Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Richman - Obama’s Monday Meeting with Netanyahu

May 18, 2009
Rick Richman..
29 February '12..

In 2009, after his first White House meeting with Benjamin Netanyahu, Barack Obama told the press he hoped to begin a “serious process of engagement” with Iran within months, and would give Iran “what I believe will be a persuasive argument, that there should be a different course to be taken.” Iran turned out to be uninterested in his argument, much less a serious process of engagement.

On Monday, Obama hopes to make a persuasive argument to continue a course that has now failed for more than three years – a “two track” process of engagement (which has yet to occur) and sanctions (which bite but do not deter). Sanctions failed in North Korea (which produced nuclear weapons notwithstanding), Cuba (where they are going on 50 years), and Iraq (where Saddam profited from them). They may benefit China (who will use them to get better terms from Iran for oil purchases) and Russia (who will benefit, as the largest oil producer in the world, from higher oil prices). They will likely not stop Iran.

Diplomacy is unlikely to succeed without the “triple track” process recommended by the Bipartisan Policy Center earlier this month, which adds a third track to the first two: “credible, visible preparations for military action on the part of the United States or Israel.” But not only has the Obama administration failed to adopt a third track; it has gone out of its way to reject it. It says all options are on the table, but has studiously avoided any commitment to actually use the ultimate one. It publicly lectures Israel against using it itself.

It has been clear for a long time – well before Benjamin Netanyahu became prime minister – that Israel will not stand by as Iran becomes capable of producing sufficient material for a nuclear weapon, much less actually construct one. In Statecraft, his book published in 2007, the year before he became one of Obama’s principal foreign policy advisers, Dennis Ross wrote as follows:

Lee Smith - The Road From Damascus

Lee Smith..
29 February 12..

When Khaled Meshaal slipped quietly out of Damascus in January, Hamas ended a decade-long stay in the Syrian capital. After almost a year of equivocating, last week Hamas finally came out against Bashar al-Assad and in support of the Syrian opposition movement. “I salute the Syrian people who seek freedom, democracy, and reform,” Ismail Haniyeh, prime minister of the Hamas government in Gaza, told a large crowd at Cairo’s Al Azhar mosque after Friday prayers.

Meshaal, who has led Hamas since Israel’s 2004 assassination of Abd al-Azziz Rantissi, first opened Hamas’ Damascus office in 2001. When the Hamas leadership was thrown out of Jordan in 1999 for trying to undermine the Jordan-Israel peace treaty, Meshaal was welcomed by the Assad regime, which, as the self-described beating heart of Arab nationalism, has always played a role in Palestinian politics, often through backing terrorist groups.

Given their sectarian differences—Hamas is Sunni and the Assad regime is composed almost exclusively of Alawites, a heterodox Shia minority—the relationship was always a bit brittle. And yet both parties calculated it was still worth it. Hamas got money and weapons from Damascus and Tehran. And Syria got another proxy force with which to fight Israel, while keeping its own borders peaceful.

Since the Syrian uprising began last March, Hamas was uneasy as the Assad regime slaughtered Sunnis by the hundreds, including its Muslim Brotherhood allies. Nonetheless, with only Qatar offering to replace Syria as Hamas’ host, the organization stayed relatively quiet, even after the Syrian Navy fired on a Palestinian refugee camp in the port city of Latakia in August, and the death toll throughout the country mounted by the thousands.

So, why did it take Hamas so long to take a stand in support of their fellow Sunnis? Some are speculating that Hamas may have struck a deal with the new Islamist-dominated Egypt. In any case, Hamas’ defection from the Iranian-led bloc could be a game changer.

Greenfield - Striking Iran and the Myth of Regional War

Daniel Greenfield..
29 February '12..

In 2007, Israeli Air Force jets crossed into Syria and destroyed an Iranian-backed nuclear reactor. The operation had the backing of the United States and employed intelligence derived from an Iranian defector. There was no regional war afterward. Not even an exchange of fire at the Israeli-Syrian border.

In 1981, Israel struck deep inside Iraq, destroying Saddam’s Osirak reactor. The attack was universally condemned at the United Nations and even by Israel’s allies. Had Saddam used it as the basis for a war, Israel would have had no international support at all. But again no war followed.

Today, Iran and opponents of any attack on its nuclear program hold up the specter of a regional war that will drag in the United States, devastate the region and drive up oil prices. This is the only card in their deck until the mullahs have their own bomb, and it’s an effective card to play. But is any of that a serious risk?

Let’s start by looking at the current state of the Iranian regime. The regime is wildly unpopular at home. It had to use its Revolutionary Guard corps to violently suppress protests against the regime, it does not trust its own military and without troops loyal to it close to home, the regime would be gone faster than you can say Nicolai Ceausescu. (If you have trouble saying that, substitute the fallen dictator of your choice.)

Marquadt-Bigman - A Palestinian refugee story: myths vs. facts

Petra Marquadt-Bigman..
The Warped Mirror..
29 February '12..

Linah Alsaafin is a young British-born Palestinian, who is blogging at various anti-Israeli sites, including Mondoweiss and the Electronic Intifada.

According to her biographical note on Mondoweiss, she “was born in Cardiff, Wales, and was raised in England, the United States, and Palestine.” This of course also means that she has British citizenship, and interestingly, this fact is acknowledged on one of the blogs she contributes to: “Life on Bir Zeit Campus” is described as “A Regular Ode to the Hardships and Joy of Living as expatriates of our Countries of Citizenship in the Holy Land…as Falastiniyyas!”

By coincidence, I came across a tweet of hers, where she announced the passing of her grandfather:

I thought that given the circumstances, it wouldn’t be appropriate to respond and point out that while it was certainly sad that her grandfather spent most of his life as a refugee in the Khan Younis camp in Gaza, this was actually a choice made by Palestinians and Arabs – after all, neither the Egyptians who ruled Gaza until 1967, nor the PA and Hamas that have control of Gaza since Israel’s withdrawal in 2005, have done anything to integrate the refugees.

However, since Linah Alsaafin has now published a related post that exploits her grandfather’s story for political purposes, I think there is no reason to be more respectful of the occasion than she herself is.

Wisse: Harvard's Latest Assault on Israel

Promoting the Jewish State's destruction at a school dedicated to 'democratic governance.'

Ruth Wisse..
Wall Street Journal..
28 February '12..

In 1948, when the Arab League declared war on Israel, no one imagined that six decades later American universities would become its overseas agency. Yet campus incitement against Israel has been growing from California to the New York Island. A conference at Harvard next week called "Israel/Palestine and the One-State Solution" is but the latest aggression in an escalating campaign against the Jewish state.

The sequence is by now familiar: Arab student groups and self-styled progressives organize a conference or event like "Israeli Apartheid Week," targeting Israel as the main problem of the Middle East. They frame the goals of these events in buzzwords of "expanding the range of academic debate." But since the roster of speakers and subjects makes their hostile agenda indisputable, university spokespersons scramble to dissociate their institutions from the events they are sponsoring. Jewish students and alums debate whether to ignore or protest the aggression, and newspapers fueling the story give equal credence to Israel's attackers and defenders.

A featured speaker at Harvard's conference is Ali Abunimah, creator of the website Electronic Intifada, who opposes the existence of a "Jewish State" as racist by virtue of being Jewish. A regular on this circuit, he also keynoted a recent University of Pennsylvania conference urging "Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions" (BDS) of, from and against Israel. Ostensibly dedicated to protecting Palestinian Arabs from Israeli oppression, BDS has by now achieved the status of an international "movement," some of whose branches exclude Israeli academics from their journals and conferences.

Fresnozionism - How the US enables the Iranian bomb

The "Little Boy": a simple fission bomb
of the type that destroyed Hiroshima. The
Iranian bomb will likely be more sophisticated.
28 February '12..

Some years ago I had a job writing code for a large project. Every day my supervisor would come into my office and ask to see my progress. “Can’t you make the program display its opening screen and ‘Ready’ message?” he’d ask. No, I said, I was building data structures and writing subroutines. I was creating building blocks.

He was very unhappy. “You are not performing in this job. I need something to show management,” he said. I told him not to worry, my way of organizing a software development project was different from his.

One day he came in and I showed him that the program was almost complete. He was surprised. “How did you do all that so quickly?” he asked. He had simply assumed that I was goofing off during all those weeks that I was making the pieces. Fitting them together didn’t take long at all.

I think you know where this is going.

A useful nuclear weapon isn’t like a stone axe. It is a system made up of subsystems, which in turn have subsystems. You need the fissionable material, of course, which implies a whole set of systems to prepare it. You need to machine it, store it, handle it. You need a way to create a critical mass quickly, a non-trivial electromechanical problem. You need the appropriate control systems. You need to make it small and light enough and integrate it into a missile warhead or an aircraft system so that it can be delivered. You need to develop ways to simulate and ultimately test the weapon.

Many of the subsystems can be worked on in parallel. The building blocks can be created without assembling them into an actual deliverable weapon until the final stages of the project.

Iran is apparently taking this approach: create as much as possible of the subsystems first, and then put them together at the end.

Tobin - Not a Parody: Peace Now Shocked to Discover Arabs Don’t Want Peace

Jonathan S. Tobin..
28 February '12..

What will it take to convince supporters of Peace Now the imperative of their organization’s name depends on the Arabs rather than the Jews? After 18+ years of Arab terrorism and rejection of peace offers since the Oslo Accords, it’s hard to say whether anything the Palestinians could do or say would cause them to rethink their myopic view of the world. But give Americans for Peace Now’s Lara Friedman a little credit. After schlepping to an Arab League conference on Jerusalem, she at least had the wit to notice that just about everybody else there was focused on delegitimizing Israel, denouncing its existence within any borders and denying thousands of years of Jewish history.

However, it’s hard not to chuckle a little bit at the indignant tone affected by Friedman in her op-ed published in the Forward as she conveys her shock and dismay to discover the Arab world believes Jews have no rights in Jerusalem or any other part of Israel. She and her group had so convinced themselves all it will take to create peace “now” was for Israelis to support a two-state solution and negotiate, it appears they never took the time or effort to realize the other side has little interest in peace, now or at any other time. This gives her piece the tone of a parody worthy of The Onion even though it was written in deadly earnest. Indeed, it must be considered in writing such an article she has demonstrated the utter cluelessness of her group better than anything the group’s critics could have come up with.

What is so touching (as well as more than a bit comical) about Friedman’s piece is that much of what she says in it is true. For example:

Kay - Israel’s worst enemies often come from within

Barbara Kay..
National Post..
28 February '12..

George Orwell once said, “England is the only great nation whose intellectuals are ashamed of their country.” Orwell never met Israeli intellectuals.

As the Post noted in its Saturday editorial, Israel Apartheid Week (IAW) is declining in vigour on North American campuses. But at Israel’s four secular universities — Hebrew University, University of Haifa, Tel Aviv University (TAU) and Ben Gurion University (BGU) — robust anti-Zionism continues to flourish, as it has for decades.

Since the 1967 Six-Day War, and with mounting stridency, the majority of Israel’s already leftist intelligentsia have identified themselves with enemies sworn to their nation’s annihilation.

Every day, anti-Zionist literature pours forth from Israel’s tenured radicals. Every week, an article condemning Israel as an apartheid nation appears. Every month, Israeli academics attend conferences expanding on the evils of the occupation and the moral bankruptcy of the Jewish state. Every year, Israeli historians make their annual pilgrimage to IAWs all over the world, including one at TAU.

Lapidot - Rewriting history

Aharon Lapidot..
Israel Hayom..
28 February '12..

This week we commemorate 20 years since the passing of Menachem Begin. Channel 2’s senior commentator, Amnon Abramovich, took the opportunity this week in particular to poke holes in one of the late prime minister’s most accomplished military operations: the June 1981 bombing of the Iraqi nuclear reactor.

Abramovich said (and I paraphrase) that it wasn’t our air force that put an end to Iraq’s nuclear program, but rather the American invasion of Iraq 10 years later (Operation Desert Storm in 1991). He went so far as to say that the attack on Osirak backfired against Israel, leading to international condemnation and even achieving the opposite of Israel’s goal because Iraq actually accelerated its nuclear armament as a result.

First, the facts: After the attack, Iraq never successfully developed nuclear weapons. The reactor destroyed by the air force was never rebuilt. Iraq had aimed to do so. France hesitantly agreed to help, but political and funding problems shelved the plans. During the Persian Gulf War in 1991, the U.S. merely bombed the reactor’s dusty ruins, which had stood undisturbed for a decade.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Khaled Abu Toameh - Hamas and Fatah Want a New Intifada

Khaled Abu Toameh..
Stonegate Institute..
27 February '12..

Hamas and Fatah have lately ratcheted up their rhetoric against Israel in a clear bid to distract attention from their failure to end their power struggle. By backing a "popular resistance" against Israel, Hamas and Fatah are hoping to distract attention from their failure to end their dispute and form a unity government.

The two rival Palestinian parties are hoping that Palestinians would turn their anger and frustration toward Israel and not toward either of them.

This is why over the past few weeks leaders and officials representing Hamas and Fatah have been talking about a third intifada that is about to erupt in the West Bank and Gaza Strip against Israel.

Both Hamas and Fatah have been urging Palestinians to step up "popular resistance" against Israel. The two parties are telling Palestinians that Israel does not want peace or a two-state solution and is only interested in maintaining control over Palestinian lands and "Judaizing" Jerusalem.

The stepped-up anti-Israel rhetoric has resulted in a sharp increase in Palestinian violence against IDF soldiers and settlers in the West Bank and Israeli policemen in east Jerusalem.

Gordon - The Hypocrisy of the “Cultural Boycotters”

"...this paragon
of morality.."
Evelyn Gordon..
27 February '12..

Abe’s post about the hypocrisy of rock stars who preach morality while cozying up to dictators inevitably brings the anti-Israel cultural boycotters to mind. Take, for instance, Grammy-winning jazz singer Cassandra Wilson, who canceled a planned performance in Israel last week at the behest of pro-Palestinian activists. But somehow, she discovered her moral conscience only one day after having received full payment for the scheduled show – of which she has so far agreed to refund only part. In other words, this paragon of morality used her newfound passion for the Palestinian cause to commit robbery in broad daylight.

Or then there’s indie pop group, The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, which recently canceled their planned performance in Israel. They, too, cited “political” reasons, in addition to scheduling pressures. But somehow, their moral conscience awoke only after they had managed to book a more lucrative gig in Malaysia for the same time.

(Video) Israeli Solar Power: Renewable Light To The Nations

Yishai Fleisher..
27 February '12..

A cutting edge Israeli company demonstrates the reality of solar power on a large scale. Yishai Fleisher, Managing Editor, visits Arava Power in Kibbutz Ketura 50 km north of Eilat in Southern Israel. He interviews Yosef Abramowitz (President of Arava Power). Arava Power has built Israel's first commercial solar field which is also the first solar power farm array in the Middle East. This solar field will soon be ramping up to a gigantic 40 megawatts of power which will meet a full third of the power needs of the city of Eilat. Eilat uses 120 megawatts at peak energy (all air conditioners on in every house and every hotel).

Music by RebbeSoul:

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CAMERA - Wall Street Journal Updates Discredited AFP Photo Caption

27 February '12..

The Wall Street Journal is the first media outlet to acknowledge the AFP caption for Hazem Bader's Jan. 25 photograph claiming that an Israeli soldier had run over a Palestinian construction worker is, at best, disputed. All indications are that it is false.

The WSJ ran the picture Jan. 25 as a "Photo of the Day," originally with the following caption:

WORKER WRITHES: A Palestinian construction worker screamed after an Israeli soldier drove a trailer hooked to a tractor over his legs near Yatta, West Bank, Wednesday. Israeli forces seized equipment because they said the workers were building in an unauthorized area.

We now see that the Journal has commendably added the following update:

A spokesman for the Israel Defense Forces, Capt. Eytan Buchman, says that the man wasn't run over. 'After claiming to be injured, he was inspected by both an IDF medic and a Red Crescent medic, both who determined that he required no medical care whatsoever,' Capt. Buchman said. AFP, the agency that took the photo, said it has reviewed the pictures and videos of the event and has 'no intention at this stage to correct our caption or withdraw any part of it.'

CAMERA has shown that in its Feb. 3 defense of the caption, AFP contradicts the claims in the original caption time and again. Did the trailer run over one or both legs? Was it a trailer or a tractor which ran over Mahmoud Abu Qbeita, the Palestinian worker? Was he knocked over by the tractor or was he lying on the ground in protest? AFP has been inconsistent on all of these key points. Read more about AFP's failure to get its story straight in Ynet and the Jerusalem Post.

In contrast to the WSJ, the International Herald Tribune and the Washington Post, both of which prominently published the image in the print editions, have failed to publish any clarification. The same goes for MSNBC and the Guardian, among others.


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Tobin - The Campaign to Ignore the Iranian Threat

Jonathan Tobin..
27 February '12..

In the last week, more evidence of the serious nature of Iran’s nuclear threat has been made public. According to the International Atomic Energy Agency, Iran has dramatically increased its production of highly enriched uranium that is close to weapons-grade fuel. Much of it is being produced in a mountain bunker in Fordow in northwestern Iran. Friday’s report claimed Iran already has enough enriched uranium to build four nuclear weapons, and the move of the operation to underground bunkers and a larger stockpile of uranium could shorten the time needed for Iran to develop a nuke. All this undermines the credibility of the claims put forward by Iran’s apologists that there is no proof of their intentions to make a bomb. As Frederick Kagan and Maseh Zarif write in today’s Wall Street Journal, “There is no case to be made that Iran is not pursuing a nuclear weapons capability. There is no evidence that Iran’s decision-makers are willing to stop the nuclear program in exchange for lifting sanctions or anything else.”

The IAEA report, which built upon the evidence in previous releases from the agency, makes all the more curious the efforts by the Obama administration to cast doubt upon the idea that Iran is working towards building a bomb. U.S. intelligence sources have been plying the mainstream press with spin about the data coming from Iran while even citing the long-discredited 2007 National Intelligence Estimate that claimed Iran had abandoned its weapons program. Given the volume of findings about Iran’s nuclear project and Tehran’s refusal to take steps that would reassure the international community they are not working toward a bomb, the Pollyanna-like faith that the Islamist regime poses no nuclear threat to the world is, at best, naive, and, at worst, a cynical attempt to prevent any Western or Israeli effort to forestall the danger.

(Video) Jewish Family Makes Jordan Valley Desert Bloom

Yishai Fleisher..
24 February '12..

Yishai Fleisher (Managing Editor of goes with Marc Prowisor (Director of Security Projects for The One Israel Fund) to a young Jewish family's farm in the Jordan Valley. Marc and One Israel Fund deliver special equipment to the farm to improve security.

To learn more about the One Israel Fund and it's many projects, click here.

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Roth - A moment to think about Jerusalem

Palace of King Hussein, as seen
from a suburb
of northern Jerusalem.
It's the flat topped structure 
on the
crest of the hill in the distance.
Frimet/Arnold Roth..
This Ongoing War..
26 February '12..

In the centuries-long conflict between the Jewish people and the Arabs, few issues capture the differences between us so well as the matter of Jerusalem.

Half of this city was captured by the army of the Jordanian king during Israel's desperate war of survival in 1948. Jordanian forces then set about destroying and desecrating anything Jewish on which they could lay their hands. The United Nations and other international agencies (to their eternal shame) did nothing to prevent or condemn this or the fact that the Jordanians prohibited access by Jews to all of the holy sites under their control. Then, in an unconscionable act of self-tribute, the Jordanian king built himself a large mansion on a Jerusalem hill-top that we can see as we type these words. Ostensibly a tribute to his dominion over a city holy to three religions, it serves as an indictment of his hypocrisy and that of the nations of the world who were evidently content with what was done by and in the name of the Hashemite regime to eastern Jerusalem and its historical and religious uniqueness during those nineteen miserable years.

The war of 1967 that was explicitly intended to drive the Israeli Jews into the sea (a euphemism for mass killing) resulted in the east and west parts of Jerusalem being reunited under Israeli rule. The city began to flourish in ways that it had not for two thousand years. Its splendour today is greater than at any time in the past. The freedoms it offers its residents and visitors in 2012 are the polar opposite of how things were when the Jordanians ruled.

West - Linux Mint, Israel and me

The Warped Mirror..
Guest post by Nathan West*..
26 February '12..

My friends all know that I am a Linux fan. My sons even call me Linux Man. Recently, I built a computer with one of my sons as part of a family project. When it came time to choose an operating system, we decided that the computer should “dual boot,” meaning that there would be more than one usable operating system on the computer.

Naturally, one operating system used is Linux; however, there are many Linux operating systems. We chose Linux Mint, which is the world’s third or fourth most popular operating system. Not to lose the story in Linux detail, after installing Mint, I became curious about the Mint organization. That led me to the name Clement Lefebrve who is Mint’s “project leader.” So, I decided to Google his name. Google suggested, among other things, that I search “Clement Lefebrve Israel.”

To my surprise, I found that he holds extremely strong, negative views about Israel; really, really strong, negative views. In fact, I discovered that Lefebrve wrote back in 2009, on the Mint website no less, that he does not “want any money or help coming from Israel or people who support the action of their current government.” And, if you do not agree with his views, he states, and I emphasize: “I kindly ask you not to use Linux Mint and not to donate money to it. … This is very important to me.”

Stern - Things You Don't Want Your Kids to Know

Paula R. Stern..
A Soldier's Mother..
27 February '12..

I had a discussion with Shmulik this morning. Our routines have settled into a nice pattern where he drives me to work two or three times a week. He takes the car to his yeshiva, and then we go home together. As he was speaking, I wished I could record what he was saying. So many things I want to tell you about and as he continued, it switched to so many things I wish he didn't know. There is a wisdom there in his words, a clarity in his youth. He is married and yet still I see him as the boy he was, as well as the man he has become. He sees the world, I thought to myself, more than we want them to see.

He started with one thing and then got to the other. The first was interesting; the second broke my heart a bit. So the first. There is a problem in Israel, a division of society that runs deep. On one side of the divide, there is the misconception that Ultra-Orthodox Jews are backwards, warped, left behind in the 18th century, perhaps in Poland or the Russia of pogroms. On the other side, there are people who see a world that they do not want to live in, do not want their children to know. For the most part, they are not nearly as materialistic as much of the world. The Ultra-Orthodox Jews to whom I am related are modest people who live in small apartments, work to raise their children and invest in them - not with computers and modern toys, but with time and love and attention.

Their children are so incredibly polite and though they run and play as all children do, there is a sense of caring and responsibility. Older children care for the younger ones and yes, part of that is necessity. When there are nine children in a family, the older ones learn quickly that they have to help - and they do.

For the most part, the Ultra-Orthodox are warm, family-oriented people who believe they have found a way to make life mean more and want to pass this on to their children and yes, protect their culture and their children from things that would infringe on the lives and communities they have built. They believe they have the right - and don't they really? - to choose what of this world they will bring into their lives and what they feel would be better to leave out.

Monday, February 27, 2012

(Video) Medad - Grandfathers/Grandmothers Against 'Apartheid' Attacks on Israel

Yisrael Medad..
My Right Way..
27 February '12..

Video here:

Note that these intellectually-oriented students have to read from notes to get their message out.

Story here:

A group of young leftist University of New Mexico students crashed a talk by pro-Israel Nonie Darwish on their campus Thursday night, but were surprised when older audience members got up out of their seats and pushed them out posthaste.

"Nonie Darwish speaks for Israeli apartheid! And genocide at the hands of the IDF," the leftists yelled. However, older audience members with a no-nonsense approach walked up to the students and began pushing them out. The leftist disturbance had barely lasted a minute by the time the rioters had all been pushed out the door.

The title of the talk was "Why the Arab Spring Is Failing."...

[Note: While news accounts across the board have referred to those disrupting as UNM students, the account below this particular Youtube included the STATEMENT FROM (Un)Occupy Albuquerque:...The protestors, some of whom are UNM students and affiliated with the (Un)Occupy Albuquerque movement,... not much of a surprise, but knowing that this disruption of an event on campus was by non-students, would have generated even more resentment. Yosef]


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Kushner - From Israel: On the Mount of Olives

Arlene Kushner..
27 February '12..

Before beginning my discussion about the Mount, I am delighted to be able to share good news:

Some days ago, I sent out an e-mail about a 16 month old boy -- Rafael Zakkai Avraham ben Yakira Avigael -- who had a very rare cancer in the spine. The situation sounded dire and I asked for prayers. The news now is that the child was misdiagnosed: the tumor in his spine is benign. The parents were very cautious about accepting this new diagnosis prematurely, but have now had confirmation from two labs. Baruch Hashem.

What this means is that this poor baby will not need intense chemotherapy, and the tumor will not metastasize. But he will still require complicated surgery on his spine. The prayers are working, writes the mother -- please, keep praying!!


Now to the Mount of Olives (Har HaZeitim), which is on the periphery of eastern Jerusalem.

Found on the Mount is the oldest cemetery in Jewish history, dating back 3,000 years and containing some 150,000 graves. The earliest burial caves date from the First Temple; the cemetery is still actively in use today.

WSJ - Wishing Upon Iran

U.S. spies hold out hope the mullahs won't build a bomb.

Wall Street Journal..
Review and Outlook..
27 February '12..

What will it take to persuade the U.S. intelligence community that Tehran's nuclear intentions aren't exactly peaceful? Perhaps nothing short of an explosion.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) released its latest report on Iran on Friday, this time with the cheerful news that the regime has sharply increased its production of 20%-enriched uranium and in much greater quantities than it can possibly need for civilian use. More than a third of the new enrichment is taking place at its Fordow installation, which is inside a heavily fortified bunker carved into a mountain.

Stockpiling 20% uranium (reactor-grade is 5%) gives Iran the option to further enrich the fuel to bomb-grade level quickly and with relative ease. And speaking of a bomb, the regime last week forbade IAEA inspectors from visiting a weapons-facility at Parchin, which the Agency suspects has conducted nuclear-weapons design work.

If that sounds grim, America's spooks see a silver lining: Tehran may be doing what it can to manufacture the various components of a nuclear weapon, but it has yet to decide to assemble them into an explosive device. That's the public assessment of James Clapper, the Director of National Intelligence, seconded by CIA Director David Petraeus and Joint Chiefs Chairman Martin Dempsey.

Some anonymous intelligence sources go even further: According to a weekend story in the New York Times, they still believe the conclusions of a 2007 National Intelligence Estimate, which argued that Iran put its nuclear weapons-work on the shelf in 2003.

Mr. Clapper and friends are drawing a narrow distinction between having the ability to build a nuke and actually building one. In this ever-hopeful analysis, Iran might decide that it is better served possessing enough nuclear capability to keep its options open and its enemies on guard, without having to incur the risks of building and maintaining an actual arsenal. The model here is Japan, another country that could easily build nuclear weapons but chooses not to out of strategic, moral and political considerations.

There's a problem with this logic: Japan is not Iran. Democratic Tokyo threatens nobody. Theocratic Tehran never ceases making threats. The idea that Japan could, in theory, field a nuclear arsenal might serve as a deterrent against Chinese military planners, but it doesn't keep ordinary people in Seoul, Taipei or Manila awake at night.

Shragai - Mahmoud Abbas’ ‘bag of fibs’

Nadav Shragai..
Israel Hayom..
27 February '12..

Over the course of the last two decades, the Palestinians have been revising the history of Jerusalem and dating the Al-Aqsa Mosque back to the era of Kind David, King Solomon and the Temple, in contrast to what they have to documented in their own writings. On Sunday, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas added another chapter to the Palestinian “Bag of Fibs” (a reference to an Israeli collection of tall tales by Haim Hefer and Dan Ben-Amotz from 1956). He accused Israel of “employing the basest methods to remove any trace of Arab, Muslim and Christian characteristics from East Jerusalem.”

You can’t sink any lower than that. Abbas is apparently relying on the world’s short memory – so here is a reminder: The kind of freedom of religion that thrives in Jerusalem today is unprecedented. Before 1967, things were different. The Arabs had vowed in writing (Article 8 of the 1949 Armistice Agreement with Jordan) to allow the Jews access to holy sites beyond the border, but in practice they prevented the Jews from visiting the Western Wall, Rachel’s Tomb and the Mount of Olives.

The ancient Jewish cemetery on the Mount of Olives was unrecognizable in 1967: About 50,000 of the 70,000 gravestones had been smashed. Many of them were used to build fences, roads and public toilets. The Arabs had soiled the Western Wall alley with manure and human feces. Even after 1967 the Palestinians made sure to blur the Jews’ connection to Jerusalem and its holy sites – not only in words but also through actions.

Steinberg - Exploiting apartheid for political warfare

Gerald M. Steinberg..
23 February '12..

In September 2001, the participants in the Non-Government Organization Forum of the United Nations Conference on Racism and Discrimination in Durban, South Africa, welcomed Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, distributed anti-Semitic literature, and adopted a declaration branding Israel as "a racist, apartheid state" practicing "a crime against humanity". This form of political warfare was led by the Palestinian leadership and the Organization of the Islamic Conference, and the text was written at a Tehran preparatory conference from which Israelis and Jews were excluded. The Durban NGO Forum marked the launch of another major round of political warfare against Israel, seeking to delegitimize Jewish national self-determination.

The use of the "apartheid" libel as the primary vehicle for de-legitimization is not directed against specific Israeli policies. The rhetoric and the campaigns on university campuses and in events such as "Israel apartheid week" explicitly target the existence of Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people. The political warfare accompanied by BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) campaigns is a direct continuation of the Arab rejection of the November 1947 United Nations Partition plan (General Assembly Resolution 181). This strategy was also embodied in the infamous 1975 UN "Zionism is racism" resolution (General Assembly Resolution 3379, repealed in 1991). In the words of Irwin Cotler, former Canadian attorney general, "Let there be no mistake about it: to indict Israel as an Apartheid State is prologue and justification for the dismantling of the Jewish State, for the criminalization of its supporters, and for the consequential silencing of their speech."

Haselkorn - Attacking – and being attacked by – Iran

Avigdor Haselkorn..
Op-Ed Contributor/JPost..
26 February '12..

Many voices that earlier touted diplomacy as the only way to halt Iran’s nuclear march are now telling Israel in effect to take a chill-pill: a nuclear Iran would behave as a rational state which could be deterred from using such weapons by Israel’s own nuclear arsenal. It might even follow the examples of the Soviet Union and Communist China and moderate its behavior once it acquires the bomb. Therefore, Israel would do well to abandon its dangerous propaganda hype.

However, the placaters’ argument is misleading and wrong. It is misleading because aside from the supposed improbability of Iran nuking Israel there are numerous other nightmarish scenarios tied to Tehran acquiring nuclear weapons.

For example, it is generally accepted that Iran has had an interest in restraining Hezbollah from unleashing terror attacks and/or its vast rocket arsenal against Israel for fear the latter’s response would wipe out a key element in Iran’s strategic deterrence visà- vis an Israeli preemptive attack. However, once Iran goes nuclear, its need for the Hezbollah deterrent would lessen, which would free the organization’s long-range arsenal to constantly harass Israel, possibly with Tehran’s encouragement.

Elder - Jews are Judaizing Jerusalem?

Elder of Ziyon..
26 February '12..

From AFP:

Qatar urged the United Nations on Sunday to investigate Jewish settlement expansion in annexed Arab east Jerusalem, warning that Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories was unacceptable.

“We must act quickly to stop the Judaization of Jerusalem,” said Qatar’s emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, in his opening remarks at the International Conference on Jerusalem in Doha.

In his remarks, Sheikh Hamad called on the U.N. to “investigate the measures Israel has taken to Judaize Jerusalem since its occupation in 1967.”

He said such an investigation would constitute the first step towards “forcing Israel to reverse those measures.

One cannot Judaize Jerusalem any more than one can wet water. Jerusalem is Jewish through and through. Every stone is infused with holiness because of its Jewish past. Its sacredness to other religions is but a weak echo of the holiness it has been given by Jewish kings and prophets, prayers and tears.

Kay - The return of the Israel Apartheid Week cult

Jonathan Kay..
National Post..
25 February '12..

In Syria, the Assad regime continues to rain artillery on rebel positions in the city of Homs, killing journalists and innocent civilians alike. Iran’s mullahs are set to execute a Canadian citizen for the crime of operating a web site they don’t like. The new Libyan regime is torturing Gaddafi loyalists. And Egypt’s rulers are prosecuting NGO leaders on trumped-up charges. And so next week, Canadian left-wing activists will congregate in Toronto to express their hatred of … you guessed it: Israel.

The events of March 5-9 will take place as part of the 8th annual Israel Apartheid Week (IAW), and will feature presentations such as “Cutting the Ties to Israeli Apartheid: Cultural and Academic Boycott,” and “Rhymes Of Resistance And The Sounds Of Existence — with poets Remi Kanazi, Red Slam and Chand-nee.” The IAW website is full of the usual rhetoric about Israel’s “criminal” actions. There is not a word of acknowledgement about how utterly ridiculous it is to run a week-long event vilifying Israel when right next door in Syria, the government has just exterminated more Arabs than were killed in both Intifidas, the 2008 Gaza conflict, and the 2006 Lebanon war combined.

The timing of IAW this year truly does represent something of a farce. The eyes of the entire world are focused on Syria and the Strait of Hormuz. Even West Bank Palestinians themselves now seem more concerned with building up their economy than with grand international gestures aimed at the Jewish state. And in the “occupied” Golan Heights, Druze Muslims have been stirring — not against Israel, but against the Assad regime that many once looked to for “liberation.” In the streets of Cairo, Sana’a and Tunis, no one is talking about Israel — only about when they will get the democracy they were promised. Only among cultish, single-minded anti-Israel activists has the news of the Arab Spring failed to circulate.

The word “cultish” is used here advisedly — because even some veteran anti-Israel activists are getting tired of the false mantras that circulate at IAW events. This includes no less an anti-Zionist than Norman Finkelstein (who has called Israel a “vandal state” that “relentlessly and brutally and inhumanly keeps these vicious, murderous wars”). Speaking to an interviewer earlier this month, he attacked the animating philosophy behind IAW — the movement for boycotts, divestment and sanctions against Israel (BDS) — as a “cult,” and an unsuccessful one at that.

Abrams - Syria, Israel, and “World Opinion”

Elliott Abrams..
Pressure Points..
24 February '12..

The complaint that the Obama administration believes in “leading from behind” received new strength yesterday, when Secretary Clinton made an astonishing comment about the Syrian opposition. It came in the context of the Assad regime’s continuing massacres, an accusation from the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights that crimes against humanity are being committed, and the gathering today of 70 nations in Tunis to discuss the Syrian situation.

The Secretary of State said of the Syrian opposition that “they will, from somewhere, somehow, find the means to defend themselves….” And that was viewed as a toughening of the American position! The Secretary added that “world opinion is not going to stand idly by.”

“World opinion” has a long history of standing idly by, actually, as the Syrians being attacked by tanks now understand–and as everyone from Kosovars to Darfurians to Iraqi Shia who rose up against Saddam know well. In fact the Secretary’s malapropism is telling: of course “opinion” does not “stand idly” or end its passivity, for in the world it is nations that act. Or, like ours now, fail to act to help Syrians defend themselves from a murderous assault. They do not need more meetings such as the one in Tunis, nor more words, nor UN votes. With perhaps 7,500 dead and the number climbing each day, they need concrete help.

Among the many lessons here, one is about power and powerlessness. Syrians are being slaughtered because they do not yet have the power to defend themselves, just like people in Kosovo before them (where we heard the same nonsense about not militarizing the struggle or how we must avoid “just increasing the level of violence” as arguments against helping them).

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Kushner - From Israel: Voicing Support

Arlene Kushner..
26 February '12..

There is no leader with a record that matches that of Prime Minister Netanyahu with regard to recognition of the dangers of Iran. He was addressing this issue in various forums -- again, and again, and again -- at a time when most world leaders were paying no attention.

And there is no question in my mind that he understands what must be done. Sanctions -- instituted late and half-heartedly -- have not deterred Iranian leaders. "Negotiations" are nothing but a pitiful joke. But Iran cannot be permitted to achieve nuclear capability.

This week Netanyahu is scheduled to travel to North America, and, on March 5, will be meeting President Obama -- who does not exactly see eye-to-eye with him on this issue. For all the public declarations by US officials meant to assuage concern and demonstrate that the US and Israel are on the same wavelength regarding Iran, it is clearly is not the case. The US does not want Israel to attack Iran.

Bryen - Dempsey, Rational Countries, and the Apocalypse

Shoshana Bryen..
Jewish Policy Center..
PJ Media..
23 February '12..

U.S. Gen. Martin Dempsey caused a minor storm when he pronounced Iran a "rational country." Is it rational to deny the Holocaust, threaten to eradicate another country, and subject your people to devastating economic sanctions in pursuit of nuclear weapons?


To be rational is be able to project cause and effect; act and consequence. It has nothing to do with goals. The United States and most of the civilized world find Iran's goals anathema, but our disapproval doesn't matter. The Iranian government will sacrifice a great deal in terms of (other people's) lives and livelihood to achieve its apocalyptic goals.[1]

The Obama administration took office believing that American policies had pushed Iran into radicalism. The Christian Science Monitor reported recently on the president's opening gambit:

Obama chose his words with excruciating care in reaching out to Iran publicly and privately. … The new president emphasized he wanted a "new beginning" with a country that called the United States "the Great Satan" and was branded by his predecessor as part of an "axis of evil."

[This] was intended to change Iran's mind on the need to acquire nuclear weapons capability. "Obama is still open to an Iranian overture for serious negotiations on its nuclear program," officials say. … Indeed, that is the ultimate goal of the pressure strategy, they say. "The next step for us is making sure … there is continued space for the Iranian government to take a different path."

The president and his advisers are not alone in thinking Iran's interest in nuclear capability is subject to change if a "different path" appears.

Following a 2009 Iranian missile test, proliferation expert Joseph Cirincione said perhaps Iran tested the missile as "a show of strength before they make a concession." With no concession, he now says:

The conditions for containing Tehran's efforts may be better today than they have been in years. The recent disclosure of a secret nuclear facility in Iran has led to an apparent agreement to allow in UN weapons inspectors and to ship some uranium out of the country.

Um, nope.

Navon - Israel's Valmy Battle

Emmanuel Navon..
For the Sake of Ziyon..
26 February '12..

In his book The New Middle East, Shimon Peres wrote that “In Western Europe, particularist nationalism is fading and the idea of ‘citizen of the world’ is taking hold” (The New Middle East, Henry Holt, 1993, p. 98). It is sadly ironical that Peres wrote those lines at the height of a savage nationalistic war in the former Yugoslavia, and shortly after the replacement of Czechoslovakia by two separate nation-states.

Today, ‘Western Europe’ is hardly a continent where people abandon their national identity to become ‘citizens of the world.’ The fact that Cyprus became an EU member in 2004 did not mend fences between Greeks and Turks –if anything it convinced Turkey that it could get away with its occupation of the island. As for Brussels, it might host the European Commission but it also happens to be the capital of a dysfunctional bi-national state that was left without an elected government for nearly two years (between June 2010 and December 2011) because of nationalistic dissentions between the Flemish and the Walloons.

If Peres’ diagnosis (or prognosis?) was wrong in 1993, it is even more wrong today. Far-right nationalistic parties are on the rise in many European countries: the National Front in France, the Freedom Party in Austria, the Northern League in Italy, the Flemish Block in Belgium, or the Hellenic Front in Greece. The list goes on, alongside another phenomenon that has been sweeping Western Europe recently, i.e. secessionist tendencies that challenge the European nation-state.

(Video) 'Zero-Range' Having no qualms about leaving their faces uncovered during this attempt to murder'

Love of the Land..
26 Feburary '12..

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then what does this video tell you? 

The Video

Uploaded by SassVideo on Feb 25, 2012

The Story:

What Happened to Me on Tuesday Last

This past Tuesday, 28 Shvat - February 21, I was returning home to Karmei Tzur from Efrat where I work.

At the Gush Etzion Junction I collected a female hitchhiker who got into a back seat since the front passenger seat was where our infant seat was affixed. What luck. While traveling between El-Aroub and Bet-Omar on the ascent I noticed a car approaching from the opposite direction with a damaged front window from a rock that must have previously landed. I naively presumed that that was the result of an old incident that hadn't yet been fixed.

When I came close to the gas station at Bet-Omar (a location that usually requires a driver's attention due to wrongly parked taxis, bypassing and pulling out into the highway in a careless manner), I observed a man running across the road from right to left. I first thought that this was a soldier with a rifle and I slowed down to grasp what was happening. I then noticed dozens of people, old, young and teenagers, congregating on my right. It then became apparent that the "soldier with a rifle" was actually a photographer with a camera. He was seeking a better picture angle to snap away at what was about to happen. On my left were at least two other photographers, waiting for the action. I should emphasize that I was not the first victim and other cars had already been stoned and so these press photographers were well aware what was happening and was about to happen to me. None of them, it seems, thought to call for assistance from the police or IDF none of whom were present.

Rubin - Iranian Scientists’ Goals Should Be No Secret

Michael Rubin..
24 February '12..

The Drudge Report is including a link to an Israel National News story quoting an Iranian press report in which the widow of an Iranian nuclear scientist acknowledged that her husband sought “Israel’s annihilation.” Even before Drudge amplified it into headline news, this was a story that the keen eye of Jonathan Tobin had earlier picked up. But, it’s hardly the first time that Iranian officials intimately involved in their covert nuclear and ballistic missile programs have made this admission. In November 2011, Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Gen. Hassan Tehrani-Moghadam died in a mysterious explosion that flattened the missile facility in which he worked. The Iranian press subsequently published his last will and testament, a document in which he requested the epitaph, “This is the grave of someone who wanted to destroy Israel.”

There’s a school of foreign policy thought predominant in the United States which teaches officials to ignore rhetoric. This would be a mistake, one which should have been corrected after the George H.W. Bush administration and the State Department largely ignored Saddam Hussein’s threats against Kuwait, only to learn that the dictator actually meant what he said.

In government and intelligence circles, there is a persistent problem in which people cleared to read high level intelligence spend disproportionate time leafing through intercepts to the exclusion of the open-source material—newspapers and television transcripts—for which everyone is cleared. Intelligence is 90 percent open source, so to focus on the ten percent to the exclusion of the rest gives a skewed perspective. It is time the State Department and the Central Intelligence Agency realize that when the Iranian regime says something in Persian, it might mean it, even if no one is around to translate it into English and even if it was only said in a national newspaper rather than a hurried cell phone call.

Ignoring rhetoric because they come through unclassified media is intelligence incompetence, but dismissing what the Iranians say becomes policy malpractice of the highest order.


Baratz - BDS Secrets

Ran Baratz..
24 February '12..

Ubiquitous anti-Israel activist Norman Finkelstein stirred up the blogosphere last week. In a YouTube interview with pro-Palestinian advocate Frank Barat, Finkelstein said—in his aggressive, condescending way—that members of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement (BDS), which Finkelstein has prominently supported, care less for human rights than they do for Israel's destruction. When Finkelstein saw the reactions, rumor has it he tried to get Barat to take the video down.

But Finkelstein's angry comrades didn't understand what he was really admitting.

Finkelstein got into trouble when he said that some people in BDS "don't want Israel." He lectured his BDS colleagues:

Stop trying to be so clever, because you're only clever in your cult. The moment you step out, you have to deal with Israeli propaganda . . . They say, "No, they're not really talking about rights; they're talking about they want to destroy Israel." And in fact I think they're right, I think that's true.

In fact, Finkelstein said, it is "not an accident, an unwitting omission, that BDS does not mention Israel": They "know it will split the movement, because there's a large segment—component—of the movement that wants to eliminate Israel."

You can see why anti-Israel people were offended to hear this from Finkelstein, of all people. Yet Finkelstein was not revealing some deep secret about the motives of those BDS-ers. Anyone who has listened to their leaders, read their papers, seen them at play, or checked out their circle of acquaintances, supporters, and collaborators can hardly be surprised.

Finkelstein made his truly subversive comments elsewhere in the interview, and—perhaps not accidentally—they have provoked much less reaction from anti-Israel opinion. BDS is "a cult," Finkelstein said:

Shoan - Is Israel losing Temple Mount war?

Amir Shoan..
Israel News/Ynet..
24 February '12..

Ira Pasternack couldn't believe his eyes. The tractor's huge blade was lifted high up and then brought down with great force, shattering the ancient floors on Temple Mount. The large clods of earth exposed by the work were cast aside by the mustachioed driver. Yet even an amateur archeologist could spot the priceless remnants of Jewish, Christian and Muslim history being cast away.

A few hours earlier, on a steaming July day in 2007, Pasternack was sent to Temple Mount in his role as an Israel Antiquities Authority inspector, in order to supervise excavation works at the holy site, which in the past boasted two Jewish Temples. This marked the first such project at the site since the 1967 Six-Day War, as the area's sensitivity could prompt a political and diplomatic flare-up, thereby discouraging any such work.

According to specific Antiquities Authority instructions, any digging at the site was not allowed to exceed 60 centimeters (roughly two feet) and was not to be undertaken using mechanical equipment. However, reports drafted by Pasternnack and other sources, exposed for the first time by Yedioth Ahronoth Friday, indicate that workers largely ignored the instructions.

Much of the work was done using a tractor, continued during the night with the help of a flashlight, reached deeper than the permit allowed for. Moreover, the clods of earth removed from the site, which apparently comprised valuable remnants from the two Jewish Temples, were thrown away to an improvised garbage dump by members of the Waqf (the administrative Muslim body in charge of Temple Mount.)

Marquadt-Bigman - Oy – even the Huffington Post…

Petra Marquadt-Bigman..
The Warped Mirror..
24 February '12..

Well, you’ve probably heard about the far-reaching powers of the “Israel Lobby”, and you might even have heard the rumors about Jews/Zionists/neo-cons controlling the media. But rumors are one thing – hard evidence is something else altogether, right?
The incriminating piece of “evidence” is a post by Arianna Huffington about a meeting she had with Israel’s President Shimon Peres in September 2009.