Saturday, August 31, 2013

Great question. Will Iran fight to the last Lebanese?

Michael Young..
30 August '13..

Pity Hezbollah. After years of hearing earnest observers tell you what a quintessentially Lebanese party it was, and a revolutionary one at that, now we can plainly see that it is merely the Foreign Legion of the Iranian leadership – there to march or die at Tehran’s behest – as well as, more recently, cannon fodder for Bashar al-Assad’s regime.

With the United States intending to attack Syria for the regime’s use of chemical weapons in the Ghouta east and west of Damascus, Hezbollah may again be placed at the forefront of a retaliatory plan.

Iranian parliamentarians have warned that any attack would provoke a response against Israel. “In case of a U.S. military strike against Syria, the flames of outrage of the region’s revolutionaries will point toward the Zionist regime,” Mansur Haqiqatpur, an influential parliamentarian said on Tuesday. Hossein Sheikholeslam, who heads the Iranian parliament’s international affairs committee, warned that “the first victim of an attack on Syria will be the Zionist regime.”

Most analysts, however, see such statements in the context of implicit red lines set by the Iranian regime. They also note that threats made by parliamentarians, even important ones, do not necessarily have the same impact as those issued by senior security or political figures, perhaps buying Iran a margin of maneuver.

Iran’s red line, evidently, is this: If the United States limits its attacks both in time and scope and does not undermine the Assad regime, then the Iranians will not retaliate, or ask Hezbollah to retaliate. However, if American action takes longer than a few days and is seen as tipping the balance in favor of the rebels, then Iran and its allies will widen the war, most probably by firing rockets at Israel.

But let’s pause for a moment and look at what that means. It means, first, that Hezbollah is likely to find itself once again in a conflict with Israel. Speculation that rockets might be fired from Syria makes little sense. Any Israeli response to that would be directed against the Assad regime, which is precisely what the Iranians want to avoid.

So, instead, we can expect that Lebanon would become the front line in a new war, and Hezbollah tasked with firing its rockets across the southern border. The party would not have the choice to say no; after all, if obscure Iranian parliamentarians thousands of kilometers away say something will happen, it is the party’s duty to implement it.

The Arab Spring - The Israeli Spring

...In terms of realpolitik, anti-Israeli authoritarians are fighting to the death against anti-Israeli insurgents and terrorists. Each is doing more damage to the other than Israel ever could — and in an unprecedented, grotesque fashion.

Victor Davis Hanson..
30 August '13..

Israel could be forgiven for having a siege mentality — given that at any moment, old frontline enemies Syria and Egypt might spill their violence over common borders.

The Arab Spring has thrown Israel’s once-predictable adversaries into the chaotic state of a Sudan or Somalia. The old understandings between Jerusalem and the Assad and Mubarak kleptocracies seem in limbo.

Yet these tragic Arab revolutions swirling around Israel are paradoxically aiding it, both strategically and politically — well beyond just the erosion of conventional Arab military strength.

In terms of realpolitik, anti-Israeli authoritarians are fighting to the death against anti-Israeli insurgents and terrorists. Each is doing more damage to the other than Israel ever could — and in an unprecedented, grotesque fashion. Who now is gassing Arab innocents? Shooting Arab civilians in the streets? Rounding up and executing Arab civilians? Blowing up Arab houses? Answer: either Arab dictators or radical Islamists.

The old nexus of radical Islamic terror of the last three decades is unraveling. With a wink and a nod, Arab dictatorships routinely subsidized Islamic terrorists to divert popular anger away from their own failures to the West or Israel. In the deal, terrorists got money and sanctuary. The Arab Street blamed others for their own government-inflicted miseries. And thieving authoritarians posed as Islam’s popular champions.

But now, terrorists have turned on their dictator sponsors. And even the most ardent Middle East conspiracy theorists are having troubling blaming the United States and Israel.

Secretary of State John Kerry is still beating last century’s dead horse of a “comprehensive Middle East peace.” But does Kerry’s calcified diplomacy really assume that a peace agreement involving Israel would stop the ethnic cleansing of Egypt’s Coptic Christians? Does Israel have anything to do with Assad’s alleged gassing of his own people?

Friday, August 30, 2013

The Lone Light in a Dark Region - Israel

P. David Hornik..
30 August '13..

As the Obama administration keeps weighing whether and how to act in Syria, one wonders if Israel is looking good—or at least better—to the administration these days. Seemingly, if there was ever a time, now would be the time to start taking note of Israel’s strengths in a bad region.

1. Some ways in which Israel differs from other countries of the region.

No chemical-weapons attacks. In the Middle East this can hardly be taken for granted. Along with Bashar Assad’s use, there was Iraq’s against the Kurds in 1991 and Egypt’s against Yemeni tribesmen in the mid-1960s. Egypt and Iraq are, of course, countries with which the U.S. has been allied or heavily involved, and for decades U.S. diplomats kept coming to Damascus to try and get President Hafez and then Bashar Assad to “make peace” with Israel.

Israel, of course, will never use WMD of any kind except to save itself from annihilation.

No intercommunal bombing campaigns. Along with the carnage in Syria, such campaigns are now being waged in Iraq and, to a lesser but growing extent, Lebanon; they’re basically spirals of reciprocal mass murder.

Israel too, even within its Jewish population, has had intense animosities between groups. The right and left were at loggerheads particularly in the 1980s and 1990s, and there are ongoing tensions between secular and ultra-Orthodox Jews. But violence, of course, has been small-scale and rare. Differences get settled at the ballot box.

No church burnings or other persecution of Christians. In fact, Israel is the only country in the region whose Christian population is steadily growing rather than fleeing.

No mass rapes in public squares.

No bigoted slanders of other countries by national leaders. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey recently pulled that one off when he declared that Israel was behind the overthrow of President Mohamed Morsi in Egypt. Although President Obama has in the past called Erdogan a great friend, this was too much even for the administration, which “strongly condemn[ed]” Erdogan’s words.

Israeli leaders, of course, do not engage in public defamation and conspiracy-mongering.

No journalists in prison. In that category Turkey now takes the lead in the world, surpassing Iran and China. In Israel even Uri Blau, a Haaretz journalist convicted last year of holding thousands of classified military documents that were passed to him by a soldier who filched them, was sentenced to all of four months’ community service.

This is, of course, a very partial list, but it’s enough to point to an essential difference between a democracy and countries very far from democratic standards.

The planned terror war of the Second Intifada

...None of these facts prevented then-Prime Minister Shimon Peres from making a formal announcement before the media congratulating Arafat on the decision -- when no such decision had ever actually been made. It was not Arafat who deceived us. We deceived ourselves, and we continue to do so.

Dror Eydar..
Israel Hayom..
30 August '13..

On several occasions, I heard Yossi Beilin, my colleague at Israel Hayom, repeat the claim that the Second Intifada had broken out because of "the provocative visit by [then-Opposition Leader] Ariel Sharon to the Temple Mount." This assertion is characteristic of the deep Israeli Left, which directs most of the blame for the failure of the Oslo Accords at Israel and holds Ehud Barak responsible for the failure of the talks at Camp David -- a failure that led to the outbreak of the terror war that began in September 2000.

But we know that Arafat had planned that war years before. Just like what happened before the Yom Kippur War, in the case of the Oslo Accords, their architects led the peace process while ignoring the obvious signs. Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon writes in his book "The Longer Shorter Way" that when he became head of the Military Intelligence Directorate in 1995, he looked into the rhetoric Arafat used internally, with the Palestinians, to see whether he was preparing the next generation for reconciliation or for war.

What Ya'alon discovered then still applies. Unlike Assad senior, who prepared his officers and the Syrian people for a possible treaty, Arafat continued to use jihadist rhetoric in the speeches he gave in Arabic (while in English he spoke of "the peace of the brave," which is open to interpretation). To this day, the Palestinian school system denies the existence of any link between the Jewish people and the Land of Israel, referring to all the land between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River as Palestine.

Arafat had a symbiotic relationship with the planners of the suicide attacks. The advocates of the Oslo Accords used to say that Arafat had no control over the terrorism and that his people were deceiving him. On January 24, 1996, during a meeting between Peres and Arafat, the name of the most wanted terrorist at the time, Mohammed Deif, came up in conversation: The Israelis asked that he be arrested. Playing innocent, Arafat asked Mohammed Dahlan in Arabic: "Mohammed who?" That was a significant moment for Ya'alon since the Israelis were aware that Arafat and Deif knew each other. Arafat's deception was laid bare for all to see.

Several months later, the Palestinian National Council assembled to revise the sections in the Palestinian National Covenant that denied Israel's right to exist. At the end of the convention, intelligence researchers realized that Arafat had pulled a fast one: While the English version stated that the change would be made right away, the Arabic version could be interpreted as stating that the change would take place at some undefined point in the future. The members of the PNC who opposed the change were told that the binding version was the Arabic one. It was also agreed that the change would be made by a committee of legal experts that would meet within six months. It goes without saying that no such committee ever met.

None of these facts prevented then-Prime Minister Shimon Peres from making a formal announcement before the media congratulating Arafat on the decision -- when no such decision had ever actually been made. It was not Arafat who deceived us. We deceived ourselves, and we continue to do so.

(+Video) One can hope.

...Despite all the political pandering to hate Jews/Israelis by their Arab "ideologists" and political leaders, these guys may just represent a microcosm of the larger population wanting to lead a normal life. Perhaps they even appreciate their situation more as they view their fellow Arabs blowing each other up in the countries around us. I sure hope the atmosphere in that club will catch on...

Mike L..
Israel Thrives..
29 August '13..

The snippet below was written and published by JPost staff.

The Israel Defense Forces has launched an investigation after Israeli soldiers from the elite Givati Brigade were captured on camera dancing with young Palestinians at a club in the Jabara neighborhood of Hebron, Channel 2 reported Wednesday.

According to the report, the soldiers entered the club while on patrol on Monday, after hearing the song Gangnam Style by Psy coming from the building.

The footage aired by Channel 2 purportedly shows a soldier in IDF uniform, fully armed, sitting on the shoulders of a Palestinian club-goer, even clasping hands with another man at the club.

This is one of those weird little stories that I am not entirely sure what to make of.

Clearly the IDF cannot allow its soldiers on patrol to start dancing in night clubs while on duty because it can be exceedingly dangerous. The soldier was piggy-back on someone who was dancing while holding a presumably loaded weapon.

That's not smart.

Furthermore, of course, they simply have other responsibilities while in uniform.

Nonetheless, I think that this comment, which you will find under the story, is probably quite right.

common sense • 38 minutes ago

I believe that what was displayed is a deep emotional yearning for semblance of normality/peace since it appears the dancing Arabs did not feel threatened by a fully armed soldier. Despite all the political pandering to hate Jews/Israelis by their Arab "ideologists" and political leaders, these guys may just represent a microcosm of the larger population wanting to lead a normal life. Perhaps they even appreciate their situation more as they view their fellow Arabs blowing each other up in the countries around us. I sure hope the atmosphere in that club will catch on...

One can hope.


Israel Thrives is a non-partisan political blog for people who care about Israel and want an end to the Arab-Muslim war against the Jews in the Middle East. Mike Lumish, PhD, editor. - - Doodad, Geoffff, Jay in Philadelphia, Oldschooltwentysix, and Empress Trudy, contributors.

Updates throughout the day at If you enjoy "Love of the Land", please be a subscriber. Just put your email address in the "Subscribe" box on the upper right-hand corner of the page.Twitter updates at LoveoftheLand as well as our Love of the Land page at Facebook which has additional pieces of interest besides that which is posted on the blog. Check-it out!

A “key target” for US intelligence? Israel

...The obsessive interest in Israel surely can’t be about the ‘peace process’. I mean, really, how important or potentially dangerous is this when compared to the aggressive spread of radical regimes in the Muslim world, the possible implosion of Egypt, or a Syrian civil war that has so far taken about 100,000 lives including children killed by Sarin gas?

Antenna of the US AN/TPY-2 X-band
radar system set up in the Negev.
It is ostensibly there to monitor Iranian
missile launches, but it can also see a small
aircraft taking off from anywhere in
Israel. Only American personnel are
allowed anywhere near it.
30 August '13..

The Washington Post has a document that it says it obtained from Edward Snowden which it calls the ‘black budget’ of the various US intelligence services. It has published only a small part of the material “after consultation with U.S. officials who expressed concerns about the risk to intelligence sources and methods.”

The Post notes the growth of the CIA budget to almost $15 billion in 2013, which I have to admit is a remarkable number, comparable to the GDP of Jamaica or Mozambique, and 50% more than that of the NSA — which, after all, has to read our email and listen to our phone calls. The total for all the intelligence agencies is $52.6 billion, close to the GDP of Croatia.

But naturally, the first thing I did was search for ‘Israel’ and here is what I found on pages 4-5:


Although the budget is declining, the mission is not. Prioritizing our requirements was a key element to produce a budget that meets customer needs, supports critical capabilities, addresses gaps, and helps to maintain a strategic advantage. In the FY 2013 NIP [National Intelligence Program] budget, the IC [Intelligence Community] makes targeted investments in:

o Counterintelligence (CI). To further safeguard our classified networks, we continue to strengthen insider threat detection capabilities across the Community. In addition, we are investing in target surveillance and offensive CI against key targets, such as China, Russia, Iran, Israel, Pakistan, and Cuba. [my emphasis]

Wait, what?

We are making “targeted investments” (read: spending more money) in spying on these ‘targets’ and attempting to prevent them from spying on us — and Israel is a “key target” in the company of China, Russia, Iran, Pakistan, and Cuba!

O.K., So the world is against us

Obviously the whole world can’t be wrong, even if sanctimonious self-appointed judges from other lands regard the shedding of Jewish blood as not entirely reprehensible. With a smidge of insincerity, Jewish misfortune can be blamed on the Jews. Simultaneously, any embodiments of perceived Jewish vitality inevitably give rise to revulsion and vehemence that – admit it or not – appear exclusively reserved for Jews.

Sarah Honig..
Another Tack..
30 August '13..

Around our troubled planet, constructing an apartment for a Jewish family in a vibrant veteran Jewish neighborhood – an indivisible part and parcel of the Jewish state’s capital – is decried as an unpardonable a sin against all the kind-heartedness and fair-mindedness that the international community purports to effuse.

This isn’t just the clichéd consensus of conformist correspondents and stale statesmen overseas. Sunshine friends too can’t resist the warm ambiance of group-think.

Irish filmmaker Nicky Larkin, for example, was feted here for his seemingly maverick pro-Israel stance. But now he finds that “increasingly difficult” because he “can’t accept the expansion of settlements on land the international community considers illegal, under the Fourth Geneva Convention.” In an op-ed for The Irish Independent, he just about equates settlement with suicide-bombing.

His indignation is predicated on the fact that “the UN Security Council, the UN general Assembly, the International Red Cross, and the International Court of Justice all agree the expansion of settlements is illegal. Even John Kerry, US Secretary of State, said so.”

The world is against us, ergo the world must be right and we must be wrong.

The same likely applies to springing heinous murderers duly convicted by Israel’s ultra-liberal judiciary. In the eyes of presumably enlightened world opinion this is considered proper, progressive and peace-promoting.

Obviously the whole world can’t be wrong, even if sanctimonious self-appointed judges from other lands regard the shedding of Jewish blood as not entirely reprehensible. With a smidge of insincerity, Jewish misfortune can be blamed on the Jews.

Simultaneously, any embodiments of perceived Jewish vitality inevitably give rise to revulsion and vehemence that – admit it or not – appear exclusively reserved for Jews.

Two Embarrassments - Roger Waters and BDS Movement

...We’ve arrived at this happy situation for several reasons, among them the growing realization, as articulated by John Lydon, that there is something absurd about boycotting Israel when the states that surround it engage in egregious human rights violations. Waters won’t play in Israel, but he was quite happy to play in Dubai in 2007—an Arab city almost entirely built by slave labor imported from Muslim countries like Pakistan and Bangladesh. If other stars grasp the appalling hypocrisy this represents, then having Roger Waters indulge his hatred of Israel at every opportunity is a price worth paying.

Ben Cohen..
29 August '13.. – Back in 1976, when the burgeoning punk movement began transforming the rock’n’roll landscapes of London and New York, a young man named John Lydon scrawled the words “I Hate…” on his Pink Floyd t-shirt. With this one stroke, Lydon, aka Johnny Rotten, the lead singer of The Sex Pistols, demarcated the past from the future: eschewing the lengthy and ponderous compositions of Floyd’s frontman, Roger Waters, Rotten and his mates set about delivering sharp, angry tunes in a compact three-minute format.

Almost 40 years later, popular music has undergone numerous other transformations, but Rotten (who now calls himself Lydon again) and Waters have remained polar opposites. And as Israelis know better than most, that’s true both inside and outside the recording studio.

Back in 2010, Lydon rounded on critics of his decision to play a gig in Tel Aviv by telling them, “I have absolutely one rule, right? Until I see an Arab country, a Muslim country, with a democracy, I won’t understand how anyone can have a problem with how they (the Palestinians) are treated.”

By contrast, Waters—outwardly, a much more refined and eloquent fellow—has firmly hitched himself to the movement pressing for a campaign of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel. Waters’s support for BDS is thought to be the reason that his scheduled appearance at the 92nd Sreet Y in New York City was canceled back in April, while more recently, he tussled with the Simon Wiesenthal Center over an accusation of anti-Semitism that stemmed from a feature of his live show, in which a Star of David is projected onto a flying inflatable pig.

In his response to the Wiesenthal Center, Waters stridently denied that he was an anti-Semite, coming out with the standard response that hating Zionism and hating Jews are completely distinct. But a subsequent letter written in August to “My Colleagues in Rock’n’Roll” —as you can see, his legendary pomposity remains unaltered—is certain to revive the charge. This time, it’s hard to see how Waters can wriggle around it.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Proven Unreliable, Again and Again - Palestinian “Eyewitnesses”

...the events in Qalandia offer us a good case study as to how Palestinian eyewitness accounts can lead to multiple versions of a story as well as how different journalists and media outlets choose to present the story. One thing is clear, however: the media should take into account the unreliability of so-called Palestinian “eyewitnesses” and spokespeople before accepting their narrative without question.

Simon Plosker..
Honest Reporting..
27 August '13..

Every movie buff knows that when a gang of criminals is apprehended by the forces of law and order, the first thing they need to do is get their story straight. Under police questioning a case is then constructed around holes and inconsistencies in the criminals’ individual stories.

Picking apart the stories of so-called Palestinian “eyewitnesses” is not a luxury that the IDF has. It’s also not something that many journalists can be bothered to deal with before writing up an article.

So just how reliable (or unreliable) are Palestinian eyewitnesses?

The story surrounding the deaths of three Palestinians during a pre-dawn Israeli arrest raid in the Qalandia refugee camp near Ramallah is illustrative of the problem.

Threat to IDF life

The threat posed by Palestinians engaged in stone throwing or worse is often downplayed by a media keen to promote a simplistic David versus Goliath framing of the story, with the Palestinians playing the David role. Once again, in this story, most media avoided any graphic descriptions of the Palestinian rioting, leaving the impression that the IDF had resorted to a disproportionate and indiscriminate response.

Only a short quote from IDF spokesman Lt. Col. Peter Lerner was included in most media stories: “Live fire was used only after soldiers felt their self defence required it,” he said. “With the great numbers of people and the way the situation developed forces felt there was no choice but to use live fire.”

Credit then to the Daily Telegraph and the New York Times for including descriptions of the scene that paint a much more detailed and alarming picture.

The Daily Telegraph:

The noise and disturbance brought large numbers of inhabitants from their homes, many of whom climbed to the roofs of low rise buildings and began hurling missiles, witnesses told The Telegraph.

Outnumbered, the police requested help from the Israeli army, which deployed soldiers in armoured vehicles and jeeps.

“It was like a battlefield,” said Ahmed Lafi, 25, a journalism student at Ramallah’s Bir Zeit University “Nobody was on the roof simply watching.

People were throwing rocks, Molotov cocktails, iron bars, even satellite dishes.

“The Israeli forces panicked and some of them were screaming like women.

One of their jeeps broke down and another was almost burned. One group of soldiers got trapped. At one point, they thought they had lost a soldier and started breaking into houses looking for him.”

The New York Times:

Mr. Lafi described people attacking the soldiers with firebombs, stones, bricks, satellite dishes — anything they could get their hands on. “If the army meets resistance each time it tries to arrest activists in the West Bank,” he said, “then the army won’t dare to go on raiding and arresting.”

Is it any wonder that IDF soldiers felt sufficiently threatened to resort to live fire?

What time is it?

Most media, including the BBC, relied on an Associated Press report:

Hatim Khatib, whose brother Youssef was arrested in the raid, told The Associated Press that undercover troops dressed in civilian clothes arrived at their home at 4:30 a.m. looking for the brother.

“After half an hour we started hearing shooting from the soldiers inside our house, and then people started throwing stones at them,” he said.

According to the LA Times, however:

Palestinian witnesses said the raid began at 3 a.m. as an undercover operation to re-arrest a Fatah militant who had recently been released from an Israeli prison.

In stark contrast, the Washington Post said:

At the funeral for the three dead, senior Palestinian leaders and angry residents said Israel provoked the attack by arriving in the refugee camp in the morning, when people were heading to work, school and mosque.

Just how many people go to work or school at 4.30 in the morning? It’s entirely unlikely that the IDF would contemplate an undercover arrest operation at a time when ordinary Palestinians would be moving around on the streets. This is precisely in order to avoid both detection and the risk of a confrontation. Indeed, for the record, the IDF stated that the operation began around 5am.

The arrest

The aforementioned AP report, relied upon by numerous media outlets describes how Youssef Khatib was arrested based on his brother Hatim’s testimony:

This article is continued on Page 2

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This time indeed Israel has made it clear

...Much of the babble is superfluous. Regardless of what eventually transpires, all Israelis should be deeply troubled by the profound indifference abroad to our lot – blameless as we are in the internecine Syrian strife. The very fact, that a neighboring state could be presumed to be held to ransom for occurrences entirely out of its control, should shock world opinion. But it does not.

Sarah Honig..
Another Tack..
29 August '13..

“If Damascus is attacked, Tel Aviv will burn,” a Syrian higher-up bristled this week. Israel, therefore, cannot watch the escalating cliffhanger with detached equanimity from the sidelines.

There can be no passivity when potent threats are hurled at Israel from a coterie of evil powers in the context of a struggle in which Israel is uninvolved. In a fairer existence, this very fact alone ought to have acutely unsettled the international community. But it’s almost futile to expect a modicum of fair-mindedness where Israel is concerned.

So far the anti-Israel bluster from Damascus, Tehran and Hizbullah strongholds in Lebanon appear to have disturbed none of the foreign statesmen or opinion-molders, whose alacrity to condemn Israel for any perceived transgression is nothing short of remarkable. Moreover, the veiled hints from Moscow about dire repercussions for the entire region in the event of an American attack, might also imply warnings about impending punishment for Israel.

All the while, Israeli commentators strive to outdo each other with educated guesses about whether or not we are vulnerable, whether it would serve Bashar Assad’s interests to fire at us, whether we should retaliate and how.

Much of the babble is superfluous. Regardless of what eventually transpires, all Israelis should be deeply troubled by the profound indifference abroad to our lot – blameless as we are in the internecine Syrian strife. The very fact, that a neighboring state could be presumed to be held to ransom for occurrences entirely out of its control, should shock world opinion. But it does not.

Israelis might be forgiven for suspecting that the reaction would be radically different had any other country been similarly threatened for no fault of its own. Sadly we must come to terms with the likelihood that different criteria are applied to the Jewish state.

To Be Expected - Syria and Israel Lobby Conspiracy Theories

...But those willing to subscribe to conspiracy theories in which Israel provides the explanation for every mystery and misery on the planet now find themselves searching for an Israel angle about Syria. But other than the fact that Israel will be blamed for the outcome no matter what happens, there is none.

Jonathan S. Tobin..
Commentary Magazine..
28 August '13..

Israelis were lining up for gas masks and dusting out their air raid shelters today as the prospect of U.S. attacks on Syrian targets this week provoked threats of retaliation against the Jewish state. That Israelis as well as their neighbors seem to take the idea that they should be attacked because Bashar Assad used chemical weapons against Syrian civilians as nothing out of the ordinary. This is par for the course in the Middle East where Israelis have always served as the all-purpose scapegoats for everything that happens. But though Americans may not be quite as jaded to this sort of thing, some in our nation’s capital also seem to subscribe in some ways to the Arab world’s conspiratorial view of Israel. That was evident in a Politico story published last night that pondered why it was that the so-called “Israel lobby” was “silent on Syria.”

The assumption behind the story and the headline seems to be that anything that happens in the Middle East or any foreign policy initiative undertaken by the United States has to be in some way the result of machinations by supporters of Israel even if the conflict in question is one on which they have no rooting interest. That Jerusalem doesn’t have a favorite in a fight between a genocidal maniac dictator and an opposition that is heavily infiltrated by people related to Al Qaeda is a given. But the fact that backers of Israel are as divided about what the U.S. should do about Assad’s atrocities as the rest of the country is seen as somehow anomalous. But, like the Iraq War, which was, contrary to the anti-Semitic conspiracy mongers, not fought at Israel’s behest, there seems to be no stopping those who subscribe to the Walt-Mearsheimer “Israel Lobby” thesis that claims the Jewish state and the wall-to-wall bipartisan coalition that supports it somehow manipulates U.S. foreign policy against the best interests of the nation. However, in this case the slow march of the Obama administration to act on Syria gives the lie to the idea that Israel is the tail that wags the dog in Washington.

Apparently for the editors of Politico, the lack of a concerted effort on the part of pro-Israel groups either in favor of or against intervention in Syria is like the dog that doesn’t bark in Conan Doyle’s The Hound of the Baskervilles. If you start thinking in Walt-Mearsheimer terms in which everything revolves around Israel, then the absence of pro-Israel groups in a debate must seem suspicious or at least odd. But there’s nothing unusual about neutrality on Syria, especially since the Jewish state has good reason to distrust both sides in the civil war and will probably suffer if the U.S. attacks.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The Free World’s Silence Except When It Comes To...Israel

...It is the same progressive, liberal media that printed a story about 133,000 children killed because of Islamists in Somalia, yet on the same day, on the same page, in a newspaper that faithfully represents the liberal press, the main story was about Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu endorsing a national referendum on a future peace treaty with the Palestinians.

Ben-Dror Yemini..
Times of Israel..
28 August '13..

It is not Russia and China that disgrace the international community. It is the Free World that for dozens of years now has been sliding toward hypocrisy, double standards and appeasement, while getting much more violence in return. It is the Free World whose “human rights activists” sympathize with the apparatus of evil and get much more violence in return. Should the Free World not get to the apparatus of evil, this instrument of evil shall reach the Free World. It’s already getting there.

Some 1,300 Syrians were slaughtered in one day, yet the streets of Paris, London, Madrid and Brussels are empty. After all, it is the Free World that has adopted a new, odd moral compass. According to these moral standards, dozens, hundreds, thousands and tens of thousands of fatalities in the Muslim, Arab and/or Third World do not bother the world peace camp. This did not start this week. It has been going on for years now, dozens of years.

Where was the Free World when hundreds of thousands were being massacred in Rwanda? Where was it when hundreds of thousands were being butchered in Darfur? Where was the Free World when Sri Lanka slaughtered 40,000 Tamils? Where was it when Russia oppressed the rebels in Chechnya and while at it also killed hundreds of thousands of innocents? The Free World was silent. For dozens of years now, the Free World has been telling the Third World: That’s none of our business. So why are China and Russia now being asked to behave any differently?

The international community produces countless “human rights groups,” but these organizations have no connection whatsoever to the real world. After all, the Free World’s “human rights activists” never hit the streets en masse to fight against the apparatus of extermination that comprises Iran, Hamas, Taliban, Hezbollah and the other jihadist tentacles. They never hit the streets to protest against those who resort to extermination or those who declare, like Hamas and Hezbollah, that the Jews should be exterminated.” They only protest against Israel, which is trying to fight the apparatus of extermination.

This is the Free World, where academics like Noam Chomsky and Norman Finkelstein made pilgrimages to the leaders of Hezbollah. These are the intellectuals, authors and Nobel Prize laureate, like Mairead Maguire, who arrived on ships to sympathize with Hamas’ regime of horrors. Make no mistake about it: While they indeed spoke of humanitarian solidarity, their solidarity was also extended to the Hamas government.

There is no need whatsoever for the Free World to intervene in every conflict. Not every conflict calls for such intervention. That’s not the intention here. Hesitating to intervene is legitimate. After all, the Syrian conflict does not pit a moral party against a monstrous one. The problem lies with the Free World’s “progressive” parts when they sympathize with evil and fight against those who fight evil. After all, the people who are silent now poured into the streets of the West when Israel embarked on a war against evil.

According to the new moral compass, Israel is belligerent because it allegedly struck Syria’s nuclear facility, and previously Iraq’s nuclear reactor. Where would the Free World be today had Israel not razed these means of mass destruction? And what is the implication of the immense crime committed this week by the Iran-Syria-Hezbollah apparatus of evil for the Iranian nuclear program? Does Iran pose “no danger,” as many “experts” argue?

In the past decades, the Muslim world produced hundreds of thousands of fatalities and millions of refugees. Arabs and Muslims killed Arabs and Muslims. Statistically, Israel’s contribution to global violence is almost nil. Yet the Free World’s “human rights activists” protested against Israel. They did not protest against the true evil. They did not protest against Hamas, which for years was the protégée of Iran. They never protested against the kingdom of evil, but rather, only against those who tried to defend themselves against this evil kingdom.

The Toxic Enablers - UNRWA vs. Peace

...In fact historically, the Arab world has a significant amount of responsibility for the situation, having encouraged and facilitated the refugees' flight – to a large degree. But in this narrative it is none other than the UN and UNRWA who are the toxic enablers who are now helping fuel this story for generations.Why UNRWA does this is evident: Its continued existence is at jeopardy. It has every reason to entangle itself into Palestinian society and to become more of an obstruction to a negotiated settlement between Israel and the Palestinians.

Asaf Romirowsky..
27 August '13..

The John Kerry-Martin Indyk negotiating team needs to come to terms with the fact that the crux of the Arab-Israeli conflict is rooted in the Palestinian "Right of Return," the collective demand claiming a legal and moral right for Palestinian refugees, and more importantly, for their descendants from around the world, to return to ancestral homes in Israel that were once part of Mandatory Palestine. The "right of return" is central to Palestinian national identity and is the barrier to any successful peace agreement.

Indyk is very aware from his past involvement in Camp David in 2000 that insisting on the Palestinian Right of Return is a clear non-starter for Israel as it is mostly used to deflect attention from the real hard honest talks. The real issues include mutual recognition then a discussion about land swaps.

While it maybe easier or convenient at times to believe that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is purely territorial, a closer look at the reality reveals that Palestinian rejectionism of a Jewish State at large is what prolongs the conflict rather than the question of Jerusalem or the borders of 1949 or 1967. To that end, the Palestinian identity as perpetual refugees has become UNRWA's raison d'être.

Consequently, those hoping to see genuine progress in this next round of negotiations face two major obstacles: UNRWA's anomalous treatment of the Palestinian refugees which prolongs the conflict; and, second, the lack of an independent Palestinian identity which is not anti-Zionist at its core. Both have enabled UNRWA to become an integral fixture in Palestinian society that fuels the conflict rather than defuses it.

While Abbas feels free to receive Knesset members in his Ramallah office...

...Instead of inviting Israeli parliamentarians to Ramallah, Abbas might have tried to persuade the PLO and Fatah to support his efforts to achieve peace with Israel.

Khaled Abu Toameh..
Gatestone Institute..
28 August '13..

Instead of preparing Palestinians for peace with Israel, the Palestinian Authority leadership has decided to focus its efforts on winning the support of the Israeli public for a peaceful settlement based on the two-state solution.

In the context of its efforts to "convince" Israelis to accept the two-state solution, the Palestinian Authority recently established a special "Israeli Affairs Committee" with the goal of promoting the idea among the Israeli public. The committee's main task, in fact, is to scare Israelis that failure to accept all Palestinian demands would plunge the region into another cycle of violence and bloodshed. The Palestinian Authority is hoping that to avoid another intifada, intimidated Israelis would put pressure on their government to comply with Palestinian demands.

Over the past few weeks, in a bid to "influence" public opinion in Israel, this committee organized a series of meetings between Palestinians and Israelis, Palestinian sources told the London-based Al-Hayat newspaper.

The Palestinian committee, formed by Mahmoud Abbas, includes top PLO and Fatah officials Yasser Abed Rabbo, Nabil Sha'ath, Jibril Rajoub, Hanan Ashrawi and Mohamed Madani.

Last week, the committee organized visits by Israeli parliamentarians to Ramallah, where they held talks with Abbas and other Palestinian officials to discuss prospects for peace in the Middle East. One of the committee members explained, "Those we are meeting are the leaders of Israeli society and they will decide its fate. The Israeli public no longer knows what is happening here in the Palestinian territories."

It is always nice, of course, to see Israelis and Palestinians meeting and talking to each other. But instead of devoting its efforts and energies to trying to persuade the Israeli public to support peace, it would be more helpful if the Palestinian leaders in the West Bank also tried to win the backing of their own people for the peace process.

Why should any Israeli believe the Palestinian Authority when most Palestinians appear to be opposed to the resumption of the peace talks?

Abbas does not even have the backing of the PLO and Fatah leaderships for his recent decision to return to the negotiating table with Israel, and returned to the peace talks with Israel against the advice of the PLO leadership. Instead of inviting Israeli parliamentarians to Ramallah, Abbas might have tried to persuade the PLO and Fatah to support his efforts to achieve peace with Israel.

Calling on UNRWA to refrain from one-sided political advocacy

While omitting to mention any context or reason for the Israeli operation, it was quick to cite "credible reports" in determining that its employee had been shot "…on his way to work, and was not involved in any violent activity."

Ministry of Foreign Affairs Newsletter..
28 August '13..

(Communicated by the MFA Spokesperson)

Israel regrets the fatalities that resulted from yesterday's military operation to arrest a Palestinian terrorist suspect. A formal investigation has been launched by the IDF, as part of a standard procedure in any case involving civilian casualties.

Without prejudice to the outcome of the investigation, we were disappointed (but not surprised) at UNRWA's press statement from yesterday. While omitting to mention any context or reason for the Israeli operation, it was quick to cite "credible reports" in determining that its employee had been shot "…on his way to work, and was not involved in any violent activity." Quite aside from the fact that UNRWA did not even bother to approach any official Israeli sources for comment, its statement was rushed to the press while the violent riots were still raging on in Qalandiya. Hence, it begs the question of how it was possible for the Agency to collect forensic evidence, cross reference personal eye-witness reports and reach peremptory conclusions – all of that in the space of just a few hours.

Provocation at the Wall - An Agenda, But Unclear About Who It Serves

...During the years when Israel was negotiating with the Palestinians and ceding territory unilaterally, the left-wing media had no need for Women of the Wall, and consequently had no interest in it. But for the past few years, not only were there no negotiations or withdrawals, there wasn’t even any public pressure for them: Most Israelis attributed the lack of negotiations to Palestinian intransigence and thought unilaterally withdrawing from the West Bank would simply create another Gaza-style rocket base.

Evelyn Gordon..
Commentary Magazine..
September '13..

(Excellent! Y.)

In an interview with Haaretz shortly before finishing his term as Israel’s ambassador in Washington, Michael Oren said he had been devoting considerable effort to convincing Israeli leaders that the battle over the attempt by a women’s group to hold prayer services at Jerusalem’s Western Wall “could have strategic implications.” In Israel, Oren explained, the controversy over Women of the Wall “is perceived as a marginal question,” but “Americans see it as an issue of human rights and women’s status and freedom of worship.”

This divergence of views between Jews of the diaspora and Jews in Israel has a simple explanation. Americans see the struggle of Women of the Wall as a crucial battle for human rights and women’s status because they believe both are under threat in Israel. Israelis see the struggle as a marginal issue because they believe neither is under threat. The story of how that perceptual gulf has developed, and how a 25-year-old organization exploited it to catapult itself from relative obscurity to worldwide fame, is indeed a story with “strategic implications.” It’s the story of how Israelis opposed to their countrymen’s choices at the ballot box have sought to generate outside pressure to overturn those choices by creating a false narrative of an Israeli slide into fundamentalism and fascism.

Women of the Wall held its first monthly prayer service at the Wall in 1988. A year later, in response to what it termed “verbal and physical assaults” from Haredi worshipers, WOW petitioned the High Court of Justice to demand recognition of, and police protection for, its right to pray at the Wall in its own fashion—that is, with women wearing prayer shawls and reading the Torah aloud. Religious practice at the Wall is largely controlled by the Haredi-dominated rabbinate, which does not view such practices as legitimate. A 14-year legal battle ensued. The battle ended in 2003 with the court ruling that WOW did have a right to hold services at the Wall, but “such right was not without boundaries” (to quote the summary on WOW’s website). Therefore, its services should be held at Robinson’s Arch, a portion of the Wall adjacent to the Western Wall Plaza (the area where tourists gather). This was designed to avoid friction with the overwhelmingly Orthodox worshipers who pray at the Wall daily.

As time passed, WOW began disregarding that verdict with growing frequency and resumed praying in the plaza. This resulted in periodic arrests for violating the court’s ruling, most of which attracted relatively little attention. Nor was this terribly surprising: In both Orthodox and non-Orthodox communities, men and women prefer to pray together (albeit separated physically in Orthodox practice). Women-only services are a fringe phenomenon everywhere.

But last year, WOW suddenly became front-page news—first in Israeli dailies such as Haaretz and the Jerusalem Post, both of which are widely read abroad via the Internet, and then, as Oren noted in his interview, on the front page of the New York Times. What had changed was that WOW’s struggle now fit neatly into a narrative that began sweeping the Israeli media in mid-2011 and was swiftly picked up overseas: the growing “exclusion of women” from Israel’s public square.

For months, the Israeli media gave front-page headlines to incidents that seemed to back this narrative. A group of Orthodox IDF cadets walked out of an army event because it featured women vocalists; women on bus lines serving Haredi neighborhoods were told to sit at the back of the bus; a public bus company refused to run advertisements featuring pictures of women on Jerusalem buses for fear of Haredi vandalism. Various groups responded by organizing demonstrations against the exclusion of women. Lawmakers submitted bills to make such exclusion a criminal offense. As the sponsor of one such bill, the centrist parliamentarian Nachman Shai, argued, “The Knesset cannot close its eyes and ignore this key issue in Israel of 2012.” President Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued public condemnations. “There is no room for the exclusion of any person in the State of Israel—especially not of half of the population,” Netanyahu said. And left-wing pundits insisted this was just one symptom of a broader problem: “Israel is not democratic, nor is it liberal,” as Haaretz columnist Rachel Neeman asserted.

The furor soon spread abroad. Numerous American Jewish groups condemned attempts “to segregate and discriminate against women in public spaces in Israel,” as Hadassah’s statement put it. The mainstream American press chimed in as well: In December 2011, Ruth Marcus wrote a column for the Washington Post titled “In Israel, Women’s Rights Come Under Siege.” A few days later, even then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton got into the act, telling a closed session of the Saban Forum in Washington that the exclusion of women from Israel’s public square reminded her of both fundamentalist Iran and the Jim Crow era of the American South.

The Independent promotes another discredited anti-Zionist and antisemitic conspiracy theory?

...Indeed, the laziness of ‘professional’ journalists covering the region, who typically fail to critically scrutinize such hyperbole, ensures that there is no disincentive for the practitioners of delegitimization to continue advancing these hateful smears.

Adam Levick..
CiF Watch..
27 August '13..

If facts and logic governed the media’s coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, then recent claims by Palestinian spokesperson Hanan Ashrawi that new Israeli homes in the neighborhood of Ramat Shlomo represent a “policy of ethnic cleansing of East Jerusalem” would be dismissed as the agitprop of the intellectually unserious.

However, not only was there no indication of incredulousness in the face of such absurd charges in The Independent’s Aug. 26 report by Ben Lynfield, but it was actually used in the headline:

As we explained in a recent post, the broad charge, believed by an astonishing number of “sophisticated” Europeans, that Israel is engaged in a project of “extermination” against the Palestinians, is one of the most easily disprovable hypotheses encountered in the cesspool of anti-Zionist narratives.


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The high price of freeing murderers - Justice devalued, lives demeaned, principles cheapened

...But speaking as victims of Palestinian Arab terrorists ourselves, we see it this way: justice was trampled, lives and sacrifices were demeaned, public opposition was ignored. In turning a deaf ear to the protests of the victims, our politicians threw down onto the negotiating table the cheapest, most disposable, of the cards in its hand. Not for the first time, we find ourselves saying that decisions like this one will be the cause of much long-term regret.

Frimet/Arnold Roth..
This Ongoing War..
27 August '13..

People who have experienced the death of a child by violence or murder - there are thousands of us in this country - are often astonished at how public figures, particularly politicians, can tally up the options facing them, coolly do some sort of calculation of risk to reward, and make a decision that affects people's lives, futures, well-being, rights and so on. Happens all the time. But how they manage to do it leaves at least some of us astounded.

People argue that running a government calls for a certain number of people with these skills. Whether or not that's true, it's hard to say that it's always done wisely, effectively or even morally. (Especially not morally.) That's perhaps why we we feel distant from the politicians who do what they have to do: a necessary task. But we simply ask that they stay far away from us. And that they don't expect us - the people impacted by their decision-making and return-on-investment calculations - to get warm and close to them.

Evelyn Gordon, writing another of her very sharp and perceptive columns in Commentary Magazine today, says better than we can what's wrong with the latest round of decisions of this sort taken by Israel's leadership. Here's a brief extract. It's called "Why the World Thinks Jewish Blood Is Cheap"


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Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Teaching the world to view Jewish blood as cheap

...What other country would free murderers who killed hundreds of its citizens just to bribe another party into talks whose sole aim is to give them the land and sovereignty they claim to want?

Evelyn Gordon..
Commentary Magazine..
27 August '13..

While visiting Israel this week, Norwegian Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide grudgingly admitted that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s commitment to Israeli-Palestinian talks “sounds increasingly credible.” As proof, he cited Israel’s release of 26 Palestinian murderers earlier this month. But he immediately downplayed the move’s significance: While it was a “first sign,” he said, it “wasn’t an especially big sacrifice.”

This echoes Norwegian and Swedish reactions two weeks ago after Israel’s ambassador to Sweden compared Israel’s feelings about freeing those killers to how Norwegians would feel about freeing Anders Breivik, whose 2011 shooting spree killed 69 Norwegians, mostly teenagers. Outraged Scandinavians lined up to denounce the comparison, asserting that while Breivik was a mass murderer, the Palestinians were freedom fighters. As Jonathan wrote at the time, the general sentiment seemed to be that killers of Norwegians deserve punishment, but killers of Israelis “should be released and honored.” And that seems to be Eide’s view as well: Releasing cold-blooded killers who murdered elderly Holocaust survivors or old men sitting on park benches isn’t “an especially big sacrifice,” certainly nothing like releasing Breivik would be.

But while I agree with Jonathan that this double standard is anti-Semitic, I don’t think the Scandinavians are solely to blame. If much of the world has concluded that (Jewish) Israelis’ blood is cheap, and that their killers don’t deserve the same punishment as those who kill, say, Norwegians, a large share of the blame belongs to successive Israeli governments. For by repeatedly releasing Palestinian murderers under circumstances no other government would contemplate, Israeli governments have shown that they hold the blood of Israeli citizens cheaply. And if even Israel’s government doesn’t view murdering Israelis as a crime that deserves life imprisonment, why should anyone else?

Why is the U.S. Returning Artifacts Looted from Iraqi Jews to Iraq, Instead of Lawful Owners?

Harold Rhode..
26 August '13..

The National Archives is readying an exhibit of Iraqi Jewish artifacts due to open on October 11. Appallingly, the U.S. government has agreed to then return the Iraqi Jewish archives — including holy books — to Iraq, which systematically expelled its Jewish community, by June of 2014.

How did the Jewish Iraqi community — which dates to 721 B.C.E. when the Assyrians conquered Samaria and eventually deported the population to central Mesopotamia, and which was one of the two main sources of Mishnaic and Talmudic learning — lose, find, and lose again its patrimony?

The incredible story of how this unlikely turn of events came to pass has never been told in its entirety until now; I am one of the few who can tell it.

After American forces entered Baghdad in May 2003, the head of the Jewish and Israel section of Saddam Hussein’s Mukhabarat (intelligence agency) came to the Iraqi National Congress (INC), offering information about Saddam’s intelligence operations against Israel and Jews. He did this in order to curry favor. Former Iraqi officials frequently came to opposition groups to tell their stories, in return for which they would get “safe passage” documents stating that since they were cooperating with post-Saddam authorities, they should not be harmed.

The tipster visited the INC to talk about the rumored Jewish archives hidden in the basement of the Mukhabarat headquarters. After his visit, INC chairman Ahmed Chalabi called Judy Miller, the former New York Times reporter then embedded with a mobile unit looking for WMD, and me. I was an Arabic/Hebrew speaking policy analyst with the Office of Net Assessments in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, then assigned to the Coalition Provisional Authority, at the time.

We rushed over to talk with Chalabi, who told us that a former Mukhabarat employee reported that a huge treasure trove of Iraqi Jewish and Israeli material was amassed in the Mukhabarat building, and that he was prepared to show us where it was located. He also said there was an ancient copy of the Talmud written on leather or parchment.

Miller and I then went off to the Mukhabarat building with the former Saddam officer and an INC contingent.

The tipster indicated from outside the building where in the basement the Jewish and Israel sections were located. Then — he promptly disappeared. Despite the bombed-out structure’s instability, looters were overrunning the building. Danger was everywhere.

We were, in fact, standing beside a large metal device which had lodged itself halfway into the ground. We later learned that this live, undetonated bomb had penetrated through three or four stories of the building and destroyed the building’s water system. It had pierced the wall almost at ground level. We saw, through the hole it made, that the Jewish and Israel sections were flooded.

The banality of Lisa Goldman’s world of Israel-bashing

...It seems that being “unafraid” of criticizing Israel also often means being unafraid of singling out Israel and employing double standards. Lisa Goldman’s work offers some nice illustrations: as eager as she is to accuse Israel of racism under the flimsiest of pretexts, she is determined to overlook massive evidence of Arab and Muslim Jew-hatred.

Petra Marquadt-Bigman..
The Warped Mirror/JPost..
27 August '13..

Peter Beinart’s Open Zion website claims to “foster an open and unafraid conversation about Israel, Palestine, and the Jewish future.” The “unafraid” apparently reflects the popular canard that it is somehow dangerous to criticize Israel, but the site’s offerings tend to prove that most Open Zion contributors – among them avowed anti-Zionists like Yousef Munayyer – are indeed “unafraid” to depict the Jewish state in the worst possible light.

There is no doubt that Open Zion’s incoming senior editor Lisa Goldman also qualifies as absolutely “unafraid.” Indeed, her writings prove that she is not only “unafraid” to make a living by criticizing Israel, but that she is also completely “unafraid” to openly promote glaring double standards.

Goldman’s recent pieces for Open Zion include one article published under the headline “Israel’s Most Liberal City Introduces Racially Segregated Kindergartens.”

Goldman starts her piece breezily claiming:

“When the children of south Tel Aviv head back to school on Tuesday, kindergarteners will attend facilities that are segregated by race. The children of asylum seekers from sub-Saharan Africa will go to their kindergartens and all the other kids will go to their own. As of this year, the municipality of Israel's most liberal city decided that separate-but-equal for three-to-six year olds was the way to go—in 2013.”

Yes, dear reader, you are supposed to recoil now and remember the Jim Crow laws of the segregated American South and Apartheid in South Africa. Interestingly enough, the article’s URL also indicates that Goldman’s original title for the post was “The banality of racism in Israel’s most liberal city” ( – and why not throw in some thinly veiled reference to the Nazis and Hannah Arendt’s “banality of evil” when it serves the good cause of making Israel look bad?

In response to the piece, several commenters noted that Goldman ignored the fact that resentments against asylum seekers and difficulties with their integration are not only a problem in Israel; moreover, some also noted that the Israeli reports Goldman relied on for her own piece actually didn’t justify her claim that Tel Aviv was trying to implement racial segregation.

Indeed, by now the Jerusalem Post has checked the story with the result that, while Tel Aviv is building two new pre-schools, there is absolutely nothing to support the claim that they or any existing facilities will be segregated by race. As to the other point about the difficulties asylum seekers and refugees face pretty much everywhere, here is a recent report (in German) about bitter protests that have been going on in Germany for several months because refugees feel their situation and treatment is intolerable. Even EU citizen – particularly when they are members of minorities like the Roma and try to migrate to richer states – face ill-treatment and discrimination all over Europe.

But of course, if Israel-bashers had to consider how the issues Israel is criticized for are handled elsewhere…

A no-go zone where terrorists should be free to live without fear of arrest?

The notion that IDF troops should submit to live fire as well as lethal rock showers without seeking to defend themselves is not a standard that anyone would apply to any other army or police force in the world.

Jonathan S. Tobin..
Commentary Magazine..
27 August '13..

The Israelis have done it again. After Secretary of State John Kerry managed to drag both parties back to the peace table, the Israelis are doing their utmost to sabotage the talks by provoking the Palestinians with violent incursions into Palestinian towns and villages that have resulted in the indiscriminate use of gunfire by the Israel Defense Forces that led to several deaths of innocent Arabs. If the Palestinian Authority has stayed away from the negotiations in order to protest this, then it is the only way they have of protecting their people against Israeli outrages. Or so we are being told.

The prevailing narrative of the incidents alluded to in the preceding paragraph follow this line in which the presence of Israeli forces in Palestinian areas is not merely a provocation but a standing argument for the need to force the Jewish state to pull back to the 1967 lines. But the problem with this narrative is that it is based on a lie. Incidents like the one that occurred today in Qalandia that resulted in three Palestinian deaths and last week’s confrontation in Jenin do illustrate the problem with the peace process, but it is not the one that the liberal mainstream media and the international press think it is. The idea that Israel is staging these attacks to undermine the talks is false. The fact that the IDF is forced to enter built-up areas in order to track down terrorist suspects shows just how unreliable the Palestinian Authority is as a peace partner. Moreover, the willingness of mobs in these towns to rally to defend suspects and attack the IDF with gunfire and rocks is testimony to how deeply rooted support for terror operations is in a Palestinian population that we are told is ready for an end to the conflict.

It needs to be understood that the relative lack of terrorism directed at Israel from the West Bank is not solely the work of the security fence that is reviled by the left for its role in preventing suicide bombings. It is also the function of proactive IDF actions in the West Bank, including checkpoints that make it harder for killers to move about with impunity, and raids such as the ones that have recently led to shootings where the Israelis can arrest those planning or guilty of having committed terrorism.

Going after these terrorists is dangerous work, especially when ordinary Palestinians still venerate those who seek to kill Jews and are willing to risk injury to prevent their arrest. The notion that IDF troops should submit to live fire as well as lethal rock showers without seeking to defend themselves is not a standard that anyone would apply to any other army or police force in the world.

While not #trending yet, A brand-new Palestinian Arab lie

"The Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron, which is the fourth holiest mosque for the world's Muslims." That would be news to most Muslims.

Elder of Ziyon..
26 August '13..

What is the fourth holiest spot in Sunni Islam?

We all know that the top three are the mosques Mecca, Medina and the one that was built on top of the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem. But what is number 4?

According to Wikipedia, many Muslims consider the Ummayad Mosque in Damascus to be the fourth holiest site.

Others consider Kairouan, in Tunisia, to have the honor.

Still others consider it to be the Eyup Sultan Mosque in Turkey, a site that attracts many pilgrims.

Harar in Ethiopia is yet another city that has made this claim, and UNESCO agrees.

However, our "peace partners" in Fatah have made up a new 4th holiest mosque in Islam, one that no one else on the planet ever designated as such, as far as I can tell. Not surprisingly, it is at the second holiest place of Judaism.


Updates throughout the day at If you enjoy "Love of the Land", please be a subscriber. Just put your email address in the "Subscribe" box on the upper right-hand corner of the page.Twitter updates at LoveoftheLand as well as our Love of the Land page at Facebook which has additional pieces of interest besides that which is posted on the blog. Check-it out!

Is there anyone who still thinks we could have left the Golan?

Why didn't we let the Golan Heights come under the control of the Assad family and forsake our security? Had a deal been signed with Assad, the bloody encounters would have take place right above the Sea of Galilee; no Israeli/Jewish community would have been safe.

Dror Eydar..
Israel Hayom..
26 August '13..

The barbarians didn't appear out of thin air; they have always been around.

They have been operating in sleeper cells within the mock civilization that was left behind by the European colonialists as the First World War drew to a close in Middle East. With Syria's lid blown off, President Bashar Assad's tribe and its various affiliates have been fighting the Sunni tribes that were in power before November 1970, when Assad's father staged a coup and had his loyalists appointed to senior positions in the military and the government. Do the various tribes in Syria have anything in common?

My heart goes out to the average Syrian who has found himself in the crossfire, a victim of a war among the barbarians. That said, Israel should not get involved. Its help should be limited to humanitarian aid. We must not accept the simplistic narrative that there are good guys vs. bad guys in Syria. Each side in this conflict is just as barbaric as the other. Perhaps even more so.

Those who eat their opponent's heart (I am not making this up) and then rationalize this cannibalistic act, could ultimately use weapons of mass destruction. They are no different from Assad and his allies, Hezbollah and Iran.

There is one area where there is no daylight between the two warring factions: they both have an unlimited supply of hatred toward Israel. If those sides see an opening, they might try to increase the number of incidents that encroach on Israeli territory.

We have no dog in this race. Should Israel decide to back one side or another, it will have provided the Arabs in the Middle East and leftists all over the world with what they had been searching for all along (where it was most convenient): a way to blame Israel for the Syrian civil war.

The Bible tells us that "He that passeth by, and meddleth with strife belonging not to him, is like one that taketh a dog by the ears" (Proverbs 26:17). According to the biblical commentator Rashi (Rabbi Shlomo Yitzchaki), this is akin to making a dog bite you for nothing. In other words, the Syrians will tell us, "This is none of your business; we are now going to combine forces against you."

Monday, August 26, 2013

Those who wish to avoid conflict with Iran at any price

...the cries of alarm emanating from Israel and Congress about Iran are not based in mindless hatred, as the Times implies. Instead they are based on a far more realistic assessment of Iran’s behavior and the ideology that drives people like Khamenei and Rouhani. But since telling the truth about Iran doesn’t help build support for more feckless diplomacy, the newspaper brands it as irrational antagonism.

Jonathan S. Tobin..
Commentary Magazine..
26 August '13..

The willingness of much of the foreign-policy establishment and the mainstream media to embrace any opportunity to avoid conflict with Iran has never been much of a secret. Throughout the last five years, the administration has been able to count on unflinching support for its efforts to keep investing precious time and energy in a diplomatic process with Tehran that was dead in the water even before President Obama took office in 2009. After years of “engagement,” and two rounds of P5+1 talks that accomplished absolutely nothing, there’s no reason to believe the Iranians view negotiations as anything other than a clever tactic to buy more time to get close to their nuclear goal. But the election of a new Iranian president in June set off a new round of calls for yet more diplomacy. Hassan Rouhani’s false reputation as a “moderate” isn’t based on much; he’s a veteran of the Khomeini revolution, the regime’s involvement with foreign terror, and someone who has boasted of his success in fooling the West in nuclear talks. But as far as the New York Times editorial page is concerned, it’s enough to put on hold any toughening of sanctions on Iran, let alone talk about the use of force.

That the Times is eager to promote Rouhani as the solution to the nuclear question is not a surprise. But what it is a surprise is just how desperate they are to justify their position. In an editorial published today under the astonishingly obtuse headline of “Reading Tweets From Iran,” the newspaper seeks to treat the Iranian regime’s social media offensive as evidence of a genuine change in Tehran. To invest that much importance in what Rouhani’s staff says on Twitter in posts that are directed solely toward the West is laughable. No journalist at the paper would ever take the tweets produced by the official accounts of American politicians as anything but spin.

But far worse is the Times’s attempt to shift blame for the standoff from an anti-Semitic regime that is directly involved in atrocities in Syria and terrorist attacks around the globe onto Israel and its supporters in Congress. In doing so, the newspaper and the chattering classes whose views it represents are attempting to lay the foundation for President Obama to break his promises about stopping Iran and to treat those who object to such appeasement as opponents of peace. The editorial is right about one thing. If the administration is to betray its principles and appease Iran, it will require it to stop focusing on that regime’s record and instead lash out at those who are pointing out the truth about the threat it constitutes to the region and the world.