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

April 05, 2003

Human Shield Shot in West Bank, AP Displays Bad Journalism

This AP article is annoyingly obfuscated, and the writer appears to be on a first-name basis with one of the activists:
JERUSALEM - An American peace activist working as a human shield in the West Bank was seriously wounded on Saturday when Israeli troops allegedly opened fire on him.

Brian Avery, 24, from Albuquerque, N.M., heard shots fired and came out of his apartment building in Jenin to investigate just as an armored personnel carrier rounded a corner, said Tobias Karlsson, a fellow activist from Sweden.

Both Avery and Karlsson are members of the Palestinian-backed group International Solidarity Movement.

"We had our hands up and we were wearing vests that clearly identified us as international workers when they began firing," Tobias said. "Brian was shot in the face, and it looks like he was hit by a heavy caliber bullet because of the extent of the wound."

Avery was taken to a Jenin hospital but will be transferred to an Israeli hospital. There was no immediate comment from the army.

Tobias said he, Avery and a Palestinian medical worker not with the group were approached slowly by the troops and stood with their hands up for about 10 minutes. There was no communication with the soldiers, who Tobias says fired unprovoked.

Avery was semiconscious when taken in the ambulance, Tobias said. There were few Palestinians on the streets Saturday because of a curfew Israeli troops were enforcing.
Its a bad neighborhood

Who's next?

Michael Ledeen, the author of the The War against the Terror Masters, argues that the US must take on Syria and Iran whether its diplomats want to or not.
[...]Now, Eli Lake of UPI reports that the government is aware of Iranian terrorist operations inside Iraq, and there have been many stories reporting Syria’s campaign to send terrorists across the border to attack us. In truth, we didn’t need intelligence to know this was going on, because the Iranian and Syrian tyrants had announced it publicly. Assad gave an interview recently in which he proclaimed — in words that could have been taken right out of my book — that Lebanon was the model for the struggle that had to be waged in Iraq against Coalition forces. And Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei gave a speech a few weeks ago in which he said that the presence of American troops in Iraq would be even worse for Iran than the hated regime of Saddam Hussein.

So they are coming to kill us, which means that there is no more time for diplomatic “solutions.” We will have to deal with the terror masters, here and now. Iran, at least, offers us the possibility of a memorable victory, because the Iranian people openly loath the regime, and will enthusiastically combat it, if only the United States supports them in their just struggle. One may legitimately ask if the Iraqi people are fully prepared for the burdens of democracy after the mind-numbing years of Saddam (I think they are, mind you, but the question is fair), but there is no doubt that the Iranians are up to it. And Syria cannot stand alone against a successful democratic revolution that topples tyrannical regimes in Kabul, Tehran, and Iraq.

This is the path — the correct path — that the president has charted, despite the opposition of so many of his diplomats, and despite the near-total indifference of the Western press to the plight of the Iranian, Iraqi and Syrian people. It is the path that most fully expresses our own revolutionary tradition, and gives the peoples of the Middle East the chance to recapture their dignity by empowering them to govern their own lands. Finally, for those obsessed by the Arab-Israeli question, it is the best chance for peace between the Israelis and Palestinians. President Bush has said that he will not support a Palestinian state that is governed by people hostile to democracy. Yet it is impossible for a democratic Palestine to emerge, let alone survive, so long as the dominant countries in the region are tyrannical supporters of terrorism.

If, at long last, we are going to transform the Middle East in the name of the democratic revolution, it is madness to entrust this task to a Department of State that clearly does not believe in it. State, and with it CIA, does not believe that democracy can succeed in the Middle East. That is why they have long supported a coup in Baghdad, rather than regime change. That is why they have violently opposed the Iraqi National Congress, which has fought for democracy for more than a decade, only to be repeatedly betrayed and sabotaged by the United States government. MORE
The Train Is Leaving the Station

Who will be on board

Don't miss Victor Davis Hanson's last article.
Is It Good For the Jews?

Bill Keller writes in the New York Times about Israel's stake in the Iraq war:
Making the world safer for us — defusing terrorism and beginning to reform a region that is a source of toxic hostility to what we stand for — happens to make the world safer for Israel as well. But the idea that Israel's interests are driving one of the most momentous shifts in America's foreign policy is simple-minded and offensive. (There is also a simple-minded and offensive flip side, which holds that opposition to the war is heavily fueled by anti-Semitism — another sweeping slander with a grain of truth in it.)

What is demonstrably true is that Israelis believe that the war in Iraq is — to use a phrase that is a staple of Jewish satire — good for the Jews. Even though Israel is a likely target of Iraqi reprisals when war breaks out, it is the only country I know of where polls show overwhelming support for an invasion to oust Saddam, preferably sooner.

The administration prefers not to advertise Israel alongside Bulgaria and Spain on its marquee of allied supporters, for the same reason it has gone to tremendous lengths to keep Israel out of the coming war. No one wants to feed the dangerous idea that this is, as the jihad propagandists claim, a war of Americans and Zionists against Arabs and Islam.

 There are obvious reasons that Israelis would like to rid the region of a man who trains terrorists and pays blood money to suicide bombers' families. But the deeper explanation, says Stephen Cohen, an analyst at the Israel Policy Forum, is profound despair over the bloody dead end in which Israeli-Palestinian politics sit. A conquest of Iraq offers the prospect that the United States will take the region in hand. It is, to many Israelis, the only hope of change for the better.
A key question is, what will happen to the Israel-Palestine conflict after Iraqi liberation:
What will Mr. Bush make of this moment? If the U.S. manages to make a more benign Iraq — and perhaps a chastened Syria — the Israelis could decide to dig in their heels: Our friend Mr. Bush is here, he's on our side; we can now sit tight, wait for the Palestinians to read the handwriting on the walls of Baghdad and maybe offer them half a state.

Or the Americans could seize the opportunity to say to Ariel Sharon, who has shown no prior gift for strategic statesmanship: "We are here now — you know we won't let you down. It's time to roll back the settlements and close a deal."
Bush Meets Resistance on Mideast Plan

Key Hill Allies Call for Greater Commitment to Israel's Concerns About Road Map

By Jim VandeHei
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, April 4, 2003; Page A18

President Bush's latest bid for a Middle East peace deal is running into unexpected resistance from key allies in Congress. Republicans and Democrats are pressing the White House to adopt a more staunchly pro-Israel stance, even if it feeds the perception the United States is too closely aligned with Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's government.

In a rare public split with the Bush administration over foreign policy, and at a critical moment in international relations, GOP congressional leaders are calling on the president and Secretary of State Colin L. Powell to temper their support for a long-awaited Middle East peace plan designed to implement Bush's call in June for the creation of a Palestinian state within three years. Israel has objected to certain parts of the plan, known as the "road map," which was drafted last year by the so-called quartet -- the United States, the European Union, Russia and the United Nations.

The plan envisions a three-stage process that would create Palestinian institutions, establish provisional borders for a state by the end of this year and reach a final agreement with defined borders in 2005. Completed in December, the road map's release was delayed at Sharon's request until after the January Israeli elections, and again until the Palestinian legislature confirmed a new prime minister. That confirmation is to occur by the end of this month, and the imminent release of the plan has brought stepped-up concern.

Republicans and Democrats say they worry that the administration is undercutting Israel by embracing the plan. "There are many members of Congress concerned about this road map," House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) said in an interview yesterday.

Sharon's government, and many in Congress, object to the non-negotiable nature of the document and to its demand that Israel and the Palestinian take parallel steps to move toward peace. Israel's position is that the Palestinians must prove they have stopped all terrorism, and activities that Israel believes promote terrorist activities, before it is required to take any steps, including the withdrawal of troops and stopping the expansion of settlements in occupied Palestinian territory.

In speeches this week and a letter scheduled for delivery later this month, GOP and Democratic congressional leaders -- who are competing for Jewish voters and donors -- make clear they will oppose any peace deal that does not first require the Palestinians to change their government and end all terrorist activities before imposing significant requirements on Israel. Several key Republicans said Bush has privately assured them that he agrees with them. But they expressed concern that Powell and British Prime Minister Tony Blair might manage to soften his resolve.

"There is a fairly healthy debate, even in this administration, about how you get to a place of true peace," said House Majority Whip Roy Blunt (R-Mo.).

Although Bush pledged his "personal commitment" to the road map in a March 14 speech, he said he welcomed additional "contributions" to the plan. That raised concern among other quartet members that he was open to Israeli suggestions for changing the document. Congressional opponents of the plan saw this as confirmation that Bush's commitment was not total.

DeLay rewrote a speech he delivered Wednesday night to warn against treating the Palestinian Authority as a trustworthy negotiating partner, an aide said. "Negotiating with these men . . . is folly, and any agreement arrived at through such empty negotiations would amount to a covenant with death," DeLay told a fervently pro-Israel crowd at a conference of Jews and Christians in ashington. "Experience and common sense lead to one conclusion about America's proper role in the Middle East: We are absolutely right to stand with Israel, and our opponents are absolutely wrong." DeLay said it as "absurd" for the State Department this week to report that Israel has a poor human rights record. The newly released annual document criticized Israel and the Palestinians for abuses over the past year.

Several Republican and Democratic leaders plan to send Bush a letter this month signed by dozens of members, imploring him to adopt a position more clearly backing the Sharon government. "There are concerns about Bush's" recent comments, said House Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.), an outspoken supporter of the war in Iraq and co-author of the letter. "We think this is not the direction he ought to go."

Blunt, a key Bush ally, is the highest-ranking Republican to sign the letter, which was first reported by CQ Today, a Capitol Hill publication. "This would not be the first time some people would question the president's commitment to a position only to have some immediate proof he's committed to [Israel]," Blunt said in an interview.

Criticism from Congress and pro-Israel activists could complicate Bush's on-again, off-again campaign to bring peace to the Middle East. Lawmakers and pro-Israel activists said Bush would have trouble selling the peace process to U.S. voters if much of Congress opposes it.

The criticism also might undermine Bush's campaign to win greater support from the United States' comparatively wealthy and politically active Jewish community, lawmakers and GOP fundraisers say. Indeed, some Republicans attributed the fervently pro-Israel language by DeLay and other party leaders to their months-long campaign to attract Jewish donors, who traditionally have given the bulk of their money to Democrats.

Israel in recent years has made great strides in winning the support of conservative Republicans, especially evangelical Christians such as DeLay who view Israel as the biblical promised land.

Bush, an unwavering supporter of Sharon, has been lobbied heavily by Blair and Powell to follow through with the road map. Along with a number of U.S.-friendly Arab governments and most of Europe, Blair believes that movement in the peace process is a crucial follow-up to the war in Iraq. Blair's unwavering support for Bush's war policy against Iraqi President Saddam Hussein is based in part on the president's commitment to the plan.

But the approach of its release, and speeches this week in which Powell and national security adviser Condoleezza Rice reiterated Bush's March 14 pledge, have drawn the attention of congressional opponents. In remarks before the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, an influential pro-Israel group, both reaffirmed support for an end to "settlement activity" in the occupied territories and the White House's commitment to the road map. Rice conceded the plan is "controversial," but said it comports with the vision Bush laid out last summer.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) told the same AIPAC audience that she was "seriously concerned about the timing, tone and effect of the president's statement of March 14. Let there be no weakening in our resolve, no softening in our stance, no lowering of the threshold for the cessation of violence."

House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) told the audience, "we need to be wary" of dealing with Russia, the European Union and United Nations on a peace deal. "They have never been strong supporters of Israel."

In separate comments, Rep. Eric I. Cantor (R-Va.), the House's only Jewish Republican, said that "with recent elevation of the road map and the mention of the road map, it has gotten the attention of all of us."

A senior White House official acknowledged that "there is nervousness in some parts of the Jewish community," but said "the president thinks it's important to proceed."

House International Relations Committee Chairman Henry J. Hyde (R-Ill.), Blunt and other lawmakers plan to call on Bush to demand new Palestinian leadership "with real authority," a cessation of terrorism and the creation of a Palestinian security apparatus before a Middle East peace process proceeds. These principles "form the only sensible basis for moving ahead with peace," they plan to say in the letter being readied for later this month.

Thje Iraq Navy

On Being a Leftist and a Zionist in America

Hat tip to American Kaiser for these nice articles byJeremy Weinberg, a columnist for the Cornell Daily Sun about being a Leftist (Liberal), anti-Iraq war, but a firm supporter of the State of Israel. A very nice read
[...]In the last five years or so, Zionism has come to be one of those ideas that puts up the walls. It's just accepted that, on the Left, you are against corporate control of politics, in favor of multiculturalism, against imperialism, in favor of the Palestinians. The logic seems to fit. Israel is the big, powerful member of the United States' empire; Palestine is the occupied country whose citizens are being oppressed by it. It's not that the Left is being brainwashed, exactly; it's that the vocabulary of Israel-Palestine fits so neatly into the overall liberal-Leftist grammar of justice that, of course, the Palestinians are in the right...And why the focus on Israel? How can a few crying Arab mothers on TV cause people to think that the situation in Palestine is more important than those in Tibet, Chechnya, Congo, and Kurdistan ?. Millions of Tibetans, Chechnyans, Rwandans, and Kurds have been massacred; millions of monasteries and mosques obliterated; entire villages slaughtered or gassed. France and Spain, which both ceaselessly criticize Israel, occupy the Basque territory, banning the Basque independence movements. America has yet to pay a dime of reparations either to the Africans it exiled and enslaved or to the Native Americans it slaughtered and betrayed. The Moroccans oppress the Berbers, and carry on a slave trade. The Sudanese Muslims massacre the Southern Sudanese Christians and Animists. The Hashemite minority in Jordan discriminates against the Palestinian majority. Brazilian elites and transnational corporations destroy the lands of indigenous peoples in the Amazon; global oil companies poison whole tribes in Nigeria, stealing their land and resources. Britain continues its occupation of Northern Ireland. China tortures monks and nuns. The list goes on, but the Left is fixated on a few villages on the West Bank of the Jordan, the population of which would all fit into the Bronx.[more]

Solo voices in the Arab chorus

Al-Jazeera's Approach Choice of Many Arab-Americans

For Arab-Americans in the U.S. and elsewhere, the news of choice, as indicated in the many links to this piece and in the summary
Akamai Technologies Inc., a U.S. Web content delivery firm, has scrapped a contract to provide services for Arabic news network al-Jazeera's Internet site, according to a published report Friday. (2) Jazeera, which has been criticized by the United States and Britain for its allegedly pro-Iraq war coverage, said on Thursday Iraq had ordered one of its reporters to leave the country and told another to stop working. (4) Perched atop a hillside road, the Khourys' red brick house in a New York suburb blends into a neighborhood that's picture-perfect Americana: green lawns, kids playing baseball and Old Glory fluttering in the wind. (7) In spite of being mostly knocked offline after a hack attack, the Web site of Arab satellite news network Al-Jazeera was among the most sought-after on the Internet last week. (3) The Web portal Lycos reported that "Al-Jazeera" and variant spellings became its top search term last week, with three times more searches than " sex. (3) The war in Iraq has piqued international interest in the site, which el-Nawawy says saw four times the expected amount of web traffic following its March 24 launch. (6) American news networks have broadcast pictures of dead Iraqi soldiers, creating what el-Nawawy sees as a double standard. (6) [click here for links]
"Human Rights Violations"

That is my mock title to this article from The Gulf News, an Arab paper, and so of course the focus is upon "human rights" and "violations" etc. But note that a top "militant"--read: terrorist--was arrested in the incursion.
Israeli forces captured a top militant yesterday after emptying a West Bank refugee camp of its menfolk and searching house-to-house, a sweep attacked by Palestinian officials and human rights groups.

Anwar Aliyan, 27, the head of Islamic Jihad's military wing in Tulkarm town, surrendered at his hideout in the local refugee camp, witnesses said. Israeli military sources said he and four others who were also captured were planning a car-bomb attack.

Sworn to Israel's destruction, Islamic Jihad and Hamas have led attacks during a 30-month-old Palestinian uprising for independence. An Islamic Jihad suicide bomber wounded 30 people in the Israeli city of Netanya on Sunday.

In the Gaza Strip, Israeli forces hunting a Hamas militant wounded seven refugee camp residents yesterday, witnesses said.

The Tulkarm camp sweep began on Wednesday when Israeli troops rounded up hundreds of male residents aged 14 to 40 and held them for questioning. "Aliyan's capture was the reason for this operation," an Israeli military source said.

Twenty of the detained Palestinians were found to be on Israel's wanted list and were arrested, the army said. The remainder were released but barred from re-entering the camp. They filtered back in after Israeli forces left yesterday. The remainder of the article cites the various groups denouncing the Israeli action, as though Israel had not the right to go after those who kill Israelis. [more]
Graves of Iraqi fighters potent symbol of ties with Palestinians
This AP piece a sharp reminder of the connection between Iraq and the Palestinians in the prolonged struggle against Israel

JENIN, West Bank (AP) -- At a roadside cemetery in the West Bank, in the midst of thistles and pictures honoring Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, the graves of 53 Iraqis stand as potent reminders of the Arab nation's involvement in the Palestinian struggle for statehood.

In Jenin, Iraqi ties run deep. In 1948 Iraqi troops rushed there to help fight off Israeli soldiers who had taken temporary control of the town. After a series of deadly battles that killed dozens of Iraqis, the town was returned to Arab control.

A more recent tie between Iraq and Jenin came last year when Saddam donated more than $2 million to families who lost homes during an 11-day standoff that destroyed pockets of the town and killed 23 Israeli troops and 52 Palestinians.

"The elders of this town all remember what the Iraqis did for us," said Fakhri Turkman, a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council and a local historian. "And it's clear that what is happening today in Iraq is a picture of Palestine and of our struggle."

With the U.S.-led strike against Iraq approaching its third week, residents of Jenin and other towns in the West Bank and Gaza Strip have rallied behind Saddam, holding mass demonstrations and blood drives for the Iraqis. On Thursday, Jenin residents commemorated the one-year anniversary of the 11-day battle with Israeli troops in the Jenin refugee camp by holding a pro-Iraq and Saddam rally.

Emotionally, many Palestinians have sided with Iraq but there is fear among some that after the war is over, their support for Saddam will come back to haunt them. [more]

April 04, 2003

Friends of America worldwide

(Please contact us through The Friends of America Network for info and assistance on how to set up a "Friends of America" for your home country!)

Canadian Friends of America Rally

I attended a rally today in downtown Toronto in order to show that I and most Canadians are friends of America. I'm glad I did. It was a tremendous rush to stand with other Canadians who are ashamed of Canada and wanted to express love and solidarity with the US. Maybe 8,000 (according to the Globe and Mail) showed up notwithstanding that it took place in freezing drizzle.. Lots of great signs and large flags. All kinds of great patriotic songs were played and sung including I love New York and God Bless America.

There were many speeches which were all up lifting. Speakers including a daughter of one of the Canadian victims of 9/11, Pinball Clemens who was an American and now makes his home in Toronto by choice, and a Canadian woman whose brother is with the Canadian troops in Afghanistan. Conservative Ernie Eves, the Premier of Ontario, spoke and was great. StephenHarper, the leader of the Canadian Alliance spoke eloquently. So did a Conservative MP whose name slipped my mind.

Two speakers from the Liberals were booed and shouted down. The crowd was in no mood to hear the Liberal position explained for the umpteenth time.

There were some anti-war types carrying signs and they were roughed up and their signs destroyed. It was our party and they weren't invited.

It was great.
Perfecting the Unifying Theory (Ted Belman)

Further to my Unifying Theory, one important element was not factored in and as a result, the theory made Bush out to be nefarious or diabolical. It did not account for the fact that Bush and the neo cons were friendly to Israel as a alley and fellow democracy. So this too has to be factored in.

In Bush’s speech of June ’02, wherein he articulated a “vision of two states”, he prefaced his remarks by saying,
For too long, the citizens of the Middle East have lived in the midst of death and fear. The hatred of a few holds the hopes of many, hostage. The forces of extremism and terror are attempting to kill progress and peace by killing the innocent. And this casts a dark shadow over an entire region. For the sake of all humanity, things must change in the Middle East.

The last line is the most important. Everything must be seen in the broader context of creating a new Middle East.
I've said in the past that nations are either with us or against us in the war on terror. To be counted on the side of peace, nations must act. Every leader actually committed to peace will end incitement to violence in official media, and publicly denounce homicide bombings. Every nation actually committed to peace will stop the flow of money, equipment and recruits to terrorist groups seeking the destruction of Israel -- including Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and Hezbollah. Every nation actually committed to peace must block the shipment of Iranian supplies to these groups, and oppose regimes that promote terror, like Iraq. And Syria must choose the right side in the war on terror by closing terrorist camps and expelling terrorist organizations.
How much more specific can he get.
Leaders who want to be included in the peace process must show by their deeds an undivided support for peace. And as we move toward a peaceful solution, Arab states will be expected to build closer ties of diplomacy and commerce with Israel, leading to full normalization of relations between Israel and the entire Arab world.

We must also resolve questions concerning Jerusalem, the plight and future of Palestinian refugees, and a final peace between Israel and Lebanon, and Israel and a Syria that supports peace and fights terror.
We all cheered at these remarks but focused on Israel rather than the Middle East.

On March ’03, on the eve of war, Bush made another key speech in which he opened with,
We have reached a hopeful moment for progress toward the vision of Middle Eastern peace that I outlined last June.

[…]And the Arab states must oppose terrorism, support the emergence of a peaceful and democratic Palestine and state clearly that they will live in peace with Israel.
Those of us who vigorously oppose the Road Map and the Quartet’s involvement view these things in the context of the present Middle East. Bush on the other hand sees them in the context of a new Middle East.

The vision of two states is part of a larger vision of a peaceful Middle East. There won’t be the first without the latter.

In this context, the majority of Israelis and Jews would accept the vision even if it meant something close to the ’67 borders so long as there was truly a New Middle East.

Bush realizes, that to effect the changes he has in mind for the Middle East, he must be “evenhanded” in the solution to the Palestinian problem. This essentially means a deal along the lines of the Barak offer or maybe Taba. But rest assured, it will be done in the context of Bush's Middle East vision. I think, I hope.

Even today Aluf Benn reports in Ha'aretz
A communique received in Jerusalem from the American administration this week says the United States is operating with strong resolution to neutralize the Iraqi threat to Israel. After the war, the message continued, the United States will deal with other radical regimes in the region - not necessarily by military means - to moderate their activities and fight terrorism.

These current and future U.S. operations will also serve Israel, the American administration says, but have caused tensions between the United States and the Arab world. Israel, the American message says, must play its part to help ease these tensions by taking action with regard to settlements in the territories.
So he makes it clear Israel is being sacrificed to appease the Arabs. This has nothing to do with rights, or blame. It just makes America's job easier .

The problem as I see it, is that until such time as the US establishes the new ME, Israel has to proceed on trust even to the point of finalyzing the Palestinian state in 2 years. Since in my theory, the Road Map is linked to the New Middle East, it should really be a Road Map for ME peace of which the resolution of the Palestinian/Israel conflict is a part. Surely, it is not too much to ask that progress be made on all fronts at the same time.

I believe that Israel will resist this Road Map in the hope it won't be imposed and enforced. Israel would far prefer a more favourable solution on borders, Jerusalem, refugees, and security. But if Bush resists all pressure from Congress and Senate, then Israel should try to have it proceed as the neighborhood improves.

Now you know the end game. Its plain for all to see. My updated unifying theory is correct and now complete. Bush has been working toward that vision since 9/11. Everything points to it.
The House that Raised Akbar

The G.I that tossed the grenade into his fellow-Americans' tent has roots that point back to Saudi money, according to this NROarticle

With the Islamic connection virtually undeniable in the Asan Akbar grenade case, the question inevitably arises: Where is the Saudi money?

Akbar is the black Muslim Army sergeant who, after killing two and wounding 14 of his fellow soldiers when he hurled a grenade into a tent in Kuwait, ranted, "You guys are coming into our countries and you're going to rape our women and kill our children." So, what about the Saudi money? It's not so much a case of paranoia, as it is a realization that Saudi money has an eerie habit of popping up around Islamic extremism the world over. And in the case of Akbar, the answer is: everywhere.

Akbar grew up attending a Saudi-funded mosque in South Central Los Angeles, and later moved to a mosque dominated by a Saudi-created and -funded organization. In the military, his Muslim chaplain at Fort Campbell was trained and certified by Saudi-funded organizations set up by a Muslim activist with deep Saudi ties. It's possible that all this Saudi money produced no Islamic extremism at any of these points in Akbar's life — but empirical evidence suggests that that's unlikely.

Attending the mosque across the street from his home, the young Akbar spent a lot of time during his formative years at the Bilal Islamic Center, according to the center's imam, Abdul Karim Hasan. Hasan, in a phone interview with NRO, recalls a "reserved" and "studious" boy. But when asked about any possible Saudi connection to his mosque, Hasan — perhaps understandably defensive, in the current anti-Saudi climate — is quick to say that he does not take money from the "Saudi government," though he conceded that he receives funds from Saudi "individuals." That's not entirely true, however.

According to the website of the Islamic Development Bank — a multibillion-dollar investment outfit run by many Arab governments, but based in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia — Bilal Islamic Center recently received a $295,000 grant from ISD to build a new school. Considering the stated purpose of ISD — to advance Muslim communities in accordance with sharia (Islamic law) — one wonders what the center's new school will be teaching. But it's not just the money that raises questions. Bilal Islamic Center "works closely" with the King Fahd Mosque in Culver City (roughly 45 minutes from South Central LA), according to a source at the Culver City mosque — which is not just named after King Fahd, but is also funded by him. And based on the annual statement released by the House of Saud on its efforts to spread Islam throughout the world, Bilal Islamic Center is also funded by the kingdom (under the name "Bilal Mosque of Los Angeles"), although the exact amount is not specified.[more]

IMRA interview Mufti of Jerusalem on use of mosque (Iraq) as firing position.

You get no direct answer from this "man of God" about using a holy place to fire on coalition troops
IMRA interviewed Sheikh Ekrima Sabri, Mufti of Jerusalem and Palestine byappointed by Yasser Arafat, in Arabic, on April 2, with Michael Widlanski,lecturer at The Rothberg School of the Hebrew University, acting as

IMRA: There are reports that Iraqi forces are using the Ali Mosque inNajaf - not as a place of refuge but instead as a place from which to shootat American forces. Is there a problem, from the standpoint of Islamicreligious law, with them doing this?

Sabri: It is the American and British forces who are on the attack. Andthey have attacked the mosques and the hospitals. And they are criminals.

IMRA: So let us ask this in a general way without relating the question to this specific case. In principle can a mosque be used in battle - not for refuge but instead as a firing position.

Sabri: What you have to understand here is that they are the raiding forces, they are the criminal forces. And they are the ones who are killing the children, the women and the elderly. And it is not important whether people are being killed from the mosque or not from the mosque. The most important thing is for American and British forces to get out of Iraq.

IMRA: I understood that. I am asking a question relating to religious law in general. Forget about Iraq. Let us talk about anyplace. Just as a concept.

Sabri: You cannot deal with such a question when there are raiding partiesin Iraq. You cannot deal with whether it is permitted or not permitted. Theroot of it is that there must not be occupying raiding forces in Iraq.

When the American and British forces get out of Iraq I will answer that question.

To the Princeton Class of ' 74
There is no URL for this letter. It was forwarded to me by a former student, a firm supporter of Israel, who lives in N.J. and works in N.Y. He reads Instapundit daily. I have to paste the entire letter since Hotmail will "vanish" otherwise.
For what it's worth, I offer this perspective from the Middle East. I read Verne's and Howard's comments with great interest and yet with growing despair. They like many others in the United States and Europe are wrestling with serious ethical, legal and moral issues concerning the propriety of war as an instrument of policy.

My reaction, as an Israeli and as an American, is that the debate in which you are engaged is a kind of luxury reserved for those who experience war in the abstract or as passive spectators of a media event. I have lived in this country (Israel) for 17 years with my wife and eight children. It seems as if it has been at least two lifetimes, primarily because of the whirlwind of events in which we have been trapped, usually as victims of a deep-seated, to a Western mind, inexplicable hatred aimed at our entire existence and way of life.

I remember hiding in our sealed rooms during the 1991 Gulf War wearing gas masks and putting, gas hoods on our babies all because the Iraqi leader, then as now, Saddam Hussein, decided that it was in his country's interest to incinerate Israel so as to weaken the US - led coalition of those years. I remember the shrapnel from the Iraqi Scuds plowing into the office building in Tel Aviv where I had my law offices then and the need to dash furtively for weeks on end from meeting to meeting carrying my anti-chemical warfare kit. I remember watching my practice wither for months while we sat hostages to Saddam Hussein's insane need to bulldoze over sovereign borders, committing rape and pillage and leaving behind an ecological disaster from purposely fired oil wells the vapors from which
filled our lungs for weeks afterwards. I remember my neighbors in nearby Arab villages running out to the streets in sheer ecstasy as they watched the SCUD missiles re-enter the atmosphere leaving fiery trails on their way to targets in Haifa, Ramat Gan and Dimona.

I am now watching my 18-year old prepare himself for the mandatory three-year tour of duty in the Israel Defense Forces, ready to take his turn in the fight to keep suicide murderers away obliterating innocents in hotels, cafes, schools and synagogues. Last month alone, the radio reported today, 57 suicide bomber attempts were thwarted by our young men and women in the IDF-- none of which I am sure was reported on CNN or even Fox News. Even as I write, Israeli boys my son's age are scouring the deserts of western Iraq in search of mobile SCUD launchers together with their British and American counterparts in the hopes of saving our people from the hail of metal, poison and destruction from Iraq. Only this time we know that, if Saddam has his way, the threat of death will not come from the skies packaged in some guided missile, but rather in a suitcase or spraycan.

For us in this part of the world who are desperately trying to hold on to our Judeo-Christian values in a sea that repudiates those very values, the prospect of war and violence is not an abstraction in constitutional law or humanistic ethics -- it is an ever present reality. It is paradoxically a solution ... a promise of a better day..

When those of us in this sliver of a nation watched as the great steel and glass edifices on Manhattan's south shore disappeared into smoke and ash on September 11, we wept with you out of empathy, not pity -- empathy spawned by five decades (in my case nearly two) of having to cope with ever present terror and, yes, war. I watched with tears in my eyes as your President, my President, addressed Congress and the world in his soft-spoken declaration of war on terror. He warned us then that this war would not be like any other undertaken in modern history. It would be fought in unconventional ways, on unconventional battlefields, over long periods of time -- often far from the penetrating view of television cameras and satellite telephones. We listened to his speech in the presence of an equally brave Prime Minister of Britain and thought, "Now our friends in America and Europe will understand what they are up against, what we have been contending with for half a century."

It has been less than two years since September 11, 2001 and judging from the proliferating news reports and well-meaning letters of protest, like those of Verne and Howard, the once impenetrable consensus has begun to disintegrate, at least in American intellectual circles and certainly on the European street. The resolve to fight the terror, the evil represented by Saddam Hussein and others of his ilk has weakened and is now threatening to put an all-too premature end to, what from this speck of a vantage point, appeared to be the most courageous development in American foreign policy since the Marshall Plan and the Truman Doctrine.

Many of us here on the periphery of the debate watching the Europeans shrink from war to cleanse our region of the cancer called Saddam in the name of peace and other lofty principles cannot help but be reminded of another epoch in the not so distant past when the same people (indirectly aided by an indifferent American public) deluded themselves into sacrificing the tiny Czechoslovaks on an altar called Munich. Then, as now, a well-intentioned, heartfelt appeal was made to avoid the temptation to go to war, to bring peace in our time. Then, as now, the European masses cheered leaders who urged patience and restraint, ignoring cries of the firebrands. But as Winston Churchill, then a lone dissenter, later wrote of those fateful days: "there is no merit in putting off a war for a year if, when it comes, it is a far worse war or one much harder to win. These are the tormenting dilemmas upon which mankind has throughout its history been so frequently impaled." Millions of the human race paid dearly for the enlightened restraint of the West leaders of yore, among them the six million whose cremated corpses fueled the flames in which the State of Israel was forged. How easily mankind forgets.... to think it has been only 58 years.

I do not wish to delude myself into thinking that a few paltry words of an American-Israeli Jew will persuade you to reconsider the consequences of your elegantly argued philosophy of restraint. Who in his or her right mind does not crave peace? But I beg you to open your eyes to the world in which we are all living. It is a world in which all you take for granted and hold so dear is considered anathema by millions who would not hesitate for a second to send you and your families to hellish oblivion if given the opportunity, as they have tried and are trying daily to do in our small country. Your leaders in Washington have understood this and are trying to hold the line. A wake-up call was sent to you on September 11.

Please, for God's sake, do not ignore it.
Marc Zell
Peace, Love & Anti-Semitism?

Hat tip to Instapundit for this video: "Anti-Israeli and even anti-Semitic sentiments run strong in the modern peace movement. Why? "
Talk about gobbledygook

According to Reuters, Powell tells European leaders U.S. serious about 'road map'

But the article is so contradictory that it is incomprehensible.

Apparently Powell told the Europeans that the US could not impose the plan but also told them the United States intended to promote the plan "as it is" without amendments by either side.
But Powell added: "Please understand that it can't just be issued and magical things happen, and it's not going to be just imposed," said the senior official, who asked not to be named.

"It's going to take a heck of a lot of work to get the sides to implement the road map but President Bush has committed to work very hard," the official quoted Powell as saying.

Speaking in public later, Powell said the Israelis and Palestinians will have an opportunity to comment and talk to each other about the plan when they receive it.

"And we are ready to engage in a very, very comprehensive and forceful way," he told a news conference. He did not say whether the sides could amend the plan.
Now let me see. No one has yet said that we must accept it. Good. I hope, Also the fact that it won't be imposed is terrific. But apparently he believes that the US must do a lot of work to get both sides to implement it. What, pray tell, does that mean? How are they going to get Israel to implement it if it doesn't like it and if the Plan won't be imposed. Another question. What the hell is the Road Map. Is it just a set of principals that are not agreed to by the parties themselves. Or are they first going to force Israel to agree to it But they said they wouldn't force us. Very confusing

But here is the kicker, Powell says "And we are ready to engage in a very, very comprehensive and forceful way". I keep hearing two words "issued" and "implemented" from Powell but no one uses the word "accepted".

Finally, Powell and others said "settlement activity must end". Does this refer to building in the settlements of living in the settlements? Any one know?

Do you get my drift? Are you any smarter now?

Do you want insight?

Do you want insight? I’ll give you insight. Or at least direct you to where you can get it.

Ari Shavit, in an article entitled “White Man’s Burden”, interviews Bill Kristol, Charles Krauthammer and Thomas Friedman about the origins of the Iraqi war, the goals of the war and what would happen, G-d forbid, if the US lost the war.

In a nutshell, 9/11 changed everything. The status quo was unacceptable and the neo cons put forward an answer. The American public, and the Administration of George W., bought it . It was an aggressive policy of pre-emption in pursuit of self-defence and values rather then economic self interest. In essence, it aims to transform the Middle East.

And if it failed in its war or ambitions, ….don’t ask. You don’t want to know.

Don’t take my word for it. Read it, you’ll be rewarded.
Fire Prof or Lose Funds, Some Alum Donors Say

The Columbia[University] Daily ran this item
Some alumni donors are pressuring the president's office and the Office of Development and Alumni Relations to fire Professor Nicholas De Genova for statements he made in last week's anti-war teach-in.
In the past few days, donors have barraged the offices with emails and phone calls, informing the University that they feel that De Genova overstepped the limits of academic free speech.

In mass-mailed email messages circulated among each other, alumni have urged each other to issue an ultimatum to the University: Fire De Genova or lose our donations.

"We've gotten a lot of calls," said Thomas Gray, who is in charge of alumni giving in the Office of Development and Alumni Relations. "The people who have called have been very upset. They're proud of their college heritage, and they're very unhappy that this occurred."

CC alumnus Steve Stuart wrote an email a few days ago to over 100 alumni--whose combined "net worth," he said, is at least $250 million--asking them to express outrage to University President Lee Bollinger.

"Until he is fired, the University will suffer," Stuart said. Many of those alumni responded to Stuart's request with letters sent directly to Bollinger. Like Stuart's, nearly all of the emails issued warnings regarding the alumni's continued financial support of the University.

Frank Cicero, CC '92 and Senior Vice President of Investment Banking at Lehman Brothers, told Bollinger that he felt De Genova's presence on campus "pollutes the educational atmosphere."

That "pollution" may compel Cicero to stop contributing to the University.

"In the past, I believed that it was naive and in bad taste for alumni to withhold gifts because of the political opinions of faculty members," Cicero said in his email to Bollinger. "However, I am now considering doing just that in response to the vile and mendacious comments made by De Genova."[more]

April 03, 2003

Canadian Friends of America

Canadian Friends of America now have a site at

Among other things, the site presents links to a petition (actually a statement of support) to be presented to the US ambassador to Canada.

Canadians in particular should visit this site.

Peter “Lord Haw Haw” Arnett

Seeking respite from the interminable Canadian winter, I spent the last three weeks in the National/State Parks of Utah and Nevada, blissfully out of touch with world events. On the flight home, I picked up the Las Vegas Review-Journal and found these headlines on the front page:

(1) “US fights elite Iraqi forces - GIs kill seven women, children at checkpoint”; (2) “Reporters punished for misstep in Iraq” [“NBC and MSNBC dumped correspondent Peter Arnett Monday for criticizing the US Sunday...”]; (3) “Calls for jihad intensify as war in Iraq continues” [this story continues on page 5, under the heading, “Jihad: specter of ‘100 bin Ladens’ looms”].

These headlines do not constitute a selection designed to make a point; rather, they represent all the front page headlines on Iraq. The impression conveyed to the innocent reader is that the US forces in Iraq are in trouble (fighting “elite Iraqi forces”), lashing out at Iraqi civilians (“GIs kill seven women, children”), while critical US correspondents doing their job are punished (“Reporters punished”). Furthermore, the US is just about to face the “specter of 100 bin Ladens”.

And in case the front page is not sufficient to demoralize the reader, the coverage continues with such headlines as “US ready for ‘a very high price’ - commanders prepared for increasing combat deaths, official say” (p. 7); “Around-the-clock grief - US bombs spread fear, anger among Baghdad residents” (p. 8).

When detailed reports from other sources are checked, the picture that emerges is very different, of course. One learns, for example, that the Coalition troops are virtually at the gates of Baghdad, having suffered relatively few casualties, even if every casualty is indeed a source of grief. And the figures on civilian casualties too are relatively low, and definitely well below the casualties inflicted by Saddam Hussein on his own people. One has to conclude that media outlets like the Las Vegas Review-Journal are engaged in a deliberate campaign to aid and abet the Baghdad regime; the same applies to Peter Arnett.

During World War II, a Brit named William Joyce, better known as Lord Haw Haw (because of his affected upper-class accent), broadcast enemy propaganda from Germany with the objective of undermining the Allies' war effort. Am I exaggerating when I use the term, “Peter ‘Lord Haw Haw’ Arnett”? (Historical note: after the War, Lord Haw Haw was tried for his aid to the enemy, and executed in 1946.)

A Unifying Theory (Ted Belman)

Palestine for Iraq

We’ve been had. After Bush’s June speech, we rejoiced. We were home free. No such luck.

Bush has made a Faustian bargain. He has sold America’s soul, Israel, to the devil, Saudi Arabia. What is that bargain? I’ll give you Palestine, you give me Iraq.

Lately we have been reading that the US has been planning a regime change in Iraq for over a year now. To accomplish this they felt they needed the Arabs on board. To achieve this end, the following otherwise incomprehensible actions were taken by the US administration.
Israel was restrained from defending itself after the spate of suicide bombings last spring. Arafat was protected at all costs.

The groundwork was laid for the Road Map by saying that the Palestinians `needed “hope” and by arguing the need for international observers.

The so-called Saudi Peace Plan was taken out of the drawer and released through the NY Times, which the administration did not reject out of hand.

The administration started to make speeches, which reaffirmed that the settlements were an obstacle to peace.

Bush made his June “vision speech” in which he sugar coated his vision of a Palestinian State with all kinds of safeguards for Israel, to make it easier for Israel to swallow the poison.

In September the Quartet released the first draft of the Road Map.

The Road Map is negotiated while the US attempted to get UN approval for the War. France and Germany proved intransigent but not the Arabs.

The final draft was released in December but not published ostensibly because of the Israeli elections and then until a government was formed. The administration also wanted Labour in the government of Israel so that it would be easier to get Israel to travel the Road Map. Sharon tried hard but didn’t succeed.

The Road Map was also held back as a trump card to ensure Arab support for the War which had not yet started.

As part of their bargain, the Arabs attempted to get agreement on ending the terror but didn’t succeed. No matter.

Throughout this period of time when it was negotiating with Saudi Arabia the State Department came often to the defence of Saudi Arabia describing them as a friend of the US. In fact their representative was invited to Bush’s ranch.

Much was made of the number of times Sharon met with Bush. Sharon rightly assumed great coordination of aims and often remarked that they saw “eye to eye”. But unfortunately he was blind.

As cover for the bargain, Blair became the fall guy and started pushing for a Palestinian state and the Road Map in his assigned role. In fact this was a smoke screen for the deal that had been cut with the Arabs.

The Administration made it appear that they were paying a debt to Blair to hide the deal with the Arabs.

While the whole world was rejecting the war, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Egypt came out in support of regime change. Saudi Arabia allowed the use of the US airbase in their country and allowed over flights and safe passage for men and equipment. Kuwait was allowed everything. It was incomprehensible until now.

The US kept stalling approval of the nine billion in aid Israel was requesting so that it would have leverage to get Israel to comply.

The defection of Turkey and the rejection by France and Germany made Arab cooperation all the more important and necessary.

Then the State Department kept Saudi Arabia off the list of intolerant religious countries and put Israel on the list of abusers of human rights.

The Palestinians did their part by agreeing to reforms and even appointing Abu Mazem as PM. Never mind, he was a long time crony of Arafat’s, that he did not have full authority, that he was in favour of “resistance” and was a holocaust denier, it was good enough for the US and they started a campaign to whitewash him. He was just Arafat’s fig leaf.

Once Arab cooperation was assured and the war launched, the gloves came off of the Road Map. Nothing else can explain why the Road Map is to be released before the dust settles in Iraq.

It was irrelevant that the UN and the EU were given a role after screwing the US on the UN approval because the Road Map was a concession to the Arabs and not France.
There you have it. This is not a conspiracy theory. It is a unifying theory.

The Road Map must be resisted at all cost.
Martin Kimel shows press bias

This extract from Kimel's blog compares two major papers on the same issue and thus indicates how biased reporting can get. Please use links in the Kimel link for jumping to articles cited
Our friends Molly Moore and John Ward Anderson seem to do whatever they can to paint Israel in a bad light -- even when Israeli civilians are victims of suicide bombers. Compare the Post's coverage of yesterday's bombing in Netanya with that of the NY Times. First, from WaPo's story:

The continuing attacks have left emotions raw. Nihad Yassim, 33, and his wife, Fatmah, 32, an Israeli Arab couple, rushed from their table at the restaurant next door to assist a wounded soldier who was writhing in pain on the sidewalk.

"My husband tried to help the soldier, but a civilian nearby jumped on us because my husband was speaking to me in Arabic and the man suspected him of being connected to the bomber," said Fatmah, who is seven months pregnant and was having contractions at the hospital after the incident. "I was deeply hurt by this. It's as if it's not my country and I don't have the right to live in it."

Here's what James Bennet of the Times wrote:

Mr. Yassin, the Israeli Arab, said he was separated from his wife in the chaos. He rushed bottled water to wounded soldiers, he said, and then, as rescue workers arrived, went to look for her.

Once he found her, he said, he addressed her in Arabic. He said an Israeli man then accosted him, demanding to know where he was from and summoning the police.

Mr. Yassin said the policeman realized he was a victim, not a suspect, and helped him to an ambulance.

When the mayor of Netanya, Miriam Feierberg, visited Mr. Yassin at his bedside today, Mrs. Yassin told her about the incident.

"People are under pressure," Mayor Feierberg said.

"But I'm under the same pressure," Mrs. Yassin replied.

The mayor said she understood, but added, "When a terror attack happens, everyone's balance is upset, and there's nothing to be done about it."

But I guess one should expect this kind of treatment from the Post, which has a foreign editor who finds Hamas' goals to be "ambiguous."
The Road Map is Not open to Negotiation

AIPAC gets mobilized to fight for Israel's survival

Israel Harel, writing in Ha'aretz no less, rings the alarm,
But there were many there - and these are the vast majority of the organization's activists, as anyone who has attended a few AIPAC conventions knows - who really and truly support the settlements.

When AIPAC decides to fight the road map, even those who applauded in Washington will enlist. And AIPAC should start now. After all, National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice is certainly not one of Israel's enemies, and did not arbitrarily release a semi-ultimatum - not to a lobby that can (almost) influence the outcome of the elections - that the "demands [of the road map] are not open to negotiation." And when such a resolute statement is made when the early cherry blossoms of the primaries are already blooming in Washington, it is a sign that the lobby fell asleep on its watch.

The analysis of a few main clauses in this map of dictates makes one ask. The implementation of the map includes two international conferences. This means the internationalization of the conflict and that Israel's bosom buddies - like the representatives of the Quartet - will act as judge in the dispute between us and the Palestinians! After all, all Israeli governments, including that of the late Yitzhak Rabin, which kept even the United States away from the Oslo talks, felt that no good could come out of international conferences.

Another such clause is the Israeli parallel to the cessation of terror - the freezing of the settlements: "The Israeli government will freeze all settlement activity, including the natural growth of the communities." It turns out, therefore, that even the U.S. has unfortunately been dragged into this outrageous and unethical equation. It is possible to oppose the settlements for ideological or other reasons, but for Jews in Israel to rejoice that a document is forced on us, equating construction and productivity - even in a disputed location - with the Palestinian terror that has murdered over 1,000 and injured thousands more in the last 30 months alone?

The "security" section of the document states that the supervising council, which includes the U.S., Egypt and Jordan, will set up the forces of the Palestinian state. Can Israel afford to repeat the bitter mistake, after the lessons of the establishment of the Palestinian force following Oslo, of putting such a critical matter in the hands of two countries that a priori and without hesitation support every Palestinian position?

Even the following words, according to Rice, are "not open to negotiation": "The arrangement will take special consideration of the Saudi initiative that was accepted at the Beirut summit." The two principles of that initiative are: 1. The full withdrawal of Israel to the 1967 lines, including from Jerusalem; and 2. The return of the Palestinians to their residences in Israel in accordance with United Nations Resolution 194. Those - the right of return and the complete withdrawal from Jerusalem - are a cause for rejoicing?

Perhaps the cause for celebration is the paragraph that calls all the territories liberated in 1967 - including Jerusalem - "occupied territory"? (American spokesmen, for instance, speak of all areas conquered in Iraq as "liberated territory," with the ultimate goal being the "liberation of Baghdad.") And what about the fact that all Israeli construction, including in Jerusalem, is an action that "undermines trust"? Journalist David Bedein of the Makor Rishon weekly magazine wanted to know whether the renovation of the Hurva synagogue (bombed by the Jordanians during the 1948 War of Independence) in Jerusalem's Old City, for example, was included in that ban.

"Any building activity in the Old City of Jerusalem," responded the American Embassy, "will be considered illegal construction as conceived by U.S. foreign policy."

Another thing, take note, which is stated in the road map: "All Israeli institutions will end incitement against the Palestinians."

The morning after the 1991 Gulf War, surely as a gesture to Israel's obedience and restraint despite being bombarded with 39 Scud missiles, then-secretary of state James Baker came to Israel and forced then-prime minister Yitzhak Shamir to accept an international conference, the Madrid conference that led to the Oslo disaster and to this murderous war of terror that has no end.

Unlike its predecessor, which was hostile to Israel, the current administration, which is considered friendly to Israel is for some reason in a hurry to get moving and has unsheathed its claws at the height of the war. Now Israel must respond resolutely: The milestones that are marked on this "follow the rules without question" road map are liable to lead the Jewish state into a trap that will endanger its existence. From Israel's perspective, and not that of the U.S., Rice is correct: This road map cannot be open to negotiation.
All together now.

Unwinnable war of words

Barry Rubin's Jerusalem Post piece gives us nice insights as to why no matter what happens with the IDF or American troops in Iraq there will always be those who have nothing but contempt to spit out
The first week of the Iraq war should give us an unforgettable lesson in how the world works in terms of information battles, elite opinion, and media behavior. The experience should shatter some decades-old assumptions.

Simply put: Things thought to apply only to Israel have now been shown to work almost equally against the United States. Problems attributed to an Israeli hasbara weakness also hold true for the mighty and competent American public relations system. Attitudes attributable to anti-Semitism are paralleled by the effects of anti-Americanism.

In short, Israel's situation is by no means unique. Deeper, systemic, problems about how governments, media, and intellectuals function and how they view the world can work against anyone, or at least anyone who deals with the Middle East.

Here are some key aspects:

* Being a democracy battling a dictatorship earns you little or no special credit, and can be an outright disadvantage. The assumption of the dominant sector in the intellectual class which runs much of academia, the media, and all verbal, opinion-forming sectors of society is that democracies lie about as much as dictatorships, especially if the dictatorship claims "progressive" credentials.

Forcing its own intellectuals and media to voice a single line makes the dictatorship sound popular abroad. Since all Iraqis or Palestinians say the same thing, it must be true. In contrast, a democracy's dissenting voices about its real or imagined shortcomings can be used to undermine its assertions.

To make matters worse, you have the claims of a "people" versus those of a "government." (You can imagine which one the opinion-making class is more likely to believe.)

In addition, since no critical information comes out of a dictatorship, the only way we know it does anything wrong is from its enemies' assertions. All the data, no matter how well-documented, from Israel on Yasser Arafat's backing of terrorism, or from the US on Saddam Hussein's repression and concealment of weapons can be dismissed as partisan.

Then there is the fair-minded "neutrality" of those who shape opinion in the media, academia, and elsewhere. "Patriotism" is identified as a right-wing belief and replaced by its opposite. To doubt, criticize, slander, or at least avoid agreeing with your country's position seems politically courageous and morally noble.
"Why should we assume the US is telling the truth? Let's give equal weight to Saddam Hussein's version."

As a result, if soldiers of a democratic state make a mistake an Israeli or US attack that inadvertently kills civilians they are denounced as something close to war criminals. But if their adversaries torture people to death, employ terrorism or do a dozen other heinous things, the response is, "How do we know it really happened?"
The democratic states must meet a higher standard. Their mistakes matter, and they are held accountable for each and every one.

NOW CONSIDER some parallels: [more]
First Bomb Making Lab Discovered In Israel

Jerusalem ( - In an unprecedented incident, Israeli security forces uncovered an explosives laboratory run by the Islamic Jihad in an Israeli Arab town and arrested a three-member Israeli Arab cell intending to help carry out a suicide bombing in Israel, the prime minister's office said on Monday.

It is not the first terror attack involving participation by Israeli Arabs, who often have relatives in the West Bank and Gaza Strip but it is the first case of the discovery of a bomb-making factory here. Because they possess a "blue" Israeli identity card, Israeli Arabs can pass easily through Israeli army checkpoints leaving the West Bank.

Muhammed Masri, who headed the cell, is an Israeli citizen from Jaljuliya. His mother is a Palestinian from the West Bank town of Tulkarm.

Late last year, Masri allegedly met Islamic Jihad militant Nimr Khalil while on a family visit to Tulkarm.

Khalil later allegedly asked Masri to help a suicide bomber infiltrate Israel and introduced him to two Islamic Jihad activists, who gave him a detailed list of bomb-making materials and 2,000 shekels (about $425) with which to purchase the goods, the prime minister's office said in a statement.

Masri made the purchase, began to assemble the items and enlisted the help of two other Israeli Arabs, Iman Abu Kishak and Fadel Abed, according to the accusations. Masri also allegedly purchased a phony Israeli ID to help the suicide attacker get into Israel.

The cell was also accused of perpetrating firebomb attacks, which caused no injuries. The three were arrested recently before they had a chance to help carry out the suicide attack, Israeli officials said.

"Masri told his investigators that he acted from ideological motives and that he had begun to become religiously observant approximately two years ago," the prime minister's office said.

"He added if it were not for his frequent visits to his mother's relatives in Tulkarm, he might not have become involved with fugitive terrorists," according to the prime minister's office.[more]

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) -- Israeli troops looking for weapons-smuggling tunnels raided a Gaza refugee camp early Thursday, killing four armed Palestinians in exchanges of fire and demolishing five houses.

In the West Bank, two Palestinians, including a 14-year-old boy, were killed by army fire.

In the army raid, soldiers backed by 35 tanks, four attack helicopters and more than a dozen bulldozers entered the Rafah camp near the Egyptian border. A firefight erupted. Four Palestinian gunmen were killed, including one hit by fire from an Apache helicopter, and seven were wounded.

The army said the raid was meant to uncover tunnels used for smuggling weapons from Egypt, and that four houses were razed. Palestinians put the number of demolished homes at five.

No tunnels were discovered but four soldiers were wounded when a bomb went off under a tank. The militant Islamic group Hamas, which has killed hundreds of Israelis in attacks, claimed responsibility for the tank attack, saying it was a "gift to the Iraqi people."

The Rafah camp has been a flashpoint of fighting in the past 30 months, with troops destroying dozens of home allegedly used for covering tunnels or as firing positions. The army has demolished nearly 700 houses in refugee camps in the West Bank and the Gaza since September 2000, according to the International Committee of the Red Cross. The demolitions have rendered more than 5,000 Palestinians homeless, the Red Cross said.

In the West Bank town of Qalqiliya, meanwhile, Israeli troops searching for Palestinian militants late Wednesday night shot and killed a 14-year-old Palestinian when he opened his door to look at troops outside, witnesses said. The army said the youth tried to run away from troops, and was shot after he ignored calls to stop.

In the West Bank city of Nablus, Israeli troops shot and killed a local Hamas leader early Thursday morning, the army said.

Khaled Rayyan, 28, was hiding in a relative's house with his wife and child when soldiers broke down the door, said his wife, Salam. Rayyan was killed when he tried to attack the troops with a pistol, she said.

Saeb Erekat, a Palestinian Cabinet minister, said he condemned the killings, particularly of the teenager. "I ... urge the international community not to allow Israel to continue exploiting the war with Iraq to achieve its end goal," Erekat said.

Palestinians have expressed concern that Israel would step up military strikes while the world's attention focuses on Iraq. However, there has been no sign of a significant increase in raids in the past two weeks.

In the West Bank town of Tulkarem and an adjacent refugee camp, nearly 1,000 men and teenage boys who had been questioned on Wednesday during an Israeli military sweep were being kept from returning to their homes on Thursday. The army said they were being kept out so soldiers could search homes and question other residents.

As many Palestinians waited to return to their homes, Israeli forces demolished the Tulkarem home of a Palestinian suicide bomber who blew himself up in the coastal city of Netanya two years ago. Israel routinely demolishes the homes of families of suicide bombers as a deterrent. Palestinians say it is collective punishment.

Also Thursday, Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian prime minister-designate, met with political leaders in the Gaza Strip to discuss the formation of his new Cabinet, expected later this month.
Pakistani blames "agents of Jews" for country's negative image

Another example of just plain stupidity, this article about Pakistanis The Internet Jerusalem Post
A senior minister in the Pakistani government blasted US sanctions imposed on the country's main nuclear research facility, saying that "agents of Jews" were behind Pakistan's negative image, the Pakistan Tribune reported.

At a press conference held in Peshawar, Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, Pakistan's Minister of Information, denounced the US move against the Kahuta Research Laboratories, which reportedly supplied nuclear technology to North Korea.

"We have flatly rejected the US sanctions on Kahuta Research Laboratories," he said, adding that the sanctions would have no impact because the lab does not engage in trade with any US-based firms.

Ahmed also asserted that "agents of Jews" were behind media speculation that Pakistan might be America's next target after Iraq in the global war on terror. "Pakistan is invincible," he said.

Palestinian protesters shoot at Bush, Blair photos

From The Jerusalem Post another example of picking the losing side
Some 10,000 Palestinians reportedly thronged the streets and alleyways of the refugee camp in the West Bank town of Jenin on Thursday, chanting for Saddam Hussein to bomb Tel Aviv and shooting at photographs of President Bush and Prime Minister Blair.

The protest was held on the one year anniversary of Operation Defensive Shield in which dozens of Israeli soldiers and Palestinians died during an IDF sweep for terror suspects in the camp.

According to Israel Radio, 10,000 protesters marched through the streets, carrying signs and chanting slogans that called on Saddam Hussein to attack Tel Aviv.

The radio played the sound of the crackle of gunfire being aimed by protesters at huge posters of US President George W. Bush and British Premier Tony Blair that were held up in the town square.

Earlier this week, Palestinian officials renamed the square to honor the Iraqi suicide bomber who killed four US Marines in southern Iraq on Saturday.

April 02, 2003


Let them use Mecca Cola for fuel.

I Am A Zionist, Because

France, duplicitous as ever

Michael Ledeen accuses the French of lying when Villepin said France wished the US a quick victory in Iraq. It is a lie because France has actively worked against such success and continues to do so.
He had already provided a perfectly good lie on the 24th, and he didn't have to dream up a new one in London. For whatever Villepin (or Chirac for that matter) said, in London or Paris, on the 24th or whenever, the fact of the matter is that France has done everything in its power to prevent the coalition from winning this war. Indeed, France took an amazing step, whose only possible consequence was to prolong the war and to maximize casualties on both sides. That took place when France and Germany threatened the Turkish opposition parties with total excommunication from Europe if they dared vote in favor of permitting the U.S. to use Turkish bases in the liberation of Iraq.
The result of that threat was to cause the US to travel thousands of miles with men and equipment to disembarque in Kuwait instead of Turkey.

By the way a recent polls finds that one third of Frenchmen want the US to lose the war.

We don't owe them anything. But that's a negative. We owe them a kick in the ass.

Islamist: al-Qaida holds coalition troops

Connection between Arab terrorists and Iraq that had been denied
LONDON, April 2 (UPI) -- A Muslim fundamentalist source claimed Wednesday that Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida network captured five coalition troops in Iraq.

The source who requested anonymity told United Press International by telephone that the kidnapping of four U.S. troops and a British soldier, took place last Saturday in al-Zubair region of southern Iraq, close to the Kuwaiti border.

He said the "kidnapped troops will be equally treated as al-Qaida prisoners held in Guantanamo Bay."

He said al-Qaida will soon release a videotape of the captured soldiers and will ask to swap them with al-Qaida suspects being held by the United States.
Middle East slide show
Note: the pictures make one sympathetic to the suffering of the Palestinians.
The captions explaining the photos explain why such measures had been taken.
That is even-handed journalism
Curiouser and couriouser

"Among the wealthiest Jews in U.S.,
most give most to non-Jewish causes".

It is as if Israel is not in a deep economic crisis, is not - ultimately - still struggling for its very life, does not have thousands of victimes of terror in needs of all sorts... What's wrong with this picture? Read this study in JTA and see if you can explain this.

Reject the Road Map (Ted Belman)

Its worse than a Trojan horse, its a time bomb.

The rush to publish, or more accurately, to impose the Road Map is obscene and an act of desperation by the US.

Powell argued that by vanquishing Iraq, a dedicated enemy of Israel, Israel would feel more secure to make peace.

My G-d, the dust isn’t even settled yet. What kind of Iraq will come into being? Will it be controlled by America? If so, what ever happened to creating a democracy? Will it be a hotbed of terrorism with various factions fighting for power and to throw out the US? If America gets out, who will be in charge? Will the UN have a role? Will Egypt or Saudi Arabia be more or less stable? Will the threat of terrorism and support therefore, from Syria and Iran, be ended? Will Turkey and the Kurds be fighting? Will Iran be trying to curry favour with the Iraqi Shi’ites? Will Syria be looking to extend its influence in Iraq?

Any half brain would know, that at a minimum, one should wait for all this to settle down and be made clear before arguing Israel can proceed in confidence. The only reason this is being done is for America to do what all Arab regimes do, deflect criticism and attention to Israel.

The Road Map will prove Israel’s undoing. There is nothing good in it for Israel. No basis for hope.

Res 242 authorized Israel to remain in occupation until it had an agreement for secure and recognized borders. Some of the land was to go back to Jordan, Syria and Egypt. The Palestinians, let alone Palestine, were not even a concept.

Then came Oslo, unfortunately, brought upon Israel by its then government, which recognized the Palestinian Authority in exchange for commitments to foreswear violence and incitement. It proposed a negotiated settlement based on Res. 242. It did not prejudge borders and did not restrict settlement activity. Nor did it promise a Palestinian State at the end or the return of the refugees. The Palestinians never took their commitments seriously and neither did the governments of Israel or the US. Oslo proved to be a Trojan horse, as the Palestinians intended, which greatly weakened Israel.

Then came Mitchell who recommended that settlement activity stop notwithstanding that it wasn’t required by Oslo. It never got off the ground because the Palestinians wouldn’t stop the terror. Tenent tried to chart a course to effect Mitchell to no avail.

Then there was a chorus of voices, or should I say "vices", from Europe, claiming that the Palestinians had to be given hope and another chorus of vices demanding international observers. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that Europe was paving the way to get a better deal for the Palestinians then they had agreed to in Oslo. No one demanded that the Palestinians live up to their commitments given in Oslo.

Finally Bush cracked and in his June speech articulated a vision of a Palestinian State upon certain conditions being fulfilled. Israel accepted this vision because of the conditions imposed. The Quartet was formed in the belief that if everyone agreed on a solution beforehand, that the Palestinians and the Israelis, who could not do so themselves, would have to accept it. The Quartet then worked out a Road Map while the US was trying to get support from the other members of the Quartet for authority to make war on Iraq. Need I say more? The Road Map picks up on the two state solution and abandons all the conditions precedent to its creation set out by Bush, and imposes some of its own.

I could write another couple of pages to illustrate how bad it is for Israel. Suffice it so say that it castrates Israel. They are to be forced to accept a multilateral process at the expense of its own sovereignty. The Quartet will decide if the Palestinians are doing enough to end terror, on the right of return, on the rights of a Palestinian State, on where the borders are and what is to become of Jerusalem. I say this even when the Road Map provides that all issues are to be negotiated.

It is an unmitigated disaster for Israel. It is worse than a Trojan horse, it is a time bomb. Israel should stand its ground now and fight diplomatically before they are burdened with the implications of having accepted it. At the moment Israel has accepted the Bush vision of two states with all the preconditions. They should never accept any other guiding principle as presently in the Road Map, such as the Saudi Peace Plan, or that Israel must cooperate to make the state “viable”, or that the Quartet will decide anything. It is bad enough that they have accepted the vision of a two state solution. I would have preferred that only when borders are agreed upon, to Israel’s liking, would they agree to a state.

If Israel maintains its independence and sovereignty, what can the Quartet do? They can pass a resolution at the UN, perhaps even under Chapter 7, which makes it binding. But to do so requires Bush to take on Congress, the Senate and the Christian Coalition. Remember 71% of Americans according to the latest poll are against a Palestinian state being created. And Bush must do this as he approaches an election year. Even if such a resolution gets passed, Israel is better off than if it accepted it, save for the anger of Bush for having caused him, this fight. And maybe, just maybe, Bush will be happy that he pleased the Arabs and the EU by publishing the Road Map while at the same time having it rejected by Israel. Bush could even go so far as to collect more brownie points with the Arabs for pressing Israel to accept it, even if it doesn’t.

I can dream, can’t I?

We are all Israelis now

This piece was posted at Goldwater Mideast reality
EZRA LEVANT -- Calgary Sun

Allied troops are now finding out what it is like to be Israeli.

Like Israel, the Allied coalition has had little problem dispatching the Iraqi army in open combat.

Credible reports from one battle claimed that 300 Iraqi soldiers were killed without a single American casualty.

Lop-sided numbers like these are reminiscent of Israeli battles with its Arab neighbours, particularly the 1967 Six-Day War and 1982 battle over the Bekaa Valley.

Allied commanders report their chief opposition comes from Iraqi paramilitary guerrillas, often dressed as civilians, hiding in apartments, mosques and hospitals. Sometimes they pretend to surrender -- and then attack when the Allies let down their guard. There have also been several suicide attacks on Allied troops.

In the city of Basra, Saddam's Fedayeen -- the Iraqi version of Hitler's Brownshirts -- forced other Iraqi soldiers at gunpoint to fight against the Allies.

In one case, Fedayeen dressed in U.S. military uniforms, pretended to be Americans and called for Iraqi troops to surrender to them.

Those that did so were killed.

In other words, Saddam's loyalists are resorting to terrorist tactics, including terrorizing their own people.

That's been the state of affairs in Israel for decades.

Suicide bombings are a weekly event in Israel -- but they target pizza parlours and buses, not just Israeli soldiers.

Palestinian bomb-makers hide munitions factories in densely crowded Arab shanties, relying on Israelis' aversion to civilian casualties.

That's Saddam's plan in Baghdad, too.

Iraq knows that its greatest weapon is western public opinion -- and that the international media and diplomatic establishment will always give Iraq the benefit of the doubt. Iraqis are already trumping up civilian casualties to discredit Allied commanders.

As if on cue, Kofi Annan, the secretary general of the UN, accepted without question the Iraqi claim that Allied commanders are massacring civilians.

Specifically repeating one Iraqi allegation, Annan said:
"I would want to remind all belligerents that they should respect international humanitarian law to protect civilians. Besides, they are responsible for the welfare of the civilian population."

To Allied ears, it is shocking to hear Annan criticize American tactics, but not Saddam's.

What about Iraqi executions of Allied PoWs? Or Iraqi tanks hidden in the middle of hospitals?

France's reaction was even more galling.

In London last week, Dominique de Villepin, France's Foreign Minister, refused to answer a reporter's question about which side France hoped would win the war.

This perfidy is nothing new for Israel, the universal scapegoat at the UN and the European Union, and the subject of their most one-sided excoriations.

For decades, sophisticated experts have lectured us about how concepts of right and wrong don't apply to the Mideast.

They have renamed terrorists "militants" and dictators as "friends" or "allies."
They have cast democratic Israel as the aggressor.

On Sept. 11, 2001, the fictions of that world view were exposed. Terrorists cannot be negotiated with or compromised with. They are enemies who must be defeated. The word "evil", long out of fashion, has been taken out of storage. It is the only word that is accurate.

The Allies are now seeing first-hand what Israel has faced for decades.

And George Bush and Tony Blair are responding as Ariel Sharon does:

With moral clarity -- military force, combined with humanitarian compassion.

Sept. 11 turned all of us into targets. It has forced all of us to confront evil. We are all Israelis now. Ezra Levant can be reached at
Letters to the editor should be sent to
Perestroika in MESA.

And from the always perceptive Martin Kramerthis piece
Lisa Anderson, dean of international affairs at Columbia and president of the Middle East Studies Association (MESA), has sent a letter to members in the current MESA Newsletter. It contains a remarkably frank indictment of the performance of Middle Eastern studies over the past decade.

Anderson describes how the Middle East stagnated in the 1990s, dashing the academics' hopes for democratization. "It was an ugly picture," she admits, "and, to be candid, few American scholars of the Middle East did much to advertise it."
Thousands of individually rational decisions, as my political science colleagues might observe, contributed to a collective abdication of responsibility. In the social sciences, graduate students who wanted jobs and junior faculty who wanted tenure mimicked their colleagues in other areas and looked for flickers of electoral politics and glimmers of economic privatization...and neglected the stubborn durability of the authoritarian regimes....More senior scholars, pained by the demoralization in the region and its neglect in their disciplines, suspended active research agendas in favor of administrative assignments in their universities....In the humanities, many scholars...were reluctant to jeopardize access to visas and research authorizations; in their excessive caution, they failed to speak out about the often appalling circumstances of their friends and colleagues there.
In sum, the practitioners either silenced themselves or parroted disciplinary dogmas. I made most of these points, with evidence, in the fourth chapter of my book Ivory Towers on Sand: The Failure of Middle Eastern Studies in America. I'm glad to see them finally conceded, instead of denied. Anderson's own joint appearance with me on a panel in Washington in November was the first sign of perestroika in MESA. This is another.

In another part of her letter, Anderson takes an unfair stab at Campus Watch, for "claiming that half of MESA’s membership is 'of Middle Eastern origin'" and that some of these MESAns have "brought their views with them." Actually, the first flagging of the Middle Eastern origins of the members surfaced in a MESA presidential speech, delivered in 1992 by Yvonne Haddad (and quoted by me in Ivory Towers). Haddad: "Our membership has changed over the years, and possibly half is of Middle Eastern heritage." Campus Watch wasn't the first to make that estimate.

When I brought Haddad's quote, it was to dispute another claim about MESA, made by Edward Said:
During the 1980s, the formerly conservative Middle East Studies Association underwent an important ideological transformation....What happened in the Middle East Studies Association therefore was a metropolitan story of cultural opposition to Western domination.
I pointed out that so total an "ideological transformation" in MESA would not have taken place had there not been a massive shift in the ethnic composition of its membership, as attested by Haddad. And on the very same page, I quoted a political scientist who noted "the widespread, if undocumentable, impression that an individual's ethnic background or political persuasion may influence hiring and tenure decisions" in Middle Eastern studies. The political scientist: Lisa Anderson.

Personally, I wouldn't care if Middle Eastern studies were comprised entirely of people of "Middle Eastern heritage." What I find objectionable is the way MESA has been transformed into "a metropolitan story of cultural opposition to Western domination." That agenda does sound like something pulled straight out of Damascus or Tehran, and it's certainly not the proper role of an American professional association. The problem with MESA is that so many of its past officers have tried to whip it into an ethnic lobby or a popular front. It's this abysmal legacy that Professor Anderson would do right to disown in her next message to the members.
This correction sent me by the author:
Stand corrected: This is the revised version of today's posting. It now correctly attributes the 1992 MESA presidential address to Barbara Aswad