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News and views on Israel, Zionism and the war on terrorism.

March 22, 2003

by David Parsons (International Christian Embassy, Jerusalem)

" feisty British parliamentarians weighed the use of force to disarm the rogue Iraqi regime, Blair joined speaker after speaker in suggesting that Israel should be next in line.

Indeed, Blair insisted that he does not believe there is "any other issue with the same power to re-unite the world community than progress on the issues of Israel and Palestine." In other words, the quickest way to mend the huge rifts that have developed worldwide over the Iraqi threat is to impose on Israel the "roadmap" to Palestinian statehood.

Even in resigning from the cabinet over Blair's policy on Iraq, House leader Robin Cook found common ground with him on Israel, [erroneously] accusing the Jewish state of defying UN Security Council resolutions far longer than Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.

Incredibly, Israel was repeatedly presented as a scapegoat for the region's ills, and a sacrifice that will re-unite the world."

Someone wrote recently that Blair's help to the US is going to cost Israel more than she can afford. This piece , coming from a pro-Israel Christian organisation, is an important reading in this context.

Islamists Have Infiltrated America

Most Islamic Army Chaplains are Wahabis.

American muslim soldier responsilbe for grenade attack at marine base camp of 101st airborne in Kuwait.

From college campuses to the US army, Islamists have infiltrated America.

Who Said There's No Anti-Semitism in France?

If we can't trust Chirac to take care of his own country, we certainly can't trust him in the UN.

From the Jerusalem Post: Peace demonstrators in France stab 2 Jewish boys
According to the Jewish Agency, Anti-American demonstrators attacked and wounded two young boys Saturday. The boys were participating in an educational activity of the Hashomer Hatsa'ir youth movement, taking place nearby.

The Jewish Agency called on the French government "to assume its responsibility for the security of its Jewish citizens, and to prevent violence against Jews or anti-Semitic acts under the guise of pacifist protest".
Come and demonstrate against anti-Israel bias on NPR

Fed up with NPR's biased coverage of Israel?

Let's let NPR know, all across the nation!

On March 27th, friends of Israel will be speaking out all over the country against NPR's biased coverage of Israel and the Middle East. There are demonstrations planned in many cities, including:

Baltimore, MD; Boston, MA; Chicago, IL; Denver, CO; Hartford, CT; Los Angeles, CA; Philadelphia, PA; Pittsburgh, PA; New York, NY; Newark, NJ; San Francisco, CA; St. Louis, MO; St. Paul, MN; Washington, DC

(Note: In Boston, MA--this is also going to be a pro-Israel and pro-USA rally!)

For more information
America's 'high horse' (Ted Belman)

Ride 'em, cowboy

Thomas Friedman in his NY Times column, "D-Day", today, restates his position
This column has argued throughout this debate that removing Saddam Hussein and helping Iraq replace his regime with a decent, accountable government that can serve as a model in the Middle East is worth doing — not because Iraq threatens us with its weapons, but because we are threatened by a collection of failing Arab-Muslim states, which churn out way too many young people who feel humiliated, voiceless and left behind. We have a real interest in partnering with them for change.
You will note that he accepts that, it is not just about Iraq, it is about “a collection of failing Arab Muslim states”. After arguing that “it had to be done with maximum U.N legitimacy and with as many allies as possible”, he levies his indictment
Though the Bush team came to office with this Iraq project in mind, it has pursued a narrow, ideological and bullying foreign policy that has alienated so many people that by the time it wanted to rustle up a posse for an Iraq war, too many nations were suspicious of its motives.
And then some support
The president's view is that in the absence of a U.N. endorsement, this war will become "self-legitimating" when the world sees most Iraqis greet U.S. troops as liberators. I think there is a good chance that will play out.
And then he gets back on his hobbyhorse, i.e. the need for world support and international legitimacy.
To maximize our chances of doing that, we need to patch things up with the world. Because having more allied support in rebuilding Iraq will increase the odds that we do it right, and because if the breach that has been opened between us and our traditional friends hardens into hostility, we will find it much tougher to manage both Iraq and all the other threats down the road. That means the Bush team needs an "attitude lobotomy" — it needs to get off its high horse and start engaging people on the World Street, listening to what's bothering them, and also telling them what's bothering us.
He is not willing to accept that the world, more particularly, Old Europe, has become a hindrance, not a help. He places the onus on the US to patch things up and not on France. He assumes that an unworkable coalition has a better chance of doing it right than a coalition of the willing. Finally he condemns the foreign policy principles that were the hallmark of the Reagan administration, to great success, and are the hallmarks of this administration by advocating an “attitude lobotomy”. Essentially he is arguing for multilateralism and not unilateralism.

No doubt he is in favour of the Road Map for the same reason.

To my mind, this is a prescription for half measure, compromised goals and principles, emasculation, inaction, status quoism rather than boldly and uncompromisingly riding off into this century on our “high horse”.

Palestinian protesters call on Saddam to 'burnTel Aviv'

Haaretz articlesee link for article. Note that this is in Jerusalem!
Mounted police dispersing pro-Iraqi Palestinian rioters in Jerusalem on Friday.
Israeli technology contributes to Iraq war

When people ask what the U.S. gets for its aid to Israel, their education can start with this.
After decades of U.S. military aid and defense cooperation, the U.S. military is permeated by technology developed in Israel — from the Army's Hunter drones to the targeting systems on the U.S. Marines' Harrier jets to the fuel tanks on its F-15 fighters...

A B-52 bomber could fire Popeye air-to-surface missiles — dubbed AGM-142 by the U.S. Air Force — at ground targets. The precision-guided Popeyes were designed by Rafael, a company partially owned by the government of Israel...

Some of the Army's Bradley fighting vehicles are guided by on-board computers supplied by a subsidiary of Israel's Elbit Systems, Shapir said. U.S. troops riding in the Bradleys might also be protected by armor from Rafael, said Lova Drori, Rafael's director of international marketing...

Much of the equipment is manufactured in the United States by subsidiaries of Israeli companies, or through joint ventures with U.S. weapons manufacturers.

Worshipping golden calves

No to settlements, yes to Palestinian state

Avraham Feder of Moreshet Yisrael, a Masorti/Conservative congregation in Jerusalem
There are all kinds of golden calves. Even ideas can be held to with an allegiance so blindly absolute that despite cogent contrary arguments they become petrified objects of worship.

Two such golden calves are being worshipped by the Reform Movement's Union of American Hebrew Congregations as they feel compelled at this time to push for a resolution at the Jewish Council for Public Affairs calling for the establishment of a Palestinian state and for a freeze on Jewish settlements in Eretz Yisrael.

The idea of a second Palestinian state west of the Jordan River living in peace with the State of Israel was aborted by the Arabs in 1948. Ever since, the Arabs have conspired to sabotage any possibility of a two-state solution by seeking through war, terror and cunning diplomacy to destroy the Jewish state. Yet there are Jews and Jewish organizations who, obsessed with an id e fixe, keep insisting that now the two-state solution is a necessity.

The bloody disaster that has followed in the wake of the Oslo Accords was predictable in that Yasser Arafat had been murdering Jewish civilians for 30 years and would not relent unless Israel as a state disappeared.

Why then must Jews, of all people, be advancing today the establishment of a state for a people whose leaders have defiled the noble idea of self-determination, preoccupying themselves with terror, suicide-murder and the indoctrination of hatred instead of social reconstruction and education-for-peace?

As for the settlements, how many times must Jews and Jewish organizations be reminded that those parts of Eretz Yisrael which Jewish tradition calls Judea and Samaria are, legally speaking, not "conquered" or "occupied" territory?

According to international convention they are territories currently in dispute. Israel has every right to populate these territories with as many Jews as possible in the interest of fulfilling what the Jewish people perceive as Zionist destiny.

If some day a peace agreement is reached between the Jews and the Arabs, why should Jews of all people pre-judge today the number of Jews or Jewish communities which should be permitted to live anywhere they choose to live in Eretz Yisrael?

DIASPORA organizations like the UAHC which prognosticate about what Israel ought to do are undoubtedly driven by what they would insist are moral, religious and realpolitik considerations. They claim "sincerely" that they don't wish to see Israel causing a rift over these issues with President George W. Bush; and that even Prime Minister Ariel Sharon appears to favor the establishment of a Palestinian state and the limiting of settlement expansion.

What then is wrong with committed Diaspora Zionists like the UAHC expressing similar views? Bush and especially Sharon have conditioned their support for a Palestinian "state" on Arab acceptance of Israeli legitimacy, the end of Arab terrorism, the demilitarization of such a state, the relinquishing of the Palestinian demand for the "return" of refugees, and Arab acceptance of Jewish claims on Jerusalem.

If these are the conditions, then the appearance of a Palestinian state in any form may not be as imminent as the UAHC would like to believe.

Why the UAHC anxieties? Is it "moral" pressure urged on by abstract Kantian principles of justice and fairness associated traditionally with Reform Judaism, but which have been relegated to irrelevancy in the face of the 100-year Arab campaign against all Jewish settlement in Israel? Is it "religious" pressure in the name of a utopian, universalistic neo-Judaism spawned by the European Emancipation but totally discredited by the Holocaust which stubbornly refuses to recognize that authentic biblical-rabbinic-Zionist Judaism insists on the centrality of Eretz Yisrael in any understanding of what Judaism is and should be for Jews?

With the American attack on Iraq imminent, no one can predict with certainty where realpolitik diplomacy vis- -vis the Middle East will be heading after the war. It may very well be that Israel will be forced by US policy to make compromises it would otherwise be reluctant to make.

On the other hand, the volatile elements that make up the Middle East cauldron may just allow Israel to gain some well-earned strategic advantages. For Jews Diaspora Jews no less to foreclose such advantageous possibilities for the fulfillment of Jewish and Zionist visions by publicly pressing now for the surrender of Judea and Samaria in favor of a rogue state is na ve to the point of being pernicious.

The golden calves in the Bible were ground to dust and made to be swallowed by the idolaters. Hamevin yavin! Let those who are willing to understand draw the appropriate conclusion.
The end of the UN as we know it

Its abject failure gave us only anarchy. The world needs order

The Guardian invites Perle to speak
[...]Saddam Hussein's reign of terror is about to end. He will go quickly, but not alone: in a parting irony, he will take the UN down with him. Well, not the whole UN. The "good works" part will survive, the low-risk peacekeeping bureaucracies will remain, the chatterbox on the Hudson will continue to bleat. What will die is the fantasy of the UN as the foundation of a new world order. As we sift the debris, it will be important to preserve, the better to understand, the intellectual wreckage of the liberal conceit of safety through international law administered by international institutions.

[...]When challenged with the argument that if a policy is right with the approbation of the security council, how can it be wrong just because communist China or Russia or France or a gaggle of minor dictatorships withhold their assent, she fell back on the primacy of "order" versus "anarchy".

[...]The chronic failure of the security council to enforce its own resolutions is unmistakable: it is simply not up to the task. We are left with coalitions of the willing. Far from disparaging them as a threat to a new world order, we should recognise that they are, by default, the best hope for that order, and the true alternative to the anarchy of the abject failure of the UN.
An Arab case for war

An interesting piece that appears at the Nick Denton blog, from his archives and well worth a read

From a discussion on Al-Jazeera, Egyptian historian Ahmad Othman: "If the Americans enter, change the regime in Iraq, and bring in a democratic regime, it will be possible to replace the other regimes later. This is what Napoleon did. When he reached Egypt, the Mamelukes fled and a democratic movement arose, and the Egyptian people began to talk for the first time. The modern Arab renaissance began after Napoleon. But what happened is that after September 11, the Americans realized that the dictatorial regimes in the Arab region produce terrorists who attack America and Europe. The entire world lives in fear of the terrorists that these regimes produce. The Americans realized this. They do not want to establish democracy for our sake, but in order to defend themselves."
The Qatari television station Al-Jazeera broadcast a discussion titled "Why the Arabs Have Become the Joke of the World." Participants in the discussion, moderated by Dr. Faysal Al-Qassem, included Algerian journalist Yahya Abu Zakaria, identified as an Islamist and resident of Sweden, and Egyptian historian Ahmad Othman, identified as a liberal. The following are excerpts from the discussion: (1)

'The Arab Ruler is a Thief, an Agent, a Slaughterer, and a Contemptible Ruler'
Yahya Abu Zakaria: "...I am completely convinced that the Arab ruler, in his cruelty, repression, and oppression of the peoples, bears most, if not all, the responsibility for the collapse of the Arab [world], politically, economically, and culturally. The Arab ruler has not managed to come up with a political plan to advance the country and the people. This Arab ruler made the country his, and his alone; he turned it into a commercial company and appointed his sons and relatives to be supervisors. In addition, the Arab ruler treats the Arab people with disdain. We have rulers in the Arab region who came to power on a tank. Some came out of a British tent, and some out of an American tent, and they have ruled us for decades."

"If they had even a grain of shame, they would withdraw from the political arena and leave it to the young political leaders... But the Arab ruler has turned into a slaughterer and a thief, and he gambles with the livelihood of the peoples. He has become a thief who steals the people's bread." [more]
Past Mideast Invasions Faced Unexpected Perils

A Wall Street Journal piece that offers historical view of past attempt to invade and rule the Arab countries and the difficulties encountered

As President Bush steers the U.S. toward war, history offers a sobering lesson.

For two centuries, foreign powers have been conquering Mideast lands for their own purposes, promising to uplift Arab societies along the way. Sometimes they have modernized cities, taught new ideas and brought technologies.

But in nearly every incursion, both sides have endured a raft of unintended consequences. From Napoleon's drive into Egypt through Britain's rule of Iraq in the 1920s to Israel's march into Lebanon in 1982, Middle East nations have tempted conquerors only to send them reeling.

Little wonder that even many Arabs who revile Saddam Hussein view the prospect of a U.S.-led invasion of Iraq with trepidation. "Unless the Americans are far more subtle than they've ever had the capacity to be, and more subtle than the [colonial] British, it's going to end in tears," predicts Faisal Istrabadi, an Iraqi-born lawyer in Michigan who has worked with the State Department on plans to rebuild Iraq's judiciary. "The honeymoon will be very brief."

Again and again, Westerners have moved into the Mideast with confidence that they can impose freedom and modernity through military force. Along the way they have miscalculated support for their invasions, both internationally and in the lands they occupy. They have anointed cooperative minorities to help rule resentful majorities. They have been mired in occupations that last long after local support has vanished. They have met with bloody uprisings and put them down with brute force.

"We tend to overlook a basic rule: that people prefer bad rule by their own kind to good rule by somebody else," says Boston University historian David Fromkin, author of a 1989 classic on colonialism's failures in the Mideast called "A Peace to End All Peace." [more]

The Philosopher of Islamic Terror

ThisNY Times article offers a useful backgrounder on rise of Islamic terror and how it has spread throughout the ME area
In the days after Sept. 11, 2001, many people anticipated a quick and satisfying American victory over Al Qaeda. The terrorist army was thought to be no bigger than a pirate ship, and the newly vigilant police forces of the entire world were going to sink the ship with swift arrests and dark maneuvers. Al Qaeda was driven from its bases in Afghanistan. Arrests and maneuvers duly occurred and are still occurring. Just this month, one of Osama bin Laden's top lieutenants was nabbed in Pakistan. Police agents, as I write, seem to be hot on the trail of bin Laden himself, or so reports suggest.

Yet Al Qaeda has seemed unfazed. Its popularity, which was hard to imagine at first, has turned out to be large and genuine in more than a few countries. Al Qaeda upholds a paranoid and apocalyptic worldview, according to which ''Crusaders and Zionists'' have been conspiring for centuries to destroy Islam. And this worldview turns out to be widely accepted in many places -- a worldview that allowed many millions of people to regard the Sept. 11 attacks as an Israeli conspiracy, or perhaps a C.I.A. conspiracy, to undo Islam. Bin Laden's soulful, bearded face peers out from T-shirts and posters in a number of countries, quite as if he were the new Che Guevara, the mythic righter of cosmic wrongs.

The vigilant police in many countries, applying themselves at last, have raided a number of Muslim charities and Islamic banks, which stand accused of subsidizing the terrorists. These raids have advanced the war on still another front, which has been good to see. But the raids have also shown that Al Qaeda is not only popular; it is also institutionally solid, with a worldwide network of clandestine resources. This is not the Symbionese Liberation Army. This is an organization with ties to the ruling elites in a number of countries; an organization that, were it given the chance to strike up an alliance with Saddam Hussein's Baath movement, would be doubly terrifying; an organization that, in any case, will surely survive the outcome in Iraq. [more

March 21, 2003

Hamas urges Iraqi suicide attacks

Thousands of Palestinians also voiced their anger over the U.S.-led war in Iraq by protesting across the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Some demonstrators urged Iraq to attack Tel Aviv -- as it did, with Scud missiles, during the 1991 Gulf war.

"Iraqis should prepare explosive belts and would-be martyrs (suicide bombers) to combat the U.S. occupiers," senior Hamas leader Abdel Aziz-al-Rantissi told Reuters in the Gaza Strip.

"The American aggressors, the American invaders are now on Iraqi soil, therefore, Iraqis must confront them with all possible means, including martyrdom (suicide) operations."

Hamas, which is sworn to Israel's destruction, has spearheaded a suicide bombing campaign which has killed hundreds of Israelis since interim peace accords were signed in 1993.

Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, the group's spiritual leader, later echoed Rantissi's call for suicide attacks and urged the Iraqi people "to destroy every tank, to kill every soldier."

The Islamic Jihad, another militant group that has carried out suicide bombings against Israelis, also took up the call.

"We urge all advance in their explosive belts toward the invading forces, to blow up their blessed bodies amid the new aggressive crusader forces," it said in a statement sent to Reuters in Beirut.


Iraqi President Saddam Hussein has given payments of $25,000 to the families of suicide bombers who have carried out attacks against Israel since a Palestinian uprising for statehood began in September 2000 after peace negotiations became deadlocked. the payouts have run into millions of dollars.

Thousands of Palestinians took to the streets on Friday, the second successive day of protests against the U.S-led war.

"Oh Saddam, oh beloved, strike, strike Tel Aviv," protesters chanted during a march by about 4,000 people in Gaza City.

Many demonstrators waved Iraqi flags and others carried portraits of Saddam. One slogan being chanted in Gaza demanded an Iraqi attack on Tel Aviv with chemical weapons.

Thirty-nine Scud missiles hit Israel during the 1991 U.S.-led Gulf war to oust Iraqi occupation forces from Kuwait, all carried conventional warheads.

Palestinians also protested in the West Bank cities of Bethlehem, Ramallah, Qalqilya and Bethlehem, and in Khan Younis and Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip.

Those protests ended peacefully but Israeli police used teargas to break up a protest in Jerusalem by several dozen Palestinians who chanted: "With our blood and our souls we will redeem you Iraq." No one was hurt or detained, police said.

"It is a war between the unbelievers (the United States and Britain) and the Muslims in Iraq and everywhere. Silence is a sin," said Amin Saeed, 26, in Gaza City.

Hajj Hussein, an elderly Palestinian from Jabalya refugee camp in Gaza, said: "I am saddened and shocked by the scenes of bombardment of Iraq. I feel it because our homes and camps are subject to similar attacks by the Jews here."

Um Adel, a woman holding an Iraqi flag in Gaza City, said: "Saddam is the only honest and heroic Arab leader. All the others are cowards and collaborators with the Americans."
Fleeing the Holocaust, Only to Find It Waiting at Sea

A review of book that tells a story little known. From such incidents, a recogniton that Jews needed a homeland. Reg (free) req'd
On Feb. 24, 1942, a ship crowded with Jewish refugees fleeing Romania sank in the Black Sea. Of the nearly 800 men, women and children on board who had hoped to reach Palestine, only one man, a 19-year-old named David Stoliar, survived. The ship was the Struma and its tragic story is the subject of Douglas Frantz and Catherine Collins's compelling book, "Death on the Black Sea: The Untold Story of the Struma and World War II's Holocaust at Sea."

Though largely forgotten today, the Struma was the worst civilian maritime disaster of the war. When the ship went down it became a rallying cry for Zionists who blamed Britain for refusing to allow the ship entry to Palestine or to grant it a temporary resting place in a British colony. But as Mr. Frantz, former investigations editor and correspondent for The New York Times, and Ms. Collins, a journalist based in Turkey, make clear, it was also the murderous indifference of Turkey, which set the ship adrift in the Black Sea without a working engine, and the brutality of the Soviet Union, which actually torpedoed the Struma, that share responsibility.

And of course the story unfolds against the black backdrop of the European war against the Jews. Tickets for the Struma went on sale on Sept. 3, 1941, the day the Nazis began experimenting with gas chambers at Auschwitz. In Romania the Iron Guard had begun slaughtering Jews even before the country entered the war on the German side.

Mr. Frantz and Ms. Collins offer a useful introduction to the peculiar character of the Holocaust in Romania — a country that had changed sides three times during World War I and that had been awarded large holdings from Russia and Hungary and Austria for finishing on the side of the Allies.

The new acquisitions greatly enlarged the Jewish population of a country that was the last European nation to grant citizenship — in 1923 — to its Jews. Remarkably, roughly half of Romania's 750,000 Jews survived the war, but the country's early, spasmodic acts of anti-Semitic violence stand out even in the general inhumanity of the Holocaust: during a pogrom in Bucharest in early 1941, Jews were forced to crawl through a slaughterhouse where they were butchered like cattle, beheaded and stamped "fit for human consumption."

The account of Romanian brutality helps explain the willingness of Jews to risk their lives on ill-equipped, overcrowded ships. The Struma, which had been a Danube cattle barge, was primarily carrying wealthy Jews who could afford the exorbitant ticket prices, along with young men from Betar, the right-wing Zionist youth group that helped organize illegal immigration
Columbia U's Radical Middle East Faculty

Front Page piece on Columbia Universtiy's Middle East Faculty
Corigliano’s critique of Columbia’s department of Middle Eastern languages and cultures (MEALAC), is should put the university on notice that it has a problem. Unfortunately, that problem is about to get worse, with the arrival of Rashid Khalidi next fall as MEALAC’s inaugural (anonymously funded) “Edward Said Professor of Middle East Studies” and head of the university’s Middle East Institute.

A glance at Khalidi’s work shows why this is a step in the wrong direction for Columbia University. His writings and statements routinely cross the line from education into a political advocacy that is not just extremist but often factually wrong. Four examples:

On American foreign policy. Following Saddam’s 1990 invasion of Kuwait, Khalidi called the widespread resistance to this act of aggression an “idiots’ consensus” and called on his colleagues to combat it.[i] After 9/11, he admonished Washington to drop what he called its “hysteria about suicide bombers.”[ii]

Khalidi asserts that the U.S. government has “yet to support the independence of Arab Palestine,”[iii] despite open endorsement by President George W. Bush of a Palestinian state[iv], and nearly $1 billion in direct U.S. aid to the West Bank and Gaza since 1993.[v]

And beware anyone who disagrees with Khalidi! He throws reckless accusations out against them, such as calling Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz “a fanatical, extreme right-wing Zionist.”[vi][more]


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from Dry Bones Jerusalem Post
Pro-Palestinian American activist wounded in clash with IDF
Another foolish "idealist" gets in the way and is injured byIDF

A pro-Palestinian American activist was wounded by rubber bullets fired by a border policeman during a confrontation with dozens of stone-throwing youths in Nablus on Thursday.

Eric Williams Howanietz, 21, of Chicago, is a member of the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), which opposes Israeli policies in the territories through nonviolent means. And the rest gives a pro-Palestinian perspective. What does "non violent mean" suggest when rocks are being thrown by Arabs and Israelis do their job in response? [more]
The Arab Coalition

Dennis Ross writes about a new Arab view of the attack on Saddam
While many European leaders remain deeply fearful of the fallout from a war with Iraq, many Arab leaders in the Middle East began several weeks ago to adjust to what they perceive to be a new reality. They stopped trying to prevent the war and instead began signalling that they wanted neither to be on the wrong side of the conflict nor on the wrong side of the U.S. -- or our broader agenda in the region.

Consider Egypt's press, which has been emphasizing that Saddam Hussein is bringing the conflict on himself. In his trip to Berlin, Hosni Mubarak emphasized to his hosts that it was time to get the conflict over and remove Saddam. In Washington, a high-level Egyptian delegation made it clear recently that they would not oppose us and, in anticipation of our emphasis after the war, also suggested that Egypt did have a serious, if measured, approach to internal reform.

The Saudis, though more circumspect on the war, have also indicated a greater willingness to permit U.S. operations out of the kingdom during the conflict. Crown Prince Abdullah is now openly calling for a new charter on reform to be adopted by the Arab League. Both the Egyptians and Saudis seem to have anticipated President Bush's speech in which he proclaimed that the liberation of Iraq might be a springboard to broader transformations in the region. And both seem to see the way the wind is blowing in the area -- and they intend, at least tactically, to be on the right side of those winds.

They are not the only ones. Jordan publicly announced that an American contingent would come to the country to man Patriot missile batteries. Can anyone doubt that the Jordanian government was making a statement about where it was lining up in the event of war with Iraq? Contrast this posture with Jordan's posture during the Gulf War 12 years ago.

Syria's behavior is even more surprising. Not only has it been restraining Hezbollah of late, but as if to convey that it will not be a problem, Syria has withdrawn 4,000 troops from Lebanon.

What is going on? The political culture in the region has always put a premium on power and adjusted to it. The Arab leaders in the Middle East have accepted that we will go to war and that Saddam will be removed. For them, it is a given.

Does that mean that we don't face hostility from the so-called Arab street? No, but it means that no one is out there defending Saddam. And it also means that the anger -- though genuine -- was bound in some ways to become more pronounced at the point when our buildup to war was increasing, when the anticipation of the Iraqi people paying a terrible price was most acute, and yet when the results of the war could only be an abstraction.[more]

"Oslo was a Trojan Horse": Israel's Chief of Staff speaks on war's eve
Major-General Moshe "Boogie" Yaalon, Chief of Staff of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), climbs out of an armored personnel carrier and steps into the mud between the orchards near the Jabaliya refugee camp in the northern Gaza Strip.

"I spend a lot of time looking at aerial photos, but in order to understand how hard it is to walk in mud -- and how difficult it is to counter Qassam rockets -- you have to go into the field and feel it," Yaalon explains.

How can you deal with the Qassam rockets that have been falling again and again on the town of Sderot, and the fear that an improved version of them will be able to reach the city of Ashkelon?

"The solution, in general, is deterrence. We saw in the past how, in the area of Beit Hanoun and Jabaliya, the residents themselves and the security services of the Palestinian Authority began a process of preventing the firing of Qassam rockets out of fear of the Israeli army's response. I imagine that like then, in the near future they will ask us to allow them to act. They will no doubt make another attempt at preventing the firing of the Qassam rockets themselves, because they say, 'We fire Qassam rockets on Sderot and it only makes a hole in the grass, but look what's happening here, what price we are paying.'" [more]
Israeli Forces Arrest Hamas Commander

- Israeli forces arrested a top Hamas commander and 13 other Palestinians overnight, the military said Friday as troops maintained a tight closure on the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Israeli special forces surrounded a house in Qalqiliya and arrested Raed Hutri, commander of Hamas forces in the West Bank town, along with his deputy, the military said Friday. Israel Radio said Hutri planned a suicide bombing in front of the seaside Dolphinarium night club that killed 21 people in Tel Aviv on June 1, 2001.

Palestinian security officials said Hutri recruited his nephew to carry out the suicide attack, but was not a senior Hamas figure.

The military said soldiers arrested 12 other suspected militants in the West Bank, including seven in the Old City of Nablus.

In the village of Doha, near Bethlehem, Israeli forces destroyed the house of Mohammed Dar-Yasin, who tried to carry out a suicide bombing in the nearby Jewish settlement of Efrat in February last year but was shot and killed.[more]
Hussein Continues to Give Aid to Palestinian Families

GAZA CITY -- As allied forces began their assault on Iraq on Thursday, families of Palestinians killed in fighting with Israel received $210,000 from Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.

Iraq has paid out more than $35 million to the families of suicide bombers and Palestinian civilians who have been killed in the nearly 30 months of Israel-Palestinian conflict.

Via a tiny pro-Iraq faction in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, Hussein's regime handed out $10,000 checks to the families of 21 Palestinians, including a member of Hamas -- an Islamic militant group that has killed hundreds of Israelis and is on the State Department's list of terrorist groups.

A leader of the pro-Iraq group told the families and hundreds of onlookers in a main square of Khan Yunis, a town on Gaza's border with Egypt, that the Iraqi regime would continue to support them.

Several men from the group fired submachine guns into the air each time Hussein's name was mentioned. Families receiving the money held Iraqi flags and pictures of the Iraqi president.

The payments have made Iraq popular among many Palestinians.

Most Palestinians oppose the U.S. offensive against Baghdad as unjustified, though many also consider Hussein to be a cruel dictator.

About 1,500 Palestinians took to the streets of Gaza City in an antiwar rally Thursday, chanting anti-U.S. sentiments. Some waved pictures of Hussein and burned American and British flags.

Abdelaziz Shahin, a Palestinian Cabinet minister who attended the rally, said the U.S.-led strike is a war "against all the Arabs and Muslims. It shows the real face of Bush."

On Rachel Corrie

Here's my response to an editorial that appeared in the Duke University Chronicle. I became aware of it thanks to Charles Johnson of Little Green Footballs.

I have been mulling Rachel Corrie's death around for some time. Some of the people on my ideological side of the fence have been rather callous in treating her death, as if it was deserved or some sort of Darwinian fait accompli. I do take their points that Corrie was giving succor to terrorists, and readers of this blog know I regard her socialist lot as mostly evil and beholden to antisemitism. Also the logistics of her death -- she made a habit of jumping in front of operating bulldozers -- are a no-brainer. She may have been murdered, but she was most likely killed accidentally. Even if the former were true, it doesn't amount to a general indictment of the IDF in the territories, where it faces a scattered and doggedly genocidal foe.

But I don't think it is a betrayal of principle to acknowledge that Corrie was a human being, and I wanted to approach her death from that perspective. She was young, and clearly wrongheaded. She ripped up the flag, and did so to indoctrinate innocent children in a life of hatred. There is a point after which good intentions mean nothing, yes. But I've done my share of vitriolic denunciation. I think there is another lesson to be taken from Corrie's death.

Rachel Corrie's death is not to be celebrated. It is not funny or deserved. It is, however, ambiguous. None of us was there, and articles like Ms. LaDue's betray a position that is inappropriately confident in both its conclusions and the politicized morality toward which it beckons.

We have incomplete but telling facts. They lead me to a different place than Ms. LaDue.

The state of Corrie's body, evident in a couple of the pictures floating about, belies the loaded claims of her fellow activists that her death was murderous. Note that her injuries are largely internal, notwithstanding some dramatic blood streaming from her nose and mouth.

This suggests that she was covered by heavy debris falling from the blade of the bulldozer, or scraped by the blade itself. She could not have been run over by it in a protracted way, getting anywhere near as far under the vehicle as the cockpit, as two of Corrie's fellow activists, Greg Schnabel and Joe Smith, have implied or claimed. Any contact with the belted wheels would have mauled her beyond recognition.

You might say that Schnabel and Smith's contention is possible because Corrie might have been cocooned in a mound of heavy debris when the bulldozer ran over her. This way she would be crushed rather than physically annihilated. If this was the case, her fellow activists would have had to dig her out of a considerably thick mound, and I have seen no mention made of this activity. And she should still have borne more dramatic external signs of injury.

A deliberate and murderous attack by the driver would have been likely to result in gross external injuries. The internal disposition of Corrie's trauma suggests a more quick or indirect impact, leading her to be inundated in falling concrete debris and dirt. Her death seems wrought through the driver's negligence or an honest accident. ISM activists employ a specific strategy that involves standing directly in front of operating bulldozers to disrupt them. An accident is hardly implausible.

Moving on, one should also note the photo-op calm of the activists tending to Corrie in the picture above. I am not saying for a moment that her death was staged. The sanguine disposition of those who rushed to her aid, however, suggests that they had just witnessed a less dramatic event than the end result of Corrie's death implies. I am led to believe that these activists saw something that they thought was not life-threatening at the time. They are concerned of course, but they do not have the affect of people who just watched their friend purposely mauled by the better half of a 50 ton machine.

My point is not to blindly exonerate the IDF any more than Ms. LaDue should attempt to lionize Palestinian terrorists. One should not use Rachel Corrie's death to augment the moral standing of one side or the other. Rather, I hope to demonstrate the healthy but honest skepticism that one should bring to bear on the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Gullible polemicists like Ms. LaDue treat Corrie's death as cheaply as Israel's foes expect the IDF will. In using her, they sully Israel's reputation. But ironically, they do more damage to the Palestinians for whom they care so disproportionately. By endlessly granting them a moral pass, Ms. LaDue and her kind ensure that Palestinians will remain in the disenfranchised misery they mistakenly ascribe to Zionism and its sympathizers in America.
Cross-posted at Fightin' with Grabes.

March 20, 2003

How to Write a Hate Israel Column

Twenty steps for success!

1. Use the term 'Zionist' liberally. Even if the context isn't clear.

2. The Zionist Entity is a good fall guy.

3. If you mention Ariel Sharon, ALWAYS follow it up with 'the butcher of Sabra and Chatilla.' For dramatic effect.

4. If a Jew speaks out against Israel, utilize the novelty. Thus, it is vitally important that you let the reader know they are a Jew.

5. Talk about 'Zionist opression' in order to close logic gaps. For example, if you need to reconicile how women in Saudi Arabia are beaten regularly by their husbands while in Israel that would be a crime, blame the Zionists for opressing the Arab people.

6. If an Israeli bulldozer knocks down one Palestinian home, it's worse than Auschwitz.

7. If you take information from a Hamas website, treat it as fact. If you take information from the Jerusalem Post, treat is suspiciously.

8. The Holocaust didn't happen, but Israeli Occupation is worse than it anyway.

9. If you write for Reuters, NEVER use the word 'terrorism.'

10. Remember that Rachel Corrie was killed in a tragic accident murdered by Zionist thugs. If you're writing for an American audience, remind them that she was an American. (For international audiences, don't remind them, since they hate Americans.)

11. If Ariel Sharon is found guilty of war crimes by a Belgian court, praise the decision as a defining moment for international justice (provided it doesn't happen to Arafat).

12. If Ariel Sharon is found innocent by that same court, decry the trial as a travesty of a mockery of a sham of a mockery of a travesty of two mockeries of a sham.

13. There was a massacre in Jenin. A big, huge massacre. Worse than the Holocaust. Lots of people (we don't know how many due to a Zionist coverup) died. (Note: Ignore the reports of Amnesty International, the Red Cross and HRW. While usually right, they are wrong this time.)

14. Historical context is unimportant. History begins in 1948 when evil Zionist Stormtroopers came out of the clouds and vanquished the peace-loving Palestinians from their villages.

15. Palestinians who kill woman and children not 'terrorists.' They are martyrs!

16. Israeli soliders who knock down houses to stop terrorists martyrs from shooting at them are the REAL terrorists.

17. Israeli Settlers are not people. They are a subhuman, mutated pseudohumanoid species bred in a secret laboratory by evil Zionist scientists who want to create an army of SuperJews to take over the world.

18. Every Israeli is a settler, no matter where they live.

19. Mention 'Greater Israel' a lot. It's not neccessary to be consistent about what this means, just mention it.

20. If you've got no fresh ideas, blame the Zionists.

Product of France

"...Commerce, which if properly managed, will be a better instrument for obliging the interested nations of Europe to treat us with justice."
Thomas Jefferson (1797)

Air Liquide, Alcatel, Allegra (allergy medication), Aqualung (including: Spirotechnique, Technisub, US Divers, and SeaQuest), AXA Advisors Bank of the West (owned by BNP Paribas), Beneteau (boats), BF Goodrich (owned by Michelin), BIC (razors, pens andlighters), Biotherm (cosmetics), Black Bush, Bollinger (champagne), Car & Driver Magazine, Cartier, Chanel, Cheese labeled "ProductofFrance", Chivas Regal (scotch), Christian Dior, Christian Lacroix, Club Med (vacations), Culligan (owned by Vivendi), Daniel Cremieux,Dannon (yogurt and dairy foods), DKNY, Dom Perignon, Durand Crystal, Elle Magazine, Essilor Optical Products, Evian bottledwater, Fina gas stations and Fina Oil (billions invested in Iraqi oil fields), First Hawaiian Bank, George Magazine, Givenchy, Glenlivet, Hachette Filipacchi New Media, Hennessy,Houghton Mifflin (books), Jacobs Creek (owned by Pernod Ricardsince 1989), Jameson (whiskey), Jerry Springer (talk show) Krups(coffee and cappuccino makers), Lancome, Le Creuset (cookware), L'Oreal (health and beauty products), Louis Vuitton, Magellan Navigational Equipment, Marie Claire, Martel Cognac, Maybelline, Méphisto (shoes and clothes), Michelin (tires and auto parts), Mikasa (crystal and glass), Moet (champagne), Motel 6, Motown Records,, Mumms (champagne), Nissan (cars; majority ownedby Renault), Nivea, Normany Butter, Ondeo/Nalco Water Treatement,Parents Magazine, Peugeot (automobiles), Perrier Sparkling Water,Pierre Cardin, Playstation Magazine, ProScan (owned by Thomson Electronics, France), Publicis Group (including Saatchi & Saatchi Advertising), RCA (televisions and electronics; owned by Thomson Electronics), Red Magazine, Red Roof Inns (owned by Accor group inFrance), Renault (automobiles), Road & Track Magazine, Roquefortcheese (all Roquefort cheese is made in France), Rowenta (toasters,irons, coffee makers, etc,), Royal Canadian, Salomon (skis),Seagram's Gin, Sierra Software and Computer Games, Sitram Cookware,Smart & Final, Sofitel (hotels, owned by Accor), Sparkletts (water,owned by Danone), Spencer Gifts, Sundance Channel, Taylor Made(golf), Technicolor, T-Fal (kitchenware), Total gas stations,UbiSoft (computer games), Uniroyal, Universal Studios (music,movies and amusement parks; owned by Vivendi-Universal), USFilter, Veuve Clicquot Champagne, Vittel, VIVENDI-SEAGRAM, Wild Turkey(bourbon), Wine and Champagne labeled "Product of France", Woman's Day Magazine, Yoplait (The French company Sodiaal owns a 50 percentstake), Yves Saint Laurent, Yves Rocher, Zodiac Inflatable Boats.

via ( The Federalist )

What's Iraq got to do with it

Surprisingly, it is about oil

Recently there has been a concerted effort to discredit American foreign policy by suggesting the J.E.W.S were responsible for it and that, as a result, it served the interests of Israel and not those of the US. Many writers have attacked this effort by arguing that America's foreign policy must be debated on the merits and not by impugning the motives of some Jews close to the White House.

According to Pepe Escobar writing in the Asian Times under the title “This war is brought to you by… attributes American foreign policy to the Project for a New American Century (PNAC) founded in Washington in 1997 and argues it is driven by a stark analysis of American oil interests. America needs oil and must control the sources of its supply. He further argues,
They've won. They got their war against Afghanistan (planned before September 11). They're getting their war against Iraq (planned slightly after September 11). After Iraq, they plan to get their wars against Syria, Lebanon, Iran and Saudi Arabia. Last Sunday, one of them, Vice President Dick Cheney, said that President George W Bush would have to make "a very difficult decision" on Iraq. Not really. The decision had already been taken for him in the autumn of 2001.

As far as their "showdown Iraq" is concerned, it's not about weapons of mass destruction, nor United Nations inspections, nor non-compliance, nor a virtual connection between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda, nor the liberation of the Iraqi people, nor a Middle East living in "democracy and liberty".

The American corporate media are not inclined to spell it out, and the absolute majority of American public opinion is anesthetized non-stop by a barrage of technical, bureaucratic and totally peripheral aspects of the war against Iraq. For all the president's (sales)men, the whole game is about global preeminence, if not unilateral world domination - military, economic, political and cultural. This may be an early 21st century replay of the "white man's burden". Or this may be just megalomania. Either way, enshrined in a goal of the Bush administration, it cannot but frighten practically the whole world, from Asia to Africa, from "old Europe" to the conservative establishment within the US itself.
He goes on to identify, as his title suggests, that "they" are members of PNAC and include Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Perle, Jeb Bush and Elliot Abrams. Other signatories of this document include Eliot Cohen, Steve Forbes, Francis Fukuyama, Frank Gaffney, Wm Bennett, Norman Podhoretz and Dan Quayle. They mean to take up where Reagan left off so they are for increasing the US defense budget, having a strong military and identifying evil as evil.

In 1996, before PNAC was written, Perle, Feith and Meryev and David Wurmser, (Meryev is a co founder of MEMRI) wrote a position paper for Netanyahu entitled “A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm”. According to Escobar,
they proposed, that Israel must shelve the Oslo Accords, the so-called peace process, the concept of "land for peace", go for it and permanently annex the entire West Bank and the Gaza Strip. The paper also recommends that Israel must insist on the elimination of Saddam, and the restoration of the Hashemite monarchy in Baghdad. This would be the first domino to fall, and then regime change would follow in Syria, Lebanon, Iran and Saudi Arabia. This 1996 blueprint is nothing else than Ariel Sharon's current agenda in action.
Many of these ideas were articulated in a draft Defence Policy Guidance (DPG) in 1992, written under the supervision of Paul Wolfowitz for then Secretary of Defence, Cheney.

This position paper next found its way into the PNAC, which subsequently found it’s way into the September 2002 National Security Strategy (NSS) under the aegis of Condoleeza Rice. The key objectives were to prevent any
hostile power' from dominating regions whose resources would allow it to become a great power; to dissuade any industrialized country from any attempt to defy US leadership; and to prevent the future emergence of any global competitor.”
Other principles include fighting Islamization and eschewing multilateralism and appeasement. They also consider that Israel and the US are fighting the same war on terror.

Escobar is at great pains to unmask America, so to speak, and to show what its real goals are and that he finds them repugnant. He also attempts wherever possible to discredit America and its conduct in the past and in the present. He also ridicules the "coalition of the willing". Finally, he believes that there is no daylight between the policies of Israel and the US and that there should be. He blames the AEI and the PNAC for this.

This intellectual elite, many of whom are Jewish, have worked together for decades and share the same views. These are the neo-cons that found their first expression in Commentary Magazine. While he characterizes Perle, whom he clearly doesn't like, as indentical with Likud, he is much kinder to Wolfowitz. It appears that Wolfowitz favours an independent Palestine whereas, to Perle, it is an anathema.

According to him, the origins of this neo-con movement started with Alan Bloom and Leo Strauss at the University of Chicago. Perle and Wolfowitz both attended at the same time and were greatly influenced as did many of the others who formulated PNAC. Although Perle can speak for himself, they both use Wm Kristol to disseminate and propagate their ideas. Rupert Murdock the financier of the Weekly Standard, the owner of Fox Cable and the owner of N.Y. Post provides the vehicles.

Nevertheless, I believe that his description of American strategic policy is essentially correct. He just doesn't like it.

It is not that the Likudniks have bamboozled Washington but that Washington has adopted a strategic policy for the Twenty First Century that is intended to protect its ever-vital oil supplies. Israel is also the beneficiary of these policies. The ideas put forward by this group found their first political expression in the Reagan administration and have now been adopted by the Bush administration. It is the same ideas that drives Israel's strategy.

Israel wants to make the Middle East safe for Israel and America wants to make the world safe for America. (Read all 10 pages of this very interesting paper)

Read the Agonist ( for constant up-to-the-minute news updates on the war.
"... Take the following chilling scenario:

The Americans achieve a clear-cut military victory in Iraq. They decide to rebuild their bridges with the Europeans and the rest of the world. Britain's Tony Blair, whose own political future remains at risk, pleads with Bush to impose a peace settlement in the Middle East and to do so in "an evenhanded" manner in conjunction with the Quartet. Bush stands by his loyal British ally and announces his determination to "end the cycle of violence" and achieve a Middle East peace settlement in which both partners are obliged to make sacrifices.

Arafat, who by now has fulfilled the Quartet's requirement to "democratize" by appointing his deputy as prime minister, remains in effective control. Under his instructions the Palestinians effusively welcome the president's statement and call on Israel to withdraw its forces and "end the occupation." They also undertake "to do their best" to halt terrorism, especially within Israel proper.

Notwithstanding Israel's "very close" relationship with the Americans, White House spokesman Ari Fleischer calls on the IDF to withdraw to pre-intifada positions, demands an immediate freeze on all settlements, and states that the time is now ripe for an immediate resumption of negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon calls on President Bush and pleads that..."

You can continue this for yourself, or read Isi Leibler's freightening phantacising here.
Truth and Perspective On The First Day Of The Rest Of Our Lives

A lot of us who think about counterterror have been a little disappointed by the War on Terror's refusal to appreciate Palestinian terror for its proper place as the proving ground of the Islamofascist/Islamist -whatever politically incorrect term least offends - strategy of assymetrical warfare (ie.9/11-style terror).

Why should the US give Saddam his legacy of eternal jihad in Palestine? Enough already. Zionism isn't criminal or colonial and enough with the relativisms of Academia.

They keep telling us its all the same war but people refuse to believe them. As an Israeli - who used to go to Jericho, Kalikilya, Bethlehem, East Jerusalem for fun all the time- I am completely willing to make a real peace of coexistence.

But why, after the failure of Oslo, the rise and export of Saudi influenced extremist wahabbi Islam -with the Palestinian struggle at its core, the newspeak Erekatian doubletalk of Camp David and Sharm-El Sheikh, the intifada - the ensuing 9/11 wakeup call, would America want to imedialtely implement the successful realization of your enemy's aspiration?

He said it last night. That's what he wants-and that's what this administration wants to give him? This is an eternal legacy. The enemy of at least two presidents is going to be a hero for generations if a terrorist Palestine is created in the immediate aftermath of Iraq without a massive, sincere and genuine reversal in the Arab and Muslim world as relates not to the "criminal zionist entity", but to the free and democratic state of Israel. The silliness has to end.

What is so painfully obvious, is that it is precisely this Arab turnabout with Israel that will bring true peace and mutual prosperity to the region, and a good chunk of the world.

Always the Bridesmaid

An exception to Dennis Ross's generalization that Arabs don't want to be "on the wrong side of the U.S" is the PA.
"We Palestinians are against the war and we totally condemn this war in the Middle East. A solution must be found to this problem through diplomatic means, with the international community," local authorities minister Saeb Erakat said Thursday.
And it gets better. The article says that Hamas and Islamic Jihad support the PA's position. Not even a week after President Bush reiterates his dream of a Palestinian state, the PA shows whose side its on.

Why do Hamas and Islamic Jihad support Saddam?
The two opposition groups joined Erakat in slamming the US attack on Iraq's President Saddam Hussein (news - web sites), who has disbursed millions of dollars to the families of suicide bommbers and Palestinian civilians shot dead by the Israeli army.
So if the PA wants peace shouldn't they be condemning the fellow who encourages suicide bombers?
Cross posted on IsraPundit and David's Israel Blog.
The Arab Coalition

From Iraq's neighbors, reason to hope for peace and reform.


While many European leaders remain deeply fearful of the fallout from a war with Iraq, many Arab leaders in the Middle East began several weeks ago to adjust to what they perceive to be a new reality. They stopped trying to prevent the war and instead began signaling that they wanted neither to be on the wrong side of the conflict nor on the wrong side of the U.S.--or our broader agenda in the region.

Consider Egypt's press, which has been emphasizing that Saddam Hussein is bringing the conflict on himself. In his trip to Berlin, Hosni Mubarak emphasized to his hosts that it was time to get the conflict over and remove Saddam. In Washington, a high-level Egyptian delegation made it clear recently that they would not oppose us and, in anticipation of our emphasis after the war, also suggested that Egypt did have a serious, if measured, approach to internal reform.

The Saudis, though more circumspect on the war, have also indicated a greater willingness to permit U.S. operations out of the kingdom during the conflict. Crown Prince Abdullah is now openly calling for a new charter on reform to be adopted by the Arab League. Both the Egyptians and Saudis seem to have anticipated President Bush's speech in which he proclaimed that the liberation of Iraq might be a springboard to broader transformations in the region. And both seem to see the way the wind is blowing in the area--and they intend, at least tactically, to be on the right side of those winds.

They are not the only ones. Jordan publicly announced that an American contingent would come to the country to man Patriot missile batteries. Can anyone doubt that the Jordanian government was making a statement about where it was lining up in the event of war with Iraq? Contrast this posture with Jordan's posture during the Gulf War 12 years ago.

Syria's behavior is even more surprising. Not only has it been restraining Hezbollah of late, but as if to convey that it will not be a problem, Syria has withdrawn 4,000 troops from Lebanon.
Chicago Prof Joins Conspiracy-of-the-Month Club

Even great universities hire whackos, as shown by Martin Kramer
. Leave it to a professor of Middle Eastern studies to infiltrate the crudest interpretation of American motive into Chicago's leading daily. Fred Donner is a professor of early Islamic history at the University of Chicago. Last week, the Chicago Tribune ran a piece by Donner, where he called the idea of removing Saddam a "Likudniks' scheme."

Why? It is "a vision deriving from Likud-oriented members of the president's team—particularly Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz and Douglas Feith." (Perle is explicitly denounced as a dual loyalist: "Why is he serving in a high position in an American administration?" asks Donner.) A war against Saddam would be "mainly in the Likud's interest rather than our own." And poor President Bush, according to Donner, is not even aware that a war would open a "Pandora's box," because he now sees the Middle East through the "Likud's rose-colored glasses."

True, this theory has surfaced in the mainstream media, but not in such a crude form. Naturally, Jewish organizations have written letters in response. The chair of Chicago's Jewish Community Relations Council noted that Donner, "applying thinly-veiled code words, essentially argues that America’s Iraq policy was designed and is being driven by disloyal Jews." An officer of the Anti-Defamation League, in a published letter to the Trib, wrote that Donner had provided "fodder for conspiracy theorists and anti-Semites," and served "to propagate centuries-old anti-Semitic canards of Jewish control." I'd have to agree.

I'm acquainted with Professor Donner (we overlapped at Princeton for a couple of years), but I don't purport to know him. I do know that he's no authority on Washington's workings or the contemporary Middle East. And I strongly suspect that he simply parrots whatever conspiracy theory is fashionable on his campus or in the media at any moment.

Here, for example, is a photograph of Professor Donner at the January 18 anti-war rally in Washington. Read his sign. Beneath the words, "Pre-emptive war is un-American" (a questionable assumption), it says: "NO WAR FOR OIL!" Now am I missing something? This is a completely different conspiracy theory from the one Donner has put forth in the Trib, where oil doesn't even appear. So what is it, Fred? Greedy oil companies or devious American Likudniks? Or maybe you haven't got a clue?

I respect Donner as a historian of early Islam. Unfortunately, he and his colleagues seem to think that modern American politics operate like the early Islamic caliphate (albeit with less moral authority). Add the Donner affair to the bill of indictment.
Evergreen College Cultivates Activists

Thanks to Stefan Sharkansky (aka The Shark) we have further background on Rachel Corrie's background
Today's San Francisco Chronicle carried a report about Washington's Evergreen State College, home of Rachel "Kill me with your bulldozer and make a martyr, please" Corrie. The report, by Jim Lynch of the Newhouse News Service, does not seem to be available online. Some extracts:
Evergreen College Cultivates Activists

Student died in Gaza practicing lessons learned in classroom

Corrie was one of the most ardent student activists at the Evergreen State College, which, unlike most public universities, unabashedly encourages students not to wait until they graduate to get aggressively involved in local, national and even international causes.

The "aggressive involvement" tends to involve the use of physical intimidation and other illegal activities. In other words, the school is essentially a terrorist training camp, paid for by the taxpayers of Washington state.

So many Evergreen students participated in the 1999 World Trade Organization protests in Seattle that the Olympia campus was almost abandoned. Last year, 17 students and a teacher were expelled from Mexico after some of them carried machetes during a May Day protest with angry farmers. Earlier this month, 25 students cornered Evergreen's president in his office to demand that he publicly denounce a U.S. military invasion of Iraq. To the president's credit, he did not accede to all of the extortionists' demands.

Evergreen clearly attracts activist students, and the college suffers from the image that enveloped it after its student body picked convicted cop-killer Mumia Abu-Jamal to give a commencement address in 1999

It's not immediately obvious what public purpose justifies the $60 million in (mostly) state and (some) federal grants [pdf] this terrorism "college" receives this year. On the other hand, maybe it's not a bad idea to concentrate all of these misfits and lunatics in one place. Especially if they are so easily persuaded to throw themselves against the heavy machinery of foreign armies.
The War Begins

Thissite by DAVID DOLAN, a Jerusalem-based author and journalist worth reading frequently [caps in original]




Palestinian security forces kill militant-medics

Hamas and PLO battle each other. Good. See also: Militant killed
Mahmoud Abbas accepts position as Palestinian prime minister

15 links to news articles on ME for today's news items, and summary
The Palestinian parliament created the post of prime minister Tuesday, taking a major step toward U.S.-sought reforms and rebuffing Palestinian President Yasser Arafat's attempts to retain a say in forming the next Cabinet. (11) Arafat appointed his longtime deputy Mahmoud Abbas as prime minister Wednesday, a senior official said, marking the first time that Arafat has been forced to share power. (1) The Palestinian parliament defied Arafat yesterday and lifted hopes that the peace process could be revived by giving the new Palestinian prime minister some of the powers the United States has insisted are needed. (5) Abbas, known as Brother Abu Mazen, accepted the position a day after the parliament approved creating the post, said Nabil Abu Rdeneh, an aide to Arafat.. (2) Yasir Arafat signed legislation today to create a post of prime minister, after the Palestinian parliament and members of his Fatah movement forced him to withdraw a proposal to restrict the prime minister's powers. (8) The measure, which legislators said would have compelled the prime minister to seek Arafat's approval for every ministerial appointment, had majority backing but failed to gain the necessary two-thirds support. (9) [click here for links]
SURPRISE - Our Palestinian Friends Rally for Saddam. Lets Give These Humanists a State.

Here are pictures of Palestinians protesting against the liberation of Iraq and against the United States. At the same time of course they petition the US to give them a country of their own. It is amazing that the US and England are always speaking about the territorial integrity of Iraq and do not seem to support giving the Kurds a nation even though they deserve one much more than the Palestinians. The Kurds are an actual people with their own language and culture and history of being opressed by the Arabs. The Palestinians are not a people they are just Arabs looking to get another state in order to harm Israel.

Here is an article about it.

They danced and sang on 9/11 and now they rally for Saddam.

Child abuse

Iranian Mullahs under attack

The "Student Movement Coordination Committee for Democracy in Iran" (SMCCDI) is upset that the Mullahs have cut a deal with Old Europe whereby the Iranians get exploited. No doubt this is in return for Old Europe helping Iran to develope atomic capabilities.
SMCCDI condemns, as well, all anti-Iranian policies of this regime including the gradual assigning of the various operations and companies affiliated to the "National Iranian Oil Company" (NIOC) to the foreign companies (such as the Iranian Oil Tankers Company). Assignments of operations and companies, long term contracts with fixed prices lower than today's rates and "Buy back" policy in line with the other illegitimate economic policies of the Islamic republic which gives to European looters the control of the destiny of Iran and its generations to come. Without any doubt, any renovation of the Oil Industry must be done using the domestic and popular manpower and financial assets and taxes, such as, how our "National Railroad System" was constructed during the reign of Reza Shah. Only the adoption of such National policy will Maintain our "National control" over these vital resources.
If you are no aware, this is a powerful grass roots organization that has attacked the Mullahs on many things including their support of terrorism and the Palestinians. They are for separation of Mosque and State. They are against the reformers because they don't stand up to the Mullahs. They are the hope for Iran.

Arab Political Correctness

Bush is to blame

MEMRI reports that President Bush's ultimatum to Saddam Hussein, ordering him to leave Iraq with his two sons (1) or face military action, has triggered varied reactions in the Arab press. Some of the most notable reactions appeared in the newspapers of Iraq.

March 19, 2003

Sarah says"Nazis are assholes." To learn much more about this awesome Jewish comic, see Sarah Silverman

"Muslim Outreach reaching too far?"

"... the argument between Norquist and Gaffney is about much more than two men, or even the conservative movement. At its heart, it is about the Bush White House and whether its contacts with some Muslim groups might someday make the administration vulnerable to charges that it cultivated close relations with groups tied to radical Islam , even as it conducted a war on terror around the world. The Norquist-Gaffney feud, some conservatives fear, might be just the first act of a very long play."
Byron York in NRO amplifies on this troublesome affair.

Go Figure

"If Abu Mazen and Yasser Arafat are in fact birds of a feather, the Israeli government and the U.S. State Department wish to cover up the statements and writings of the PLO's designated prime minister as a simple avoidance mechanism. If Abu Mazen, the PLO leader repeatedly referred to as a "moderate," is also vilified for anti-Semitism and support for terrorism, then that leaves the U.S. and Israel to face an uncomfortable, politically devastating truth: There is no partner for peace on the Arab side of the equation, as it is currently drawn. That means that the difference between Hamas and the most moderate of the PLO leadership is only one of tactics; it means that the PLO-run Palestinian Authority must be destroyed, not reformed; it means that the U.S.-designed Road Map to Middle East peace is a sham, leading nowhere.

When the U.S. and even the rightist Israeli prime minister, Ariel Sharon, have already expressed their support for a Palestinian state as part of a greater vision for a postwar New Middle East, it becomes hard to admit that the "vision" is actually a nightmare. Just ask Shimon Peres."

For the entire discussion of the vexing matter of the new Palestinian "PM" read this.

Is Iraq Going to Pull a France?

It seems that some Iraqi soldiers have intelligently started surrendering. So the big question is, will there be any serious fighting? Lets hope that Iraq pulls a France and rolls over with the first shot.

LONDON [MENL] -- Syria has found a major source of revenue in the smuggling
of Iraqi oil.

Industry sources said the regime of President Bashar Assad has earned more than $1 billion in revenues from Iraqi oil in 2002. They said the rate of revenues has risen sharply in proportion with the jump in oil prices.

Syria obtains about 250,000 barrels per day from two pipelines from Iraq, the sources said. One pipeline brings oil to the Mediterranean port of Banyas and the other is connected to the Syrian oil grid. In all, Syria hasincreased oil exports to 450,000 barrels per day.

The sources said Damascus pays Iraq about $12 a barrel of oil. The rest is kept by the Syrian regime. The price of a barrel of crude on the open market has approached $40.
NOTE: The above is not the full item.

This service contains only a small portion of the information produced daily
by Middle East Newsline. .
The Arabs are not monolithic

Sizing up the Shiites

Everyone , when considering the democratization of Iraq, always wonders about the relationship of the Shiites in southern Iraq to the Shiites in Iran. Here are a two articles to set the record straight.

Stephen Schwartz says Fear Not the Shias, their tradition recognizes the rights of minorities, because they have always been a minority.
The simple truth, recognized by every Shia community and religious leader in America, is that the Shia Muslims suffer from a terrible public image. Shias are labeled wholesale in the Western media, and in the high circles of the State Department, as suicide bombers. This problem dates, naturally, from Khomeini's revolution in Iran in 1979 and the seizing of U.S. hostages, an unhealed wound in the minds of most Americans. For the New York print media, as well as the functionaries at State, sorting out the differences among Iraqi Muslims, and moving past the shallow assumption that all Arab Muslims are anti-American, is too big a job. In recent weeks, anti-Shia propaganda has emerged as a staple of the liberal media, full of dire predictions that the fall of the Butcher of Baghdad will result in Iraq's being torn apart, as Shias, Sunnis, and Kurds fight each other for power.
Yitzhak Nakash writing for the Washington Institute in an article entitled The Shi'is and the Future of Iraq
The prospect of American military action in Iraq has raised concerns that dismantling the Ba'ath regime will weaken the state and spur the defection of its Shi'i majority under the influence of Iran. Yet, much of the pessimism surrounding this assessment obscures the historical role that the Shi'i community has played in supporting the Iraqi state, not to mention the vital interest it has in preserving the country's territorial integrity. If war in Iraq leads to a more representative government that is willing to address Shi'i political aspirations, the likely result would be stability and the establishment of a more moderate religious leadership quite different from that seen in Iran.
The War Against America

Hon. Andrew Thomson was a minister in the Australian government under Prime Minister John Howard and now practices law in Washington D.C. has clarity of vision we could all benefit from. He writes in FrontPageMag
The world is not unipolar. It is split. The split is real, and it is dangerous. It will not go away. Obsolescent institutions built on obsolescent notions of post-1970s international law--such as the United Nations, which is now a theme park for anti-American hatred--cannot cope with the modern reality of non-state actors and their ability to deliver destruction. Terrorist actors attack people with explosive devices; NGO actors attack democratic government with propaganda. Rather than preventing such attacks, multilateral institutions have begun fostering them. MORE

and yes: I feel sorry for her and for her family and for her friends. You may find this a bit extreme but I post it because the true extremists are making her into a martyr as a symbol of the evilness of Jews and Israelis.

"Turned Their Backs”

It is important every so often to turn attention away from specifics dealing with the Middle East and to look at those influential people who help shape our views and perspectives regarding American policies. This article by David Frum in National Review sees the growing conflict between conservatives favoring a war with Iraq and the anti-war conservatives. The anti-war types seem at times disposed to support Leftist views, and these views are sometimes anti-Israeli.

From the very beginning of the War on Terror, there has been dissent, and as the war has proceeded to Iraq, the dissent has grown more radical and more vociferous. Perhaps that was to be expected. But here is what never could have been: Some of the leading figures in this antiwar movement call themselves "conservatives."

These conservatives are relatively few in number, but their ambitions are large. They aspire to reinvent conservative ideology: to junk the 50-year-old conservative commitment to defend American interests and values throughout the world — the commitment that inspired the founding of this magazine — in favor of a fearful policy of ignoring threats and appeasing enemies.

And they are exerting influence. When Richard Perle appeared on Meet the Press on February 23 of this year, Tim Russert asked him, "Can you assure American viewers . . . that we're in this situation against Saddam Hussein and his removal for American security interests? And what would be the link in terms of Israel?" Perle rebutted the allegation. But what a grand victory for the antiwar conservatives that Russert felt he had to air it.

You may know the names of these antiwar conservatives. Some are famous: Patrick Buchanan and Robert Novak. Others are not: Llewellyn Rockwell, Samuel Francis, Thomas Fleming, Scott McConnell, Justin Raimondo, Joe Sobran, Charley Reese, Jude Wanniski, Eric Margolis, and Taki Theodoracopulos.

The antiwar conservatives aren't satisfied merely to question the wisdom of an Iraq war. Questions are perfectly reasonable, indeed valuable. There is more than one way to wage the war on terror, and thoughtful people will naturally disagree about how best to do it, whether to focus on terrorist organizations like al-Qaeda and Hezbollah or on states like Iraq and Iran; and if states, then which state first?

But the antiwar conservatives have gone far, far beyond the advocacy of alternative strategies. They have made common cause with the left-wing and Islamist antiwar movements in this country and in Europe. They deny and excuse terror. They espouse a potentially self-fulfilling defeatism. They publicize wild conspiracy theories. And some of them explicitly yearn for the victory of their nation's enemies. [more]

Iraq and the Israeli-Palestinian "Peace Process."

As usual, the perspicacious Martin Kimel has it right
Echoing the Europeans, the NY Times blames the administration's failure to pass its desired UN resolution in part on the president's reluctance to press harder for an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement:

In the Middle East, Washington shortsightedly stepped backed from the worsening spiral of violence between Israel and the Palestinians, ignoring the pleas of Arab, Muslim and European countries. If other nations resist American leadership today, part of the reason lies in this unhappy history.

But what exactly would the Times editorial board have had Washington do? Bill Clinton put his personal prestige on the line, working tirelessly to achieve peace, only to have the Palestinians respond to his herculean efforts, and those of Ehud Barak, with the unprecedent wave of terrorism known as the intifada. What exactly was the current administration to do when a sizable percentage -- perhaps even a majority -- of Palestinians see the goal of the current intifada as the destruction of the Jewish state?

It is a shibboleth that we would have peace in the Middle East today if only President Bush had been more actively engaged in peacemaking efforts. A true and lasting peace cannot be imposed from without, as much as some may wish they could do so. The Israelis are waiting for the Palestinians to decide that they want to resolve this awful conflict peacefully, as they pledged to do when they signed the Oslo accords
Ribbity Blog

This French blog has an interesting observation on the Arab paper

Call me frog-brained, but I've only just realised the logic behind Al-Jazeera's organisation of its news items. Below the main headlines, there is a series of shorter headlines divided by region, in this order: The Arab Homeland, Asia and the Pacific, Africa, the Two Americas [I assume northern and southern continents], Europe and Israel; then come articles by subject: economics and labour, science and technology, medicine and health, culture and art, sport, and finally (!) books.

The list is interesting, because both its order and division indicates to us something about how the world looks from the Gulf States. Top of the list of regions is the Arab Homeland, and then we head east. Israel (at least mentioned these days by name, not by epithet) is not a part of the Arabic homeland, nor of Asia, but belongs to Europe, in keeping with the ideas prevelant in the Arabic world about Israel's colonial status.
In an importat link, RB indicates the Arab world's view of Israel, for which see:
Explaining the Arab Democracy Deficit: Part I

Middle East Intelligence Bulletin article of great merit

Perhaps the most widely researched proposition in political science is the argument that economic development propels societies toward participatory forms of governance. Mass education, for example, is said to produce "a more articulate public that is better equipped to organize and communicate,"[8] while urbanization and communications advances encourage the growth of horizontal civic associations. Higher levels of occupational specialization produce an autonomous workforce with "specialized skills that enhance their bargaining power against elites."[9] Advances in health care and greater income equality are said to promote democratization by satisfying the basic medical needs of citizens, allowing them to embrace post-materialist values, such as freedom and self-expression.

While the validity of these propositions, collectively known as modernization theory, remains the subject of intense debate among political scientists, it is clear that they cannot explain the Arab democratic deficit. Most socio-economic status (SES) indicators in the region are relatively high by Third World standards and have been rising steadily for decades.[10] The only major exception is the Arab world's adult literacy rate, 57% in the mid-1990s, which ranks well below those of East Asia and Latin America and only slightly higher than Sub-Saharan Africa. Moreover, literacy rates in many Arab states are significantly lower than average relative to per capita income (on this basis, for example, Egypt should have a literacy rate of 70%, rather than 55%). A second, related exception is per capita Internet usage, which is also low, both in comparison to other regions and in relation to per capita income.

Although these indicators appear to correlate somewhat with varying degrees of political liberalization within the Arab world (Kuwait, Jordan and Lebanon, where proto-democratic institutions are arguably the strongest, all have literacy rates in excess of 75% and relatively high Internet usage rates), it is doubtful that they are the root of the region's "democracy curse" for two reasons. First, lower levels of both have not blocked transitions in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.

Moreover, there is evidence that low literacy and Internet usage rates are themselves a result of authoritarianism in the Arab world. Although education budgets in the region are very large, much of this allocation is squandered on bloated bureaucracies (itself a symptom of autocratic governance), with little left over for educational materials. In addition, only a few Arab regimes have launched adult literacy campaigns. [more]
Dutch MP insults Prophet Muhammad

Rather odd is accusation that one ought not say certain things after one has become a politician! As though men of various religipons do not make comments upon all matters. This article an indication of the divisions comi;ng about as a result of terror attacks of 9/11
Making her "debut" on the parliamentary scene in the Netherlands, a Somali refugee, who arrived in the Netherlands ten years ago, chose to start her new political career with a showdown with the Muslim community by lashing out at Islam and the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).

In an interview with the Dutch daily Trouw on Saturday, January 25, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, 32, shocked as many as one million Muslims living in the Netherlands by branding Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) with some abhorrent, repugnant descriptions, stirring up feelings of anger and antagonism towards her.

Having no inkling about Islam or Sharia (Islamic law) as it appears in her curriculum vitae, Ayaan said the Prophet (peace be upon him) was a "despotic, narrow-minded and violent" man, who killed whoever stood in his way.

She further alleged that the Prophet (peace be upon him) was against the freedom of women, since, she claimed, he ordered them not to leave their houses, wear the veil and denied them the right to work and inheritance, not to mention a number of other calumnies mouthed frequently by some orientalists.

Ayaan was catapulted into the limelight for her incessant verbal assault against Islam, making use of anti-Muslim feeling stirred by the 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington.

The Dutch paper, however, designated on its Monday, January 27, issue space to publish Muslims‚ angry reactions against Ayaan's provocative statements. [more]