Saturday, September 20, 2008
Last update - 11:36 19/09/2008
The hallmark of anti-Semitism By Benjamin Weinthal
BERLIN - Antony Lerman protested the formulation "anti-Zionism equals anti-Semitism" on this page, arguing that because many anti-Zionists are Jewish, such an approach only "widens the pool of our enemies" and causes us to "lose our way." But the failure to recognize the effect that Jewish anti-Zionism has on discourse among non-Jews creates a massive blind spot in the fight against Judeophobia.
Lerman complains that equating anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism diverts attention from more "traditional" manifestations of Jew-hatred, and also interferes with legitimate discussion of Israel's policies. What he fails to understand is that in the post-Holocaust age of political correctness, anti-Zionism is the favored, even socially acceptable, channel by which anti-Semitism expresses itself.
The intense, disproportionate attacks masked under the phrase "Israel criticism," or the very questioning of the Jewish state's right to exist, cannot simply be excused as legitimate critique. The practical implications of much of the anti-Zionist rhetoric, after all, would mean the dissolution of Israel. Hence, it is the anti-Zionist Jews themselves who are widening the pool of enemies.
Contemporary Germany provides a good example of this. The major media here have largely outsourced their Israel discussion to anti-Israeli Jews. One of the latter, a self-styled journalist named Evelyn Hecht-Galinski, has equated Israel's policies with those of Nazi Germany, and argued that a "Jewish-Israel lobby with an active network extends around the world, and thanks to America, its power has become great." In response, German-Jewish journalist Henryk M. Broder wrote that "anti-Semitic, anti-Zionist statements are her specialty." While Hecht-Galinski did not object to the anti-Zionist label, she was granted a temporary restraining order to prevent Broder from invoking the adjective "anti-Semitic."
In raging against the Jewish state, critics like Hecht-Galinski serve to symbolically inoculate non-Jewish Germans against the charge of anti-Semitism and bias against Israel. The rejoinder, "but Jews themselves say this," has become a standard defense, a type of kashrut seal that justifies comparing Israel with Nazi Germany, or blaming Jews for rising global anti-Semitism.
Even better than a Diaspora Jew criticizing Israel is an Israeli who does so, via criticism that can easily be misunderstood and even distorted. The culture editor of the conservative daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Patrick Bahners, for example, in a recent exoneration of Hecht-Galinski of anti-Israel prejudices, noted that even some Israeli peace activists compared the security fence to the walls of the Warsaw Ghetto. Bahners, like a majority of Germans (according to a 2004 study), feels comfortable with the "Israelis are to Palestinians as Nazis are to Jews" analogy. And, most of the country's other major dailies have also aligned themselves with Hecht-Galinski.
German experts on anti-Semitism view the "Israelis as Nazis" reflex as a form of "secondary anti-Semitism." Already two decades ago, Israeli psychoanalyst Zvi Rex identified a core element of post-Shoah "secondary anti-Semitism" with his ironic observation that, "The Germans will never forgive the Jews for Auschwitz." In this view, Israel, by serving as a permanent reminder of the Holocaust, evokes guilt and resentment. Some relief is provided by giving a platform to a small and unrepresentative group of anti-Israel Jews.
But secondary anti-Semitism is not limited to Germany, and it's astonishing that Lerman neglected to note the connection between it and the disproportionately high levels of anti-Israel sentiment in Europe today.
Considering the obvious link between secondary anti-Semitism and anti-Israel sentiments, it seems especially counterproductive to summarily dismiss - as Lerman did - the European Union's "working definition" of anti-Semitism, which describes such manifestations of the phenomenon as "applying double standards [to Israel] by requiring of it a behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation" and "drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis."
Publicizing the "working definition" would advance the understanding of contemporary anti-Semitism. And after giving governments a set of criteria, grounded in the most current research on anti-Semitism, if the "working definition" were to be legally adopted by police and local authorities, human rights violations could be monitored. The nebulous subject of what "really" constitutes anti-Semitism could be discussed in more detached, objective terms.
Most Germans remain mired in an obsolete conception of anti-Semitism that encompasses the Nazis' view of Jews as money-grubbing or as scheming and sub-human. Sensitivity to, and awareness of, more contemporary manifestations of anti-Semitism are sorely lacking.
One example is the case of Prof. Arnd Kruger, a sports historian at the University of Gottingen, who has argued that the 11 Israelis who were killed at the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich essentially committed suicide "for the cause of Israel." According to Kruger, the athletes allowed themselves to be murdered by the Black September Palestinian terrorists, so as to prolong financial restitution from Germany, and to preserve Holocaust guilt among Germans. Kruger based his martyr theory on "a different perception of the human body" in Israel, supposedly reflected in a high rate of abortion there, adding that "Israel tries to prevent living with disabilities at all costs."
Kruger's statements meet the standard of anti-Semitism as defined by the EU "working definition," yet two weeks ago a University of Gottingen commission rejected charges of academic misconduct against Kruger and absolved him of anti-Semitism. Other than that, there's been almost no public outcry at his outrageous suggestions.
Unfortunately, there is no shortage of Kruger-style cases in Germany, and the juncture of anti-Israeli, anti-Semitic views is the hallmark of contemporary anti-Semitism. And whether it is non-Jews or a fringe group of anti-Zionist Jews who meet the criteria of the EU "working definition" of anti-Semitism, we should energetically raise our voices to counter the nonsense parading as criticism of Israel.
Benjamin Weinthal is an independent journalist working in Berlin.
Ehud Barak's meeting with Benjamin Netanyahu is evidently his way of trying to ensure a decent share of the budget for the military. With Likud in the coalition, the government would not be so vulnerable to blackmail from ultraorthodox factions. In any case, it can give Labor bargaining power against the Kadima faction, allowing them to ask for more minister portfolios and other coalition perks. And if it fails? Well, there is no harm in trying, is there?
Last update - 00:04 21/09/2008
Barak, Netanyahu discuss 'recent political turn of events'
By Mazal Mualem, Haaretz Correspondent and Reuters
Defense Minister Ehud Barak met with Likud chairman and opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu at his office in Tel Aviv Saturday evening, to discuss what Barak's office described as the "recent political turn of events."
The meeting came three days after Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni was elected chairwoman of the ruling Kadima Party, to replace Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, who is expected to formally announce his resignation to the cabinet at is weekly meeting on Sunday.
Barak and Netanyahu are Livni's rivals in a race for the premiership if early elections are called.
Barak has stressed over recent days that he supports the establishment of an emergency national unity government, while Netanyahu, whose Likud party is expected to win if general elections are held, is interested in early elections which he says will result in a stable government.
According to reports, Barak and Netanyahu spoke for more than an hour about various topics, including the security threats facing Israel, the diplomatic processes the country is waging and economic issues on the agenda.
Barak's office issued a statement saying that he reiterated to Netanyahu the need for an emergency government, while the latter cited the failure of the current government, led by Kadima, as a clear reason to hold general elections as soon as possible and elect new leadership for Israel.
Despite disagreements between the two, they agreed to continue having regular meetings.
Barak is scheduled to meet with Livni on Sunday, as well as Shas Chair and Trade Minister Eli Yishai.
Meanwhile, a date for Olmert's resignation has yet to be set. "He will announce to the cabinet that he, as prime minister, will be resigning," his spokesman Mark Regev said on Saturday. "We have to schedule a meeting with [President Shimon] Peres for the formal resignation."
Once Olmert, who is facing possible indictment for corruption, officially hands in his resignation, Peres is expected to ask Livni, Olmert's designated successor, to form a government. She will need to recruit a majority of 61 MKs in order to succeed in this task.
Beyond that, officials said they were unaware of the precise timetable guiding the process that will see Olmert continue as premier in a caretaker capacity until a new governing coalition is formed - possibly many weeks away.
Livni narrowly won a hard-fought election on Wednesday to succeed Olmert as leader of the Kadima party. She faces a struggle to heal divisions within her own movement and to persuade smaller parties to join her in a new government.
By law, Peres can take 14 days to ask Livni, the foreign minister, to form a government and is likely to consult other party leaders. Peres is scheduled to fly out to New York on Monday to attend United Nations meetings, his office said.
Livni, a 50-year-old lawyer and one-time Mossad agent, would have six weeks to try to secure a new coalition deal - with Ehud Barak's Labor on the left and Jewish religious party Shas on the right, as well as with several smaller groups.
Should she fail - and Kadima has only a quarter of the seats in the Knesset - right-wing opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu could get his wish for an early parliamentary election, which polls indicate his Likud party would win.
Last update - 00:54 21/09/2008
PA chief of staff: We must be ready to use force against Hamas
By Avi Issacharoff, Haaretz Correspondent
RAMALLAH - The Palestinian Authority must be ready to use force against Hamas in Gaza "to reunify the homeland," said the head of PA forces in the West Bank, Gen. Dhiab al-Ali (Abu al-Fatah), considered the Palestinian chief of staff.
"If Gaza remains mutinous, the Palestinian Authority will have no choice but to use force against it," Ali said in a recent interview with Haaretz at his Ramallah offices.
Ali said the PA has not ruled out using force if the territory remains in Hamas' hands.
"There haven't yet been consultations with the Israelis on the issue," Ali said. "We hope we won't need that option - for us it's the last choice for unifying the homeland - but we must be prepared to implement it. If you want to transport forces [to Gaza] you need different weapons and different capabilities [than those currently available]. There must be Israeli, Jordanian and Egyptian agreement. But if circumstances permit then we must reunify the homeland."
No senior PA official close to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has ever expressed such views to the media, and especially not shortly before a Fatah delegation is set to attend talks in Cairo on a possible detente with Hamas. A similar Hamas delegation is scheduled to talk with Egyptian officials early next month, and Egypt may try to hold a reconciliation summit in Cairo after the holiday of Id al-Fitr.
Ali dismissed Hamas' threats against the PA in the West Bank. "Hamas doesn't have the power to pose a real challenge to the PA in the West Bank," he said. "Israel's declarations about Hamas' capabilities are a wild exaggeration. If the Israelis were to withdraw from PA territories today we would assume responsibility everywhere. There will be problems, but where aren't there in this region? If the Israeli army withdraws from the West Bank we'd have to increase the Palestinian forces to about 15,000 soldiers."
But in a conversation whose main points were published in Yedioth Ahronoth last week by journalist Nahum Barnea, Ali spoke about the Palestinian military's fear that Hamas will try to provoke mass protests in January, when Abbas' term ostensibly ends.
Ali, 65, was appointed head of the Palestinian forces about 19 months ago. Before that he was commander of the Jenin/Tul Karm region. He has significantly improved the capabilities of the national security organization and its popular standing.
At the National Security headquarters, around 30 of Ali's most senior officers, as well as administrative employees and even clerks, gathered around a dining table for Iftar, the meal that breaks the daily fast during the month of Ramadan.
"What about the girls, have they eaten yet?," the chief of staff asks. The table groans under the weight of the food: rice and lamb, of course, as well as fish, salads and a variety of other meat dishes ¬ it's a far cry from the standard IDF dining hall.
Ali's military theory holds that when the Palestinian side is quiet and there are no shooting incidents, the Israelis are more receptive to the Palestinians' woes. "As long as there is killing," he says, "there'll be no [Israeli] interest."
Ali was born in Qadas, a village near Safed, and became a refugee at the age of 4, when his family fled to Lebanon. As a youth he joined Al-'Asifa, the Fatah army, and served in a number of positions in Lebanon. He returned to the territories in 1995.
"During my term we reorganized the National Security organization. Ninety percent of the officers were replaced with younger officers," Ali says.
His officers undergo training in Jericho, under U.S. supervision and assistance headed by Lt. Gen. Keith Dayton, the U.S. security coordinator for Israel and the PA. Soldiers are trained in Jericho and Jordan. Two battalions have completed the new training regimen so far. A third left for Jordan on Thursday and a fourth is scheduled to train there in the future. Ali has about 7,500 soldiers under his command.
He does not conceal his anger over Israel's responses to his requests for arms and ammunition, or the restrictions on the movement of PA forces in the West Bank.
"There is cooperation with Israel," Ali says. "We prevented dozens of terror attacks just this year."
Sep. 20, 2008
JPost.com Staff , THE JERUSALEM POST
If Tzipi Livni shows a true desire for peace, she will reap its fruits, Syria's state-run Tishreen newspaper asserted in an opinion piece published Saturday.
In the article, titled "Tzipi - Israel's new bird" (a play on the Kadima leader's name, which comes from the Hebrew word for 'bird'), the paper's editor-in-chief Issam Dari states that while Livni's history is "rooted in terror," she will be given a chance to prove her intentions and achieve "complete and just peace" in the region.
"The ambitious Tzipi has worked hard to reach the Israeli throne and to become the new 'iron lady,' who will be making decisions on war, peace and the future of the region," Dari writes.
Livni comes from a Polish family rooted in terrorism, Dari writes, with her father being a member of "the gang that carried out terror attacks in Palestine, before it was stolen against the Palestinians and the British."
"The pretty woman from the Mossad," Dari says, was herself involved in the hunting of Palestinian leaders in Europe.
Livni's father Eitan served as chief operations officer of the underground militia Irgun before the formation of the state. His daughter later served in the Mossad for several years, and according to unconfirmed foreign reports, worked as a field operative in Europe.
Dari hence advises Livni in his piece that "People who live in glass houses should not throw stones. Don't accuse Palestinians and Arabs of terrorism with a record such as yours."
"Despite this," Dari adds, "and in order that we not be accused of early judgment, we say: If the 'Mossad dove' wants to atone for her sins and those of her family, and if she shows a true desire for peace, she will reap the fruits of peace. If not, the region will remain at the very least in a state of no war and no peace, and in an atmosphere of tension and instability."
"Livni knows very well what peace demands, and understands that returning the occupied Arab land to its owners is the 'magic word' for the creation of a complete and just peace that the people of the region yearn for," he writes. "We await to see what the dove will say after she becomes Israel's decision-maker."
This article can also be read at http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1221745574888&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull
The Need to Contain Iran & Hezbollah before it is too late
Hezbollah, the Iranian terrorist militant and fundamentalist organization, is now actually occupying Lebanon, controlling its government and terrorizing its peace loving people. This Iranian mercenary Army by all means and according to all standards is like a wild and cannibal beast gradually devouring Lebanon, the independent, free and multicultural state.
It is viciously annihilating Lebanon's distinguishable identity, forging its deeply rooted rich history, tarnishing its unique co-existence entity, disintegrating the basis of its civil society, infiltrating and destabilizing sneakily its governmental and private institutions in an evilly orchestrated and systematized Syrian-Iran Scheme.
While this crime is being overtly and bluntly committed against Lebanon and the Lebanese people, the so called moderate Arabic countries, the European Union, the state of Israel, the US, The UN, and the rest of the Free World nations are all indifferently watching this horrible crime and keeping a blind eye on the whole mockery. They shamefully had limited the horizons of their stances to mere rhetoric and context-empty press releases and statements of condemnation.
They are all mainly acting selfishly, naively while deluding and deceiving themselves. They are falling easy preys to a wrong, self-centered, irresponsible and misleading political concept that hypothetically says: "As long as this beast remains far away from our backyards, let him devour whoever it can capture or hunt"!! What a juvenile, derailed, alienated, sickening and reality-history detached thinking and rationale!!
What is currently and sadly unfolding in Lebanon and Iran is a replicate of the Hitler-Nazi phenomenon. Most European nations, as well as many other influential countries had falsely deceived themselves into believing that Hitler's aggressiveness and greed could be cajoled and appeased by some kind of subjection here and there. They did not take his territorial expansionist schemes seriously, and failed to contain his madness when they were still capable of doing so. They initially did not unite to encounter his many invasions to neighboring countries, and when they decided to do so and move from the defensive to the offensive strategy, it was too late. Their appeasement forced the whole free world to sacrifice dozens of millions of lives, in addition to massive destruction, huge financial losses, and laborious years of horrible wars, agony, and suffering, before Hitler was defeated. Luckily he could not acquire the atomic bomb before the USA, otherwise, he would have destroyed the whole globe.
The question that every sensible man and woman is asking with fear and frustration, is when would the Free World countries, specially the USA and Europe will deal with Iran, and its proxy army in Lebanon, Hezbollah, and either tam or eradicate their teeth so they can no longer be a threat to civilization, humanity and world-wide prosperity, stability and peace?
Are they going to repeat the same wait and see cowardice scenario they applied with the Hitler-Nazi phenomenon?
Are they going to wait for the emergence of another Winston Churchill to cement their scattered efforts, pinpoint the main threat, and lead them in an costly offensive war after Iran's acquisition of nuclear capabilities? Hopefully not, because extraordinary, farsighted, and Godly gifted leaders are not born every day.
While Iran is fooling and ridiculing the UN and all the whole free world, it adamantly continues its stringent evil strive to acquire its atomic bomb, and its proxy army in Lebanon, Hezbollah, is tightening more and more its military grip on Lebanon, the government and the people. One would not be exaggerating to state that Hezbollah is actually occupying Lebanon.
The most dangerous facets of this occupation can be plainly witnessed all over Lebanon in the cultural and educational domains. Hezbollah via religious decrees (Fatawa), money, intimidation and weapons, is forcing the Iranian Mullah's life style on the whole country. Its militant ongoing endeavors to impose this stone age life style is on the rise all over the country, especially in side the canton that it rules and fully controls.
Hezbollah's education, life style and culture are totally derived from the Iranian Mullah's "Wilayat al-Faqih" religious-sectarian doctrine. The main pillars of this doctrine are zero tolerance for all others who are different in any sphere and do not fully fall under its control, mere rejection of the civil, democratic and free societies, a systematized tireless strive to export the "Wilayat al-Faqih" and impose it on the whole world through "Jihad" (holy war), deeply rooted hatred for the western democracies and cultures, staunched enmity and hostility towards the USA and Israel and suicide mentality. One of its prime aims is to destroy Israel and "Liberate" the Holy city of Jerusalem.
Hezbollah, by force and terrorism is hindering Lebanon from regaining its independence, peace and stability on all levels and in all domains. It refuses to disarm or allow the central government take control over the cantons that it has erected and keeps ruling with an iron fist.
In the same realm of the on going series of orchestrated assaults against the country, the people and its institutions, on the 28th of last month Hezbollah's militants fired on a Lebanese army helicopter in the Southern region killing with cold blood one of its two pilots under the pretext that it had crossed the red lines drawn by its leadership.
Meanwhile many independent Lebanese observers strongly believe that Hezbollah is behind most of the assassinations and assassination attempts that took place in the country since 2005 and targeted members in the parliament, journalists, cabinet ministers, politicians, and army - internal security officers.
Defiant Hezbollah's General Secretary, Hassan Nasrallah, declared in a televised speech earlier this month that his militant militia will keep its arms even if Shebaa farms were liberated, "Shebaa farms are not the reason to keep our weapons; if the farms were liberated, the weapons will stay," Nasrallah said.
Hezbollah leaders had repeatedly said in the past that the party's arms are aimed at liberating Lebanese occupied lands, mainly the remaining Shebaa farms in south Lebanon. Nasrallah, however, said Hezbollah will not give up its weapons "as long as Israeli threat persists," threatening that his group will destroy Israel if it launches an attack on Lebanon. "The five brigades (which Israel said it will use) will be destroyed," he added. This comes at the heel of another statement when he promised the world "a victory that will change the face of the Middle East".
Hezbollah has imposed on Lebanon Its own criteria for heroism, martyrdom, treason and patriotism. Recently, it glorified publicly the notorious killer, Samir Kuntar who was surprisingly released by Israel. It gave him a hero's welcome, dragging behind its leadership the country's president, house speaker, Prime Minister and the majority of the MP's and politicians.
In the realm of derailing Heroism and criminal standards, Hezbollah is portraying, Imad Mugniyah, one of its high ranging militants, that was killed in Syria earlier this year, as a great militant leader and Jihadi Martyr. it has erected an exhibition to advocate for this educational derailment and worked hard to give it an extensive media coverage. In a letter to the New York Times published on September 06/08 Abraham H. Foxman commenting on Hezbollah's war exhibition opened in the Lebanese Southern City of Nabatiye said: "Hezbollah's shrine to the slain terrorist mastermind Imad Mugniyah demonstrates how terrorist groups use and indoctrinate children into their blood-soaked culture of hatred, martyrdom and violence. It also offers a real glimpse at the stark realities facing Lebanon, Israel and the international community. It is frightening that a group that perpetrates and venerates deadly terrorism is set to take on a leading role in Lebanon's transitional government, with cabinet seats and veto power. And if there was any doubt that Hezbollah is rebuilding its arsenal in the aftermath of the 2006 Lebanon war, the high-tech rockets and other munitions on display in Nabatiye should serve as a wake-up call to world leaders about the continuing threat that this Iranian-backed group poses to Israel, Lebanon and the entire region".
We, again and again, call on the free world and the so called "moderate Arabic Countries" to wake up from their coma of hesitation and procrastination, and take note that the Lebanese people and their government are unable under any given circumstances to contain or disarm Hezbollah militarily on their own. If Lebanon is not rescued, Hezbollah will soon turn it into a replicate of the Iranian's Mullaha's republic.
Meanwhile Iran's serious Hitler-Nazi like phenomenon threats to the world needs to be addressed as soon as possible with all available means, especially the military ones before it is too late. The battle with Iran and its Hezbollah proxy is inevitable, Accordingly the sooner the better, and lesser losses will be incurred.
Last update - 12:03 20/09/2008
IDF thwarts terror attack near Yitzhar settlement
By Yuval Azoulay, Haaretz Correspondent
Israel Defense Forces and Border Police troops on Saturday killed a Palestinian man trying to infiltrate the West Bank settlement of Yitzhar while carrying a Molotov cocktail and knife.
The Palestinian approached the area by car. He then got out of the car and advanced toward Yitzhar by foot, intending to throw a Molotov cocktail at the West Bank settlement.
Soldiers manning an IDF observation post saw him in action and directed ground troops to the area. When the Palestinian noticed the Israeli forces he lit the Molotov cocktail and aimed at them.
In response, the soldiers fired and killed him. A subsequent search of his body revealed a knife.
No further casualties or damage were reported in the incident.
IDF troops in the area have been on high alert since last week's infiltration of Yitzhar by a Palestinian militant, an incident which sparked a settler attack on a nearby Palestinian village.
During the infiltration last Saturday, a 9-year-old boy was lightly wounded when he was stabbed in the hand.
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert declared after the incident last week that Israel's government will not allow settlers to carry out "pogroms against non-Jews in the State of Israel."
Friday, September 19, 2008
What worries Russia and China is not the fact of Iranian nuclear development, which can only be harmful to Western interests and help them. What worries them, as the headline states, is the IAEA report. It is becoming increasingly difficult for anyone to ignore the clear and present danger of Iranian nuclear proliferation, which is becoming a reality while the world looks apathetically on.
The danger, from the point of view of China and Russia, is that the report will cause the Western allies to actually do something about the Iranian nuclear program.
1 day ago
PARIS (AP) The European Union's foreign policy chief says he believes Russia and China are "quite worried" about a new IAEA report that says Iran has blocked efforts to investigate its nuclear program.
Javier Solana says the report presented Monday by the U.N. nuclear watchdog "isn't good for Iran."
He stopped short Thursday of saying that there is support for France's push for more U.N. Security Council sanctions against Tehran.
Solana says the U.N. General Assembly will "analyze" the situation. He was speaking on the sidelines of a Paris meeting of EU foreign ministers with their counterparts from five central Asian nations.
Western nations fear Iran's program masks intentions to build bombs. Iran insists its plan is to generate electricity.
This seems rather incredible, but it is a fact. How could Anarchists NOT be a political organization??
From The Jewish Chronicle
by Bernard Josephs
September 19, 2008
An investigation into political leafleting at Sunday's Simcha on the Square is underway following complaints that radical and left-wing groups were allowed to advertise their work at the event.
Geraldine Auerbach, director of the event organisers, said material handed out by the British Shalom-Salaam Trust would be examined, and if it were found to be political in nature the organisation would not be invited in future.
"Our criterion is that no political organisation should be given a stand at the event, " she said.
The row broke out after the Zionist Federation complained that the stall of the trust - a Jewish initiative established to meet the humanitarian crisis in the Middle East, working with both Palestinians and Israelis - had featured large billboards and leaflets supporting radical political groups.
These, said ZF public-affairs director Gavin Gross, included Anarchists Against the Wall, Settlement Watch and Breaking the Silence - a group of Israeli soldiers who condemn Israel's military policies.
Mr Gross said that at last year's Simcha on the Square, the ZF had at first been refused a stand for being "political". It was allowed to take part only after agreeing to focus solely on Israeli culture.
"We were therefore amazed to find a prominent stand at this year's event organised by the British Shalom-Salaam Trust, which is connected to the fringe political group Jews for Justice for Palestinians.
"We think Simcha in the Square is a positive public festival, but are aware of the need to protect its credibility."
Mrs Auerbach said she was not aware that the trust was a political group. She said: "We understood that this was an organisation purely promoting peace. This matter has been brought to our attention and if we find it is not a totally cultural organisation we will not allow them to have a stall in future. If we had thought they were political, they would not have been at the event."
The event manager added: "The stalls application states that stallholders cannot distribute any overtly political material. Had I known that anyone was doing this they would have been asked to clear their stall under the terms of our licence. We have worked so hard to keep the event in the cultural sphere. We are very sorry for any offence caused."
A spokesperson for the British Shalom-Salaam Trust, a registered charity, defended the distribution of the leaflets, pointing out that all the organisations were legal in Israel.
She said that the charity "had displayed the work of Israeli organisations engaged in peace and human-rights activities, some alongside their Palestinian neighbours. The ways in which communities debate with and among themselves is central to what we understand by culture."
BSST's contribution to Simcha on the Square, she continued, "enabled a vital component of Israeli cultural life to be presented to Jewish people and others in London. Certainly, those who came by our stall were friendly and curious to know more about BSST and the groups we have supported.
"It cannot be anything but good for the world to know that there is space within Israel - and the British Jewish community - for this peace-orientated work of ordinary Israelis.
"The Jewish community is not monolithic and it is sad to see the Zionist Federation seeking to demonise such groups, or indeed, BSST, as 'anti-Israel'."
From this distance, it seems to me that petty political pique and jockeying for position caused Republicans to send Sarah Palin to the anti-Ahmadinejad rally planned for September 22, and likewise caused Democrats to cancel the appearance of Senator Clinton there.
Cat fights between female politicians should not take precedence over speaking out about this monster. See
This is not a matter of partisan politics. There is no logic behind the Clinton refusal to appear at the rally other than sabotaging the protest against Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, or being spiteful.
There is apparently nothing more important to some people than winning an election for their party. And yes, I supported Hillary Clinton until now.
Last update - 10:38 19/09/2008
Sarah Palin dumped by Jewish rally against Iran in New York
Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin will not speak at a rally against the president of Iran next week and White House hopeful
Sen. John McCain said on Thursday organizers had withdrawn her invitation under pressure from their Democratic rivals.
A group of Jewish organizations had said both Palin and Sen. Hillary Clinton would speak at the protest near the United Nations on Monday against Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who has said Israel should be wiped off the map.
But a senior Clinton adviser said the New York Democrat canceled her appearance after learning Palin was scheduled to address demonstrators as well.
"Gov. Palin was pleased to accept an invitation to address this rally and show her resolve on this grave national security issue, regrettably that invitation has since been withdrawn under pressure from Democratic partisans," McCain said in a statement.
"We stand shoulder to shoulder with Republicans, Democrats and independents alike to oppose Ahmadinejad's goal of a nuclear armed Iran," he said. "Sen. Obama's campaign had the opportunity to join us. Sen. Obama chose politics rather than the national interest."
Clinton decided not to attend because she did not want to take part in a "partisan political event," her aide said. She lost a hard-fought battle for her party's nomination to Sen. Barack Obama, but is now supporting the Democratic nominee for the November 4 U.S. presidential election.
Among those scheduled to attend the protest are Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel and Speaker of the Knesset Dalia Itzik, publicist Casey Sanders said on behalf of the organizers.
"In order to keep the focus on Iranian threats and to ensure that this critical message not be obscured, the organizers of the rally have decided not to have any American political personalities appear," she said.
UN officials have also said it was possible McCain and Palin might show up on the sidelines of the opening of the UN General Assembly on Tuesday.
This would give Palin a chance to meet a few world leaders on the day President George W. Bush and one of his main foes, Iranian President Ahmadinejad, address the 192 UN member states.
Although Palin, 44, has brought new energy to the McCain campaign and helped narrow Obama's lead in opinion polls before the election, Democrats say the mother of five lacks the foreign policy experience a vice president should have.
Iran denies Western allegations that it is seeking atomic weapons, but has refused to suspend sensitive parts of its nuclear program that could be used to make atom bomb fuel.
Thursday, September 18, 2008
Iranian leader announces 'idea of Greater Israel has expired, and idea of Lesser Israel has expired too'; adds Tehran cooperated with IAEA with 'full transparency' and agency's report confirms Islamic republic's 'peaceful drive' for nuclear energy
Latest Update: 09.18.08, 16:53 / Israel News
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said the UN Nuclear watchdog had no legal right to consider material alleging Iran wanted the atom bomb, and that an IAEA report proved Tehran's peaceful intent, Press TV reported on Thursday.
The Iranian leader also denounced Israel and once again refuted the Holocaust. Speaking to reporters on Thursday, he smirked at the notion of a "greater" Israel that would include occupied Palestinian territories.
Ahmadinejad said that while "some say the idea of Greater Israel has expired, I say the idea of a Lesser Israel has expired, too."
He also repeated previous anti-Israel comments, calling the Holocaust by Nazi Germany a "fake" and saying Israel is perpetrating a holocaust on the Palestinian people.
On Monday, the International Atomic Energy Agency said in its report that Iranian stonewalling had brought to a standstill an agency inquiry to resolve whether Tehran had covertly researched ways to make a nuclear bomb.
But Press TV said Ahmadinejad had told it in an interview that the IAEA report had confirmed the peaceful nature of Iran's nuclear program and that Tehran had cooperated with the Vienna-based UN agency with "full transparency".
Iran says its nuclear program is for generating electricity, rejecting Western accusations it is seeking to build weapons.
"President Ahmadinejad said the report confirms Iran's peaceful drive for nuclear energy," Press TV said, adding it would give more details of the interview later. Ahmadinejad is also due to hold a news conference later on Thursday.
"He said the report had no negative points about Iran's nuclear program other than the alleged studies which have no legal basis and are beyond the jurisdiction of the UN Nuclear watchdog," the English-language television station said.
'Israel in a weak position'
The IAEA wants Iran to clarify intelligence material pointing to links between Iranian projects to process uranium, test high explosives and modify the cone of its long-distance Shahab-3 missile in a way suitable for a nuclear warhead.
The Islamic Republic has repeatedly denied the allegations but the IAEA says Iran must substantiate its position by granting access to sites, documents and relevant officials for interviews.
The United States, Britain and France this week vowed to seek harsher sanctions on Tehran over its defiance of UN demands for full disclosure and a suspension of uranium enrichment.
The United States and Israel, Iran's arch foes, have not ruled out military action if diplomacy fails to resolve the row.
Press TV said Ahmadinejad played down the possibility of an Israeli attack against Iran: "Ahmadinejad said Israel is in a weak position to launch attacks against any other country."
The president said Iran had made it clear it would defend its territorial integrity if attacked, Press TV added.
Reuters and The Associated Press contributed to this report
Newly elected Kadima leader to meet with Shas chairman at her Tel Aviv home Thursday evening in bid to form new government. Defense Minister congratulates Livni on her win; Labor officials discuss general elections
Published: 09.18.08, 16:38 / Israel News
Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, the newly elected Kadima chairperson, is not wasting any time following her narrow victory in the ruling party's primaries Wednesday night, and is launching extensive coalition negotiations in a bid to form a new government.
Livni will meet Thursday evening with Shas Chairman Eli Yishai at her home in Tel Aviv. Earlier, she will confer with rival candidates Avi Dichter and Meir Sheetrit, and perhaps also with Minister Rafi Eitan of the Pensioners Party.
On Friday morning, the foreign minister is expected to meet with her main rival, Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz, whom she beat in the primary elections by only 1.1%, at the Kadima headquarters in Petah Tikva.
Yishai declared Wednesday night that Shas would be willing to join a government led by Livni if the ultra-Orthodox party's conditions are accepted. The issue at the top of Shas' list of priorities is the child allowances, and the negotiations will likely focus on this issue. The party has also demanded a commitment not to hold any negotiations with the Palestinians on Jerusalem.
"If Livni addresses the issue of a million hungry children and doesn't give away the country's assets with an emphasis on Jerusalem we'll be in her government. If not, we won't be," Yishai said Wednesday night.
"I am sure that Livni knows the public doesn't care about her victory today, but rather about her actions tomorrow. The elections are a means, not an end."
'Livni's real intentions unclear'
And what about the other parts of the designated coalition? Labor Chairman and Defense Minister Ehud Barak telephoned the new Kadima leader on Thursday afternoon and congratulated her.
A source close to Barak told Ynet that "Livni's real intentions are still unclear to us. We get the feeling that she doesn't want to form a government but rather to lead to new elections."
A number of senior party members attempted to stress Wednesday night that the party was not afraid of elections. Social Affairs Minister Isaac Herzog and Agriculture Minister Shalom Simhon both said that Kadima's registered members cannot be the only ones to determine who will be the new prime minister.
Additional Knesset members expressed similar views, although some sources in the Labor Party explained that this was part of the future negotiations with Livni.
The nefarious Zionist conspiracy and Israel lobby have yet another supporter. Braving death threats and fashionable boycott Israel campaigns, former Beatle Sir Paul McCartney is determined to perform in Israel September 25.
WALL STREET JOURNAL EUROPE
Paul McCartney reassured his fans in the Jewish state last week that he'll go ahead with a planned concert in Tel Aviv. "I do what I think and I have many friends who support Israel," Mr. McCartney told the Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronoth.
If we lived in normal times, a pop star's tour schedule would not be considered news outside the entertainment media. But then again, the growing campaign to delegitimize Israel and the pressure on the ex-Beatle to cancel his concert can hardly be called normal. Mr. McCartney deserves applause for his steadfastness. "I was approached by different groups and political bodies who asked me not to come here," he told the Israeli paper. "I refused."
Sir Paul even received death threats. "Paul McCartney is the enemy of every Muslim," hate preacher Omar Bakri said in his weekly Internet broadcast from Lebanon, according to the Sunday Express. "If he values his life, Mr. McCartney will not come to Israel," Mr. Bakri added, warning that "sacrifice operatives will be waiting for him."
The ex-Beatle's concert has drawn particular ire from anti-Zionists as it comes amid the Jewish state's 60th anniversary celebrations. In Western Europe, and particularly in Mr. McCartney's home country, the view that there is little to celebrate about Israel's rebirth has moved from the fringes of society to the mainstream of left-wing media and academia. In May, the union of British university lecturers renewed its push for an academic boycott of Israel.
Luckily, Mr. McCartney doesn't seem to be getting his information from the Guardian or the BBC. "I've heard so many great things about Tel Aviv and Israel, but hearing is one thing and experiencing it for yourself is another," he said in comments posted on his Web site last month.
A standard smear against Israel is that it is supposedly an apartheid state. In truth, Mr. McCartney will be performing in the only country in the Middle East where Jews, Christians and Muslims, as well as both men and women, can come together in freedom and listen to his songs.
The exit polls in the Kadima Party primaries gave a decisive win to Israel Foreign Minister Tzippi Livni, but the real results are not so clear. Right now she leads by about 500 votes in projections, with 55% of the ballots counted, a difference of about 2%. Needless to say, a contested election could cause political uncertainty for quite some time, delaying the departure of Israel Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.
Candidates' headquarters squabble over final results as clear-cut victory predicted by exit polls decreases to mere 2% advantage over rival Mofaz. Both camps gear for expected legal battle
Attila Somfalvi and Amnon Meranda Published: 09.18.08, 02:53 / Israel News
The exit polls may have awarded Tzipi Livni with a clear-cut victory over rival Shaul Mofaz in the Kadima primary elections but the picture seemed quite different after midnight Thursday as both camps geared for an unforeseen twist in the results.
Livni's headquarters asserts that after all votes have been tallied a total of 38,961 Livni won by 2%, with 16,794 of the votes to Mofaz's 16,315.
Mofaz's camp initially claimed he was leading the foreign affairs minister by 800 votes, but relented as the night progressed that Livni had indeed won. However the narrow margin is already being contested, with Mofaz likely appeal the results.
His headquarters is also demanding an Ashkelon ballot be disqualified. Mofaz's headquarters surged back to life as news of the final results trickled down, and Mofaz himself is expected to return.
Livni was cautious after the exit poll figures were released. She made no victory speech, choosing instead to settle for brief calls to her staffers in which she told them they had "fought like lions, against many opportunists, and you were simply amazing the good guys won."
Throughout the day Livni was concerned that a low voter turnout would give the more organized Mofaz camp an advantage. She requested ballots remain open for an additional hour. The Kadima central elections committee granted her an additional half hour, after appeals by Mofaz and Sheetrit were rejected.
Kadima MK Zeev Elkin, a close associate of Mofaz, said the latter's campaign headquarters plans to demand a recount of all ballots in the Kadima primary elections.
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
According to exit polls by Israel's three major TV stations, Israel Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni received about 48% of the vote in the primary election for the new Kadima leader, negating a second round of voting to replace Ehud Olmert as Prime Minister. Transportation Minister and former Chief of Staff Shaul Mofaz won about 37% of the vote according to the polls, while Meir Sheetrit and Avi Dichter each got abut 7%.
Livni would be the first female Prime Minister since Golda Meir.
Only about 55% of the 74,000 eligible party members voted. Mofaz had predicted that he would win with 43.7% of the vote.
It is unclear when Prime Minister Olmert will resign, so as to allow Livni to begin the process of forming a new government. Once Olmert tenders his resignation, Livni will have 42 days to form a coalition. She may have difficulty keeping the Shas party in the coalition, since they object to peace negotiations with the Palestinian Authority, a centerpiece of Livni's program.
The IAEA UN nuclear monitoring organization showed documents and photographs on Tuesday suggesting Iran secretly tried to modify a missile cone to fit a nuclear bomb. Tehran again dismissed the findings as forged. Previous IAEA reports had left the impression that Iran was more or less in compliance with IAEA requirements other than continued enrichment of uranium. A USA National Intelligence Estimate report in 2007 had concluded that Iran was no longer developing nuclear weapons.
Iran stated that an International Atomic Energy Agency inquiry into its nuclear activity was at a dead-end because the IAEA was demanding Tehran reveal conventional military secrets without nuclear dimensions. Iran has denied seeking atom bombs.
The IAEA stated in a report on Monday that Iranian stonewalling had brought an agency inquiry into whether Tehran had covertly researched ways to make a nuclear bomb to a standstill.
The IAEA wants Iran to clarify intelligence material pointing to links between Iranian projects to process uranium, test high explosives and modify a Shahab-3 missile cone in a way suitable for a nuclear warhead.
The Islamic Republic has denied the allegations but the IAEA says Iran must substantiate its position by granting access to sites, documents and relevant officials for interviews.
Top agency inspectors briefed its board of governors on the report's findings on Tuesday ahead of a meeting by the 35-nation body next week likely to heighten pressure on Iran to cooperate.
Washington's IAEA envoy said the group was shown photos and documents of Iranian work on re-designing a Shabab-3 to carry what would appear to be a nuclear weapon.
IAEA: Information on Iran is 'very credible'
"The (IAEA) Secretariat told us the information they have is in their words, 'very credible', unquote, and they have asked iran to provide 'substantive responses', unquote," Gregory Schulte told reporters.
He said the meeting was told that Iran had refused IAEA requests to interview engineers involved in the work and visit their ostensibly civilian workshops, depicted in photos.
Iran repeated that the intelligence was forged or pertained only to conventional arms. It said Iran faced extraordinary and unacceptable pressure to prove unverified allegations were wrong by revealing information vital to its national security.
"No country would give information about its conventional military activities," Iran's IAEA ambassador said.
"I said in this briefing, 'Who in the world would believe there are a series of top secret documents U.S. intelligence found in a laptop regarding a Manhattan Project-type nuclear (bomb programme) in Iran and none of these documents bore seals of 'high confidential' or 'secret'?" Ali Asghar Soltanieh said.
"This is simply unbelievable. This matter is over, as far as we are concerned," he said.
Western concern was heightened by a revelation in the IAEA report that Iran may have had "foreign expertise" helping in experiments on a detonator applicable to an implosion-type nuclear blast occurring at high altitude.
Informed diplomats said the expertise appeared not to have been given by a government such as North Korea or any remnants of the ex-A.Q. Khan nuclear smuggling network that supplied Iran in the past, but by other non-state actors.
The IAEA has called for an explanation from Iran.
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Italy's Berlusconi: Ahmadinejad acting like 'lunatic' on Israel
Reuters reports that Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi accused Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Tuesday of acting like a lunatic when it comes to Israel, and said the world needed to keep a close eye on him.
"I think we must pay the utmost attention to the lunacy of someone who says, perhaps for internal reasons, that Israel must be wiped off the map," Berlusconi said to a Jewish organization in Paris, where he was receiving an award.
A 2005 report claimed that Ahmadinejad had said that Israel should be "wiped off the map" outraged the international community. Evidently he did not use those precise words, but the import was the same. Ahmadinejad stated at a "World Without Zionism" conference that the late Ayatollah Khomeini had foreseen the end of Zionism and of the United States, and that the goal is attainable.
The Iranian leader has since made predictions that Israel would "disappear" and, visiting Rome earlier this year for a UN summit, said the country would vanish with or without the involvement of Tehran.
According to a Reuters report, Hamas held a secret election to reaffirm its policies and re-elect most of its leaders.
According to Hamas sources, thousands of Hamas members voted in a secret internal ballot in the Gaza Strip that re-elected the Palestinian militant group's most prominent leaders to its highest bodies and signaled no change in policy.
"The election showed the wonderful face of democracy within Hamas. It was carried out smoothly," a Hamas official said about last month's vote, citing security considerations for the decision to keep it secret.
"Our goals are clear and we have a policy that does not change, and that is there can be no recognition of Israel," the official said.
The Reuters report did not spell out Hamas policy, which is armed Jihad against Israel until it is destroyed. According to the Hamas charter, negotiations and international conferences are a waste of time. Armed Jihad is the only policy possible, and the goal must be to eliminate the Zionist state. Hamas claims that "Zionists" and freemasons were responsible for the French Revolution, the Russian revolution and many other social upheavals.
Officials in the group said some veteran leaders had lost seats on the Shura Council to younger candidates but senior figures Ismail Haniyeh, Mahmoud al-Zahar and Saeed Seyam were re-elected to the policy-setting body and to the politburo.
The three are Hamas' top leaders in the Gaza Strip, territory the movement seized in fighting against Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah forces in June 2007.
Several members of Hamas's armed wing, the Izz el-Deen al-Qassam Brigades, were elected to the politburo, which executes policy and strategy decided by the Shura Council.
"When you have a fair election, people do not expect to remain in their posts forever and Hamas remains a strongly integrated group," one official said.
In Hamas, candidates do not actively seek nomination but their names are put forward by activists or mosques in their hometowns.
Hamas last held an internal ballot in 2006 before it won a Palestinian parliamentary election that year in the Gaza Strip and West Bank.
The Hamas official said the group's priorities remained reaching an end to divisions with Fatah and a continuation of "resistance" against Israel, which tightened a blockade of the Gaza Strip after the 2007 takeover of the territory.
Despite its declared policy of continuing to fight Israel, Hamas agreed to a ceasefire along the Gaza border in June and has said it would accept a Palestinian state in territory captured by Israeli forces during the 1967 Six Day War in return for a long-term truce, according to Reuters.
RPS Statement on Hamas Denying One of Its Own Murdered in Syria
Washington DC - September 16, 2008 -- On September 16, RPS published a story on the fate of Mr. Hisham al-Labadani, Secretary of Khalid Mashaal, who was killed in the city of Homs last Thursday. The story was widely circulated in the press and the Blogs dealing with Middle East issues.
In response to RPS story, Mr. Mohammad Nazal, a Hamas politburo member who resides in Damascus, refuted the assassination calling the report "Totally untrue". Mr. Nazal issued his statement through the Palestinian Information Center in Damascus.
RPS stands by its story.
RPS also asks Mr. Khalid Mashaal and Hamas to produce Mr. Hisham al-Labadani in order to refute the story with demonstrable proof rather than statements.
© Copyrights Reform Party of Syria (Project Syria, Inc.) 2001-2008 | All Rights Reserved
Another sign that all is not well in Israel's defense system.
Tank defense system behind schedule
Yaakov Katz , THE JERUSALEM POST Sep. 16, 2008
Plans to equip IDF tanks with an anti-missile defense system have been postponed by two years due to budgetary and development snags, defense officials said Monday.
According to the officials, the Trophy system, developed by state-owned Rafael, would now likely be installed on Merkava Mk4 battle tanks in 2010 and not this year, as was initially announced following the Second Lebanon War.
During the Second Lebanon War in 2006, Hizbullah fired thousands of anti-tank missiles at Israeli tanks and infantry units, damaging 40 tanks and killing 30 crew members.
According to a report in Defense News on Monday, tens of millions of dollars had already been invested in the Trophy program over the past eight years and it will take "double that amount" to equip hundreds of tanks in the coming years.
"We hope to start installing several of the systems on tanks in the beginning of next year," a top officer in the IDF's Ground Forces Command told The Jerusalem Post. "The massive fielding though will not happen until sometime in 2010." Industry sources told the Post that the Defense Ministry was mainly to blame for the delays and that Rafael's development of the
system was dependent on the schedule it received from the IDF.
"We cannot work on our own," one source said. "The Defense Ministry has over the past two years repeatedly changed its schedule of when it wanted to conduct testing and installation and this has affected the development."
According to the report in Defense News, the Defense Ministry and Rafael only began installing the first systems on Merkava Mk4 tanks in late 2007 for integration and safety tests, the results of which were poor and required revisions to the ministry-provided specifications. As a result, the Trophy system was only installed on Merkava Mk4 tanks in February 2008 and underwent a live-fire test just two months ago.
Hizbullah is believed to have today thousands of Soviet-built Sagger, Cornet
and Fagot antitank missiles, the French MILAN and the US-built TOW, all
supplied by Iran and Syria. These missiles are usually fired by a two- or
Some 400 tanks operated inside Lebanon during the war and while dozens were hit by anti-tank missiles, only 20 were actually penetrated. Following the war, the IDF decided to speed up development of an active-protection system for tanks and armored personnel carriers, with officers claiming in late 2006 that tanks would be equipped with the system by 2008.
The Trophy system creates a hemispheric protected zone around armored vehicles such as the Merkava tank. It is designed to detect and track a threat and counter it with a launched projectile that intercepts the anti-tank missile.
Israel Military Industries (IMI) is also developing its own system, called the Iron Fist. Claimed to be capable of neutralizing all anti-tank threats, including kinetic shells fired by enemy tanks, the Iron Fist is in its final stages of testing and is predicted to be declared operational and ready for mass production by the beginning of the next decade.
The Iron Fist consists of a radar and passive optical system that detects incoming threats and destroys them within a fraction of a second by using a combustible blast interceptor. Unlike the Trophy, which fires off a large number of projectiles, the Iron Fist intercepts incoming threats by using a mortar-shaped rocket that destroys the threat by using a blast effect which crushes its soft components or deflects the incoming missile.
Rafael spokesman Amit Zimmer said the Trophy program was being "executed according to the schedule and requirements that were agreed upon between the IDF and the Defense Ministry."
The Defense Ministry spokesman's office said the program's schedule was continuing according to plan.
Israel to UNIFIL: Stop ignoring Hezbollah violations of UN resolution 1701
By Barak Ravid, Haaretz Correspondent Last update - 23:51 15/09/2008
Israel on Wednesday issued a request to the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) to address Hezbollah's violations of UN resolution 1701 south of the Litani River in Lebanon.
Foreign Ministry General Secretary Aharon Abramowitz met Monday in Jerusalem with UNIFIL commander Claudio Graziano and told him Israel expects UNIFIL to submit more extensive reports on the violations and to stop ignoring Hezbollah's moves to repair their infrastructure in villages in southern Lebanon near the border with Israel.
Graziano responded "UNIFIL does not have proof of Hezbollah operations south of the Litani, and if Israel does have such intelligence, they are welcome to send it to us." Graziano added that UNIFIL is doing all that it can to police Hezbollah, but is constrained by their rules of engagement in the field.
Graziano's request came despite Israel's repeated submissions to UNIFIL of intelligence detailing violations of UN resolution 1701 by Hezbollah.
Monday, September 15, 2008
This bad news seems to support what many can feel:
War probe member: Half our recommendations still unimplemented
By Yuval Azoulay, Haaretz Correspondent
Sunday, September 14, 2008
Holiness of Jerusalem to Islam has always been politically motivated
Mordechai Kedar Published: 09.15.08, 00:47 / Israel Opinion
When the Prophet Mohammad established Islam, he introduced a minimum of innovations. He employed the hallowed personages, historic legends and sacred sites of Judaism and Christianity, and even paganism, by Islamizing them. Thus, according to Islam, Abraham was the first Muslim and Jesus and St. John (the sons of Miriam, sister of Moses and Aron) were prophets and guardians of the second heaven. Many Biblical legends ("asatir al-awwalin",) which were familiar to the pagan Arabs before the dawn of Islam, underwent an Islamic conversion, and the Koran as well as the Hadith (the Islamic oral tradition), are replete with them.
Islamization was practiced on places as well as persons: Mecca and the holy stone - al-Ka'bah - were holy sites of the pre-Islamic pagan Arabs. The Umayyad Mosque in Damascus and the Great Mosque of Istanbul were erected on the sites of Christian-Byzantine churches - two of the better known examples of how Islam treats sanctuaries of other faiths.
Jerusalem, too, underwent the process of Islamization: at first Muhammad attempted to convince the Jews near Medina to join his young community, and, by way of persuasion, established the direction of prayer (kiblah) to be to the north, towards Jerusalem, in keeping with Jewish practice; but after he failed in this attempt he turned against the Jews, killed many of them, and directed the kiblah southward, towards Mecca.
Muhammad's abandonment of Jerusalem explains the fact that this city is not mentioned even once in the Koran. After Palestine was occupied by the Muslims, its capital was Ramlah, 30 miles to the west of Jerusalem, signifying that Jerusalem meant nothing to them.
Islam rediscovered Jerusalem 50 years after Mohammad's death. In 682 CE, Abd Allah ibn al-Zubayr rebelled
against the Islamic rulers in Damascus, conquered Mecca and prevented pilgrims from reaching Mecca for the Hajj. Abd al-Malik, the Umayyad Calif, needed an alternative site for the pilgrimage and settled on Jerusalem which was then under his control. In order to justify this choice, a verse from the Koran was chosen (17,1 = sura 17, verse,) which states (translation by Majid Fakhri):
"Glory to Him who caused His servant to travel by night from the Sacred Mosque to the Farthest Mosque, whose precincts We have blessed, in order to show him some of Our Signs, He is indeed the All-Hearing, the All-Seeing. "
The meaning ascribed to this verse is that "the furthest mosque" (al-masgid al-aqsa) is in Jerusalem and that Mohammad was conveyed there one night (although at that time the journey took three days by camel,) on the back of al-Buraq, a magical horse with the head of a woman, wings of an eagle, the tail of a peacock, and hoofs reaching to the horizon. He tethered the horse to the Western Wall of the Temple Mount and from there ascended to the seventh heaven together with the angel Gabriel. On his way he met the prophets of other religions who are the guardians of heaven.
Thus Islam tries to gain legitimacy over other, older religions, by creating a scene in which the former prophets agree to Mohammad's mastery, thus making him Khatam al-Anbiya ("the Seal of the Prophets".)
Not surprisingly, this miraculous account contradicts a number of the tenets of Islam: How can a living man of flesh and blood ascend to heaven? How can a mythical creature carry a mortal to a real destination? Questions such as these have caused orthodox Muslim thinkers to conclude that the nocturnal journey was a dream of Mohammad's. The journey and the ascent serves Islam to "go one better" than the Bible: Moses "only" went up to Mount Sinai, in the middle of nowhere, and drew close to heaven, whereas Mohammad went all the way up to Allah, and from Jerusalem itself.
What are the difficulties with the belief that the al-Aqsa mosque described in Islamic tradition is located in Jerusalem? For one, the people of Mecca, who knew Muhammad well, did not believe this story. Only Abu Bakr, (later the first Calif,) believed him and thus was called al-Siddiq ("the believer".)
The second difficulty is that Islamic tradition tells us that al-Aqsa mosque is near Mecca on the Arabian Peninsula. This was unequivocally stated in "Kitab al-Maghazi," a book by the Muslim historian and geographer al-Waqidi. According to al-Waqidi, there were two "masjeds" (places of prayer) in al-Gi'irranah, a village between Mecca and Ta'if - one was "the closer mosque" (al-masjid al-adna) and the other was "the further mosque" (al-masjid al-aqsa,) and Muhammad would pray there when he went out of town.
This description by al-Waqidi which is supported by a chain of authorities (isnad) was not "convenient" for the Islamic propaganda of the 7th Century. In order to establish a basis for the awareness of the "holiness" of Jerusalem in Islam, the Califs of the Ummayad dynasty invented many "traditions" upholding the value of Jerusalem, which would justify pilgrimage to Jerusalem for the faithful Muslims. Thus was al-Masjid al-Aqsa "transported" to Jerusalem. It should be noted that Saladin also adopted the myth of al-Aqsa and those "traditions" in order to recruit and inflame the Muslim warriors against the Crusaders in the 12th Century.
Must Judaism defer to Islamic myths?
Another aim of the Islamization of Jerusalem was to undermine the legitimacy of the older religions, Judaism and Christianity, which consider Jerusalem to be a holy city. Islam is presented as the only legitimate religion, destined to replace the other two, because they had changed and distorted the Word of God, each in its turn.
Though Judaism and Christianity can exist side by side in Jerusalem, Islam regards both of them as betrayals of Allah and his teachings, and has always done, and will continue to do, all in its power to expel both of them from this city. It is interesting to note that this expulsion is retroactive: The Islamic broadcasters of the Palestinian radio stations consistently make it a point to claim that the Jews never had a temple on the Temple Mount and certainly not two temples. (Where, then, according to them, did Jesus preach?)
Yasser Arafat, himself a secular person (ask Hamas!), did exactly what the Califs of the Umayyad dynasty did 1300 years ago: He marshaled the holiness of Jerusalem to serve his political ends. He must not have given control of Jerusalem over to the Jews since according to Islam they are impure and the wrath of Allah is upon them. Moreover, the Jews are the sons of monkeys and pigs. The Jews are those who distorted the holy writings which were revealed to them and denied God's signs. Since they violated the covenant with their God, He cursed them and they are forever the inheritors of hell. So how could Arafat hand over Jerusalem to the Jews?
The Palestinian media these days are full of messages of Jihad, calling to broaden the national-political war between Israel and the Palestinians into a religious-Islamic war between Jews and Muslims. For them, Christianity is no better than Judaism, since both "forfeited" their right to rule over Jerusalem. Only Islam - Din al-Haqq ("the Religion of Truth") - has this right, and forever.
Since the holiness of Jerusalem to Islam has always been, and still is, no more than a politically motivated holiness, any Muslim leader or ruler would be putting his political head on the block should he give it up. Must Judaism and Christianity defer to myths related in Islamic texts or envisioned in Mohammad's dreams, long after Jerusalem was established as the ancient, true center of these two religions, which preceded Islam? Should Israel give up on its capital just because some Muslims decided to recycle the political problems of the Umayyads 1250 years after the curtain came down on their role in history?
Dr. Mordechai Kedar is a lecturer at Bar-Ilan University's eptartment of Arabic
[Sept 14] Israel Defense Minister Ehud Barak ordered all Israel-Gaza border crossings closed following a Qassam rocket attack on Sderot launched by Palestinian terrorists, in a fresh violation of an Israel-Hamas truce in the Gaza Strip. The previous attack was less than three weeks ago.
The Qassam hit Sderot Sunday afternoor. It landed in a field in the Negev town and sparked a brushfire, but no one was hurt. Attacks were to have ceased following a June cease-fire between Israel and the Islamic Hamas, which established an illegal government in Gaza after a violent coup. The truce brought about a relative reduction in rocket fire, Before the Tayidiyeh (literally, "lull") rockets hit Sderot and surrounding communities almost daily.
The defense establishment will re-assess the situation on Monday, after which Barak will decide whether to continue the closure.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the rocket attack, but it was probably launched by Islamic Jihad, which has repeatedly declared that it does not accept the truce.
Last update - 18:10 14/09/2008
Olmert: There's no such thing as 'Greater Israel' anymore
On Sunday, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told his cabinet once again that the vision of Israel retaining the West Bank and Gaza Strip as part of its sovereign territory was over.
"Greater Israel is over. There is no such thing. Anyone who talks that way is deluding themselves," he said during the weekly cabinet meeting.
He noted, "During Camp David I thought that [then prime minister] Ehud Barak's concessions were too much, and I told him as much.
"I thought that land from the Jordan River through to the sea was all ours, but ultimately, after a long and tortured process, I arrived at the conclusion that we must share with those we live with, if we don't want to be a bi-national state."
Omar Bakri, an extremist Muslim Shaykh, threatened to murder former Beatle Sir Paul McCartney according to the
British Sunday Express.
McCartney is due to arrive in Israel as part of a world tour, and give one concert at Tel Aviv's Park Hayarkon on September 25. In 1964, in what seems today like a bizarre move, Israel's then puritanical government prevented the Beatles from appearing in Israel.
Omar Bakri threatened, "If he values his life, Mr. McCartney must not come to Israel.He will not be safe there. The sacrifice operatives will be waiting for him."
Bakri added, "Instead of supporting the people of Palestine in their suffering, McCartney is celebrating the atrocities of the occupiers, The one who is under occupation is supposed to be getting the help."
Predictably, McCartney was also been pressured by the Arab and Palestinian Lobbies to cancel the show, but has resisted.
"I was approached by different groups and political bodies who asked me not to come here. I refused. I do what I think, and I have many friends who support Israel," McCartney said in an interview with Yedioth Ahronoth.
The US will not sell Israel the large GBU-28 bunker-buster bombs, which could be used in an attack on Iran but it will sell Israel a smaller number of much smaller GBU-39 bombs. The $77 million shipment, which includes launchers and supporting equipment, will allow the IAF to hit many more bunkers than currently possible. Although each bomb weighs 113 kilograms, its penetration capabilities equal those of a one ton bomb, and each plane can carry four times as many bombgs.
The GBU-39 has successfully penetrated more than 1.8 meters reinforced concrete with a 23-kilogram warhead. The GPS-guided weapon is said to have a 50-percent probability of hitting its intended target within 5-8 meters, which should minimize collateral damage.
The Pentagon's announcement also said that the U.S. would help upgrade the Israel Defense Forces' patriot anti-aircraft missiles - which Israel uses as part of its missile-interception array. Israel will also receive 28,000 LAW (Light Anti-Tank Weapon) tube launchers for land forces. These were in short supply in the Lebanon war.
This is the Israel News and Commentary Weblog of Zionism-Israel Center. Contact: info(at)Zionism-Israel.com
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