... Israel’s first-ever astronaut, Colonel Ilan Ramon,was launched into space on January 16, 2003 with Holocaust-era art from Yad Vashem’s Art Museum.
Ilan Ramon, a colonel in the Israeli Air Force, contacted Yad Vashem requesting a Holocaust related item to take with him on his launch into space on the shuttle Columbia, due to the significance of the Holocaust to him as a Jew and as an Israeli. On a personal level, the Holocaust is even more meaningful to Ramon as his mother is an Auschwitz survivor, and his grandfather and other members of his family perished in the death camps.
Yad Vashem chose “Moon Landscape”, created by Petr Ginz, a 14-year-old Jewish boy, during his incarceration in the Theresienstadt ghetto. Petr Ginz was multi-talented and had, at a young age, already written stories, articles and poetry, and continued to do so after being sent to the ghetto in 1942. During his incarceration Ginz traveled to places near and far within the depths of his imagination, and with great longing, he visited Prague, the city of his birth, in a poem written from behind the ghetto walls. In 1944 Ginz was killed in Auschwitz
The moon landscape depicted in Petr Ginz’s drawing attests to his aspiration to reach a place from where the earth, which threatened his life, could be seen from a secure range. Even more so, the picture reveals a young man who, in addition to his other talents, was both a researcher and scientist full of optimism that science precedes all and would ultimately bring a remedy for humanity
February 01, 2003
Today, the PA suddenly offered to enter into unconditional cease-fire talks with Israel. This follows a similar offer by Arafat to meet with Sharon right after the Prime Minister's re-election. For obvious reasons (Arafat has proven himself to NOT be a negotiating partner), Israel turned the first offer down, and probably will this one too. But the timing is revealing.
The PA is panicing.
With it looking unlikely at this stage that Sharon will be able build a coaltion government with the Labor party, Arafat fears the wrath brought by a right-wing government. In that scenario, he is almost certain to be exiled and the PA to be dismantled, meaning the end of his sputtering dictatorship. This has thrown Arafat into suck-up mode; his only chance is too appeal to the Labor party in order to entice them into a coaltion, hoping that Labor will temper the punishment he is due. He plays nice, they yield and join Sharon, thus buying him time.
This isn't to say that Labor shouldn't join Likud - only that they shouldn't fall for Arafat's deceit.
Caroline B. Glick writes in J. Post
"In 1981, IAF Col. Ilan Ramon flew one of the F-16 jets that blew up the Iraqi nuclear reactor in Osirak. In so doing he saved the country and perhaps the entire world from the specter of a nuclear holocaust.
For the past 16 days, as Israel's first astronaut, Ilan Ramon again saved us. This time he was not armed with a payload of bombs on a fighter craft. This time Ramon set off for outer space on the Columbia space shuttle, armed with a picture of the Earth as seen from the moon drawn by a Jewish boy in Theresienstadt concentration camp, a torah scroll from Bergen Belsen, a microfiche copy of the bible, the national flag and the dreams and hopes of the State of Israel and the Jewish people. Ramon saved us this time not by clearing our skies of the threat of nuclear attack, but by reminding us of who we are and of what we can accomplish if we only have faith in ourselves.
Ramon made clear at every opportunity that he went to outer space, not simply as a citizen of the State of Israel, but as a Jew. As the representative of the Jewish people he recited kiddush on Friday night. As a Jew he said Shema Yisrael as the space shuttle orbited over Jerusalem. As a Jew he insisted on eating only kosher food in outer space. And as a Jew he told the Prime Minister from his celestial perch, "I think it is very, very important to preserve our historical tradition, and I mean historical and religious traditions."
In so doing he showed that there is no limit to what a person can accomplish as a Jew. He said to all Jews, here in Israel and throughout the world, even as anti-Semitism again threatens us, even as Jews in Israel are being murdered just for being Jews, our enemies will never define us or tell us there are limits to what we can do.
But Ilan Ramon was not simply a Jew. He was an Israeli Jew. And, as a scientist and fighter pilot his was the face of Israeli exceptionalism. Ramon excelled in all he did. He was first in his class in high school. He was first in his class in flight school. He was first in his class in astronaut training. In a break from the Air Force in the 1980s, after completing his studies in electrical engineering and computer science at Tel-Aviv University, Ramon joined the team at Israel Aircraft Industries that developed the Lavi fighter jet. On the Columbia, Ramon conducted environmental research on desertification.
Today, when mediocrity seems to be the unifying characteristic of so many of the personalities that make up our national landscape, Ramon reminded us of what we can and should aspire to. Speaking of Ramon a few months before the shuttle launch, his fellow astronauts praised his professionalism above all.
As we have been consumed for more than two years with our daily reality of terrorism and pain, Ramon reminded us that there are other sides to our lives in Israel. Our mastery of science has placed our tiny state at the cutting edge of space research. Like our friends, the Americans, we will not be limited by gravity in our quest for answers to the riddles of the universe.
Finally, Ramon was a husband to Rona and father to Assaf, Tal, Yiftach and Noa.
Our hearts go out to his family members. But we can only pray that they will take comfort in the fact that in his life, their Ilan saved both the life and the spirit of his country."
Yes, he was a Zionist. I am a Zionist. And there are millions of us - better get used to it. We are everywhere, and we will be in space, too. Just wait.
I wanted to post something here that I had posted on my own site earlier, something that's been floating around in my head for the day. After today's tragedy over Texas skies, had I received an e-mail a few minutes ago wondering how many results of the experiments on the shuttle had been reported back and how many have been lost forever.
I know of at least one experiment that survived: The experiment of democracy in the Middle East.
You see, Mission Specialist Colonel Ilan Ramon voted in the Israeli elections. He participated in a free, unfettered choice in his country's leadership.
No other country in that region can claim such a thing.
The experiment will continue, flourish, and succeed.
Is the world ready for the first Sabbath-observant supermodel?
This is a beautiful story about a beautiful Jewish woman.
Havi Mond's journey to work would defeat most veterans of Connex or the M25. She wakes up in Tzefas (Safed), northern Israel, travels for two hours to Tel Aviv, waits for three hours to go through security, flies to London, takes the train down to Brighton, where her grandparents live, and then goes to work as a model.What a role model. What an ambassador.
She's young, she's fresh --- and she is an Israeli whose Orthodox Judaism makes her refuse work on Fridays and Saturdays, avoid non-kosher catering and turn down jobs that require her to wear anything that she, or her parents Peter and Pamela, consider "provocative." Cramping for a model's style, one might think, but apparently not. "It all adds to the intrigue," says Alisa Marks, French Connection's creative director.
But, to me, the most amazing thing about her appearance is that she is dressed like a soldier --- right down to an ammunition bag. Surely a girl who has just completed her national service, who commutes between London and the intifada, whose every lipstick is searched when she leaves home, must have had enough of military khaki?
How did she cope with national service? "I am a religious girl," she explains, "and, until a year ago, religious girls did not do military service - there were problems with the clothes, the boys. So I taught hyperactive children and those from poor neighborhoods and I helped Ethiopians who had just arrived in Israel to learn Hebrew." MORE
Exactly 11 days ago I made a post about Ilan Ramon's emergence as a genuine
Israeli hero. Now, even in his death, Ilan Ramon has showed us the true meaning of martyrdom - as opposed to the utter falsehood that our neighbours make of this word.
He did not seek out death in pursuit of his dream, but bravely understood its possbility. Nor was his dream one of destruction and repression, rather one of progress and innovation for all of humanity. Now there is a cause worth dying for. As I wrote here (last paragraph), Ilan Ramon will be a name my children recognize as proof that they too can accomplish anything.
I feel like sending condolences to his family and friends, but I also feel like grieving myself.
Michael Diamond, a friend of mine, comments on Jeff Jacoby's article last week which, he argues, summarizes the UN well:
the appointment of a barbaric dictatorship as Chair of the Human Right organization should not have been a surprise given the nature of the UNNow you can read the original article. Sorry, I don't have a link
the UN is an association of governments with no governance related to entry- any pile of garbage country can get in
the purpose of the UN Human Rights bodies are not to strengthen human rights but to provide strength to 3rd world bullies in order to provide impetus to their despicable agendas the UN is a moral wasteland
I would add a little more- each country, whether democratic or not, votes in the UN, not in accordance with what is right or moral, but in its own economic self-interest.
Based on all of the above, I would rather have the US Administration making major world decisions than the UN. I think anyone in the West who prefers to maintain his way of life who would trust a UN resolution over a decision of the US Government is not acting in his or her own interests, nor is he or she acting in the interests of morality- he or she would simply be trusting too much in a decrepit and moral organization .
The US will not make the right decision all the time. And its own economic self interest will guide many of its decisions, as is the case with other nations. But, if you give me a choice between trusting the UN or the US, I'll take the US over the UN anytime.
The UN's Moral Irrelevance by Jeff Jacoby
The choice of one of the world's most repressive tyrannies to head the UN's main human rights body was a textbook illustration of the way the UN works.
The American delegate put a brave face on it. "This is not a defeat for the United States," US Ambassador Kevin Moley said after Libya was elected to the chairmanship of the United Nations' highest human rights panel on Monday. "This is a defeat for the Human Rights Commission."
The vote was 33 to 3, with only Canada and (reportedly) Guatemala joining the United States in voting no. Seventeen countries, mostly European, abstained.
The ambassador's sentiments were understandable. Of course it is preposterous to think of Muammar Qadhaffi's brutal regime -- which tortures dissidents, imprisons citizens without charge, and prohibits freedom of speech, assembly, and religion -- as a champion of liberty and due process. Everyone knows that Libya, architect of the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 that killed 270 victims over Lockerbie, Scotland, is a foe, not a friend, of human rights.
Nevertheless, the ambassador was wrong. The choice of one of the world's most repressive tyrannies to head the UN's main human rights body was not in any sense a defeat for the commission. Nor was it an embarrassment to the UN. On the contrary, it was a textbook illustration of the way the UN works.
Despite its name, the United Nations is not a fraternity of peoples. It is an association of governments, and it makes no distinction between those that rule with the consent of the governed and those that rule through force and fear. Inside the UN, a bloody despotism is every inch the equal of a liberal democracy. A government that respects human dignity has exactly the same vote as a government that tramples it. And while lip service is routinely paid to the high principles of the UN Charter, those principles are irrelevant to the UN's decisions and deliberations.
If the Human Rights Commission were really concerned with human rights, the accession of a ghoulish regime like Libya's to the chair would indeed be a scandal. But the commission's true purposes are to give Third World bullies a venue for grandstanding, to harangue Western democracies, to ensure that the world's cruelest rulers escape condemnation, and, of course, to bash Israel. There's nothing in that agenda to disqualify Libya. Or, for that matter, Vietnam, Saudi Arabia, China, Syria, Sudan, or Zimbabwe -- each a notorious human-rights violator and each a commission member in good standing.
The lopsided vote for Libya, including all those cowardly European abstentions, speaks volumes about the UN's character. It has become a monument to sanctimony and cynicism. It is a place where dishonesty and injustice are routine -- where atrocious governments get away with appalling behavior because better governments lack the courage to face them down. The United Nations is a moral wasteland, and it is folly to treat its imprimatur as a benchmark of international legitimacy.
Which is why it was a mistake for the Bush administration to seek a green light from the UN before undertaking the liberation of Iraq. The Security Council has no interest in shutting down Saddam Hussein's reign of terror. It is not willing to destroy him before he acquires the ability to destroy countless additional victims. No one should have been surprised this week when France and Germany announced that they are opposed to military action against Saddam Hussein. That is the position that they, like the rest of the Security Council save Britain, have taken all along.
The inspections are a farce. Inspectors can verify that a country has voluntarily dismantled its illegal weapons; they cannot disarm a government that is determined to deceive. "Even the best inspectors have almost no chance of discovering hidden weapons sites . . . in a country the size of Iraq," wrote David Kay, the UN's former chief nuclear weapons inspector, in The Washington Post on Sunday.
Seven years of inspections in the 1990s failed to shut down Saddam's chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons programs; no serious person can believe that another round of this charade, under a much less aggressive chief inspector, will be any more successful. In any event, it is clear that no matter what Hans Blix and his team may find, Iraq's protectors on the Security Council will insist it is not enough to justify war.
The UN has gone as far as it will go: Under American pressure it passed Resolution 1441, which confirmed that Iraq "remains in material breach of its obligations" dating back to the Gulf War and offered Saddam one "final opportunity" to avoid "serious consequences" by complying. Those were strong, clear words and if the Security Council were worthy of its name, it would be prepared to back them up with strong, clear action.
That it isn't, is a pity. But the UN's lack of moral fiber must not keep the United States from acting. War is always risky, but appeasement and denial are more dangerous by far. The dissolution of Saddam's poisonous dictatorship can no longer wait.
The NY Times has a great analysis.
President Bush effectively endorsed Mr. Sharon's conditions in a speech in June. The draft road map, by contrast, demands that Israel also speedily make concessions, including stopping settlement construction. In saying he accepts the plan, Mr. Sharon means that he accepts what Mr. Bush said in June.Surprise, surprise. A fair presentation.
Mr. Sharon has said he will accept an eventual Palestinian state that would occupy less than half of the West Bank — and none of Jerusalem — and be demilitarized. Israel would control its airspace. He envisions the borders of this state as being made final in perhaps 10 years. MORE
Though no specific link found as yet between Iraq and anti-Israeli terror groups, clearly, as this article makes clear, a great deal of funding comes from Iraq.
...Mohanna Shbatt, an Arab Liberation Front leader in Gaza, said Friday that Saddam gave the money because he believes the Palestinians are fighting for all Arabs, including the restoration of Muslim sovereignty over Jerusalem holy sites.
"Saddam felt the martyrs were giving their blood for every other Arab," said Shbatt, 28, who studied chemistry in Iraq.
Israel contends the Iraqi money is intended to encourage attacks on Israelis. After a Jan. 5 blast that killed 22 bystanders in Tel Aviv, Saddam praised suicide bombers as "champions of self-sacrifice who confront the Zionist aggression with their lives."
According to a dossier by Israel's Shin Bet security service, "over the past few months, Iraq has given substantial financial and military aid to terrorist organizations (in the West Bank and Gaza) operating under its purview."
Palestinians have also received weapons and explosives training at Iraqi bases, including the "Al Quds" camp near Baghdad, the Shin Bet said.
Most trainees are members of the Arab Liberation Front and a second pro-Iraqi faction, the Palestine Liberation Front headed by Mohammed Abbas, better known as Abul Abbas, who is wanted for instigating the 1985 hijacking of the Achille Lauro cruise ship. An elderly American was killed during the hijacking.[more]
An article from The Hudson Institute indicates the present chaos in Israeli party politics.
...The fact that such a large block of Israeli voters chose to cast their vote on the basis of seemingly secondary issues in the 2003 elections points to some of the most worrisome aspects of Israeli politics today. Israelis have lost trust in politicians and the political system. The crisis is so severe that in a recent poll that asked adult Israelis to rank their level of trust of the political system, 65 percent ranked it as very low. Only 9 percent said they had a high level of trust in the system. Moreover, the large majority of Israelis now believe that their political system in inherently unstable. In the same poll, 40 percent of those asked believed that the next elections will take place within two years and 23 percent expected them to take place within a year, rather than the usual four years. This widespread attitude was reflected in the lowest voter turnout in the history of the Jewish state. Israeli voters expressed their frustration with the system by simply not going to the polls.The fact that such a large block of Israeli voters chose to cast their vote on the basis of seemingly secondary issues in the 2003 elections points to some of the most worrisome aspects of Israeli politics today. Israelis have lost trust in politicians and the political system. The crisis is so severe that in a recent poll that asked adult Israelis to rank their level of trust of the political system, 65 percent ranked it as very low. Only 9 percent said they had a high level of trust in the system. Moreover, the large majority of Israelis now believe that their political system in inherently unstable. In the same poll, 40 percent of those asked believed that the next elections will take place within two years and 23 percent expected them to take place within a year, rather than the usual four years. This widespread attitude was reflected in the lowest voter turnout in the history of the Jewish state. Israeli voters expressed their frustration with the system by simply not going to the polls.
It is now up to all the major Israeli parties to regain the voters’ trust. Cleaner, more stable politics will go a long way in regaining that necessary trust. But just as important is the parties’ ability to put an end to the division of society into a collection of hate-filled factions. Labor, Likud, and other parties will have to realize that since the collapse of Oslo’s dream of a new Middle East, Israelis were not given a new long-term vision for their country—its character or its future. Instead, the Israeli political system has been channeled into an intellectual dead-end that has given rise to the politics of hate and resentment. Only the injection of a new set of ideas and new visions will save Israel’s great old parties from further collapse and give Israeli [click here for full article]
The liberal view here is countered by a longer less idealistic postion, which anchors itself in history, present and past. Since any extracts would perhaps weaken the postion each debater takes, I suggest the reader read the exchange in its entirety. [click here for article]
This communique is not new but has just been released about Arafat
JERUSALEM - Yasser Arafat asked, "Why haven't you killed more Israelis?" and said, "You know what needs to be done," in a meeting with Palestinian terrorist chiefs, it was revealed last night.
Defense ministry sources told The Post that Arafat called for stepping up attacks on Israelis during the meeting in February 2001, according to transcripts that Israeli officials say they have obtained.
While Israelis have long suspected Arafat of involvement in attacks, this is among the most powerful evidence to date showing that he has personally incited more terror killings.
According to the transcript, Arafat asked the terror group leaders why so few Israelis had been killed six months after the start of the intifada.
"Why haven't you killed more Israelis?" he asked.
The transcript, revealed this week to foreign diplomats, said one of the commanders asked what Arafat wanted done, sources said.
"You know what needs to be done," Arafat replied.
Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz told the diplomats that the information about Arafat had been withheld until now because revealing it would have endangered confidential sources. [more]
Its a go
Speech by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon at the Herzliya Conference on December 4, 2002.
On June 24th this year, President Bush presented his plan for a true solution to our conflict with the Palestinians. The peace plan outlined in the President's speech is a reasonable, pragmatic and practicable one, which offers a real opportunity to achieve an agreement. We have accepted in principle the President's plan and the sequence presented therein. Our agreements with the Palestinians are based on the lessons the Americans learned from the Clinton-Barak plan, and my experience as one who has, for many years, participated in the security and political campaign in the Palestinian arena.Read this speech in its entirety. It sets out the path to peace agreed upon by Sharon and Bush. Forget about the Quartet. Sharon has dismissed it as "nothing". Forget about the Road Map. Sharon said he doesn't take it "seriously". Forget about Arafat. Once the Iraq war gets going so will Arafat with Israel's help. Forget about Powell and the State Department They aren't calling the shots.
After concerted efforts, the U.S. Administration has understood and agreed that the only way to achieve a true peace agreement with the Palestinians is progress in phases, with the first phase being a complete cessation of terror. President Bush's speech is a fatal blow to Arafat's policy of terrorism and serves as proof of the failure of his attempt to achieve political gains by means of violence and terrorism. Only after a cessation of terror - and this is already agreed by most world leaders - will the commencement of peace negotiations between the parties be possible.
The American plan defines the parties' progress according to phases. The transition from one phase to the next will not be on the basis of a pre-determined timetable - which would have resulted in a build-up of heavy pressure on Israel towards the end of one phase and approaching the next phase. Rather, progress is determined on the basis of performance - only once a specific phase has been implemented, will progress into the next phase be possible.
On the basis of lessons learned from past agreements, it is clear to all that Israel can no longer be expected to make political concessions until there is proven calm and Palestinian governmental reforms.
In this context, it is important to remember that political concessions which will be made in the future - as those made in the past - are irreversible.
Even the current security reality, with the IDF operating freely inside Palestinian cities, arises from security needs and has not changed the political situation of two years ago. Israel will not re-control territories from which it withdrew as a result of political agreements. Therefore, the achievement of true and genuine coexistence must be a pre-condition to any discussion on political arrangements.
Why am I so sure?
Sharon would never have said he sees "eye to eye" with the Americans if he didn't. Sharon would never have come out in favour of a state had he not had Bush's assurance that this plan would be followed. Take note, that although a State is a given depending on performance, the final borders aren't, nor is there anything on the right of return. Thus the Palestinians must change their government and leaders, decommision their weapons and stop incitement before the question of permanent borders comes up.
Look how many times he refers to agreements with the US or his acceptance of the American Plan.
Sharon also said that political concession are "irreversible" and Israel "will not re-control territories from which it withdrew" as a result of political concessions. As a result, Sharon has agreed that the provisional state would be in area A only which is about 42% of the land. Sharon would never have made such a concession without first being in agreement with the Americans on the plan. I also think that is why Netanyahu did not make the creation of a Palestinian State the issue. I am sure Netanyahu has been told the whole picture.
I used to think that the US had committed itself to both the Arab countries and to the EU to do more for the Palestinians. But I no longer do. Look at the lack of support from all these Arab countries. Look at the opposition of France and Germany and Russia. The US owes them nothing. If anything the actions of these groups have made it all the clearer that trying to win them over is fruitless and a bad idea. So look for more unilateralism. Prosecuting the Iraq war will be simpler and so will solving the Palestinian problem be simpler. Too many crooks spoil the broth.
There is no way that after taking a lot of trouble to defeat one terrorist state, Iraq, is America going to create another. Mark my words.
On the recent IDF operation in Hebron, Ha’Aretz reported on January 31, 2003:
IDF launches month-long operation in HebronThe surprise comes in one of the subsequent paragraphs, when Ha’Aretz quotes Hebron’s Mayor:
The Israel Defense Forces yesterday launched a large-scale operation in Hebron with combined ground and armored forces carrying out search missions in an effort to capture wanted militants. [sic!]
In the past two-and-a-half months, 22 Israelis have died in attacks by Palestinian militants [sic!] in the Hebron area.
"... [I]t is not clear why they [the Israelis] seek to harm the population instead of the wanted (militants) [sic!]," said the city's mayor, Arif al-Jabari.I wonder why nobody informed the mayor of the contents of the preceding paragraph; are twenty-two murdered Israelis not enough of an explanation? It is unfortunate that "the population" may be caught in the cross fire, but that is the nature of war, especially when "the population" shelters terrorists. But where and when did the IDF "seek to harm the population"? Why does Ha'Aretz allow such statements to go unchanllenged?
And while we’re at it, another question: when will Ha’Aretz (and the CBC) learn to call a terrorist, a terrorist?
Contributed by Joseph Alexander Norland. This piece is cross-posted on IsraPundit and Dawson Speaks.
January 31, 2003
Within weeks the US will lead a coalition of the willing to conquer Iraq. This is being done for any or all of the following reasons;
To topple an oppressive regimeEach of these reasons is reason enough.
To enforce UNSC mandatory resolutions
To destroy all Iraqi WMD
To liberate Iraqis
To prosecute the war on terror
To democratize the ME
To defeat Islamism
Now I ask you? Shouldn’t Israel conquer, yet again, the territories?
The reasons for doing so are similar.
The PA is an oppressive regime. It is in league with various other terrorist groups that not only terrorize Israelis but also the Palestinians living in the territories.The similarities are astounding. Why is it that everyone understands that the only way to deal with Iraq is to defeat it and take charge of its disarmament and democratization yet they are not willing to let Israel do the same thing? Why is it that the world argues that the Palestinians will do it on their own, yet the Iraqis have to be forced to do it?
To enforce the Oslo Accords and other commitments of the PA and Arafat which were to negotiate all issues and to not resort to violence and to end incitement.
While the Palestinians probably don’t have WMD, they certainly have smuggled in or built far more weapons than they agreed to have under the Oslo Accords. And they are using these weapons daily on Israelis. These weapons must be decommissioned.
The Palestinian people are the ones who suffer, even more than the Iraqis, as a result of the Oslo War that the PA started. Aren’t they entitled to liberation?
There are more terrorists per square mile in the territories than anywhere else in the world. Also Arafat is the father of modern terrorism taking it to new levels of mass participation. They must be defeated as part of the worldwide war on terror.
They need to be occupied, as the Iraqis need to be occupied, in order to introduce democracy and the rule of law. They also must be detoxified from the last decade of incitement to violence and hatred.
I submit that progress will only be made when Israel completely defeats all terrorist groups in the territories, and either kills them or deports them. Then Israel can proceed to rehabilitate the society in all respects.
It is always nice to hear from the EU on political doings in a democracy, while at the same time this prestigious organization continues to fund Palestinian terror groups, and when told about it, blithely ignores the matter and continues the funding.
The EU will stick to its Middle East peace plan whatever government emerges after Ariel Sharon's sweeping poll victory in Israeli, which marked a "defeat of the peace camp" there, foreign policy chief Javier Solana said Wednesday.
Solana stressed that Sharon bears a "tremendous responsibility" to try to resurrect the peace process in the region at a crucial time.
"What type of government will be established is very difficult to say at this point in time," Solana told reporters hours after hawkish Prime Minister Ariel Sharon swept back to power.
But the European Union official added: "From my point of view, the policy of the EU should continue.
"We have an aim, we have a goal that is not going to be changed because of the results of the elections," he said, reiterating the EU's backing for an international "road map" to create a Palestinian state by 2005.
Even as the unrelenting Quartet continues with its calamitous project (with Sharon’s explicit acceptance of the fundamental notion), many of us continue with our attempts to alert the world to the perils inherent in a second Palestinian-Arab state. The latest contribution to this endeavour is an article published in the Jerusalem Post by a former Israeli ambassador to the US; the article is entitled, Dispelling common myths about the proposed Palestinian state , January 29, 2003. The essence of the article is summarized in the January 30, 2003 edition of the JCPA Daily Alert and reads as follows:
Many regard the question of Palestinian statehood in terms of "inevitability," i.e., that there won't be a solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict without it. That was also the gist of President Bush's June 24 speech. Let us examine some of the conventional wisdoms with regard to Palestinian statehood:In this context one should mention a recent, related article, viz., Twelve Bad Arguments for a State of Palestine, which may be found on the site of Christian Action for Israel. The article, dated December 12, 2002, was authored by P.J. Berly and posted initially at Israel Insider.
A disarmed Palestinian state - Prime Minister Sharon and others who support statehood in principle speak about a neutralized and disarmed entity. Yet the Palestinian Authority has never lived up to its commitment with regard to illegal arms, let alone to severing its links with terrorist and terrorist-supporting forces. Why should it be easier to enforce all those limitations once the Palestinians have achieved full sovereignty?
Two states for two peoples - Large parts of the Arab and Muslim worlds, including no small number of Palestinians, have not yet come to accept the Jewish people's right to a national homeland in a region which they claim to be theirs alone, and they would regard a Palestinian state alongside Israel as a temporary stage toward creating a Palestinian state instead of Israel.
A mere two years ago, former prime minister Ehud Barak offered Yasser Arafat 98% of the "territories," including most of east Jerusalem plus 3% of Israel proper, only to be rebuffed by the PA chairman, who then went on to unleash the al-Aksa Intifada which has already caused more than 700 Israeli deaths.
A democratic, stable, and viable Palestinian state - One may wonder how "viable" economically, demographically, politically, etc., such a mini-state would actually be, especially in light of the fact that there doesn't exist a single Arab state to which any of the above definitions could easily apply.
Solving the Palestinian problem - The real Palestinian problem has to do with the cruel reality of millions of "refugees" who have been languishing in camps, often under inhuman conditions, for over 50 years, among their inhospitable brethren in the various Arab states. The planned Palestinian mini-state isn't going to absorb even a fraction of those artificially and deliberately perpetuated "refugees."
Instead of saying either "Yes" or "No" to the Quartet's unrealistic road map, Israel would be better advised to think about a road map of its own.
It may very well be the case that the efforts to alert the world to the peril will prove fruitless, but at least one can say that one has tried; which is why we must not cease trying for even one nano-second.
Contributed by Joseph Alexander Norland. This piece is cross-posted on IsraPundit and Dawson Speaks.
Its about transforming the M.E.
Jeff Jacoby in an article entitled Killing the Terror Regimes makes it clear,
It will not end with Iraq. The toppling of Saddam Hussein will make the Middle East a better place, free a nation that has suffered unspeakable cruelty, and shame the illiberal "peace movement", which even now counsels appeasement and willful blindness in the face of evil. Iraq should have been liberated during the first Gulf War; it cannot happen soon enough.and he finishes by saying,
This is about more than Iraq. We are in a war against terrorism – more accurately, against radical Islamist terrorists and their state sponsors. Saddam´s regime is one of those sponsors and its downfall will mark an important milestone on the road to victory. But there are other sponsors, and they too must be replaced.
Our mission now is to kill the Islamist cause. We can do so only by killing the tyrannies that sustain it – by demonstrating that Islamism leads not to triumph but to defeat, not to power but to degradation. Crush the Islamists´ dream, and we crush the terrorism it feeds. We made a good start in Kabul and Kandahar. Next stop: Baghdad.MORE
Steven Plaut composes The Inauguration Speech Sharon Should Give (But Won´t) and has it published in Arutz7. It is well worth reading .
What Plaut is asking for is paradigm shift from making do, tolerating violence and incitement, waiting for the PA to change or a new process to be formulated, all of which recognize that we have little power to change things.
In its place he wants a policy directed to winning in a no holds barred contest. It makes for thought provoking reading.
The AP report in JPost.
Police arrested 28 Pakistanis found in possession of powerful explosives, hundreds of forged documents and maps of the Naples area with "sensitive targets" circled with a pen, authorities said Friday. MoreAre France and Germany getting the message.
"A major obstacle to peace in the Middle East is the Palestinian refugee problem. Yet, a key component to understanding it has been overlooked and obscured in the current dialogue. What is this elusive component? The exodus of Jews from Arab countries. These Arab Jews now constitute more than 40 percent of Israel’s population.
These Jews fled their homes under threats of persecution and death. For example, in 1951, when they were permitted to leave, more than 100,000 Jews left Iraq. They fled as stateless citizens, having given up their possessions, property and the only homeland they had known for 2,500 years.
Iraqi Jews were fortunate to escape with their lives since Prime Minister Nuri Said recommended a final solution in a meeting with Jordan’s prime minister and Sir Alec Kirkbride, the British ambassador to Jordan. Said proposed the Jews should be forcibly evicted "in army lorries escorted by armored cars ... to the Jordanian-Israeli frontier," according to Kirkbride. There, they would be ordered to "cross the line," then, in all probability massacred.
The reason so many Iraqi Jews left in 1951 was fear. Even with a remnant of Jews remaining in Iraq, hangings continued. The most infamous ones occurred Jan. 27, 1969, when nine Jews were hung in Baghdad’s public square for being alleged "American and Israeli spies." Baghdad Radio called upon all Iraqis to "come and enjoy the feast" and declared a national holiday. Some 500,000 paraded and danced past the scaffolds where the bodies hung. Today, less than 50 Jews remain in Baghdad—out of a community of more than 200,000. Who kept the Jews’ property? The Iraqi government, including attempts to expropriate more than $200 million in community property alone.
This pattern was repeated throughout Arab lands, where 1948 Jewish populations have been decreased to next to nothing. To where did these Jewish refugees vanish? The majority went to Israel, often living in tent camps for up to 12 years, just as the Palestinian refugees. However, they got citizenship in Israel and did not remain permanent refugees."
Lapid says that in his view it is possible to form a wide coalition, which would include Labor, or a narrow one, even without the far right and left. He says he will not "sit" with Shas, but has no objections to joining a wide coalition that will include Yahadut Hatorah ("The Torah Judaism" - an ultraorthodox party). I like this guy more every day. (Via IBA radio)
IBA radio reports that 170 members (more than a quarter) of the European parliament have signed a letter, demanding an investigation into the use the PA has been making of the European aid money. The signees are from different political parties. A French representative, who is a socialist, says that the PA has used the money to fund suicide bombings in Israel, and the bombers' families. Welcome to reality.
While American students are advised NOT to go the Middle East universities, the warning does not apply to Egypt. As enrollment increases rapidly there, many Americans will begin to view the ME from an Arab perspective, via a country where state controlled media has allowed the Protocols of Zion to be viewed on TV. What does that portend for the future perespective on the ME?
...The American University in Cairo has seen the number of both applications and enrollment rise considerably, almost doubling since last year, Davidson said.
"There is a lot of interest in the Middle East … (but) programs in a lot of other non−Western countries have been cancelled," Davidson said.
Moritz agreed that there is interest among Brown students to study in the Middle East, particularly in Israel. "There's interest in Israel and I talk to students about it, and it's very regrettable that the situation is still tricky there in terms of foreigners," she said.
She said she is heartened that Brown hired two new faculty members to teach Arabic this year, and hopes to send more students to the Middle East in the future.
"We have a good number of students taking Arabic, I understand. Arabic enrollments are up, and that's good, because obviously our country could use more information about the Middle East," she said.
Moritz said proposals for programs come in from various sites and institutions in the Middle East, "but whether we would want to do something now is the question.
"Nothing is on the table right now and probably wouldn't be this year, but were things to come down we probably would encourage more students," Moritz said. "I hope when things resolve themselves we can send more students to good places in the Middle East." ..."If war starts, my decision is to stay in Egypt," said John Gelzer, a junior. "I think there has been a lot of miscommunication between the Arab world and the U.S. There need to be more people who are informed about the Middle East instead of (those) making judgments without knowing anything about Arab culture," he said.
With the constant media attention on the Palestinian refugees, we too often hear little or nothing about the Jews made refugees by Arab countries when the State of Israel came into existence. Here, then, a looking back to the Jews who had lived in Iraq
....Jews in Iraq, Ben-Hai said, had at one time been "treated like kings." In Israel, he said, "I gave more than I got."
A few blocks from where the gruff domino players gather is the Babylonian Jewry Museum, which tells the rich history of Iraqi Jews, recording how they came to Israel with the help of Mordechai Ben-Porat, the Mossad's chief undercover agent.
Ben-Porat's exploits are detailed in his book, To Baghdad and Back: The Miraculous 2,000 Year Homecoming of the Iraqi Jews. His fake passports and papers issued by the Mossad are on display at the museum, which he runs.
Like others from Iraq, Ben-Porat has a soft spot for the country, now regarded as an archenemy by Israel. "The first sign that Saddam Hussein is out, I will go back," he said in an interview at the museum. But he doesn't want to live there.
"I want to see the views," he said, referring to his family house, with plush gardens on the riverbank. "To live? I don't think so. But my dream is that Saddam is removed. Then, it will take a few years, but Israel can build an embassy in Iraq. Peace with the Iraqi people will be easier than peace with the Palestinians."
For many outside Israel, it is the Palestinian Intifada that is the problem for Israel, but this article reveals another growing problem in Israeli politics.
(January 30, 2003 6:28 p.m. EST) - Ariel Sharon won a crushing victory in his re-election as Israeli prime minister, radically reshaping the nation's political landscape.
His conservative Likud party went from 19 to 37 seats in the 120-member Knesset. His coalition partners, rightist and religious parties, give him enough of a majority that he doesn't need the support of the Labor party, his uncomfortable partner in the previous government. Labor, long Israel's ruling party, fell from 25 seats to 19, its lowest ever.
The dominant election issue, of course, was how to cope with Palestinian terrorism. The electorate showed no great confidence in Sharon's hard-line tactics and destructive military reoccupation of the West Bank, but it showed no confidence at all that Labor and the other parties of the left have any better answers. The election left the parties of the so-called "peace camp" in disarray.
What the election did dramatize is a serious problem for the Jewish state - the deepening divide between Israel's secular or moderately observant Jews and the ultra-Orthodox, who exert great influence over certain sectors of Israeli life.
A relatively new party, Shinui, meaning "Change," ran on a platform of separating religion from government. Its leader, Tommy Lapid, campaigned on ending the estimated $1 billion in government subsidies that allow most ultra-Orthodox men not to work and fund Orthodox religious schools. He would end the ultra-Orthodox exemption from the military draft.
Shinui went from six to 15 seats, and is now Israel's third-largest political party. It displaced the ultra-Orthodox party Shas, which dropped from 17 to 11 seats.
The problem with the Palestinians tends to mask the issue, but the conflict between secular and deeply religious Israelis looks to become even sharper.
This article in the reputable magazine Nature offers guidelines and suggests that only under the most egregious of circumstances ought scientists depart from the universality of science.
...If, in extreme circumstances, the principle of universality of science has to be weighed against conflicting imperatives, it is all the more important to spell out the reasons why scientists hold it to be precious. We suggest that they include the following:
1) The advance of science is potentially of benefit to all mankind, and therefore avoidable obstacles to its pursuit are undesirable.
2) Since the value of a given contribution to science ought to be judged on its own merits rather than on the basis of any characteristics of the person making the contribution, the exclusion of a particular group of people from the scientific enterprise for reasons that are irrelevant to the science itself (for instance, citizenship) is a perversion of the objectivity that science demands.
3) With humankind dangerously divided by race, citizenship, religion and so on, the continued ability of scientists to cooperate in a way that transcends these boundaries is an important symbol of, and impetus to, the breakdown of such divisions.
And that suggests that to bar Israeli scientists from attending science conferences is not merely counter productive but a violation of the standard of the universality of science and an expression of personal likes and dislikes.
In the NY Times today, the letters page had a wealth sense about Israel. Three of the four letters were supportive of Israel. The fourth had a depressingly Jewish name as its author. You can find letters under the title of "The Israeli Vote: What Was the Message?" Yoni Rosenzweig argues:
"You would be hard pressed to find a country that would make a different decision — elect a leader who promises concession to a perceived aggressor — when the enemy shows no inclination for a peaceable solution. To Israelis, the choice lies with the Palestinians: give up your brutal leadership and tactics or watch the sovereignty — once within your grasp — evaporate."Exactly. That sentiment flies directly in the face of yesterday's NY Times editorial, "Ariel Sharon's Paradoxical Victory." The Times wonders:
"The strong Likud showing was something of a paradox, considering that opinion polls show that a consistent majority of Israelis favor exactly what Mr. Sharon has not done so far — remove most Jewish settlements from the West Bank and Gaza Strip, establish a clear and defensible national border and help set up a Palestinian state next door."It's not clear that this is what polls show; it is clear that this is what the Times thinks is equitable. But however generous Israelis are, they are apparently not suicidal. That's a point that the Times can't accept. Douglas Altabef contributes another valuable observation:
"The fallacious assumption underlying Gadi Taub's "pick your poison" scenario for an Israel that has not withdrawn from the West Bank (Op-Ed, Jan. 29) is that Palestinians are incapable of changing. This mind-set has always beset the peace movement: the future is solely a function of what Israel chooses to do."That assumption underlies much of the conventional wisdom about the Middle East. At least from the West. Taub's column, "The Results are in and Peace Lost" is an obnoxious amalgam of left wing pieties that have been so prevelant in analyses of the Middle East: "Arafat and Sharon are partners out to destroy peace; Israel's hold onto communites in Yesha and Azza make peace impossible; only Mitzna had a realistic solution to the problem; etc." It's the end that really gets my goat:
The rejection of Mr. Mitzna's plan, coupled with Mr. Sharon's clear victory, could be one more step toward turning Israel into another Lebanon.Given the proliferation of Lebanon originated suicide bombing into Israel; this is a bad joke. The surrender to the PLO/PA has, unfortunately done a lot to turn Israel into Lebanon. In Labor's successful campaign in 1992 it promised to take Gaza out of Tel Aviv - a reference to the killing of 15 year old Helena Rapp. Instead by giving the PLO/PA territory and room to operate unimpeded, Oslo brought Lebanon into Israel.
To it's great shame the Times also published "The Wrong Words" by Abdel Monem Said, which claims:
"The historical bond between the United States and the moderate Arab states and mainstream Arabs in general contributed to the stability of the Middle East. For half a century, the bond worked well — to thwart Communist expansion in the cold war, to contain the waves of Iranian Islamic revolution and to end in 1991 Saddam Hussein's radical and regional ambitions."Notice not a word of the aid that the US gives to Egypt (Said is Egyptian) or an acknowledgement that the so-called moderate Arab states consistently vote against American interests in the UN. What's changed is that America - I think - is starting to see that there is a terrible cost to be paid for ignoring evil. America won't simply turn a blind eye to its totalitarian sometime allies in the Middle East simply because they have a lot of oil.
Cross Posted to David's Israel Blog
The Secular state of Israel?
With Shinui's big win (third place largest party) there is momentum to implement many secular ideas into the Jewish country.
The long-term question is "are you sure a secular Israel is a good idea?"
Isn't Israel a Jewish state and isn't Judaism a religion?
I fear turning Israel into a secular state falls right into the hands of their enemies.
Israel without a Jewish character to it would be like the lion with no heart, meaningless.
Many non-religious respect religious people and understand its vital importance within Israel, and I do think compromise and unity over such issues are more cogent than 'our way or the highway' on either side.
There is a old myth that religious people do not serve in the IDF. This is of course false and harmful to spread. Religous men do serve in the army and in a wide spectrum of services. Many provide support services specifically in the emergency aid field such as ambulances.
Last year during the raid on Jenin I read a first hand account diary of the assault from a Chabad-Lubavitch Chassidic soldier. Jenin War Diary of a Chabad Chassid By Sergeant Major Rami Meir.
Secular states always remind me of communism and Israel is already a heavily european style left-wing country, I don't see a secular state turning out in the best interests of Israel as Israel being the Jewish homeland.
If Israel does become secularized what will differentiate it from other countries? I know that is the goal of the secularists, they want Israel to be similar to other countries but they must understand that is not a wise goal for Israel. The reason being that Israel as a non-religious Jewish country similar to most other secular countries will devoid itself of its original intent and purpose, the Jewish homeland for Jewish people and a world-wide refuge and safe-haven for oppressed Jews the world over.
There has been and is great debate within Israel and elswhere to "who is a Jew?" A low standard for this helps no one. Secularists will bring a low standard to this test.
The secularists growth is due to Israel's growth as a technology leader and oftimes prosperous nation. Secularists from a American perspective can be seen as yuppies. These are not the middle Americans once a year to church types these are the anti-religious center types who care more about their immediate futures and wealth than any greater purpose more like American celebrities or the Left-wing anti-religious.
What distinguishes Israel as the Jewish homeland is what makes it great. Judaism is a living religion that permeates all aspects of one's life. People should not be forced to comply, but respect for other's observance is just as equally important.
Just as Israel houses and accomodates many religions so too should the secular learn to accept and accomodate the religious Jews who only add to the strength of their country.
Hopefully it will never come to the point where the Israeli soldiers will be fighting to retain secular values. Instead the Israeli soldiers fighting to retain Jewish values for all Israelis is a much greater, important, and real long-term rallying cry.
Whether you are religious or not retaining the religious nature of Israel is worth fighting for to maintain the original intent, purpose, authenticity, and quality of Israel for its long future.
January 30, 2003
Ian Buruma - probably the most worthy columnist employed by The Guardian - has written his last column. He's a self-described "old-fashioned liberal," and while he's often critical of the US and Israel, it's in a good way. He'll be missed.
David D. Perlmutter tells it like it is in Jewish World Review.
I recall during the Gulf war a Kurdish spokesperson was asked why the world didn't concern itself with the national hopes of his people. His answer was brutally cynical and absolutely correct: "We don't commit terrorism against Europeans." The Palestinians have ignited outrage after outrage, and each time the response of the jelly-kneed world politicians is to pay more attention to them and work harder to help them with cash and diplomatic initiatives. The bloodthirsty wheel gets the grease.
Indeed. And since when are the Palestinians the only people without their own homeland, as they claim. Heck, there are millions of French-speaking people in Canada that would like their own homeland. Not to mention the Kurds (in several nations), the Tibetans, the Basques (in both Spain and France), the Catalonians (also in Spain and France), the Chechens, and the Sudanese Christians. Don't forget Albanians in Macedonia, Muslims in Kashmir, the Balinese Hindus of Indonesia, and the Berbers of Arab North Africa. Some of these groups deploy violence for their cause, and some of them don't. None are as vicious as the Palestinians.
Mr. Perlmutter continues.
So this journalism professor and historian sits and waits for a brave journalist to ask an obvious, fact-driven question. And I fantasize that perhaps some foolhardy but honest --apparently none exist -- U.N. administrator will announce that "Frankly, there are hundreds of peoples more deserving of a homeland and we should be helping them and ignoring the Palestinians…"
I think I have a long wait ahead of me.
Cross-posted by Michael J. Totten.
IDF radio reports that Mitzna and Lapid were unable to reach an agreement. Lapid says that Mitzna is more concerned with the future of the Labor party more than he is concerned with the current situation in Israel. He likens Mitzna's optimism to a man who jumps from the 20st floor, and when he reaches the 10th, he says that he is still feeling well.
This is the note as to the source for Gabrielle Goldwater's Report article: London Al-Sharq al-Awsat in Arabic -- Influential Saudi-owned London daily providing independent coverage of Arab andinternational issues; editorials reflect official Saudi views on foreign policy.]
[FBIS Translated Text] If the Iraqi regime went away, it will not be mourned and if attacked tomorrow, it is not worth defending. More than any other regime we have known in the 20th century, Iraq has been the biggest source of unrest in the region.
Perhaps few are those who recall the Iraqi regime's long history of causing tension back in the seventies because of the differences it had with neighbors like Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Syria.
They may also remember theongoing war on its territories against its own minorities whom it keptrelocating from one place to another like cattle whenever it wanted to enforce a demographic change in the country.
Some of us also remember thewar against Iran, the only justification for which was greed to gain more land and oil. Then we recall how Iraq used gas to kill the women, childrenand elderly in the villages of Halabja. Then there was its occupation of
Kuwait and threatening the whole region under flimsy pretexts. Even after itwas defeated, Iraq continued to cling tight to its weapons and used hostile language with all those around.
A history such as this is not worth defending and it is not worth the tearsthat are shed for its sake. As a matter of fact, in the absence of the Iraqiregime the Arab world will be able to breathe and find a glimpse of hopethat the region will see stability. If the Iraqi regime went away, theproblems that have eaten up the region making Arabs the mockery of the rest of the world will come to an end.
Martin Kimel's blog has a nice concise exposure of media bias.
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon won a decisive victory in Israel's election Tuesday, gaining an overwhelming endorsement for his harsh military crackdown on the Palestinian uprising and his tough response to terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians, according to official results reported this morning (emphasis added).
Note that Post reporters John Ward Anderson and Molly Moore treat Sharon's "harsh military crackdown on the Palestinian uprising" separately from "his tough response to terrorist attacks." But, in fact, the tough military crackdown is his response to terrorist attacks against civilians. The way it's written, one could get the idea that Sharon was cracking down hard on peaceful Palestinians engaging in sit-ins. In the print edition, the jump headline of the story is also problematic. The headline, "Israeli Voters Endorse Sharon, Reject Parties That Push Peace," implies that Sharon and Likud oppose peace. They may have opposed the Oslo peace process, but that is not necessarily the same thing. To wit, the following paragraph from the same article:
"The parties that collapsed are the parties of Oslo -- those that supported concessions to the Palestinians," said Likud's hard-line minister for public security, Uzi Landau, referring to the 1993 Oslo peace agreement. "The national camp got a clear mandate. Peace and negotiations have to be based on uprooting terrorism. We will protect our security. That is the message."
Whether or not one agrees with Likud's approach to achieving peace, it's simply not accurate to suggest as a fact in a news story that Likud opposes peace.
HEBRON, West Bank - Israeli army bulldozers demolished a Palestinian vegetable market in Hebron Thursday, as troops closed Palestinian police and TV stations in the West Bank city in a crackdown on suspected militants.
Soldiers fired live rounds and rubber-coated steel pellets at Palestinians who threw stones during the demolition of more than 100 market stalls.
The military said it carried out the operation in response to a series of ambushes in Hebron. Since Nov. 15, 18 Israelis have been killed in such attacks.
The Hebron sweep came two days after Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's election victory. In a sign that he will stick to his tough policies against the Palestinians, Sharon rebuffed Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's offer to meet and resume peace talks.
We have been waiting for the elections to be over in Israel, anticipating new actions. In addtion to a tank attack in Hebron, there is this at the diplomatic level, according to IsraelInsider
In a surprise move, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak called Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and congratulated him on his election victory. A year ago, Mubarak declared he could not work with Sharon; the two have not met since Sharon took office. Sharon told U.S. President George W. Bush that he would continue to work towards implementing their joint diplomatic plan, but rebuffed an offer for talks with Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat.
According to the Prime Minister's Office, Mubarak called Sharon Wednesday morning and invited him for talks as soon as he established a new government. The two "discussed the need to continue the peace process in the Middle East," an official statement said.
Two days ago, Mubarak said in an interview that Egypt "must step up the contacts with Sharon, who will be reelected, and deal with him in a different way, because silence has not helped."
Egyptian sources said in Cairo that after his reelection, "Sharon could no longer be ignored," Yediot Aharonot reported. The sources added that Mubarak's planned meeting with Sharon was intended to give new life to the peace process and bring the Israelis and Palestinians back to the negotiations table.
An important contribution to studies of the Middle East, this book, reviewed by Paul William Roberts indicates how
The Two Faces of Islam is by far one of the most important and genuinely enlightening attempts to extricate one of the world's great religions from the demonizing tendencies of Washington's plutocrats, an intellectually corrupt media and what would seem to be its own extremism. It is the book one hoped would be written by a prominent Muslim -- ideally a cleric -- but the fact that it comes from a Jewish Sufi mystic, journalist and poet is all the more poignant, not to mention balefully ironic....As Schwartz points out, though, there is nothing "Islamic" about Wahhabism, and western apologists for the Al Sa'ud make a great mistake in comparing the cruel and nihilistic cult to Protestant reform movements. Yet the cruelty, greed and hypocrisy of the Wahhabi-Saudi alliance was to be matched by the behaviour of the United States towards it during the global domination of Big Oil.
From 1945 on, Washington embarked on a business partnership with the Al Sa'ud that gave American oil interests gathered under the name Aramco the control over oil production that Britain had until then enjoyed. It was also then that Aramco and its friends in American public life "began a long and shameless effort to prettify the extremist and terrorist origins of the Saudi monarchy...More hopeful is Schwartz's conclusion that the sole chance for peace in the Middle East lies in a summit of spiritual leaders -- imams, rabbis, archbishops -- agreeing to let their flocks know that, despite appearances to the contrary, the One True God is actually against murder and mayhem. Since there are religious bases for every current horror I can think of, this may be the one solution that no one would ever propose -- but it just might work. We have literally nothing to lose in trying.
I have found, even in this somewhat brief review, a good deal of information that explains much of the duplicity of the House of Saud and the terrorists produced by that country, and the book seems unusual in the perspective it brings to the rise of terrorism among believers in Islam.
January 29, 2003
Here's my latest column on Town Hall. It discusses the most badly bungled media "factoid" used today: that the Western Wall is the "holiest site in Judaism." It's not. The Temple Mount is. I think this article is vital -- people need to know this.
This is cross-posted at Ben Shapiro Online.
Folks from American for Peace Now often complained that "right-wing American Jews" who are out of touch with the mainstream Israeli view advocating peace undermined the left wing governments in Israel. Now the shoe's on the other foot. It appears that APN is not only seeking to undermine the legitmately elected Israeli government; it's undermining Israel's peace movement. Last week I pointed to an article by Debra DeLee asking the Bush 43 to emulate his father and use the withholding of loan guarantees as a way to force Israel to withdraw from Judea, Samaria and Azza. Today IMRA published an interview with Yuli Tamir who says:
I don't believe that we should do anything that would prevent loan guarantees because we know how difficult the economic situation is right here and therefore I don't think it's the right thing to do.Ms. DeLee, one of the people you purport to be speaking for doesn't want your help. Give it up.
Cross posted at David's Israel Blog.
In my recent posts, Es vet du gournisht helfen and The greatness of George W Bush, I pointed out that for the last fifty years, American policy was to have its cake and eat it too. On the one hand it committed itself to Israel’s military superiority and survival. On the other hand, it always forced Israel to disgorge its gains in war and to make concessions to the Arabs in the hopes of ending the conflict and earning the good will of the Arabs.
The US postures as an honest broker but the Arabs don’t buy it. The Arabs complain that America is too pro Israel and demand that it be even handed. In other words, that America leans more on Israel for concessions regardless of the merits of the respective claims.
For fifty years, this policy has been in place, with diminishing returns. Arab anti-Americanism is growing.
A few years ago the neo cons started to question this policy and suggested a different one was needed. One, where America abandoned the pretence of an honest broker and of evenhandedness and where they clearly sided with Israel. Such a policy would, they argued, dash any hopes the Arabs had of getting America’s help in destroying Israel and would as a result force the Arabs to accept Israel.
The War on Terror required America to be more decisive. Bush now demanded that the Arabs choose sides. For the last year the US administration struggled with what to do with Israel. Should Israel be forced to make compromises in order to get the Arabs to really join the War on Terror. The Arabs wanted, as the price for cooperating, America to force a solution on Israel not to its liking. Thus America had to decide whether to solve Bagdad or Jerusalem first. That decision obviously has been made.
America is no longer attempting to maintain the status quo because it is no longer acceptable to it. It attacked Afghanistan and will soon attack Iraq. In prosecuting the war, America will see to it that regimes that support terror be changed either from without or within.
I am hopeful that sacrificing Israel will not be part of its war plans. If the Road Map doesn’t get off the ground, we’ll know the answer.
A reader sends this e-mail: "...just wanted to bring to your attention a ridiculous screed by a compatriot (sigh), which is published in today's issue of Alexander Cockburn's rag Counterpunch: http://www.counterpunch.com/smith01292003.html
The author, an Emily Zitter-Smith, is spending time in the hospitable elitist confines of the American University in Cairo, where she finds it fitting to rail about the outcome of Israeli democracy and, for good measure, in the article she disavows both her American citizenship and her Judaism.
Just as Hosni Mubarak announces his intent to meet with Sharon, his American guest recounts her desire to dance on Sharon's grave (Yigal Amir, anyone?).
Ms. Zitter-Smith deserves a good fisking. I'll do my part, but I hope you can spread the word so that by the end of the day the contents of her inbox overwhelm her with shame or, indeed, convince her to return her passport to the US Embassy and permanently adorn the chador (which she seems on track to do here)."
Go read, if you have the stomach.
Michael Scott Doran writing in Foreign Affairs, January/February 2003 in an article entitled Palestine, Iraq, and American Strategy had this to say,
When toppling Saddam Hussein rose to the top of the Bush administration's foreign policy agenda, a chorus of voices protested that Washington had misdiagnosed the root cause of its Middle Eastern dilemmas. "It's Palestine, stupid!" was the refrain heard not only from European and Arab capitals, but from some quarters in the United States as well. These voices argued that attacking Iraq while the Israelis were reoccupying Palestinian lands would substantiate the claim, already widespread in the Middle East, that the United States had declared war against all Arabs and Muslims. The ensuing backlash would undermine the American position in the region and wreak havoc on American interests. What Washington really needed to do was postpone or abandon a showdown with Saddam and focus instead on achieving a breakthrough in the Palestinian-Israeli negotiations.Unfortunately, to get the rest of this article you have to purchase it. But the extract clearly shows that many believe it is in America's best interest to force Israel to make concessions so that America can live happily everafter in fantasy land. But Doran argues es vet do gurnisht helfen, that sacrificing Israel will gain little and in fact may be folly.
Unqualified U.S. support for Israel, the critics reason, drives a wedge between Washington and the Arabs, most of whom support Palestinian aspirations; for the United States to improve its regional position, it must remove the wedge by tilting somewhat toward the Palestinians. The problem with this argument is that it rests on two hidden and faulty assumptions: about how much Washington would have to change its stance, and about how much goodwill that change would produce.
Unfortunately, Americans and Arabs nurture such different conceptions of what constitutes a just solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that it is hard to imagine Washington ever adopting a policy toward it that would be truly popular in the Arab world. The most "pro-Palestinian" policy realistically conceivable would look something like the Clinton plan presented in late 2000, but even this would entail major Palestinian compromises (such as the renunciation of the right of pre-1967 refugees to return to their homes inside Israel proper). Under the right conditions, a handful of Arab leaders might be induced to endorse such a settlement, but they would be denounced by others as puppets of Washington and the Jews. Suicide bombings would very likely continue, and the United States would still find itself entangled in a passionate communal conflict. The Palestine wedge would thus remain in place -- smaller and less troubling, perhaps, but a wedge nonetheless.
Even if the United States were somehow able to broker a stable Palestinian-Israeli settlement that met many Arab aspirations, however, this would not necessarily generate a great deal of goodwill. Those who argue the opposite see Palestine as the primary obstacle blocking an American-Arab rapprochement. They claim, correctly, that Arab political discourse revolves around Palestine and that a great many Arabs hold the United States responsible for Palestinian suffering. But what they overlook is that although Palestine is central to the symbolism of Arab politics, it is actually marginal to its substance.
The Abu Ghosh family elders sitting in the Caravan Cafe last night were sure their almost-entirely Arab town would give a plurality of its nearly 3,000 votes to Shas - a party formed and run by religious Jews. No one was surprised that Shas was doing well in this prosperous village of stone villas where the Labor Party got 40 percent of the vote last time. The real surprise was that a radical Arab party that got no support last time was positioned to finish a close second.
In the State of the Union Speech last night, Bush intoned
Our war against terror is a contest of will in which perseverance is powerHe went on to assure the world of American's staying power. His determination recalled for me his September 20, 2001 speech to Congress in which he promised,
We will not tire, we will not falter, and we will not failHe must have been reading my blog You gotta have heart which appeared last week.
Bush is the right man with the right stuff.
An interesting analysis in The New Republic of the Left and the Right in France.
...Aside from those extreme-nationalist nostalgics on the aging Vichyite and ultramontane right, there is little anti-Semitism among French conservatives today. They certainly do not make alliances with, or excuses for, people who cite the Protocols of the Elders of Zion as evidence of anything. Alas, this cannot be said for the old and young left that once prided itself on its principled animus to racisms of all sorts. La Nouvelle Judeophobie, written by Director of Research at the Centre Nationale de Recherche Scientifique Pierre-Andre Taguieff and published in 2001 by Fayard, painstakingly documents how the core expressions of the self-described "anti-racist" left--its intellectuals, academics, journalists, bien-pensants, and artists--are downright anti-Semitic. These people are not Islamists, nor do they have icons of Karl Marx sequestered in their closets. They are your ordinary readers of Le Monde and Liberation, accustomed to uttering dicta and having them taken seriously. And their views are echoed by the polled public opinion of ordinary Frenchmen.
A Jewish clone or a way of skirting American law? Cult head claims clone is in Israel.
FORT LAUDERDALE -- Broward Circuit Judge John Frusciante ruled Wednesday that he has no jurisdiction in the Clonaid case and threw the case out after the president of the group claimed the world's first cloned baby, which is known as Eve, is living in Israel.
Brigitte Boisselier, president of the shadowy group Clonaid, made the disclosure during a hearing into whether Florida should appoint a guardian for the child. She also said two other cloned babies have been born since Eve's alleged birth late last month.
The group has offered no proof that the babies are clones or even exist. Boisselier originally promised DNA tests on Eve, but later backed out saying the parents were concerned the court was trying to take the baby away.
Boisselier is a member of the Raelians, a religious sect that believes beings from outer space created life on Earth. Its founder, a former French journalist who calls himself Rael, established Clonaid in 1997.
Wednesday, Boisselier said she has only seen a videotape of Eve and has lost contact with the child's parents.
"I can tell you this baby is not in the United State and has never been in the United States," Boisselier said.
Ordered to tell where the baby was, Boisselier said: " The baby is in israel ... The child and mother are in Israel." She said she did not have an exact address and had lost contact with them.
After Boisselier's testimony, Frusciante ruled that he has no jurisdiction because there was no proof the child had been in Florida and tossed the case out. He did request that the Florida Department of Children and Families and child agencies in Israel look into the child's welfare [more]
Pipes' speech itself was uneventful, albeit fairly interesting and insightful. Basically he focused on his tried and true thesis that nothing can move forward with Middle East peace until Arab Rejectionism of Israel is decisively removed from the culture.
However, the pre-speech protest was truly entertaining. Below are some of the better ones:
·"We Have Rights. Down With Pipes" (alternated with "Indict Pipes")
·"Nobody has a monopoly on the truth"
(except for maybe those who tell it)
·End Policing of our Schools, Cities and World.
(ahhh....blessed anarchy...G-d Bless these Democracy loving Canadians)
·Pot Smokers United Against Pipes
(too easy...make up your own)
· "We are here in the name of academic freedom. We don't like what Pipes has to say and it's our right to try and stop him from speaking."
One set of Posters had three big words on it "Racism, Hatred, Oppression" - insinuating that this is what Pipes stands for. It seemed kind of contradictory when these people were in effect preaching all of these things.
There were also at least seven different anti-Pipes flyers and posters EVERYWHERE in every building of the whole university. Kind of not so environmentally friendly.
Most seemed to conveniently ignore the distinction between Islamism (militant fundamentalist Islam) and the religion of Islam.
The absurd scene of these "Peace Protesters" hovering around this little helpless frum girl yelling at her and her "racist kind" was definitely a scene out of a bad movie that in the words of Baby Bush "I have no interest in watching again".
In my humble opinion, Academic Freedom is not the right to lie. If you have not lied then you should have no problem being held accountable for what you have said, written or taught. Alternatively, sometimes the truth hurts and will make some feel uncomfortable. Truth has indeed been the greatest casusalty of the "Academic Intifada".
Also, just a question - Does every campus have a Keffiyeh-clad guy (this new fancy kind with the Palestinian flag embedded in the fringes - pretty sweet!) in a wheelchair spewing anti-Israel propaganda through a megaphone, or just this one?
The following series of posts appeared in NRO's The Corner yesterday (is it considered a blog?).
FIRST FOR EVERYTHING [Jonah Goldberg]
I get email from military personnel every day. I also get email from people calling me a treacherous stooge for ZOG every day. Until today, there was never any overlap between the two groups of correspondents. He identifies himself as a Captain in the Marine and I take him at his word (I don't post anyone's name without permission). Anyway, I think he's making a fool out of himself to say the least. Still, it's disappointing considering how much I admire the military and particularly the Marines.
Dear J. Goldberg,
Relative to so-called American patriots like yourself, France is staking out a policy vis a vis Iraq, that it could be persuasively argued - is one as Pro-American, as you claim it's self-serving for France.
The Star of David, not The Stars and Stripes is the only flag you'll salute and mean it.
I'm just one of many NCO's and Commissioned Officers en route to Kuwait, who think that an attack on Iraq only boosts one country's interests - Our "good friend" Israel.
And, guess what, slick - fighting and maybe dying for a foreign country doesn't sit well with a lot of us. Until you and all your other gungho Jewish buds are ready to suit up, and fight hard, keep your damn mouth shut.
Israel's your country. You've got no right to an opinion, as an American. That's just a blessing of birth.
MARINE IV [Jonah Goldberg] -
I do like this guy's (eyes of the world) "same war" argument but I want it to be known that I take absolutely no position on Marine-IDF match-ups. While I think friendly rivalry between allies is a good thing, I do not want to get into the middle of this argument:
[the Marine crank writes:]"Until you and all your other gungho Jewish buds are ready to suit up, and fight hard, keep your damn mouth shut."
I served in the IDF (very recently) and we all felt like we were fighting America's war. 9/11 just reinforced this fact. If this guy doesn't want to fight my war, then I want two years of my life back where my duties included guarding a working Coca-Cola factory in an abandonded (due to constant firefights) industrial zone outside of Ramallah and dispersing "protesters" who while they were burning American flags were shooting very real bullets at me and my Jewish friends.
Excuse me, just who is fighting whose war?
Is this guy also questioning how hard we fight? It is a fact that in joint exercises conducted in Israel a rag-tag bunch of 19 year old Israeli NCOs consistently embarrass the Marines who come to train in head-to-head exercises. It is also a fact that we are fighting in and around our own borders agianst near impossible odds and have fought off every attack in our history - attacks aimed at erasing our existence from the planet.
What kind of wacko is this Marine who doesn't realize that the sides of this war have been drawn. Not by America, not by the Jews, not by Israel, but by people who burn flags, crash airplanes into buildings, use civilian casualties for media sympathy and who if they had their way would ban the Super Bowl, Nude Beaches, Rock'n' Roll and Beer (Belgian or otherwise) in one fell swoop.
FAIR POINT [Jonah Goldberg]
From another military reader (NRO has lots of 'em):
Jonah, Personally, I wouldn't have posted "Marine IV" for all the world to see. The ONLY thing most people (especially Marines) are going to remember from it is the IDF vs. Marines stuff, and there's just no need to stir that pot, especially at this time. Also, I really resent how this IDF guy seems to believe that the bozo Marine speaks for all U.S. servicemen when he obviously does not.
IDF GUY RESPONDS [Jonah Goldberg]
"Also, I really resent how this IDF guy seems to believe that the bozo Marine speaks for all U.S. servicemen when he obviously does not."
I certainly do not think that this wacko represents all US Servicemen. However, I was certainly very dissapointed to read that ANY US serviceman holds this view. As someone who was risking my life on the front-lines of freedom long before 9/11 woke you guys up, it was indeed a personal affront (not just to Jonah).
In fact, every Marine I've met was not only a great guy, but an A-1 proffessional soldier.
I do apologize for the point about the joint-exercises (to be honest I thought you wouldn't post that part), I agree that this is not the time to drudge up these issues ... I guess I was reacting to what was again, a very personal affront. Jonah rightly noted it is nothing more than a freindly rivalry between two very serious and friendly allies who take great pride in what they do.
The point I intended to make was the one about fighting for common interests and defending the same values of liberty, freedom and democracy.
I would like to express my heartfelt appreciation for all those straight-thinking US servicemen who have bravely and courageously fought on the side of freedom and remind everyone that America indeed has a friend to be proud of in Israel.
Admittedly maybe a little too much truth to handle, but all in all, I think that went well.
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For those who have seen the Israel in a nutshell online presentation, there is a new one available online thanks to the Canadian Jewish Political Action Committee
Matthew A. Levitt writing in National Review Online observes what has been noted a number of times: The Arab media, state controlled, allows the blaming of all Arab/Muslim problems on Israel and the U.S.
Well into the second year of a global war on terrorism, key Arab journalists and intellectuals continue to whitewash Middle Eastern terrorism. In effect, there currently exists a pan-Arab state of denial.
The shallow nature of America's anti-terror partnerships in the Middle East is only partly a result of the State Department's ineffectual public-diplomacy campaign. Indeed, no information campaign can stand a chance so long as the region's hearts and minds continue to be poisoned by a media concerned less with addressing the Arab world's ills than with spinning conspiracy theories and (to borrow a term from Fouad Ajami) "endless escapes" to explain those ills away.
The Arab media deny most of the terrorist threat facing the world today, and excuse the rest. For example, in the wake of a Hamas suicide bombing in Jerusalem on November 21, 2002, several Egyptian newspaper editorials hailed the suicide attack as a "valiant, courageous operation" and "most honorable mission" (Al-Gumhuriyya, 11/22/02), and described the noncombatant, civilian victims as "terrorists" (Al-Akhbar, 11/22/02).
We can hardly expect the support of the Arab masses in the war on terror when their most respected journalists and intellectuals are apologists for terrorism. The Arab public readily accepts such apologetics and blame-shifting as fact, hungrily consuming them so long as the blame can be shifted elsewhere, and Arabs are not forced to take any responsibility for either the current state of affairs or the radicalism it fosters.
The on again off again appearance of Daniel Pipes at York University, says, The National Post was filled with supporters and detractors but was without any major incidents.
TORONTO - Daniel Pipes, the conservative scholar whose Middle East Forum seeks to shame leftist academics into harsher criticism of Arab politics, walked into a York University gymnasium yesterday to a standing ovation from half the audience and resentful silence from the rest.
His brief speech, in which he argued Middle East peace depends on Arab recognition of Israel, was significant simply because he was allowed to give it. An organized effort by student and faculty groups to ban the Philadelphia-based scholar, who was invited to speak by York's Jewish Students Federation, was stopped dead last week by school president Lorna Marsden.
In his speech, Dr. Pipes said there is a tolerance among the public for criticism of the role of violence in Arab politics, but that most university professors are engaged in "apologetics to the point of distortion." Those who hold dissenting views remain silent out of fear of academic reprisal, he said, referring to universities as "islands of repression in a sea of tolerance.
"The sources of this kind of hostility to freedom of speech are not on the right but the left, not Christian radicals but Islamists," Dr. Pipes said. "These are barbarians who would close down civil discourse."
He said Palestinians need to abandon "ugly dreams of destroying their neighbour. Until that time, their fate will be dictatorship, poverty and backwardness.