http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_opinion.php?id=1793 Israel and its necrophiliac neighbors A recent poll indicating that Israelis are a happy lot caused some critics to get their feathers ruffled. After all, this is a country in turmoil, with every kind of external and internal problem under the sun, from socio-economic gaps to global warming and everything in between. We’ve got [...]
Israeli Chief of Staff Undercuts PM on Iran—Then Retracts
URL to article: http://frontpagemag.com/2012/04/27/israeli-chief-of-staff-undercuts-pm-on-iran%e2%80%94then-retracts/
“Israel Army Chief Says He Believes Iran Won’t Build Bomb”… “Israel’s top general says Iran unlikely to make bomb”… “Israeli general: ‘Rational’ Iranian leaders not pushing nuclear bomb”…
Those headlines—from the New York Times, Reuters, and CNN respectively—are typical of a media firestorm kicked up on Thursday by an Independence Day interview that Israeli chief of staff Benny Gantz gave to Israel’s left-wing daily Haaretz.
The reports contrast Gantz’s allegedly pacific statements with recent hawkish statements by his boss, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.
In an interview to CNN on Tuesday, Netanyahu said sanctions were “certainly taking a bite out of the Iranian economy, but so far they haven’t rolled back the Iranian program or even stopped it by one iota…so if the sanctions are going to work they better work soon.”
On whether Iran’s nuclear program is for civilian purposes: “They said it’s for medical isotopes. Right? That’s why they’re developing ICBMs to carry medical isotopes to Europe or Israel or the United States.”
And on Iranian rationality: “When it comes to a militant Islamic regime I wouldn’t be too sure, because unlike, say, the Soviets, they can put their ideology before their survival. So I don’t think you can bet on their rationality.”
And in a Holocaust Remembrance Day speech last week, Netanyahu said Iran was “feverishly working to develop atomic weapons….”
Now, what did Gantz say, and was it indeed seriously at odds with Netanyahu’s words? If so, it could be of significance. The fact that Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak, another Iran hawk, did not order a strike on Iran while Gantz’s predecessor as chief of staff, Gabi Ashkenazi, was in office has been attributed to the fact that Ashkenazi and other security chiefs at the time were Iran doves who opposed a strike.
Gantz begins his interview to Haaretz by saying: “If Iran goes nuclear it will have negative dimensions for the world, for the region, for the freedom of action Iran will permit itself.” Later, regarding American and Israeli perceptions of the threat, he says: “We aren’t two oceans away from the problem—we live here with our civilians, our women and our children, so we interpret the extent of the urgency differently.”
My esteemed e-pal David Singer is an Australian Lawyer, a Foundation Member of the International Analyst Network and Convenor of Jordan is Palestine International – an organisation calling for sovereignty of the West Bank and Gaza to be allocated between Israel and Jordan as the two successor States to the Mandate for Palestine. Previous articles written by him can be found at www.jordanispalestine.blogspot.com…..he is proof that “down under” they are up front…..rsk
The Middle East changed dramatically with the recognition and admission of the State of Palestine to UNESCO on 31 October 2011 – resulting finally in the achievement of the two-state solution unsuccessfully sought for the last 19 years in negotiations conducted between Israel and the Palestinian Authority pursuant to the Oslo Accords and the Bush Roadmap.
Yet these seminal developments do not appear to rate a mention in Mahmoud Abbas’s latest letter of demand sent to Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The contents of that letter have not been officially revealed.
However one published draft – if eventually authenticated – contains the following material errors or omissions that will certainly not be conducive to Israel furnishing any positive reply.
1. The letter is signed by Mahmoud Abbas as: “Chairman of the P.L.O Executive Committee and President of the Palestinian National Authority”
Yet Mr Abbas has another distinguished title – “President of the State of Palestine” – which he somehow forgot to add.
This additional nomenclature appeared in the letter sent by Mr Abbas to United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon when Palestine unsuccessfully applied for membership of the United Nations as a peace loving State in September 2011.
Why omit it now in this letter to Mr Netanyahu – especially as Palestine was admitted to UNESCO as its 195th member state one month later? Why omit to mention this development at UNESCO as well?
Mr Abbas‘s reluctance to sign the letter as “President of the State of Palestine” and to fail to mention the UNESCO decision is surely deliberate and not caused by mere oversight.
If Palestine has already been recognized as a State by UNESCO and Mr Abbas is its President – any negotiations for the creation of such a State – the “two-state vision“- as envisaged by the Oslo Accords and the Bush Roadmap – are extant.
If Mr Abbas still believes he can get Mr Netanyahu to resume negotiations for a Palestinian State under the Oslo Accords and the Roadmap by not stating he is “The President of Palestine” or mentioning the UNESCO decision – he must believe that there are fairies at the bottom of the garden.
In the aftermath of oral arguments in both the Patient Protection & Affordability Care Act and Arizona SB1070 cases at the United States Supreme Court, many in the mainstream media, as well as the many so-called political strategists of the Left, are setting the stage for a political inoculation. Progressive and Democrat pundits and operatives alike are declaring that should Obamacare be rendered impotent, and should the SCOTUS uphold Arizona’s immigration and border protection law, it would all be the doing of Right-Wing judicial activism. While this rhetoric may be a winning strategy politically, it is, nonetheless, what Progressives and committed Liberals believe.
The idea that the Supreme Court might be “fair” or “unfair” in establishing the constitutionality or unconstitutionality of any given case is a matter of perception. The frailty of the human ego – along with the pomposity of ignorance and the intellectual limitations of the constitutionally illiterate mind, sadly, facilitate the belief, by some of the more ardently political that should the Supreme Court rule in a way that does not run in lockstep with their political belief system, somehow the ruling is “activist.” And while I freely admit that the scourge of judicial activism does indeed exist, at the level of the US Supreme Court the action (or inaction) is quite rare.
Granted, each Supreme Court Justice possesses his or her own political ideology, but such is the nature of deliberative bodies stewarded by human beings. It is for this reason that great care needs to be taken by Presidents in making nominations to the United States Supreme Court. It is for this reason that pure ideologues and special interest operatives should be resolutely rejected from consideration for the bench by the United States Senate and not “rubber-stamped” as giving the President his due. And it is for this reason that both past Presidents and members of the Senate have failed the American people by allowing ideologues and special interest nominees to have reached the bench.
But, it is also the reason why we, as a people, have to eradicate the intellectual diseases known as constitutional illiteracy and political correctness. The combination of these two maladies leads to a society ignorant of the truths of the philosophies used by our Framers to craft the Charters of Freedom. When we, as a people, become blind to the truths about the philosophies used to guard liberty, individual rights and freedoms – and when this ignorance is supercharged by the shadow governance of political correctness – we facilitate a dangerously powerful Progressive Movement, which sees little use in adhering to the limitations of the United States Constitution or honoring the founding tenets of the Declaration of Independence as intended by our Framers; limitations and tenets crafted to preserve the rights of the individual over the tyranny of the State.
Disturbingly, the tentacles of the Progressive Movement – the sharpened talons of a scavenger beast dedicated to centralizing power at the federal level and establishing a Socialist Democracy, run by an elitist oligarchy, where a Constitutional Republic once stood – have reached into every facet of our society. From the education system (which is now completely dedicated to social engineering), to the Justice Department and the many Executive Branch agencies (which, under the Obama Administration are completely dedicated to social justice), to the mainstream media (now completely dedicated to advancing a Progressive agenda), the beast ravages; the beast consumes; the beast destroys.
Islam: A Will-o’-the-Wisp of Political Faith
Reading Arthur Conan Doyle’s novel, The Hound of the Baskervilles, one cannot help but marvel at the thoroughness of Sherlock Holmes’s use of reason to piece together disparate clues and evidence and conclude that the least plausible explanation was the most obvious, true one. The legendary, spectral hound that haunted the Dartmoor bogs for two centuries was a piece of unsubstantiated folklore exploited by a devious criminal whose only purpose was to seize wealth that wasn’t his. He bought a hound, coated it in phosphorous, and launched his nefarious designs.
If his plans worked out, everyone would believe that the heir to the Baskerville estate was really killed by an elusive, evanescent hound, just as the heir’s uncle apparently was. No one would investigate further. After all, the locals might be offended.
Holmes shoots it as it attacks another Baskerville heir. The Hound from Hell was an invention, based on an apocryphal curse. The Hound was a fraud. A hoax. As insubstantial as marsh gas.
Islam, however, is the very real Hound from Hell now roaming the earth, causing unimaginable suffering and death in nations where Islam rules, invading Western countries with hordes of assimilation-hostile faithful imbued with an implacable enmity for Western values and culture, waging constant violent and stealth jihad in countries its advocates mean to conquer and bring under Islamic and Sharia rule. The aspect that makes it frightening is the phosphorous of moral certainty that it is invincible and ineluctable. But the bogeyman is a phony. A contrivance. A will-o’-the-wisp designed to frighten men into submission or silence. Ignis fatuus. Mere methane.
Robert Spencer calls its bluff.
Muslim representatives insisted instead that the German government amend its “misguided” approach to Muslim immigration. Many want to establish a “Koran-state” in Germany; they believe Islamic Sharia law is a divine ordinance that will replace democracy, a man-made form of government.
Senior German officials gathered in Berlin with Muslim leaders from around the country on April 19 for the seventh annual German Islam Conference. The official focus of this year’s forum — aimed at furthering Muslim integration in Germany — was finding ways to deal with the spiraling rates of forced marriages and domestic violence among the estimated 4.3 million Muslims who now reside there.
The main topic for discussion at the conference, however, was not on the official agenda: it was the unprecedented nationwide campaign by Islamic radicals to distribute 25 million free copies of the Koran, with the stated goal of placing one Koran into every home in Germany.
Muslim representatives attending the forum this year were in no mood for compromise, and refused to accept responsibility for any of the myriad irritants in German-Muslim relations, insisting instead that the German government amend its “misguided” approach to Muslim integration.
German officials were left trying to put the best spin on this year’s event, which ended without a joint press conference, reportedly because of lingering Muslim pique at “offensive” comments which were uttered at the press conference that ended last year’s event.
Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich opened the one-day conference by declaring that Islamic extremism has no place in Germany. “We all agree that Salafist extremism is not acceptable and does not work in a free society, as we have in Germany,” he insisted. “Religion must not be abused in an ideological bid for power.”
He was referring to the mass proselytization campaign — called Project “READ!” — being organized by dozens of Islamic Salafist groups located in cities and towns throughout Germany, as well as in Austria and Switzerland. The bid to convert non-Muslims has provoked uproar in Germany.
1. The news services are reporting that the US is about to remove a part of its forces in Okinawa, sending about 7000 troops elsewhere.
That is correct and not a misprint. 67 years after liberating Okinawa during World War II, it is still “occupied” by the heroic American
liberators. Of course, the American people was not first born and developed in Okinawa, and the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were
not handed down to the American people from a mountain on that island.
But the same Bash-Israel lobby and the Boycott-Divest Hitlerjugend have never had much to say about occupation of Okinawa, which has
lasted far, far longer than Israel’s occupation of its own Judean and Samarian heartland.
2. You can always count on Haaretz to try to turn Israeli
Independence Day into Nakba Day and Let’s all Escalate the Treason
First, Haaretz ran a special long anti-Israel diatribe by its most
openly treasonous columnist, Gideon Levy, smack on the front page in a
special color overleaf.
Then as its main feature article it ran a longwinded diatribe by
Avraham Burg, the far-leftist anti-Israel ex-politician who has been
calling for Israel’s elimination for several years.
Shortly before Independence Day Haaretz ran a long piece by Akiva
Eldar openly endorsing Palestinian violence and terror against Jews.
It was so openly pro-violence that Maariv editor devoted much of his
own column today bashing Eldar and Haaretz for running it. Akiva
Eldar is one of the worst haters of Israel at Haaretz and is so
anti-Semitic that lately he has taken to publishing some of his
screeds in the Neo-Stalinist Magazine for Holocaust Deniers and
jihadists, Counterpunch, run by the Cockburn Stalinists, people I
prefer to call the Burncocks..
You can see the English version of Eldar’s screed here:
3. Two Lone Still Voices of Sanity:
4. Peter Beinert’s anti-Israel screed has attracted a lot of
attention in recent weeks (see
and http://www.timesofisrael.com/the-crisis-of-peter-beinart/ )
Well, now the full time professional liberal Paul Krugman has
joined in and tossed his very small weight behind Beinert.
Just who is Krugman? Paul Krugman and I have something in
common. He and I are both economists (with Princeton connections) who
are completely undeserving of getting a Nobel Prize. Yet Krugman got
one, thanks to his many years of service to the Left wing of the
Democrat Party in trashing Bush and the Republicans and helping get
Obama elected. The Nobel committee picked him out and decided to
reward his political loyalty to the Cause. Kind of like Shimon Peres
and Yassir Arafat getting theirs. I have never met an economist who
thinks Krugman did anything academic deserving of a Nobel Prize and
most cannot even point to anything particularly original in Krugman’s
academic work. Krugman was badly tarnished for his involvement in the
Enron scandal. (“Enron Follies”, Rich Karlgaard, Forbes magazine,
In fact, Krugman long ago gave up pretenses of being an academic
and is simply a full time point-man and Basher of anything non-liberal
for the NYTimes and the rest of the NFM (NFM stands for the Non-Fox
media). Krugman’s knowledge of Israel is that he has spent a few days
here a number of times years ago (and in fact I met with him during
several of these). His wife was badly hurt in a car crash in Israel
during one of these, perhaps explaining his animus. He is a
completely assimilated Jewish liberuh who knows little about Israel
and even less about Judaism. You can see his screed against Zionism
in the NY Times here:
Even Tikkun is willing to overlook Krugman’s otherwise devotion to
liberal capitalism in order to salute his bashing Israel:
Here are some other commentators on the Krugman shande:
5. Remember when J Street used to be pro-Israel? Well see this:
J Street: In Event of War We Won’t Necessarily Support Israel
J Street said that in the event that war broke out involving Israel,
it would not necessarily support the Jewish state.
The Middle East Quartet An institutionalized failure sustained by U.S. complicity.
Strange as it might seem, U.S. policy defers to others –sometimes, more than is good for it. Thus, for some time, there has been not been much of a U.S. policy towards Israel and the Palestinians. There has been a Middle East Quartet policy. And it has taken the U.S. into an expensive dead-end.
The Quartet is a decade-old, hastily conceived grouping of the European Union, the Russian Federation, the United Nations, and theUnited States. It includes entrenched pro-Arab bureaucracies. Unsurprisingly, it has adopted policies that prolong rather than mitigate the Palestinian/Arab war on Israel — while America funds both the Israelis and the PA.
The Quartet, in its latest communiqué, insists on a resumption of Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations encompassing a Palestinian state alongside Israel, to be concluded “no later” than the end of 2012. No matter that, in 2000 and again in 2009, the Fatah-controlled Palestinian Authority (PA) refused to accept peace plans delineating just such an outcome.
The Quartet demands $1.1 billion in international funding of the PA for 2012, active social and economic development programs in certain PA sectors, and so on. But it is less insistent about what is to be done about continuing Palestinian terrorism and incitement to violence.
Thus, the Quartet “calls” for Palestinians to “improve law and order … fight violent extremism, and … end incitement”; it “considers” matters to be “fragile and unsustainable” with the West Bank and Gaza remaining divided between rival Palestinian groups; it condemns “rocket attacks from Gaza”; it “stresses … the need for calm and security for both peoples.” But negotiations are not conditional on any of these changing.
E-PAL JOAN SWIRSKY REMINDS ME THAT THIS PIECE IS AS WONDERFUL TODAY AS WHEN IT WAS FIRST WRITTEN IN 1998…..BY EMINENT HISTORIAN PAUL JOHNSON…RSK
Israel: The Miracle: Reprinted from Commentary, May 1998, by permission; all rights reserved.
In May 1998, the eminent British historian Paul Johnson published an essay in Commentary to mark Israel’s 50th birthday; marking its 63rd, we re-publish the essay here.—The Editors
The state of Israel is the product of more than 4,000 years of Jewish history. “If you want to understand our country, read this!” said David Ben-Gurion on the first occasion I met him, in 1957. And he slapped the Bible. But the creation and survival of Israel are also very much a 20th-century phenomenon, one that could not have happened without the violence and cruelty, the agonies, confusions, and cross-currents of our tragic age. It could even be argued that Israel is the most characteristic single product, and its creation the quintessential event, of this century.
Certainly, you cannot study Israel without traveling the historical highroads and many of the byroads of the times, beginning with the outbreak of World War I in 1914. That great watershed between an age of peace and moderation and one of violence and extremism set the pattern for all that followed, and marked a turning point as well in the fortunes of Zionism.
Theodor Herzl’s Zion, a product of the 1890′s, was not exactly a modest proposal, but it could fairly be described as a moderate one. His book was entitled Der Judenstaat, and that phrase—a “state of the Jews”—fairly describes what he had in mind. But he was not necessarily wedded to the historical dream of a state in Palestine. He toyed, for example, with the notion of a giant settlement in Argentina, and not until the Seventh Zionist Congress in 1905 was Uganda, too, finally rejected as a possible site. By that time Herzl was dead, at the age of forty-four. One of his last pronouncements had been: “Palestine is the only land where our people can come to rest.”
Uncertainties and ambivalences of other kinds abounded. Although Herzl had always used the word “sovereignty” in connection with his imagined Jewish state, his friend Max Nordau, the philosopher, believed that in order to avoid offending the Turks, of whose empire Palestine then formed a part, the term Judenstaat should be replaced by Heimstätte, or homestead, rendered into English as “national home.” This fortuitously became an important factor in winning acceptance for the Zionist idea among European statesmen. Similarly, Herzl had written of a huge “expedition” that would “take possession of the land,” but the idea that the land would actually have to be conquered, and then fiercely defended, does not seem to have occurred to him.
As for the arrangements of life in his future commonwealth, Herzl was enamored of the model of Venice at the height of its power. He imagined a Venetian-style constitution, a Jewish doge, a coronation ceremony, and city plans featuring huge squares like the Piazza San Marco. He also foresaw theaters, circuses, café-concerts, and an enormous opera house specializing in Wagner, his favorite. The only military touch was to be a guards regiment, the Herzl-Cuirassiers, for ceremonial occasions; the New Zion would not, he thought, need much of an army. In many ways, Herzl’s conception had more in common with the Ruritania of Anthony Hope’s novels than with the state that actually came into being a little over four decades after his death.
World War I had a double effect on Zionism, transforming its program from a theoretical into a real possibility but also ensuring that the creation of the Jewish state would be bloody. Until 1914, the men who ran the British empire, though sympathetic to Zionism, were inclined to fob off Jewish leaders with schemes for developing a slice of Africa. Turkey was a traditional British ally, and keeping its ramshackle possessions together was a prime object of British policy. What put an end to all that was the fateful decision of the Turks to join the side of Germany in the war. In a dramatic speech in November 1914, the British Prime Minister, H.H. Asquith, announced: “The Turkish empire has committed suicide.”
Immediately, a Palestinian Zion became conceivable, and what would be known as the Balfour Declaration was in train. But the British decision to end the Turkish empire in the Middle East also presupposed the existence of new Arab states as well, and inevitably brought into being Arab nationalism. It is here that Herzl’s initiative and dynamism proved to be so crucial. Timing is all-important in history. No doubt a Zionist political movement would in due course have come into existence without Herzl. By launching it in the 1890′s, Herzl gave the Jews, in effect, a twenty-year headstart over the Arabs. Even before the war began, Zionist leaders had been in touch with leading British policy-makers, and they exploited the possibilities produced by the war with great energy and sophistication.
It is amazing, in retrospect, that the Zionists were able to secure the Balfour Declaration—ensuring the “best endeavors” of the British government to achieve “the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people”—in 1917, while the war was still undecided, thus preempting the postwar negotiations and settlements of national claims. By the time the Arabs got themselves organized as an international pressure group, at the Versailles Peace Conference, it was too late. They did win their Arab states, but the Jews had already gained their national home and were settling it with all deliberate speed.
But World War I also introduced unprecedented degrees of violence and extremism into the world, and these too held consequences for the future of Israel. Gone was any possibility that the Jewish national home might integrate itself peacefully with its Arab neighbors, paying for its presence in their midst by teaching them the modern arts of agriculture and commerce. The so-called Arab Revolt that began in 1936 and that was encouraged and rewarded by the British mandatory power confirmed local Arab leaders in the view that their most promising option against the Zionists was force. What had driven out the Turks and created the new Arab states could also be employed, in due course, to extirpate the Jews. This became a fixed Arab notion, so that in time, both within Palestine and across the Middle East as a whole, Arab leaders, faced with the choice of negotiation or war would invariably choose war—and invariably lose.
The violence bred by the searing years 1914-18 also decisively changed the moral climate of Europe, again with fateful results for the future Jewish state. In the wake of the war, extremist regimes seized power and ruled by force and terror—first in Russia, then in Italy, and finally in Germany. The transformation of Germany from the best-educated society in Europe into a totalitarian race-state was, of course, determinative. Although the anti-Semites of Central Europe had always treated Jews with varying degrees of cruelty and injustice, up to and including murderous pogroms and expulsion, it was only with Hitler that actual extermination became a possible program. The outbreak of World War II provided the covering darkness to make it not just possible but practical.
The Worst Places to Be a Woman
Mapping the places where the war on women is still being fought.
BY VALERIE M. HUDSON |APRIL 24, 2012