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Power User
Posts: 15533

« Reply #250 on: September 21, 2008, 06:17:13 PM »

**Supporting Israel=Billions

Keeping a state sponsor of terrorism from getting nukes=PRICELESS

From The Sunday Times
September 16, 2007
Israelis ‘blew apart Syrian nuclear cache’
Secret raid on Korean shipment

Uzi Mahnaimi in Tel Aviv, Sarah Baxter in Washington and Michael Sheridan
IT was just after midnight when the 69th Squadron of Israeli F15Is crossed the Syrian coast-line. On the ground, Syria’s formidable air defences went dead. An audacious raid on a Syrian target 50 miles from the Iraqi border was under way.

At a rendezvous point on the ground, a Shaldag air force commando team was waiting to direct their laser beams at the target for the approaching jets. The team had arrived a day earlier, taking up position near a large underground depot. Soon the bunkers were in flames.

Ten days after the jets reached home, their mission was the focus of intense speculation this weekend amid claims that Israel believed it had destroyed a cache of nuclear materials from North Korea.

The Israeli government was not saying. “The security sources and IDF [Israeli Defence Forces] soldiers are demonstrating unusual courage,” said Ehud Olmert, the prime minister. “We naturally cannot always show the public our cards.”

The Syrians were also keeping mum. “I cannot reveal the details,” said Farouk al-Sharaa, the vice-president. “All I can say is the military and political echelon is looking into a series of responses as we speak. Results are forthcoming.” The official story that the target comprised weapons destined for Hezbollah, the Iranian-backed Lebanese Shi’ite group, appeared to be crumbling in the face of widespread scepticism.

Andrew Semmel, a senior US State Department official, said Syria might have obtained nuclear equipment from “secret suppliers”, and added that there were a “number of foreign technicians” in the country.

Asked if they could be North Korean, he replied: “There are North Korean people there. There’s no question about that.” He said a network run by AQ Khan, the disgraced creator of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons, could be involved.

But why would nuclear material be in Syria? Known to have chemical weapons, was it seeking to bolster its arsenal with something even more deadly?

Alternatively, could it be hiding equipment for North Korea, enabling Kim Jong-il to pretend to be giving up his nuclear programme in exchange for economic aid? Or was the material bound for Iran, as some authorities in America suggest?

According to Israeli sources, preparations for the attack had been going on since late spring, when Meir Dagan, the head of Mossad, presented Olmert with evidence that Syria was seeking to buy a nuclear device from North Korea.

The Israeli spy chief apparently feared such a device could eventually be installed on North-Korean-made Scud-C missiles.

“This was supposed to be a devastating Syrian surprise for Israel,” said an Israeli source. “We’ve known for a long time that Syria has deadly chemical warheads on its Scuds, but Israel can’t live with a nuclear warhead.”

An expert on the Middle East, who has spoken to Israeli participants in the raid, told yesterday’s Washington Post that the timing of the raid on September 6 appeared to be linked to the arrival three days earlier of a ship carrying North Korean material labelled as cement but suspected of concealing nuclear equipment.

The target was identified as a northern Syrian facility that purported to be an agricultural research centre on the Euphrates river. Israel had been monitoring it for some time, concerned that it was being used to extract uranium from phosphates.

According to an Israeli air force source, the Israeli satellite Ofek 7, launched in June, was diverted from Iran to Syria. It sent out high-quality images of a northeastern area every 90 minutes, making it easy for air force specialists to spot the facility.

Early in the summer Ehud Barak, the defence minister, had given the order to double Israeli forces on its Golan Heights border with Syria in anticipation of possible retaliation by Damascus in the event of air strikes.

Sergei Kirpichenko, the Russian ambassador to Syria, warned President Bashar al-Assad last month that Israel was planning an attack, but suggested the target was the Golan Heights.

Israeli military intelligence sources claim Syrian special forces moved towards the Israeli outpost of Mount Hermon on the Golan Heights. Tension rose, but nobody knew why.

At this point, Barak feared events could spiral out of control. The decision was taken to reduce the number of Israeli troops on the Golan Heights and tell Damascus the tension was over. Syria relaxed its guard shortly before the Israeli Defence Forces struck.

Only three Israeli cabinet ministers are said to have been in the know – Olmert, Barak and Tzipi Livni, the foreign minister. America was also consulted. According to Israeli sources, American air force codes were given to the Israeli air force attaché in Washington to ensure Israel’s F15Is would not mistakenly attack their US counterparts.

Once the mission was under way, Israel imposed draconian military censorship and no news of the operation emerged until Syria complained that Israeli aircraft had violated its airspace. Syria claimed its air defences had engaged the planes, forcing them to drop fuel tanks to lighten their loads as they fled.

But intelligence sources suggested it was a highly successful Israeli raid on nuclear material supplied by North Korea.

Washington was rife with speculation last week about the precise nature of the operation. One source said the air strikes were a diversion for a daring Israeli commando raid, in which nuclear materials were intercepted en route to Iran and hauled to Israel. Others claimed they were destroyed in the attack.

There is no doubt, however, that North Korea is accused of nuclear cooperation with Syria, helped by AQ Khan’s network. John Bolton, who was undersecretary for arms control at the State Department, told the United Nations in 2004 the Pakistani nuclear scientist had “several other” customers besides Iran, Libya and North Korea.

Some of his evidence came from the CIA, which had reported to Congress that it viewed “Syrian nuclear intentions with growing concern”.

“I’ve been worried for some time about North Korea and Iran outsourcing their nuclear programmes,” Bolton said last week. Syria, he added, was a member of a “junior axis of evil”, with a well-established ambition to develop weapons of mass destruction.

The links between Syria and North Korea date back to the rule of Kim Il-sung and President Hafez al-Assad in the last century. In recent months, their sons have quietly ordered an increase in military and technical cooperation.

Foreign diplomats who follow North Korean affairs are taking note. There were reports of Syrian passengers on flights from Beijing to Pyongyang and sightings of Middle Eastern businessmen from sources who watch the trains from North Korea to China.

On August 14, Rim Kyong Man, the North Korean foreign trade minister, was in Syria to sign a protocol on “cooperation in trade and science and technology”. No details were released, but it caught Israel’s attention.

Syria possesses between 60 and 120 Scud-C missiles, which it has bought from North Korea over the past 15 years. Diplomats believe North Korean engineers have been working on extending their 300-mile range. It means they can be used in the deserts of northeastern Syria – the area of the Israeli strike.

The triangular relationship between North Korea, Syria and Iran continues to perplex intelligence analysts. Syria served as a conduit for the transport to Iran of an estimated £50m of missile components and technology sent by sea from North Korea. The same route may be in use for nuclear equipment.

But North Korea is at a sensitive stage of negotiations to end its nuclear programme in exchange for security guarantees and aid, leading some diplomats to cast doubt on the likelihood that Kim would cross America’s “red line” forbidding the proliferation of nuclear materials.

Christopher Hill, the State Department official representing America in the talks, said on Friday he could not confirm “intelligence-type things”, but the reports underscored the need “to make sure the North Koreans get out of the nuclear business”.

By its actions, Israel showed it is not interested in waiting for diplomacy to work where nuclear weapons are at stake.

As a bonus, the Israelis proved they could penetrate the Syrian air defence system, which is stronger than the one protecting Iranian nuclear sites.

This weekend President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran sent Ali Akbar Mehrabian, his nephew, to Syria to assess the damage. The new “axis of evil” may have lost one of its spokes.
Power User
Posts: 15533

« Reply #251 on: September 21, 2008, 06:26:19 PM »

Mawassi residents say life was better before 2005, when they were part of an Israeli settlement enclave. Few can find work now.

By Rafael D. Frankel | Correspondent of The Christian Science Monitor
from the August 12, 2008 edition

Correspondent Rafael D. Frankel visits the Gaza town of Mawassi.
MAWASSI, GAZA - Three years have passed since Israel withdrew from the Gaza Strip, and in that time the economy of this coastal territory of 1.4 million people has gone from bad to worse.

Gas and food shortages are now being compounded by cash shortages as tens of thousands of people were unable to withdraw money from banks on Monday.

Still, despite their economic hardships, most Gazans insist that they prefer life here without the Israelis.

But in Mawassi – a mixed ethnic Palestinian and Bedouin town that was completely isolated from the rest of Gaza inside a Jewish settlement enclave – it's a different story.

"I want [the Israelis] to come back," says Riyad al-Laham, an unemployed father of eight who worked in the area's Jewish settlements for nearly 20 years. "All the Mawassi people used to work in the settlements and make good money. Now there is nothing to do. Even our own agricultural land is barren."

Located in the middle of Gush Katif, the former block of Jewish settlements here, Mawassi fell within the security cordon the Israeli army threw around its citizens from 2002 to 2005, when attacks from the neighboring Palestinian town of Khan Yunis came almost daily.

During those years, the people of Mawassi continued to work in Gush Katif, mainly as farmhands in hundreds of greenhouses the Jewish settlers operated.

Mr. Laham and many others in Mawassi say they preferred the relative economic security of those days to the current destitution, even if they are now free from Israeli occupation.

"Freedom to go where?" Laham asks. "I have no fuel now for my car. Where can I go? Freedom is a slogan. Even for a donkey you need money – which I don't have."

Three years ago, before Israel withdrew, Mawassi was a town of fertile corn crops and greenhouses, which – like the ones in the Jewish settlements – grew cherry tomatoes, sweet peppers, and strawberries.

Now, in the ethnic Palestinian section of town, nearly half the land lies barren.

Only shells remain of many of the greenhouses that were stripped of valuable materials.

A city that fed itself with its produce and the money its men made from working with the settlers, Mawassi is now dependent on food handouts from the United Nations.

Like the rest of Gaza, its people lack cooking gas and petrol, even if they feel more secure without Israeli soldiers all around them.

In the Bedouin section of town, Salem al-Bahabsa sits with five of his 24 grandchildren in front of his chicken coop. Goats and sheep wander around the other parts of the Bedouin quarter, where people live mostly in tents with tin roofs.

"We are all now unemployed and depend on charity for food," Mr. Bahabsa says. "My sons were farmers in the greenhouses. We worked in the settlements and had resources. Now, I don't think I could survive without [the UN].... Before was better."

There are voices in Mawassi who disagree, including Laham's brother, Iyad. Reclaiming their beachfront, which became the Jewish settlement of Shirat Hayam in 2001, and the ability to move around Gaza as they please, makes the quality of life here better even if there is no longer a market for their produce, Iyad says.

"It was dark days because of the occupation," says Iyad, an employed English teacher and father of three. "Working is not everything. The checkpoints made our city a prison.... We can't say the occupation days were better than today."

But interviews in the village appear to indicate that Iayd's point of view puts him in the minority.

One main reason that life is worse now, say many villagers, is the lack of attention paid to Mawassi by both the previous Fatah and current Hamas governments since the Israeli withdrawal.

The Israelis "used to take responsibility for us as occupiers," Riyad Laham says. "Neither [Hamas nor Fatah] knocked on the doors to ask what we need. People are fed up.... We have become beggars.

"At 9 a.m. in every other country, everyone is at his desk doing his work," Laham says. "Here, people are by the side of the road with their arms crossed together."
Power User
Posts: 15533

« Reply #252 on: September 21, 2008, 06:29:29 PM »

**Speaking of Bill and Melinda Gates and global charity.....**

Bill Gates secretly paid for Gaza greenhouses
Deal to 'enhance peace process,' but Palestinians stripped, looted facilities
Posted: April 13, 2006
1:00 am Eastern

By Aaron Klein
© 2008

Bill Gates (Courtesy JERUSALEM – In a revelation that surprised many here associated with the deal, it emerged this week the charitable foundation of Microsoft founder Bill Gates largely was responsible for transferring to the Palestinians the high-tech Jewish greenhouses of the Gaza Strip prior to Israel's evacuation of the area.
The greenhouses, passed in a private charity deal last summer, reportedly have been stripped and looted by Palestinian gangs and Palestinian security officers hired to protect the structures.

"I wish I would have known it was Bill Gates who paid for the greenhouses. I would have sent him a thank you letter," Ahmed Al-Masri, current manager of the Gaza greenhouses, told WorldNetDaily.

Prior to Israel's August withdrawal, the residents of Gaza's Gush Katif slate of Jewish communities ran greenhouses known for producing high-quality insect-free vegetables. The Gush Katif gardens featured some of the most technologically advanced agricultural equipment and accounted for more than $100 million per year in exports to Europe. The greenhouses also supplied Israel with 75 percent of its own produce.

The hothouses, worth several hundred million dollars, were passed to the Palestinians in September in a $14 million deal brokered by former World Bank President James Wolfenson. According to reports, Wolfenson personally contributed $500,000 of his own money and the rest was ponied up mostly by American Jews, including billionaires Mortimer Zuckerman and Leonard Stern.

But an article in Forbes Magazine stated the $29 billion Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the world's biggest charity, provided most of the money – $10 million – to purchase the greenhouses.

The magazine pointed out the donation falls outside the main focus of the foundation: global health. Gates is not known to involve himself in Mideast diplomacy or charities associated with Israel or the Palestinian territories.

A foundation representative told WND, "The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation contributed $10 million to facilitate the transfer of the greenhouses. This was a unique grant, made quickly and quietly because we believed it was in the best interest of all parties and would enhance the peace process."

Zuckerman, a real estate mogul who owns U.S. News and World Report and the New York Daily News, told WND, "We were advised the Gates Foundation wished to keep their gift anonymous. I am happy to acknowledge their contribution if confidentiality is not of concern to them now."

Major players involved in the greenhouse transfer say they were shocked to learn Gates was behind the financing.

Al-Masri was not aware of the donation until he was contacted by WND yesterday.

Officials from the Palestine Economic Development Corporation and the U.S. Agency for International Development involved in the greenhouse transfer said they did not know Gates money funded the deal.

Also unaware was Eitan Haderi, a former Gaza Jewish farmer who represented the Gush Katif community in the greenhouse transfer.

"I am stunned. No one on our side had any idea Bill Gates paid for the greenhouses," Hadei told WND.

But Gates may not have got his money's worth. According to reports, the greenhouses were looted by gunmen following Israel's withdrawal. Computer equipment and, in some cases, entire greenhouses were stolen. The theft has put out of action about 70 acres of the roughly 1,000 acres left by the Jewish communities, according to Al-Masri.

"The looters took their time to dismantle the greenhouses and to uproot entire greenhouses and carry them away," Amid al-Masri previously told reporters.

Another round of looting struck the greenhouses in February when Fatah gunmen hired to protect the greenhouses abandoned their posts because they had not been paid. Witnesses reported some of the security guards themselves participated in the looting.

As WND reported, Palestinian farmers have had trouble reproducing the bug-free produce previously generated by the Jewish owners. The Palestinian owners reportedly asked the U.S. governmental development group USAID to hire former Jewish Gaza greenhouse owners as consultants for their declining vegetable businesses.

Al-Masri yesterday said the Gaza greenhouses are fully functioning and are producing at full capacity. He also said most of the stolen greenhouse equipment has been recovered by the Palestinian Authority police. His claims could not be independently verified before press time.
Power User
Posts: 15533

« Reply #253 on: September 21, 2008, 06:32:59 PM »

It's been said that "The Saudis are proof that money can buy everything, but civilization". I'd say this applies to more than just the Saudis.
Power User
Posts: 2004

« Reply #254 on: September 21, 2008, 08:31:06 PM »

GM; I think "Woo Hoo" is better or perhaps "boo hoo" - since although you have a hard time admitting it; the law in the UK does not allow for domestic violence; period.  You are right; my thinking is simple; but then so is the law - it's black and white and you are wrong. All this what ifs, and how about, and in the future makes for an interesting discussion, but it doesn't change the fact of law.  Ask Marc; I think he politely tried to tell you two times that you are wrong.  Good grief; I understand you are in Law Enforcement; don't you enforce the law as it is today? NO more and no less...

Speaking of the Law, as for Cafferty he received a traffic ticket; that's it!  Period; those are the facts; forget the rest.  I got a ticket myself recently for not making a complete stop.  Am I and Cafferty bad; yes, I suppose, but I don't lose sleep over it.  And I doubt he lost sleep over paying his traffic ticket either.  And by the way, that all has what to do with the WSJ article and skewered McCain?  I think the answer is zero.

As for BO's academic accomplishments he graduated cum laude (top 10%) from Harvard Law School and was President of the Harvard Law Review.  Again, I defer to Marc; he can explain what Cum Laude and President of the Law Review means, but take it from me, it means you are very smart.  Versus McCain who almost wash outed of the Academy... That said, smart alone does not make you a good president; I raise the issue of McCain's age simply because the rigors of the job, stress, daily demands, and pressure; it takes a toll on the body.  And at 72 to start the toughest job in the world for which he hopes is an eight year period is too old in my opinion.  He (no one) is at their best. And if BO was 72 I would say the same thing.  I want the man/woman to be at their best or at least close too it.  He's past his prime.   I mean if McCain is elected and reelected do you realize he will be 80 before he leaves office?

As for countries "gliding in our wake" I don't know of any country that has glided in our wake more than Israel.  We have been there over and over again for Israel at great cost to America and I don't mean dollars.  And that is fine with me; I support Israel.  I believe we should continue to be there for Israel.  But, my question is since you were bragging about how they are a successful and wealthy nation (your comments) why do we still give them almost 3 billion dollars per year of "foreign aid".  Other so called successful and wealthy countries do the opposite; they don't ask for aid from us, rather they give their own money to the poor and needy around the world.   In contrast, Israel gives little or nothing to the world's poor; they keep their money and ask for a handout from us.  It just doesn't seem very charitable to me.
Power User
Posts: 42527

« Reply #255 on: September 21, 2008, 08:53:29 PM »

"Frankly, the fact that Israel has accomplished so much while under such constant threat is nothing short of miraculous."

Amen to that.  I am reminded of the words of the heroic Wafa Sultan, when responding to comments about us Jews being "people of the book"; she said "No, they are people of MANY books- of science, medicine, and art and more."

Making editor of Law Review at Harvard is a really big deal.  Odd is not writing any articles while there , , , kind of like voting "present"  cheesy 

Anyway, time for dinner, gotta go.
Power User
Posts: 2004

« Reply #256 on: September 21, 2008, 09:18:16 PM »

Perhaps the comment "No, they are people of MANY books - science, medicine and art and more" is an understatement...

And yes, odd, he didn't write, but I think we all wish we could answer "present" as Editor of the Law Review at Harvard.
Power User
Posts: 42527

« Reply #257 on: September 28, 2008, 03:55:06 AM »


Obama, McCain and Israel’s National Security
By Yoram Ettinger
Sept. 26, 2008

The policy of US presidents, toward Israel, is a derivative of their worldview, and not of their campaign statements and position papers.

A worldview shapes presidential attitude toward Israel as a strategic asset or a liability and toward Jerusalem, Judea & Samaria and the Golan Heights. A presidential worldview determines the scope of the US posture of deterrence in face of Middle East and global threats, which directly impacts Israel’s national security.

For example, President Nixon was not a friend of the US Jewish community and was not a leader of pro-Israeli legislation in the US Senate. In 1968, he received only about 15% of the Jewish vote. However, his worldview recognized Israel’s importance to US national security, as was demonstrated in 1970, when Israel rolled back a Syrian invasion of Jordan, preventing a pro-Soviet domino scenario into the Persian Gulf. It was Nixon’s worldview which led him to approve critical military shipments to Israel - during the 1973 War - in defiance of the Arab oil embargo and brutal pressure by the Saudi lobby in Washington, and in spite of the Democratic pattern of the Jewish voters.

On the other hand, President Clinton displayed an affinity toward Judaism, the Jewish People and the Jewish State. However, his worldview accepted Arafat as a national liberation leader, elevated him to the most frequent guest at the White House, underestimated the threat of Islamic terrorism, unintentionally facilitated its expansion from 1993 (first “Twin Tower” attack) to the 9/11 terrorist tsunami, adding fuel to the fire of Middle East and global turbulence.

How would the worldview of Obama, McCain and their advisors shape US policy toward Israel?

1. According to McCain, World War 3 between Western democracies and Islamic terror/rogue regimes is already in process. According to Obama, the conflict is with a radical Islamic minority, which could be dealt with through diplomacy, foreign aid, cultural exchanges and a lower US military profile. Thus, McCain’s world view highlights – while Obama’s world view downplays – Israel’s role as a strategic ally. McCain recognizes that US-Israel relations have been shaped by shared values, mutual threats and joint interests and not by frequent disagreements over the Arab-Israeli conflict.

2. According to Obama, the US needs to adopt the world view of the Department of State bureaucracy (Israel’s staunchest critic in Washington), pacify the knee-jerk-anti-Israel-UN, move closer to the Peace-at-any-Price-Western Europe and appease the Third World, which blames the West and Israel for the predicament of the Third World and the Arabs. On the other hand, McCain contends that the US should persist – in defiance of global odds - in being the Free World’s Pillar of Fire, ideologically and militarily.

3. According to Obama, Islamic terrorism constitutes a challenge for international law enforcement agencies and that terrorists should be brought to justice. According to McCain, they are a military challenge and should be brought down to their knees. Obama’s passive approach adrenalizes the veins of terrorists and intensifies Israel’s predicament, while McCain’s approach bolsters the US’ and Israel’s war on terrorism.

4. Obama and his advisors assume that Islamic terrorism is driven by despair, poverty, erroneous US policy and US presence on Muslim soil in the Persian Gulf. On the other hand, McCain maintains that Islamic terrorism is driven by ideology, which considers US values (freedom of expression, religion, media, movement, market and Internet) and US power a most lethal threat that must be demolished. McCain’s worldview supports Israel’s battle against terrorism, demonstrating that the root cause of the Arab-Israel conflict is not the size – but the existence - of Israel.

5. Contrary to McCain, Obama is convinced – just like Tony Blair - that the Palestinian issue is the core cause of Middle East turbulence and anti-Western Islamic terrorism, and therefore requires a more assertive US involvement, exerting additional pressure on Israel. The intriguing assumption that a less-than-hundred year old Palestinian issue is the root cause of 1,400 year old inter-Arab Middle East conflicts and Islamic terrorism, would deepen US involvement in Israel-Palestinians negotiations and transform the US into more of a neutral broker and less of a special ally of Israel, which would drive Israel into sweeping concessions.

Obama’s worldview would be welcomed by supporters of an Israeli rollback to the 1949 ceasefire lines, including the repartitioning of Jerusalem and the opening of the “Pandora Refugees’ Box.” On the other hand, McCain’s worldview adheres to the assumption that an Israeli retreat would convert the Jewish State from a power of deterrence to a punching bag, from a producer – to a consumer – of national security and from a strategic asset to a strategic burden in the most violent, volatile and treacherous region in the world.
Power User
Posts: 42527

« Reply #258 on: October 09, 2008, 11:07:49 AM »

Syria downplays troop buildup on Lebanese border
Damascas says it's merely beefing up border security. But the US issued Syria a strong warning, and Israeli troops are on alert.
By Jonathan Adams
Syria this week continued to mass troops on its border with northern and eastern Lebanon. But officials from both countries dismissed US and Israeli concerns about the buildup as alarmist hype.

Damascus claims it is merely beefing up border security to prevent smuggling and the infiltration of Islamic extremists from northern Lebanon. But some fear Syria wants to use the threat of Sunni Islamic terrorism as a pretext for reentering Lebanon. Syria withdrew its troops from its neighbor in 2005 under intense international pressure.

Last month, Syria's president publicly warned that northern Lebanon had become a haven for Sunni militants who aim to destabilize his country. That warning came before back-to-back car bombings in Damascus (Sept. 27, blamed on Sunni extremists) and in northern Lebanon's Tripoli (Sept. 29) that killed at least 22.

Gulf News, a Dubai-based daily, reported Wednesday that the Lebanese foreign minister had downplayed concerns about the military ramp-up.

The deployment of thousands of Syrian troops along the Lebanese frontier isn't a threat to Beirut and the move should be seen in the context of Damascus's need to safeguard its interests, the Lebanese foreign minister said on Tuesday. "The troop deployment doesn't constitute a source of concern for us as long as they [troops] remain within Syrian territory," Lebanese Foreign Minister Fawzi Sallough told Gulf News.

Last month the Lebanese Army said Syria had massed nearly 10,000 troops on the border. Syria insists their deployment along the border numbers only in the hundreds.

Lebanon's The Daily Star cited a report by Agence France-Presse (AFP) that quoted a Syrian official defending the buildup.

"These measures are aimed to control the border, only from Syrian territory, and we have no other intentions," a Syrian official told AFP on condition of anonymity. "Syria has in effect boosted its security measures with a few hundred [extra] soldiers, and the spy satellites know the truth," the official said. "Our aim is to control the border, combat smuggling and stop saboteurs from crossing these borders," the official said, adding that the issue had been raised during Lebanese President Michel Sleiman's visit to Damascus in August.

On Monday, the US State Department expressed concern that Syria might have designs on Lebanon, and warned against any Syrian incursion. Reuters reported spokesman Robert Wood saying:

"The recent terrorist attacks that took place in Tripoli (Lebanon) and Damascus should not serve as a pretext for, you know, further Syrian military engagement or, should not be used to interfere in Lebanese internal affairs," Wood told reporters. "Obviously we're concerned about this type of activity along the border and that it not lead to any further interference on the part of Syria into Lebanon's internal affairs," Wood said.

Those comments came as the US and Lebanon set up a joint military commission to improve defense ties, according to the Associated Press (AP).

The National Post, a Canadian daily, reported that Israeli officials are also nervous about Syrian intentions.

...Israel placed its armed forces in the Golan Heights on an increased alert on Tuesday and ordered the air force and emergency first aid teams on standby in case of attacks by Syria or Hezbollah. The Israeli alerts came as the country prepared to shut down for 25 hours starting Wednesday afternoon to observe Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement), the most solemn and important of Jewish holidays.

The AP noted that Syria-Lebanon ties have actually warmed recently.

...Ties have improved considerably in recent months after Lebanon formed a unity government that includes Syria's ally, the Shiite militant group Hezbollah. Syria has agreed to establish formal diplomatic ties with Lebanon for the first time since the countries' creation in the 1940s and promised to officially delineate their borders, a longtime Lebanese demand. Syria also views Lebanon's new president favorably and many doubt it would undermine him with a military incursion.

The Christian Science Monitor reported last month on worsening sectarian violence in northern Lebanon. There, Sunni Muslim fundamentalists are pitted against a small Shiite group that's close to the Syrian government. Sunni jihadists that oppose the Syrian regime regularly pass between northern Lebanon and Syria, the report said.

Since May, Sunni militants in northern Lebanon have clashed with the small Alawite community, which has close links to the Syrian regime. A reconciliation agreement reached earlier this month has quelled fighting for now, but north Lebanon remains tense.

In a 2005 report, the International Crisis Group noted a reason Damascus would want to keep a hand in Lebanese affairs, despite its withdrawal:

Seen from the angle of Lebanon's fractious groups – whether in the opposition or loyal to Damascus – the end of Syria's presence means re-opening issues suppressed since the close of the civil war, from sectarian relations and the distribution of power through to Hizbollah and Palestinian refugees. All these are combustible elements that disgruntled Lebanese and outside actors will be tempted to exploit. In a country awash with weapons, accustomed to being a theatre for proxy wars between Arabs, Palestinian and Israelis, and on the verge of a major redistribution of power and resources, the means and motivations for violence abound.
Lebanese media has reported that Syria is massing still more troops on the Syrian-Lebanese border. The move is part of a Syrian effort to rebuild its position in Lebanon.

Related Special Topic Page
Israel, Syria and Lebanon: A Tangled Web
Syria is reportedly massing more troops along the Lebanese border, according to various Lebanese news agencies. The Arab daily Al Hayat reported Oct. 8 that the Syrian army had deployed tanks to the border town of Al Qaa along Lebanon’s eastern Bekaa Valley. Eyewitness reports from the area said the Syrian army has dug trenches and erected earthen barriers. The reported troop buildup comes in the wake of an additional Syrian massing of 10,000 troops on the northern Syrian-Lebanese border near the Lebanese city of Tripoli, which began more than two weeks ago.

As Stratfor previously has discussed, the Syrian government is signaling Lebanon and the international community that it is prepared to reassert Syria’s physical presence in its western neighbor. Part of the Syrian plan is to use its covert assets and militant proxies in northern Lebanon to instigate clashes in Tripoli, thereby justifying a Syrian military intervention. Damascus’ show of force has set off alarm bells in Saudi Arabia and among Lebanon’s anti-Syrian March 14 coalition, which greatly fears having the Syrians re-assume the powerbroker status that they held in Lebanon prior to the 2005 assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri.

But no group is perhaps more scared by the sight of Syrian forces on the border than Hezbollah, which has seen its relationship with Syria disintegrate following the February assassination of Hezbollah commander Imad Mughniyah. This latest Syrian military buildup is quite significantly on the edge of Hezbollah’s main stronghold, the Bekaa Valley.

So far, Hezbollah has remained silent on the matter. The group cannot endorse Syrian efforts to enter Lebanon because it knows it will soon be victimized by the Syrians. Conversely, it cannot condemn Syrian efforts because the falling-out between Damascus and the Shiite militant groups has not yet fully come out in the public domain.

Syrian tanks are in close proximity to Al Qaa, a Maronite village from which Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea draws many recruits. Deploying troops next to this village not only undermines Hezbollah security, it also points to Syrian fears that Lebanese forces may be planning an offensive against the Mirada militia of Suleiman Franjiyye, who is one of Syria’s closest allies in Lebanon.

Syria continues to assert that the troop buildup is simply its way of watching out for its own security, particularly in the wake of a Sept. 27 car bombing in Damascus and recent clashes in Tripoli (even though many of the clashes in Tripoli have been instigated by perpetrators on the payroll of Syrian intelligence). Damascus intends to show the world that Syria, as well as the Lebanese army, is a victim of terrorism from Lebanon. As the militant threat in Lebanon appears to grow larger (with the aid of the Syrians), Syria will gradually build a case for intervention, much as it did in 1975, after which Syria eventually received a green light from the Israelis and the Americans to enter Lebanon in 1976. Though the general fear in the region is that Syria is on the verge of rolling troops into Lebanon, sources in the region claim that Syria plans to take its time, gradually build a case for intervention and reclaim its position in Lebanon by spring 2009.

In the meantime, Syria can also see what comes out of peace talks with Israel once the Israeli government sorts out its political issues at home. Without a doubt, Syria’s moves have Iran on edge, as Tehran’s main militant proxy in the Levant is under threat. The United States has been the most vocal in its opposition to the Syrian military buildup, revealing an apparent divide between Israel and the United States over the merits of having the Syrians “impose stability” in Lebanon. Whereas Israel is more inclined toward negotiations with Damascus to secure Israel’s northern frontier and contain the threat from Hezbollah, the U.S. administration is much more reluctant to have Syria re-empowered in Lebanon.

The Syrians may be on a longer timetable than previously expected, but that will do little to calm the fears of those in Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Iran and the United States who want to keep Syrian influence curtailed. Without having made any big, overt moves into Lebanon yet, the Syrians have not run a major risk of provoking these powers into acting against Damascus. Instead, Damascus is more focused on preparing the world for what it sees as an inevitable Syrian return to Lebanon.

« Last Edit: October 09, 2008, 11:21:35 AM by Crafty_Dog » Logged
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« Reply #259 on: October 09, 2008, 07:39:56 PM »

Another example of enemies taking advantage of our present weakness.

I guess they are watching the US election polls.  The guy McCain who said he would be Hezbollah's "worst nightmare" is probably not going to win against the guy who scoffs at being called naive or "Green around the ears" and  "we must not take the military option off the table" BO.

BO obviously instills fear into the eyes of our enemies. 
Putin probably is thinking he looked into the eyes of BO and sees a creampuff who caves in to any and all poll.  BO just goes with the flow.

Well who wants to make war when we can all just make love....
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« Reply #260 on: October 09, 2008, 10:32:35 PM »

Obama will finish off pax americana. Just wait for the horrors to come.
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« Reply #261 on: October 15, 2008, 10:27:12 AM »

Well most of you have probably seen this.  I give credit to JJ only for his honesty in this matter.  Black anger and hatred of Jews and Israel is fron and center.  BO has surrounded himself with folks who feel this way.  It seems the only Jews he had surrounded himself with were far left radicals and socialists.   Yet the mess with economy is sweeping him into the white house.  If hillary was running McCain would be 15 points behind.
BO can faint distancing himself but I don't get any Jews who would support him.  Yes the "schlep to Florida" with this Sarah Silverman.  I hate to say it but some of these Jews make me ashamed.

****  Jackson: Expects Obama to stop "putting Israel's interests first" in making Mideast policy.

Last updated: 12:34 pm
October 14, 2008
Posted: 1:35 am
October 14, 2008


PREPARE for a new America: That's the message that the Rev. Jesse Jackson conveyed to participants in the first World Policy Forum, held at this French lakeside resort last week.

He promised "fundamental changes" in US foreign policy - saying America must "heal wounds" it has caused to other nations, revive its alliances and apologize for the "arrogance of the Bush administration."

The most important change would occur in the Middle East, where "decades of putting Israel's interests first" would end.

Jackson believes that, although "Zionists who have controlled American policy for decades" remain strong, they'll lose a great deal of their clout when Barack Obama enters the White House.

"Obama is about change," Jackson told me in a wide-ranging conversation. "And the change that Obama promises is not limited to what we do in America itself. It is a change of the way America looks at the world and its place in it."

Jackson warns that he isn't an Obama confidant or adviser, "just a supporter." But he adds that Obama has been "a neighbor or, better still, a member of the family." Jackson's son has been a close friend of Obama for years, and Jackson's daughter went to school with Obama's wife Michelle.

"We helped him start his career," says Jackson. "And then we were always there to help him move ahead. He is the continuation of our struggle for justice not only for the black people but also for all those who have been wronged."

Will Obama's election close the chapter of black grievances linked to memories of slavery? The reverend takes a deep breath and waits a long time before responding.

"No, that chapter won't be closed," he says. "However, Obama's victory will be a huge step in the direction we have wanted America to take for decades."

Jackson rejects any suggestion that Obama was influenced by Marxist ideas in his youth. "I see no evidence of that," he says. "Obama's thirst for justice and equality is rooted in his black culture."

But is Obama - who's not a descendant of slaves - truly a typical American black?

Jackson emphatically answers yes: "You don't need to be a descendant of slaves to experience the oppression, the suffocating injustice and the ugly racism that exists in our society," he says. "Obama experienced the same environment as all American blacks did. It was nonsense to suggest that he was somehow not black enough to feel the pain."

Is Jackson worried about the "Bradley effect" - that people may be telling pollsters they favor the black candidate, but won't end up voting for him?

"I don't think this is how things will turn out," he says. "We have a collapsing economy and a war that we have lost in Iraq. In Afghanistan, we face a resurgent Taliban. New threats are looming in Pakistan. Our liberties have been trampled under feet . . . Today, most Americans want change, and know that only Barack can deliver what they want. Young Americans are especially determined to make sure that Obama wins."

He sees a broad public loss of confidence in the nation's institutions: "We have lost confidence in our president, our Congress, our banking system, our Wall Street and our legal system to protect our individual freedoms. . . I don't see how we could regain confidence in all those institutions without a radical change of direction."

Jackson declines to be more concrete about possible policy changes. After all, he insists, he isn't part of Obama's policy team. Yet he clearly hopes that his views, reflecting the position of many Democrats, would be reflected in the policies of an Obama administration.

On the economic front, he hopes for "major changes in our trading policy."

"We cannot continue with the open-door policy," he says. "We need to protect our manufacturing industry against unfair competition that destroys American jobs and creates ill-paid jobs abroad."

Would that mean an abrogation of the NAFTA treaty with Canada and Mexico?

Jackson dismisses the question as "premature": "We could do a great deal without such dramatic action."

His most surprising position concerns Iraq. He passionately denounces the toppling of Saddam Hussein as "an illegal and unjust act." But he's now sure that the United States "will have to remain in Iraq for a very long time."

What of Obama's promise to withdraw by 2010? Jackson believes that position will have to evolve, reflecting "realities on the ground."

"We should work with our allies in Iraq to consolidate democratic institutions there," he says. "We must help the people of Iraq decide and shape their future in accordance with their own culture and faith."

On Iran, he strongly supports Obama's idea of opening a direct dialogue with the leadership in Tehran. "We've got to talk to tell them what we want and hear what they want," Jackson says. "Nothing is gained by not talking to others."

Would that mean ignoring the four UN Security Council resolutions that demand an end to Iran's uranium-enrichment program? Jackson says direct talks wouldn't start without preparations.

"Barack wants an aggressive and dynamic diplomacy," he says. "He also wants adequate preparatory work. We must enter the talks after the ground has been prepared," he says.

Jackson is especially critical of President Bush's approach to the Israel-Palestine conflict.

"Bush was so afraid of a snafu and of upsetting Israel that he gave the whole thing a miss," Jackson says. "Barack will change that," because, as long as the Palestinians haven't seen justice, the Middle East will "remain a source of danger to us all."

"Barack is determined to repair our relations with the world of Islam and Muslims," Jackson says. "Thanks to his background and ecumenical approach, he knows how Muslims feel while remaining committed to his own faith."

Amir Taheri's next book, "The Persian Night: Iran Under the Khomeinist Revolution," is due out next month.***

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« Reply #262 on: October 15, 2008, 10:30:09 AM »

Amazing how anti-semitism went from being something from the crazy-right to today's mainstream left.
« Reply #263 on: October 15, 2008, 11:58:26 AM »

Amazing how anti-semitism went from being something from the crazy-right to today's mainstream left.

Opinion? Fact?

Pretty broad generalization, if you ask me.
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« Reply #264 on: October 15, 2008, 05:39:08 PM »

The new anti-Semitism: How the Left reversed history to bring Judaism under attack

Last updated at 23:07 06 July 2007

On the side of St George's Town Hall in the East End of London, there's a mural commemorating the Battle of Cable Street in 1936, when tens of thousands of Jews and local trades unionists fought side by side to halt a march by Sir Oswald Mosley's British Union of Fascists.

They poured out of the docks, factories and sweat shops to repel the Blackshirts, who were being given an official police escort. Their banners read: They Shall Not Pass.

By the end of the day, the police were forced to withdraw and Mosley's thugs had been routed. It was a crushing defeat, from which the Far Right never really recovered and was pivotal in preventing the cancer of Fascism and anti-Semitism then sweeping Continental Europe from establishing a meaningful foothold in this country.

In my previous incarnation as a young labour and industrial correspondent, I used to drink in the Britannia pub, in Cable Street, with an old friend, Brian Nicholson, former chairman of the transport workers' union, who lived a couple of doors down.

From the public bar, a few yards across the square from the old Town Hall, I watched with fascination as the mural was being painted. It took 17 years from conception to completion in 1993 and more than once suffered the indignity of being vandalised by moronic Mosley manques in the National Front and the BNP.

A couple of years ago when the BBC approached me to make what they called an 'authored documentary' on any subject about which I felt passionate, I proposed an investigation into modern anti-Semitism to coincide with the 70th anniversary of Cable Street last October.

My thesis was that while the Far Right hasn't gone away, the motive force behind the recent increase in anti-Jewish activity comes from the Fascist Left and the Islamonazis.

It was an idea which vanished into the bowels of the commissioning process, never to return. Eventually the Beeb told me that they weren't making any more 'authored documentaries'.

I couldn't help wondering what might have happened if I'd put forward a programme on 'Islamophobia'. It would probably have become a six-part, primetime series and I'd have been up for a BAFTA by now.

But I persevered and Channel 4 picked up the project. You can see the results on Monday night.

When some people heard I was making the programme, their first reaction was: 'I didn't know you were Jewish.'

I'm not, but what's that got to do with the price of gefilte fish? They simply couldn't comprehend why a non-Jew would be in the slightest bit interested in investigating anti-Semitism.

If I had been making a film about Islamophobia, no one would have asked me if I was Muslim.

The Labour MP John Mann told me that he experienced exactly the same reaction when he instigated a parliamentary inquiry into anti-Semitism.

'As soon as I set it up, the first MP who commented to me said: "Oh, I didn't know you were Jewish, John."' He isn't, either.

But the implication was plainly that the very idea of anti-Semitism is the invention of some vast Jewish conspiracy.

Mann's inquiry reported: 'It is clear that violence, desecration and intimidation directed towards Jews is on the rise. Jews have become more anxious and more vulnerable to attack than at any time for a generation or longer.'

That certainly bears out my own findings. After three months filming across Britain, I reached the conclusion: It's open season on the Jews.

Scroll down for more ...
Ever since 9/11 I've detected an increase in anxiety among Jewish friends and neighbours in my part of North London. As I've always argued: just because you're paranoid, it doesn't mean they're not out to get you.

When I went to address a ladies' charity lunch at a synagogue in Finchley, I was astonished at the level of security. You don't expect to see bouncers in black bomber jackets on the door at a place of worship.

I soon discovered this wasn't unusual. Nor is it confined to London. The Chief Constable of Greater Manchester, Mike Todd, took me out on patrol with his officers and members of the Community Security Trust, which provides protection for the Jewish community.

These patrols are mounted every Friday night following a series of unprovoked attacks on Jews on their way to synagogue. We passed a care home surrounded by barbed wire.

At the King David School, there are high fences, floodlights, CCTV cameras and fulltime guards. It was the kind of security you associate with a prison.

They're even installing bombproof windows in many prominent Jewish institutions and running evacuation drills.

This sounded to me like Cold War panic. Surely it's all a bit over the top? Far from it, said Todd.

'We know that people carry out hostile reconnaissance. You do know that there will be attacks potentially and so what we're trying to do is make it a hostile environment to those people who want to engage in anti-Semitic attacks.'

In the past two years, Manchester police reported a 20 per cent rise in anti-Semitic incidents. I visited a Jewish cemetery in the north of the city which has been repeatedly desecrated - headstones and graves smashed, swastikas daubed on memorials. It was heartbreaking.

That type of cowardly vandalism is almost certainly the handiwork of Far Right skinheads. But the more serious threat comes from Islamist extremists.

Police and the security services say they have uncovered a series of plots by groups linked to Al Qaeda to attack Jewish targets in Britain.

As Channel 4's own Undercover Mosque documentary exposed earlier this year, anti-Jewish sermons are routinely preached in Britain. Anti-Semitic hatred is beamed in on satellite TV channels and over the internet.

On London's Edgware Road, just around the corner from the Blairs' new Connaught Square retirement home, I was able to buy a copy of Adolf Hitler's Mein Kampf, translated into Arabic. It was on open sale alongside the evening paper and the Kit-Kats.

You don't even have to be Jewish to find yourself on the end of anti-Semitic hatred. I met a Jack the Ripper tour guide in East London who was beaten up by a group of Muslim youths, who took one look at his period costume - long black coat and black hat - and assumed he was an Orthodox Jew and therefore deserving of a kicking. They didn't want 'dirty Jews' in 'their' neighbourhood.

During the 2005 General Election, anti-war activists targeted Labour MPs who supported the invasion of Iraq. Fair enough, that's a legitimate enough ambition in a democracy.

But in the case of Lorna Fitzsimons, the member for Rochdale, the campaign to unseat her took a sinister turn.

An outfit calling itself The Muslim Public Affairs Committee (MPAC) - basically two brothers above a kebab shop - published leaflets 'accusing' her of being Jewish, even though she's not.

'They said I was part of the world neo-Con Zionist conspiracy. I think it's deeply insidious and worrying that they felt there was so much anti-Semitism in the local community that it would galvanise the vote.' In the event, she lost her seat by a few hundred votes and is certain the MPAC smear campaign swung it.

Opposition to the war and loathing of Israel has led the selfstyled 'anti-racist' Left to make common cause with Islamonazis. And 'anti-Zionism' soon tips over into straight- forward anti-Semitism.

When The Observer columnist Nick Cohen - who has always considered himself of the Left and, despite the surname, isn't Jewish either - wrote a piece defending the toppling of Saddam he was deluged with hate mail.

'It was amazing anti-Semitism, you know - you're only saying this because you're a Jew.'

Cohen has also noticed the casual anti-Jewish sentiment around Left-wing dinner tables and in the salons of Islington.

He is appalled by the way in which his old comrades-in-arms have embraced terrorist groups like Hezbollah, one of the most anti-Semitic organisations on Earth.

Check out the way the National Union of Journalists singles out Israel for boycott, even though it has the only free press in the Middle East. Or the academic boycott of Israel by the university lecturers, which as the lawyer Anthony Julius and the law professor Alan Dershowitz argue, goes way beyond legitimate protest. The sheer ferocity and violence of the arguments is nothing more than naked anti-Semitism.

Under the guise of 'anti-Zionism', anti- Semitism is rife on British university campuses. But still the Government refuses to ban groups such as Hizb ut-Tahir, motto: 'Jews will be killed wherever they can be found.'

Then there is self-proclaimed 'anti-racist' Ken Livingstone, who said to a Jewish reporter, Oliver Finegold, who approached him outside County Hall: 'What did you do before? Were you a German war criminal?'

When Finegold explained that he was Jewish and was deeply offended by the remark, Livingstone compared him to a 'concentration camp guard'.

Attempting to justify himself, Livingstone put on his best Kenneth Williams 'Stop Messing About' voice and protested that he wasn't being anti-Jewish since he was rude about everyone. That was his Get Out Of Jail Free gambit.

Funny how that excuse didn't work for Bernard Manning.

But under the Macpherson code to which Livingstone subscribes, a racist incident is one which anyone perceives as racist - intended victim or onlooker. It's curious how in multi-cultural, diverse, inclusive, anti-racist Britain, the rules don't seem to extend to the Jews. Livingstone would never have dreamed of being that offensive to a Muslim, or Jamaican, journalist.

Any Tory who made similar remarks would have been hounded from office - and Livingstone would have been leading the lynch mob.

Blaming Israel is the last refuge of the anti-Semite. Livingstone insists he's not anti-Jewish, he just opposes the policies of the Israeli government.

So perhaps he can explain what the hell the conflict in the Middle East has to do with calling a Jewish reporter a German war criminal and a concentration camp guard? Where exactly does the Palestinian cause fit into that equation?

'If you have people like the Mayor of London crossing the line, then making a half-apology, and stumbling through that, then it gives a message out to the rest of the community. That is why anti-Semitism is on the rise again - because it's become acceptable,' says John Mann, whose parliamentary inquiry team was shocked at the scale and nature of what it unearthed.

'Every single member of our committee was stunned at some of the things they found out. It wasn't a Britain that they recognised. It's almost as if it's a throwback. We thought these were things we'd seen in the past, and we hoped had gone.'

As A Labour MP he's appalled at the way many on the Left have become almost casually and routinely anti-Semitic. 'We wouldn't have seen this ten or 15 years ago. This idea that in some way there's a conspiracy of Jews running the world goes back to the Elders of the Protocols of Zion (a long since discredited book, though still popular in the Muslim world) in the last century. We've seen this before, and now it's resurgent.'

Seventy years after Cable Street, we've gone full circle. The Left who once stood shoulder-to-shoulder with the Jews against the Blackshirts are now in the vanguard of the new anti-Semitism.

The Britannia has long since closed and the Jewish community has moved on, but the mural remains. The synagogues have been replaced by mosques.

Where the East End was once a hotbed of Far Right extremism, these days it's the stomping ground of George Galloway's Respect Party, a grubby alliance of Islamic extremists and the old Socialist Workers Party - at the heart of the new 'We Are All Hezbollah Now' activism.

While we were shooting the final sequence of next Monday's film in front of the mural, a scruffy-looking bloke wandered out of what used to be the Britannia and now seems to have been turned into some kind of glorified squat.

He recognised me, identified himself as a member of Respect, objected to what I was saying to camera and tried to disrupt us.

Outnumbered, he shuffled away again, shouting. He did not pass.

The Second Battle of Cable Street, it wasn't.

? The War On Britain's Jews? is on Channel 4 on Monday at 8pm.
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« Reply #265 on: October 15, 2008, 05:46:35 PM »

Posted March 23, 2004 -
An anti-Semitic left hook

By Patrick Chisholm |
WASHINGTON - Anti-Semitism traditionally has been associated with the extreme right. Now, it is becoming more common among the extreme left.

Leftist president Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe huffed that "Jews in South Africa, working in cahoots with their colleagues here, want our textile and clothing factories to close down." Former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, who is no right-winger, lashed out against Jews who "rule the world by proxy." One finds pockets of anti-Semitism at anti-globalization rallies, and plenty of it at pro-Palestinian rallies. And in recent years anti-capitalist campaigners have been networking with radical Islamists and neo-Nazi groups via their websites, according to a draft report by the Technical University of Berlin's Center for Research on Anti-Semitism. (This was the same report commissioned by the European Union, which decided for who-knows-what-reason not to officially release it.)

Contrary to what one would think, left- and right-wing extremists are, in major respects, ideological soul mates. Don't be fooled by labels; applying the simplistic terms of "right" and "left" to complex political realities naturally begets confusion.

While ultra-rightists are generally thought of as racist and ultra-leftists as nonracist, the latter are by no means immune to such decrepitude.

And both camps share these core attitudes: a readiness to buy into conspiracy theories, hatred of the rich, contempt for speculators and financiers, a deep suspicion of large corporate enterprises, and a conviction that the privileged few oppress the masses.

These notions manifest themselves in the party platforms of radical groups. Here are excerpts from one such platform (courtesy of Australian writer John J. Ray):

• We demand that all unearned income, and all income that does not arise from work, be abolished.

• We demand the nationalization of businesses which have been organized into cartels.

• We demand the creation and maintenance of a healthy middle-class, the immediate communalization of department stores which will be rented cheaply to small businessmen....

• We demand a land reform in accordance with our national requirements, and the enactment of a law to confiscate from the owners without compensation any land needed for the common purpose. The abolition of ground rents, and the prohibition of all speculation in land.

And here is a quote from one such leader:

"We are socialists, we are enemies of today's capitalistic economic system for the exploitation of the economically weak, with its unfair salaries, with its unseemly evaluation of a human being according to wealth and property instead of responsibility and performance, and we are all determined to destroy this system under all conditions."

Karl Marx? No. Vladimir Lenin? No. Ho Chi Min? No.

Adolf Hitler. And the above platform positions were those of his National Socialist party. Note the formal name of that party: the National Socialist German Workers Party.

The far left scapegoats rich people for causing the world's ills. But what if you live in a society where most rich people happen to be members of a different religion or skin color? That makes them particularly easy to recognize and identify. In the popular psyche, the wealthy class becomes synonymous with members of that minority group. So if you're an envy-laden, paranoid conspiracy theorist, there's hardly a distinction between scapegoating the rich and scapegoating the minority group.

That's how the Nazis viewed the Jews. It's how Stalinist Russia viewed the Jews. It's how Islamic militants view the Jews. And it's how many among today's far left view the Jews.

Jews are by no means the only (relatively) affluent minority group that has suffered mass slaughter. The same has been true of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire (present-day Turkey), Tutsis in Rwanda, Tamils in Sri Lanka, ethnic Chinese in Indonesia, and many others.

Palestinian hatred of Israelis, I suspect, is based on more than just land disputes and the policies of the state of Israel. Much of it likely derives from envy. Jews as a whole are among the most able, hard-working, and intelligent people ever to inhabit the earth. Wherever they go they succeed. They turned Israel into an economic powerhouse for its size, and "made the desert bloom." Success breeds envy. Envy breeds hatred.

Terrorism is the end result. So is an envy-driven economic philosophy best described as hard-left or socialist: Islamic radicals generally advocate government ownership of most sectors of the economy. They detest "middlemen" and the rich. They loathe "foreign exploiters." They're disgusted with materialism and consumerism. And they desire complete economic equality among all citizens (which, in practice, translates into everyone being equally poor).

Obviously, a mutual dislike for Israel's policies is not the only thing that binds Islamic radicals and ultra-leftists together.

Leftism is generally tolerant of different races and religions. But not always. Extremists are not going to let Jews off the hook just because they happen to be a different religion. When it comes to envy versus tolerance, envy very often wins out.
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« Reply #266 on: October 15, 2008, 06:19:09 PM »

The Return of Anti-Semitism

Israel has become the flash point—and the excuse—for a global explosion of an age-old syndrome. Why has hating the Jews become politically correct in many places? And what can be done about it?

By Craig Horowitz
Published Dec 8, 2003

On the second floor of the plaza hotel, in a gaudy meeting room with lots of gold-painted wall filigree and faux-Baroque details, about 400 representatives of the Anti-Defamation League from around the country gathered one recent morning for the group’s 90th-anniversary conference.

As they settled in for a sober two-day program reflecting the grim situation Jews find themselves in (speakers included John Ashcroft, Thomas Friedman, and Israel’s ambassador to the U.N.), ADL national director Abraham Foxman rose to give the opening address.

Foxman, a professional noodge who has been sounding the alarm for more than three decades whenever he senses the slightest whiff of anti-Semitism—his new book is Never Again? The Threat of the New Anti-Semitism—began slowly, talking in an almost melancholy tone about his grandchildren and the uncertain future they face as Jews. But Foxman, who was sheltered during the Holocaust by his Christian nanny, quickly gained momentum and urgency, cataloguing stark examples of what he called “the world’s growing crescendo of irrationality.”

He invoked the shattered glass of Kristallnacht and mentioned Hitler several times, allusions that surely found their target with the mostly middle-aged-and-older crowd. As he has been doing for more than a year now, he described the threat to the safety and security of the Jewish people as being “as great, if not greater, than what we faced in the thirties.”

It was Foxman at his best: passionate, indignant, and connecting naturally with other Jews. His fears are their fears. His hopes for the future are their hopes. The speech clearly resonated with the audience.

But there was one small problem. The centerpiece of the speech, its theme, was misleading. There’s no question these are troubled times. But the notion that Jews in 2003 ought to use the Holocaust as a kind of lens to help them see their current predicament more clearly is, to say the least, problematic. The analogy no longer holds.

“Comparing what’s going on today to the thirties is both wrong and dangerous,” says Alan Dershowitz, who also has a new book, The Case for Israel, which is practically a point-by-point guide for responding to the Jewish state’s critics. “The old labels don’t apply, and the old diagnoses don’t address the problem. They substitute emotion for reason, and we can’t win this war with emotion. We need to look forward. We need to start thinking about the 2030s, not the 1930s.”

The war to which Dershowitz is referring is the global explosion of hate and hostility directed at Israel and at Jews themselves. For the past eighteen months or so, members of the Jewish community—intellectuals, activists, heads of various organizations, and laypeople—have been struggling desperately to find an effective strategy to address the new reality.

It’s been slow going. “The organized Jewish community has just not reacted strongly enough,” says Morton Klein, head of the Zionist Organization of America.

Part of the reason for this is that they are facing a new problem, an enemy they haven’t seen before. The stunning result of the burgeoning anti-Israel, anti-Zionist emotion is a kind of politically correct anti-Semitism. Foxman’s analogy to the thirties is right in this respect: It is once again acceptable in polite society, particularly among people with left-of-center political views, to freely express anti-Jewish feelings. What only two or three years ago would have been considered hateful, naked bigotry is now a legitimate political position.

The new p.c. anti-Semitism mixes traditional blame-the-Jews boilerplate with a fevered opposition to Israel. In this worldview, the “Zionist entity” has no legitimacy and as a result no right to do what other nations do, like protect itself and its citizens. It is true that immediately labeling someone anti-Semitic because he criticizes Israel is a long-standing, often bogus tactic that has been used by Jews to stymie debate. The new anti-Semitism, however, is in some sense the inverse problem, with criticism of Israel being a kind of Trojan horse in which age-old anti-Semitic feelings are concealed.

“Israel has become the Jew among nations,” says Mort Zuckerman, who in addition to his media holdings is the former chairman of the Council of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. “It is both the surrogate—the respectable way of expressing anti-Semitism—and the collective Jew.”

The irony here is that Israel, which was supposed to be the solution to centuries of anti-Semitism, is providing a flash point and a kind of cover for p.c. anti-Semitism. Recently, The Forward, the savvy weekly newspaper that focuses on Jewish life here and abroad, published its annual list of the 50 most influential American Jews. In its introduction, in a dramatic public expression of the thing that’s on every Jew’s mind, the paper explained that this year’s list is dominated by people shaping the debate over the most critical question of the day: “Why has the world turned against us, and what is to be done about it?”

For most Jews, certainly those tied to the common-sense-based, moderate political middle, the momentum change is disorienting. How could this have happened when they believed so strongly in all the right things, like ending the occupation and dismantling the settlements? Fair-minded and compassionate, they regularly expressed concern for Palestinian suffering, and they cheered when Ehud Barak made an offer that appeared to finally clinch a peaceful two-state solution.

But when Yasser Arafat walked away from the peace talks and triggered the incomprehensible wave of suicide bombings, events took a very strange turn. First, the violence guaranteed the election of Ariel Sharon. I was in Jerusalem during election week in 2001, and the city was covered with bumper stickers and signs that read ONLY SHARON WILL KEEP US SAFE. The intifada also decimated Israel’s left. Jews everywhere wanted something done. Enough was enough. They wanted a show of force, and they got it.

American Jews felt adrift at first, then angry, as if they’d been betrayed. If their hearts were in the right place, why hadn’t the results been better?

But after a little more than three years, it’s clear the use of force hasn’t worked either. Palestinian violence hasn’t stopped. And the Sharon government’s hard line has generated runaway sympathy for the Palestinians and at least an equal amount of hostility toward the Israelis. Suddenly, Jews find themselves less and less able to claim the moral high ground as they are now cast as the villains in the conflict. No matter what Israel does—negotiate, fight, put up a fence—it only seems to make things worse.

“I feel sick to my stomach,” says writer and activist Leonard Fein. “I go to meetings where despondence is thick on the table. I also feel scared because Israel is rudderless.”

In the classic, angst-laden, self-absorbed, you-shouldn’t-know-from-it comedic tradition of everyone from Lenny Bruce to Larry David, it is a difficult time to be Jewish. Only now it isn’t funny. “Many people in the Jewish community, especially liberals, don’t know what to think,” says J. J. Goldberg, editor-in-chief of The Forward. “They feel powerless. They see their hopes and dreams, indeed their world, in flames, and they don’t have any idea what to do about it.”

One critical issue is how much of the resurgent anti-Semitism is the result of Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians.

Billionaire George Soros infuriated many in the Jewish community a couple of weeks ago when he was quoted by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency blaming the policies of George Bush and Ariel Sharon for the rise in anti-Semitism. But he is certainly not alone in this view, even among Jews.

“I have no doubt that the occupation and our policies in dealing with the Palestinians are an integral part of the return of anti-Semitism,” says Zeev Sternhell, a political-science professor at Hebrew University in Jerusalem who specializes in anti-Semitism.

Most Jewish leaders, however, instinctively respond that blaming Israel is blaming the victim. “It’s not about this or that Israeli policy,” says Malcolm Hoenlein, head of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, a mix of anger and exasperation in his voice. “It’s about Israel’s right to exist.”

Indeed, public opinion has swung so far to the Palestinian side that for the first time in decades, the very legitimacy of a Jewish state has been widely called into question. Columnists in mainstream European newspapers like the Guardian in England and Le Monde in France regularly challenge the validity of Israel and of Zionism.

Even here, serious (albeit leftist) publications like The New York Review of Books have published pieces attempting to revive the notion of a one-state solution. In this scenario, all of Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza would become a binational Jewish and Palestinian state, which would, by virtue of the population figures, become a Palestinian state with a Jewish minority in a very short time.

The language of the debate has become so polarized, so grotesquely distorted—words like genocide, apartheid, and fascism are used regularly—that legitimate criticism of Israel is near-impossible to hear.

This is unfortunate, because within Israel and in the diaspora there continues to be disagreement over policy. Sharon remains a divisive figure even at home, where Israelis have begun to tire of his hard line with the Palestinians. Recently, for example, Moshe Ya’alon, the Israeli Army’s chief of staff, said that the continuing military pressure on the Palestinians was fueling hatred of Israel. He called for gestures to ease Palestinian hardship and for Israeli leadership to do a better job of trying to work with Palestinian prime minister Ahmed Qureia than it did with his predecessor.

In a piece written for the Israeli newspaper Yediot Aharonot and reprinted in The Forward, Avraham Burg, former speaker of Israel’s Knesset and currently a Labor Party Knesset member, lamented, “We were supposed to be a light unto the nations. In this we have failed.”

Even more strikingly, Burg writes later in the piece: “Israel, having ceased to care about the children of the Palestinians, should not be surprised when they come washed in hatred and blow themselves up in the centers of Israeli escapism. They consign themselves to Allah in our places of recreation, because their own lives are torture. They spill their own blood in our restaurants in order to ruin our appetites, because they have children and parents at home who are hungry.”

In the churning swirl of anti-Israel hostility, some of the most powerful World War II imagery has been excruciatingly (for anyone who suffered during the war) co-opted: Israelis have become Nazis committing genocide against the Palestinians. Ariel Sharon is the modern incarnation of Hitler, the Israeli army is the Wehrmacht, or, worse, the SS, and Ramallah and Jenin are Auschwitz and Buchenwald.

The Israelis are racists, imperialists, colonialists. And the suicide bombers, the murderers who pack bombs with nails and razor blades to cause the maximum civilian carnage, are freedom fighters, objects of sympathy and (in some quarters) even admiration, as long as the innocent people they’re killing are Jewish. (Even Avraham Burg’s emotional plea runs the risk of sounding like an apologia for the murderers.)

Israel, the democracy with a freely elected government; Arab representatives in the Knesset; a thriving, often hysterical free press; and a citizenry that is still, after all that’s happened, overwhelmingly in favor of a negotiated two-state solution (two thirds of Israelis are believed to support a two-state solution), is the object of hate, scorn, and revulsion among the left everywhere in the world.

Even in America. At a crisis center called San Francisco Women Against Rape, volunteers are asked to fill out a three-page application. Most of it is what you’d expect, a request for basic personal information and an introduction that says the center is seeking compassionate women who want to support survivors of sexual assault.

But on the last page, the application states that the center believes “it is important to be informed and take action on other social justice struggles.” One of these struggles is “supporting the Palestinian liberation and taking a stance against Zionism. Can you commit to this?”

Since the implosion of peace talks about three years ago, France, England, Germany, Italy, Poland, Greece, and the rest of Europe have all seen a bone-chilling rise in expressions of anti-Semitism. European synagogues are bombed, Jewish schools are torched, and physical attacks on individuals readily identifiable as Jews have become shockingly routine.

In a recent European Union poll, 60 percent of the respondents chose Israel as the country that poses the greatest threat to world peace. In the Netherlands, of all places, where Jewish citizens were steadfastly protected during World War II, 74 percent of the Dutch fingered Israel.

Belgium wanted to try Ariel Sharon for war crimes committed at the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps in Lebanon. An Oxford professor would not allow an Israeli student in his class because the man had served in the Israeli Army. In Italy, La Stampa ran a front-page cartoon depicting an Israeli tank with its huge gun pointed right at the baby Jesus. The caption read, “Surely they don’t want to kill me again.”

“The Jewish communities of Europe are seen by the public,” says David Harris, head of the American Jewish Committee, “as extensions of and advocates for a regime in Israel that is rapidly losing its legitimacy in the eyes of the intelligentsia, the media, the left, and the anti-globalization crowd. So the question really becomes, how do you fight anti-Semitism in France or Belgium if the image of their Jewish citizens is inextricably linked to Israel? You either change the image or break the link. And there’s no easy answer for doing either.”

Two key factors in the virulent outbreak of anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism in Europe may be fatigue and fear. People are tired of the Middle East conflict. They’re burned out on the suffering, the killing, and the blood-soaked barrage of bad news. They are also worried about terrorism. Most Western European countries have growing, restive Muslim populations that are having trouble assimilating. Yet they are gaining political power. France has more than 6 million Muslims, and it is no accident that President Jacques Chirac began to crack down on anti-Semitism only after national elections last summer.

Feelings of fatigue and fear were candidly expressed by Daniel Bernard, the French ambassador to England, when he thought he was speaking off the record at a London dinner party in December 2001. He remarked that the world’s current troubles are all because of “that shitty little country Israel.” Undoubtedly expressing the view of many, he asked, “Why should we be in danger of World War III because of these people?”

The problem in Europe seems destined only to get worse over the next several years. “Europe has both an aging population and a low birthrate,” says Mort Zuckerman. “So they need immigration, and Muslims are the primary group coming in.”

In the Muslim world, where anti-Israel and anti-Jewish extremism are hardly news, the speech by outgoing Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad broke new ground. Not since Hitler has a head of state had the gall to take off the rhetorical gloves with such zeal. Addressing the 57 member nations of the Organization of the Islamic Conference—a group where the sole membership requirement is religion—he called on the world’s 1.3 billion Muslims to defeat the Jews.

“The Europeans killed 6 million Jews out of 12 million, but today the Jews rule the world by proxy. They get others to fight and die for them,” he said. The Jews, he continued, “invented socialism, communism, human rights, and democracy so that persecuting them would appear to be wrong, so that they can enjoy equal rights with others.”

It is one thing that the leaders of all 57 states gave Mahathir a standing ovation—including those from supposedly moderate states like Egypt and Jordan—but their reactions later, after they had had time to consider what he said, were stunning.

The Egyptian foreign minister said the speech was “a very, very wise assessment.” After making it clear he agreed with everything Mahathir said, Yemen’s foreign minister decided to pile on: “Israelis and Jews control most of the economy and the media in the world.”

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« Reply #267 on: October 15, 2008, 06:20:12 PM »

This fifteenth-century-like hatred and prejudice is infuriating and frustrating for Jewish leadership. It is also endless. Egyptian television just finished airing a 41-part series based on the decades-old screed called Protocols of the Elders of Zion. “It was as anti-Semitic as anything you’ve ever seen,” says Zuckerman.

Making and airing a series like the Protocols is, of course, part of an orchestrated strategy by Arab dictators determined to stay in power. “Mubarak and the others try to distract their populations with hostility towards Israel and the Jews,” says Zuckerman. “You simply can’t believe the things they write in the Arab press. We confront them, but what can you do about that?”

Similarly, the outrageous, flamboyantly anti-Israel behavior of the United Nations has routinely dumbfounded Jewish leaders. In recent weeks, the U.N. has condemned Israel for building a fence to keep out suicide bombers and for destroying three empty buildings in Gaza.

“Israel is held to a different standard,” says Zuckerman. “It is not allowed to live like other members of the family of nations any more than individual Jews were allowed to live like everyone else in their individual countries.”

Aside from the occasional specious accusation from the likes of Pat Buchanan, the Jean-Marie Le Pen of America, that Jews are responsible for the war in Iraq, the battle here is being fought mostly on college campuses.

Natan Sharansky, the former Soviet dissident who is Israel’s minister for Jerusalem and diaspora affairs, completed a thirteen-college speaking tour here several weeks ago. He wrote an account of his extraordinary road trip for an Israeli newspaper in which he described being welcomed by robust anti-Israel demonstrations, bomb threats, and pro-Palestinian protesters with signs reading RACIST ISRAEL and WAR CRIMINALS. He was even hit in the face with a pie thrown by a Jewish student screaming, “End the occupation.” But the most discouraging moments were surely those he spent talking to some Jewish grad students at Harvard. They told Sharansky the atmosphere on campus is so overwhelmingly anti-Israel that they’re afraid to speak out in support of the Jewish state. They don’t want to be identified as pro-Israel because they fear being ostracized and having their grades affected.

Alan Dershowitz, who is a professor at Harvard Law School, argues that Sharansky overstated the problem. But listen carefully to how he characterizes it: “We are not losing so badly on the campuses today.”

But he believes it is critical that students know all the facts of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict—not just the version put out by the left. “Remember,” he says, “the goal of the campus divestiture movement is not divestiture but to miseducate an entire generation of students so that in fifteen or twenty years, the leaders of America will be like the leaders of France.”

One thing is clear. The traditional means of battling anti-Semitism are as dated as the rules of conflict that once protected humanitarian organizations like the Red Cross and the United Nations from attack. “The old bag of tricks may work for your donors and for your own self-image as tough guys fighting back,” says David Harris. “But if the bottom line is, are you changing attitudes? Are you reversing images and stereotypes in Europe and the Muslim world? If that’s the measuring stick, then it’s very hard to say any of the organizations have been particularly effective.”

Part of the problem was the element of surprise. Everyone was caught totally off guard by the wave of hostility that spread across Europe. Foxman argues that the ADL never let down its guard either in America or in Europe, but there was a complacency that had settled over Jews. Perhaps it was what some call the golden age of the nineties, when the Israelis and Palestinians, guided by the Oslo accords, appeared headed toward an agreement.

Whatever it was, Foxman says he regularly got into arguments with people telling him it was time for the ADL to close its doors. “ ‘Stop counting swastikas in bathrooms,’ ” he says people told him. “ ‘The threat is assimilation, not anti-Semitism. We should be spending the money on Jewish education.’ ”

The miasma of anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism that has settled over much of the world had its genesis at the Camp David–Taba peace talks almost three and a half years ago. Never had the two sides been so close to making a deal on a two-state solution. The deal, which many on both sides never thought they would see, was there for the signing.

Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak offered Yasser Arafat and the Palestinians a state on 97 percent of the occupied territories with most of East Jerusalem as its capital. The offer included Palestinian sovereignty over the Temple Mount and $30 billion in compensation for the refugees. Short of removing the state of Israel from the Middle East entirely, the offer was everything the Palestinians had been asking for.

In an interview with reporter Elsa Walsh, Saudi Arabia’s Prince Bandar said he told Arafat that if he didn’t make the deal, it would be a “crime against the Palestinians.” Of course, Arafat not only didn’t make the deal, he walked out of the meeting, got on a plane, and left. No negotiating, no stalling, no attempts to massage the offer. Nothing. He never even made a counterproposal.

Initially, Arafat’s recalcitrance looked like not only a crime against the Palestinian people but a huge public-relations blunder as well. In the U.S., in Europe, and even behind closed doors in the Muslim world, people were quickly turning against him. Slowly, however, a revisionist movement began. A second story line, pushed by people like Clinton aide Robert Malley, emerged. This narrative, prominently promoted in a controversial front-page New York Times article, said the offer wasn’t all it appeared to be. And in any event, there were many reasons Arafat simply could not make the deal: It robbed him of his dignity as a Muslim man because peace was offered not won; it required signing an end-of-conflict clause, which meant the Palestinians would have to give up their dream of all the land.

In addition, the revisionists claimed, negotiations went too fast, Arafat was surprised by the offer, he needed more time, he needed more assurances of cover from the other Arab leaders, and on it went. As chief American negotiator Dennis Ross said, in the final analysis, Arafat couldn’t sign any agreement because “to end the conflict is to end himself.”

“Arafat may have believed the moment had come when he could break Israel,” says Leonard Fein. “And it’s not clear he was wrong. After he walked out at Camp David, he was offered a much better deal at Taba.”

Fein is shocked that after all that has happened since then, a third of Israelis say they approve of the Geneva Accords, the peace agreement worked out by Yossi Beilin and Yasser Abed Rabbo. Since neither man holds an official position, the deal, which appears to be even sweeter than the one offered by Ehud Barak at Taba, is theoretical.

“But if I were Arafat,” Fein says, “I’d be breaking out the champagne.”

Shockingly, after Arafat walked out of the negotiations three years ago, he was able to turn world opinion 180 degrees almost overnight by restarting the violence. He revved up the second intifada, and the savagery continues on both sides. But strategically it was a very clever move. He knew he could provoke the Israelis to overreact, and that’s exactly what happened.

Now there were horrific visuals of Israeli soldiers bulldozing houses, shooting at crowds, and generally manhandling and mistreating Palestinians, broadcast round the clock on television all over the Arab world. Prince Bandar said that even though he and Crown Prince Abdullah knew intellectually that the violence was Arafat’s fault, they couldn’t ignore the television images.

The American Jewish Committee’s David Harris was living in Europe at the time, and he remembers how the Palestinian narrative began to take hold. “A kind of quick collective amnesia set in among the Europeans, and at times I felt like I was having an out-of-body experience. The people I discussed the issue with largely dismissed, ignored, or relativized the Israeli side of the story.”

Harris believes that embracing the Palestinian story line enabled the Europeans to avoiding facing some difficult questions. Had it been a mistake to support Arafat all along? Why had they been funding Palestinian Authority institutions, including schools that continue to dehumanize Jews and continue to use textbooks and maps that picture a world with no Israel?

Many believe that taking the Palestinian side after Arafat blew up the peace process even provided the Europeans a kind of expiation of their collective Holocaust guilt. According to this view, Israeli violence enabled the Europeans to say, “Look, you are an occupying, colonialist state engaging in war crimes. You no longer have the moral high ground.”

Finally, bashing the Israelis enabled the various governments to try to curry favor with their alienated Muslim populations. “The whole thing just kept spiraling,” Harris says. “And very quickly the story line was this: Israeli violence was unjustified, and therefore they were actually responsible for the Palestinian violence unleashed on them.”

The overarching question is, what to do now? What is the best strategy to deal with the groundswell of hate? Can things be turned around? Paraphrasing Jonathan Swift, Zuckerman says, “You cannot reason people out of what they have not been reasoned into.”

In the Muslim world, the traditional model used by Jewish organizations to fight anti-Semitism is useless. It requires working from the inside by finding sympathetic, like-minded leaders willing to form an alliance for the greater good.

“There are a few ecumenically minded Islamic leaders,” says Harris. “But they’re in the minority, and with only a very few exceptions they tend to be afraid of becoming too public. So without a critical mass of Muslim partners, the best we can do is blow the whistle, shine the spotlight, and urge Western governments to raise the issue.”

In Europe, there are, as bleak as the landscape appears, a few bright spots. French president Jacques Chirac did finally come to the U.S. in September to meet with the leadership of America’s Jewish community; four of his country’s most prominent Jews—David de Rothschild, Ady Steg, Simone Veil, and Roger Cukierman—came with him. Leaders here seem to have mixed emotions about this. I talked to Abe Foxman about the meeting several times, and in our first discussion, he focused on the positive. “He came because he got the message and he cares about what was being said here,” Foxman offered, adding, however, that Chirac waited until long after the national elections in France were over.

“He also came because he believes we have power and influence. It’s the same at the U.N. Even when they’re censuring Israel, leaders of most of the countries are eager to meet with us because they believe in the mythology. They believe the road to Washington is paved through the Jewish community.”

Later, however, Foxman said he was embarrassed for the Jewish leaders the French president brought with him. “It’s not the Middle Ages, where you parade your Jews around and say, ‘See how good everything is?’ ”

Nevertheless, at one of these meetings Roger Cukierman, who is the head of crif, the largest Jewish organization in France, raised a critical issue that most American Jews, at least, are loath to talk about. Cukierman said that the beginning of the anger toward Jews and the explosion of hate in France—which has both the largest Jewish and Muslim populations in Europe—can be pinpointed to September 2000, when Palestinian-Israeli violence restarted in earnest.

Surely it feeds on preexisting anti-Semitism, but there was, J. J. Goldberg says, a new catalyst. “I would argue that it’s not the same anti-Semitism that’s been going on for 2,000 years.”

When Palestinian violence began and Israel sent troops into the West Bank, justifiably or not, it was like putting a match to a dry field, and the fires have been burning out of control ever since.

And the harsh reality is this: Palestinian society is in tatters, the infrastructure has been wrecked, the economy essentially destroyed, and death for the cause has been romanticized as the highest value. But Palestinians are winning the war of perception, with the war played out on television screens across Europe and the Middle East. They are scoring regular world-opinion-changing victories in the media, successfully romanticizing suicide bombers as heroes.

It is possible even Ariel Sharon has begun to get the message. During a Cabinet meeting on November 30, Gideon Meir, deputy director general of the Foreign Ministry, gave a presentation to Sharon depicting the way Israel is portrayed in the foreign media. “I showed him examples of both distorted coverage and legitimate pictures of bad Israeli behavior,” Meir says, pointing out that the prime minister was appalled by both. “I would not say that everything is anti-Semitism, but these images go a long way towards inflaming hatred of the Jews.”

But of course it’s not just about the media coverage. “Anti-Semitism is being spread through those who teach Islam, and it’s metastasizing,” says Orthodox feminist Blu Greenberg. “It took Christianity 2,000 years to clean up its act and now it’s being taught again through a religious system. I’m frightened for my grandchildren.”

Most American Jewish leaders believe they are up against huge forces around the world and that ultimately they cannot fight this fight alone. “We have to make people understand that anti-Semitism is not a uniquely Jewish problem,” says Harris. “It’s a cancer which left unchecked infects and ultimately kills democratic societies,” he says. “That’s the message we have to get out.”


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« Reply #268 on: October 15, 2008, 06:46:40 PM »

**If I didn't know better, I'd think Obama was some fringe leftist candidate, rather than the democrat nominee.**
« Reply #269 on: October 16, 2008, 07:53:07 PM »

Obama and Biden both said they are Zionists and have Aipac approval. That is good enough for me.

I don't particularly care if Hilter said he would vote for Obama.
 I don't care at all who antisemitites  vote or don't vote for.  Growing Antisemitism is a problem but I don't see McCain as the solution

An articulate faker
Oct. 16, 2008
marty peretz , THE JERUSALEM POST

A exclusive blog

Jesse Jackson may say that he is supporting Barack Obama for president. But, whatever he says, the truth is that he is not. Jackson didn't support Obama when he was running against Hillary Clinton and he's not supporting him now. Ever since Jackson quite literally wiped some of Martin Luther King's blood on to his own jacket, he has lived the life of a faker. An articulate faker, to be sure, but a faker nonetheless. He is no faquir. On the contrary, he lives a lush life on cash ostensibly collected for his causes and for his declining number of followers. What the hell is PUSH (People United for Humanity) or, for that matter, the Rainbow Coalition? Their success can only be measured by the cash he euchres out corporations he has threatened with a boycott.

How does Jackson really feel about Obama? There is on the public record his desire to smash Obama's gonads or to pulverize his testicles. Of course, he stated his wishes in more obvious and common words. Never mind: his intentions are clear. But he will never be able to bust Obama's balls. For the truth is that Obama has already busted Jackson's. He wasn't permitted even a moment at the Democratic national convention platform in Denver. Which is also how Jimmy Carter was treated by the Obama folk, and he after all is a former president -although a recognizably nutsy former president- of the United States.

Readers of The Jerusalem Post already have read about Jesse Jackson's comments to the very reliable Amir Taheri, author of The Persian Night: Iran Under the Khomeinist Revolution and a columnist for the New York Post and other newspapers. Taheri's dispatch also made news in the United States. Jackson was delivering a speech - that is really his entire vocation, a paid speechmaker- in the French lakeside of village of Evian where he was last week. It is for sure that he was not drinking bottled water. But he needs no alcoholic excuse for his observations in his oration and in his personal comments to the journalist.

It was Jesse Jackson indelibly himself. His message? That Zionist time was up. That justice had not been seen by the Palestinians. (As if justice is a one-way transaction and its only acceptable content was for Israel to give up all. Perhaps what it has given up already provides no salient danger signs.) And then the usual claptrap of the demagogues: "Zionists...have controlled American policy for decades." The most important of Obama's changes would occur in the Middle East where "decades of putting Israel's interests first" would end. "Bush was so afraid...of upsetting Israel..."

So now Jackson is a foreign policy realist, like that odd couple Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer. It's too bad for Jackson that both Obama and Joe Biden have declared themselves Zionists." Yesterday, Obama's staff repudiated Jackson's nonsense and pointed once again to the candidate's Middle East confidants and advisers, Dennis Ross, especially.

I want to go back to Jackson's designs on Obama's genitalia. Let's put those wishes in the context of his assertions that he considers Obama "family." By the way, there is nothing in either of the candidate's memoirs to suggest that he feels anything similar. But what, then, does the outburst by Jackson about Barack's testes suggest? An ungrateful son. To an envious and psychologically unprotected father. You can parse out the rest of the metaphor yourself.

What is certain is that Obama was never in Jackson's shadow and never under his tent. Obama is too savvy for that... and too careful with the meaning of words to allow himself to be submerged in Jackson's demagoguery. When he said that he was a Zionist he meant it. So what do we make of Jesse trying the gambit of the putting on of hands? In his heart of hearts, and maybe not even so far down, I think he wants to destroy the candidate. Do not punish a good Christian Zionist for the workings of Jesse Jackson's demented mind.
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« Reply #270 on: October 16, 2008, 08:01:53 PM »

If Obama is a zionist, why did he surround himself with Israel-hating advisors?
« Reply #271 on: October 16, 2008, 08:13:49 PM »

His adviser on the Middle East is Dennis Ross who I really like. 
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« Reply #272 on: October 16, 2008, 08:26:10 PM »

**What of Samantha Power's plan for Israel? **

Speaking truth to Power

posted Monday, 3 March 2008

Samantha Power is the author of a Pulitzer Prize-winning book on genocide, and she has a professorship at Harvard (in something called "Global Leadership and Public Policy"). She is also a senior foreign policy adviser to Barack Obama. This isn't an honorific: she has worked for Obama in Washington, she has campaigned for him around the country, and she doesn't hesitate to speak for him. This morning, the Washington Post has a piece on Obama's foreign policy team, identifying her (and retired Maj. Gen. Scott Garion) as "closest to Obama, part of a group-within-the-group that he regularly turns to for advice." Power and Garion "retain unlimited access to Obama." This morning's New York Times announces that Power has an "irresistable profile" and "she could very well end up in [Obama's] cabinet." 

She also has a problem: a corpus of critical statements about Israel. These have been parsed by Noah Pollak at Commentary's blog Contentions, by Ed Lasky and Richard Baehr at American Thinker, and by Paul Mirengoff at Power Line.

Power made her most problematic statement in 2002, in an interview she gave at Berkeley. The interviewer asked her this question:
Let me give you a thought experiment here, and it is the following: without addressing the Palestine-Israel problem, let’s say you were an advisor to the President of the United States, how would you respond to current events there? Would you advise him to put a structure in place to monitor that situation, at least if one party or another [starts] looking like they might be moving toward genocide?
Power gave an astonishing answer:
What we don’t need is some kind of early warning mechanism there, what we need is a willingness to put something on the line in helping the situation. Putting something on the line might mean alienating a domestic constituency of tremendous political and financial import; it may more crucially mean sacrificing—or investing, I think, more than sacrificing—billions of dollars, not in servicing Israel’s military, but actually investing in the new state of Palestine, in investing the billions of dollars it would probably take, also, to support what will have to be a mammoth protection force, not of the old Rwanda kind, but a meaningful military presence. Because it seems to me at this stage (and this is true of actual genocides as well, and not just major human rights abuses, which were seen there), you have to go in as if you’re serious, you have to put something on the line.

Unfortunately, imposition of a solution on unwilling parties is dreadful. It’s a terrible thing to do, it’s fundamentally undemocratic. But, sadly, we don’t just have a democracy here either, we have a liberal democracy. There are certain sets of principles that guide our policy, or that are meant to, anyway. It’s essential that some set of principles becomes the benchmark, rather than a deference to [leaders] who are fundamentally politically destined to destroy the lives of their own people. And by that I mean what Tom Friedman has called “Sharafat” [Sharon-Arafat]. I do think in that sense, both political leaders have been dreadfully irresponsible. And, unfortunately, it does require external intervention.... Any intervention is going to come under fierce criticism. But we have to think about lesser evils, especially when the human stakes are becoming ever more pronounced.
It isn't too difficult to see all the red flags in this answer. Having placed Israel's leader on par with Yasser Arafat, she called for massive military intervention on behalf of the Palestinians, to impose a solution in defiance of Israel and its American supporters. Billions of dollars would be shifted from Israel's security to the upkeep of a "mammoth protection force" and a Palestinian state—all in the name of our "principles."

This quote has dogged Power, and she has gone to extraordinary lengths to put it behind her. Most notably, she called in the Washington correspondent of the Israeli daily Haaretz, Shmuel Rosner, to whom she disavowed the quote:
Power herself recognizes that the statement is problematic. "Even I don't understand it," she says. And also: "This makes no sense to me." And furthermore: "The quote seems so weird." She thinks that she made this statement in the context of discussing the deployment of international peacekeepers. But this was a very long time ago, circumstances were different, and it's hard for her to reconstruct exactly what she meant.
It must be awful, at such a young age, to lose track of why you recommended the massive deployment of military force, and not that long ago. So let me help Samantha Power: I can reconstruct exactly what she meant.

Power gave the interview on April 29, 2002. This was the tail end of Israel's Operation Defensive Shield, Israel's offensive into the West Bank in reaction to a relentless campaign of Palestinian suicide bombings that had killed Israeli civilians in the hundreds. The military operation included the clearing of terrorists from the West Bank city of Jenin (April 3-19). At the time, Palestinian spokespersons had duped much of the international media and human rights community into believing that a massacre of innocent Palestinians had taken place in Jenin. It had not, but the name of Israel had been smeared, particularly in academe. At Harvard, pro-Palestinian activists canvassed the faculty for support of a petition calling on Harvard to divest from Israel. (It was published on May 6.)

Power at the time was executive director of Harvard's Carr Center for Human Rights Policy, which she founded in 1999. In 2001, she had recruited a celebrity director for the Carr Center: Michael Ignatieff, a Canadian intellectual and journalist who, like herself, had come to prominence writing about atrocities in the Balkans and Africa. A profile of Ignatieff in March 2002 described the division of labor in the Carr Center: "He shares administrative responsibilities with Samantha Power, the center's executive director. The division of labor works wonderfully, he says: 'She does all the work.'" Power later told a Canadian journalist that "their social relationship was based on three Bs: baseball, bottles and boys. They talked about the Boston Red Sox, of whom she is a fanatic supporter; they spent evenings together 'yelling and laughing' over bottles of wine, and she found him a kind and sympathetic confidant when it came to affairs of the heart."
The Carr Center under this management team generally steered clear of the Middle East. But in that spring of 2002, the pressure to come up with something was very great. Ignatieff, who had been to the Middle East a few times, took the lead. On April 19, 2002, only ten days before Power emitted her "weird" quote, Ignatieff published an op-ed in the London Guardian, under this headline: "Why Bush Must Send in His Troops." I wrote a thorough critique of this piece over five years ago, so I won't repeat my dissection of its flaws. As I showed then, the op-ed includes every trendy calumny against Israel.
More relevant now are Ignatieff's policy conclusions. "Neither side is capable of making peace," he determined, "or even sitting in the same room to discuss it." The United States should therefore move "to impose a two-state solution now."
The time for endless negotiation between the parties is past: it is time to say that all but those settlements right on the 1967 green line must go; that the right of return is incompatible with peace and security in the region and the right must be extinguished with a cash settlement; that the UN, with funding from Europe, will establish a transitional administration to help the Palestinian state back on its feet and then prepare the ground for new elections before exiting; and, most of all, the US must then commit its own troops, and those of willing allies, not to police a ceasefire, but to enforce the solution that provides security for both populations.
Ignatieff ended with a grand flourish:
Imposing a peace of this amplitude on both parties, and committing the troops to back it up, would be the most dramatic exercise of presidential leadership since the Cuban missile crisis. Nothing less dramatic than this will prevent the Middle East from descending into an inferno.
So this was the thrilling idea that swept the Carr Center that April: a "dramatic exercise of presidential leadership," through a commitment of U.S. troops to impose and enforce a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The Middle East would be saved. The "amplitude" of this notion made divestment seem small-minded. Samantha Power did not misspeak ten days later in her Berkeley interview. She was retailing a vision she shared with her closest colleague. Power went a bit further than Ignatieff, when she spoke about how this show of presidential courage "might mean alienating a domestic constituency of tremendous political and financial import." Ignatieff would never have written that. But it was implicit in his text anyway.
So Ignatieff's op-ed was exactly what Power meant. That she should claim no recollection of any of this context seems... weird. Or perhaps not. Remember, Ignatieff wasn't talking about deploying "international peacekeepers," the context Power now suggests for her words. He specifically proposed United States troops, followed by anyone else who was "willing." Their job wouldn't be to keep the peace, but to "enforce the solution." Far better today for Power to have some kind of blackout, than to tell the truth about the "dramatic exercise" she and Ignatieff envisioned.
("Iggy," by the way, left Harvard in 2005 to plunge into Canadian politics, and he is now deputy leader of Canada's opposition Liberal Party. He still has strong views on what Americans should do. "I've worn my heart on my sleeve for a year," he recently announced. "I'm for Obama.")
Is there a conclusion to be drawn from this genealogy of a truly bad policy idea? Ignatieff himself may have hit on it. Last year he published a reflection on what he'd learned since experiencing real (as opposed to academic) politics. "As a former denizen of Harvard," he wrote, "I’ve had to learn that a sense of reality doesn’t always flourish in elite institutions. It is the street virtue par excellence. Bus drivers can display a shrewder grasp of what’s what than Nobel Prize winners."
Just substitute Pulitzer for Nobel
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« Reply #273 on: November 07, 2008, 10:15:00 AM »

***Then Israel warned Obama last night that his claim that he was ready to open talks with Iran could be seen in the Middle East as a sign of weakness.***

Well The US has already been recognized as weak.  Why does anyone think the anti-Israeli crowd is delighted and supportive of BO.
That doesn't mean he will be weak but we will see...

Hopefully all the *liberal* (cough cough - I mean "progressives" wink) Jews who helped BO get elected will also see to it he doesn't sell Israel down the river.  But American Jews will have to continue standing up for Israel.  Because I don't believe that Americans will sad.

We know a McCain-Liberman block wouldn't have let Israel down, but that is now distant footnote worthy history .
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« Reply #274 on: November 07, 2008, 10:28:47 AM »

Some Americans will. I do.

As goes Israel, so goes the free world.  I'm not sure Israel will survive Obama's tenure as president.
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« Reply #275 on: November 07, 2008, 10:32:17 AM »

Thanks GM.
I meant some if not most Americans.
« Reply #276 on: November 08, 2008, 12:58:57 PM »

I don't enjoy having the same argument over and over again with slight variations.   Apparently I can't help myself ... Israel is very important to me and I would never knowing take action that would hurt its survival.  Saying  Israel  may not survive  the Obama  presidency implies a lack of understanding of the Middle East and is insulting to Israel.  Israel will survive even if the US elected Cynthia McKinney as President.  The US has not always been Israel's best friend. There have in fact been times when France was a better one.  The  US  Congress is currently and has been for a long time extremely Pro Israel.   Most Americans are also Pro-Israel.  You will notice that Cynthia McKinney seems to have some trouble getting and  staying elected.  It is difficult to be elected to congress if you are not Pro-Israel.

Obama was elected to the Senate with the full support of the Chicago Jewish Community. Aipac and many of Aipac's biggest fundraisers were supportive of his presidency. Many people who know more about Israel than I do and who bleed when Israel bleeds voted for Obama

If my choice was McKinney or Palin for President. I would have voted for Palin.

(In my opinion the best way to Support Israel it to go visit -- if able)

 Also I think it is a compliment to be a called a liberal or a even a bleeding heart liberal.

 Saying  a nuclear Iran is unacceptable or hiring this guy as Chief of Staff  is not the act of someone who is anti-Israel

'Rahmbo' takes Washington with Obama
Nov. 7, 2008
ALLISON HOFFMAN, Jerusalem Post correspondent in New York , THE JERUSALEM POST

On Rosh Hashana, Rahm Emanuel called his rabbi with a question: Could he violate the holiday to sit in on a conference call about the $700 billion bank bailout package that congressional Democrats were fiercely trying to revive?

It didn't take long for Rabbi Asher Lopatin, who heads Emanuel's modern Orthodox congregation in suburban Chicago, to give him an answer.

"I told him it was my halachic opinion that the financial system was on the point of failing and it could be a disaster, and this was a matter of life and death, to get this passed, as long as the violation was kept to a minimum," Lopatin told The Jerusalem Post.

"This is modern Orthodoxy at work - committed to Judaism, but committed to making it a better world," Lopatin said.

As Democratic officials confirmed Thursday that Emanuel, 49, had accepted the job of chief of staff in US President-elect Barack Obama's new administration, friends and colleagues from Chicago to Washington described him to the Post as a dauntless political warrior and peerless tactician who had cemented his reputation as a consummate Washington general with his leadership of the Democrats' congressional takeover in 2006.

"He tends to be more pragmatic than ideological - as a leader of the party, he's been more focused on the practical aspects of moving the agenda forward," said Richard Foltin, legislative director for the American Jewish Committee's Washington office, who first met Emanuel during his stint as an adviser in president Bill Clinton's administration.

Yet Emanuel was also described as a fiercely principled Jew and supporter of Israel, where his pediatrician father, Benjamin, was born and volunteered for the Irgun before moving to America.

Emanuel, whose family name comes from the first name of an uncle killed in a 1933 skirmish with Arabs in Jerusalem, went to summer camp in Israel as a boy and grew up speaking Hebrew with his father.

"He is unabashed about his own connection to Israel," said Michael Kotzin, executive vice president of the Jewish United Fund-Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago.

"If he goes to the White House, he'll be going to serve the president - but Israel will have a friend in the White House," Kotzin told the Post.

Emanuel's selection was to be formally announced on Friday.

The man nicknamed "Rahmbo" - derived from his political style, not his record as a volunteer helping the IDF during the First Gulf War - got his start in politics after graduating from Sarah Lawrence College in 1981, where, a talented dancer, he studied ballet.

Emanuel worked for a consumer rights organization in Chicago and then for a Senate campaign in 1984, as well as for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, before becoming a fund-raiser for now Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley in 1989.

In 1991, after returning from Israel, Emanuel joined Clinton's campaign as a fund-raiser and stayed on as a White House adviser - developing a power base in the capital, and also becoming a model for Josh Lyman of The West Wing, the popular television show written by Clinton alumni.

Emanuel returned to Chicago in 1998 after marrying his wife, Amy Rule, and went to work for investment bank Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein - a move that he acknowledged in a 2002 interview with The New York Times had netted him $7.3 million, enough to guarantee financial stability for his family, if not to compete with the millions his younger brother, Ari Emanuel, rakes in as a powerful Hollywood talent agent. (The younger Emanuel also serves as the model for a television character - the explosive Ari Gold of the HBO show Entourage.)

In 2002, Emanuel decided to make a run for an open congressional seat on Chicago's North Side.

He earned support among adults who had been his father's patients as children and from the legions of police officers and firefighters who took the endorsement of Emanuel's uncle, a police sergeant. However, he faced a bruising battle in the Democratic primary that included anti-Semitic broadsides raised by Polish supporters of one of his opponents.

In response, he gathered religious leaders to condemn the smears, which included allegations that his loyalty was to Israel, rather than to America.

"They tried to bring out the worst of ethnic divisions, and by being strong, he showed he wasn't going to tolerate anti-Semitism," recalled Lopatin, who was among the clergy Emanuel called on.

Emanuel - whose spokeswoman did not reply to a request from the Post for an interview - later said the moment was one of his proudest.
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« Reply #277 on: November 08, 2008, 01:09:34 PM »

I hope you are right, Rachel. I'll take no pleasure if i'm proven correct.
« Reply #278 on: November 08, 2008, 01:19:40 PM »

GM, I certainly pray I am right too.

America energized

ditor's notes: America energized
Nov. 6, 2008

Barack Obama's dazzling electoral success was built on that empowering 'Yes, we can!' mantra. His presidential success will depend on defeating those malicious global forces that peddle darkness and misery, and that are sneering to themselves right now: 'No, you can't.'

It was a near impossible task. A largely unknown freshman senator. A largely unknown black freshman senator. A largely unknown black freshman senator facing off, most arduously, against the might of the Clinton political machine, and then against the power and the resources of the Republican Party.

But winning over his country, as President-elect Barack Obama did so extraordinarily this week - triumphing with astonishingly wide and representative support from an America hurting financially, bloodied internationally and desperately seeking a fresh, new and confident leadership - was nonetheless the easy part.

The real job starts now.

In his victory speech, only the latest example of his consistently soaring oratory, Obama hailed the dazzling election outcome as a response from those "who've been told for so long, by so many, to be cynical and fearful and doubtful about what we can achieve," but who had nonetheless "put their hands on the arc of victory" and bent it "once more toward the hope of a better day."

Americans plainly did precisely that - they voted their faith in Barack Obama's ability to achieve a "better day."

The real challenge is not to disappoint them. America's future depends on it. And so, to a considerable extent, does Israel's.

Obama's electoral success was built on insistent light and optimism - on that empowering "Yes, we can!" mantra.

Obama's presidential success will depend on outmaneuvering, deterring and ultimately defeating those malicious global forces that peddle darkness and misery, and that are sneering to themselves right now: "No, you can't."

THE PRESIDENT-ELECT acknowledged in his speech "the enormity of the task that lies ahead." He cited the challenges posed by "two wars, a planet in peril, the worst financial crisis in a century."

He chose not to specify the threat posed by Islamic extremism, and its most pernicious state sponsor, Iran. But his efforts to resolve those two wars to which he was referring - in Iraq and Afghanistan - and to effect a return to financial stability, will greatly depend on his wisdom in confronting that Islamist danger.

Blocking Iranian Islamist ambition, indeed, is central to the vow at the heart of his victory speech: "To those who would tear the world down: We will defeat you. To those who seek peace and security: We support you."

The stirring sentiment will count for nothing if this confrontation is ducked. For only by thwarting the death-cult Islamists can the new leader of the free world liberate the moderates who seek reconciliation; it simply won't work the other way around.

The defeated candidate, John McCain, would likely have been more ready to resort to military intervention to stop Iran's nuclear program, its ticket to regional domination, but would likely, too, have struggled to win American, never mind international, support for such action.

President-elect Obama, by contrast, has offered direct diplomacy - to convey that a nuclear Iran is unacceptable - with all other options, including military force, available if the mullahs prove uncooperative. That approach brings the greater prospect of wider international consensus. But it also will take time. And time is precisely what Iran is delightedly manipulating.

The incoming president will have to make Iraq a priority, to honor his pledge for a speedy resolution of that conflict. But a successful strategy in Iraq also depends on quashing Iranian malevolence. The two must go hand-in-hand; Iran, its thousands of centrifuges spinning, cannot be temporarily put aside.

By repeatedly characterizing Israel as a fundamentally illegitimate nation whose demise must be expedited, Iran both genuinely threatens us and cunningly outflanks Arab objections to its nuclear drive. Weak Arab despots, undermined in country after country by the Islamist mindset they dare not vigorously confront, shy away from publicly and strenuously opposing Iran's march toward greater regional dominance. In their skewed reality, if Iran is gunning for Israel, how can they object?

But they are only too aware that the mullahs' threat is directed toward their regimes as well. Jordan, Egypt, the Gulf states - all are silently trembling. All are watching the confrontation between an emboldened Iran and an America that has appeared to be in retreat in this region. All are quietly praying that Obama can reverse that flux.

Meanwhile, Iran conveys immense amounts of materiel into a Gaza controlled by its partners in Hamas, where the past few months of deceptive tahadiyeh calm will almost inevitably, sooner or later, be shattered by violence more intense than that which preceded it.

And to the north, in Lebanon, Iran's Hizbullah organization quadruples its pre-2006 missile arsenal, brings all of Israel into range, deepens its subterranean infrastructure and, above ground, gains ever-greater control of government.

These are the flexing tentacles of those "who would tear the world down." These are the forces who would bend "the arc of history" to dash all "hope of a better day." These are the bleak fundamentalists whom a president Obama will have to wisely face down if he is to bring dependable support "to those who seek peace and security."

THIS KIND of energized American presidency, critical to Israel's well-being, will simultaneously pose real challenges for Israel.

President George Bush insisted, in the face of all common sense, that a substantive agreement could be reached by the end of 2008 between Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and the Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. He was misdirected, however, by none other than Olmert himself, who seems to have seen in Abbas a grit and determination to reform the unloved Fatah and steer the Palestinians toward viable compromise - a grit and determination that, sadly, Abbas has neither displayed nor perhaps even seen in himself.

President Obama would do well to eschew delusional expectations and unrealistic timetables. But he may urge Israel to set out, once and for all, its red territorial lines - to belatedly determine the parameters of a secure sovereign entity.

And plainly, he has his own starting point. As he told me in our interview during his Israel visit in July, "I think there are those who would argue that the more settlements there are, the more Israel has to invest in protecting those settlements and the more tensions arise that may undermine Israel's long-term security... Israel may seek '67-plus' and justify it in terms of the buffer that they need for security purposes. They've got to consider whether getting that buffer is worth the antagonism of the other party."

A president Obama seeking wisely to thwart Iran may well also thoroughly reorient American policy as regards Syria - with immediate implications for Israel. Whereas Bush was less than delighted, initially, by Olmert's readiness to embrace President Bashar Assad's calculated negotiating overtures, Obama could seek to encourage substantive progress. If Assad wants better relations with Washington, and Obama wants to woo Damascus away from Teheran, Israel may have to make some painful calculations about the Golan Heights.

WHAT ALL that requires from Israel, in turn, is wise, inspiring, unifying and consensus-building leadership.

And it is in that area that Barack Obama's presidential election victory tentatively prompts another emotion here: envy.

Improbable candidate Obama galvanized tens of millions of Americans, and gave many of his countryfolk a sense of first-time enfranchisement, a near-euphoric sense of stake.

He told his people, late on that historic Tuesday, to "summon a new spirit of patriotism, of responsibility, where each of us resolves to pitch in and work harder and look after not only ourselves but each other."

In America, he declared, "we rise or fall as one nation, as one people. Let's resist the temptation to fall back on the same partisanship and pettiness and immaturity that has poisoned our politics for so long."

Watching and listening to that lofty rhetoric in our troubled region thousands of miles away, we must hope - for America's sake and for our own - that Obama in deed is as good as his word. And hope, too, for leadership here that can first conceive, and then achieve, such vital resolve and ambition.
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« Reply #279 on: November 08, 2008, 06:09:54 PM »


Good posts.
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« Reply #280 on: November 10, 2008, 02:14:24 PM »

Obama Lied About Firing Anti-Israel Adviser


Obama Lied About Firing Anti-Israel Adviser

In May of this year, Barack Obama fired Middle East adviser Robert Malley when it was revealed that Malley had been holding secret talks with Hamas.


One of Barack Obama’s Middle East policy advisers disclosed yesterday that he had held meetings with the militant Palestinian group Hamas – prompting the likely Democratic nominee to sever all links with him.

Robert Malley told The Times that he had been in regular contact with Hamas, which controls Gaza and is listed by the US State Department as a terrorist organisation. Such talks, he stressed, were related to his work for a conflict resolution think-tank and had no connection with his position on Mr Obama’s Middle East advisory council. “I’ve never hidden the fact that in my job with the International Crisis Group I meet all kinds of people,” he added.

Ben LaBolt, a spokesman for Mr Obama, responded swiftly: “Rob Malley has, like hundreds of other experts, provided informal advice to the campaign in the past. He has no formal role in the campaign and he will not play any role in the future.”

Ben LaBolt and the Obama campaign were lying.

Report: Obama Sends Advisor Malley to Cozy Up to Egypt and Syria


by Gil Ronen

( According to a report on Middle East Newsline, President-elect Barack Obama has dispatched his "senior foreign policy adviser", Robert Malley to Egypt and Syria to outline Obama's policy on the Middle East.

Malley reportedly relayed a promise from Obama that the United States would seek to enhance relations with Cairo and reconcile differences with Damascus.

"The tenor of the messages was that the Obama administration would take into greater account Egyptian and Syrian interests," an aide to Malley was quoted as saying. The aide said Obama plans to launch a U.S. diplomatic initiative toward Syria. Malley met both Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and Syrian strongman Bashar al-Assad "to explain Obama's agenda for the Middle East."

F-16s for Egypt
Aides to Malley also said that Obama told Mubarak that the United States would maintain military and civilian aid and sell advanced F-16 aircraft to Cairo. Egypt has not ordered F-16s in nearly a decade.

Malley was an advisor to President Bill Clinton and played an active role in the Camp David summit with Ehud Barak and Yasser Arafat. He later published an article in which he laid some of the blame for the failure of those talks on Israel's doorstep.

International Crisis Group
In May 2008, Malley said in an interview that he had been in regular contact with Hamas, as part of his work for a conflict resolution think-tank called the International Crisis Group. This aroused ire and concern in pro-Israel circles, and prompted a spokesman for Obama to say that “Rob Malley has, like hundreds of other experts, provided informal advice to the campaign in the past. He has no formal role in the campaign and he will not play any role in the future.”

One of the sponsors of the International Crisis Group is billionaire George Soros, who sits on its board and its executive committee. Other members of the board include former United States National Security Advisor to President Jimmy Carter, Zbigniew Brzezinski, and former general Wesley Clark, who called US support for Israel during the Second Lebanon War a "serious mistake" and said that "New York money people" - a phrase interpreted by many as a reference to Jews - were pushing the United States towards a confrontation with Iran.
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« Reply #281 on: November 10, 2008, 03:58:30 PM »

Please carify.
Is the Ronen report more recent than the report from May? (no date noted on your post)
Does this mean that Malley was recently dispatched to the Middle East and was thus not really fired?
« Reply #282 on: November 10, 2008, 07:36:11 PM »

LGF’s all over it but I’m leery of the fact that the only reports thus far are from Middle Eastern media I’ve never heard of. Plus, it’s unlikely that Obama’s first move vis-a-vis Israel would involve a guy who ended up under the bus six months ago for his willingness to chat with one of the few groups even The One won’t meet with. There’s no one less toxic whom he could have picked for this task among his 300 foreign policy advisors?

Then again, maybe this is his way of comforting those within the precincts of tolerance who are feeling anxiety at the fact that our new chief of staff comes from an Israeli family. Exercise caution until the British papers follow up on it (American papers won’t bother), but for what it’s worth, here’s the scoop:

    This caution has been justified by Obama’s first staff appointment, offering the chief of staff position to Democratic Congressman Rahm Emanual. The Chicago representative is the son of an Israeli who was a member of the Irgun, famous for its role in the Deir Yassin massacre of Palestinians in 1948.

    On the flipside, it emerged that Obama had sent his senior foreign policy advisor Robert Malley to both Cairo and Damascus these past few weeks to outline the president-elect’s plans for the region, which indicates a willingness to further strengthen ties with staunch US ally Egypt and begin boosting relations with Syria.

And here, as LGF reminds us, is what Team Barry had to say when Malley — supposedly never a formal advisor to the campaign — copped to meeting with Hamas:

    Robert Malley told The Times he had regularly been in contact with Hamas, which controls Gaza but is listed by the US State Department as a terrorist organisation. Such talks, he stressed, were related to his work for a conflict resolution think tank and had no connection with his position on Mr Obama’s Middle East advisory council.

    “I’ve never hidden the fact that in my job with the International Crisis Group I meet all kinds of people,” he added.

    But Ben LaBolt, a spokesman for Mr Obama, responded swiftly, saying: “Rob Malley has, like hundreds of other experts, provided informal advice to the campaign in the past. He has no formal role in the campaign and he will not play any role in the future.”

In a way I hope it’s true that he’s back working for them since Obama’s reasons for not meeting with Hamas have always been a transparent fraud. “We should only sit down with Hamas,” he said during the campaign, “if they renounce terrorism, recognize Israel’s right to exist and abide by past agreements.” Iran’s guiltier than Hamas is on all three counts yet he’s perfectly willing to meet with them, which makes the lesson in Gaza clear: If you want an audience with the new world pope, work on graduating from a terrorist group to a terrorist state.

Exit question one: It’d be a lot easier to throw rocks here if the Bush team hadn’t already started meeting with Iran, huh? Exit question two: Since Team Barry’s now, allegedly, granting amnesty to former aides who sinned against the campaign, when does Samantha Power come back aboard?

Update: This piece in Forbes confirms that Malley did meet with Syria — but in his role for the International Crisis Group. The only evidence that he was there at Obama’s behest appears to be an assumption made by Syrian state media that he was still working for the campaign:

    What really attracted attention, though, was that on the same day a Web site closely associated with the government published a translation of a lecture Malley had delivered at Yale, offering effusive praise for it.

    The site referred to Malley as a senior adviser to Barack Obama on the Middle East, even though the Obama campaign says Malley’s role was never official. In any case, the campaign dropped him as too controversial after it was reported that he had met with Hamas officials. The Web site further stated that Malley’s opinions would shape the next U.S. president’s ideas about the Middle East, noting that, unlike the Bush administration, Malley supported a peace agreement between Syria and Israel–which would weaken Iran, Hezbollah and Hamas.

    The site noted that Obama had twice echoed Malley in stating that the failure of the war in Iraq had strengthened Iran’s influence. But if the Obama campaign has indeed severed its ties to Malley, it seems that Syrian officials are overestimating his influence.

The cloak and dagger theory here would be that he is still working for the campaign and meeting with people under aegis of the ICG to maintain plausible deniability, but if that’s the case, why would Syrian media blow his cover? All it’ll do is piss Obama off.
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« Reply #283 on: November 11, 2008, 02:49:24 AM »

**Rachel, why don't you email the author of this article and get his sourcing for this meeting between Malley and Assad.**

Obama’s Road to Damascus   
By John Perazzo | Tuesday, November 11, 2008

History will record that Barack Obama’s first act of diplomacy as America’s president-elect took place two days after his election victory, when he dispatched his senior foreign-policy adviser, Robert Malley, to meet with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad—to outline for them the forthcoming administration’s Mideast policy vis-à-vis those nations. An aide to Malley reports, “The tenor of the messages was that the Obama administration would take into greater account Egyptian and Syrian interests” than has President Bush. The Bush administration, it should be noted, has rightly recognized Syria to be not only a chief supporter of the al Qaeda insurgency in Iraq, but also the headquarters of the terrorist organization Palestinian Islamic Jihad and the longtime sponsor of Hamas—the terrorist army whose founding charter is irrevocably committed to the annihilation of Israel. Yet unlike President Bush, Obama and Malley have called for Israel to engage in peace negotiations with Syria.

A Harvard-trained lawyer and Rhodes Scholar, Robert Malley is no newcomer to the Obama team. In 2007, Obama selected him as a foreign policy adviser to his campaign. At the time, Malley was (and still is today) the Middle East and North Africa Program Director for the International Crisis Group (ICG), which receives funding from the Open Society Institute of George Soros (who, incidentally, serves on the ICG Executive Committee).

In his capacity with ICG, Malley directs a number of analysts who focus their attention most heavily on the Arab-Israeli conflict, the political and military developments in Iraq, and Islamist movements across the Middle East. Prior to joining ICG, Malley served as President Bill Clinton’s Special Assistant for Arab-Israeli Affairs (1998-2001), and as National Security Adviser Sandy Berger’s Executive Assistant (1996-1998).

Robert Malley was raised in France. His lineage is noteworthy. His father, Simon Malley (1923-2006), was a key figure in the Egyptian Communist Party. A passionate hater of Israel, the elder Malley was a close friend and confidante of the late PLO terrorist Yasser Arafat; an inveterate critic of “Western imperialism”; a supporter of various revolutionary “liberation movements,” particularly the Palestinian cause; a beneficiary of Soviet funding; and a supporter of the 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. According to American Thinker news editor Ed Lasky, Simon Malley “participated in the wave of anti-imperialist and nationalist ideology that was sweeping the Third World [and] … wrote thousands of words in support of struggle against Western nations.”

In a July 2001 op-ed which Malley penned for the New York Times, he alleged that Israeli—not Palestinian—inflexibility had caused the previous year’s Camp David peace talks (brokered by Bill Clinton) to fall apart. This was one of several controversial articles Malley has written—some he co-authored with Hussein Agha, a former adviser to Arafat—blaming Israel and exonerating Arafat for the failure of the peace process.

Malley’s identification of Israel as the cause of the Camp David impasse has been widely embraced by Palestinian and Arab activists around the world, by Holocaust deniers like Norman Finkelstein, and by anti-Israel publications such as Counterpunch. It should be noted that Malley’s account of the Camp David negotiations is entirely inconsistent with the recollections of the key figures who participated in those talks—specifically, then-Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, then-U.S. President Bill Clinton, and then-U.S. Ambassador Dennis Ross (Clinton’s Middle East envoy).

Malley also has written numerous op-eds urging the U.S. to disengage from Israel to some degree, and recommending that America reach out to negotiate with its traditional Arab enemies such as Syria, Hamas, Hezbollah (a creature of Iran dedicated to the extermination of the Jews and death to America), and Muqtada al-Sadr (the Shiite terrorist leader in Iraq).

In addition, Malley has advised nations around the world to establish relationships with, and to send financial aid to, the Hamas-led Palestinian government in Gaza. In Malley’s calculus, the electoral victory that swept Hamas into power in January 2006 was a manifestation of legitimate Palestinian “anger at years of humiliation and loss of self-respect because of Israeli settlement expansion, Arafat’s imprisonment, Israel’s incursions, [and] Western lecturing …”

Moreover, Malley contends that it is both unreasonable and unrealistic for Israel or Western nations to demand that Syria sever its ties with Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, or Iran. Rather, he suggests that if Israel were to return the Golan Heights (which it captured in the 1967 Six Day War, and again in the 1973 Yom Kippur War—two conflicts sparked by Arab aggression which sought so permanently wipe the Jewish state off the face of the earth) to Syrian control, Damascus would be inclined to pursue peace with Israel.

Malley has criticized the U.S. for allegedly remaining “on the sidelines” and being a “no-show” in the overall effort to bring peace to the nations of the Middle East. Exhorting the Bush administration to change its policy of refusing to engage diplomatically with terrorists and their sponsoring states, Malley wrote in July 2006: “Today the U.S. does not talk to Iran, Syria, Hamas, the elected Palestinian government or Hezbollah…. The result has been a policy with all the appeal of a moral principle and all the effectiveness of a tired harangue.”

This inclination to negotiate with any and all enemies of the U.S. and Israel—an impulse which Malley has outlined clearly and consistently—clearly has had a powerful influence on Barack Obama.

It is notable that six months ago the Obama campaign and Malley hastily severed ties with one another after the Times of London reported that Malley had been meeting privately with Hamas leaders on a regular basis—something Obama had publicly pledged never to do. At the time, Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt minimized the significance of this monumentally embarrassing revelation, saying: “Rob Malley has, like hundreds of other experts, provided informal advice to the campaign in the past. He has no formal role in the campaign and he will not play any role in the future.”

But indeed, within hours after Obama’s election victory, Malley was back as a key player in the president-elect’s team of advisors—on his way to Syria. Mr. Obama, meanwhile, received a most friendly communication from Hamas, congratulating him on his “historic victory.”

John Perazzo is the Managing Editor of DiscoverTheNetworks and is the author of The Myths That Divide Us: How Lies Have Poisoned American Race Relations. For more information on his book, click here. E-mail him at
« Reply #284 on: November 11, 2008, 06:40:59 AM »


There are two facts I am not disputing
Mallley was an advisor to Obama and he is now visiting the middle east.   The very important question is-- Is Malley currently speaking for Obama. if he is it is bad.    I have seen no proof in any article posted that he is. Why is this not being covered in Jpost or other reputable sources in the Middle East? Front Page and Aurtz Sheva don't do it for me. 

Please don't give me homework assignments. If you want to write the editor  you should.   While you at it  please write a two page paper explaining why Malley   possibly  would have lied about being Obama current adviser to Israel

*A digression, if I may, regarding Malley and impressive sounding titles. A Washington Post article on Senator Obama's foreign policy advisors described him as having been President Clinton's Middle East envoy. Now this would come as a surprise to Ambassador Dennis Ross who actually was Clinton's Middle East envoy. Indeed, there is a paucity of mentions of Malley in Ross's exhaustive history of the Middle East peace process during the Clinton years, The Missing Peace, where more often than not he is described as a note-taker-once serving as Yasser Arafat's stenographer.

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« Reply #285 on: November 11, 2008, 09:56:21 AM »

A fascinating conversation Rachel and GM.

Please forgive this momentary intrusion as I note the following:


JERUSALEM, Israel — The U.S. is providing Israel with high-powered X-band radar capable of detecting missile launches up to 1,500 miles away — and sensitive enough to detect small- and medium-range missiles being fired from Iran and Syria.

The radar will grant Israel about 60-70 seconds more warning time when missiles are launched. The system's massive range means targets as far away as southern Russia can be monitored.

• Click here to see exclusive footage the X-band radar system at work in Israel.

Every second of warning counts, as Syrian missiles can hit Israel in just four minutes, and Iranian missiles can reach Israel's borders in just 11 minutes.

Israel will not have direct access to the intelligence the radar collects. American satellites will be used with the radar, and only Americans will have access to the technology and the information.

About 120 American technicians and security guards will be stationed in Israel's southern Negev Desert to oversee the operation, the first time in the country's 60-year history that they've allowed a foreign military presence to be based here.

In September the U.S. Senate passed an amendment allocating $89 million for activating and deploying the X-band radar. Iran was quick to attack the funding in an editorial in the Tehran Times.

"If it were proposed that this fraction of the tax revenues should be allocated to reduce the pains in the hearts of one thousand owners of foreclosed properties in the working class neighborhoods of Chicago ... no doubt the same senators who enthusiastically and unanimously voted for the bill would have rejected it outright with no hesitation or mercy," the paper wrote.

According to military experts, the radar was intended to send a message to Iran, and to Israel as well. It shows Iran the U.S. is beefing up its capabilities in the region, and it also is intended to calm Israel and prevent it from rushing into a military strike.

Israeli military analyst Alon Ben-David said this was Bush's last gift to Israel.

"Having a U.S. force deployed permanently in Israel is a gift, but it also binds Israel. Israel will have to take into account the presence of an American force before considering any military action that might generate a response from the other side," he told FOX News. "But on the other hand, this is a very clear signal of the U.S. commitment to the security of Israel."


Carry on!
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« Reply #286 on: November 11, 2008, 10:43:10 AM »


I wasn't firing a shot at you, I just figured you'd be able to ask more relevant questions than I, given your ground truth experiences in the region.

Either way, I'm sure we'll know Malley's status soon enough.
« Reply #287 on: November 11, 2008, 06:41:33 PM »

My apologies .  Thank you for the compliment. I respectively decline to write a letter to frontpage magazine. I am not a big fan and am not interested in being in a conversation with them. If you are really that interested I'm sure you could send them intelligent questions yourself.

Here is what Jpost had to say about the issue. /servlet/Satellite?cid=1225910089501&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

Obama adviser denies Hamas meeting
Nov. 11, 2008
Hilary Leila Krieger and Jpost staff , THE JERUSALEM POST

US President-elect Barack Obama's office flatly denied a Hamas official's claim Tuesday that advisers to Obama met with representatives from the terrorist organization while on a visit to the region.

"This assertion is just plain false," Obama's senior foreign policy adviser, Denis McDonough, told The Jerusalem Post.

Earlier in the day, the London-based Al-Hayat newspaper published an interview with Hamas political adviser Ahmed Yousef in which he said that a secret meeting was held in Gaza ahead of the US election on November 4.

"We are maintaining contact with them," Yousef said. "We first made contact on the Internet and then met with some of them here in the Gaza Strip. They advised us not to reveal this information lest it influence the elections or become manipulated by [Republican candidate John] McCain's campaign."

With the campaign over, he added, Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh would be sending a letter of congratulations to Obama.

Yousef also said that he personally had friendly relations with a few of Obama's advisers whom he had met when he lived in the US.

Obama stressed throughout the campaign that he would not meet with members of Hamas so long as it didn't accept the international community's three demands - that it halt violence against Israel, recognize Israel and accept previous agreements between the Palestinians and Israel.

One of Obama's Middle East policy advisers, Rob Malley, resigned during the Democratic candidate's campaign once it became known that he had met with Hamas members in the course of his conflict resolution work with the International Crisis Group.
« Last Edit: November 11, 2008, 07:27:44 PM by rachelg » Logged
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« Reply #288 on: November 13, 2008, 03:38:47 PM »

Waiting for all the moderate muslims to take to the streets to protest this mindset. Any second now....
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« Reply #289 on: November 16, 2008, 09:41:02 AM »

Obama will back Saudi peace plan
posted at 10:24 am on November 16, 2008 by Ed Morrissey   

Barack Obama has decided to base his diplomatic approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on the Saudi peace plan, the Times of London reports today.  A “senior Obama adviser” tells the Times that Obama will back the plan that divides Jerusalem into two capitals and pulls Israel back to pre-1967 borders:

Barack Obama is to pursue an ambitious peace plan in the Middle East involving the recognition of Israel by the Arab world in exchange for its withdrawal to pre-1967 borders, according to sources close to America’s president-elect.

Obama intends to throw his support behind a 2002 Saudi peace initiative endorsed by the Arab League and backed by Tzipi Livni, the Israeli foreign minister and leader of the ruling Kadima party.

The proposal gives Israel an effective veto on the return of Arab refugees expelled in 1948 while requiring it to restore the Golan Heights to Syria and allow the Palestinians to establish a state capital in east Jerusalem.

On a visit to the Middle East last July, the president-elect said privately it would be “crazy” for Israel to refuse a deal that could “give them peace with the Muslim world”, according to a senior Obama adviser.

Apparently, Obama has changed his position from his speech at AIPAC.  In early June, he told the Israeli-supporting political action group that Jerusalem “must remain undivided,” drawing thunderous applause and roars of criticism later from Palestinian groups.  Within hours, Obama retreated to the Bush administration position — that Jerusalem should be left to the two sides to negotiate in the final settlement.

Welcome to Obama 3.0 on Jerusalem.  Now he has switched sides to the exact opposite of what he argued at AIPAC.  One has to wonder what all of those Jewish voters who supported Obama will think of this new position on Israel’s borders and security, but somehow I doubt it would get thunderous applause at AIPAC.

In Israel, the reception could be more mixed.  Tzipi Livni, the foreign minister and leading candidate for Prime Minister from Ariel Sharon’s Kadima party, backs the Saudi peace plan in concept, including the division of Jerusalem.  The Israeli Left supports it as well, with Shimon Peres and Ehud Olmert both endorsing the plan.  Likud candidate Benjamin Netanyahu opposes it entirely.

Obama reportedly told Mahmoud Abbas that “Israel would be crazy” not to accept the plan.  He concluded that the Saudi plan would give Israel peace with the entire Muslim world.  Really?  It might make it palatable for some states like Saudi Arabia and Pakistan to start diplomatic relations with Israel, and perhaps even Syria if they get back the Golan Heights.  But who believes that Iran, Yemen, Libya, Sudan, and the proxy armies of Hamas, Hezbollah, and Islamic Jihad will suddenly discover brotherly love with such a settlement?  They want Israel wiped off the map, literally in Iran’s case, and the Israelis driven into the Mediterranean.

Israel can decide on its own to take a risk and adopt the smaller borders in exchange for the promise of peace.  Obama should have stuck with his AIPAC speech, or the initial retreat from it.
« Reply #290 on: November 17, 2008, 07:40:27 AM »
Obama didn't endorse Arab Peace Plan'
Nov. 16, 2008 Staff , THE JERUSALEM POST

Former US ambassaodr to Israel Dennis Ross, who is a senior advisor to president-elect Barack Obama on Middle East policy, denied Monday a Sunday Times report to the effect that Obama is planning to base his peacemaking efforts in the Middle East on the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative.

"I was in the meeting in Ramallah," Ross said. "Then-Senator Obama did not say this. The story is false."

The Arab Peace Initiative, based on the Saudi peace plan of February 2002, calls for a full Israeli withdrawal from all territories taken in the Six Day War, including east Jerusalem, in exchange for normalizing ties with the Arab world.

Quoting an adviser to Obama, the report states that during his visit to the Middle East in July, the President-elect said Israel would be "crazy" to refuse a deal that could "give them peace with the Muslim world."

According to the paper, Obama's advisers feel that the time is right for such a deal as Arab countries fear rising radical Islamic movements and a potentially nuclear Iran. They have reportedly told Obama he shouldn't lose time and must begin pushing his policies within his first year in office while he still enjoys maximum goodwill.

Senior Jerusalem officials last month dismissed a sudden surge of interest both in Israel and abroad in the initiative, saying it was a function of both a diplomatic process that has stalled and the transition periods in Israel, the US and the Palestinian Authority.

"Whenever the process stalls, there will be those who will pull out the Saudi plan," one senior official said. "And the Saudis have an interest in pushing this out there now, to put on a 'constructive face' with which to greet the new US president."

Herb Keinon contributed to this report
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« Reply #291 on: November 17, 2008, 09:49:12 AM »

I think some/many in Israel simply want peace and true democracy for everyone; Jews and non Jews alike.
Maybe Obama can finally help make a difference.

Holocaust's unholy hold
The deeper we are stuck in our Auschwitz past, the more difficult it becomes to be free of it.
By Avraham Burg
November 16, 2008
Reporting from Nataf, Israel -- Even today, when economic storms are shaking markets around the world, posing a threat to the stability of entire countries and societies, Israel continues to conduct its business far from the turmoil, as if swimming in a private ocean of its own. True, the headlines are alerting the public here about the crisis, and the politicians are hastily recalculating their budgets. But none of this is dramatically changing the way we think about ourselves.

To Israelis, these issues are mundane. What really matters here is the all-important spirit of Trauma, the true basis for so many of our country's life principles. In Israel, the darkest period in human history is always present. Regardless of whether the question at hand is of the future relations between Israel and our Palestinian neighbors in specific and the Arab world in general, or of the Iranian atomic threat and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, it always comes down to the same conversation. Every threat or grievance of major or minor importance is dealt with automatically by raising the biggest argument of them all -- the Shoah -- and from that moment onward, every discussion is disrupted.

The constant presence of the Shoah is like a buzz in my ear. In Israel, children are always, it seems, preparing for their rite-of-passage "Auschwitz trip" to Poland. Not a day passes without a mention of the Holocaust in the only newspaper I read, Haaretz. The Shoah is like a hole in the ozone layer: unseen yet present, abstract yet powerful. It's more present in our lives than God.

It is the founding experience not just of our national consciousness but of more than that. Army generals discuss Israeli security doctrine as "Shoah-proof." Politicians use it as a central argument for their ethical manipulations.

The Shoah is so pervasive that a study conducted a few years ago in a Tel Aviv school for teachers found that more than 90% of those questioned view it as the most important experience of Jewish history. That means it is more important than the creation of the world, the exodus from Egypt, the delivering of the Torah on Mt. Sinai, the ruin of both Holy Temples, the exile, the birth of Zionism, the founding of the state or the 1967 Six-Day War.

The Shoah is woven, to varying degrees, into almost all of Israel's political arguments; over time, we have taken the Shoah from its position of sanctity and turned it into an instrument of common and even trite politics. It represents a past that is present, maintained, monitored, heard and represented. Our dead do not rest in peace. They are busy, active, always a part of our sad lives.

Of course, memory is essential to any nation's mental health. The Shoah must always have an important place in the nation's memorial mosaic. But the way things are done today -- the absolute monopoly and the dominance of the Shoah on every aspect of our lives -- transforms this holy memory into a ridiculous sacrilege and converts piercing pain into hollowness and kitsch. As time passes, the deeper we are stuck in our Auschwitz past, the more difficult it becomes to be free of it.

What does the primacy of the Shoah mean in terms of our politics and policy? For one thing, it becomes virtually impossible to find a conversation carried out with reason, patience, self-control or restraint. Take Iran as an example. With regard to Iran, as with any other security matter that has potentially existential consequences, we have no thoughts at all -- only instincts and trauma-driven impulses. Who has ever heard of alternative approaches to the Iranian issue, of strategic arguments underlying the passionate emotions, the old fears and violent rhetoric?

Few people in Israel are willing to try to perceive reality through a different set of conceptual lenses other than those of extermination and defensive isolation. Few are willing to try on the glasses of understanding and of hope for dialogue. Instead, the question is always: Is a second Shoah on the way?

This is one of the strongest reasons why I voluntarily withdrew from political life in Israel. I couldn't help feeling that Israel has become a kingdom lacking in vision and without a prophetic horizon. On the surface, everything is in order; decisions are carried out, life moves on, the ship sails along. But where is this movement heading? No one knows. The sailors are rowing without seeing anything; the lower-ranking officers are holding their eyes up to the leadership, but the leaders are not capable of seeing past each coming, rising, tumbling wave. No one is looking ahead, searching for a new continent. Instead, we are looking backward, held hostage by memory.

I cannot be an accomplice in such a way of life, with no spiritual compass or moral direction. Never -- or so I've been taught from infancy -- have the Jewish people existed only for the sake of existence; never have we survived only in order to survive; never have we carried on for the sole purpose of carrying on by itself.

The Jewish existence was always directed upward. Not only toward our king and father in the heavens, but also our gaze upward was an answer to the great call of humanity; an answer of liberty in the times of enslavement in Egypt, an answer to the need of a righteous and egalitarian law in the days of Sinai when we wandered through the desert, an answer to the call of human universalism manifest in the Scriptures of the great prophets, and finally, an answer to the cry opposing unjust and imperial occupation throughout late antiquity.

Even the Zionist idea was not merely an attempt to rescue the Jews from violent anti-Semitic prosecutors, but rather was a heroic attempt to establish a model society. Zionism meant to create a society that avoided any form of discrimination or oppressive policy toward non-Jews, of the kind under which Jews had suffered for more than two millenniums.

This utopian vision has fallen silent in Israel. Concerns for personal survival and well-being, as well as fear about the ongoing bloodshed and security emergencies, about Gaza and Iran and the realities of demographics and population, have silenced the moral debate and blocked the horizons of vision and creative thinking.

I believe Israel must move away from trauma to trust, that we must abandon the "everything is Auschwitz" mentality and substitute for it an impulse toward liberty and democracy.

I fully understand that this will require a slow process of change. It will take more than one or two years for a new Jewish humanism to be accepted, allowing Israel to become a less traumatic place, a country in which school trips do not only present Israel's high school students with extermination camps. Israel must rethink its strict law of return (which defines Jewishness the same way Hitler did), its relationship with Germany, and it must reaffirm its commitment to being a democratic state of the Jewish people, a state that belongs to all of its citizens, in which the majority decides on its character and essence, with the utmost sensitivity to all the "others" -- and especially the Arab non-Jewish minority.

I have a vision of Israel as the driving force behind a global peace process and worldwide reconciliation and as a society guided by a deep sense of responsibility to world justice, but it's difficult to accept this vision when we are confronted every day with the hardship and perpetual bloodshed reflected in our newspapers. My hope is for a Jewish people that insists "never again" -- not only for Jewish victims but for anyone who suffers around the globe today.

Avraham Burg, former speaker of the Israeli parliament, is a businessman and author, most recently, of "The Holocaust Is Over; We Must Rise From Its Ashes," published this month by Palgrave Macmillan.

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« Reply #292 on: November 17, 2008, 10:55:41 AM »

OTOH, a goodly percentage of the other side is this:
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« Reply #293 on: November 17, 2008, 11:47:44 AM »

"I think some/many in Israel simply want peace and true democracy for everyone; Jews and non Jews alike.
Maybe Obama can finally help make a difference."

Unless Obama can magically fix the islamic death culture, the "peace talks" are meaningless.

« Reply #294 on: November 27, 2008, 07:59:18 AM »
Nov. 27, 2008
DAVID HOROVITZ, matthew wagner, and jpost staff , THE JERUSALEM POST

Indian commandos and police were evacuating civilians and cordoning off the area apparently in preparation to storm the Chabad House in Mumbai, India, where a rabbi, his wife and several other Israelis were being held hostage, according to IBN, an Indian news agency.

Chabad spokesman in Israel, Moni Ender, said there were eight Israelis inside the house, including Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg and his wife Rivka Holtzberg.

Several other Israelis were reportedly being held at the Oberoi Hotel, Israel Radio reported.

Newscasters were calling it the "final assault" on the Nariman House, where Chabad headquarters are located, adjacent to the Leopold Cafe, a major tourist center in Mumbai's Colaba area, which was also attacked Wednesday night.

According to a report by Reuters, the terrorists have expressed their desire to negotiate with the Indian government for the release of the hostages. The government, however, has repeatedly stated that it will not negotiate.

Several senior Indian police and security officers have been killed in the joint attack, which has caused police to take more cautious measures before storming the Chabad House, said Indian reporters.

Earlier, Reuters reported that one terrorist had been killed by Indian special forces in the Chabad House, but four others still remained barricaded inside, where they were holding off efforts to reach those inside.

Sky News reported that a loud explosion had been heard at the Chabad House. There was no official word as to the cause of the explosion, which could indicate the onset of an attempt to storm the compound.

On Thursday morning, Moshe Holtzberg, the toddler son of the Chabad emissaries, was rushed from the house in the arms of one of the Chabad House's employees, Sandra Samuel.

"I took the child, I just grabbed the baby and ran out," said Samuel, 44, who has worked as a cook for the center for the last five years.

She said that the rabbi and his wife, along with two other unidentified guests, were alive but unconscious.

"Pray that we should hear good news," urged a Chabad spokesman, Rabbi Zalman Shmotkin, in a telephone conversation with The Jerusalem Post from New York in the early hours of Thursday morning, Israel time.

Shmotkin also said that the had gunmen seized a police vehicle, which allowed them access to the area around the Chabad House.

Joshua Runyan, the news editor of the website, told the Post that there had been "several reports that shots were fired in the vicinity of the Chabad House, and unconfirmed reports on CNN of casualties in the Nariman House." Nariman House, Runyan said, was the original name of the Chabad House, which was purchased two years ago.

Runyan, who is in Jerusalem, said that a friend of the rabbi's had received an email from Holtzberg, unrelated to the attacks, at around the time of the attacks or shortly before they began, but that there had been no contact with Holtzberg since. "Since then, we've been trying all the numbers," he said.

The Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem confirmed that hostages had been taken in the Chabad House area. The ministry had yet to make contact with some 20 Israelis in the Mumbai area.

Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni spoke with the Israeli consul general in Mumbai, who briefed her on the attacks, the Foreign Ministry said in a statement. According to the statement, the ministry and the consulate were making "maximum efforts to ascertain the situation of the Israelis in the city as quickly as possible."

Livni sharply condemned the attacks, saying, "This is further painful evidence that the terrorist threat is the greatest challenge which Israel and the international community have to face. Nothing justifies the unforgivable slaughter of innocents."

Indian news agencies reported that three people were killed in or close to the Chabad House. The dead were not hostages, the reports said.

Phone calls by the Post to the Chabad House and to the Holtzbergs went unanswered late Wednesday night and in the early hours of Thursday morning.

Friends of the Holtzbergs placed messages on various Internet sites appealing for information about them.

Israel Radio reported that consulate staff were visiting local hospitals. Runyan said the Chabad House was a popular tourist destination and that "Israelis regularly come by and visit."

In an article on the Web site, Runyan wrote that "Chabad-Lubavitch representatives in New York and Israel are working alongside the Israeli Foreign Ministry, the US Consulate in Mumbai and a volunteer team of local residents to ascertain the well being of the Holtzbergs and other Jews in the area."

He added: "People are urged to say Psalms for Gavriel Noach ben Freida Bluma and Rivka bas Yehudis, and anyone affected by the tragedy."

Elie Leshem contributed to this report
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« Reply #295 on: November 27, 2008, 08:32:46 AM »

The Indian Hostage Rescue teams seem to have done some good work thus far. Hopefully they'll be able to save more hostages.
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« Reply #296 on: December 06, 2008, 07:36:55 AM »

The UN's obsession with demonizing Israel
By Jeff Jacoby Globe Columnist / November 30, 2008
THE PRESIDENT of the UN General Assembly, Miguel d'Escoto Brockmann of Nicaragua, last week denounced the policies of a certain Middle Eastern nation. They are "so similar to the apartheid of an earlier era," he said, "that the world must unite against them, demanding an "end to this massive abuse of human rights" and isolating the offending nation as it once isolated South Africa: with a punishing "campaign of boycott, divestment, and sanctions."

Of which country was he speaking?
Was it Saudi Arabia, where public facilities are segregated by sex, and where a pervasive system of gender apartheid denies women the right to drive, to dress as they choose, to freely marry or divorce, to vote, to appear in public without a male "guardian," or to give testimony on an equal basis with men?

Was it Jordan, where the law explicitly bars Jews from citizenship and where the sale of land to a Jew was for decades not only illegal, but punishable by death?

Was it Iran, where homosexuality is a capital crime - at least 200 Iranian gays were executed last year - and whose president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, asserted at Columbia University that there are no homosexuals in Iran?

Was it Sudan, where tens of thousands of black Africans in the country's southern region, most of them Christians or animists, have been abducted and sold into slavery by Arab militias backed by the Islamist regime in Khartoum?

It was none of these. The General Assembly president, a radical Maryknoll priest who served as Nicaragua's foreign minister during the Sandinista regime in the 1980s, was not referring to any of the Middle East's Muslim autocracies and dictatorships, virtually all of which discriminate against ethnic and religious minorities. He was speaking of the Jewish state of Israel, the region's lone democracy, and the only one that guarantees the legal equality of all its citizens - one-fifth of whom are Muslim and Christian Arabs.

D'Escoto's call for Israel to be shunned as a pariah and strangled economically came on the UN's Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, an annual occasion devoted to lamenting the rebirth of Jewish sovereignty in the 20th century, denouncing the national liberation movement - Zionism - that made that rebirth possible, and championing the cause of the Palestinian Arabs. The event occurs on or about Nov. 29, the anniversary of the UN vote in 1947 to partition Palestine into two states, one Jewish and one Arab. There are impassioned speeches, in which Israel's sins are enumerated and condemned, and the statelessness of the Palestinians is bewailed. Unmentioned is the fact that Palestine's Arabs would have had their state 60 years ago had they and the Arab League not rejected the UN's decision and chosen instead to declare war on the new Jewish state.

Like so much of what takes place at the UN, the obsession with demonizing Israel and extolling the Palestinians is grotesque and Orwellian. More than 1 million Israeli Arabs enjoy civil and political rights unmatched in the Arab world - yet Israel is accused of repression and human-rights abuse. Successive Israeli governments have endorsed a "two-state solution" - yet Israel is blasted as the obstacle to peace. The Palestinian Authority oversees the vilest culture of Jew-hatred since the Third Reich, and wants all Jews expelled from the land it claims for itself - yet Israel is labeled an "apartheid state" and singled out for condemnation and ostracism.

Make no mistake: In likening Israel to apartheid-era South Africa, the UN is engaged not in anti-racism but in anti-Semitism. In the 1930s, the world's foremost anti-Semites demanded a boycott of Jewish businesses. Today they demand a boycott of the Jewish state.

"No good German is still buying from a Jew," announced Hitler's Nazi Party in March 1933. "The boycott must be a universal one . . . and must hit Jewry where it is most vulnerable." Seventy-five years later, the president of the General Assembly urges the world to throttle Israel's 6 million Jews with "boycott, divestment, and sanctions." There is no significant difference between the two cases -- or the animus underlying them.

When the UN adopted its odious "Zionism is racism resolution" in 1975, US Ambassador Daniel Patrick Moynihan minced no words. "The United States," he declared, "does not acknowledge, it will not abide by, it will never acquiesce in this infamous act." Where is such a voice of moral outrage today?

Jeff Jacoby can be reached at
« Reply #297 on: December 09, 2008, 09:15:16 PM »

I am not a fan of Bibi (but I think he is going to win the election  and it thought this was an interesting perspective.
Without being aware of it, most of us automatically label anyone driving faster than us 'a maniac'... and anyone driving slower than us is 'an idiot'.

The same is pretty much the case with religion.  We file those who are even a little more religiously observant than us under the broad heading; 'fanatic', while those who are less observant are 'heretics'.

So, it should go without saying (although, naturally, I feel the need to say it) that politics are also subject to this involuntary, mental filing system.  Those to the right of us are militaristic fascists while those to the left of us are communist surrender monkeys.

In advance of Likud's primaries yesterday, Bibi Natanyahu held a press conference to try to head off this kind of pigeon-holing and said unequivocally that not only would he not be giving any cabinet positions to those who he considered radical elements within Likud (e.g. supporters of Moshe Feiglin), but that the numeric standing in the Likud primary results would not have any affect whatsoever on his choices for top government positions.

He made it clear that the results of the primaries were important in that they demonstrated public support for a slate of candidates... but that he reserved the right to fill the top cabinet slots with the best qualified individual regardless of their post-primary standing.

In a rational world that should have been enough to silence much of the hysterical hair-pulling over the eventuality that many of the top primary spots would (and did) go to players from Likud's ideological right wing.

But rational behavior is, sadly, not in large supply in Israel's political circles.

Kadima's Livni is running scared and Labor's Barak is essentially a grease spot in the rear view mirror.  The two of them know that their only chance of swaying precious undecided voters and winning back seats from Likud in the coming election is to cry wolf about how "Likud will begin implementing their extremist policies" the moment they come to power. Heck, Meretz (as reported in Ynet) has gone so far as to say that "Likud has formed a new anti-peace front!" .


Deep breaths everyone.   It's not like Meretz, Labor and Kadima haven't had their turn at the wheel since the last election.  It's not as though there was a disruptive opposition keeping them from carrying out their 'pro-peace' agenda.

Unfortunately, Kadima and Labor managed their plans for peace about as well as they did their plans for the last war. Meaning they had no clear plan at all, other than to make staggeringly stupid unilateral concessions to an assortment of enemies who have expressed no interest whatsoever in becoming our friends.

Israel is nominally a democracy... which means you can vote for whatever party floats your boat.  And you should!  I'm less frightened of a democracy with a strong, responsible opposition than of one where everyone marches in lockstep.  But To ignore historical facts and expect the electorate to continue endorsing the same, clueless leadership (if you can even call what we've had to endure 'leadership'), is just lunacy.

Just in case some talking points are needed, let me be the first to offer a few:

You do not talk to people who are shooting at you.  Not bullets... and certainly not missiles.  And you certainly don't act as though they aren't shooting.  Any other nation on earth would consider such belligerency an open act of war.  Somehow we have gotten into the habit of treating it as if it were some inescapable, chronic problem like pollution. Abandoning any segment of the population to the bombs and missiles is to essentially give the land they are living on to your enemy.  Any government that willingly does so is done.  Move on.

Being against the particulars and/or timing of a peace initiative does not make one 'anti-peace'.  It means that after a number of identical failures, it is time to try something else... or perhaps time to take a short break from trying in order to assess whether the other side actually is capable of (or interested in) making peace.

Kadima and Labor have no monopoly on talking with - and even assisting - our enemies.  Bibi has made it clear that he will continue a responsible dialog with the Palestinian leadership.  In fact, he has been saying for some time that the only way to create  a viable peace partner is to bolster their economy to the point that they don't need Israel or International aid to survive.

Freeing terrorists from jail and returning them to the same handlers who sent them on their murderous missions in the first place will not promote peace.  You can call them confidence-building gestures, but the only thing it does is erode the confidence of Israelis that the government has a clue how to stop the relentless attacks.  Promoting responsible economic planning and enabling manageable economic growth for the Palestinians might give them something to think about other than killing us.  I'm not sure, but I'm willing to give Bibi a chance to test that theory.

One of the primary criticisms leveled at Bibi from the right during his tenure as leader of the opposition is that he didn't make life difficult enough for the Kadima/Labor coalition government.  During the war in Lebanon Bibi became the defacto spokesperson for the Foreign Ministry, and afterward acted much more forcefully to to ride herd on the right than to hamstring the left.  So it is funny to suddenly hear  Meretz, Labor and Kadima screaming and maneuvering in the most irresponsible manor as though they are already in the opposition.

Labor arrogantly labeled Likud predictions of missiles falling on Ashkelon as 'scare mongering'. Yet the Grad Ketyushas that fell on Ashkelon last week (and the countless rockets that continue to fall on Sderot, Ashkelon and the western Negev) are apparently less important to Labor and Kadima than the number of Knesset seats they can coax from a balky electorate.

At a certain point, failed policies and failed regimes must be peacefully set aside and new ideas tried.  Livni and Barak have demonstrated beyond all doubt that they don't have a new idea between them (other than how to attack the Likud).  And that's okay.  The job of the opposition is to be critical of those in power.  So it is time to make sure that Kadima and Labor are placed firmly where they can carry on criticizing and do a minimum of harm (and a maximum of good); in the opposition.

I'll be the first to admit that Bibi is not the ideal candidate.  But he is arguably the only one responsible for this country being well-positioned to weather the current global economic storm... and he has spent years demonstrating that he can and will act responsibly to place the good of the country before his own (ample) political aspirations.

The new Likud is full of promising new faces and ideas (as well as old party hacks), and Bibi has promised to look well down his party list... and also to the ranks of other political parties... to select the leaders most capable of helping him face Israel's current and future challenges.  Personally, I can't ask more than that.

Say what you want about Bibi, but he is not anti-peace or an extremist on any account.  Nor is he shackled to any militant extremists or radical political elements.  Anyone who says either is either willfully ignorant or woefully unfamiliar with Israel's parliamentarian system.

Is Bibi perfect?  Not by a long shot.  But is it long past time to push aside the architects of years of fecklessness and failure in order to try an entirely different approach to domestic and foreign policy?  In my humble opinion; Yes.

You are entitled to your own opinion and vote (that's why it's called a democracy), but stop telling me why not to vote for the Likud/Bibi, and start telling me what your party has to offer this country that hasn't already been proven a dismal failure.

Update:  I just saw the following quote from Livni in which she is trying to sound strong by advocating a token military response to continued rocket fire from Gaza (I swear, you can't make this stuff up!):

    "A [military] response is important; even if it doesn't automatically end the Palestinian rocket fire, there is something important in the impression, and Israel's deterrence ability.  The strategic goal in my eyes is to prevent the establishment of an extremist Islamic terror state along Israel's southern border." [emphasis mine]

Um, news flash for Livni... that ship sailed.  Maybe you missed the meeting where it was discussed, but Israel already has an extremist Islamic terror state along its southern border.  What's your next big plan?

Yet another update (my lunchtime reading was chock full of shameless sound bites):

Disgraced Kadima Prime minister Ehud Olmert said today:

    "The Likud right-wing party that will isolate Israel in a corner..."

Correct me if I'm mistaken, but isn't this the same person who carried water for Ariel Sharon's disengagement plan by repeatedly assuring us that withdrawal from Gaza would improve Israel's international standing and make us the darling of the international community?

That worked out well, didn't it? Even failed states and remorseless despots still shun Israel, and our 'friends' still try to arrest our generals for war crimes!
« Reply #298 on: December 23, 2008, 06:50:09 PM »

Two short videos from the Jerusalem Post. You have to watch a brief ad for  Israeli Charity Yad Ezra before the videos start.

Israel prepares for Christmas-- Free Trees from the JNF

A minority in peril--Palestinian Christians at Christmas time

« Reply #299 on: December 24, 2008, 09:35:37 AM »
The last words Charles Winters spoke to his son nearly 25 years ago - "Keep the faith" - guided the Miami businessman as he sought a rare presidential pardon for his late father's crime: aiding Israel in 1948 as it fought to survive.

Charles Winters, a Protestant from Boston, was convicted in 1949 for violating the Neutrality Act when he conspired to export aircraft to a foreign country. He was fined $5,000 and sentenced to 18 months in prison. Winters' son, Jim, found out about his father's daring missions and imprisonment only after his death in 1984.

On Tuesday, President George W. Bush officially forgave Charles Winters, issuing a pardon posthumously to a man considered a hero in Israel.

"I'm overwhelmed," said Jim Winters, 44, a Miami maker of artistic neon signs. "It happened 16 years before I was born. He went to jail and he didn't want his kids to know. He was old-school and proud."

Charles Winters was one of 19 people to receive pardons - one other person had his sentence commuted - as Bush left Washington to spend the Christmas holiday at Camp David in Maryland. No high-profile lawbreakers were on the list.

In the summer of 1948, Charles Winters, a produce exporter in Miami, worked with others to transfer two converted B-17 "Flying Fortresses" to Israel's defense forces. He personally flew one of the aircraft from Miami to Czechoslovakia, where that plane and a third B-17 were retrofitted for use as bombers.

"He and other volunteers from around the world defied weapons embargoes to supply the newly established Israel with critical supplies to defend itself against mounting attacks from all sides," New York Reps. Carolyn Maloney, Gary Ackerman, Jose Serrano and Brian Higgins wrote in a Dec. 15 letter urging Bush to pardon Charles Winters.

"Without the actions of individuals like Mr. Winters, this fledgling democracy in the Middle East almost certainly would not have survived as the surrounding nations closed in on Israel's borders," the lawmakers wrote.

The three B-17s were the only heavy bombers in the Israeli Air Force, and historians say counterattacks with the bombers helped turned the war in Israel's favor. In March 1961, Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir issued a letter of commendation to Charles Winters to recognize his contributions to the Jewish state's survival.

Two men charged with Winters, Herman Greenspun and Al Schwimmer, also were convicted of violating the Neutrality Act, but they did not serve time. President John F. Kennedy pardoned Greenspun in 1961, and President Bill Clinton pardoned Schwimmer in 2000.

"Rules are rules, but it's interesting that my dad was the low man on the totem pole in the operation, but he's the only one who had to serve time," said Jim Winters.

Reginald Brown, an attorney who worked on the pardon, said Bush's action "rights a historical wrong and honors Charlie's belief that the creation of the Jewish state was a moral imperative of his time."

Film director Steven Spielberg also wrote a letter to Bush appealing for a pardon for Charles Winters.

"There are probably many unsung heroes of America and of Israel, but Charlie Winters is surely one of them," wrote the director of "Schindler's List," the Oscar-winning movie about the Holocaust. "While a pardon cannot make Charlie Winters whole, and regrettably he did not live to see it, it would be a fitting tribute to his memory and a great blessing to his family if this pardon is granted."

After Charles Winters died on Oct. 30, 1984, half his ashes were buried in a Christian cemetery near the Jewish cemetery of the Knights Templar in Jerusalem. The rest were scattered from the top of Mount Tabor in Israel.

The only other pardon granted posthumously in recent years was given to Henry O. Flipper, the first black graduate of the US Military Academy at West Point, N.Y. Flipper was drummed out of the Army after white officers accused him of embezzling about $3,800 from commissary funds. Flipper initially discovered the funds missing from his custody and concealed their disappearance from superiors, hoping the money would return. Clinton gave Flipper a full pardon in 1999.

Bush has granted 190 pardons and nine commutations during his two terms. That's fewer than half as many as Presidents Clinton or Ronald Reagan issued during their eight years in office.

Well-known names were rare on Bush's holiday pardon list. There have been efforts to get Bush to pardon former Louisiana Gov. Edwin Edwards, who was convicted in 2000 with four others in a scheme to rig riverboat casino licensing; disgraced track star Marion Jones, who lied about using steroids; Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean, former U.S. Border Patrol agents who were convicted of shooting a drug smuggler in 2005 and trying to cover it up; and Michael Milken, the junk bond king convicted of securities fraud.

In his most high-profile official act of forgiveness, Bush saved Vice President Dick Cheney's former chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, from serving prison time in the case of the 2003 leak of CIA operative Valerie Plame's identity.

Libby was convicted of perjury and obstructing justice. Bush could still grant him a full pardon, although Libby has not applied for one.
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