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G M
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« Reply #900 on: June 07, 2010, 02:46:42 PM »

Pat Buchanan is Helen Thomas in drag

 cheesy
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #901 on: June 08, 2010, 06:26:31 AM »

The Limits of Public Opinion: Arabs, Israelis and the Strategic Balance
June 8, 2010
By George Friedman

Last week’s events off the coast of Israel continue to resonate. Turkish-Israeli relations have not quite collapsed since then but are at their lowest level since Israel’s founding. U.S.-Israeli tensions have emerged, and European hostility toward Israel continues to intensify. The question has now become whether substantial consequences will follow from the incident. Put differently, the question is whether and how it will be exploited beyond the arena of public opinion.

The most significant threat to Israel would, of course, be military. International criticism is not without significance, but nations do not change direction absent direct threats to their interests. But powers outside the region are unlikely to exert military power against Israel, and even significant economic or political sanctions are unlikely to happen. Apart from the desire of outside powers to limit their involvement, this is rooted in the fact that significant actions are unlikely from inside the region either.

The first generations of Israelis lived under the threat of conventional military defeat by neighboring countries. More recent generations still faced threats, but not this one. Israel is operating in an advantageous strategic context save for the arena of public opinion and diplomatic relations and the question of Iranian nuclear weapons. All of these issues are significant, but none is as immediate a threat as the specter of a defeat in conventional warfare had been. Israel’s regional enemies are so profoundly divided among themselves and have such divergent relations with Israel that an effective coalition against Israel does not exist — and is unlikely to arise in the near future.

Given this, the probability of an effective, as opposed to rhetorical, shift in the behavior of powers outside the region is unlikely. At every level, Israel’s Arab neighbors are incapable of forming even a partial coalition against Israel. Israel is not forced to calibrate its actions with an eye toward regional consequences, explaining Israel’s willingness to accept broad international condemnation.

Palestinian Divisions
To begin to understand how deeply the Arabs are split, simply consider the split among the Palestinians themselves. They are currently divided between two very different and hostile factions. On one side is Fatah, which dominates the West Bank. On the other side is Hamas, which dominates the Gaza Strip. Aside from the geographic division of the Palestinian territories — which causes the Palestinians to behave almost as if they comprised two separate and hostile countries — the two groups have profoundly different ideologies.

Fatah arose from the secular, socialist, Arab-nationalist and militarist movement of Egyptian President Gamal Abdul Nasser in the 1950s. Created in the 1960s, Fatah was closely aligned with the Soviet Union. It was the dominant, though far from the only, faction in the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). The PLO was an umbrella group that brought together the highly fragmented elements of the Palestinian movement. Yasser Arafat long dominated Fatah; his death left Fatah without a charismatic leader, but with a strong bureaucracy increasingly devoid of a coherent ideology or strategy.

Hamas arose from the Islamist movement. It was driven by religious motivations quite alien from Fatah and hostile to it. For Hamas, the liberation of Palestine was not simply a nationalist imperative, but also a religious requirement. Hamas was also hostile to what it saw as the financial corruption Arafat brought to the Palestinian movement, as well as to Fatah’s secularism.

Hamas and Fatah are playing a zero-sum game. Given their inability to form a coalition and their mutual desire for the other to fail, a victory for one is a defeat for the other. This means that whatever public statements Fatah makes, the current international focus on Gaza and Hamas weakens Fatah. And this means that at some point, Fatah will try to undermine the political gains the flotilla has offered Hamas.

The Palestinians’ deep geographic, ideological and historical divisions occasionally flare up into violence. Their movement has always been split, its single greatest weakness. Though revolutionary movements frequently are torn by sectarianism, these divisions are so deep that even without Israeli manipulation, the threat the Palestinians pose to the Israelis is diminished. With manipulation, the Israelis can pit Fatah against Hamas.

The Arab States and the Palestinians
The split within the Palestinians is also reflected in divergent opinions among what used to be called the confrontation states surrounding Israel — Egypt, Jordan and Syria.

Egypt, for example, is directly hostile to Hamas, a religious movement amid a sea of essentially secular Arab states. Hamas’ roots are in Egypt’s largest Islamist movement, the Muslim Brotherhood, which the Egyptian state has historically considered its main domestic threat. Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s regime has moved aggressively against Egyptian Islamists and sees Hamas’ ideology as a threat, as it could spread back to Egypt. For this and other reasons, Egypt has maintained its own blockade of Gaza. Egypt is much closer to Fatah, whose ideology derives from Egyptian secularism, and for this reason, Hamas deeply distrusts Cairo.

Jordan views Fatah with deep distrust. In 1970, Fatah under Arafat tried to stage a revolution against the Hashemite monarchy in Jordan. The resulting massacres, referred to as Black September, cost about 10,000 Palestinian lives. Fatah has never truly forgiven Jordan for Black September, and the Jordanians have never really trusted Fatah since then. The idea of an independent Palestinian state on the West Bank unsettles the Hashemite regime, as Jordan’s population is mostly Palestinian. Meanwhile, Hamas with its Islamist ideology worries Jordan, which has had its own problems with the Muslim Brotherhood. So rhetoric aside, the Jordanians are uneasy at best with the Palestinians, and despite years of Israeli-Palestinian hostility, Jordan (and Egypt) has a peace treaty with Israel that remains in place.

Syria is far more interested in Lebanon than it is in the Palestinians. Its co-sponsorship (along with Iran) of Hezbollah has more to do with Syria’s desire to dominate Lebanon than it does with Hezbollah as an anti-Israeli force. Indeed, whenever fighting breaks out between Hezbollah and Israel, the Syrians get nervous and their tensions with Iran increase. And of course, while Hezbollah is anti-Israeli, it is not a Palestinian movement. It is a Lebanese Shiite movement. Most Palestinians are Sunni, and while they share a common goal — the destruction of Israel — it is not clear that Hezbollah would want the same kind of regime in Palestine that either Hamas or Fatah would want. So Syria is playing a side game with an anti-Israeli movement that isn’t Palestinian, while also maintaining relations with both factions of the Palestinian movement.

Outside the confrontation states, the Saudis and other Arabian Peninsula regimes remember the threat that Nasser and the PLO posed to their regimes. They do not easily forgive, and their support for Fatah comes in full awareness of the potential destabilizing influence of the Palestinians. And while the Iranians would love to have influence over the Palestinians, Tehran is more than 1,000 miles away. Sometimes Iranian arms get through to the Palestinians. But Fatah doesn’t trust the Iranians, and Hamas, though a religious movement, is Sunni while Iran is Shiite. Hamas and the Iranians may cooperate on some tactical issues, but they do not share the same vision.

Israel’s Short-term Free Hand and Long-term Challenge
Given this environment, it is extremely difficult to translate hostility to Israeli policies in Europe and other areas into meaningful levers against Israel. Under these circumstances, the Israelis see the consequences of actions that excite hostility toward Israel from the Arabs and the rest of the world as less dangerous than losing control of Gaza. The more independent Gaza becomes, the greater the threat it poses to Israel. The suppression of Gaza is much safer and is something Fatah ultimately supports, Egypt participates in, Jordan is relieved by and Syria is ultimately indifferent to.

Nations base their actions on risks and rewards. The configuration of the Palestinians and Arabs rewards Israeli assertiveness and provides few rewards for caution. The Israelis do not see global hostility toward Israel translating into a meaningful threat because the Arab reality cancels it out. Therefore, relieving pressure on Hamas makes no sense to the Israelis. Doing so would be as likely to alienate Fatah and Egypt as it would to satisfy the Swedes, for example. As Israel has less interest in the Swedes than in Egypt and Fatah, it proceeds as it has.

A single point sums up the story of Israel and the Gaza blockade-runners: Not one Egyptian aircraft threatened the Israeli naval vessels, nor did any Syrian warship approach the intercept point. The Israelis could be certain of complete command of the sea and air without challenge. And this underscores how the Arab countries no longer have a military force that can challenge the Israelis, nor the will nor interest to acquire one. Where Egyptian and Syrian forces posed a profound threat to Israeli forces in 1973, no such threat exists now. Israel has a completely free hand in the region militarily; it does not have to take into account military counteraction. The threat posed by intifada, suicide bombers, rockets from Lebanon and Gaza, and Hezbollah fighters is real, but it does not threaten the survival of Israel the way the threat from Egypt and Syria once did (and the Israelis see actions like the Gaza blockade as actually reducing the threat of intifada, suicide bombers and rockets). Non-state actors simply lack the force needed to reach this threshold. When we search for the reasons behind Israeli actions, it is this singular military fact that explains Israeli decision-making.

And while the break between Turkey and Israel is real, Turkey alone cannot bring significant pressure to bear on Israel beyond the sphere of public opinion and diplomacy because of the profound divisions in the region. Turkey has the option to reduce or end cooperation with Israel, but it does not have potential allies in the Arab world it would need against Israel. Israel therefore feels buffered against the Turkish reaction. Though its relationship with Turkey is significant to Israel, it is clearly not significant enough for Israel to give in on the blockade and accept the risks from Gaza.

At present, Israel takes the same view of the United States. While the United States became essential to Israeli security after 1967, Israel is far less dependent on the United States today. The quantity of aid the United States supplies Israel has shrunk in significance as the Israeli economy has grown. In the long run, a split with the United States would be significant, but interestingly, in the short run, the Israelis would be able to function quite effectively.

Israel does, however, face this strategic problem: In the short run, it has freedom of action, but its actions could change the strategic framework in which it operates over the long run. The most significant threat to Israel is not world opinion; though not trivial, world opinion is not decisive. The threat to Israel is that its actions will generate forces in the Arab world that eventually change the balance of power. The politico-military consequences of public opinion is the key question, and it is in this context that Israel must evaluate its split with Turkey.

The most important change for Israel would not be unity among the Palestinians, but a shift in Egyptian policy back toward the position it held prior to Camp David. Egypt is the center of gravity of the Arab world, the largest country and formerly the driving force behind Arab unity. It was the power Israel feared above all others. But Egypt under Mubarak has shifted its stance versus the Palestinians, and far more important, allowed Egypt’s military capability to atrophy.

Should Mubarak’s successor choose to align with these forces and move to rebuild Egypt’s military capability, however, Israel would face a very different regional equation. A hostile Turkey aligned with Egypt could speed Egyptian military recovery and create a significant threat to Israel. Turkish sponsorship of Syrian military expansion would increase the pressure further. Imagine a world in which the Egyptians, Syrians and Turks formed a coalition that revived the Arab threat to Israel and the United States returned to its position of the 1950s when it did not materially support Israel, and it becomes clear that Turkey’s emerging power combined with a political shift in the Arab world could represent a profound danger to Israel.

Where there is no balance of power, the dominant nation can act freely. The problem with this is that doing so tends to force neighbors to try to create a balance of power. Egypt and Syria were not a negligible threat to Israel in the past. It is in Israel’s interest to keep them passive. The Israelis can’t dismiss the threat that its actions could trigger political processes that cause these countries to revert to prior behavior. They still remember what underestimating Egypt and Syria cost them in 1973. It is remarkable how rapidly military capabilities can revive: Recall that the Egyptian army was shattered in 1967, but by 1973 was able to mount an offensive that frightened Israel quite a bit.

The Israelis have the upper hand in the short term. What they must calculate is whether they will retain the upper hand if they continue on their course. Division in the Arab world, including among the Palestinians, cannot disappear overnight, nor can it quickly generate a strategic military threat. But the current configuration of the Arab world is not fixed. Therefore, defusing the current crisis would seem to be a long-term strategic necessity for Israel.

Israel’s actions have generated shifts in public opinion and diplomacy regionally and globally. The Israelis are calculating that these actions will not generate a long-term shift in the strategic posture of the Arab world. If they are wrong about this, recent actions will have been a significant strategic error. If they are right, then this is simply another passing incident. In the end, the profound divisions in the Arab world both protect Israel and make diplomatic solutions to its challenge almost impossible — you don’t need to fight forces that are so divided, but it is very difficult to negotiate comprehensively with a group that lacks anything approaching a unified voice.

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DougMacG
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« Reply #902 on: June 08, 2010, 11:15:14 PM »

First an appreciation of the insight of George Friedman in the previous post:

Quoting: "Israel faces this strategic problem: In the short run, it has freedom of action, but its actions could change the strategic framework in which it operates over the long run. ..The threat to Israel is that its actions will generate forces in the Arab world that eventually change the balance of power."

That sums it up well IMO.  The break with the Obama administration gives them more freedom, but they still have their own limits.  BTW an Ozarik anniversary passed without much notice - where Israel took out an Iraq nuclear facility 29 years ago this week.
--------------
Here is another approach:
http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2010/06/026492.php

"Although most of the recent talk regarding flotillas has revolved around ships sailing toward Gaza, at least two plans have emerged for "reverse flotillas" - from Israel toward Turkey - to highlight what organizers have labeled the Turks' "shameless hypocrisy" in their criticisms of the Jewish state.

 The most ambitious of the two plans has been devised by members of Israel's National Student Union, who this week announced their intention to set sail toward Turkey, in an effort to bring humanitarian aid to the "oppressed people of Turkish Kurdistan" and to members of the "Turkish Armenian minority."

Brilliant. How do you think that will go over with the Turks?"
« Last Edit: June 09, 2010, 01:23:04 AM by DougMacG » Logged
ccp
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« Reply #903 on: June 09, 2010, 11:20:01 AM »

The Gaza blockade has been a smashing success with regards to it's original intent which was to reduce rockets screaming into Israel.  If you look at the number of rockets launched the numbers are way down from a few years ago.

Not a peep from MSM about that.   All we hear now is that it is a public relations disaster and the policy Gaza blockade policy MUST be reviewed and of course changed by Israel.  This is the spin, even among idiot (IMO) liberal Jews.  They also spin the handling of the confrontation as being bungled. 

"The most ambitious of the two plans has been devised by members of Israel's National Student Union, who this week announced their intention to set sail toward Turkey, in an effort to bring humanitarian aid to the "oppressed people of Turkish Kurdistan" and to members of the "Turkish Armenian minority."

Seems like a good PR move, but the MSM will ignore or talk it down.  The UN will of course somehow find a way to spin this criticize Israel anyway.


 
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G M
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« Reply #904 on: June 09, 2010, 07:35:06 PM »

**Scales fallen from your eyes yet, Rachel?**

http://www.commentarymagazine.com/blogs/index.php/pollak/309811

Barack Obama, Voting Present in the Middle East
Noah Pollak - 06.09.2010 - 8:29 AM
The question of the hour is whether the Obama administration is actually going to sit on its hands and do nothing as the Middle East edges closer and closer toward a major conflict.

Where is the administration on Turkey’s dangerous provocations and outrageous rhetoric? Where does the administration stand on the Israeli blockade of Gaza — for it or against it? What does the administration think about the impending arrival of three Iranian “aid” vessels in the Mediterranean that intend to break that blockade? What does Obama think about the rising tide of eliminationist rhetoric coming from Bashar Assad, one of the primary beneficiaries of Obama’s “outreach”? Now would be a good time for the president to clear up where America stands. Instead, we have sunk to such a sordid and embarrassing place that the Obama administration’s representative to the UN Human Rights Council said nothing after the Syrian representative promoted a blood libel about Jews during the council proceedings.
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G M
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« Reply #905 on: June 09, 2010, 08:16:39 PM »

http://hotair.com/archives/2010/06/09/rosie-odonnell-and-crew-what-did-helen-thomas-say-that-was-so-bad/

Liberal stance.
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ccp
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« Reply #906 on: June 11, 2010, 10:47:17 AM »

My personal opinion the only one doomed is Ahmadinejad.  Israel will have to try to bomb out all their nuclear sites.  If they can't do it with conventional weapons they will have to use nucs.  I know this means an eternity of revenge in the region but as it stands now Jews should not go to the gas chambers without a fight this time.  I wish I was in more of a position to personally help.  Obama has made the decision not to intervene except with ridiculous sanctions.  We can argue all day back and forth what the US should/should not do but it clear what Israelis have to do.  Again the only other hope is some miraculous regime change in Iran.
Calling in an army of liberal or greedy lawyers is not going to fix this.

***Iran's Ahmadinejad says Israel is 'doomed'
By D'Arcy Doran (AFP) – 4 hours ago

SHANGHAI — Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Friday Israel was "doomed" and singled out US President Barack Obama for scorn, blaming Washington for orchestrating new nuclear sanctions against Tehran.

Speaking during a visit to the World Expo in Shanghai, Ahmadinejad denounced the UN Security Council's sanctions resolution adopted Wednesday with Chinese and Russian backing as "worthless paper".

The firebrand leader accused global nuclear powers of "monopolising" atomic technology and said the new sanctions would "have no effect" -- reserving most of his tough rhetoric for the United States, not his ally Beijing.

Swatting aside the US leader's offers of dialogue and rapprochement if Iran relents on its nuclear ambitions, Ahmadinejad said: "I think President Obama has made a big mistake... he knows the resolution will have no effect.

"Very soon he will come to understand he has not made the right choice and he has blocked the way to having friendly ties with the Iranian people."

Ahmadinejad chose a visit to his country's national pavilion during "Iran Day" at the Shanghai Expo over an appearance at a regional security summit in Uzbekistan attended by the Chinese and Russian leaders.

Chinese President Hu Jintao and his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev are in Tashkent for the summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO).

The SCO on Friday snubbed Iran's membership bid, as Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the group's new guidelines did not allow countries under UN sanctions to join, leaving Tehran increasingly isolated over its refusal to renounce uranium enrichment.

Ahmadinejad's visit to the Expo comes at a delicate time in Tehran's relations with China, one of the Council's five permanent veto-wielding members.

His government had earlier reacted furiously to China's decision to fall into line with the United States and other powers that accuse Iran of covertly trying to build nuclear weapons.

Ahmadinejad nevertheless shied away from criticising Beijing, which has emerged as Iran's closest trading partner.

"The main problem is the US administration, and we have no problem with others," he told reporters, accusing the United States of seeking to "swallow" the Middle East.

"Not only China but others also announced the resolution is going to open a way for diplomacy."

The UN resolution expands an arms embargo and bars Iran from sensitive activities such as uranium mining.

It also authorises states to conduct high-seas inspections of vessels believed to be ferrying banned items for Iran and adds 40 entities to a list of people and groups subject to travel restrictions and financial sanctions.

Not for the first time, Ahmadinejad reserved his harshest rhetoric for Israel.

"It is clear the United States is not against nuclear bombs because they have a Zionist regime with nuclear bombs in the region," he said.

"They are trying to save the Zionist regime, but the Zionist regime will not survive. It is doomed."

Israel, which has the Middle East's sole if undeclared nuclear arsenal, regards Iran as its principal threat after repeated predictions by Ahmadinejad of the Jewish state's demise.

Israeli leaders have refused to rule out a resort to military action to prevent Iran developing a nuclear weapons capability.

Ahmadinejad said the entire architecture of global power was built to keep out smaller states.

"We have always said the Security Council is a tool in the hands of the United States. It is not democratic, it is a tool of dictatorship," he said.

"Five powers have the veto right and the nuclear bombs and the monopoly and they want to monopolise nuclear energy for themselves," he added.

Russia appears to be taking a tougher line with Iran. Officials said Friday that Moscow would comply strictly with the new UN sanctions, and signalled that a deal to supply Iran with air-defence missiles was now off.

China has kept up a more emollient line on Iran. Foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang said Thursday that China "highly values relations with Iran and feels they are conducive to regional peace, stability and development."

An aide to Ahmadinejad told AFP he would leave Shanghai later Friday.***
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JDN
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« Reply #907 on: June 13, 2010, 02:46:07 PM »

Like most issues; there are two sides...



Don't single out Helen Thomas

The veteran journalist was pilloried for her remark about Israel, but where's the uproar over such comments directed at Palestinians?

Saree Makdisi        June 13, 2010
 
Unconscionable. Offensive. Hurtful. Bigoted. Terrible. Hateful.

These are the words being used to describe Helen Thomas' recent comment about Israel and Palestine. Editorialists across the country have condemned her statement that Jews should "get the hell out of Palestine" and "go back" to Europe.

Let's agree that she should not have said those things, and that a just and lasting peace in the Middle East fundamentally requires reconciliation between Palestinians and Israeli Jews. We need also to agree on a formula that allows them both to be at home in the same land (I have long advocated the idea of a single democratic and secular state for both peoples; a state that treats all citizens as equals). Insisting that either people does not belong is not merely counterproductive; it lies at the very root of the conflict.

If, however, it is unacceptable to say that Israeli Jews don't belong in Palestine, it is also unacceptable to say that the Palestinians don't belong on their own land.

Yet that is said all the time in the United States, without sparking the kind of moral outrage generated by Thomas' remark. And while the nation's editorialists worry about the offense she may have caused to Jews, no one seems particularly bothered by the offense felt every day by Palestinians when people — including those with far more power than Thomas — dismiss their rights, degrade their humanity and reject their claims to the most elementary forms of decency.

Are we seriously to accept the idea that some people have more rights than others? Or that some people's sensibilities should be respected while others' are trampled with total indifference, if not outright contempt?

One does not have to agree with Thomas to note that her remark spoke to the ugly history of colonialism, racism, usurpation and denial that are at the heart of the question of Palestine. Part of that history involves vicious European anti-Semitism and the monumental crime of the Holocaust. But the other part is that Palestinians were forcibly removed from their homeland in 1948 to clear space for the creation of a state with a Jewish identity.

Europeans and Americans were, at the time, willing to ignore or simply dismiss the injustice inflicted on the Palestinians, who, by being forced from their land, were made to pay the price for a crime they did not commit.

But this callous carelessness, this dismissal of — and refusal even to acknowledge in human terms — the calamity that befell the Palestinians, and of course the attendant refusal to acknowledge their fundamental rights, did not end in the 1940s. It continues to this very day.

Mainstream politicians, civic leaders, university presidents and others in this country routinely express their support for Israel as a Jewish state, despite the fact that such a state only could have been created in a multicultural land by ethnically cleansing it of as many non-Jews as possible. Today, Israel is only able to maintain its Jewish identity because it has established an apartheid regime, both in the occupied territories and within its own borders, and because it continues to reject the Palestinian right of return.

Where is the outrage about that?

Where was the outrage in 1983 when Israeli Gen. Rafael Eitan looked forward to the day that Jews had fully settled the land, because then "all the Arabs will be able to do about it is scurry around like drugged cockroaches in a bottle"? Or when Alan Dershowitz suggested in 2002 that Israel summarily empty and then bulldoze an entire Palestinian village as a punitive measure each time it was attacked? Or when New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman claimed in 2006 to have discovered a "pathology" that caused some Arabs to "hate others more than they love their own kids"? Or when Avigdor Lieberman (who now serves as Israel's foreign minister) said in 2004 that Palestinian citizens of Israel should "take their bundles and get lost"? Or when Israeli professor Arnon Sofer, one of the country's leading demographic alarmists, said that to preserve the Jewish state, Israel should pull out of Gaza, though that would require Israel to remain at the border and "kill, and kill, and kill, all day, every day"?

An endless deluge of statements of support for the actual, calculated, methodical dehumanization of Arabs in general and Palestinians in particular goes without comment; whereas a single offhand comment by an 89-year-old journalist, whose long and distinguished record of principled commitment and challenges to state power entitles her to respect — and the benefit of the doubt — causes her to be publicly pilloried.

To accept this appalling hypocrisy is to be complicit in the racism of our age.

Saree Makdisi is a professor of English and comparative literature at UCLA. He is the author of, among other books, "Palestine Inside Out: An Everyday Occupation."
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ccp
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« Reply #908 on: June 13, 2010, 03:53:31 PM »

"Like most issues; there are two sides...
Don't single out Helen Thomas"

Who singled her out?  Her comments speak for herself and are quite clear.

"To accept this appalling hypocrisy is to be complicit in the racism of our age."

Actually I rarely if ever heard anyone say that Palestinians can't live in Israel.  JDN have you ever heard of the two state solution?
Proposed and refused by Arabs since the 1940's.

To say that Helen Thomas career was so distinguished is a bit over done to say the least.

JDN, perhaps I can find a Neo Nazi, interview him or her and then post here his/her "side" to the story.

I don't personally recall ever hearing Jews go around saying Palestinians should be eradicated, wiped out or driven into the sea.



 
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Body-by-Guinness
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« Reply #909 on: June 13, 2010, 04:00:34 PM »

JDN traffics in facile moral equivalency, CCP, and has never met an apple he can't call an orange should it serve his circular purposes.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #910 on: June 13, 2010, 05:14:24 PM »

JDN, I found that that Makdisi piece to be remarkably specious.  Its kind of tough to live with side by side with folks like this preacher and his congregation, but in Israel Arabs get citizenship, to vote, to be Muslim, to bring law suits, etc.  Try the other side of that coin in any of Israel's neighbors.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WmnpMXOpaM4&NR
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JDN
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« Reply #911 on: June 13, 2010, 08:21:19 PM »

"Unconscionable. Offensive. Hurtful. Bigoted. Terrible. Hateful."
CCP; these are words I too use to describe the words of Helen Thomas and anyone who say's the same.

But forget about her for a moment.  She was not the point of Dr. Makdisi's article.

Be fair in this discussion CCP, what did the Palestinians do to deserve being "forcibly removed from their homeland
in 1948 to clear space for the creation of a state with a Jewish identity."  And since then, given a choice, Israel has tried to
"eradicate, wipe out, or drive into the sea Palestinians."

I think the author's history lesson regarding the birth of Israel is mostly accurate; i.e. Palestinians were forcibly and violently
removed to create the Israel state.  We can argue the reasons/necessity thereof, but in essence they were forcibly removed.
If you were forcibly removed from your homeland, wouldn't you have some animosity?

Perhaps for good reason, but there is no love lost for Palestinians by Israel.
Avigdor Lieberman (who now serves as Israel's foreign minister) said in 2004 that "Palestinian citizens of Israel should "take their bundles and get lost"?

Crafty; Im not sure the authors comments are "spacious", but perhaps "biased".  Yet, you implied Arabs and Israeli's (Jews) are equal in Israel.  "Israeli High Court Justice (Ret.) Theodor Or chaired the Or Commission, which noted that discrimination against the country's Arab citizens had been documented in a large number of professional surveys and studies, had been confirmed in court judgments and government resolutions, and had also found expression in reports by the state comptroller and in other official documents. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert criticised in 2008 what he called "deliberate and insufferable" discrimination against Arabs at the hands of the Israeli establishment."

Further in Israel the Marriage Law, Land Law, Immigration Law, as well as others are discriminatory.  Others, including this author of this article have even argued that the system of control including separate roads, inequities in infrastructure, legal rights, and access to land and resources between Palestinians and Israeli residents in the Israeli-occupied territories resembles some aspects of the South African apartheid regime, and that "elements of the occupation constitute forms of colonialism and of apartheid, which are contrary to international law."

Personally, to paraphrase CCP, Israel risks being pushed into the sea therefore they need to do what they need to do to survive.  I understand.  But...

As the author points out, "it is unacceptable to say that Israeli Jews don't belong in Palestine, it is also unacceptable to say that the Palestinians don't belong on their own land.






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Body-by-Guinness
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« Reply #912 on: June 13, 2010, 09:06:08 PM »

Yo, JDN, Egypt and Jordan both are arguably Palestinian homelands, have their share of Palestinian citizens, and treat them in a manner that would be condemned in no uncertain terms if it occurred in Israel. Where is the hand wringing on their behalf? Want to talk hypocrisy? There's some of which you partake in spades.

I suppose there is no point in stating that this topic has been well discussed around here because there isn't a point that can be made that you won't rehash just to hear your jowls flap. This stuff has been discussed here before, and as ever, yesterdays data never enters into any argument you posit today.
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G M
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« Reply #913 on: June 13, 2010, 09:11:44 PM »

What of the Jews forced out of their homelands in the middle east that had to flee to Israel? Where is their right of return?
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G M
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« Reply #914 on: June 13, 2010, 09:49:13 PM »

http://www.terrorismawareness.org/what-really-happened/

Educate yourself, JDN.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #915 on: June 13, 2010, 10:19:44 PM »

I could swear there is a word "specious" , , , anyone have a URL for a good dictionary?

I did not say equal, I said one helluva lot closer to equal than vice versa in the Muslim countries, none of whom are surrounded by suicidal killers screaming "Death to the Muslims" as they target Muslim women and children.  C'mon man, get serious.

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G M
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« Reply #916 on: June 13, 2010, 10:36:39 PM »

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/specious

 grin
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JDN
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« Reply #917 on: June 13, 2010, 10:38:51 PM »

I could swear there is a word "specious" , , , anyone have a URL for a good dictionary?

I did not say equal, I said one helluva lot closer to equal than vice versa in the Muslim countries, none of whom are surrounded by suicidal killers screaming "Death to the Muslims" as they target Muslim women and children.  C'mon man, get serious.


There is such a word!  smiley
I looked it up to be sure my memory was not failing.   "having a false look of truth or genuineness"

You said, "JDN, I found that that Makdisi piece to be remarkably specious"  Therefore I presumed that you referring to his article.  I, commented that, while I did not find the article "spacious" I did concede "biased".

I misinterpreted your comment regarding Israeli citizenship; I thought you were implying that they were equal.

So you are saying that Arabs citizens and Jewish citizens are NOT equal in Israel?  Then we agree.

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G M
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« Reply #918 on: June 13, 2010, 10:49:18 PM »

How do christians and jews and other minorities get treated in the muslim world? Better or worse than what Israel does?
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #919 on: June 14, 2010, 06:32:30 AM »

Exactly.  C'mon JDN, you're avoiding the points being made here.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WmnpMXOpaM4&NR

"Palestinians were forcibly and violently removed to create the Israel state."
Citations?

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Body-by-Guinness
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« Reply #920 on: June 14, 2010, 08:38:58 AM »

Of course JDN has to defend Helen Thomas as their prose and narrative technique has so much in common.

Helen Thomas, the rabbi and the press

By Howard Kurtz
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, June 14, 2010; 7:15 AM
There she goes again.

That was the eye-rolling reaction in the White House press room when Helen Thomas would go off on one of her rants about the Middle East. She had been there for so long, was so admired by female journalists, was such a curmudgeonly character, that she was regarded as everyone's eccentric aunt.

Q&A, 12 p.m.: Media Backtalk: Howard Kurtz on the Media: Helen Thomas, Sarah Palin, Obama oil address, Carly Fiorina, Nikki Haley, more
But that's not how she was seen by much of the country, which still viewed her as the groundbreaking correspondent she once was, not the cranky columnist she had become. So when Aunt Helen snapped that Israelis should "get the hell out of Palestine" -- and go back to Germany, among other places -- many onlookers were stunned.

It's hard to avoid the conclusion that she was a member in good standing of a tightly knit club that refused to question why a woman whose main job seemed to be to harangue press secretaries and presidents deserved a front-row seat in the briefing room. Only the furor that followed a chance encounter with a rabbi armed with a video camera prompted the 89-year-old Thomas to retire last week.

Journalists, especially those who spend a great deal of time together, don't usually turn on each other. If Thomas was spewing bias and bile, the reasoning went, what was the harm?

None of this is to detract from what Thomas accomplished beginning in 1960, when the press corps was comprised mainly of white men in skinny ties, and women occasionally showed up to write about a first lady's social activities. Thomas was never known for great writing or breaking stories, but she was a dogged daily chronicler for United Press International.

After joining Hearst Newspapers a decade ago, however, Thomas became a marginal figure. Few were reading her column, especially in Washington. Her stature -- the Society of Professional Journalists gave out a Helen Thomas Award for Lifetime Achievement -- derived from her earlier career and her choice bit of real estate.

The art of inquiry

There was something to admire in Thomas's determination to ask uncomfortable questions. But when she declared George W. Bush the "worst president ever" in 2003, she shed any pretense of fair-mindedness. As time went on, her questions turned into speeches, as in this 2007 challenge to Bush over Iraq:

"Mr. President, you started this war. It's a war of your choosing. You can end it, alone. Today. At this point bring in peacekeepers, U.N. peacekeepers. Two million Iraqis have fled the country as refugees. Two million more are displaced. Thousands and thousands are dead. Don't you understand? We brought the al-Qaeda into Iraq." One might agree or disagree with those sentiments, but she was performing as an activist, not a journalist.

Former CNN correspondent Jamie McIntyre wrote last week that "there's a big difference between asking tough questions and getting answers to tough questions. Anyone can ASK tough questions. But figuring out how to hold government officials accountable, by posing questions in such a way that they can't avoid answering them, is a much harder, and far more valuable journalistic exercise than just venting from a padded front seat in the White House briefing room. Helen Thomas' questions were not designed to probe weaknesses in the president's policies. They were just meant to provoke him."

Former Bush speechwriter David Frum said on his blog that "calling on Helen Thomas was a notorious method for a hard-pressed White House press secretary to EVADE tough questions from the rest of the press corps. A zany, out-of-left-field protest from Thomas would disrupt a flow of unwelcome queries, maybe spark a tension-breaking laugh, maybe change the subject altogether."

David Nesenoff, the Long Island rabbi who triggered Thomas's resignation by asking for her thoughts on Israel, says he has received death threats and more than 25,000 e-mails, many of them obscene and hate-filled. One called him a "dirty Jew," saying: "Hittler [sic] was right! Time for you to go back in the oven!"

Nesenoff also says "there are individuals within the media" who are "pursuing an agenda," though he declines to identify them. (Critics have derided him for portraying a stereotypical Mexican with a bad accent in a video on his Web site, which the rabbi dismisses as a harmless Purim skit.) Had they called, Nesenoff says, he would have explained that he has founded an anti-bias task force, consulted for the Justice Department in the Denny's restaurant discrimination case and spoken with Mel Gibson about his drunken, anti-Semitic rant.

Q&A, 12 p.m.: Media Backtalk: Howard Kurtz on the Media: Helen Thomas, Sarah Palin, Obama oil address, Carly Fiorina, Nikki Haley, more
To those who say he wound up infringing on Thomas's freedom of speech, Nesenoff says that she had a public platform "for 60 years. I had it for two minutes, and I shared my two minutes with her. It was specifically her freedom of speech that caused this problem."

What friends are for

Since Thomas was a columnist, she had every right to her opinions -- even if her view was that Jews should be banished from Israel. But she didn't have a perpetual right to a newspaper column or a White House press room seat. Hearst bears some responsibility for keeping Thomas on as her behavior grew more disturbing. It's not that a pro-Israel press corps drove her out; it's that Thomas could not defend her remarks, and indeed apologized for them.

All this might have been avoided had Helen's friends gently suggested it was time to retire. But here the insular nature of Beltway life clearly came into play. Those who were accustomed to seeing Thomas around town regarded her as one of Washington's harmless gadflies, perhaps forgetting that she still had access to a powerful megaphone.

There were exceptions -- Slate's Jack Shafer and the New Republic's Jonathan Chait have noted that Thomas was asking "wildly inappropriate" questions, as Chait put it, but the story line got no traction, even when the late White House spokesman Tony Snow accused her of offering "the Hezbollah view."

Thomas, meanwhile, positioned herself as the truth-telling alternative to Washington's weenies. Her 2007 book was titled "Watchdogs of Democracy? The Waning Washington Press Corps and How It Has Failed the Public." In a March interview with Viceland magazine, she said -- with some justification -- that "everyone rolled over and played dead" during the run-up to the Iraq war. Thomas added, rather conspiratorially, that she was "sure the big communications corporations got orders from on high. So they played ball."

Back in 1996, after a long night of election coverage, the incomparable David Brinkley said he'd had enough "goddamned nonsense" from Bill Clinton and that the president "is a bore, and always will be a bore." Brinkley apologized, but days later he stepped down from hosting his revolutionary program, "This Week."

As with Brinkley, no one can take away Thomas's trailblazing career, but those decades in the spotlight also imposed a responsibility to meet certain minimal standards. Why wasn't she reined in earlier? For the same reason I've been tempted to pull a couple of punches in writing this: Who wants to beat up on an octogenarian lady? But a little tough love might have spared her this final blot on her legacy.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/linkset/2005/04/11/LI2005041100587.html?hpid=topnews
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ccp
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« Reply #921 on: June 14, 2010, 09:53:50 AM »

***David Nesenoff, the Long Island rabbi who triggered Thomas's resignation by asking for her thoughts on Israel, says he has received death threats and more than 25,000 e-mails, many of them obscene and hate-filled. One called him a "dirty Jew," saying: "Hittler [sic] was right! Time for you to go back in the oven!"

Nesenoff also says "there are individuals within the media" who are "pursuing an agenda," though he declines to identify them. (Critics have derided him for portraying a stereotypical Mexican with a bad accent in a video on his Web site, which the rabbi dismisses as a harmless Purim skit.) Had they called, Nesenoff says, he would have explained that he has founded an anti-bias task force, consulted for the Justice Department in the Denny's restaurant discrimination case and spoken with Mel Gibson about his drunken, anti-Semitic rant.***

The other very interesting (to me) part of seeing Nesenoff of cable (I think it was Kurtz though maybe another program) was how he essentially questioned his affilition with the Democratic party.  He so much as said he will be reviewing his party affiliation.  See my post in the "media thread".

Finally a liberal Jew who is seeing the liberal Jews who would even sell out Israel to support their liberal agenda which is a more socialist (progressive, liberal whatever label you want to put on it) world order. Does the yiddish word mazzoltov apply?  It's about time some of them wake up and stop worrying about who nice, and humanitarian they need to portray themselves out of guilt or hypocracy.  One can be a good person, a good citizen without having to be masochistic dope.
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JDN
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« Reply #922 on: June 14, 2010, 10:45:49 AM »

Exactly.  C'mon JDN, you're avoiding the points being made here.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WmnpMXOpaM4&NR

"Palestinians were forcibly and violently removed to create the Israel state."
Citations?


It was war....
"We are now at war, a war in which no quarter will be asked and none will be given. It will be a battle of life and death and woe to the vanquished."
"The exact number of Arab losses is unknown but the estimates ranged from 10,000 to 15,000.
According to United Nations figures, 726,000 Palestinians left Israeli-controlled territory between 1947 and 1949."

Crafty, do you think nearly three quarters of a million people wanted to leave their home voluntarily?  That's like saying the American Indian left their homeland voluntarily
to live on an assigned reservation.

As for points being made here.....

I clearly stated my repugnance to Helen Thomas's comments.

I merely posted an article by Dr. Makdisi of UCLA.  Most on this forum have not challenged his points or quotes.  My only comment was that there are two sides to the discussion.

We agreed (you acknowledged) that Jews and non Jewish citizens are NOT treated equal in Israel.

As for the question, "How do christians and jews and other minorities get treated in the muslim world? Better or worse than what Israel does?"
The answer is probably worse, but is that relevant?  I mean to what standard should Israel be held?  To the lowest or highest?  For us
to say that we treated blacks in America better than some other countries, or for South African whites to say they treated blacks in South Africa better than most
does not make it right.   Israel is a democracy, a thriving, modern, educated country; they are held to a higher moral standard than some backward
Middle Eastern or African country or two bit dictatorship.  I like to think in most of the industrialized educated world, before the law, people should be treated equally.

I don't think I am "avoiding the issues here" pertinent to Dr. Makdisi; rather this is an emotional subject for some.  CCP honestly acknowledged such;
further, as CCP said, perhaps Israel's interests are not always America's interest.  I respect CCP's opinion, and admire his and others devotion to Israel, they have been a good friend to America,
as we have to Israel, but I think as Americans we should objectively place America's interest first before our loyalty to Israel regardless of our love for Israel.

I started out by saying, "Like most issues, there are two sides".  I still think it's true.











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G M
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« Reply #923 on: June 14, 2010, 10:59:23 AM »

JDN,

As a typical leftist, you ignore the history you don't like to offer support to those who would cut your throat if given the chance. Israel is at war, not by choice, but by necessity. If Israel has to fence off arabs and screen them through invasive security measures, it's the arabs that are to blame, not Israel.
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G M
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« Reply #924 on: June 14, 2010, 11:15:10 AM »

http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/palestinians-uighurs-and-the-curiously-selective-media/?singlepage=true

Where is the outrage?
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #925 on: June 14, 2010, 11:20:23 AM »

"726,000 Palestinians left Israeli-controlled territory between 1947 and 1949."  Crafty, do you think nearly three quarters of a million people wanted to leave their home voluntarily?"

Mostly they left because they were told to get out of the way while the Jews were being wiped out.

"As for the question, "How do christians and jews and other minorities get treated in the muslim world? Better or worse than what Israel does?"
The answer is probably worse, but is that relevant?  I mean to what standard should Israel be held?  To the lowest or highest?  For us
to say that we treated blacks in America better than some other countries, or for South African whites to say they treated blacks in South Africa better than most does not make it right.   Israel is a democracy, a thriving, modern, educated country; they are held to a higher moral standard than some backward Middle Eastern or African country or two bit dictatorship.  I like to think in most of the industrialized educated world, before the law, people should be treated equally."

Forgive me, but this is specious drivel.  The hatred of the Jews in this part of the world has been going on a long, long time and well pre-dates the existence of Israel itself.  In this context Israel's achievements in protection of rights under law is nothing less than remarkable. In the context of http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WmnpMXOpaM4&NR what you seek is Israel's suicide.

I'm signing off from responding to you on this.




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Body-by-Guinness
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« Reply #926 on: June 16, 2010, 07:21:21 PM »

If the crisis ended, how could Hamas blame Israel for the conditions they create?

http://www.pjtv.com/video/Specials/Blockade_Bluster:_A_PJTV_Investigation_Reveals_the_Medicine_&_Supplies_Hamas_Won't_Allow_Into_Gaza/3742/
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Body-by-Guinness
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« Reply #927 on: June 21, 2010, 08:07:05 AM »

JUNE 21, 2010 4:00 A.M.
Obama and the War against Israel
If President Obama had been trying to undermine Israel’s security — and ours — he could hardly have done a better job.
 
No other country in the world faces an array of existential threats such as the nation of Israel confronts daily. The world’s only Jewish state is also its most precarious. Geographically tiny, Israel is surrounded by theocracies that reject its very existence as a “nakba” — a catastrophe — and call for its destruction. To carry out this malignant ambition, anti-Israel Islamists have mobilized three rocket-wielding armies, sworn to wipe Israel from the face of the earth.

First and most aggressive among them is the Gaza-based Hamas, a fanatical religious party committed in its official charter to obliterating Israel and killing its Jews. Hamas is the creation of the Muslim Brotherhood, the inspirer of al-Qaeda and the global Islamic jihad, whose official motto declares: “Death in the service of Allah is our highest aspiration.” In Gaza, Hamas has created a terrorist state and a national death cult whose path is martyrdom and whose goal is openly proclaimed: “O, our children: The Jews — brothers of the apes, assassins of the prophets, bloodsuckers, warmongers — are murdering you, depriving you of life after having plundered your homeland and your homes. Only Islam can break the Jews and destroy their dream.”

Given that hatred for Jews is the animating passion of the Hamas militants, their response to Israel’s unilateral withdrawal from Gaza in 2005 was not surprising. Far from greeting this as a gesture of peace, Hamas regarded the Israeli withdrawal as a surrender to its terrorist attacks and an opportunity to escalate them. In the days and months following the withdrawal, Hamas launched 6,500 unprovoked rocket strikes on towns and schoolyards in Israel before the Israelis decided to strike back.

On Israel’s eastern border is the West Bank, home to the Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade, the Palestine Liberation Organization, and other terrorist groups, armed and protected by the so-called “moderate” Palestinian Authority. Like Hamas, the Palestinian Authority officially rejects Israel’s existence and the right of its Jews to self-determination. Like Hamas, the Palestinian Authority provides a curriculum for its schoolchildren that teaches them to hate Jews and hope to kill them, seeking martyrdom in the process. In pursuit of these genocidal goals, all Palestinian schoolchildren study maps of the region from which Israel has been erased.

On Israel’s northern border, in Lebanon, is Hezbollah, the “Party of God,” which is stockpiling tens of thousands of Iranian rockets in anticipation of the war of annihilation it has promised to wage against the Jewish state. Created by Iran’s Republican Guard and supplied by Syria’s (officially) “fascist” dictatorship, Hezbollah is the largest terrorist army in the world. Like Hamas, it makes explicit its hatred for the Jews and its agenda in regard to them — to “finish the job that Hitler started.” Its fanatical leader, Hassan Nasrallah, leads thousands of believers in chants of “Death to Israel! Death to America!” He has said, “If Jews all gather in Israel, it will save us the trouble of going after them worldwide.” Under the complicit eye of U.N. “peacekeepers,” Hezbollah continues to amass rockets whose sole purpose is the obliteration of Israel. In May 2006, Nasrallah boasted: “Today all of Israel is in our range.#…#Ports, military bases, factories — everything is in our range.”

But it is Hezbollah’s sponsor, the totalitarian — and soon to be nuclear — state of Iran, that presents the most disturbing threat to Israel’s existence. Its blood-soaked dictators have been targeting Israel for destruction since 1979, when Iran became an Islamic republic and its theocratic ruler, the Ayatollah Khomeini, identified Israel and America as “the Little Satan” and “the Great Satan.” Its former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani has publicly announced his support for nuclear war against the Jewish state, reasoning that since Iran is more than 70 times the size of Israel, it could survive a nuclear exchange while Israel could not.

Iran’s current leader, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has also called for America and Israel to be “wiped from the map” — and there was no dissent from the other 56 Islamic states that make up the Organization of the Islamic Conference. Amateur semanticists insist that Ahmadinejad’s words were mistranslated, and that he really meant that both countries should be “erased from the pages of history.” But this is a distinction without a difference. For what can that threat possibly mean if Israel or America should continue to exist? Meanwhile, Iran continues to build long-range nuclear missiles that could be used for just such a purpose, and no serious effort to check that ambition has been made by the international community or by the United States.

Where, indeed, does the international community stand in the face of this brazen preparation to bring about a second Holocaust of the Jews? Since the creation of the state of Israel in 1948, the Arab states have conducted three unprovoked, aggressive conventional wars against it, along with a continuous terrorist war that began in 1949. Yet between 1948 and 2004 there were 322 resolutions in the U.N. General Assembly condemning the victim, Israel, and not one that condemned an Arab state.

The United Nations today is dominated by the Organization of the Islamic Conference, a group that was established in 1969 at a summit convened, according to its official website, “as a result of criminal arson of the Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied Jerusalem” — in other words, in response to the criminal Jews. The Organization of the Islamic Conference regularly passes one-sided resolutions that condemn Israel, particularly for its efforts to combat Palestinian terrorism and disrupt Palestinian weapon smuggling into Gaza. The U.N.’s most notorious assault on Israel was the Goldstone Report, which was commissioned by the U.N. Human Rights Council in September 2009 and which condemned Israel’s belated response to the unprovoked Hamas rocket attacks.

Relying on the testimony of Hamas terrorists, the Goldstone Report charged that Israel had deliberately targeted Palestinian civilians and had committed war crimes in Gaza. Outside the precincts of the Islamic propaganda machine, however, Israel’s record is in fact that of a nation that is extraordinarily protective of enemy civilians. In testimony ignored by the Goldstone Report, for example, Col. Richard Kemp, the former commander of British forces in Afghanistan, stated: “During Operation Cast Lead [the Israeli response to the Hamas attacks], the Israel Defense Forces did more to safeguard the rights of civilians in a combat zone than any other army in the history of warfare.” Hamas, by contrast, is notorious for building military headquarters under hospitals, for placing its military forces in refugee camps, and for using women and children as “human shields” to deter attacks. Hamas’s rockets are known to be so inaccurate they cannot be directed against military targets; they can only be used effectively against civilians. In addition, since Hamas’s war against Israel was a response to Israel’s unilateral withdrawal, it was a criminal aggression responsible for all the subsequent casualties, something the Goldstone Report and the U.N. Human Rights Council conveniently overlooked.

The Human Rights Council was created in 2006. In its first year, the council listed only one country in the entire world as violating human rights: Israel. It condemned Israel despite the fact that Israel is the only state in the Middle East that recognizes human rights and protects them. Not one of the world’s other 194 countries was even mentioned, including North Korea, Burma, and Iran — the last of which hangs gays from cranes for transgressing the sexual proscriptions of the Koran. The reason for these oversights is no mystery. The U.N. Human Rights Council has been presided over by representatives of such brutal human-rights violators as Libya, China, Saudi Arabia, and Cuba, and it was such a travesty from its inception that it was boycotted by the United States until Barack Obama decided this year to join its ranks. This decision by the Obama administration, along with its overtures to Syria, Iran, and other noxious regimes, lent a stamp of legitimacy to the hypocrisy of the council and encouraged its malice.

In these sinister developments, the world is witnessing a reprise of the 1930s, when the Nazis devised a “final solution” to the “Jewish problem,” and the civilized world did nothing to halt its implementation. This time, the solution is being proposed openly in front of the entire international community, which appears unruffled by the prospect. It has turned its collective back on the Jews, and refuses to recognize the gravity of the threat. Moreover, by enforcing the fiction that there is a “peace process” that needs to be brokered between the sides, and ignoring the overt preparation for Israel’s destruction by the Palestinian side, the “peacemakers” lend their support to its deadly agenda.

For decades now, Israel has been isolated and alone in the community of nations, with one crucial exception. That exception has been the United States, a country on which it has relied for its survival throughout its 60-year history. Every would-be aggressor has understood that the world’s most powerful nation was behind Israel and would not let her be destroyed. Every government harboring ill will toward the Jewish state has had to reckon with the fact that the United States was in Israel’s corner. Every vote of condemnation in the United Nations had to confront a veto by the nation that provides its chief financial support.

Until now.

In the words of a recent Reuters dispatch, “Under President Barack Obama, the United States no longer provides Israel with automatic support at the United Nations, where the Jewish state faces a constant barrage of criticism and condemnation. The subtle but noticeable shift in the U.S. approach to its Middle East ally comes amid what some analysts describe as one of the most serious crises in U.S.-Israel relations in years.”

This change first became apparent during an official visit to Jerusalem by Vice President Biden earlier this year. On March 9, the vice president arrived for a dinner at the home of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu nearly two hours late. His tardiness was not accidental but a calculated diplomatic slight — specifically, a punishment for Israel’s announcement of plans to build 1,600 new homes in a predominantly Jewish section of East Jerusalem. The vice president was embarrassed by the announcement’s being made during his visit.

In fact, the announcement was a routine step, the fourth in a seven-stage bureaucratic approval process for new construction. While its timing might be construed as inopportune, the building of homes in a Jewish neighborhood in Israel’s capital city was hardly an issue that should have created any sort of problem, let alone caused a rupture between allies. Nonetheless, Israeli officials, conscious of their dependence on their American partners, immediately apologized for any perceived offense.

But the Obama administration would have none of it. As severe reproaches of Israel from top U.S. officials followed, the crisis escalated. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton berated Netanyahu, calling Israel’s announcement a “deeply negative signal” for U.S.-Israel ties. Senior presidential adviser David Axelrod delivered the same scolding message to an American audience, going on cable news shows to vent the administration’s displeasure. Branding Israel’s announcement an “affront” and an “insult,” Axelrod claimed that Israel had made the “peace process” with the Palestinians much more “difficult.”

Whereas Israel’s housing announcement was made without Netanyahu’s knowledge, Washington’s response was dictated by President Obama. When the prime minister arrived in the United States for a meeting with the president that same month, there was no ceremony in the White House Rose Garden and no posing before press cameras — the usual goodwill gestures afforded visiting heads of friendly nations.

The reception in private was at least as cold. When Netanyahu arrived at the White House for what he thought was going to be a dinner with the president, Obama unceremoniously presented him with a list of demands — including that Israel cease all housing construction in East Jerusalem — and curtly abandoned his guest to have dinner with his wife and daughters in the White House residential wing. As Obama left the meeting room, he informed his stunned visitors that he would “be around” should the prime minister change his mind. As the Israeli press reported afterwards, “There is no humiliation exercise that the Americans did not try on the prime minister and his entourage.” Washington Post columnist and Middle East expert Jackson Diehl was even more blunt, writing that “Netanyahu is being treated [by Obama] as if he were an unsavory Third World dictator.”

Contrary to the administration’s insistence that Israel was jeopardizing peace by encroaching on negotiable terrain, the construction site in Jerusalem was anything but disputed territory. Jerusalem is Israel’s capital, and the construction site is in Ramat Shlomo, a Jewish neighborhood. Housing construction had been under way in Ramat Shlomo since the early 1990s, and it would remain part of Israel in any conceivable peace settlement. Consequently, when Netanyahu had agreed under pressure to a partial ten-month freeze on settlements in the disputed territories, he specifically excluded Jerusalem. By its insistence that Israel cease all building in East Jerusalem, it was the Obama administration, not Israel, that was breaking with precedent, and opening up the political center of Israel itself to Palestinian claims.

I
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Body-by-Guinness
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« Reply #928 on: June 21, 2010, 08:07:25 AM »

n opposing Israeli construction in a Jewish neighborhood in Jerusalem, the Obama administration embraced a version of Middle Eastern history that directly lends itself to the Arab war against the Jewish state. In the Arab narrative justifying that war, Jerusalem is alleged to occupy a central place in the history of Muslims and Arabs. In the same narrative, Jerusalem is claimed as the capital of a future Palestinian state. But the spiritual centrality of Jerusalem for Muslims is in fact a relatively recent claim and dubious on its face, while the religious claims are by-products of Muslim military conquests.

The Prophet Mohammed never visited Jerusalem, and consequently Jerusalem is never mentioned in the Koran. Today even Islamists regard it as only the third-holiest city in Islam, after Mecca and Medina. It was never the capital of any Arab state. Indeed, for centuries, Jerusalem was a forgotten city to most Arabs, and it was allowed to fall into ruin under Ottoman rule, which lasted until the creation of Israel and Jordan in the aftermath of the First World War. On a trip to Jerusalem in 1867, Mark Twain lamented that the city “has lost all its grandeur, and is become a pauper village.” When Jordan occupied Jerusalem between 1948 and 1967, it was treated like a backwater. Only one Arab leader, Morocco’s King Hassan, cared enough to pay a visit to the city that Muslims who are involved in the jihad against Israel now suggest is an essential part of their history.

The sudden fracture in the U.S.-Israel relationship in March caught the Israeli government off guard. But close observers of the Obama administration would have recognized it as the logical endpoint of a series of markers that had been laid down since Obama emerged as a leading presidential contender in 2008. With these markers Obama was signaling a major shift in U.S. policy, moving toward the Muslim world and America’s traditional enemies, and away from allies like Israel.

The first sign of this shift was visible during a February 2008 presidential debate, when Obama sought to differentiate himself from Hillary Clinton, his then opponent and future secretary of state, by announcing that, unlike her, he would be willing to meet with hostile governments “without preconditions.” It was a position he justified by asserting that it was critical for the United States to “talk to its enemies.” This was a rare example of a campaign promise Obama has kept.

On entering the White House, Obama quickly moved to set a new tone toward the Arab and Muslim worlds. His very first call to a foreign leader from the Oval Office was to Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas, and it was not an effort to dissuade Abbas from his support for terrorism or his opposition to the existence of a Jewish state. One of the first interviews Obama gave as president, in January 2009, was to the Dubai-based television network Al-Arabiya. In it, Obama effectively offered an apology to the Arab world for alleged American misdeeds. He assured his interviewer that with him in charge Arab states could look to America as a friend. “My job to the Muslim world is to communicate that the Americans are not your enemy,” Obama said, adding that the United States “sometimes makes mistakes. We have not been perfect.”

It was the precursor of an extensive apology tour for America’s sins around the world. In April 2009, he visited Turkey, a NATO ally that was rapidly — and alarmingly — becoming an Islamist state. Addressing its parliament, he hailed Turkey as a “true partner” and suggested that it was the United States that had been the faithless friend. In a not-so-oblique attack on President Bush, Obama expressed his regret for the “difficulties of these last few years,” referring to a strain in relations caused by Turkey’s refusal to allow American troops to deploy from Turkish soil during the war in Iraq. Obama lamented that the “trust that binds us has been strained, and I know that strain is shared in many places where the Muslim faith is practiced.” In other words, Turkey’s refusal to help America support the Muslim citizens of Iraq and topple a hated tyranny was a response to America’s prejudice against Muslims.

In his review of past grievances, Obama did not mention the millions of Muslims — including Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza — who had cheered the 9/11 attacks on the United States by Islamic fanatics. Nor did he complain about the spread of anti-American and anti-Israeli conspiracy theories concerning those attacks in the Muslim world, including Turkey. As recently as 2008, polls found that as many Turks (39 percent) believed the United States or Israel was behind the 9/11 attacks as believed Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda were the culprits.

Even more worrisome, Obama used the occasion of his Turkish visit to break with the U.S. policy of treating countries that harbor terrorists as hostile nations. President Bush had declared that there would be no room for neutrality in the war against terror: “You are either with us or against us.” But Obama now assured his listeners in Turkey and throughout the Muslim world that their governments no longer had to choose between America and al-Qaeda. “America’s relationship with the Muslim world,” Obama said, “cannot and will not be based on opposition to al-Qaeda.”

Obama’s pandering to Arab and Muslim sensibilities had already been embarrassingly on display a few days earlier, when he took the step, unprecedented for an American president, of making a deep bow to Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah, the ruler of a nation in which it is illegal to carry a Bible or build a church, and where women are not allowed to drive automobiles. The incident took place when President Obama attended the G-20 economic summit in London. When critics decried the president’s subservient gesture to the Arab despot, the administration was caught by surprise and attempted to deny that it had ever taken place. Inconveniently for White House damage control, a video had captured Obama in full obeisant mode.

The shift in Washington’s policy toward the Arab world reached a new level in Obama’s speech in Cairo two months later. On the one hand, the president defended the U.S. military campaigns in the Middle East as driven by “necessity,” condemned the Holocaust denial and Jew hatred that are rife in the Arab world (and promoted by its governments), and called on Palestinians to abandon violence against Israel. But these statements were accompanied by others that appear particularly troubling in the light of subsequent administration moves.

While Obama rightly condemned Holocaust denial, he left the impression that Israel’s legitimacy derived solely from the legacy of European anti-Semitism and the Nazis’ extermination of six million Jews. This echoed the Arab propaganda claim that Israel is a problem created by Europeans and unfairly imposed on the Arab world. Once again Obama was bolstering an Arab myth that serves to delegitimize the Jewish state.

The Holocaust is not merely a European legacy. Middle Eastern states such as Iraq and Iran actively sided with Hitler’s armies; Arab generals served with Rommel, Hitler’s commander in North Africa; and Arab leaders applauded and actively promoted the extermination of the Jews. The founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, Hassan al-Banna, was an admirer of Hitler and had Mein Kampf translated into Arabic in the 1930s as a text to guide his followers. Haj Amin al-Husseini, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem and founder of Palestinian nationalism, was an active and vocal supporter of Hitler’s “final solution” and spent the war years in Berlin recruiting Arabs to the Nazi cause. Al-Husseini, a man revered to this day in the West Bank and Gaza as the George Washington of a Palestinian state, organized anti-Jewish pogroms in the 1920s and 1930s, actively planned to build his own Auschwitz in the Middle East, and was thwarted only when Rommel was defeated at El-Alamein.

The Arab canard that Israel is Europe’s attempt to unload its problem onto the backs of the Arabs ignores — as did Obama — the fact that Jerusalem has been the spiritual capital of the Jewish people for nearly 3,000 years and that Jews have lived in their historic homeland continuously for all that time. Jerusalem is at the center of the Jewish spiritual tradition, and Jews have been its largest religious community since 1864. Prime Minister Netanyahu was historically accurate when he admonished Obama, saying that “the Jewish people were building Jerusalem 3,000 years ago, and the Jewish people are building Jerusalem today. Jerusalem is not a settlement. It is our capital.”

In his Cairo speech, Obama also showed little appreciation of the modern history of Israel, a nation that was not built on Arab — let alone “Palestinian” — land. The state of Israel was created out of the ruins of the Turkish empire.

In 1922, Great Britain created the state of Jordan out of 80 percent of the Palestine Mandate — a geographical, not an ethnic, designation. The territory in the Mandate had been part of the Turkish (not Arab) empire for the previous four hundred years. Then in 1948, a U.N. “partition plan” provided equal parts of the remaining Turkish land to Arabs and to Jews living on the banks of the Jordan River. In this plan, the Jews were assigned 10 percent of the original Palestine Mandate, while the Arabs received 90 percent. None of this land had belonged to a “Palestinian” nation or a Palestinian entity. In the previous 400 years there had never been a province of the Turkish empire called “Palestine.” The entire region out of which Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, Israel, Gaza, and the West Bank were created was known as “Ottoman Syria.”

In what would prove to be a continuing pattern, the Jews accepted the partition’s grossly unequal terms; their portion consisted of three unconnected slivers of land, of which 60 percent was arid desert. The Arabs, who had already received 80 percent of the Mandate land, rejected their additional portion, as they would continue to reject any arrangement that would allow for a Jewish state.

Immediately, five Arab nations launched a war against the Jews, who repelled the Arab attacks and established a Jewish state. When the fighting ended, the parts of the partitioned land that had been earmarked for the Arabs — namely, the West Bank and Gaza — were annexed by Jordan and Egypt, respectively, and disappeared from the map. There was no protest from the Arab world at the disappearance of “Palestine” into Jordan and Egypt, no Palestine Liberation Organization, no complaint to the U.N. The reason for the silence was that there was no Palestinian identity at the time, no movement for “self-determination,” no “Palestinian” people to make a claim. There were Arabs who lived in the region of the Jordan. But they considered themselves inhabitants of Jordan or of the Syrian province of the former Ottoman Empire. The disappearance of the West Bank and Gaza was an annexation of Arab land by Arab states.

Arab and Western revisionists have turned this history on its head to portray the Jewish war of survival as a racist, imperialist plot to expel “Palestinians” from “Palestine.” This is an utter distortion of the historical record. The term “Palestine Mandate” is a European reference to a geographical section of the defeated Turkish empire. The claim that there was a Palestinian nation from which ethnic Palestinians were expelled and which Israel now “occupies” illegally is a political lie.

In 1967, the Arab states attacked Israel again, with the express aim of “pushing the Jews into the sea.” Again they were defeated. And once again defeat did not prompt the Arab states to make peace or to abandon their efforts to destroy Israel. At an August 1967 summit in Khartoum, Arab leaders declared that they would accept “no peace, no recognition, and no negotiations” with Israel. This is the permanent Arab war against Israel. It is a war driven by religious and ethnic hatred, which is the only durable cause of the conflict in the Middle East.

It is hardly surprising, given this historical reality, that Israel should regard with skepticism the Arab demands that Israel surrender territory — which it captured in defending itself against Arab aggression — in advance of a settlement that recognizes the existence of the Jewish state. As Netanyahu has said, “What kind of moral position is it to say that the failed aggressor should be given back all the territory from which he launched his attack?” In fact, of no other nation that has been victimized — and victimized repeatedly — by aggressors is such a concession demanded.

Yet Israeli concessions are precisely what the Obama administration is demanding as a precondition of peace. It is ostensibly doing so on the dubious assumption that if only Israel would make further concessions to the Palestinians, peace would be possible. But this assumption flies in the face of 60 years of continuous Arab aggression, including unrelenting terror attacks against Israeli civilians and explicit commitments to wipe out the Jewish state.

The very idea that Israeli settlements (let alone Jewish houses in Jewish neighborhoods) are an obstacle to peace perpetuates the mythical claims of the Arab cause. There are a million Arabs settled in Israel, and they enjoy more rights as Israeli citizens than do the Arab citizens of any Arab Muslim state. So why are the settlements of a few hundred thousand Jews on the West Bank a problem? The only possible answer is Jew hatred, the desire to make the West Bank Judenrein, and ultimately the 60-year Arab campaign to push the Jews into the sea.

The Obama administration’s pressure on Israel to give up its settlements and to concede that its capital is disputed terrain feeds the inherent racism of the Arab cause and undermines Israel’s ability to resist the genocidal campaign against it. Such pressure cannot promote peace negotiations when the other party is openly dedicated to Israel’s destruction and has already shown that it will reject even the most generous offers of peace.

Directly following the Obama administration’s attacks on Israel’s building project in Jerusalem, the Palestinians invoked Israeli intransigence as a pretext for pulling out of the indirect peace talks that had been taking place. Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas went on record as refusing to enter into direct talks with Israel unless it instituted an immediate construction freeze in its own capital city. Palestinians had previously participated in talks without that condition, but, as one observer noted, “How could the Palestinian position be softer on Israel than the American position? Of course the Palestinians would have to hold Israel to the newly raised standards of the Obama administration.” In this way did the Obama administration further the efforts of the Arabs to dismantle the Jewish state.

Observers of this ominous development warned that by attacking Israel over settlements the administration was encouraging a violent buildup that could eventually erupt into a third Intifada. A Hebrew-speaking Arab protester interviewed on Israeli radio called for armed resistance against Israel’s “assault on Jerusalem,” declaring that the time had come for a new Intifada. The call was taken up by Hamas, which declared a “day of rage” to lash out against Israel. Arab rioters protested in the streets, hurled stones at buses, cars, and police, and clashed with Israeli security forces. On Israel’s Highway 443, connecting Jerusalem with the city of Modi’in, Israeli Arabs firebombed passing motorists, wounding a father and his nine-month-old infant. Arab parliamentarians in the Israeli Knesset further fueled the violence. Echoing the Obama administration, one of them said, “Anyone who builds settlements in Jerusalem is digging a grave for peace.”

— David Horowitz is the founder of the David Horowitz Freedom Center. . . . Jacob Laksin is managing editor of Frontpage Magazine. He is co-author, with Horowitz, of One-Party Classroom: How Radical Professors at America’s Top Colleges Indoctrinate Students and Undermine Our Democracy.

The preceding is the first installment of a two-part article. The second installment will appear tomorrow.

http://article.nationalreview.com/436460/obama-and-the-war-against-israel/david-horowitz-jacob-laksin
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« Reply #929 on: June 22, 2010, 12:29:51 PM »

Part two of the series posted yesterday:

Obama and the War against Israel, Part II
President Obama’s overtures to America’s enemies have not made the world a safer place.
 
EDITOR’S NOTE: Part I of “Obama and the War against Israel” can be read here.
Even as the new Obama policies were igniting tinderboxes in the Palestinian territories, their most dangerous effects were being felt in Iran. From the beginning of his presidency, Obama had made “reaching out” to the Iranian police state a major part of his approach to the Middle East. In March 2009, he addressed a special Persian New Year message to the Iranian people and the leaders of what he called the “Islamic Republic of Iran,” itself an ingratiating reference that served to legitimize the totalitarian rule imposed on the country by the 1979 overthrow of the shah. Doubly shameful were Obama’s direct appeals to the mullahs, whom he urged to move the “Islamic Republic of Iran to take its rightful place in the community of nations.” At the time, Iran’s rulers were engaging in surrogate wars against the United States in Iraq and Afghanistan, supplying al-Qaeda and the Taliban with IEDs, which were the principal cause of the American deaths there. The contrast between Obama’s appeasement of this enemy and his aggressive displeasure toward a democratic ally could not have been more striking. It sent a dangerous message to the many other dictatorships and hostile forces in the Middle East.

Obama’s apologists insist that his message was no different from those that President Bush had previously delivered on the Persian New Year. But an actual reading of Bush’s messages reveals the absurdity of the comparison. Unlike Obama, Bush addressed his words directly to the Iranian people, not to the oppressive Iranian regime, which he condemned for pursuing nuclear weapons and depriving its citizens of the right to “live in a free society.” The word freedom appeared three times in one of Bush’s messages. It did not appear once in Obama’s. Confronting Iran’s defiance of the world community, its determination to build nuclear weapons, and its brutal suppression of its own people would have interfered with the overtures Obama was making toward a criminal regime.

In May 2009, Obama sent a personal letter to Iran’s “supreme leader,” the Ayatollah Khamenei, again disregarding his oppressed subjects. The president’s letter appealed for better “co-operation in regional and bilateral relations.” Khamenei ignored the letter. Then, in mid-June, he mentioned it scornfully in a sermon in which he inveighed against alleged American interference in Iran’s rigged elections that month.

Obama’s acquiescence in the Iranian regime’s brutal suppression of the opposition during its presidential election demonstrated how far the White House was willing to compromise its values in the interests of an elusive “dialogue” that it had come to value above all else. As pro-democracy protesters shouting, “Death to the dictator!” were being brutally crushed on the streets of Tehran, the Obama administration maintained a deafening silence. There was no official message of solidarity with the demonstrators, no serious admonition to the regime about the right of free assembly, no support for changing a regime that was killing its own citizens while threatening its neighbors. There was no stern warning to an aggressive power that was brazenly defying the international community in racing to acquire nuclear weapons.

After a week of bloodshed and arrests, the closest the administration would come to an official reproach was when Vice President Biden suggested that there was “some real doubt” about Iran’s official election results — in itself a generous understatement. Prior to the election, the victor had run close to his principal opponent in the polls, but when the ballots were counted, Ahmadinejad won in a landslide, claiming more votes than any politician in Iran’s history. However, so that Iran’s thugs would not mistake Biden’s remark for a policy statement, the vice president made it clear that neither the fraudulent election results nor the continuing repression would sway the Obama administration from its single-minded wooing of the regime. “We are ready to talk,” Biden said. Without conditions.

But the Iranian mullahs were in no mood to compromise. And why should they be? A year of defiance had cost them nothing, while gaining them precious time to carry out their designs. Ahmadinejad responded to Biden’s wrist slap by attacking America as a “crippled creature” while asserting that it was still an “oppressive system ruling the world.” Spurning Washington’s outstretched hand of friendship, he baited Obama with an invitation to take part in a debate about “the injustice done by world arrogance to Muslim nations.” Speaking at a staged “victory” rally, Ahmadinejad vowed that he would never negotiate with the United States or any foreign power over his country’s nuclear ambitions: “That file is shut, forever.”

Although it was not clear when Iran would finally be able to produce enough enriched uranium for an operational nuclear weapon, the U.S. military warned in April 2010 that the time frame could be as short as a year. Besides its illicit work on a nuclear weapon, Iran continued to develop a range of missiles that made it a regional and even a global threat. For instance, an unclassified Defense Department report released this April estimated that by 2015 Iran could have a missile capable of striking the United States. With a nuclear arsenal, Iran at last will have a chance to realize its apocalyptic dream of a holy war that will destroy the two countries it calls the source of evil in the world, “the Great Satan and the Little Satan.”

Confronted with fresh evidence of Iran’s defiance, the Obama administration did not so much stick to its guns as offer to lay them down. In April, Obama announced that the United States was no longer going to develop new nuclear weapons and would not use nuclear weapons to retaliate against non-nuclear countries that attacked the U.S. — even if they had used biological or chemical weapons. The president’s policy of unilateral nuclear disarmament did include an exception for rogue states like Iran, but given the administration’s track record of backing down in the face of Iranian intransigence, it is difficult to imagine that the warning struck fear into the hearts of the mullahs.

With Obama’s charm offensive failing, Washington was left without a strategy, a fact that Obama’s own secretary of defense conceded. Also in April, the press leaked the contents of a memorandum written by Defense Secretary Robert Gates to the White House four months earlier. According to the press reports, the memorandum conceded that the U.S. possessed no effective policy to stop Iran from building a nuclear bomb.

Obama’s multiple overtures, his apologies for America’s actions in the past, and his deference to her enemies in the present have not made the world a safer place. His attempts to make Israel — America’s most loyal ally in the Middle East and the region’s only democratic state — the culprit in the dramas engulfing the region have encouraged the jihadist cause both here and abroad.

It is hardly coincidental that Obama’s tenure in office has been accompanied by a rash of terrorist assaults within the United States (though only one has been successful so far). In September 2009, the FBI foiled a plot by three American al-Qaeda recruits to plant homemade bombs in the busiest subway stations in Manhattan during rush hour. According to Attorney General Eric Holder, the attacks would have been the “most serious” since 9/11. In November, Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, a U.S. Army psychiatrist and a jihadist, went on a shooting rampage at the army base in Ford Hood, Texas, killing 13 people and wounding 32 others. In December, a 23-year-old jihadist from Nigeria was disarmed by fellow passengers as he tried to blow up Northwest flight 253 over Detroit using explosives he had snuck aboard the plane in his underwear. In May, a Pakistani-born naturalized American citizen, Faisal Shahzad, almost succeeded in turning New York’s Times Square into a fiery inferno when he abandoned an SUV rigged to explode there.

In the midst of these attacks by Islamic fanatics, the Obama administration refuses even to recognize the religious nature of the enemy we face. In testimony before Congress, Attorney General Holder repeatedly refused to make a connection between those terrorist acts and any religious belief, although the perpetrators themselves proclaimed their fealty to Islam and the Koran. On a separate occasion, Obama’s deputy national security adviser, John Brennan, explained the administration’s political correctness: “Nor do we describe our enemy as ‘jihadists’ or ‘Islamists’ because jihad is a holy struggle, a legitimate tenet of Islam, meaning to purify oneself or one’s community, and there is nothing holy or legitimate or Islamic about murdering innocent men, women, and children” — even though many Islamic imams are on record as proclaiming that there is.

Obama insists that the United States is not at war with Islam. But it is clear that many Muslims, including the leaders of al-Qaeda, Hezbollah, Hamas, and the Iranian government, believe that Islam is at war with the United States and Israel. The name “Hamas” stands for “Islamic Resistance Movement.” While the Obama administration maintains that Israel’s enemies are not engaged in a religious war, the Hamas charter declares in the clearest possible terms that it is engaged in one mandated by the Prophet Mohammed, whose goal is the destruction of Israel and a genocide of its Jews: “The Islamic Resistance Movement aspires to the realization of Allah’s promise, no matter how long that should take. The Prophet, Allah bless him and grant him salvation, has said: ‘The Day of Judgment will not come until Muslims fight the Jews and kill them. When the Jew hides behind the stones and the trees, the stones and trees will say, O Muslim, there is a Jew hiding behind me, come and kill him.’”

And further: “Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it.”

And: “There is no solution for the Palestine question except through jihad.”

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« Reply #930 on: June 22, 2010, 12:30:16 PM »

Because of its diminutive size, Israel is a country with little margin for error. Confronted by 300 million hostile Muslim neighbors, its security depends in no small measure on the perception that it has the inalienable support of the world’s lone superpower. It is this perception that has been gravely undermined by the Obama administration, with consequences that are already apparent. It is hardly coincidental, for example, that the United Kingdom chose the precise moment of the row over housing in Jerusalem to expel unnamed Israelis from its territory for an alleged connection to the death of a notorious Hamas arms dealer in Dubai. But it is the regional ramifications of this suddenly weakened U.S.-Israel alliance that are truly worrisome.

It is only because Israel has had an American security umbrella that there has been no conventional war against it since 1973. If Israel’s enemies perceive the country to have been cast adrift by America, they will be emboldened to try once more the methods that have failed to destroy it in the past. Hezbollah is now operating bases and arms depots on Syrian territory, where it is stockpiling long-range Syrian-supplied Scud missiles capable of striking Israeli cities like Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. Egypt has begun staging war games in the Sinai Peninsula using large numbers of infantry and artillery units as well as warplanes. While Egypt has justified the maneuvers as essential to maintain the readiness of its armed forces, many observers see them as a dress rehearsal for war.

The shift toward Islamic militancy and war preparations on Obama’s watch is even more pronounced in Turkey. Turkey was once a staunch NATO ally and a friend to Israel, but it has been moving for several years in a radical direction under Islamist prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Ignoring this development, Obama chose Turkey as the final stop on his first overseas visit as president, and praised it as a “model for the world.” Said Obama: “I’m trying to make a statement about the importance of Turkey, not just to the United States but to the world. I think that where there’s the most promise of building stronger U.S.-Turkish relations is in the recognition that Turkey and the United States can build a model partnership in which a predominantly Christian nation [and] a predominantly Muslim nation — a Western nation and a nation which straddles two continents — that we can create a model international community that is respectful, that is secure, that is prosperous, that there are not tensions — inevitable tensions between cultures — which I think is extraordinarily important.”

At the very moment Obama was expressing this vapid hope, his Turkish host was moving his NATO country closer to the mullahs of Iran. While Obama had been wooing and being rejected by Iran, the mullahs had been forming an entente with Turkey that would undermine his efforts to keep them from building a nuclear weapon. This May, the Turkish prime minister met with his opposite number in Brazil to conclude a fuel-swapping deal. The deal effectively allowed Iran to continue enriching uranium for a nuclear weapon. With this newly formed alliance, the mullahs would be able to avoid even the ineffective sanctions that the Obama administration had finally come around to considering.

Turkey’s embrace of the Middle East’s Islamist axis — Syria, Iran, Lebanon, the West Bank, and Gaza — occurred simultaneously with an international conference to review the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. With the United States standing idly by, the conference ignored the chief proliferator, Iran, while singling out Israel as the principal nuclear threat.

These ominous developments were the immediate background to the brazen attempt by Hamas and its new patron, Turkey, to break the arms blockade of Gaza, which was a joint effort by Israel and Egypt to prevent weapons from being smuggled into the terrorist state. The six ships that attempted to run the blockade departed from Istanbul and flew under Turkish flags. The flotilla’s political camouflage — it described its mission as “humanitarian” — was provided by a Turkish nongovernmental organization associated with the United Nations and known by the acronym IHH. Posing as a humanitarian aid group, the IHH is a well-documented ally of Hamas and al-Qaeda, and was identified in the trial of the “millennium bomber” as playing a key role in the plot to blow up Los Angeles International Airport. The real mission of the flotilla — to break the weapons blockade — was made transparent when it refused Israel’s offer to unload any humanitarian aid it was carrying at the secure port of Ashdod.

On board one of the vessels, the Mavi Marmara, were active Turkish terrorists who had been allowed to board without inspection in Istanbul and had vowed on departure to become jihadist martyrs. The terrorists armed themselves with steel pipes and knives, and were prepared to attack any Israeli soldiers who boarded the vessel to enforce the blockade. A principal organizer of the operation was the Free Gaza Movement, which had attempted to break the blockade the previous June. Among its leaders were two close friends and political allies of President Obama, former Weather Underground terrorists William Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn, who paid a visit to the leader of Hamas after the effort failed. Also among its company were Jodie Evans, a major Obama donor, and British MP George Galloway, a supporter of Saddam Hussein and founder of the pro-Hamas group Viva Palestine.

Prior to the flotilla incident, the Obama White House had exerted serious pressure on Israel to exercise maximum restraint. Consequently, Israeli authorities did not equip the commandos who boarded the ship with riot gear and tear gas, and their sidearms were holstered. They descended from a helicopter armed with paint-ball guns, which proved ineffective against the steel bars and knives. They were quickly overwhelmed by what the media would insist on describing as “peace” activists, who stabbed them, beat them with the steel pipes, threw one of them off the deck, and stole two firearms, which they began shooting until the other soldiers were able to draw their sidearms and fight back. Nine of the belligerents aboard were killed and others wounded; also wounded were six Israeli soldiers, two of whom were in critical condition.

An attempt to run a wartime blockade would in other circumstances have resulted in a full naval assault. Israel’s restraint was rewarded by international media and governments alike describing the confrontation as a brutal attempt to block a humanitarian aid effort. Jihadists immediately seized on the event to further their campaign to delegitimize the Jewish state. This effort was led by Turkey, the very country behind the provocation and thus responsible for the deaths.

Prime Minister Erdogan denounced Israel as guilty of “state terrorism” and called the efforts of the Israelis to defend themselves a “bloody massacre.” He then claimed, “The heart of humanity has taken one of the heaviest wounds in history.” (This from a man who the previous year had defended Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir when he was indicted by the International Criminal Court for killing half a million Sudanese Christians and non-Arab Muslims.) Erdogan called for a jihad against Israel, and threatened that the Turkish navy would escort the next attempt to run the blockade. This threat was seconded by Iran, which vowed to send two “humanitarian aid” ships under escort by the Iranian navy. If carried out, this threat would be, in effect, a declaration of war.

In Hezbollah-controlled Lebanon, a leader of the terrorist organization Fatah, Munir al-Maqdah, said, “The freedom flotilla brings a message of the beginning of the end of Israel.” He announced plans for a mass march across Israel’s northern border, using civilians as human shields. “It could be that they will just break through the border, with their children and their elderly,” he explained. “What will Israel be able to do? Even if they kill all those who take part in the march, the number of remaining Palestinians will still be more than all the Jews in the world.”

Far from voicing alarm at the jihadist threats or disapproval of Turkey’s aggression, the international community expressed its sympathy for the Islamist runners of the arms blockade. France’s president, Nicolas Sarkozy, deplored Israel’s “disproportionate use of force,” while Italy’s undersecretary of state for foreign affairs, Stefania Craxi, joined the Turks in condemning what she called “the massacre of Gaza.” U.N. secretary general Ban Ki-moon joined in, declaring himself “shocked” at Israel’s actions.

President Obama also failed to condemn Turkey’s role in the incident, and insisted instead that Israel allow an international body to investigate its actions. Obama then met with Mahmoud Abbas, to promise $400 million in economic aid to the West Bank and Gaza — in other words, to shore up the terrorist state and its ruling terrorist party. At the same time, senior officials of the Obama administration began telling representatives of foreign governments that the United States would support a U.N. resolution calling for a commission to investigate Israel’s (but not Turkey’s or Hamas’s) role in the incident.

This paved the way for a reprise of the Goldstone Report, which had relied on Hamas sources to condemn Israel’s defensive war in Gaza the previous year. It was essentially a demand that Israel’s right to self-defense be subject to international approval — something no sovereign country could be expected to tolerate. At the same time, the Obama administration was leaning on Israel to end its naval blockade in favor of some “new approach,” such as an international naval force. This was an even more direct assault on Israel’s right to self-defense. Not only did it challenge Israel’s fully justified efforts to keep arms and bomb-making materials out of the hands of the Hamas terrorists, but it shifted responsibility for Israel’s security to the same international community that was savaging the Jewish state for its efforts to stop the flow of arms into the hands of Hamas.

During the year and a half Obama has been in office, he has indeed brought change to America and to the world. He has transformed a nation that had been the world’s bulwark of democracy and freedom into an enabler of the very forces that are intent on destroying them. He has helped to isolate America’s only ally in the Middle East, its sole democracy and most vulnerable people. And he has brought the impending war of annihilation against the “crusaders” and the Jews, which the jihadists have promised, measurably closer to its nightmare fruition.

— David Horowitz is the founder of the David Horowitz Freedom Center. Jacob Laksin is managing editor of Frontpage Magazine. He is co-author, with Horowitz, of One-Party Classroom: How Radical Professors at America’s Top Colleges Indoctrinate Students and Undermine Our Democracy.

http://article.nationalreview.com/436748/obama-and-the-war-against-israel-part-ii/david-horowitz-jacob-laksin
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« Reply #931 on: June 27, 2010, 12:00:14 PM »

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/israel/7857487/US-Israeli-relations-suffer-tectonic-rift.html

Tectonic rift.
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« Reply #932 on: June 27, 2010, 01:56:51 PM »

I know Jews are unhappy with this.  Whether many of them would vote for a Republican in 12 is still not likely IMHO although I would love to be wrong here.

This presents a real opportunity for a Republican to reach out for Jewish voters.  We are a small lot but many (not me) have mucho money and influence and the power that comes with it.  I firmly believe Jews helped get the ONE into power.  Not just Soros but others.

This to me represents how Bamster can con those around him into thinking he is for them.  This to me is an example of a pathological liar and possibly some sort of psychopath or personailty disorder.  I am very glad some Jews, at least, are waking up and realizing what the other 20% like myself, and more prominent conservative Jews such as David Horowitz, Bernie Goldberg, Aaron Klein, Marc Levin, Crafty Dog ( grin) and others already know.
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« Reply #933 on: June 27, 2010, 06:31:18 PM »

http://www.jpost.com/MiddleEast/Article.aspx?id=179610

I hope this means what I think it means. *fingers crossed*

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Folks, to enable future search requests, please lets use the Subject header for our posts.  Thank you.
« Last Edit: June 27, 2010, 06:59:12 PM by Crafty_Dog » Logged
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« Reply #934 on: June 28, 2010, 09:22:18 AM »

http://www.state.gov/s/ct/rls/rpt/fto/2801.htm

HAMAS (Islamic Resistance Movement) a.k.a. Harakat al-Muqawama al-Islamiya, Students of Ayyash, Students of the Engineer, Yahya Ayyash Units, Izz Al-Din Al-Qassim Brigades, Izz Al-Din Al-Qassim Forces, Izz Al-Din Al-Qassim Battalions, Izz al-Din Al Qassam Brigades, Izz al-Din Al Qassam Forces, Izz al-Din Al Qassam Battalions

Description: Formed in late 1987 as an outgrowth of the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood. Various HAMAS elements have used both political and violent means, including terrorism, to pursue the goal of establishing an Islamic Palestinian state in place of Israel. Loosely structured, with some elements working clandestinely and others working openly through mosques and social service institutions to recruit members, raise money, organize activities, and distribute propaganda. HAMAS's strength is concentrated in the Gaza Strip and a few areas of the West Bank. Also has engaged in peaceful political activity, such as running candidates in West Bank Chamber of Commerce elections.
Activities: HAMAS activists, especially those in the Izz el-Din al-Qassam Brigades, have conducted many attacks--including large-scale suicide bombings--against Israeli civilian and military targets, suspected Palestinian collaborators, and Fatah rivals.

Strength: Unknown number of hardcore members; tens of thousands of supporters and sympathizers.

Location/Area of Operation: Primarily the occupied territories, Israel, and Jordan.

External Aid: Receives funding from Palestinian expatriates, Iran, and private benefactors in Saudi Arabia and other moderate Arab states. Some fundraising and propaganda activity take place in Western Europe and North America.


http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3910714,00.html

Hamas says asked by US to keep silent on talks


Islamist group source says senior American officials request contacts remain secret 'so as not to rouse Jewish lobby'
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Rarick
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« Reply #935 on: June 29, 2010, 06:07:06 AM »

http://www.jpost.com/MiddleEast/Article.aspx?id=179610

I hope this means what I think it means. *fingers crossed*

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Folks, to enable future search requests, please lets use the Subject header for our posts.  Thank you.

From the article:
“It’s interesting that the news first came from Iran,” Inbar added. “Maybe it’s a warning [from Iran] to Saudi that we know what you are doing and we are not happy about it. It’s also possible that Saudi Arabia let the news out as a warning to America that if you don’t do something, we will.”

here come the intermatiinal thumb screws for being incompetant.

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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #936 on: July 02, 2010, 08:48:19 AM »



By CHARLES LEVINSON
JERUSALEM—Hamas and Hezbollah, groups that have long battled Israel with violent tactics, have begun to embrace civil disobedience, protest marches, lawsuits and boycotts—tactics they once dismissed.

For decades, Palestinian statehood aspirations seemed to lurch between negotiations and armed resistance against Israel. But a small cadre of Palestinian activists has long argued that nonviolence, in the tradition of the American civil rights movement, would be far more effective.

Officials from Hamas, the militant group that controls the Gaza Strip, point to the recent Israeli raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla, in which Israeli troops killed nine activists, as evidence there is more to gain by getting Israel to draw international condemnation through its own use of force, rather than by attacking the country.

"When we use violence, we help Israel win international support," said Aziz Dweik, a leading Hamas lawmaker in the West Bank. "The Gaza flotilla has done more for Gaza than 10,000 rockets."

Hamas and Hezbollah, the Islamist movement in Lebanon that has been fighting Israel since the early 1980s, haven't renounced violence and both groups continue to amass arms. Hamas still abides by a charter that calls for Israel's destruction; Palestinian youths still hurl rocks at Israeli soldiers across the West Bank separation barrier. And the flotilla incident didn't fall into conventional standards of peaceful protest: While most activists passively resisted Israeli soldiers, some on the boat where protesters were killed attacked commandos as they boarded, according to video footage released by Israel and soldiers' accounts.

The incident triggered international condemnation and plunged Israel into one of its worst diplomatic crises in years. In response, Israel said it would take some steps to ease its blockade on the Gaza Strip.

After the incident, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah called on supporters to participate in the next flotilla bound for Gaza. Ghaleb Abu Zeinab, a member of the Hezbollah politburo in Beirut, said it was the first time Mr. Nasrallah had forcefully and publicly embraced such tactics against Israel.

"We saw that this kind of resistance has driven the Israelis into a big plight," he said. Organizers in Lebanon say they have two ships ready to sail, but no departure date has been set.

A senior Israeli foreign ministry official said Israel recognizes "changes in the tactical thinking of Hamas and other resistance movements." The official said the groups are no less committed to Israel's destruction, but have simply concluded they are more likely to defeat Israel by encouraging its international isolation instead of through military force.

"People who are provoking violence are using peaceful protest as a cover," said Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev.

The Palestinian protest movement picked up steam in the past year, spearheaded by activists in the West Bank and a coalition of pro-Palestinian international human-rights groups.

The absence of peace talks for much of the past two years has pushed the Palestinian Authority leadership to embrace the movement as well. Dominated by members of Hamas's more moderate rival Fatah, they long advocated a negotiated settlement with Israel and dismissed popular protest campaigns.

But in January, Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad launched a campaign to boycott products produced in Israeli settlements and to plant trees in areas declared off limits by Israel. In April, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas outlawed settlement products in Palestinian Authority-controlled areas.

Hamas's turnaround has been more striking, said Mustapha Barghouti, a prominent Palestinian advocate for nonviolent resistance. "When we used to call for protests, and marches, and boycotts and anything called nonviolence, Hamas used these sexist insults against us. They described it as women's struggle," Mr. Barghouti said. That changed in 2008, he said, after the first aid ship successfully ran the Israeli blockade of Gaza.

"Hamas has started to appreciate just how effective this can be," Mr. Barghouti said.

Hamas has started organizing its own peaceful marches into the Israeli-controlled buffer zone along the Gaza border and supported lawsuits against Israeli officials in European courts. Hamas says it has ramped up support for a committee dedicated to sponsoring similar protests in Gaza.

Mr. Dweik, the Hamas lawmaker, recently began turning up at weekly protests against Israel's West Bank barrier.

Salah Bardawil, a Hamas lawmaker in Gaza City, says Hamas has come to appreciate the importance of international support for its legitimacy as a representative of the Palestinian people and its fight against Israeli occupation, and has adapted its tactics. Hamas hasn't claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing in years and now denounces the tactic as counterproductive. Since an Israeli military incursion into the territory in December 2008-January 2009, it has also halted rocket attacks into Israel.

"Hamas used to believe [international support] was just empty words," said Mr. Bardawil. "Today it is very interested in international delegations … and in bringing Israeli officials to justice through legal proceedings."

Write to Charles Levinson at charles.levinson@wsj.com
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rachelg
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« Reply #937 on: July 02, 2010, 01:34:12 PM »

Editor's Notes: European assets
By DAVID HOROVITZ
02/07/2010   
http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Editorials/Article.aspx?id=180216
Jerusalem's touting of Europe's importance – where support for Israel once paled in comparison with Bush’s instinctive solidarity – shows how troubled and complex the Israel-US relationship has become.
 
The Bulgarian foreign minister could not have been more friendly and supportive.

At his meeting with President Shimon Peres on Tuesday, Nikolai Mladinov expressed empathy with Israel’s concerns about the Iranian nuclear drive and stressed the critical imperative to prevent Teheran achieving a weapons capability. He also backed Israeli peace efforts with the Palestinians, highlighting the need to ensure Israel’s security and prosperity.

But if those were fairly typical diplomatic formulations, Mladinov went further. He stressed that Bulgaria, which he said had been fortunate enough to see the salvation of most of its Jews from the Nazis, was a true friend of Israel – the kind of ally who is there not only when it is convenient, “but during the true hour of need.” He spoke of his country’s “strong emotional connection to Israel” and the responsibility felt by Bulgaria “to ensure Israel’s safety and its future.”

Constructively echoing the bleak “If Israel goes down, we all go down” sentiments expressed in a London Times op-ed article last week by the former Spanish prime minister Jose Maria Aznar, Mladinov declared that “Israel’s security affects Europe’s security and Bulgaria’s security... Sofia and Tel Aviv are not that far apart from each other.”

Israel is being lambasted and demonized internationally as rarely before. The rush to viciously critical judgment of Israel last month, before the facts of the flotilla interception were known, underlined the increasingly widespread international disinclination to give Israel the benefit of the doubt when assessing its behavior. Economic and cultural boycott actions are spreading like a rash.

At such a time, to hear a serving European foreign minister express such positive sentiments is welcome, indeed. And it highlighted the importance of Israel’s laudable efforts in recent years to devote serious attention to potential European partners – essential partners in these troubled times.

The realization that Europe often serves as a kind of global barometer of legitimacy in international affairs dawned some years ago in Jerusalem, and several prime and foreign ministers, including the incumbents, have rightly invested themselves in broadening the dialogue with key European players.

Relatively speaking, Israel has enjoyed partnerships with something of a dream team in Western Europe of late – with the firmly Israel-supporting Tony Blair and Gordon Brown in the UK, Angela Merkel in Germany and Silvio Berlusconi in Italy. France’s Nicolas Sarkozy might not fall into quite the same category, but he certainly considers himself a friend and he too joined the Western European delegation that came to Israel on a leadership solidarity mission at the conclusion of Operation Cast Lead.

Quiet, sustained interaction with Eastern European countries such as Hungary, Poland,  Romania, the Czech Republic and Bulgaria has also yielded deepened understanding, of the type exemplified by Mladinov’s comments.

This European outreach is all the more valuable given the tensions in ties between Jerusalem and Washington over the past year or so. The fact that at least part of Europe is fairly sympathetic to Israel’s cause is a vital asset for Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to take with him to Washington next week.

Indeed, it is a measure of how troubled and complex the Israel-US relationship has become that Europe – where support for Israel once paled by comparison with Bush’s instinctive solidarity – is now touted by Jerusalem as so important.

WHAT JERUSALEM has gradually internalized, as Netanyahu sets off for that critical meeting with Barack Obama, is the extent to which this president is ideologically committed to bringing America closer to the heart of international consensus – reversing what he perceives as the untenable relative isolation of the country he inherited from president George W. Bush.

The assessment in Jerusalem, indeed, is that Bush had no qualms whatsoever in defying international conventional wisdoms where he felt the necessity – indeed, that he saw such foreign policy independence as a sign of American leadership. President Bill Clinton was not quite as ready to play the maverick. And Obama has made plain a greater desire to work within the international diplomatic and legal forums wherever possible.

Hence, goes the thinking here, the president’s reluctance to torpedo UN moves toward an international inquiry into the flotilla interception, and the effort instead to work toward some kind of compromise on the modalities of the investigation – to Israel’s dismay.

Hence, too, to Israel’s still greater dismay, the American refusal to walk away from May’s Non-Proliferation Treaty review conference even as it obsessively and ridiculously twisted its focus away from global nuclear villain Iran to demonstratively dependable Israel. In 2005, Bush essentially washed his hands of the NPT review conference in order to protect Israel; in 2010, Obama stayed put, pushed unsuccessfully for a final document that would not harm Israel, and lamented the Israel-bashing result. As everyone from rookie real estate agents to ultra-sharp business moguls knows, when your adversaries can gauge that you’re not going to walk away from the deal, your leverage is gone and your capacity to steer things your way is lost.

Nevertheless, facing what Ambassador Michael Oren described to The Jerusalem Post last week as the “tectonic shift” in America’s foreign policy outlook, and given the top priority Israel necessarily attaches to the imperative to thwart Iran, Netanyahu will set out for Washington well aware that Israel simply cannot afford a collapse in its relationship with its key ally, even if that ally has become somewhat less reliable.

In Netanyahu’s circle, it is confidently stated that Iran will be the key issue on the agenda for the visit, and there are some who want to suggest that matters relating to the Palestinians – including the vexed issue of whether the prime minister will extend the 10-month settlement moratorium – may not come to a head.

This analysis seems wildly wrongheaded, and it is emphatically not shared by several members of the government’s inner “septet.”

More dovish figures such as Ehud Barak and Dan Meridor are urging Netanyahu, therefore, to come to the White House with constructive proposals; Barak declared on Monday that an “assertive” Israeli diplomatic plan was vital to the maintenance of the US-Israel “special security relationship.”

More hawkish figures like Moshe Ya’alon fear that the prime minister will capitulate to US pressure, while Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman’s idea of constructive proposals, as set out in his op-ed in these pages last week, are not the kind Netanyahu has any intention of advancing.

While Lieberman may think differently, Netanyahu knows that there is no substitute for strong Israeli-American ties. But traveling to Washington with a considerable amount of common ground in Israeli-European ties is a significant plus. It means that, for consensus-minded Obama, backing Israel is not a case of going out on a limb in the face of the entire international community.

The loss of the alliance with Turkey is a heavy blow in this context, but still, the sheer extravagant viciousness of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s anti-Israel stance has deeply discredited the criticisms he has leveled. And the relatively strong relationship Netanyahu has cultivated with Egypt’s President Hosni Mubarak is a further plus. It is unfortunate that not quite the same can be said of the Israeli-Jordanian leadership relationship at present.

AHEAD OF Netanyahu’s crucial visit, Israeli ties to the US have not been enhanced by what seems to have been the deliberate misrepresentation, by one or more officials at the Foreign Ministry, of Ambassador Oren’s assessment of relations – as detailed in our diplomatic correspondent Herb Keinon’s dismaying analysis (“The truth about tectonic shifts, rifts and an ambassador’s vital credibility”) on Wednesday.

The prime minister will also be setting out in the midst of an undignified public spat with Lieberman over the dispatch of Binyamin Ben-Eliezer to try to salvage our relations with Turkey. This was a move that both undermined the foreign minister and illustrated the familiar dysfunctionality of Israel’s foreign policy.

Remarkably, too, Israel also found a new way to shoot itself in the foot, albeit with only minor repercussions, prior to the prime minister’s departure.

Bulgaria’s Mladinov was joined in Israel this week by other visiting European dignitaries, including his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, and the Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves. But the visits of all three were blighted by Foreign Ministry staffers, who instituted work sanctions in ill-directed support of eminently reasonable pay demands.

Thus Lavrov and Lieberman were forced to hold their joint press conference at the King David Hotel rather than at the ministry, Ilves had to cancel a wreath-laying cemetery at Herzl’s tomb, his wife was left without a car to bring her back from a restaurant in Abu Ghosh, and the admirable Mladinov was also initially left car-less, at Yad Vashem.

None of these undiplomatic incidents remotely constitutes a catastrophe. But the readiness to disrupt the visits of important foreign dignitaries in the cause of an internal pay dispute is symptomatic of the wider malaise.     

A Channel 2 news story detailing some of these embarrassments concluded with the reporter’s assertion that the Foreign Ministry workers have evidently recognized that the only thing this government understands are threats and a resort to forceful action.

Another conclusion might be that even those whose very job is to advance Israel’s international well-being – employers and employees alike – have lost sight of the national interest. For how else could they allow themselves to sabotage even those who are standing out as friends during what is, indeed, a “true hour of need”?
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Rarick
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« Reply #938 on: July 03, 2010, 07:34:12 AM »

Coopt Israel into the new Russian Federated sphere?  Given Obama is pretty socialist in his outlook, he may not think that is a bad thing?
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G M
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« Reply #939 on: July 06, 2010, 10:22:10 AM »

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/07/05/AR2010070502889.html

A Western diplomat, who spoke on the condition of anonymity before the foreign minister made his comments, said Obama plans to press the Israeli leader to apologize to defuse tensions.

"The president is very concerned about the breakdown in Turkish-Israeli relations," the diplomat said. Asked if he thought Obama could persuade Netanyahu to apologize, the diplomat added: "I'm sure he'll give it the college try."

**Wow! Who could have forseen this?**
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #940 on: July 08, 2010, 12:55:05 AM »

I like Stratfor a lot, but some elements of the following strike me as either glib or lacking in candor.

=-=====================

The United States and Israel: A Complicated Alliance

U.S. President Barack Obama met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Washington on Tuesday. In sharp contrast with the Israeli premier’s last visit to the White House in March, this meeting took place in a very cordial atmosphere with both leaders going out of their way to show that recent tensions between the two sides were a thing of the past. Obama said he hoped direct talks between Israel and the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) would resume, while Netanyahu said he was willing to meet with PNA President Mahmoud Abbas at any time.

These comments from both leaders represent a marked difference in the relations between the two allies, who have for months been at odds over the Palestinian issue. The Obama administration had been pressing the Netanyahu government to make concessions to the Palestinians, which Washington needs as part of its strategy for the region and the wider Islamic world. Netanyahu and his conservative allies had been resisting the American demand.

What has changed and how did it lead to the rebalancing of U.S.-Israeli relations? It should be noted that even before the Americans and the Israelis clashed on the Palestinian issue they were at odds over how to deal with an increasingly assertive Iran, which from the Israeli point of view is a far more significant national security issue than the Palestinian problem. Consequently, Israel was demanding that the United States engage in action that would actually force Iran to abandon its pursuit of nuclear weapons and limit the extent to which Iran could increase its influence in the region.

“Before the Americans and the Israelis clashed on the Palestinian issue they were at odds over how to deal with an increasingly assertive Iran.”
The United States needs to withdraw its forces from Iraq. To do so, it needs to reach an understanding with Tehran that will ensure a withdrawal that doesn’t create a vacuum that the Iranians could exploit to their advantage. After months of trying to create a consensus among key world players (especially the Russians), the United States has been able to put a sanctions regime in place, which falls short of Israeli expectations, even though the sanctions are not altogether toothless. This move has helped the United States obtain concessions from the Israelis on the Palestinian issue.

It is therefore not a coincidence that on the same day Obama and Netanyahu met, Israeli press carried reports that the Israeli military was taking action against a number of its soldiers who were involved in the killing of Palestinian civilians during the 2008 offensive in the Gaza Strip. The Israeli gesture will allow the United States to go to the Palestinians and seek reciprocity in an effort to try to revive Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. But the United States knows that the Palestinians — due to their deep internal divisions — will not be able to make any meaningful progress toward a settlement.

But as far as Washington is concerned, that is not a problem. The United States’ goal here is not to achieve a settlement, as it will remain elusive as long as the Palestinians remain divided. Instead, the Obama administration wants to let the Arab/Muslim world know that it has tried hard to resolve the matter, but that the problem lies with the Palestinians and their state of affairs. This way Washington can try to better position itself between Israel and the Arab/Muslim countries in an effort to realize its strategic objectives in the region.

The problem with this approach is that it provides only temporary respite for the United States. Despite the fact that Palestinian disunity is a key reason preventing any movement toward the creation of a sovereign Palestinian entity, many Arab/Muslim states will not stop demanding that Washington pressure Israel. Likewise, the United States cannot change the reality that its interests in the region do not converge with Israel’s.

The United States has to reach an accommodation with Iran, which means Washington can only go so far in isolating Iran. The new sanctions only buy the United States time to sort out its real dispute with the Islamic republic, which has to do with regime security and the future regional balance of power in the wake of a post-American Iraq. In other words, the underlying structural factors that have caused a divergence in U.S. and Israeli interests are bound to complicate relations between the two allies.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #941 on: July 08, 2010, 12:32:07 PM »

second post:

Israel exposes valuable intelligence to warn Hezbollah
Israel is planning for the next round of fighting in the north by publicizing that Hezbollah has moved most of its facilities into southern Lebanon's Shi'ite villages.
By Avi Issacharoff and Amos Harel
Tags: Israel news Lebanon Hezbollah IDF Four years after the end of the Second Lebanon War, the Northern Command of the Israel Defense Forces did something unusual on Wednesday: A great deal of valuable intelligence information about the Lebanese town of al-Hiyam, presumably gathered over a long period of time, was sacrificed for a much greater purpose. The command presented to the media, in great detail, Hezbollah military preparations in the southeast Lebanon town, including accurate maps, photographs and information about Hezbollah military installations situated near civilian buildings such as schools and hospitals.

  A UN patrol in southern Lebanon, where Hezbollah clashed with Israel in 2006
 
Photo by: (Archive) 

The move was not solely in the service of Israel's public relations. The head of the Strategic Division of the IDF Planning Branch, Brig. Gen. Yossi Hayman, presented it in June at United Nations headquarters. This is a battle for political legitimacy and credibility. Israel is planning for the next round of fighting in the north and assumes that it will involve hard combat with Hezbollah, which has moved most of its bunkers, command centers and rocket stores in southern Lebanon out of fields and into the 160 Shi'ite villages and towns in the area. In doing so the organization is implementing lessons that came out of combat in Lebanon in 2006 and the Gaza Strip in 2008.

The publication of detailed information about Hezbollah's intentions sends the organization a clear warning of what it can expect to face if it starts a war while preparing the international community for the measures the IDF is likely to take. The optimists believe that Hezbollah will think twice before starting a provocation (in part because it is now aware of the extent of Israeli intelligence penetration of its ranks ).

The pessimists assume that at the very least the international community will have a head's-up about what Israel is confronting and its need to act forcefully against an enemy that operates from within civilian population centers while targeting Israel's own civilian population.

The disclosures could expose Israeli intelligence-gathering techniques. They will also cause Hezbollah to change its preparations, at least in al-Hiyam. The IDF apparently concluded that in view of what is at stake, the price was one worth paying. The issue is directly linked to statements during a recent lecture by GOC Northern Command Maj. Gen. Gadi Eizenkot. He said that Israel's enemies have come to believe that Israel's rear bases and its civilian population are the weak point that balances out its military superiority.

One could draw an indirect connection with the recent report of the Military Advocate General of investigations into alleged violations of the laws of war during Operation Cast Lead. The IDF is investigating itself and trying individual soldiers and officers for violating combat doctrine, insisting all the while that its combat methods are legitimate.

At that same lecture, Eizenkot presented the IDF's program for countering the Hezbollah threat: warning civilian populations in accordance with international law and giving them time to leave the war zone, followed by a broad, massive attack on Hezbollah targets together with precision targeting of the organization's rocket and missile launch sites.

The various declarations do not necessarily mean that war will erupt in the north this summer. Military Intelligence assessments, too, suggest that Syria and Hezbollah are not interested in a confrontation at this time. The Northern Command, however, must prepare as if war will break out any minute, and it must consider that it may not get a head's-up from MI.
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DougMacG
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« Reply #942 on: July 08, 2010, 04:47:32 PM »

    President Obama said that the US and Israel share an "unbreakable" bond.

    Obama should know. He's been trying to break it for months.

           - Fred Thompson
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #943 on: July 11, 2010, 08:49:36 AM »

Waiting for Gandhi
By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF
Published: July 9, 2010
BILIN, West Bank
 
Despite being stoned and tear-gassed on this trip, I find a reed of hope here. It’s that some Palestinians are dabbling in a strategy of nonviolent resistance that just might be a game-changer.
The organizers hail the methods of Gandhi and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., recognizing that nonviolent resistance could be a more powerful tool to achieve a Palestinian state than rockets and missiles. Bilin is one of several West Bank villages experimenting with these methods, so I followed protesters here as they marched to the Israeli security fence.

Most of the marchers were Palestinians, but some were also Israeli Jews and foreigners who support the Palestinian cause. They chanted slogans and waved placards as photographers snapped photos. At first the mood was festive and peaceful, and you could glimpse the potential of this approach.

But then a group of Palestinian youths began to throw rocks at Israeli troops. That’s the biggest challenge: many Palestinians define “nonviolence” to include stone-throwing.

Soon after, the Israeli forces fired volleys of tear gas at us, and then charged. The protesters fled, some throwing rocks backward as they ran. It’s a far cry from the heroism of Gandhi’s followers, who refused even to raise their arms to ward off blows as they were clubbed.

(I brought my family with me on this trip, and my kids experienced the gamut: we were stoned by Palestinian kids in East Jerusalem, and tear-gassed by Israeli security forces in the West Bank.)

Another problem with these protests, aside from the fact that they aren’t truly nonviolent, is they typically don’t much confound the occupation authorities.

But imagine if Palestinians stopped the rock-throwing and put female pacifists in the lead. What if 1,000 women sat down peacefully on a road to block access to an illegal Jewish settlement built on Palestinian farmland? What if the women allowed themselves to be tear-gassed, beaten and arrested without a single rock being thrown? Those images would be on televisions around the world — particularly if hundreds more women marched in to replace those hauled away.

“This is what Israel is most afraid of,” said Dr. Mustafa Barghouthi, a prominent Palestinian who is calling for a nonviolent mass movement. He says Palestinians need to create their own version of Gandhi’s famous 1930 salt march.

One genuinely peaceful initiative is a local boycott of goods produced by Jewish settlements on the West Bank. Another is the weekly demonstrations in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah against evictions of Palestinians there. And in Gaza, some farmers have protested Israel’s no-go security zones by publicly marching into those zones, even at the risk of being shot.

So far there is no Palestinian version of Martin Luther King Jr. But one candidate might be Ayed Morrar. A balding, mild-mannered activist, he was the mastermind behind the most successful initiative so far: nonviolent demonstrations a half-dozen years ago in the West Bank village of Budrus against Israel’s construction of a security fence there. More than many other Palestinians, he has a shrewd sense of public relations.

“With nonviolent struggle, we can win the media battle,” Mr. Morrar told me, speaking in English. “They always used to say that Palestinians are killers. With nonviolence, we can show that we are victims, that we are not against Jews but are against occupation.”

Mr. Morrar spent six years in Israeli prisons but seems devoid of bitterness. He says that Israel has a right to protect itself by building a fence — but on its own land, not on the West Bank.

Most Palestinian demonstrations are overwhelmingly male, but in Budrus women played a central role. They were led by Mr. Morrar’s quite amazing daughter, Iltezam Morrar. Then 15, she once blocked an Israeli bulldozer by diving in front of it (the bulldozer retreated, and she was unhurt).

Israeli security forces knew how to deal with bombers but were flummoxed by peaceful Palestinian women. Even when beaten and fired on with rubber bullets, the women persevered. Finally, Israel gave up. It rerouted the security fence to bypass nearly all of Budrus.

The saga is chronicled in this year’s must-see documentary “Budrus,” a riveting window into what might be possible if Palestinians adopted civil disobedience on a huge scale. In a sign of interest in nonviolent strategies, the documentary is scheduled to play in dozens of West Bank villages in the coming months, as well as at international film festivals.

I don’t know whether Palestinians can create a peaceful mass movement that might change history, and their first challenge will be to suppress the stone-throwers and bring women into the forefront. But this grass-roots movement offers a ray of hope for less violence and more change.
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G M
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« Reply #944 on: July 11, 2010, 09:00:17 AM »

The islamic death cult has no interest in non-violence Might as well speculate about meat eating vegans.
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rachelg
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« Reply #945 on: July 11, 2010, 06:00:48 PM »

"Peace will come to the Middle East when the Arabs love their children more than they hate us. "Prime Minister Golda Meir.


Unfortunately, The Palestinians actions seem to be more of a tactical switch than a philosophical one .

"Another problem with these protests, aside from the fact that they aren’t truly nonviolent"

They aren't nonviolent at all. It is a publicity stunt. 
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Rarick
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« Reply #946 on: July 13, 2010, 07:39:30 AM »

The Gahndi stuff means that someone in the PA finally read a Tom Clancy novel.  This is stuff that starts a certain set of fictional dominoes falling.  That does not mean that gahndi's tactics won't work in real life, if they could get the kids to stop throwing stone and stand/sit fast in the tear gas.............  The object is to make it clear WHO is initiating force above and beyond that used by regular police for normal crowd control.
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rachelg
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« Reply #947 on: July 13, 2010, 09:10:27 AM »

The stone throwing children are encouraged and praised.

 Homicide Bombers are treated like celebrities. In America  kids grow up wanting to be famous athletes and entertainers.  There kids grow up wanting   to  murder others by killing themselves .

Here are  pictures  of children from as young as infants dressed  as homicide bomber or armed with real and fake weapons.

http://littlegreenfootballs.com/weblog/pictures/PalestinianChildAbuse/
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JDN
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« Reply #948 on: July 13, 2010, 10:12:44 AM »

I agree with Rarick on this one.  "if they could get the kids to stop throwing stone and stand/sit fast in the tear gas....."
"The object is to make it clear WHO is initiating force above and beyond that used by regular police for normal crowd control."

And yes, I agree,  "The Palestinians actions seem to be more of a tactical switch than a philosophical one ."  But it is clever.  The flotilla debacle
was far more effective than a few boys throwing stones or even a suicide bomber.

For example, on July 10th, a highly acclaimed documentary called Budrus premiered at the Jerusalem Film Festival. The film, an Israeli-Palestinian coproduction, chronicles the nonviolent resistance by villagers in Budrus, a small Palestinian farming community of some 1,500 people about 30 km. northwest of Ramallah and three km. from the Green Line, against the construction of the security barrier whose route cuts through the village’s land.
http://forecasthighs.com/2010/07/10/budrus-a-film-flotilla/


I think this comment from the film sums up the effectiveness of nonviolence.
An Israeli activist tells us in Budrus that "nothing scares the army more than nonviolent opposition."  

In the long run, world opinion will matter.  The Palestinians seem to be learning.
The Hamas lawmaker Aziz Dweik told the Wall Street Journal that "When we use violence, we help Israel win international support."






« Last Edit: July 13, 2010, 10:25:26 AM by JDN » Logged
G M
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« Reply #949 on: July 13, 2010, 12:09:27 PM »

And why did Israel build the barrier?

http://michellemalkin.com/2006/04/17/terror-in-tel-aviv/
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