Wednesday, August 5, 2009
Monday, June 29, 2009
Los Angeles Times
Israel's settlements are on shaky ground
[NO, THIS WOMAN’S ARGUMENTS ARE ON SHAKY GROUND. ACTUALLY THERE IS A CAVERN BETWEEN HER “FACTS” AND THE TRUTH. LLM]
International law mandates that they must be removed and that the Palestinians should be compensated for their losses.
By Sarah Leah Whitson
June 28, 2009
The debate over Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories is often framed in terms of whether they should be "frozen" or allowed to grow "naturally." But that is akin to asking whether a thief should be allowed merely to keep his ill-gotten gains or steal some more. It misses the most fundamental point: Under international law, all settlements on occupied territory are unlawful. And there is only one remedy: Israel should dismantle them, relocate the settlers within its recognized 1967 borders and compensate Palestinians for the losses the settlements have caused. [OKAY, SO HERE’S THE FALSE BASIS FOR HER ENTIRE SCREED. SHE’S WRONG ON THE LEGAL POINT AND HER ANALOGY IS GROTESQUE. READ ON IF YOU CAN STOMACH YET ANOTHER SOURCE OF WHERE SO MANY PEOPLE GET SO MUCH INCORRECT INFORMATION. LLM]
Removing the settlements is mandated by the laws of the Geneva Convention, which state that military occupations are to be a temporary state of affairs and prohibit occupying powers from moving their populations into conquered territory. The intent is to foreclose an occupying power from later citing its population as "facts on the ground" to claim the territory, something Israel has done in East Jerusalem and appears to want to do with much of the West Bank. [HOW MANY TIMES CAN PEOPLE STATE AND RESTATE A FALSEHOOD - I SUPPOSE THEY TOOK TO HEART LENIN’S MAXIM THAT IF YOU REPEAT A LIE OFTEN ENOUGH IT BECOMES THE TRUTH. YISRAEL MEDAD, IN THE OPPOSING OPINION PIECE, ALREADY EXPLAINED WHY THE GENEVA CONVENTION DOES NOT APPLY HERE, AND I TRIED TO FURTHER EXPLAIN IT IN MY COMMENTARY TO THAT PIECE. LLM]
The legal principles were reaffirmed in 2004 by the International Court of Justice, which cited a U.N. Security Council statement that the settlements were "a flagrant violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention." The International Committee of the Red Cross and an overwhelming number of institutions concerned with the enforcement of international humanitarian law have concurred in that view. THE QUESTION BEFORE THAT CT CONCERNED ISRAEL’S SECURITY FENCE AND ISRAEL DID NOT PARTICIPATE IN THE KANGAROO COURT BECAUSE THE CT LACKED JURSIDICTION. BUT EVEN ASSUMING THE ICOJ HAD JURISDICTION OVER THE SECURITY FENCE ISSUE, ITS RULING IS BINDING ONLY WITH RESPECT TO THE QUESTION AT HAND AND EVERYTHING ELSE IS DICTA (I.E. NOT BINDING AND DOES NOT SERVE AS PRECEDENT.) LLM]
The economic and social cost of Israeli settlements to the Palestinian population, stemming in part from Israel's need to protect them, are enormous. The 634 (at last count) roadblocks, barriers and checkpoints erected to control the movement of lawful residents of the territory make travel an ordeal. Sometimes even getting to work, school or the home of a relative is impossible for Palestinians. Every day, they must wait in line for hours to show their IDs, and some days they are randomly rerouted, told to go home or, worse, detained for questioning. [FOR DEFINITIVE ANSWERS TO THIS PATHETIC ARGUMENT, SEE EPHRAIM KARSH’S 2002 COMMENTARY ARTICLE: “WHAT OCCUPATION?” IT WILL TELL YOU EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW TO COMPLETELY EVISCERATE THIS “WOE TO THE POOR PALESTINIANS WHO ARE DESTITUTE BECAUSE OF THE OCCUPATION” CRAP. LLM]
Similarly, the fact that Israel is building 87% of its projected 450-mile "security barrier" on Palestinian territory has less to do with protecting Israel from suicide bombers -- which could have been accomplished by erecting a wall on the Green Line -- than it does with putting 10% of West Bank territory, including most settlers, on the Israeli side. And while Israeli troops protect the settlers from armed Palestinian groups, there is little protection for Palestinians from the settlers' marauding militias and gangs, which have terrorized the local population, destroying their crops, uprooting their trees and throwing stones at their houses and schools. [IT IS NOT THEIR TERRITORY, IT NEVER WAS THEIR TERRITORY AND AT BEST IT IS DISPUTED LAND BUT ONLY BECAUSE ISRAEL NEVER ANNEXED IT AFTER SHE GAINED CONTROL OVER IT DUE TO A WAR IN WHICH ISRAEL WAS NOT THE AGGRESSOR AND AGAINST A COUNTRY (JORDAN) THAT DID NOT HAVE LEGAL SOVEREIGNTY OVER IT ANYWAY. LLM][AH, YES, IT IS THE SETTLERS WHO ARE THE TERRORISTS AND NOT THE PEOPLE WHO BLOW UP PEOPLE ON BUSES AND WHO POINT THE MUZZLE OF THEIR GUNS TO THE HEADS OF SLEEPING 7 MONTH OLD BABIES AND THEN PULL THE TRIGGER, OR WHO MOW DOWN YOUNG BOYS STUDYING, ETC. ETC. THIS WOMAN IS DERANGED, JUST LIKE SO MANY OF HER KIND. THE SETTLEMENT MILITIAS ARE ENTIRELY STATIONED WITHIN THE “SETTLEMENTS” AND ARE ENTIRELY DEFENSIVE. I DARE HER TO GIVE ONE EXAMPLE OF ANYTHING TO THE CONTRARY. LLM]
Too little attention is given to the pervasive system of government-sponsored discrimination against Palestinians in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, where Israel has constructed roads exclusively for settlers and established vastly unequal access to water, fuel, education, healthcare, transportation, infrastructure and virtually every other social service. Israeli authorities readily grant settlers building permits that they deny to Palestinians, whose "illegal" homes they often demolish at short notice. [THIS IS ENTIRELY MADE UP. ALL CITIZENS HAVE THE SAME ACCESS TO SERVICES, AND ISRAELIS ARE DENIED HOUSING PERMITS ALL THE TIME AND THE “PALESTINIANS” BUILD ILLEGAL HOMES ALL THE TIME. LLM] [ALSO, MANY ARAB ISRAELIS REFUSE TO VOTE IN ISRAELI ELECTIONS BECAUSE THAT WOULD BE ACKNOWLEDGING ISRAEL’S EXISTENCE AND AS A CONSEQUENCE THEIR VOICE IS DIMINISHED WHEN POLITICIANS TAKE CARE OF THEIR CONSTITUENTS - THAT IS THE SAME ALL OVER THE WORLD. LLM] The glaring discrepancy in Israel's treatment of two populations living on the same land has taken a significant moral toll on Israel, as well as a political one, with wide coverage of humiliation and abuse at the hands of its security forces. [THOSE ROADS ARE FOR ISRAELIS, NOT JUST JEWS AND NOT JUST “SETTLERS.” THE ONLY ONES FOR WHOM THEY ARE NOT AVAILABLE ARE TERRORISTS OR POTENTIAL TERRORIST-ENABLERS. THIS HAS BEEN REPUDIATED OVER AND OVER AGAIN, EVEN BY THE EDITOR OF HAARETZ WHICH IS WHERE THE LIE BEGAN - I PERSONALLY INTERVIEWED THAT EDITOR AND HE ADMITTED IT WAS FALSE DESPITE HIS PAPER RUNNING THE LIE REPEATEDLY. LLM]
The common refrain of Israeli and even American politicians who recognize that the settlements must go is that it would be politically difficult to dismantle them, in part because it would stir the ire of the settlers and their supporters, an important voting bloc in Israel. Instead, politicians argue that settlements must be a part of future negotiations and a possible land swap. [THE PEOPLE WHO “RECOGNIZE” THE “SETTLEMENTS” MUST GO ARE THOSE WHO ARE PROMOTING APARTHEID. HOW DARE THEY SAY THERE ARE AREAS WHERE JEWS AREN’T ALLOWED TO LIVE? AND HOW DARE SHE SAY THAT IT IS POLITICAL BLACKMAIL BY THE "SETTLERS" THAT PREVENTS WHAT SHE SAYS IS THE RIGHT THING TO HAPPEN - IT IS POLITICAL COWARDICE, EVEN WORSE, BY THOSE WHO PROMOTE THIS IDIOTIC ARGUMENT OF SETTLEMENT DISMANTLEMENT. LLM]
But this only serves as further incentive to expand settlements and makes a political resolution even more difficult. It also condones in the interim Israel's continuing human rights abuses in the name of settler security, leaving respect for Palestinians' rights a second-tier consideration that must await the conclusion of peace talks that have already gone on for decades. [JUST SHUT UP. LLM]
Israel has a duty to protect its citizens, but not in a way that violates the rights of Palestinians. The lawful, rights-respecting way to protect the security of settlers is to move them back to Israel. That should be the starting point of any discussion on settlements. [NAH, LET’S HAVE TRUTH AS THE STARTING POINT. BUT THEN THIS OPINION PIECE WOULD BE EMPTY. LLM]
Sarah Leah Whitson is Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. She’s also full of shit.
BY THE WAY - THERE IS A SEPARATE VOTE HERE ABOUT WHETHER TO DISMANTLE THE SETTLEMENTS, SO VOTE THERE ALSO. NOT SURPRISINGLY, THE VOTE IS VERY LOPSIDED FAVORING DISMANTLING THE “SETTLEMENTS” BY THOSE WHO READ WHITSON’S LIES, SO YOUR VOTE IS NEEDED.
Sunday, June 28, 2009
Jews take to the streets of Paris after the murder of Ilan Halimi
In February 2007, a naked, emaciated, mutilated, charred and stabbed man is discovered near railway tracks in the Parisian suburb of Sainte Geneviève-des-Bois. He is taken to hospital where he is pronounced dead just before noon. Two days later, the victim is identified as Ilan Halimi, a 23-year-old Jew who was abducted while working in a cell phone shop. He was held hostage and tortured for three weeks by a group calling itself the Gang of Barbarians in a housing estate in Bagneux, a suburb south of Paris. Within days, dozens of arrests are made. Gang leader Youssouf Fofana, who had fled to Ivory Coast, is quickly extradited and imprisoned.
The kidnap, torture and murder of Ilan Halimi vividly illustrates French society's ills in the first decade of the 21st century. The unrepentant gang leader, Fofana, who called himself (in English) the "Brain of the Barbarians", is the French-born son of immigrants from the Ivory Coast. He is a small-time thug driven by Islamic Jew-hatred. Asocial and amoral, tyrannical and seductive, cruel and clumsy, he thrives on delusions of grandeur drawn from the jihadist playbook. Having botched dozens of other attempts at extortion, he finally succeeded in committing an atrocious murder. Since 27 April, his case has been heard behind closed doors.
The 27 defendants, accused of direct or indirect involvement in Halimi's kidnap and torture, are not all Muslim. But they all allegedly participated in a crime inspired by Islamist anti-Semitism. The police were clearly determined to return Ilan to his family safe and sound. However, they worked with an outdated protocol for dealing with ransom demands, refused to accept that the gang had anti-Semitic motives, never understood their psychology and as a result failed miserably.
It was virtually impossible to verify what little information was made available when the crime was discovered, because reporting restrictions were imposed during the long inquest. Nothing filtered out, except for the occasional story of Fofana's outrageous threats against judges, the courts and anyone else who angered him. He accused them all of being Jewish. Disingenuous ambiguity clouded the issues — was it really an anti-Semitic crime? Did it have anything to do with Islam? Today there is barely any coverage of the case because of the reporting restrictions. However, there is aNouvel Observateur blog, run by Elsa Vigoreux, who publishes information from anonymous sources.
The case is being heard in juvenile court because two of the defendants, including Yalda, an Iranian girl who was sent to lure Ilan, were just under 18 when the crime was committed. They could have waived their rights to a trial in camera. They didn't. They could have saved Ilan's life with an anonymous tip-off to the police. They didn't.
Fofana had sent Yalda and another girl to lure Jewish victims in cell phone shops near the Place de la République. Jews had money, he told Yalda, and they stuck together. If the family can't pay the ransom, the community will pitch in. Jews, he told her, lived like kings in France while we lived in misery.
After the crime was uncovered, commentators gave an economic narrative that would hide the truth of murderous Jew-hatred flourishing in a Parisianbanlieue. It wasn't really anti-Semitism, they claimed. It was simply that Fofana thought Jews were rich. The police, too, stubbornly clung to the kidnap-for-ransom scenario. What did they make of the photo the Barbarians sent the family the day after Ilan disappeared?
The photo was reproduced on the cover of Choc magazine on 18 May. Withdrawn by a court order, it still circulates on the internet. Ilan's face is completely covered with thick silver duct tape except for his broken, bleeding nose. His hands are bound with the same tape. A newspaper is propped against his chest and he is holding his car keys. ("Key" was the code word Yalda used to signal to the thugs waiting for Ilan behind the bushes.) A black-sleeved hand holds a gun to Ilan's head. Does that look like a kidnapping for ransom? Ilan's eyes and mouth are taped shut. Doesn't that indicate exceptional cruelty and clumsy incompetence? Exaggerated, erratic ransom demands ranged from ¤5,000 to ¤450,000 (£4,250-£380,000). Drop-off appointments were made and cancelled. Koranic verses were read against the background of Ilan's screams.
Although Ilan lived with his mother, the police decided that her ex-husband — and his father — should be the kidnappers' sole contact. He took as many as 50 phone calls in one day, all of them peppered with murderous threats and anti-Semitic insults. And yet the police could never trace them.
Ilan was held in a vacant apartment and then transferred to a basement before workmen came to paint the apartment for the new tenants. The duct tape was never removed from his face, his hands were constantly bound, he was naked under a flimsy robe in the dead of winter. He was fed through a straw. His toilet was a plastic bag.
Some of the gang members are charged as accessories, others with direct participation in kidnapping, illegal confinement and torture, with the aggravating circumstances of anti-Semitism. They guarded the prisoner, beat him, burned him, cut out chunks of his skin, taunted him, threatened him, deprived him of basic human needs and watched him creep slowly to inexorable death. Twenty-four days, 576 hours, 34,560 minutes of agony.
On 13 February, having failed to get the ransom money, Fofana stuffed what was left of Ilan into the boot of a stolen car, drove to a field near a railway line in nearby Sainte Geneviève-des-Bois, doused him with flammable liquid, set fire to him and stabbed him in the neck and hip.
No one knows what would have happened if the police had grasped the nature of the criminals. How many hostages have been beheaded by jihadis in recent years? Governments, armies and investigators have been stumped by this new type of violence. Maybe the Barbarians would have murdered Ilan immediately had they sensed the police hot on their trail. Nevertheless, the failure to understand the anti-Semitism behind the crime, and the inexplicable bungling of repeated opportunities to flush out the criminals, locate their hideout, trace communications and connect Ilan's abduction to previous attempts with the same target — Jews — and the same operating method cannot be dismissed.
In a riveting, heart-rending book published in April, 24 jours, la vérité sur la mort d'Ilan Halimi (24 days, The truth about the death of Ilan Halimi), Ilan's mother, Ruth, recounts her ordeal and explores the larger issues with dignity and fairness. Expressing gratitude and respect for the detectives who stood by her, she nevertheless deplores their failure to trust her intuition about the psychology of the Barbarians who transformed her beloved son into a filthy object to be tormented to death. Unable to understand the Jew-hatred spewing from the mouth of Fofana, says Ruth, agents misled Ilan's father in his communications with the kidnapper.
Shortly after the discovery of the atrocious crime, then President Jacques Chirac dispatched his personal counsel, Maître Francis Szpiner, to represent the Halimi family. But Szpiner is not known as a great friend of the Jews, having been part of the defence team of TV station France 2, which lost an appeal against a libel verdict it had won over a report about the killing of a Palestinian boy, Muhammad al-Dura, in 2000. Al-Dura, who was seen cowering behind his father, became the poster boy of the second intifada.
Media critic Philippe Karsenty had been convicted of libel for writing that France 2's report of the death of al-Dura was a hoax. The Paris court ruled that the extensive evidence produced by Karsenty, including a ballistics report and a detailed analysis of the raw footage, was sufficient cause for suspicion that the scene had been staged.
In his aggressive closing argument, playing on the definition of a Zionist, Szpiner compared Karsenty to "a Jew who pays another Jew to send a third Jew to go to war against the Palestinians."
Two members of Fofana's defence team — Maître Isabelle Coutant-Peyre, the wife of Carlos "the Jackal", the Venezuelan-born pro-jihadi serving a life sentence for multiple terror attacks, and Maître Emmanuel Ludot, who represented Saddam Hussein — were interviewed on an Agence France Press video on the opening day of the trial. Angered by hecklers shouting at defendants and lawyers outside the court, they denounced political and media pressure against their client, claiming that President Nicolas Sarkozy was using the case for ignoble electoral reasons. They also claimed that some of the plaintiffs were backed by a "certain lobby", and that blacks had been
attacked by thugs from the right-wing Zionist Betar and the Jewish Defence League groups "when the Halimi family organised a demonstration". Maître Coutant-Peyre declares in the video: "Fofana is a scapegoat." A young lawyer joins them. They discuss the case. He thinks they'll be able to get the court to drop the aggravating circumstances of anti-Semitism. They joke about Maître Szpiner. Is the Elysée (the presidency) paying his fees? The young lawyer guffaws. "It's the Crif [the umbrella body of French Jewry]!" he says, provoking derisive laughter, "and the Elysée is funding the Crif." According to leaked information, Fofana subsequently dismissed Coutant-Peyre in an outburst of paranoid anti-Semitic rage, shouting, "Peyre, that's a Jewish name, isn't it?"
In the absence of reliable information about the trial, which is scheduled to run until, how can one predict the verdict? The death penalty was abolished in 1981. Life imprisonment is a relative concept. Prisons are overcrowded and dangerous criminals are often released early. Confidential sources have told me that Fofana could be "rubbed out" in prison.
Journalists who were present at the start of the trial, until a motion brought by the Halimi family to hear the case in an open court was defeated, reported that Fofana entered shouting "Allahu Akhbar" ("Allah is Great"). Asked to identify himself, he replied in mangled French, "Arabs, African armed revolt, Salafist barbarian." He gave the day of Ilan's death as his date of birth.
Will lawyers, if any are left to defend him, use Fofana's megalomaniac defiance as an argument for diminished responsibility? In 2003 a Muslim neighbour lured a Jewish DJ, Sebastien Selam, into the underground garage of their building, slit his throat, gouged out his eyes with a carving fork, went home and told his mother: "I killed my Jew, I'll go to paradise." He was released after spending a few years in a mental hospital and will apparently never be tried. The anti-Semitic motivation in that case was so thoroughly denied that commentators systematically referred to Halimi's killing as the first anti-Semitic murder in France.
Whenever immigrant youths from the banlieue are concerned, French authorities walk on eggshells for fear of igniting mass revolt. Which brings us back to Eva Vigoreux's Nouvel Observateur blog. We discern a defence strategy aimed at portraying the 26 accomplices as bit players roped in, manipulated and intimidated by Fofana. They took no pleasure in tormenting Ilan and actually tried to alleviate the cruel punishment he imposed.
Michaël Doueib, an earlier Jewish victim of the Gang of Barbarians, is disgusted by their feigned innocence. "They didn't lift a hand to save him," he says. "An anonymous phone call, that's all they had to do." Lured to the same Bagneux neighborhood where Ilan would be jailed two weeks later, tied up and mercilessly beaten, Doueib escaped because residents who heard his screams called the police.
He claims police investigators rejected his offer of information, phone numbers, descriptions and other evidence that could have led them to the gang.
Whatever the verdict, we will be left with the troubling impression that the more this evil of Jew-hatred eats into the tissue of French society, the more it will be shrouded in artificial doubts and fabricated subtleties. This secret trial leaves Ilan Halimi once again illegally confined, isolated, bound and gagged, helpless to awaken dead hearts and warn potential victims.
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Last update - 23:58 23/06/2009
Netanyahu: Settlements debate is a waste of time
By Haaretz Service
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Tuesday that international "arguing" over Israel's stance on settlements was impeding progress on the Middle East peace progress.
In an interview with Italy's RAI TV, Netanyahu insisted that settlement activity in East Jerusalem and the West Bank must be viewed as separate issues, as Jerusalem is an inseparable part of Israel.
He also said that Israel has been forthcoming with its intentions to halt construction while still allowing for natural growth in existing communities, which he called "an equitable position which reflexes our willingness to enter immediately in peace negotiations and get on with peace."
"I think that the more we spend time arguing about this, the more we waste time instead of moving towards peace," he said.
Netanyahu called his endorsement of a Palestinian state without military capabilities, which he presented in a policy speech at Bar Ilan University earlier this month, a "winning formula for peace."
"If we are asked to recognize a Palestinian state as the nation-state of the Palestinian people, then the very least is that the Palestinians should recognize Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people," he told RAI TV.
"What does Palestinian self determination have to do with Qassam rockets or with deadly missiles?" he said, with regard to the notion of demilitarization, which invited a slew of criticism following his address. "The answer is nothing. They should have, the Palestinians, all the powers to govern themselves but not the powers to threaten the State of Israel."
"So a demilitarized Palestinian state that recognizes the Jewish State of Israel I think is the winning formula of peace," he said. "I can not understand why anybody who wants peace should reject it."
When asked about the crisis which has erupted in Iran following the contested results of Tehran's presidential election, Netanyahu said he believed "now that the true nature of this regime has been unmasked."
"I think that people now can understand many of the things that we have been talking about all these years," he said. "This is a regime that oppresses its people and this is a regime that threatens everyone with the denial of the Holocaust, the call for the elimination of Israel, with the sponsorship of terrorism throughout the world and with the attempt to develop nuclear weapons, which they can give to terrorists around the world."
He called Iran's nuclear program "an international danger" that "should be dealt with by an international effort led by the United States" and not by Israel alone.
Netanyahu also repeated remarks he made to the German newspaper Bild, in which he declared that peace between Israel and Iran could be possible under a new leadership in Tehran.
"If there will be a change in Iran, this would work in the other direction, and would give peace a tremendous opening, peace between Israel and the Palestinians, peace between Israel and Arab States that share our concerns," he said.
"I think that this is as much a challenge as it is an opportunity. It is as much an opportunity as it is a challenge. I am very hopeful that we can meet the challenge and exploit the opportunity for peace."
Netanyahu's interview took place in Italy, the first stop in his first state visit to Europe during his second term as prime minister.
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
The agency said on its website that the US made the announcement Wednesday in Jordan during a meeting of a commission that deals with the group's financial needs.The contribution brings total US assistance to the organization in 2009 to $154.5 million. (AP)
I wrote about the IPF here: http://www.americanthinker.com/2009/01/barack_obama_embraces_middle_e.html. They have the ear of this US president. A further reason for us to be outraged by the grotesque suggestion by J Street that it is pro-Israel: it has just launched an initiative to infiltrate college campuses in the guise of "promoting pro-Israel advocacy on college campuses." It will have the imprimatur of the Israel Campus Coalition because it is teaming up with the Union of Progressive Zionists (a misnomer if ever there was one) which overcame objections to its inclusion in the ICC last year, because they carted around the "Breaking the Silence" monsters to campuses last year. Objections were overruled by the uber goal of inclusiveness.
Bogus ‘Zionist’ Israel-bashers
Posted by Isi Leibler on June 10th, 2009
It is ironic that many of the disconcerting themes relating to Israel in US President Barack Obama’s Cairo speech replicated those widely promoted for months by a noisy minority of radical American Jews. These “Israel bashers” now proudly proclaim that the new language being employed by Obama “echoes the vocabulary we use.”
On the eve of Binyamin Netanyahu’s arrival in Washington, a full page advertisement inserted by the Israel Policy Forum (IPF) appeared in The New York Times. Instead of the customary welcome message to a visiting prime minister or expressions of solidarity, it urged Obama to press Israel to make further unilateral concessions to the Palestinians, assuring him that in the event of a confrontation, he would enjoy the backing of most American Jews because “they are not Israelis living in exile.” IPF’s Washington director, M.J Rosenberg, issued a call to neutralize “the minority of Jews falsely” purporting to present the Jewish community as “blind supporters” of the Israeli government.
ISRAEL POLICY FORUM is only one of a cluster of radical left-wing organizations that have the chutzpa to describe themselves as lovers of Israel and even “Zionists,” while actively lobbying the Obama administration to pressure Israel. They deviously sugarcoat their anti-Israeli campaigns by comparing themselves to parents whose children are drug addicts requiring “tough love” to force them to change their dangerous habits.These sentiments were effectively replicated in Obama’s Cairo speech.
They were joined in April last year by J Street, a new group initially funded by the Jewish tycoon George Soros who had achieved notoriety for demonizing successive Israeli governments irrespective of their political leanings.
J Street and another radical group, Brit Tzedek v’Shalom, proudly announced that they had succeeded in persuading 11,000 of their members to bombard the White House with e-mails urging Obama to stand firm against Netanyahu.
During the Gaza offensive, J Street condemned the action against Hamas as “disproportionate.” Refusing to “pick a side” and identify “who was right and who was wrong,” it applied moral equivalency to both parties proclaiming that “we recognize that neither Israelis nor Palestinians have a monopoly on right and wrong… While there is nothing ‘right’ in raining rockets on Israeli families or dispatching suicide bombers, there is nothing ‘right’ in punishing a million and a half already suffering Gazans for the actions of the extremists amongst them.”
J Street also opposes Israel’s efforts to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear power. Despite the fact that Israelis of all political opinions are united on this issue, J Street members were e-mailed and urged to actively lobby against a bipartisan congressional resolution calling for tougher sanctions to be applied against Iran.
The radical groups also resurrected the bogus anti-Semitic charge of “dual loyalties,” warning Jews that by continued “blind” support of Israel, they risked alienating the American public and would be condemned for displaying greater loyalty toward Israel than the US. They were almost hysterical in their condemnation of Jews who exercised their rights to protest against the proposed appointment of the fiercely anti-Israel Charles Freeman to head the National Security Agency. IPF spokesmen went so far as to explicitly state that being an anti-Israeli fanatic was insufficient grounds for barring a person from assuming a senior administration role.
If there was any doubt about J Street, its endorsement of the British anti-Semitic play Seven Jewish Children, effectively a contemporary blood libel, placed it squarely in the camp of those seeking to demonize the Jewish state. It justified its support on the grounds that the play would promote “rigorous intellectual engagement and civil debate on which our community prides itself.”
J Street and IPF also seek to slander and undermine AIPAC, the highly effective pro-Israel lobby group, depicting it as an extreme right-wing and hawkish body although it has consistently promoted the policies of all Israeli governments, including the dovish administrations preceding Netanyahu.
IN AN ENVIRONMENT in which global anti-Semitism and demonization of Israel are beginning to make inroads into the United States, the potential of such radical groups to destabilize the standing of Israel should not be underestimated.
Never before has the Jewish community faced a situation in which organizations presenting themselves as Zionists shamelessly lobby their president to pressure the democratically elected government of the Jewish state to make concessions which could have life and death implications for its citizens.
Not that anti-Jewish Jews are a new phenomenon. Jewish communists were bitterly opposed to the campaign to liberate Soviet Jewry and defended state-sponsored anti-Semitism in the Soviet Union. But they were marginalized and regarded as pariahs by the Jewish community.
The problem in the US is that the established Jewish leaders decided to ignore these organizations, mistakenly believing that confrontations would be construed as attempts to restrict freedom of expression and would transform the radicals into martyrs.
But the issue of freedom of expression is a red herring. Any Jew is entitled to express his beliefs, no matter how nauseating or deviant such views may appear to the majority. That certainly applies to those arguing in favor or in opposition to settlements. Surely the red lines are being crossed when, as distinct from expressing views, American based organizations claiming to “love” Israel aggressively lobby the US government to pressure it to make concessions that could place lives at risk. To tolerate such groups within the framework of the Jewish community provides them with an aura of respectability to which they are not entitled. Alas, today some of these groups already attend administration briefings on a par with the recognized mainstream organizations.
Furthermore, failure to confront these Israel bashers has already provided the general media with grounds to suggest that American Jewish support of Israel is collapsing. That has certainly encouraged the Obama administration to intensify its pressure on the Netanyahu government. It may also cause some weak-kneed Jews to distance themselves from Israel to avoid confronting a popular American president.
There are even ominous mutterings predicting a possible replay of what transpired during World War II, when fearing a confrontation and bedazzled by president Franklin Roosevelt, Jewish leaders lacked the courage to protest against the indifference of the US government to the Nazi extermination of the Jews.
Now, as never before, when the beleaguered State of Israel confronts Iran, potentially one of the greatest existential threats since its creation, the support of American Jews is crucial.
A united Jewish community should marginalize the anti-Israeli radicals and urge Obama (who received 80 percent of its votes) to stand by commitments made to Israel by previous US administrations in the same manner as the Netanyahu government is obliged to adhere to undertakings made by previous Israeli governments. A strong Jewish stand in this direction could effectively tip the balance in averting a catastrophic major rift between the US and Israel.
This column was originally published in the Jerusalem Post
Monday, June 8, 2009
Friday, June 5, 2009
Thursday, June 4, 2009
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
Would he ever say the US is a Christian country? The overwhelming majority (85%) of Americans are Christian. There are about the same # of Jews as Muslims in the US - would he ever say the US is a Jewish country? In fact, speaking globally, the US has a far greater percentage of the world's Jews than of the world's Muslims (or even of the world's Christians), so would it be more accurate to say the US is a Jewish country?
From NYT political blog
JUNE 2, 2009, 7:39 PM
Obama Says U.S. Could Be Seen as a Muslim Country, Too
By JEFF ZELENY
HAHN, Germany — As President Obama prepared to leave Washington to fly to the Middle East, he conducted several television and radio interviews at the White House to frame the goals for a five-day trip, including the highly-anticipated speech Thursday at Cairo University in Egypt.
In an interview with Laura Haim on Canal Plus, a French television station, Mr. Obama noted that the United States also could be considered as “one of the largest Muslim countries in the world.” He sought to downplay the expectations of the speech, but he said he hoped the address would raise awareness about Muslims.
“Now, I think it’s very important to understand that one speech is not going to solve all the problems in the Middle East,” Mr. Obama said. “And so I think expectations should be somewhat modest.”
He previewed several themes and objectives for the speech, which aides said the president intended to tinker with — and rewrite — aboard Air Force One during his 12-hour flight to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
“What I want to do is to create a better dialogue so that the Muslim world understands more effectively how the United States, but also how the West thinks about many of these difficult issues like terrorism, like democracy, to discuss the framework for what’s happened in Iraq and Afghanistan and our outreach to Iran, and also how we view the prospects for peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians,” Mr. Obama said.
The president said the United States and other parts of the Western world “have to educate ourselves more effectively on Islam.”
“And one of the points I want to make is, is that if you actually took the number of Muslim Americans, we’d be one of the largest Muslim countries in the world,” Mr. Obama said. “And so there’s got to be a better dialogue and a better understanding between the two peoples.”
The speech on Thursday has many intended audiences, but among them are the young people in Cairo and beyond.
“I think the most important thing I want to tell young people is that, regardless of your faith, those who build as opposed to those who destroy I think leave a lasting legacy, not only for themselves but also for their nations,” Mr. Obama said. “And the impulse towards destruction as opposed to how can we study science and mathematics and restore the incredible scientific and knowledge — the output that came about during centuries of Islamic culture.”
The president is flying Air Force One directly from Washington to Riyadh. The White House press corps — traveling on a chartered United 767 — is refueling in Hahn, Germany.
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
The New York Times
June 2, 2009
Israel and U.S. Can’t Close Split on Settlements
By ISABEL KERSHNER
KFAR TAPUAH, West Bank — Thirty Israeli couples are on a waiting list to move into the Kfar Tapuah settlement, which teems with children on the hilltops south of Nablus. Some on the list grew up here. But there is not an apartment available for sale or rent, or even a stifling trailer to be had.
If Israel built all the housing units already approved in the nation’s overall master plan for settlements, it would almost double the number of settler homes in the West Bank, according to unpublished official data provided to The New York Times. [NOW THERE'S A WAY TO CURE THE SO-CALLED DEMOGRAPHIC PROBLEM. WHENEVER ANYONE NAIVELY REPEATS THE FABRICATED FEAR THAT THERE WOULD SOON BE AN ARAB MAJORITY WITHIN ISRAEL UNLESS IT CARVES ITSELF INTO SMALLER PIECES AND GIVE CHUNKS OF ITSELF TO BLOODTHIRSTY TERRORISTS, EXPLAIN THAT SO LONG AS ISRAEL RETAINS ITS LEGAL AND BIBLICAL LAND - WHICH MEANS INCLUDING THE POPULATION OF THE CURRENTLY DISPUTED TERRITORIES, THE JEWISH POPULATION WILL BE JUST FINE THANK YOU VERY MUCH. THIS IS IN ADDITION TO THE FULLY-RESEARCHED AND DOCUMENTED EXPLANATION BY YORAM ETTINGER, MIKE WISE, ROBERTA SEID AND BENNET ZIMMERMAN CONCERNING THE WILDLY PADDED CENSUS OF THE PALARBS. FOR A THOROUGH DISCUSSION OF THE COMPETING DEMOGRAPHIC THEORIES, SEE http://www.azure.org.il/
The decision of whether to build, and how much, goes to the heart of the tensions between the administrations of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel and President Obama, an unaccustomed and no-budge conflict between Israel and the United States. Washington is standing firm against any additional settlement construction in the West Bank, including what Israel argues is necessary to accommodate what it terms “natural growth.” [LET'S PLAY THE NEW MULTIPLE CHOICE GAME, QUESTION #1 : WHICH IS WORSE, (A) A CULTURE OF TERRORISM AND DEATH OR (B) A CULTURE OF LIVING AND MULTIPLYING? IT'S CLEAR WHAT THE NYT THINKS IS THE ANSWER. LLM]
That term has been defined vaguely by Israeli officials, meaning for some that settlements should expand to accommodate only their own children. But Mr. Netanyahu, of the conservative Likud Party, made his own wider position clear . He said that while Israel would not allow new settlements and that some small outposts would be removed, building within the confines of established settlements should go on.
Israel “cannot freeze life in the settlements,” he said, describing the American call as an “unreasonable” demand.
And in fact, whatever the American demands and Israeli definitions, the reality is that no full freeze seems likely.
The issue is, in part, political: Mr. Netanyahu is trying to hold together a fractious coalition, including parties that favor settlement building and oppose the establishment of a Palestinian state. He must contend with an aggressive settler movement, emboldened by support from Israeli governments for decades and determined to continue building, if necessary through unofficial means.
“It is important for the world to know we won’t stop,” said Doron Hillel, 29, the settlement council head and one of the first children born here after it was founded about 30 years ago. “These decrees make things difficult, but they strengthen us. We will continue to build and grow.”
A partial freeze has been in place for several years, but settlers have found ways around the strictures. [NOW WHY IS THERE NO DISCUSSION ABOUT THE BAN ON TERRORISM WHICH THE TERRORIST PAL ARABS HAVE FOUND THEIR WAY AROUND FOR YEARS? MULTIPLE CHOICE QUESTION #2 WHICH IS WORSE: (A) TRAILER HOMES OR (B) TERRORISM? LLM] Twenty trailer homes have been assembled in Kiryat Arba, near Hebron, for young families over the past year. The Samaria Council, which represents settlers in the northern West Bank, has brought in 150 trailers. Thousands of permanent houses have been illegally constructed within existing settlements, and settlers have recently bulldozed new roads through fields to link up the outposts. [HOUSES AND FAMILIES AND ROADS, OH MY! LLM]
Critics argue that successive Israeli governments have turned a blind eye to this construction and that they have contributed more broadly to settlement growth. [AND WHAT OF THE "BLIND EYE" TO ILLEGAL ARAB CONSTRUCTION? NARY A WORD. LLM]
The settlers’ annual population growth, at 5.6 percent, far outstrips the Israeli average of 1.8 percent. But official data from the Central Bureau of Statistics of Israel shows that while about two-thirds of that is a “natural” increase, as defined by settler births in relation to deaths, one-third stems from migration. There is also a disproportionately high level of state-supported building in the settlements compared with most regions of Israel. [AND AN ENTIRELY STATE AND GLOBAL-FUNDING OF PALARAB TERRORISM. MULTIPLE CHOICE QUESTION #3: WHICH IS WORSE, (A) BUILDINGS OR (B) BOMBS? LLM]
And many critics of the settlement movement dispute the notion that settlers’ children have an absolute right to continue living in their parents’ settlement.
“A newborn does not need a house,” said Dror Etkes of Yesh Din, an Israeli group that fights for the rights of Palestinians in the occupied territories. “It is a game the Israeli government is playing” to justify construction, he said. [ YESH DIN IS FUNDED BY THE USUAL BAND OF IGNORANT-OF-ISRAEL EURO BLEEDING HEARTS, ANTI-ISRAEL ORGANIZATIONS AND PRIVATE ANTI-ISRAEL DONORS. "AS WITH OTHER EUROPEAN-FUNDED POLITICAL NGOs BASED IN ISRAEL, YESH DIN IS ONE-SIDED, AND IGNORES PALESTINIAN VIOLATIONS OF ISRAELI HUMAN RIGHTS, INCLUDING TERRORISM" ACCORDING TO NGO MONITOR. FOR MORE INFO ABOUT YESH DIN, GO TO http://www.ngo-monitor.org/
Underlining the competing pressures on Mr. Netanyahu, extremist settlers rioted on Monday in various parts of the northern West Bank, stoning Arab vehicles, burning tires and setting fields alight, according to a witness and the police. They were protesting the government’s recent actions against some tiny outposts ["TINY OUTPOST"? INTERESTING THAT THEY ARE NEVER DESCRIBED THAT WAY EXCEPT WHEN IT IS TO SUGGEST THAT THE FOAMING-AT-THE-MOUTN, DROOLING ZIONISTS ARE OVERREACTING TO A SLAP ON THE WRIST. LLM] Several Palestinians were wounded. Six Israeli settlers and a rightist member of Parliament were arrested and later released.
The Israeli population of the West Bank, not including East Jerusalem, has tripled since the Israeli-Palestinian peace effort started in the early 1990s, and it now approaches 300,000. The settlers live among 2.5 million Palestinians in about 120 settlements, which much of the world considers a violation of international law, [NOT THIS CRAP AGAIN - ISRAEL ACQUIRED THE LAND IN A DEFENSIVE WAR, EXACTLY WHICH COUNTRY ON THIS PLANET HAS BEEN REQUIRE TO HAND OVER LAND TO ITS ENEMY WHEN THE ENEMY NOT ONLY LOST THE WAR, BUT STARTED IT AS WELL. PLUS, THE LAND IN QUESTION WAS NOT PREVIOUSLY SOVEREIGN TERRITORY - ON BOTH COUNTS THIS ARGUMENT IS CRAP. "MUCH OF THE WORLD CONSIDERS" ISRAELI JEWS BREATHING ON THIS LAND A VIOLATION OF INTERNATIONAL LAW BECAUSE MOST OF THE WORLD EITHER DESPISES ISRAEL OR IS IGNORANT OF THE FACTS OR BOTH. LLM] as well as in dozens of outposts erected without official Israeli authorization. Israel argues that the settlement enterprise does not violate the law against transferring populations into occupied territories. [THIS IS THE SHAM OCCUPATION CRAP. SEE THE PREVIOUS SOVEREIGN TERRITORY COMMENT ABOVE. LLM]
According to the newly disclosed data, about 58,800 housing units have been built with government approval in the West Bank settlements over the past 40 years. An additional 46,500 have already obtained Defense Ministry approval within the existing master plans, awaiting nothing more than a government decision to build. [NU? BUILD! LLM]
The data began to be compiled in 2004 by a retired brigadier general, Baruch Spiegel, at the request of the defense minister at the time, Shaul Mofaz. The Defense Ministry has long refused to make the data public, but it has since been leaked and obtained by nongovernmental groups. Mr. Etkes analyzed the master plans in the Spiegel data, together with a colleague from Bimkom, an Israeli group that focuses on planning and social justice [YEAH, PLANNING AND SOCIAL JUSTICE ONLY IF IT MEANS PLANNING THE DEATH OF ISRAEL AND SOCIAL INJUSTICE. BIMKOM IS ANOTHER NEW ISRAEL FUND - A/K/A NO ISRAEL FUND - DONEE, THE PURPORTED EXPERTISE OF WHICH IS LAND PLANNING. THEY ARE ONLY ABOUT PLANNING TO TAKE LAND FROM ISRAEL AND GIVE IT TO THE PALARABS. ONE OF THEIR OFFICIAL REPORTS "PROVES" THAT THE SECURITY FENCE ROUTE IS SOLELY ABOUT LAND EXPROPRIATION BY ISRAEL AND SECURITY CONCERNS WERE NOT THE DRIVING FORCE. IF YOU MUST READ ABOUT IT, SEE http://www.almubadara.org/
Under international pressure, construction in the settlements has slowed but never stopped, continuing at an annual rate of about 1,500 to 2,000 units over the past three years. If building continues at the 2008 rate, the 46,500 units already approved will be completed in about 20 years. [BARUCH HASHEM. LLM]
In Kfar Tapuah, a group of young Israelis who grew up here decided about six years ago that when they married, they would stay. The population has more than doubled since then, to 150 families from 60. Like in other West Bank settlements, nobody counts individuals here: the rate of new births makes that impossible. [WHAT? SO MANY BABIES NO ONE CAN COUNT THEM? PLEASE TELL ME THAT WHOLE SENTENCE IS A TYPO. THEY DON'T EVEN HAVE ANY OCTOMOMS THERE. LLM]
Revitalized from within, the community also attracted young couples from other settlements and from cities in Israel who were seeking a lifestyle that combined relatively cheap suburban comfort with the national-religious ideal of settling the land.
Kfar Tapuah has a reputation as an extremist settlement, having become a base for the followers of the virulently anti-Arab Rabbi Meir Kahane after he was assassinated in 1990. [VIRULENTLY ANTI-ARAB, NOW THAT'S HORRIFYING, BUT DID HE EVER ACTUALLY KILL ANY? DID HE BLAST A HOLE THROUGH A 5 MONTH OLD BABY'S HEAD JUST BECAUSE SHE WAS A JEW? OKAY, MULTIPLE CHOISE QUESTION #4: WHICH IS WORSE: (A) BIG, BOLD SCARY WORDS OR (B) THE INTENTIONAL, PREMEDITATED MURDER OF INFANTS AND OTHER CIVILIANS? WAIT, JUST THINK, YOU'LL GET IT IN A MINUTE. OR MAYBE NOT, IF YOU WRITE FOR THE NYT. LLM] It now seems overrun by young children. A $150,000 state-of-the-art playground recently went up, a second kindergarten just opened and a third is planned.
“This is our land from the beginning of days,” said Aviva Herzlich, 67, most of whose 10 children and more than 40 grandchildren live in and around the settlement. “We do not have anywhere else.”