle East devoted to the pursuit of democracy, peace, cooperation, mutual gain and prosperity.

However, irrespective of the Palestinian issue, the Real Middle East -- in which Arab countries are engulfed in horrible turmoil -- has demolished Peres' New Middle East. It has devastated the contention that the security threshold could be lowered significantly, because military forces, sectarianism, nationalism, borders and territorial sovereignty have supposedly lost their primacy. Moreover, the underlying geo-political currents, which have dominated the Real Middle East for the last 1,400 years -- no intra-Arab comprehensive peace, compliance, or democracy -- magnify the irreplaceable role of the mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria in securing the survival of the sliver of land that is the Jewish state.

Mandel - Foreign Policy Magazine’s Contemptible Attack on Netanyahu

Seth Mandel
28 November '11

The editors of Foreign Policy magazine would do well to read Evelyn’s post (and the Haaretz article linked therein), because this year’s installment of the magazine’s Top 100 Global Thinkers list is a bit of a farce. The list is always intended to be provocative, but this year’s reads like a parody of itself.

Clocking in together at No. 28 are the renowned intellectual giants we call Mahmoud Abbas and Salam Fayyad, but who are known around the Middle East as Arafat’s understudy and an unpopular failed reformer. Israel, which is not only an inspiration to actual Arab thinkers and reformers, as Evelyn noted, but which also produces, as it did again this year, Nobel laureates aplenty, also appears on the list. But it’s all the way at No. 63, and the spot belongs to former Mossad director Meir Dagan. He earned his placement for, as the article announces, “being the last man in Israel to stand up to Benjamin Netanyahu.” Where to begin?

We can start with Netanyahu, a democratically elected premier of a free country who is spoken about in Foreign Policy as if he were Hugo Chavez. There’s no need to repeat, yet again, just how misguided the media’s caricature of Netanyahu is, but between investment in the West Bank, removal of road blocks, willingness to agree to unprecedented settlement freezes, and willingness to negotiate without preconditions, he’s certainly done far more for the peace process than Abbas. But Dagan as the “last man in Israel to stand up to Benjamin Netanyahu”? Did FP mistakenly publish an article it was holding for its April Fools’ issue?

(Video) - The UN Vote that Established Israel -- A Quiz

Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
29 November '11

November 29 is a significant date in Jewish history. On November 29, 1947, the UN General Assembly voted in favor of a resolution, which adopted the plan for the partition of Palestine, recommended by the majority of the UN Special Committee on Palestine (UNSCOP). 33 states voted in favor of the resolution and 13 against. 10 states abstained.

The UN Committee reached the conclusion that the Mandate for Palestine should be terminated, and most of its members recommended the establishment in the territory of Mandatory Palestine of an Arab state and a Jewish state, while internationalizing Jerusalem.

The partition map proposed by UNSCOP allotted the Jewish state only a small part of Western Palestine. Despite this fact, the Zionist Organization and the institutions of the Jewish community in Eretz Yisrael agreed to accept the plan, since it recognized the right of the Jewish people to a state and not only a "national home" as stated in the 1917 Balfour Declaration and the 1922 Mandate for Palestine.

Watch this to learn more about this momentous day.

Take the Jerusalem Center's November 29 quick quiz to test your knowledge.

The adoption of the partition resolution by the General Assembly was received by the Jewish community with great joy and thousands went out to the streets to celebrate, even though it was clear that the Arab states and the Palestinian Arabs would embark on a relentless war against the realization of the plan to establish a Jewish state.

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Tobin - Arab Protests About Jerusalem Renovation Reveal the Real Obstacle to Peace

Jonathan S. Tobin
28 November '11

Those Middle East observers who prefer to focus on Israel’s actions or inactions as the only source of tension in the region generally ignore the greatest obstacle to peace or even coexistence: the deep and abiding hatred for Jews that has become entrenched in Arab political culture. No better example of the utter irrationality of that culture and its obsessive nature exists than how the news of the renovation of a ramp leading to Jerusalem’s Temple Mount has become the subject of intense controversy.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced on Friday that plans to demolish a temporary structure that allowed access to the Temple Mount would be indefinitely postponed due to the threats of violence not only from Palestinians but also from Egypt and Jordan. As with the case of previous efforts to either modernize or create better access for this historic and sacred area, any actions by Israel have been regarded by denizens of the so-called “Arab street” as a conspiratorial plot to destroy the mosques on the Temple Mount or otherwise offend Muslim sensibilities. The fact that even an anti-Israel institution like UNESCO — which has routinely denounced archeological digs in the city by Israelis — regards the ramp demolition as in no way compromising Muslim rights or shrines is meaningless to Israel’s Arab foes. While frustrating for Israel, these threats ought to clearly illustrate to the world the irrational aspect of Arab and Islamic critique of Israel. The resentment the Temple Mount project has generated is rooted in a belief that Jews have no right to be in Jerusalem. It has nothing to do with anything Netanyahu or his government might do.

Fresnozionism - Islamism means immunity to solutions
28 November '11

The damage to Israel-Arab relations growing from the “Arab Spring” cannot be exaggerated. For example,

The new [Islamist - ed.] Tunisian government is gearing up to ratify a new constitution, and its language includes a section condemning Zionism and ruling out any friendly ties with Israel…

Israeli officials are concerned that government-sponsored hatred of Israel in Tunisia will spread to other Middle East countries, such as Egypt, potentially destabilizing the entire region. The officials noted that Tunisia is considered a moderate Arab country and has maintained friendly relations with Israel since the Oslo Accords were signed in 1993.

A section of the constitution? As far as I know, this is the first time any nation has defined itself in terms of opposition to Zionism, something normally associated with terrorist groups like Hamas and Hizballah. And Tunisia, which has never been at war with Israel and whose President called for the recognition of Israel in 1965, has been called “a voice for moderation and realism in the Middle East” by the US State Department. Not any more.

Tunisia was the Arab country that was considered most likely to have a democratic outcome to its “Arab spring” revolution. It did have a democratic election, but the Islamist ‘Ennahda ‘ party received a plurality of the vote.

Kushner - From Israel: A Menace to the West

Arlene Kushner
Arlene from Israel
28 November '11

Today this news, which was released on Friday, takes precedence.

From the NY Times:
"The White House on Friday threw its weight behind Egypt's resurgent protest movement, urging for the first time the handover of power by the interim military rulers in the Obama administration's most public effort yet to steer the course of the Egyptian democracy.

"'The United States strongly believes that the new Egyptian government must be empowered with real authority immediately,' the White House said...

"The statement is a significant escalation of the international pressure on the generals because the United States is among the Egyptian military's closest allies.

"But speaking out against the military could be a risky bet for White House if the transition to democracy moves out of the hands of the military to less predictable civilian control.

"Since the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak in February, the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces has held itself up as the sole guardian of Egypt's stability against chaos and radicalism."


Undoubtedly, encouraging the "transition to democracy" would be what the Obama administration would cite as its goal in pressuring the military this way. But for anyone with eyes in his head to see, it is clear that we are headed towards that radicalism. There is not going to be a Western style liberal democracy emerging from the chaos that is Egypt today. That much is a given, as clear anything might be. The Islamist Muslim Brotherhood is waiting in the wings, ready to take control. (More on this below.)

Put simply and boldly: President Obama is giving the Muslim Brotherhood a boost. In doing so, he is enhancing dangers for Israel, and for the US.

Should I be surprised? Not really. After all, he invited members of the Brotherhood to his speech in Cairo over two years ago. But I'm more than a bit angry.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Pollak - B’Tselem to Share Award with Terrorist

Noah Pollak
28 November '11

If there was ever a moment that captured the moral rot at the core of the human rights community, surely it is this new development: the Danish PL Foundation has awarded its annual human rights prize jointly to the Israeli group B’Tselem and to the Palestinian group Al Haq.

The award will be presented in Copenhagen a few days from now, but only Jessica Montell, the head of B’Tselem, will be on hand to receive it. The head of Al Haq, Shawan Jabarin, cannot fly to Europe, or in fact anywhere — because he is banned from travel by both Israel and Jordan owing to his extensive involvement with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, an infamous Palestinian terrorist group.

Remarkably, Montell will accept the award, and so proud is she to be sharing a prize with a terrorist that B’Tselem sent out a press release announcing it.

Benson - Time’s “Popular” Disconnect

Pesach Benson
Honest Reporting/Backspin
27 November '11

Popular can mean a lot of things, but one thing it does not mean is “peaceful.” Therein lies the confusion for correspondent Karl Vick.

You can imagine him wearing rose colored glasses as he wrote up this assessment of Hamas/Fatah unity talks for Time.

Afterwards both met the cameras smiling. “There are no differences between us now,” Abbas said. Mashaal went with: “We have opened a new page of partnership.” And on whose terms? Hamas stands for resistance, its formal name being the Islamic Resistance Movement. But in the Gaza Strip where it governs, Hamas has largely enforced a truce with Israel since January 2009. And in Cairo it signed a paper committing itself to “popular resistance” against the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories. That’s “popular” in contrast to “violent” or “military” resistance. We’re talking marches here. Chanting and signs, not booby traps or suicide bombs.

“Every people has the right to fight against occupation in every way, with weapons or otherwise. But at the moment, we want to cooperate with the popular resistance,” Meshaal told AFP. “We believe in armed resistance but popular resistance is a program which is common to all the factions.”

The disconnect is simple. When Palestinians say “popular” Vick hears “non-violent.” But what they mean is grassroots.

In the Palestinian dictionary, kids throwing stones at Israelis is grassroots “popular” resistance no less than adults holding a grassroots “popular” candlelight vigil.

Gilad Shalit wasn’t kidnapped by any old resistance committees. He was snatched and held captive by the Popular Resistance Committees. Their popularity comes from promising to kidnap more soldiers, not holding marches, witty chants, or clever signs.

Whatever Hamas signed onto in Cairo doesn’t represent Hamas moderation but Fatah extremism.

(Image of rose glasses via Flickr/derekGavey)

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Marquardt - Our Holocaustology counselor

Petra Marquardt
The Warped Mirror/JPost
27 November '11

At Salon, Gary Kamiya railed last week against “The boys who cry ‘Holocaust.’” Ostensibly, Kamiya only has Israel’s best interest at heart:

“Israel will not be given another 63 years. If it continues down this path, aided by its false ‘friends’ in the U.S. who insist on fighting Hitler-redux to the last Israeli (and the last American), Israel is doomed. But if it abandons its self-defeating Holocaustology, it will be able to live in peace with its neighbors and join the world.”

You see how easy we could have peace and harmony in the Middle East and beyond? If only Israel stopped crying “wolf” – after all, the Jewish state, faced with an implacably hostile mullahcracy determined to get nuclear weapons, has nothing to worry: why not learn from history and trust that the rest of the world would never again stand by while an ideologically driven regime makes good on its often repeated threats of genocidal violence against Jews?

So here is Kamiya’s free advice for us:

“The Holocaust mind-set has led Israel into self-destructive policies. And its promiscuous invocation has helped ensure that Israel maintains a stranglehold over America’s Mideast policy. That stranglehold has always been harmful to America, but it is now actually dangerous. […] In other words, it is quite likely that the most powerful nation in the world [the US] will simply stand impotently by while a tiny client state [Israel] threatens to do something that it knows is not just antithetical to its interests, but possibly ruinous to them. The tail could be about to wag the dog right off a cliff.”

Kamiya gets so much wrong that it is hard to know where to start.

Rennert - WaPo quota system: A major Israel-bashing spread once a week

Leo Rennert
American Thinker
27 November '11

At the Washington Post, it has become an all too predictable ritual -- a major Israel-bashing article by Jerusalem correspondent Joel Greenberg once a week -- preferably at the weekend.

Greenberg's highly selective pro-Palestinian, anti-Israel coverage gets top play in the foreign news section. It is designed and executed by Greenberg to put Israel in the worst possible light, while keeping silent about all too real Palestinian obstacles to a two-state solution.

A case in point: Greenberg's latest dispatch in the November 27 edition, spread across a full half page with a six-column headline that reads, "In Israel, concerns grow about stifling dissent -- Threats against anti-settlement activist come amid legal proposals that some say are aimed at government's leftist critics."
Stifling dissent in the Jewish state? For anyone acquainted with all the raucous debate in Israeli society about political and religious issues, this sounds like a bad joke. But Greenberg nevertheless pushes the alarm button about a supposedly imminent danger to democratic dissent.

CAMERA - AFP's Western Wall Woes

The southern wall and steps of the Temple
Mount,like the Western Wall, are remaining
remnants of the Temple Mount compound
27 November '11

An AFP article about an archeological find which challenges apparently erroneous "accepted wisdom" about the Western Wall ironically contains some separate misconceptions of its own about the holy site ("Coins show Herod build only part of Second Temple Walls," Nov. 23).

The article wrongly refers to the site as "the western wall of the Second Temple," and also incorrectly notes that it is "revered as the last remaining remnant of the Second Temple." The wall is not the western wall of the Second Temple itself, nor is it a remnant of the Temple. The Western Wall is the western retaining wall for the Temple Mount plaza, upon which the Temple itself stood, a fact that archeologists Eli Shakoun or Ronny Reich, both quoted in the story, can confirm.

Moreover, the Western Wall is not the only remaining remnant from the Temple Mount compound. The southern, eastern, and northern retaining walls are also still extant. Surviving features abutting the southern walls include a broad stairway leading up to the Temple Mount’s entrance and two gates, known as the Huldah Gates, which provided access to the Temple Mount (Hershel Shanks, Jerusalem: An Archaeological Biography, p. 143). Some of the interior part of the Herodian Double Gate (which is one of the Huldah Gates) is also still intact. There are also surviving underground remnants of the Temple complex, including the area known as Solomon’s Stables. In addition, an area called “Robinson’s Arch,” in the south-western corner of the Temple complex, still remains. In his book, Shanks provides details concerning numerous other remnants.

In the past, the AFP itself has made reference to some of these other surviving remnants. For instance, a Nov. 21, 2005 AFP article reported: "The area in most need of work is a section flanking the southern supporting wall of the Al-Aqsa mosque compound, the third holiest site in Islam, the reports said."

It remains to be seen whether AFP will correct the error, as has the Los Angeles Times.

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Tobin - Left’s Critique of West Bank Settlers Doesn’t Stop at the Green Line

Jonathan S. Tobin
27 November '11

The standard critique of Israel’s settlement movement from the Zionist left has been to point out that attempting to assert sovereignty over the West Bank could lead to an Arab majority. The argument is that this would enable the Palestinians to succeed in wiping out the Jewish state using demography rather than invasion or terror. It’s a point of view many Israelis share, but the Palestinian refusal to make peace has continued to frustrate the wishes of most Jews for a two-state solution. But the dislike of the settlers goes a lot deeper than mere demographic arguments. As Gershom Gorenberg’s piece in the New York Times “Sunday Review” today illustrates, the passion to buttress the Jewish presence in any part of the country, whether on the wrong side of the Green Line or not, is what is really bugging the left.

Gorenberg, a veteran Israeli journalist whose attacks on the settlers and Israel’s government have made him a regular presence in liberal American publications, takes his familiar attacks on the right to new levels in a piece in which he claims efforts to ensure there is a Jewish majority in the Israeli city of Acre as well as the Galilee are no more defensible than the settlers’ attempts to establish Israeli beachheads in the West Bank. For Gorenberg, the push to ensure that parts of pre-June 1967 Israel will not be lost to the Arabs is also “racist.” Indeed, he worries that even if a two-state solution forces some of the Jews currently living in the West Bank to relocate inside the Green Line, they will take their Zionist fervor with them–leading to conflicts that will replicate the “price tag” attacks on Arabs that leftists see as the inevitable product of settler ideology. This distorted argument not only turns liberal Israeli arguments upside down, it also betrays the mixed feelings some on the left seem to have for Zionism.

Kushner - From Israel: First the Good

Arlene Kushner
Arlene from Israel
27 November '11

There's a marvelous new documentary film about Israel by Rafi Shore of JerusalemOnlineU ( that will be premiered this week: "Israel Inside -- How a small nation makes a big difference." "An emotional, inspiring look at what makes Israel tick." Shows "how the Israeli people have transformed this country against all odds in a very short time."

If you live in south Florida, you'll be able to see it on Tuesday November 29, 8 pm, on PBS in South Florida – WPBT Channel 2. It is hoped that it will be broadcast nationally on PBS in 2012.

See and share the trailer for the film:

(With thanks to the several people who called my attention to this.)


Tomorrow begins a US-wide "BUY ISRAEL WEEK," designed to counter Boycott Israel efforts. It runs from November 28 to December 4.

See for featured deals and coupons. Retailers will be offering specials on Israeli goods.

Please, support this effort and pass the word.

Rosenfeld - Israel's great deception

Shaul Rosenfeld
Israel Opinion/Ynet
27 November '11,7340,L-4153638,00.html

Effort to paint Israel in bleak colors is mostly a calculated political deception

The food here is terrible, says one hotel guest at the outset of the movie Annie Hall. And the portions are so small, replies her friend. In the same spirit of dissonance, we have seen around here in recent months a whining assault by our finest trendsetters and their partners; this offensive targets the terrible deeds of the current government, ranging from the trampling of our citizens to the destruction of democracy. The government is also being slammed over the tiny effort, if at all, it undertakes for the sake of the citizens and for the sake of peace.

Had a foreigner arrived here and listened to the revolutionary milieu headed by our social protest leaders or by the media, he would have no doubt that Israel’s citizens are no less than slaves; that the local middle class has been destroyed; that nobody can make ends meet around here unless he was fortunate enough to be born to a wealthy family compensated endlessly by Steinitz and Bibi; that Israel never faced such diplomatic isolation; that our higher education and research are maligned by backward, Third World standards; that racist and discriminatory laws are pulverizing Israeli society; and that the Bibi-Lieberman government is at fault for everything.

Had this foreigner paid some attention to some tedious archives, he would discover, for example, that the “country that reached a scientific nadir” is third in the world in terms of per capita scientific articles; that the number of academic researchers per capita is second in the world; that Israel’s share in the global science production is almost 10 times greater than its relative share in the global population; that the country is third in the world in research investment in universities in relation to its GDP; and that it’s the first in the world in national expenditure on civilian research out of total GDP.

If we dig deeper, we shall discover that Israel’s economy is 17th on the list of developed economies (according to the Swiss IMD); that in recent years it has grown more than all other Western states and that unemployment here is lower than in all these countries; that according to American journal Atlantic, when adjusting the calculations to various economic and technological innovation and development indexes Israel is ranked fourth in the world; that in 2010 this country climbed to 15th place in the United Nations’ standard of living index; and that this state boasts the fifth highest life expectancy among OECD countries.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Gordon - Re: Failures in Israel Advocacy

Evelyn Gordon
27 November '11

Matthew’s critique of Israel’s latest PR fad is spot-on: No campaign can succeed without addressing the fundamental issue of the Jews’ “right to self-determination in their homeland.” But there’s one simple thing both Israel and Jewish organizations could do to improve the situation: stop appointing official representatives who actively promote the anti-Israel case. Consider two examples: former Israeli Ambassador to the UN Gabriela Shalev, and Zoe Jick, New York regional director for the World Zionist Organization’s Department of Diaspora Activities.

In an interview with the Los Angeles Times in August, Shalev said Israel shared the blame for the Palestinians’ statehood application to the UN, inter alia because it put “new things on the table, like the requirement that Palestinians recognize Israel as the homeland of Jewish people, which to my mind is superfluous.” If even Israel’s former UN ambassador deems this a “new” and “superfluous” condition that contributed to stymieing peace efforts, you can’t blame the general public for thinking so. Yet Shalev is wrong on both counts.

First, far from being a “new” condition invented by the Netanyahu government, this demand originated with the Olmert government – the very one she served. As leaked memos from the Palestinian negotiating team revealed in January, Olmert’s foreign minister, Tzipi Livni, repeatedly raised the issue of Israel as a Jewish state with her Palestinian interlocutors, though to no avail: They replied that while they couldn’t stop Israel from calling itself Jewish, the Palestinians would never recognize it as such.

Rontzki - Child murderers deserve to die

Rabbi Avichai Rontzki
Israel Hayom
27 November '11

"Whoever sheds man’s blood, by man his blood shall be shed" says the Book of Genesis. This is not a trivial statement. Our ancient ancestors, at the very beginning of human history, demanded measure for measure where murderers were concerned.

The ancients' healthy instincts, not yet warped by the ideas of subsequent intellectuals, told them that the only way to stop evildoers was to remove them from this earth.

Not every transgression justifies an eye for an eye punishment. But this kind of punishment does apply to cruel evildoers, particularly child murderers like the killers of Udi and Ruti Fogel and their three children Yoav, Elad and Hadas.

One of the two perpetrators of these painful and horrific murders, the mastermind Amjad Awad, is scheduled to be sentenced on Monday in the Samaria Military Court. The other culprit was sentenced last week to five consecutive life sentences. This was a mistake, in my view. The only rightful punishment in such cases is the death penalty.

One must recall that the murderers wiped out almost an entire family. And we have not yet discussed the shocking method used to commit the murders: through close-range physical contact, by slitting throats, including the throat of a three-month-old baby.

Justice and humanity would be served if such murderers, perversions of human society, not continue to exist among us.

Fresnozionism - Settlements are not the problem
26 November '11

Recently the NY Times published a letter written in reaction to a beyond-irrational attack on Israel for ‘pinkwashing’ (I discussed the original remarkably stupid op-ed here).

The letter took strong issue with the op-ed. It could positively be counted as ‘pro-Israel’. And yet, it contained this:

Israel, like any other democracy, has its flaws. Its settlement policy is destructive, the occupation of the West Bank is untenable and its government is furthering the country’s isolation and distancing it from its original vision of being a “light unto the nations.”

Similarly, when a conversation I was having with a relative recently turned to Israel, he — certainly a ‘pro-Israel’ person by any definition — agreed with me about the dangers facing the country from so many directions, but added something like “…those settlements have to stop. And Netanyau is too stubborn.”

I’ve also been told, “don’t talk about the settlements. It’s the hardest thing about Israel to defend.”

Of course it is true that “like any other democracy,” Israel has flaws. But these aren’t them. What is happening, I think, is that certain false propositions are being repeated over and over from every direction — the UN, Europe, the media, the Obama Administration, the Israeli Left — to the point that almost anybody can be excused for thinking that they are true.

Greenfield - The Left’s Worst Crime in the Middle East

Daniel Greenfield
27 October '11
H/T Bataween

The left’s worst crime in the Middle East has been its support for the region’s Arab-Muslim majority at the expense of its minorities. It has supported the majority’s terrorism, atrocities, ethnic cleansing and repression of the region’s minorities. Very rarely has it raised a voice in their support, and even then only in muted tones completely different from their vigorous defense of the nationalism of the Arab Muslim majority.

The left is obsessed with the Arab Spring, which rewards the ambitions of Arabist and Islamist activists at the expense of Coptic, African and other minorities. It is dementedly fixated on statehood for the Arab Muslims of Israel, (better known by their local Palestinian brand), but has little to say about the Kurds in Turkey or the Azeri in Iran. The million Jewish refugees and the vanishing Christians of the region never come up in conversation. They certainly don’t get their own flotillas.

The Africans of Sudan could have used a flotilla, or an entire UN organization dedicated to their welfare, which the Arab Muslims who had failed to wipe out the region’s Jewish minority are the beneficiaries of. But instead they had to make do with third tier aid.

Unlike the Arab nationalists and Islamists of Libya, the French, English and American air forces did not come to their rescue. They came to the rescue of the Libyans who showed their gratitude in the time honored way of the Arab majority by massacring the African minority. All under the beaming smiles of the selective humanitarians of the left. But what’s a little genocide between friends?

Keyes - Free a mass-murderer for peace?

David Keyes
Israel Hayom
24 November '11

Why is it that when discussing politics, otherwise rational people go insane? No other field of study lures man into the depths of such muddled thinking.

The latest outrage is the renewed campaign to free a mass murderer from prison in the name of peace. Marwan Barghouti is serving five life sentences for masterminding a series of deadly terror attacks against Israeli civilians.

Only in the sick world of Middle Eastern politics does this make him the ideal candidate to foster peace. Ha'aretz asks, “Why did Israel miss the golden opportunity to let Marwan Barghouti out of prison? Barghouti is one of the most forceful proponents of a peaceful solution of the Israel-Palestine conflict ...” Avinoam Bar Yosef recently wrote an article in The New York Times titled “Release Marwan Barghouti.” The reason? “[H]e and Tanzim [the group Bargouti helped found] represent the next generation of secular Palestinian leaders. One of the biggest mistakes of the Israeli establishment and American envoys over the past two years has been their failure to open back channels to Tanzim ...”

Wrong. One of the biggest mistakes of the Israeli establishment and American envoys of the past two decades -- let alone past two years -- has been their empowering of Palestinian autocrats and terrorists. The soft bigotry of low expectations, in other words. In what passes for conventional wisdom, only a man who has targeted civilians could have the credibility to lead the Palestinian people. What does this say about the Palestinian people? It is this thinking which led the West to fund and arm arch-terrorist Yasser Arafat and later his deputy.

Navon - Israel’s Purloined Letter

Emmanuel Navon
For the Sake of Ziyon
26 November '11

Edgar Allan Poe’s short story “The Purloined Letter” provides the perfect allegory to understand why so many people get so fooled for so long. A letter said to contain compromising information has been stolen by a brilliant thief. The police meticulously search the thief’s home, using even microscopes, but to no avail. How did the thief fool the police? By displaying the letter instead of hiding it. It is precisely because the police expected the letter to be hidden that it couldn’t see it.

For decades, many people in Israel have been wondering why right-wing governments are generally unable to implement their policies and often end-up adopting the rhetoric of the Left. Witness the fact, for example, that Netanyahu has officially endorsed the establishment of a Palestinian state against his own party’s platform, that his government might be toppled in a few months if it complies with the High Court of Justice’s injunction to dismantle outposts, and that some Likud ministers and MKs are speaking in unison with the Left on the need to preserve the cooptation system that guaranties the Supreme Court’s ideological uniformity.

The answer to this riddle was provided by Tel-Aviv Law Professor Menachem Mautner in his book “Law and Culture in Israel at the Threshold of the Twenty-First Century” (Tel-Aviv University Press, 2008): The Israeli Left lost its monopoly on power with the electoral victory of the Right in 1977, and it has successfully tried to keep its influence via the judicial system, academia and the media. At the Supreme Court, Judges are selected and appointed by Judges, and they have granted to themselves the right to repeal laws deemed “unconstitutional” (regardless of the fact that Israel has no constitution). Hence the “judicial activism” epitomized by Justice Aharon Barak: if the majority does not legislate according to the will and worldview of the “enlightened ones” (to use Barak’s own words), then laws must be repealed by self-appointed judges who know better.

David Meir-Levi - ‘They Stole Our Land’ vs. The Grand Mufti of Jerusalem

David Meir-Levi
25 November '11

The cornerstone argument in the Arab narrative against Israel is that the Zionists in the 19th and early 20th centuries came to the Land of Israel and stole Arab land. This is a very simple assertion, easy to visualize, seemingly logical and amenable to a brief presentation: after all, Zionists did come from Europe to what was then Palestine, and the Arabs were already living there. So obviously when the Jews came they took Arab land.

Although there exists voluminous evidence to the contrary in Arab and Turkish and British sources indicating the exact opposite, it is difficult to present this contrary evidence and explain its importance in as brief and simple a manner as is done with the Arab assertion. There are too many variables: Arab demographics, Jewish demographics, Zionist agrarian reclamation technology, land purchases, crown land vs. privately owned land, absentee landlords, etc. This imbalance puts the advocate on behalf of Zionism and Israel at a disadvantage, even though the evidence supporting the Israeli narrative and contradicting the Arab narrative is vast and thoroughly vetted. For an excellent compilation and analysis of this evidence, see Kenneth Stein, The Land Question in Palestine, 1917-1939 (University of North Carolina Press, 1984, reviewed here and here).

However, there is one testimony from an unimpeachable source stating that the Jews stole no land, but rather bought land in vast quantities from willing sellers who were the legal owners of the land that was sold. This unimpeachable source is so unarguably innocent of any pro-Israel or pro-Jewish or pro-Zionist sentiment that there can be no rational question regarding the veracity of his testimony. That source is the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, the Hajj Mohammed Effendi Amin el-Husseini (1895 to 1974).

Kushner - From Israel: Is Anyone Surprised?

Arlene Kushner
Arlene from Israel
Motzei Shabbat
26 November '11

On Thursday, I wrote:

"After two hours of talks in Cairo today, PA President Mahmoud Abbas and head of the Hamas politburo Khaled Mashaal emerged with glowing statements regarding a new partnership...

"...Abbas declared:
"'There are no more differences between us now. We have agreed to work as partners with joint responsibility.'

"No more differences indeed. That's pure PR hype. What matters now is not these glib words, but what follows in terms of true understandings. There is no announcement at this point regarding composition of the joint government, or -- most critically -- of the identity of the projected new prime minister."


Well, now, two days later, we have confirmation of the true state of affairs from Khaled Abu Toameh, writing in the JPost:

"Efforts to achieve reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas have stumbled over the formation of a Palestinian unity government and the reconstruction of the Palestinian Authority security forces, representatives of the two rival parties said over the weekend...

"Following last Thursday's summit in Cairo between PA President Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal, the two sides expressed optimism regarding the prospects of implementing the Egyptian-engineered reconciliation deal that was announced last May...

"But over the weekend it transpired that differences between the two parties remained almost the same as they were before the summit.

"In addition to the ongoing dispute over the make-up of the proposed unity government, Fatah and Hamas have failed to solve their differences over the reconstruction of the security forces and the release of detainees in the West Bank and Gaza Strip being held by both sides."


Saturday, November 26, 2011

Sherman - Dismantling democracy

Martin Sherman
Into the Fray
25 November '11

The underpinnings of Israeli democracy are being imperiled by those purporting to be its staunchest defenders.

Religion, nationalism and a people’s complex of ethical habits and customs have traditionally been interpreted as obstacles to the establishment of successful democratic political institutions. But the truth is considerably more complicated, for the success of liberal politics frequently rests on irrational forms of recognition that liberalism was supposed to overcome.

For democracy to work, citizens need to develop an irrational pride in their own democratic institutions frequently based on religion, ethnicity or other forms of recognition that fall short of the universal recognition on which the liberal state is based.

Francis Fukuyama, The End of History and the Last Man, 1992

This citation, from one of the staunchest champions of liberal democracy in recent times, highlights the grave misunderstanding – or perhaps purposeful misrepresentation – of the concept and its constitutive nature that surfaced during the brouhaha following recent legislative initiatives in the Knesset.

Status quo unsustainable

These initiatives, focused on changing the mechanisms determining the composition of the Israeli judiciary and the funding that (ostensibly) Israeli NGOs can receive from foreign governments.

Opponents of the proposed changes protested vociferously against them, warning darkly that they herald the end of democratic liberties in the land. The bitter irony is that it is precisely those who advocate preserving the status quo that are imperiling the future of Israeli democracy.

Now it is quite possible that the proposals put forward could have been enhanced, refined and polished. They perhaps can be criticized for being ham-fisted and heavyhanded, badly drafted and poorly thought through. But what cannot be denied is that they address two intolerable features that are gnawing away at the democratic underpinnings of Israeli society.

These must be addressed, resolutely and rapidly.

Severing the demos from the kratos

The configuration and conduct of the judiciary, and the operation of NGOs funded by foreign sovereign sources, comprise the two blades of a “scissors” that are threatening to sever the bond between the most elemental constituents of democratic governance – between the demos and the kratos (between the people and the power).

The symbiotic interaction between an indisputably politically biased judiciary and organizations funded largely by governments with interests divergent – frequently radically so – from those of Israel, bestow inordinately disproportionate influence on an electorally insignificant minority.

As such, these activities comprise a severe perversion of the democratic process – quite the reverse of the noble endeavor to protect it that their vocal advocates attempt to promote.

While scholars may disagree as to the exact definition of “liberal democracy,” and while most would agree that it should not entail the unrestrained tyranny of the majority, it is doubtful whether any would suggest that it comprises the notion of the rule of the minority.

So while protection of minority rights – an important element of liberal democracy – is one thing, the right to subvert – indeed supersede – the will of the majority is quite another.

(Video) The Tribal Update presents the real Arab Spring and discusses Israel's new slander law

25 November '11

(Video) Latma, Israel's premiere satire website brings you the Arab world's rendition of Bob Dylan's immortal Times They Are a-Changin' performed by Egyptian Minister of Conspiracy Theories Halil Majnoun, Libyan rebel leader Adel Herayme and Palestinian Minister of Uncontrollable Rage Tawil Fadiha

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Zohar - Good-bye, Norma in jeans

Norma Schvatzblatt-Rabinowitz
Gil Zohar
26 December '08

(Three years ago today, 26 November '08, the terrorists struck in Mumbai. The author of this article and I had a chance to speak Thursday night about Norma, one, whose life was taken in the attack on the Chabad House. Y.)

JERUSALEM - If in today's global village we are all linked by six degrees of separation, in the hothouse of contemporary Israel people are even more intimately connected. The entire country boarded an emotional roller coaster last Wednesday when news broke of multiple terrorist attacks in Mumbai including the city's Chabad House - a well-known oasis for Israeli backpackers and businessmen in India.

Thursday my colleagues and I on a trip to Jaffa were glued to our cell phones for breaking news. Friday we got a respite for Shabbat.

But the news only got grimmer following the weekend. We soon learned with certainty that six people had been murdered at the Lubavitch centre, along with at least 164 others killed during the deadly three-day rampage.

The bodies of the Chabad House's saintly staff Rabbi Gavriel and Rivka Holtzberg were identified, along with those of Yocheved Orpaz, Ben Tzion Chroman and Rabbi Leibish Teitelbaum. All were Israelis or Jews living here.

The identity of the sixth of the shattered corpses remained unknown.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Gold - The Palestinians resurrect the partition plan

Dore Gold
Israel Hayom
25 November '11

Whoever thinks that U.N. General Assembly Resolution 181 – the famous Partition Plan – from Nov. 29, 1947, is for historians of the Middle East alone, is not aware of the role that the 64-year-old resolution still plays to this very day. As Israel's ambassador to the U.N. in 1999, I had to deal with an effort by the PLO observer to revive the territorial map of Resolution 181 as a substitute for U.N. Security Council Resolution 242 from November 1967, which had served as the agreed basis of the peace process until then.

This Palestinian initiative began on March 1, 1999, when the German ambassador to Israel, who represented the European Union when Berlin held the EU's rotating presidency, sent a surprising message in a "non-paper" to the Israeli Foreign Ministry. He confirmed that the EU still was of the view that Jerusalem – both east and west – should be a Corpus Separatum (an internationalized separate entity).

This term comes right out of Resolution 181, and apparently still influenced the diplomatic doctrines of some European countries, who believe that at the end of the day Jerusalem should become an internationalized city.

The German message was leaked to the Israeli daily Ha'aretz. Within a few days one the heads of the Palestinian negotiating team at the time, Ahmed Qurei (Abu Ala), responded in the Palestinian Authority official newspaper, al-Ayyam, saying that the European note "confirms that both parts of Jerusalem – west and east – are occupied territory."

The Europeans had managed to harden the Palestinian position. Within a short time, the new Palestinian position was taken up in New York by the PLO Observer, Nasser al-Qidwa, who wrote an official letter to U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, which demanded that "Israel must still explain to the international community the measures it took illegally to extend its laws and regulations to the territory it occupied in the war of 1948, beyond the territory allocated to the Jewish State in resolution 181 (II). Such a situation has not been accepted by the international community." The areas to which the Palestinian representative was referring included what are today Israeli cities like Beersheba, Ashkelon, Nazareth, and others. They also included Jerusalem.