Saturday, January 31, 2015

Truth be told, the Holocaust was an Arab story too

...The ghost of Nazi-inspired, anti-Jewish bigotry was never exorcised from the Arab world. In fact Arabs became its torch-bearers. Adolph Eichmann himself hoped his “Arab friends” would continue his battle against the Jews who were always the “principal war criminals” and “principal aggressors.” He hadn’t managed to complete his task of “total annihilation,” but the Muslims could still complete it for him.

Lyn Julius..
Times of Israel..
31 January '15..

On the day that the world commemorated the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp, the UK liberal newspaper The Guardian declared in an editorial :

“The Arabs, meanwhile, cannot be blamed for feeling that Europe’s blood debt to the Jews was paid with what they see as their territory.”

The myth of the Arabs as innocent bystanders, who had no responsibility for the Holocaust — and indeed, paid the price for a European crime when Israel was established — is widely believed.

The Arabs, like other third-world peoples, are only ever seen as victims of western oppression and colonialism. They cannot themselves be guilty of oppressing others.

The West self-righteously deplores the old European anti-Semitism of the ‘far right’. But a new Green-Brown-Red anti-Semitism — encouraged by an alliance of the Far Left, the Greens and Islamist sympathizers — is studiously downplayed, ignored by the media, or blamed on Israel.

Truth to tell, the virus of Nazi anti-Semitism was exported to the Arab and Muslim world as early as the 1930s. It gave ideological inspiration to Arab nationalist parties like the Ba’athists in Syria and Iraq and paramilitary groups like Young Egypt, founded in 1933. Anti-Jewish conspiracy theories are the central plank of the totalitarian Muslim Brotherhood, founded in Egypt in 1928, and their ideological cousins, Islamic State, who seek today to impose Allah’s kingdom on earth through jihad and forced conversion of non-Muslims.

The Holocaust was, in the words of author Robert Satloff, as much an Arab story as a European. In spite of efforts to trumpet the stories of individual ‘Righteous’ Muslims, who rescued Jews (particularly in Albania), scholars continue to uncover evidence of Arab sympathy and collaboration with Nazism.

Said Walter Doehle, German Consul in Jerusalem in 1937: ”

Palestinian Arabs in all social strata have great sympathies for the new Germany and its Führer. .… If a person identified himself as a German when faced with threats from an Arab crowd, this alone generally allowed him to pass freely. But when some identified themselves by making the “Heil Hitler” salute, in most cases the Arabs’ attitude became expressions of open enthusiasm, and the German gave ovations, to which the Arabs responded loudly.

When Tunisia came under direct Nazi occupation between November 1942 and May 1943, some 2,000 Jews were sent to work in labour camps. The reaction of Tunisia’s Muslim majority was, according to Robert Satloff, ‘widespread indifference.’

Gestures of support and active assistance for the minority being displaced, disenfranchised, plundered and conscripted into forced labour were very rare. Arab passers-by would publicly insult and physically attack individuals.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Iran - Unafraid and undeterred by Caroline Glick

...Israel’s January 18 strike on Iranian and Hezbollah commanders in Syria showed Israel’s strategy wisdom and independent capacity. Israel can and will take measures to defend its critical security interests. It has the intelligence gathering capacity to identify and strike at targets in real time. But it also showed the constraints Israel is forced to operate under in its increasingly complex and dangerous strategic environment.

Caroline Glick..
29 January '15..

Israel’s reported strike January 18 on a joint Iranian-Hezbollah convoy driving on the Syrian Golan Heights was one of the most strategically significant events to have occurred in Israel’s neighborhood in recent months. Its significance lies both in what it accomplished operationally and what it exposed.

From what been published to date about the identities of those killed in the strike, it is clear that in one fell swoop the air force decapitated the Iranian and Hezbollah operational command in Syria.

The head of Hezbollah’s operations in Syria, the head of its liaison with Iran, and Jihad Mughniyeh, the son of Hezbollah’s longtime operational commander Imad Mughniyeh who was killed by Israel in Damascus in 2008, were killed. The younger Mughniyeh reportedly served as commander of Hezbollah forces along the Syrian-Israeli border.

According to a report by Brig.-Gen. (res.) Shimon Shapira, a Hezbollah expert from the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, the Iranian losses included three generals. Brig.- Gen. Mohammed Alladadi was the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps liaison officer to Hezbollah and to Syrian intelligence. He was also in charge of weapons shipments from Iran to Hezbollah. Gen. Ali Tabatabai was the IRGC commander in the Golan Heights and, according to Shapira, an additional general, known only as Assadi, “was, in all likelihood, the commander of Iranian expeditionary forces in Lebanon.”

The fact that the men were willing to risk exposure by traveling together along the border with Israel indicates how critical the front is for the regime in Tehran. It also indicates that in all likelihood, they were planning an imminent attack against Israel.

According to Ehud Yaari, Channel 2’s Arab Affairs commentator, Iran and Hezbollah seek to widen Hezbollah’s front against Israel from Lebanon to Syria. They wish to establish missile bases on the northern Hermon, and are expanding Hezbollah’s strategic depth from Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley to the outskirts of Damascus.

On Wednesday night, Yaari reported that the Syrian military has ceased to function south of Damascus. In areas not held by the al-Qaida-aligned Nusra Front and other regime opponents, the IRGC and Hezbollah have taken control, using the Syrian militia they have trained since the start of the Syrian civil war in 2011.

The effectiveness of Hezbollah’s control of its expanded front was on display on Wednesday morning. Almost at the same time that Hezbollah forces shot at least five advanced Kornet antitank missiles at an IDF convoy along Mount Dov, killing two soldiers and wounding seven, Hezbollah forces on the Golan shot off mortars at the Hermon area.

While these forces are effective, they are also vulnerable. Yaari noted that today, three-quarters of Hezbollah’s total forces are fighting in Syria. Their twofold task is to defend the Assad regime and to build the Iranian-controlled front against Israel along the Golan Heights. Most of the forces are in known, unfortified, above ground positions, vulnerable to Israeli air strikes.

THE IDENTITIES of the Iranian and Lebanese personnel killed in the Israeli strike indicate the high value Iran and Hezbollah place on developing a new front against Israel in Syria.

The fact that they are in control over large swathes of the border area and are willing to risk exposure in order to ready the front for operations exposes Iran’s strategic goal of encircling Israel on the ground and the risks it is willing to take to achieve that goal.

But Iran’s willingness to expose its forces and Hezbollah forces also indicates something else. It indicates that they believe that there is a force deterring Israel from attacking them.

And this brings us to another strategic revelation exposed by the January 18 operation.

Oh, how cute! "Palestinian" Cartoons

...According to the Bible, Goliath was a giant Philistine warrior and David was a kid, but the future king of Israel, and they fought a millennia before the birth of Jesus, and almost two before the birth of Muhammad. David defeated Goliath with his sling, of course. Today we are supposed to believe that the great Arab nation, around 400 million strong, represent "David" and that the tiny Jewish population in the Middle East, around 6 million strong, represent "Goliath." This is what you might call an aspect of the Big Lie.

Michael Lumish..
Israel Thrives..
29 January '15..

We have to somehow make it clear that the malice within the Arab-Israel conflict is not equivalent on both sides.

That is, there is no morally equivalent "cycle of violence" between Arabs and Jews.

The far larger Arab nation, which gobbled up the entire Middle East shortly after the death of Muhammad, has kept its imperial boot on the head of the Jewish people - thereby keeping our numbers artificially low - in that region for fourteen centuries, until the fall of the Ottoman Empire during World War I and the seemingly phoenix-like establishment of Israel in 1948.

Arab and Soviet propaganda, since at least the 1960s, has slowly convinced well-meaning western liberals that the children of Holocaust survivors are the bad guys and, weirdly enough, use an inversion of a biblical story to do so.

Everyone knows the legend of David and Goliath.

According to the Bible, Goliath was a giant Philistine warrior and David was a kid, but the future king of Israel, and they fought a millennia before the birth of Jesus, and almost two before the birth of Muhammad.

David defeated Goliath with his sling, of course.

Today we are supposed to believe that the great Arab nation, around 400 million strong, represent "David" and that the tiny Jewish population in the Middle East, around 6 million strong, represent "Goliath."

This is what you might call an aspect of the Big Lie.

The Big Lie, of course, is that the Jews are persecuting the Arabs when the exact opposite is obviously the case. Jewish Israelis want nothing more than for Arabs to stop throwing rocks and molotov cocktails at them so that they can get on with the business of living their lives.

It is not the Jews who are the victimizers here, but the supposed Arab victims, themselves.

Look at the cartoon above.

Again, Why Outsourcing Israel’s Security to Peacekeepers is a Non-Starter

...Quite apart from the fact that the UN appears to have a total disregard for the safety of Israelis–as seen with both UNIFIL and UNRWA–it will always be the case that international forces acting on behalf of international organizations, as opposed to national self-interest, will be woefully ineffective. A catalog of recent genocides are a sorry testament to the way UN forces are much better at observing and monitoring atrocities than they are at preventing them.

Tom Wilson..
Commentary Magazine..
29 January '15..

Following yesterday’s attack by Hezbollah on an Israeli military convoy, in which two Israeli soldiers were killed, there have been growing concerns of a major escalation along the Lebanese border. During the exchange of fire between the IDF and Hezbollah that followed the attack, a United Nations peacekeeper was also killed. As fears grew that the attack by Hezbollah might signal the beginning of a major new conflagration to Israel’s north, the death of the peacekeeper was a reminder that in such circumstances the UN forces would be completely impotent in preventing such an escalation. Worse still, the UN in Lebanon will have contributed to the severity of any hostilities by allowing Hezbollah to have proliferated under its watch. This too should be a reminder of the ineffective nature of any international forces deployed on Israel’s borders.

UNIFIL, the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon, which was created during Israel’s first Lebanon war, was subsequently emboldened with a reinforced mandate following the second Lebanon war in 2006. As well as maintaining the peace in southern Lebanon, UNIFIL was also tasked with assisting the Lebanese army in consolidating Lebanese government sovereignty throughout that part of the country. This presumably should necessitate the rolling back of the mini-state that Hezbollah terrorists have created for themselves in Lebanon’s south. Yet not only has UNIFIL utterly failed in that regard, but there are also serious questions about whether or not UNIFIL has in fact been complicit in assisting Hezbollah in various ways. Most egregious of all was UNIFIL’s conduct during the second Lebanon war itself, when UNIFIL publicly broadcast the movements of the IDF, knowingly exposing Israel’s troops to attack by Hezbollah fighters.

Ever since 2006 Hezbollah has been remilitarising well beyond the levels it had reached prior to the second Lebanon war, and it has been doing it directly under UNIFIL’s noses. UNIFIL therefore has not only failed to assist with reasserting the authority of the Lebanese state in the south of the country; it has allowed for the unfolding of a situation that will almost inevitably undermine a key aspect of UNIFIL’s mandate: to ensure peace and security in that territory.

Even before war broke out in Syria, Hezbollah had–with the assistance of Iran–been drastically increasing its stockpiles of weapons, the range and force of its missile capabilities, and the numbers of trained fighters within its ranks. Then, when Hezbollah was brought into Syria to help Assad retain power, a new channel for the flow of weapons opened as Hezbollah was able to move some of Assad’s weaponry into Lebanon itself. Indeed, from the outset of UNIFIL’s renewed mandate in 2006, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan had always made clear that the force wouldn’t intervene to stop the flow of weapons from Syria unless specifically instructed to do so by the Lebanese government.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

(Video) What Shutting Down Free Speech on Campus Looks Like

...An open and safe atmosphere for dialogue and ensuring that students feel free to express their love of Israel without being attacked is still uncertain for CPP students, but the future looks brighter.

29 January '15..

(Please share) Students at Cal Poly Pomona invited two Israelis to speak about their experiences. They shared stories of fighting terrorism and saving both Israelis and Palestinians. Representatives of American Muslims for Palestine attempted to silence them.

The Dean of Students and VP of Student Affairs have since workedwith CPP Hillel and Broncos for Israel to create a chain of command for dealing with protest response and have finalized their policies towards any disturbance in the future.

An open and safe atmosphere for dialogue and ensuring that students feel free to express their love of Israel without being attacked is still uncertain for CPP students, but the future looks brighter.


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“We Stand with UNIFIL” - A Marvel of Moral Equivalency and Confusion

...Then, the confusion: State “strongly condemns” Hezbollah and blames it for this incident and for generally inciting violence and instability. So what is to be done about all those actions by Hezbollah? Is Israel supposed to strike back or “refrain from any action that could escalate the situation?” Israel has a “legitimate right to self-defense” but it must “respect the Blue Line.” Given that Hezbollah is just across the Blue Line, that’s impossible; Israeli self-defense must include hitting Hezbollah, or “self-defense” means sitting in bunkers.

Elliott Abrams..
Pressure Points..
29 January '15..

The recent violence between Hezbollah and Israel elicited a statement from the State Department yesterday. It’s a marvel of moral equivalency and confusion.

Here it is, in full:

Connecting the Dots Between Iran Talks and Hezbollah Violence

...An Iran that is permitted to become a nuclear threshold state will not only be vastly more powerful than it is today but in a position to directly threaten Israeli security and that of Jordan and perhaps even Egypt and Saudi Arabia. The fighting along Israel’s northern border is just a tease of what may come once Hezbollah is protected by an Iran that believes the U.S. has granted it impunity to pursue its aggressive agenda.

Jonathan S. Tobin..
Commentary Magazine..
28 January '15..

The instinct in Washington is to dismiss the latest flare-up in violence along Israel’s northern border as just another incident in a long-running cycle of violence involving Hezbollah and the Israel Defense Forces. The State Department will condemn the attack on Israel but it will call for restraint and calm. Their expectation, echoed in much of the media, is that once the smoke clears, the combatants will return to an armed and hostile truce enabling diplomats to concentrate on more important things like the administration’s pursuit of détente with Iran. But whether or not the shooting continues in the coming days, this incident, in which two Israeli soldiers were killed by terrorists firing over an international border, must be understood as intrinsically connected to the broader issue of U.S. relations with Iran and its nuclear program. The fighting is a wake-up call to the West alerting it to the fact that Tehran’s real purpose is not, as President Obama hopes, “to get right with the world,” but to dominate the region and threaten Israel and moderate Arab nations.

The border violence is generally being reported as part of a tit-for-tat exchange between Hezbollah and Israel. Today’s incident, in which anti-tank shells were fired at Israeli vehicles travelling on a civilian road from three miles away inside Lebanon, is seen by many as retaliation for Israel’s strike at a Hezbollah missile base inside Syria last week in which, among others, an Iranian general was killed. Iran has warned Israel that it would retaliate and it is thought that today is proof that they meant what they said.

But there is more to this than the need for Hezbollah to do the bidding of its Iranian paymasters or even for it to gain revenge for the death of the terrorists slain with Tehran’s ballistic missile expert, one of whom was the son of a slain commander of the group. The point of setting up that base in Syria, near the Golan Heights, was to create a launching pad to hit the Jewish state without bringing down the wrath of the Israel Defense Forces on Lebanon, as was the case during the 2006 war that was set off by similar cross-border raids. But the reason why Hezbollah and Iran were so interested in strengthening their ability to rain down destruction on Israeli civilian targets is that Tehran sees itself as being locked in a permanent war with Israel as well as with Arab states in the region.

This is more than obvious to anyone who pays the slightest attention to Iranian policy as well as its use of terrorists to advance its policy goals. Hezbollah is an arm of Iranian foreign policy as proved by its use as shock troops in the effort to preserve the rule of Tehran’s ally Bashar Assad in Syria.

Israeli Program Educates and Supports Palestinian Farmers. Where's the Coverage?

...This kind of economic cooperation and productive educational exchange just doesn’t match the storyline that Israelis oppress Palestinians at every turn. Therefore, rest assured you won’t be reading about it and we’ll have to ask… Where’s the coverage?

Sarit Catz..
CAMERA Snapshots..
28 January '15..

Earlier this month, The Jerusalem Post reported:

A group of 30 Palestinian farmers […] came to Israel for a two-day continuing education program in the Sharon region, to learn about some of the strawberry-growing methods used in Israel. The group, predominantly from the Tulkarm and Jenin areas, met with farmers developing commercial seedlings and others experimenting on new growth techniques – both employing hanging systems and traditional in-ground planting methods.

“I came to study new things today,” said Abed al-Salam, who is from a village near Tulkarm, where he grows both strawberries and vegetables.

The tour was organized by Israel’s Civil Administration of Judea and Samaria, the principle facilitator for similar such collaborative ventures between Israeli and Palestinian farmers.

Nasser Bsharat, from Al-Jiftlik in the Jordan Valley, stressed how much there is to learn about the different types of strawberries that can be grown – pointing out that there are 42 different types being cultivated at their first stop of the day, the Romano Strawberry Nursery.

The nursery, sandwiched between Kibbutz Tel Yitzhak and the Neveh Hadassah Youth Village in the Hof Hasharon Regional Council area, develops and markets strawberry seedlings to growers.

Bsharat said the farmers are keen to learn new techniques for growing strawberries both within greenhouses and in fields, as well as disease-prevention mechanisms.

Stressing not only the importance of cooperation between Israeli and Palestinian farmers, but also the routine nature of such relationships, Bsharat said the Jiftlik community lives “as neighbors” with the residents of the nearby Masu’a settlement.

“If I have any problem [with my farm], I ask my neighbors,” he said.

Well, this is certainly not the image of Israeli-Palestinian interaction promoted by most of the mainstream news media. How does this square with the apartheid narrative? How does this fit with the story of Israeli “settlers” persecuting Palestinian Arabs? It doesn’t. Better not report it then. And the popular press does not. Not a peep about any of the cooperation and positive contact.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The World According to B’Tselem - Presumed Guilty Until Proven Innocent

...In other words, it admits that preventing civilian casualties under these circumstances is nearly impossible, but declares that unless Israel can accomplish the impossible, it effectively has no right to defend its citizens against a terrorist organization. And self-defense may be an even more fundamental human right than the presumption of innocence. But in B’Tselem’s view, evidently, Israelis have no rights. They are only and always guilty.

Evelyn Gordon..
Commentary Magazine..
28 January '15..

One of the worst things about many “human rights” organizations is the way they actually undermine some very fundamental human rights. A prime example is B’Tselem’s new report on Palestinian civilian deaths during this summer’s war in Gaza. Few people would disagree that the presumption of innocence is an important right, but when it comes to Israel, B’Tselem simply jettisons it. In fact, the group states with shocking explicitness that it considers Israel guilty until proven innocent.

Take, for instance, one incident the report discusses, an attack on the a-Dali building in Khan Yunis. B’Tselem doesn’t mention any combatants being present, but an alert Jerusalem Post reporter recalled that Amnesty International had identified one fatality as a combatant. He asked about this discrepancy, and here’s his account of B’Tselem’s response:

Without addressing the specific incident, a B’Tselem representative said there were cases where the group suspected that fighters may have been involved, but it was only reporting their involvement where the evidence was hard and clear.

In other words, if B’Tselem isn’t certain whether the victims were combatants or civilians, it lists them as civilians and then accuses Israel of war crimes. In fact, it does this even if it “suspects that fighters may have been involved.” In short, it presumes Israel’s guilt unless proven otherwise.

Moreover, the report stressed repeatedly that B’Tselem “has no way of knowing” why Israel struck any particular target, and evidently, it doesn’t care. But as NGO Monitor pointed out, the “why” is crucial: If, say, the building was used to store weapons or launch rockets at Israel, then it was a legitimate military target. Without knowing whether the building was targeted legitimately or indiscriminately, it’s impossible to accuse Israel of war crimes–unless, of course, you simply presume Israel’s guilt.

But B’Tselem goes beyond merely presuming Israel’s guilt; it also deliberately omits exculpatory evidence. Take, for instance, the attack on the Kaware home in Khan Yunis. As the report accurately says, the family left after receiving an IDF warning, but other civilians subsequently entered, and the IDF realized this too late to abort its strike. What B’Tselem left out, however, was that those civilians came deliberately to serve as human shields for the building, which the IDF claimed was a Hamas command center. The surviving Kawares said this explicitly, and several prominent media outlets reported it at the time. “Our neighbors came in to form a human shield,” Salah Kaware told the New York Times. Yet this all-important fact–that civilians had deliberately returned to serve as human shields, a development the IDF couldn’t have predicted–was simply omitted from the report.

And Now Introducing the Paligandist Who Peddles Paliganda

Yisrael Medad..
26 January '15..

With a little help from friends, I will attempt to introduce some new terms for your use.

The detractors of Zionism and those who denigrate Israel have been employing “hasbarist”.

Here is a use:

There are thousands of hasbarists, official, covert and volunteer, who leap with zeal on any comment that might be seen to contradict the official Zionist party line.

It’s used as a hashtag on Twitter.

Already in 2007, anti-Zionist Matthew Duss, now with FMEP, wrote the phrase “peddling hasbarist myths” and in 2009, it was used by a hateful, duplicitous and prevaricating Jewish anti-Zionist so “N.Y. Times Publishes Hasbarist’s Dream Op Ed on Iran”. Border-line nazist, Max Blumenthal, uses it regularly. And it was used in 2008, too. A friend of mine was called a ‘hasbarista’, a spiteful play on barista. You can find this: “Israel Mad Machine of Hasbarists” and Abe Foxman was described as “the Anti-Defamation League's hasbarist-in-chief”. It can get linguistically nasty: “You stupid Askenazi. There are lies, damned lies and hasbarist propaganda”.

Well, there may be now a counter-term.

Pasbara was one suggestion (I would use Palsbara as I employ ‘Pals’ instead of “Palestinians”).

Some Thoughts Concerning Why the Media Ignores Jihadists in Israel

Why does the Times continue to relay different motivations and narratives for jihadists in Europe and Israel?

26 January '15..

Summary: According to the Times, terrorists in Europe and Israel are very different and have different motivations. If they weren’t, the hope that two states (Israel and Palestine) could live side-by-side in peace would obviously disappear.

The New York Times has taken to breaking the universe of Islamic terrorists attacking civilians into two camps: those that are hardened and trained to commit attacks, and those that do so as a result of their personal situation as opposed to their beliefs. Curiously, that line is defined by geography.

Consider the January 17, 2015 reporting about the raids that prevented a terrorist attack in Belgium. The Times discussed “the expanding threat from radical jihadists, many of them battle-hardened in Syria and Iraq.” Another article on the same day questioned why Lunel, a small town in France “has come to earn the dubious distinction as a breeding ground for jihadists.” A third article that day clearly stated that attacks in Paris against the magazine Charlie Hebdo were by “jihadist gunmen”. In Europe, the Times is clear that attacks against civilians are done by radical jihadists. While the articles discussed Muslim anger at the insult to their prophet Mohammed by the Charlie Hebdo cartoons that ultimately instigated the attacks, that anger was only the final motivating factor to unleash actions embedded in the radical jihadist philosophy.

The Times does not view attacks against Israelis the same way.

On January 23, 2015 the NY Times explored the motivation of a Palestinian who stabbed a dozen Israeli civilians on a bus in Tel Aviv. Over and again the Times referred to the man as “angered by the war in Gaza… and tensions over the revered Aqsa Mosque.” The article stated that “the family was in debt and struggling” and described this assailant as well as another who attempted to assassinate a Jewish activist as stories of “dislocation”. The New York Times deliberately kept the motivations away from any categorization of “radical jihad” by saying that the assailant “was not considered an extremist.

This description fits consistently with the Times narrative as written in its editorial page on January 1, when it described the Palestinians as “desperate.” The opinion piece suggested that the Palestinians are “deeply frustrated” by their lack of a state. The Times does not feel that Palestinians are engaged in a radical jihad against Israel in the same way European cities are facing Islamic extremism. It is curious that they arrive at such a conclusion when there are Palestinian polls and elections that consistently show an overwhelming support for Hamas, which mentions “jihad” against Israel 36 times in its charter (see the FirstOneThrough article below).

Several articles in the Times mentioned the anti-Semitism harbored by Amedy Coulibaly, the French Muslim who shot a policeman and four Jews in a kosher supermarket in Paris. They discussed his allegiance to the Islamic State which seeks to build a new state in the Middle East ruled by Islamic sharia law. However, the New York Times never mentioned that the Palestinians are the most anti-Semitic people in the world, with 93% of the population holding anti-Jewish views. It neglected to inform its readers that the popular Hamas party seeks to completely destroy Israel and set up an Islamic state ruled by sharia law.

Why does the Times continue to relay different motivations and narratives for jihadists in Europe and Israel?

Examining Kerry’s Diplomatic Protection Racket and Netanyahu’s Reelection Campaign

...The same paranoia and psychological projection seems to infect all those involved in Obama’s political campaigns: they assume American Jewish donor money is behind all opposition. It does appear to be an escalation, however, for the State Department to be pressuring Netanyahu into making concessions to the Palestinians while funding groups working to defeat him. I would say it’s a conflict of interests, but it’s more like a concert of interests—all the levers of the Obama administration’s anti-Netanyahu efforts pulling in the same direction.

Seth Mandel..
Commentary Magazine..
27 January '15

The U.S. political scene churns out quite a number of battle-tested campaign strategists. And we export them. Hence, when the dust settled on Israel’s surprising 2013 Knesset elections, the Forward noted that the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat were felt acutely by several Americans: “[Mark] Mellman led Yesh Atid’s campaign; Finkelstein and his partner, George Birnbaum, worked on Netanyahu’s campaign; the Labor Party relied on the services of Stanley Greenberg, and Kadima hired David Eichenbaum.” So the newsworthy part of the revelation that an Obama campaign field director is in Israel working against Netanyahu’s reelection this year is not that fact itself, but rather that this group has been receiving money from John Kerry’s State Department.

As our former COMMENTARY colleague Alana Goodman notes over at the Free Beacon, Haaretz this week broke news that an American organization called OneVoice International has joined up with an Israeli organization called V15. OneVoice has received two State Department grants in the past year, and Jeremy Bird, a former national field director for Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign, will be working with the effort from an office in Tel Aviv, according to Haaretz. The groups are believed to be behind the “anyone but Bibi” mantra floating around left-of-center political circles in the leadup to the election. Goodman writes:

While V15 has not endorsed any particular candidates, it is working to oppose Netanyahu in the March elections.

“We’ve formed a partnership with [V15], but it’s important to know we’re absolutely nonpartisan,” Taler told the Washington Free Beacon. “Our biggest emphasis and focus right now is just getting people out to vote.”

OneVoice said in a press release on Tuesday that it is teaming up with V15 because Israel “need[s] a prime minister and a government who will be responsive to the people.”

It is tempting to see this story in light of the ongoing feud between Obama and Netanyahu in which both men have stumbled in trying to win each news cycle devoted to the drama. But if Obama even knows who Bird is, it’s doubtful he’s taking any direction from the president. It’s not inappropriate for Bird to follow in the footsteps of numerous other campaign veterans to find some work in Israel during American off-years.

What is more interesting is that the group involved has been receiving grants from the State Department. OneVoice didn’t have a convincing rejoinder to the news, so they gave Goodman the following canned response:

Taler said the group is not using this money for its Israeli election-related efforts.

“No government funding has gone toward any of the activities we’re doing right now whatsoever,” she said.

It’s silly, because of course money is fungible. But what could she say? More concerning is that this fits into a topic we’ve covered here extensively: the peace process, especially as led by John Kerry, resembles nothing so much as a diplomatic protection racket. There was his claim to Israeli TV that the alternative to more Israeli concessions was a “third intifada,” giving the prospect of anti-Semitic violence dangerous credibility. (The country seemed on the verge of just such an intifada after Kerry’s talks predictably failed.) And then there was the American warning that Kerry’s diplomatic initiative was the only thing holding back EU sanctions against Israel. Should Kerry come away without a deal, there would be no stopping European retaliatory actions against Israel.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Concerning That Netanyahu Invitation to Address Congress

...But the White House’s whining about Boehner’s invitation is amateurish, and for the reasons Mead explained it will persuade few Americans beyond the Beltway. Given the situation in the Middle East and the state of nuclear negotiations with Iran (where the United States has abandoned almost every red line it ever set), it’s no wonder Obama would like to silence Netanyahu–and no wonder that Netanyahu wants to speak about Iran and that the Speaker wants to hear him.

Elliott Abrams..
Pressure Points..
26 January '15..

Israel’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu last addressed a joint session of Congress in 2011. At that time Walter Russell Mead wrote a remarkable comment on the speech Netanyahu made and the reception he received. Mead’s comment, in his blog at The American Interest, included this passage:

Israel matters in American politics like almost no other country on earth. Well beyond the American Jewish and the Protestant fundamentalist communities, the people and the story of Israel stir some of the deepest and most mysterious reaches of the American soul. The idea of Jewish and Israeli exceptionalism is profoundly tied to the idea of American exceptionalism. The belief that God favors and protects Israel is connected to the idea that God favors and protects America.

It means more. The existence of Israel means that the God of the Bible is still watching out for the well-being of the human race. For many American Christians who are nothing like fundamentalists, the restoration of the Jews to the Holy Land and their creation of a successful, democratic state after two thousand years of oppression and exile is a clear sign that the religion of the Bible can be trusted.

Being pro-Israel matters in American mass politics because the public mind believes at a deep level that to be pro-Israel is to be pro-American and pro-faith. Substantial numbers of voters believe that politicians who don’t ‘get’ Israel don’t ‘get’ America and don’t ‘get’ God.

Obama administration officials who are trying to argue that Netanyahu’s invitation from Speaker Boehner is outrageous and political (just a few days after the president got British prime minister Cameron to lobby Congress directly) will lose the argument. Iran’s nuclear program is one of the most significant national security issues we face and an even larger issue for Israel, and Israel is one of this country’s closest allies.

Iran's Continuing Efforts to Encircle the Gulf and Israel

...Iran is not interested in the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip or providing shelter to thousands of Palestinian families who lost their homes during the last war. The only thing Iran is interested in there is turning Hamas into another Iranian-backed army that would be used to attack Israel. This is all happening at a time when the Obama Administration is busy preparing for another round of talks with Iran over its nuclear program. It is obvious by now that Tehran is using these negotiations to divert attention from its efforts to deepen its involvement in the Middle East, with the hope of taking over the oil fields and eliminating Israel.

Khaled Abu Toameh..
Gatestone Institute..
27 January '15..

As U.S. President Barack Obama continues to seek a negotiated deal on Iran's nuclear program, the Iranians have been working hard in recent weeks to infiltrate the Palestinian arena and re-establish ties with their erstwhile ally, Hamas.

Emboldened by Obama's obsession with the nuclear negotiations, which are set to resume next month, Iran's leaders apparently trust that the Obama Administration is prepared to turn a blind eye to whatever they do.

So the Iranians are apparently feeling free to meddle once again in the internal affairs of the Palestinians, to strengthen their hand still further in the Middle East.

With bases in Lebanon, Syria, Yemen and Iraq, Iran has surrounded Saudi Arabia and all the oil fields of the Persian Gulf. This encirclement can be comfortably backed with Iran's ongoing nuclear weapons program.

Tehran's main goal is to regain control over the Palestinian Islamist movement so that it can turn itself into a player in the Israeli-Arab conflict.

The Iranians already have Hezbollah sitting on Israel's northern border. All they need now is another terror group in Gaza to the south, in order to create a similar encirclement. And they are working hard to achieve this goal.

Relations between Iran and Hamas had become strained after Hamas's refusal to support the regime of Iran's client, Syria's Bashar Assad, in his fight against the Syrian opposition forces.

Iran and Hamas need each other badly. Iran wants Hamas because it does not have many Sunni allies left in the region. An alliance with Hamas would enable Iran to rid itself of charges that it is leading a Shiite camp fighting against the Sunnis.

Hamas, for its part, is desperate for any outside support, especially in wake of its increased isolation in the Palestinian and international arenas.

Hamas is also beginning to feel the heat at home in light of its failure to rebuild the Gaza Strip after last summer's war with Israel. Hamas leaders are now hoping that Iran will resume its financial aid to the movement and avoid a situation where Palestinians might revolt against it.

Egypt's tough security measures along its border with the Gaza Strip, including the demolition of hundreds of smuggling tunnels and the creation of a security zone, have also tightened the noose on Hamas.

Hamas leaders say they have taken a "strategic" decision to restore their ties with Iran. Ismail Haniyeh, the former prime minister of the Hamas government in the Gaza Strip, announced recently that his movement is working toward establishing "open relations" with Iran.

Who Might Ask Whether It's Misguided to Fight for Jewish Rights?

...Indeed, who is the only source Rudoren can produce to justify the headline about the Law Center’s efforts being “misguided?” The Israeli attorney who had been defending the Palestinian Authority in cases relating to its financial support for terrorists described her as a “nuisance.” I’m sure his clients and others who believe those who commit terrorism against Jewish Americans and Israelis feel the same way. But it’s hard to see why anyone else would view her activities in that same light.

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

Lawfare is the term for the practice of employing legal proceedings to wage a kind of war on a country or cause. For the most part, the State of Israel has been on the receiving end of this effort as non-governmental organizations and others purporting to support the cause of human rights have attempted to delegitimize Israel’s right to exist and to self-defense with specious efforts to arraign before the bar of justice. But not everybody in Israel believes the best way to counter these attacks is to play defense or simply ignore it. Attorney Nitsana Darshan-Leitner founded Shurat HaDin—the Israel Law Center in 2004 to use the law to not only work for the rights of Jewish victims of terrorism but also to make the terrorists, state sponsors, and enablers in the business world pay for their crimes. For this she was rewarded with an article profiling her activities in yesterday’s New York Times that posed the question in its headline as to whether her work was “misguided,” a clear indication of the opinion of the paper’s editors. But that verdict can only be sustained if you believe those who support terrorism deserve legal impunity.

The piece by Jodi Rudoren does provide us with yet another tortured food metaphor from the paper’s Jerusalem bureau chief. In describing her relentless efforts to keep probing legal foes for weaknesses and to adopt the best strategies, Darshan-Leitner made an analogy to baking challah for the Sabbath. Rudoren uses that one line to attempt to gain some insight on her subject’s career but it doesn’t work.

Even less convincing is Rudoren’s effort to put down Darshan-Leitner as either a worthless publicity hound/profiteer or an impediment to the peace process. Indeed, who is the only source Rudoren can produce to justify the headline about the Law Center’s efforts being “misguided?” The Israeli attorney who had been defending the Palestinian Authority in cases relating to its financial support for terrorists described her as a “nuisance.” I’m sure his clients and others who believe those who commit terrorism against Jewish Americans and Israelis feel the same way. But it’s hard to see why anyone else would view her activities in that same light.

Reporting on the ‘Ordinary Life’ of a Palestinian Terrorist at the NY Times

...It seemed so obvious, especially to a Times reporter in Jerusalem, when she explained: “All the Palestinian people are following what’s happening in Al Aqsa and Gaza, and he is one of the Palestinian people.” Ms. Kershner did not care to note that nothing is happening in Al Aqsa, except for Muslim prayer. And Gaza has been quiet for months, while Hamas doubtlessly prepares to dig more tunnels and rebuild its rocket supply. Matrouk was “said to be pious” and “prayed regularly at mosques.” And, his mother reported, “from a young age, we have always said we should do good things in order to go to paradise. In his opinion, this was a good thing.” Strange how paradise for Muslims is filled with murdered Jews.

Jerold Auerbach..
The Algemeiner..
26 January '15..

Even when New York Times Jerusalem Bureau Chief Jodi Rudoren is otherwise occupied, its coverage of Israel is worse than dismal; it is palpably distorted, if politely biased. Case in point: Isabel Kershner’s report (January 22) on the 23-year-old Palestinian whose knifing rampage on a Tel Aviv bus resulted in the stabbing of a dozen Israelis, several of whom are still hospitalized with serious wounds.

Terrorist assailant Hamza Matrouk, readers were informed, lived an “ordinary life” in a simple farming village in “the Israeli-occupied West Bank” (also known as biblical Judea and Samaria). Residents indicated that he was “quiet and introspective.” Yet “for young people and others in the village,” who were “angered by the war in Gaza” (now months ago) and by “recent tensions over the revered Aqsa Mosque” (tensions fomented by Palestinians on the Temple Mount, the holiest Jewish site), the knife-crazed assailant had become, predictably, “an instant hero.” As a neighbor declared: “We are proud of him. . . . Every Palestinian should be proud of him.”

Judging from her reporting, Ms. Kershner may also be proud of him. Matrouk must now be included among those individuals whose “spontaneity” is unencumbered by any organizational backing – as though Hamas, Hezbollah, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and the Al-Aqsa Brigade, among others, provide insufficient inspiration for terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians. He “was not considered an extremist” nor, Kirshner was informed, was he “known to be affiliated with any Palestinian political or militant faction.” He was just an ordinary 23-year-old, she reported, who found electrical work where he could and considerately helped his mother in her Ramallah clothing store.

Under arrest for his terrorist rampage, Matrouk cited the Gaza fighting, Al-Aqsa tensions, and “radical Islamic content on the Internet” as inspiration for his knife-slashing assault on innocent Israelis. To Ms. Kershner, however, his “story” has nothing to do with Palestinian or Islamic incitement and Hamas rocket attacks against Israelis: “it is one of dislocation in a conservative society.” But that may say more about her than about him. To be sure, his parents are divorced; his mother and children lived in a refugee camp for six years before moving to the simple village of Al Jib, which Ms. Kershner takes pains to point out is within view of “the high-rises of a nearby Jewish settlement.”

Ms. Kershner compares Matrouk to another “recent assailant” (a.k.a attempted assassin), who tried to kill Rabbi Yehuda Glick for his temerity in advocating Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount. Muataz Hijazi by name, he “also experienced a form of dislocation” after his family returned to Jerusalem from the United Arab Emirates. She concedes, however, that other Palestinian terrorists “had lived in the same houses since birth.” Unwittingly, she undercuts her own empathy for “dislocated” Palestinian assailants by including them with comfortably rooted terrorists.

Monday, January 26, 2015

“Gentleman’s Agreement”? Not for Jews in Sweden

...Incidents such as these explain why Israel is preparing for a significant increase in immigration of European Jews who no longer feel secure in their home countries. In Europe, the problem for many Jews isn’t “Gentleman’s Agreements” keeping them out of select country clubs or restricted neighborhoods. The problem is that they cannot assure their children’s safety.

Elliott Abrams..
Pressure Points..
25 January '15..

The book “Gentleman’s Agreement,” by Laura Z. Hobson, appeared in 1947, followed by the film of the same name starring Gregory Peck (and winning three Oscars).

The plot is simple: a journalist assigned to write about anti-Semitism in the post-war United States decides to pose as a Jew and see what happens. He encounters a good deal of social anti-Semitism: country clubs, “restricted” neighborhoods, jobs that somehow are off-limits. He is not beaten or assaulted, nor does he face physical danger. Instead he faces quiet, unwritten “Gentleman’s Agreements” that exclude Jews.

Recently, a television reporter in Malmo, Sweden tried the same approach to discover what it is like to live as a Jew in Malmo. The entire hour-long show, in Swedish with subtitles, can be found here. Tom Gross, at his web site covering stories related to the Middle East and Jewish affairs, describes it this way:

Swedish TV on Wednesday showed footage of a non-Jewish reporter who walked around Malmo wearing a kippah to test attitudes toward Jews. He was punched in the arm and cursed at by passers-by before cutting short his journalistic experiment out of fear he would be subjected to more serious injury. Sveriges Television also showed footage of the journalist sitting at a café in central Malmo reading a newspaper, while passersby hurled anti-Semitic abuse at him.

The Derangement and Delirium of Anti-Zionism

...This malady has an unending appeal because of the way it always promises to liberate mankind, in one way or another, by “solving” the Jews. It was with great optimism that a former minister of the Dutch government recently expressed the opinion that transferring all the Jews from Israel to the United States would herald a new era of world peace. Of course, by the same logic it is the selfish Jews clinging to their state who bear ultimate responsibility for entrapping mankind in the ongoing horrors of war.

Tom Wilson..
Commentary Magazine..
25 January '15..

Last week many were quick to hail the United Nations conference on anti-Semitism as a hopeful step forward. The fact that just 37 of the 193 UN member states even bothered to send delegates should be demonstration enough of just how little many countries care about the modern-day revival of global Jew hatred. There was, however, one moment in the proceedings that particularly stood out. During his address to the conference, French philosopher Bernard Henri-Levy identified demonization of Israel as key component of contemporary anti-Semitism, referring to what he termed “the delirium of anti-Zionism.” It was a particularly satisfying irony to hear these words spoken in a chamber that has so often played host to the worst trashing of the Jewish state. And yet the international consensus, as well as the consensus in the West, is largely deaf to that irony. Most still fail to see the extent to which anti-Zionism is the primary expression of hostility against Jews today.

That the United Nations has long provided one of the chief forums for castigating Israel can hardly be in doubt. The current General Assembly session (2014-2015) has so far passed 20 resolutions against Israel, and just three against events elsewhere in the world. The unhinged obsession with condemning the Jewish state is plain enough for all to see. And yet what even those world leaders who do speak out against anti-Semitism still often reuse to see is that those 20 UN resolutions against Israel represent the modern expression of an age-old Jew hatred.

Shortly after the Paris attacks, Natan Sharansky was interviewed by the BBC in his capacity as the head of the Jewish Agency. When asked about the rise of anti-Semitism Sharansky attempted to refer to the liberal circles in Europe where Israel receives almost uniform hostility. At that point the BBC anchor interjected, surely Sharansky did not mean to equate those who are “very critical” of Israel with anti-Semites? That would be a “dangerous” comparison the BBC man asserted. When Sharansky then attempted to clarify the distinction between reasonable criticism and the tendency to treat Israel unfairly the BBC presenter dismissively responded that he didn’t want to get into a discussion about Israel.

But for those who still can’t–or won’t–understand this phenomenon for what it is, and who would subsequently find Henri-Levy’s reference to anti-Zionism during a conference about anti-Semitism puzzling, perhaps they might direct their attention to another event that took place in New York last week. Anyone wishing to see the delirium of anti-Zionism in practice need only refer to Thursday’s storming of a New York City Council session by anti-Israel activists during a commemoration of the liberation of Auschwitz.

Ensuring that terror will be accounted for, not rewarded

...The continuous security threats here and abroad keep us on high alert, but sadly the main problems are not being dealt with effectively in order to prevent, as opposed to responding to the terror. Response of course is important, but prevention in the long run is ultimately the only way to resolve the problem.

Yehudit Tayar..
Zion's Corner..
25 January '15..


The puffy fluffy white clouds in the blue skies over our Land lend a feeling of tranquility in a time of chaos. Following Shabbat as we begin another week it is a privilege for me to take time out of security and rescue work and gaze up at the sky, down at the beautiful flowers and watch the birds as they soar in the sky and hop on the grass.

The continuous security threats here and abroad keep us on high alert, but sadly the main problems are not being dealt with effectively in order to prevent, as opposed to responding to the terror. Response of course is important, but prevention in the long run is ultimately the only way to resolve the problem.

While we hear of a precedent in the US courts to sue the PA for their encouraging and participating in terror attacks against Israelis, we continue to hear the officials of the PA continuing to do the same incitement, honoring murdering terrorists and teaching that to be a "Shahid", a terrorist who pays with his life for participating in terror is a great honor.

At Palestinian Media Watch we find " A few days ago Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah movement posted a picture in their official Facebook page demonstrating that violence is still favored by the movement as the way to obtain statehood. A stone, a knife, a Molotov cocktail, a gun, a hand grenade, an assault rifle and an RPG ilustrate Fatah's progress in terms of more and more sophisticated weapons. These are the means with which it works toward its goal- to "finish with a state", as the poster states:

"We started with stones...and we will finish with a state
The Palestinian National LIberation Movement (Fatah)"

For years the Fatah has encouraged, and even participated in violent terror attacks against Jews, such as the massacre in the synagogue in Jerusalem, the attacks in Tel Aviv, Gush Etzion, the fire bomb thrown on the Shapira family car in the Shomron.

The hard truth be told, there is no diplomatic solution

...The time has come for Israel to throw off the constraints of adhering to politically correct policies that are clearly detrimental to its continued existence and start fighting for its survival.

Rabin, Clinton and Arafat. 'Israel needs
to finally declare that the Oslo
process is null and void and that
the concept of land for peace is
 no longer an option' (Photo: Reuters)
Yoel Meltzer..
Israel Opinion/Ynet..
25 January '15..
H/T Lori..

With Israeli elections quickly approaching, it’s a near certainty based upon historical precedents that we’ll soon be hearing assorted domestic and international voices emphasizing the need to restart negotiations with the Arabs as soon as the next government is formed.

Still further and based upon a 20-year old broken record that never seems to stop, we’ll once again be told that in the face of the growing uncertainty in the region a breakthrough in the talks with the Arabs is vital for the continued existence of the Jewish state.

Therefore, in order to prevent needless resources being devoted to yet another attempt at advancing the two-state track, it’s long overdue that the obvious is publicly stated: The king, otherwise known as the two-state solution, has no clothes. In other words, there is no diplomatic solution.

This is not an extremist or right-wing position; it’s just what it is. Similarly it’s not good and it’s not bad; once again it’s just what it is.

Moreover, the reason that there is no diplomatic solution between Jews and Arabs west of the Jordan River is that at its core the more than 100-year conflict is not a land dispute. Although many people cling to the simplified narrative that states the opposite and as a result repeatedly suggest that the land be divided in order to accommodate the two conflicting parties, the truth is that if it were so simple then this thorny issue would have been resolved years ago.

Still further, the problem stems from an inability or unwillingness on the part of many to honestly confront the truth, perhaps out of a fear of looking into the abyss. Nevertheless, for anyone who seriously analyzes the region it should be crystal clear that the larger Arab/Islamic world will never accept a sovereign Jewish state in its midst. To think otherwise is akin to placing one’s head in the sand.

Moreover, if one considers the fact that for several centuries the entire region was under some sort of Islamic control, then it is quite understandable that any non-Islamic sovereign entity will never be accepted in this part of the world. In the words of Mordechai Nisan, a retired lecturer in Middle East Studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, "Islam rejects Jewish sovereignty, Arabism rejects Zionism."

This is the truth, no matter how difficult it might sound, that needs to be internalized if Israel wishes to continue to survive. Thus, allowing oneself to be intellectually undressed by the false assumption which posits that the conflict is essentially a land dispute, and this in order to keep on embracing at all costs the strategically flawed paradigm of land for peace, is a dangerous and irrational exercise that will eventually lead to the demise of Israel.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Defeating the terrorists who killed my mother, 13 years on.

...They most likely had no idea that they had killed my mother and a 20-year-old passenger named Esther Alwan, sitting in the back seat. They probably didn’t know they had injured my stepfather and put two bullets through my brother’s shoulder. They were consummate terrorists: trying to instill terror in their enemy by randomly attacking civilians.

Yoni Berg..
Times of Israel..
23 January '15..

Today marks the thirteenth anniversary of the greatest decision of my life. I decided to leave my comfortable, promising, possibly lucrative life in exile and come to my new home in my ancestral homeland.

I had so many reasons to stay in New York. I was young, healthy, and fresh out of college. I had a decent-paying job to fund an active social life while paying no bills thanks to guest rooms and couches of friends and family. I was dating (at one point very seriously) my on-again-off-again girlfriend, I had a cool Jeep, and my father was offering (bribing?) me a number of easy jobs that would guarantee my financial security, if I stayed.

In addition, patriotism was skyrocketing in the US of A. 9/11 was a fresh wound on the nation, and everyone was uniting under the star-spangled banner. President Bush was playing his part of the cowboy perfectly, promising to root out Al Qaida wherever they were hiding. In the still-smoldering New York, Mayor Rudy Giuliani had just rejected a ten million dollar donation from Saudi Arabia, and the city loved him for it. It was a grand time to be an American, and it was even better to be a New Yorker.

On top of all that, Israel was in turmoil at the time. The second Intifada was raging. Dozens of Israelis were killed and hundreds were injured in various terrorist attacks – and that was just in the month before I came. Bus bombings were commonplace, as were indiscriminate terrorist shootings at heavily populated civilian targets.

Was I crazy? Why would I ever leave such a potentially wonderful life in exchange for such a potentially dangerous (and possibly short) one?

I wish I could say it was pure idealism that got me to go. I mean, It was idealism, but it was also more than that.

Six months prior to my Aliya, my mother was murdered in one of those commonplace, indiscriminate shootings.

Her murderers didn’t use a sniper rifle like the one that killed Shalhevet Pass. They didn’t kill her face-to-face like the ones who killed Koby Mandell and Yosef Ishran. No, those deaths were personalized. The men who killed my mother sprayed the car she was in with submachine gun fire. They most likely had no idea that they had killed my mother and a 20-year-old passenger named Esther Alwan, sitting in the back seat. They probably didn’t know they had injured my stepfather and put two bullets through my brother’s shoulder. They were consummate terrorists: trying to instill terror in their enemy by randomly attacking civilians.

Most people would see this as another reason for me not to live here. Why would I willingly go to the very place where my own mother was killed for the simple fact that she was Jewish?

He still doesn't quite understand the hysteria over him

..."He remembers what happened and asks about the passengers and whether anyone was killed, and what happened to the terrorist. He still doesn't quite understand the hysteria over him.

Photo credit: Zuri Magnezi
Yehuda Shlezinger..
Israel Hayom..
25 January '15..

"I had no choice, I had to try to save people," says Herzl Biton, the bus driver who was wounded in the stabbing attack on the No. 40 bus in Tel Aviv last week. Biton spoke to Channel 10 on Saturday.

Biton, who is still hospitalized at Sourasky Medical Center in Tel Aviv, was transferred out of the intensive care ward over the weekend.

Describing the attack, Biton said, "[The terrorist] stabbed me as I was driving 60 kph [37 mph], ran back and started stabbing the passengers. I started to swerve the bus so people would see there was a problem. He went from seat to seat. I swung him to the right and he stabbed the people sitting on the right, and I swung [the bus] left and he stabbed the people there. I had no choice but to bring him to me. I slammed on the brakes and he fell onto me. I got up, started to spray him with [pepper spray.] He gave me a few blows to the face and I punched him. I didn't let go of his hand," Biton said.

The driver said he opened the bus doors. "From the struggle, there was a pool of blood. He got off the bus and started to run away, stabbing people. And I started to chase him."

Biton's family was with him at the hospital throughout the weekend. His son Yaakov told Israel Hayom: "Dad is feeling a little better, but he's still not strong enough."

Iran and the Free World - Again Netanyahu vs. Obama

...The contrast between the historically conscious and responsible leader of the tiny Jewish state and the ignorant, petulant and destructive “leader of the free world” is striking.

Vic Rosenthal..
Abu Yehuda..
24 January '15..

As you probably know, PM Netanyahu has been invited by the Republican Speaker of the House to speak before both houses of the US Congress on March 3. It is assumed that he is going to talk on the subject of Iran, in particular, the need for real sanctions or the threat thereof, in order to keep the regime from going nuclear.

He is expected to say, among other things, that nuclear weapons in the hands of the greatest supporter of Islamic terrorism in the world, whose tentacles stretch throughout the Middle East and Europe, reach South America, Mexico and probably even into the US, would be a disaster for the West. He will certainly say that this is not only an Israeli problem, although the danger for Israel is more imminent.

He might imply that if the West doesn’t prevent this by diplomatic/economic pressure, then Israel will have no choice but to do so by military means, which would almost certainly result in a war with Iran and its proxies in which Israelis, Iranians, Lebanese and others would die.

Personally, I doubt that Iran can be deterred by sanctions of any kind, and think that only a credible military threat can stop the regime. But Obama’s present policy, which is wholly lacking in teeth, actually aids Iran in its nuclear program by freeing it to pursue development despite claims that the program has been ‘frozen’.

The Obama Administration opposes any involvement of Congress in its negotiations with Iran, even the Kirk-Menendez bill which would call for sanctions only if Iran failed to live up to its agreement, or the Corker bill which calls for congressional review of any such agreement.

The Administration is (as usual) furious with Netanyahu for ‘interfering’ in US affairs, and the feral pack of “unnamed officials” that scuttle about the White House has let us know it yet again:

“We thought we’ve seen everything,” [Ha’aretz] quoted an unnamed senior US official as saying. “But Bibi managed to surprise even us.

“There are things you simply don’t do. He spat in our face publicly and that’s no way to behave. Netanyahu ought to remember that President Obama has a year and a half left to his presidency, and that there will be a price,” he said.

Officials in Washington said that the “chickenshit” epithet — with which an anonymous administration official branded Netanyahu several months ago — was mild compared to the language used in the White House when news of Netanyahu’s planned speech came in.

Neither Obama nor Kerry will meet with Netanyahu when he is in the US, and have threatened to withdraw diplomatic support for Israel at the UN if he won’t stop telling members of Congress to vote for additional sanctions on Iran.

The Israeli Left, in its myopically egocentric belief that everything is is about them, is claiming that Netanyahu has accepted the invitation in order to boost his popularity immediately before the Israeli election, and have even petitioned the judge that oversees the election to forbid the broadcast of his speech in Israel. They are accusing Netanyahu of damaging the the relationship with the US for domestic political reasons.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Israel's Quneitra Attack in Context: Game Not Over

...The Iran/Hizballah/Assad side has long threatened to develop the Golan as a front for possible 'jihad duties' against Israel. Both Syrian President Bashar Assad and Nasrallah made unambiguous public statements in 2014 threatening the opening of military activity against Israel in this area. Israel, in turn, has made clear that such a move would constitute a violation of the status quo . The strike on Sunday constituted a very kinetic further Israeli message intended to drive home this point.

Thousands of Iranians gather in Tehran
for the funeral of Revolutionary Guard
Commander Gen. Mohammad Ali Allahdadi
Jonathan Spyer..
22 January '15..

In analyzing the significance of, and likely fallout from ,the Israeli killing of a number of senior Hizballah and IRGC personnel close to the Golan border this week, a number of things should be borne in mind:

Firstly, the killings were a response to a clear attempt by the Iranians/Hizballah to violate the very fragile status quo that pertains between these elements and Israel in Lebanon and Syria. in his interview to the al-Mayadeen network three days before the attack, Hizballah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah explicitly claimed that his organization was not engaged in 'resistance work' on the Golan. The Israeli strike showed that this statement was a lie.

Some analysis of the strike has suggested that the men killed in the attack were engaged in preparation for the placing of sophisticated Iranian missile systems on the Syrian part of the Golan. Other accounts suggested that their mission was part of preparing this area for the launch of ground attacks across the border against Israeli targets, perhaps using proxies. In either case, the mission was a clear attempt to change the arrangement of forces in the north, in such a way that could be expected to ensure an Israeli response.

Secondly, in the past, Hizballah has reacted differently to Israeli strikes on it or its Syrian allies within Syria, compared to strikes on Lebanese soil. The difference again relates to the unstated but clear 'rules of the game' between the organization and the Jewish state. Israeli strikes on materiel making its way to the organization from Syrian soil have elicited no response from the movement.

By contrast, an Israeli attack on a weapons convoy just across the border on Lebanese soil near the village of Janta on February 24, 2014 provoked a Hizballah response . On March 18th, an IED was exploded just south of the border fence in the Majdal Shams area on the Golan Heights, wounding four IDF soldiers.

The rules of the game in question do not indicate a lessening of warlike intentions or a growing affection on the part of Hizballah toward Israel. Rather, they reflect the acute need that this organization and its Iranian masters currently have to not be drawn into conflict with Israel unless this becomes unavoidable.

Hizballah is overstretched at the moment. It has between 5000-10,000 men engaged in Syria. It is engaged in a determined and fraying attempt to prevent Sunni jihadi incursions across the border into Lebanon from Syria, and bomb attacks by the Sunni groups further into Lebanon.

Hizballah is also an integral part of the Iranian outreach effort in Iraq, where members of the organization are engaged in training Shia fighters.

Even as far afield as Yemen, where the Iran-backed Houthi militia is engaged in a push for power, the movement's fingerprints have been found.

All this reflects Hizballah's nature as Iran's primary agent in the Arab world. Given all this activity, the last thing that the IRGC and Hizballah need is to be drawn into a premature conflagration with Israel.

Friday, January 23, 2015

The Importance of Understanding the Nature of the Beast

...The basis of the conflict is Koranically-grounded Muslim majoritarian racism toward the Jewish minority in the Middle East and that is precisely why it is so intractable. Large swathes of the Arab-Muslim world see the Jewish people as a transcendent evil. It is not merely that we Jews are considered evil, but that evil, in and of itself, is considered Jewish. If you do not understand that then you do not have even the beginnings of an understanding of the conflict.

Michael Lumish..
Israel Thrives..
22 January '15..

Writing in Commentary about the recent racist hoopla at the Miss Universe Pageant, Jonathan Tobin tells us:

"The problem is a spirit of intolerance and rejection for the idea of a Jewish state no matter where its borders might be drawn. That is a hatred so deep that it can’t be bridged by creative diplomacy or gestures of goodwill, such as those that infuse international events like the Miss Universe contest.

It is a cliché for contestants at such competitions to say they wish for world peace when asked for their opinions about the issues of the day. But what happened to Miss Lebanon illustrates that the divisions of the Middle East run so deep and are so primal that no amount of global hooey like a beauty contest is enough to make the Arab and Muslim world forget about their antipathy for Israelis."

So Miss Israel took a "selfie" with Miss Lebanon thereby causing the Lebanese government, if not the Lebanese people, to go into an uproar.

Tobin reminds us, "This sort of thing had happened once before when the 1993 version of Miss Lebanon was pictured next to that year’s Miss Israel. She was subsequently stripped of her title and ostracized as a traitor."

Tobin is correct to see the Miss Universe hoo-ha as a pedagogic opportunity concerning traditional and long-standing Arab-Muslim contempt for the Jewish people and, thus, the true source of the conflict. Arabs and Muslims, particularly those in the Middle East and Europe, tend to despise Jews not because of Israel. Quite the contrary. Arabs and Muslims tend to despise Israel because of Jews. Were Israel not the Jewish state, but yet another Arab state, then there would be no problem despite any and all human rights violations.

If a non-Jewish Israel was the single most violent and unjust place on the entire planet, few would mind. Syria is right next door where the Islamic State is running entirely amuck chopping off heads and raping women, yet few in the west really care and certainly the Arab world seems perfectly content to go on Alahu Akbaring itself to death.

In fact, many more people were killed in Syria within the last few years than have died in the Arab war against the Jews since '48.

Furthermore, Israel has far-and-away the best human rights record in that part of the world - it's not even close - yet this does not shield it, nor the Jewish people, from violent malice in both Europe and the Middle East.