Israel News | Zionism Israel Center | Zionism History | Zionism Definitions | ZioNation | Forum | Zionism FAQ | Maps| Edit

Saturday, April 18, 2009

London Times reporting Israeli Attack on Iran - yet again

It is spring, and London Times is reporting yet another Israeli attack in Iran. If it were up to the London Times, Iran would be a smoking ruin by now.
If you read closely, this story says a lot less than you think. For example, the advanced version of the Arrow missile mentioned in the story will not be operational for at least three years. And what do you make of this:
"The American defence establishment is unsure that the operation will be successful. And the results of the operation would only delay Iran's programme by two to four years," he said.
"Many of the leaks or statements made by Israeli leaders and military commanders are meant for deterrence. The message is that if [the international community] is unable to solve the problem they need to take into account that we will solve it our way," Mr Kam said.
April 18, 2009
Israel stands ready to bomb Iran's nuclear sites
Sheera Frenkel in Jerusalem
The Israeli military is preparing itself to launch a massive aerial assault on Iran's nuclear facilities within days of being given the go-ahead by its new government.
Among the steps taken to ready Israeli forces for what would be a risky raid requiring pinpoint aerial strikes are the acquisition of three Airborne Warning and Control (AWAC) aircraft and regional missions to simulate the attack.
Two nationwide civil defence drills will help to prepare the public for the retaliation that Israel could face.
"Israel wants to know that if its forces were given the green light they could strike at Iran in a matter of days, even hours. They are making preparations on every level for this eventuality. The message to Iran is that the threat is not just words," one senior defence official told The Times.
Officials believe that Israel could be required to hit more than a dozen targets, including moving convoys. The sites include Natanz, where thousands of centrifuges produce enriched uranium; Esfahan, where 250 tonnes of gas is stored in tunnels; and Arak, where a heavy water reactor produces plutonium.
The distance from Israel to at least one of the sites is more than 870 miles, a distance that the Israeli force practised covering in a training exercise last year that involved F15 and F16 jets, helicopters and refuelling tankers.
The possible Israeli strike on Iran has drawn comparisons to its attack on the Osirak nuclear facility near Baghdad in 1981. That strike, which destroyed the facility in under 100 seconds, was completed without Israeli losses and checked Iraqi ambitions for a nuclear weapons programme.
"We would not make the threat [against Iran] without the force to back it. There has been a recent move, a number of on-the-ground preparations, that indicate Israel's willingness to act," said another official from Israel's intelligence community.
He added that it was unlikely that Israel would carry out the attack without receiving at least tacit approval from America, which has struck a more reconciliatory tone in dealing with Iran under its new administration.
An Israeli attack on Iran would entail flying over Jordanian and Iraqi airspace, where US forces have a strong presence.
Ephraim Kam, the deputy director of the Institute for National Security Studies, said it was unlikely that the Americans would approve an attack.
"The American defence establishment is unsure that the operation will be successful. And the results of the operation would only delay Iran's programme by two to four years," he said.
A visit by President Obama to Israel in June is expected to coincide with the national elections in Iran — timing that would allow the US Administration to re-evaluate diplomatic resolutions with Iran before hearing the Israeli position.
"Many of the leaks or statements made by Israeli leaders and military commanders are meant for deterrence. The message is that if [the international community] is unable to solve the problem they need to take into account that we will solve it our way," Mr Kam said.
Among recent preparations by the airforce was the Israeli attack of a weapons convoy in Sudan bound for militants in the Gaza Strip.
"Sudan was practice for the Israeli forces on a long-range attack," Ronen Bergman, the author of The Secret War with Iran, said. "They wanted to see how they handled the transfer of information, hitting a moving target ... In that sense it was a rehearsal."
Israel has made public its intention to hold the largest-ever nationwide drill next month.
Colonel Hilik Sofer told Haaretz, a daily Israeli newspaper, that the drill would "train for a reality in which during war missiles can fall on any part of the country without warning ... We want the citizens to understand that war can happen tomorrow morning".
Israel will conduct an exercise with US forces to test the ability of Arrow, its US-funded missile defence system. The exercise would test whether the system could intercept missiles launched at Israel.
"Israel has made it clear that it will not tolerate the threat of a nuclear Iran. According to Israeli Intelligence they will have the bomb within two years ... Once they have a bomb it will be too late, and Israel will have no choice to strike — with or without America," an official from the Israeli Defence Ministry said.

Continued (Permanent Link)

U.S. will not attend U.N. "Durban II" conference on racism

Those who trusted the Obama administration to do the right thing are vindicated.
Will the others have the courage to admit their error?
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States will boycott next week's United Nations conference on racism in Geneva because of "objectionable" language in the meeting's final document, the U.S. State Department said on Saturday.
"It now seems certain these remaining concerns will not be addressed in the document to be adopted by the conference next week. Therefore, with regret, the United States will not join the review conference," said State Department spokesman Robert Wood.
The United Nations organized the forum to help heal the wounds from its last such forum, in Durban, South Africa. The United States and Israel walked out of that 2001 conference when Arab states sought to define Zionism as racist.
(Reporting by Sue Pleming; editing by Todd Eastham)

Continued (Permanent Link)

NCRI condemns Ahamadinejad's appeareance in Durban II conference

  Saturday, 18 April 2009
Iranian Resistance condemns Ahmadinejad's Participation in Durban II conference in SwitzerlandNCRI - The Iranian Resistance condemns participation of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, criminal president of the Iranian regime, in the Durban Review Conference of the UN World Conference Against Racism (known as Durban II conference) in Geneva, Switzerland. It also calls on the Swiss government, the UN Secretary General and all member states to oppose Ahamadinejad's visit to Switzerland and his participation in the conference.
Ahmadinejad along with the regime's Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, are the most outstanding symbols of racism in the world. They have committed crimes against ethnic minorities and different races in Iran and ordered their suppression. His participation in the conference would only serve to discredit the conference.
Khamenei and his president are on the top of the list of those who should be tried for war crimes, crimes against humanity as well as suppression and discrimination against minorities.
The clerical regime with its president is the biggest enemy of peace and tranquility in the region and world over for terrorist meddling in the Middle East on one hand and efforts to acquire nuclear weapons on the other and it should not be allowed to exploit international conferences as a platform to press forward its ominous policies.
Secretariat of the National Council of Resistance of Iran
April 18, 2009

Continued (Permanent Link)

Gay hell in Muslim Iraq

By Jim Muir
BBC News, Baghdad

Mobile video of gay abuse
Mobile footage of gays being abused is being widely circulated in Iraq

Grainy footage taken on a mobile phone and widely distributed around Baghdad shows a terrified young Iraqi boy cowering and whimpering as men with a stick force him to strip, revealing women's underwear beneath his dishdasha (Arab robe).

"Why are you dressed as a girl?" roars one of the men, brandishing his stick as the youth removes his brassiere.

The sobbing boy, who appears to be about 12, tries to explain that his family made him do it to earn money, as they have no other source of income.

The scene, apparently filmed in a police post, reinforced reports of a campaign against gays in Iraq which activists say has claimed the lives of more than 60 since December.

In the latest manifestation of the campaign, posters have appeared on walls in the poor Shia suburb of Sadr City in eastern Baghdad, listing alleged homosexuals by name and threatening to kill them.

Those named have gone underground, while gays throughout the city and in some other parts of the country also live in fear.

The phenomenon seems mainly to be affecting Shia neighbourhoods, where a number of clerics have given sermons seen as homophobic incitement.

Mobile video of police abusing a hermaphrodite
Another case of Iraqi police molesting a hermaphrodite

In Sadr City, Sheikh Jassem al-Mutairi used his Friday sermon to attack what he called "new private practices by some men who dress like women, and are effeminate".

He called on families to prevent their youngsters from following such a lifestyle.

Police sources say that in the past month alone, the bodies of six young men have been found in Sadr City, some with placards labelling them "perverts" or "puppies", the derogatory Iraqi term for gays.

"The campaign started in 2004, but now it's very much worse," said a Baghdad gay who goes by the name of Surour. He talked to the BBC on condition of anonymity.

"They kill the gays, they beat them up… I have a lot of friends that have been killed - 15 or 16, something like that, too much."

"Life has become like hell, believe me, like hell. Whenever I go anywhere, there are checkpoints, and when they see us, they know about us, they detain us and question us, and they want to touch me, yes, to molest me."

As though to underline the accusation, another piece of mobile phone footage circulating in Baghdad shows a group of uniformed police harassing a hermaphrodite they have caught at a checkpoint, obliging him to expose his well-developed breasts which are then gleefully manhandled and kissed.

One Iraqi gay who fled the country last week said he was detained for three weeks and beaten until a bribe of $5,000 (£3,380) raised by friends bought his release.

Clerical cue

Gay activists believe the campaign emerged as police, militias and tribes took their cue from the clerics.

But officials in all categories deny that they support the persecution or killing of gays.

"The Interior Ministry has no policy of arresting gays just for being gay," said Brigadier Diah Sahi, head of the Iraqi police's Criminal Investigation Department.

"There's no law to justify it, unless they commit indecent acts in public."

"It's a psychological problem in any case. Arresting people and putting them in jail isn't going to change anything," he added.

A Shia cleric in central Baghdad's Kerrada district, Shaikh Sadeq al-Zair, said he saw many young men dressing more effeminately than women.

"It's a phenomenon which has to be combated, but through treatment," he said.

"If these people are sick, they should be given therapy. But violence is rejected by all religions, especially by Islam, which is a religion of mercy."

A spokesman of the Sadrist movement - followers of the militant young cleric Moqtada Sadr whose Mehdi Army militia used to rule Sadr City - also said that there was nothing in Islam to say that gays should be killed.

But they are being killed, and the Shia militias are among the most oft-cited suspects.

Family honour

In some cases, it is believed that their own families are killing gays, out of shame for their behaviour.

Brigadier Diah Sahi says Iraq has no policy of arresting gays

"In Sadr City, four of those who died were killed by their own families, because they think it is better for their name, for their honour," said Surour.

Gays admit that their problem is as much with their own society and families as with the authorities, police or militias.

But the Iraqi government appears to be slow to take the lead in discouraging the homophobic campaign.

Amnesty International, which believes at least 25 alleged gays have been killed in Baghdad in the last few weeks, wrote to the Iraqi government last week seeking "urgent and concerted action" to bring the culprits to justice and protect the gay community.

The appeal has so far brought no response, and the government has yet to comment on the killings or take any visible action to combat them.

Continued (Permanent Link)

Iran's gift to USA: US journalist jailed for eight years

This is obviously another good will gesture of the Iranian government, responding to the US diplomatic offensive.
An Iranian-American journalist branded a US spy has been jailed for eight years by Iran, her lawyer says.
Roxana Saberi, 31, was arrested in January and went on trial this week.
She worked briefly for the BBC three years ago, and has also worked for the American public radio network NPR and the TV network Fox News.
Ms Saberi originally faced the less serious accusation of buying alcohol, then of working as a journalist without a valid press card.
"She has been sentenced to eight years ... I will appeal," Ms Saberi's lawyer Abdolsamad Khorramshahi told the Reuters news agency.
The US has previously expressed its concern at Ms Saberi's detention, dismissing allegations against her as "baseless".
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has demanded her release.
A US-Iranian national, Ms Saberi has spent six years in Iran studying and writing a book.
Her arrest and trial has coincided with speculation about a thaw in US-Iranian relations, with US President Barack Obama offering a dialogue with Tehran on a range of issues.

Continued (Permanent Link)

Final Durban II text - Same old, Same old

Earlier reports about this "sanitized" text omitted the key information - the endorsement of the previous Durban conference (anti-Israel) resolutions is still in the document.
New "Durban II" text includes language opposed by Israel
Apr. 17, 2009
Hilary Leila Kreiger, staff and ap , THE JERUSALEM POST
The United Nations released its final revisions to the outcome document for its conference against racism late Friday, but kept intact sections that the US said would cause it to boycott the meetings.
The document retained its reaffirmation of the text endorsed during the first World Conference Against Racism in Durban, South Africa in 2001, which singled out Israel for criticism.
That 2001 meeting, which ended four days before 9/11, was dominated by quarrels over the Middle East and the legacy of slavery. Several delegates condemned Israel and anti-Israel demonstrations broke out at a parallel conference of non-governmental organizations.
The United States and Israel walked out midway through the Durban conference over a draft resolution that singled out Israel for criticism and likened Zionism to racism.
The US has joined Israel in objecting to the reference, as well as language declaring that "incitement to racial discrimination" is illegal, which America fears would limit free speech.
The changes made Friday followed a similar draft that came out Wednesday which also failed to omit the problematic text.
"We still need to see more progress and we haven't seen it yet," US State Department spokesman Robert Wood told The Jerusalem Post before Friday's version was released.
The US has indicated it wouldn't attend the conference, dubbed "Durban II," unless the necessary changes to the text were made, though Wood announced no final decision on Friday.
After the new version came out, US State Department press officer Andy Laine said that the administration had nothing further to say on the new document for the time being.
The conference opens in Geneva on Monday. Israel, Canada and Italy have announced they will boycott the gathering, and the EU is weighing its participation.
However, Reuters reported earlier Friday that the revised UN document does not mention Israel, Zionism, the Middle East conflict, or any of the other matters which have contributed to Israel and Canada saying they will boycott the conference and the US and the European Union threatening not to attend.
Among the high-ranking officials who will address the conference's opening session on Monday - which coincidentally falls on the eve of Holocaust Memorial Day - is Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Nobel Peace laureate Elie Wiesel is among the many prominent defenders of Israel who will be present.
Only around a half dozen non-governmental organizations are allowed to speak at the conference itself, said UN spokesman Damodaran.
Some NGOs will take part in panel discussions and other events on the sidelines of the meeting, he added. The rest of them have set up a number of demonstrations and meetings outside the United Nations.
Tovah Lazaroff contributed to this report
This article can also be read at

Continued (Permanent Link)

Friday, April 17, 2009

Did Mitchell tell Palestininians to accept Israel as a Jewish state?

Did Mitchell tell Palestininians to accept Israel as a Jewish state?

Many pro-Israel pundits have maligned US envoy George Mitchell. But please regard the following:
In meetings with Israeli leaders on Thursday, Mitchell stressed Obama's commitment to the goal of a two-state solution, "in which a Palestinian state is living in peace alongside the Jewish state of Israel", ending the decades-old conflict.
"That is our objective. That is what we will pursue vigorously in the coming months," Mitchell said
But did he say it to the Palestinians?
If George Mitchell told the Palestinians they need to accept a Jewish state, then he is a friend of peace and a friend of Israel. It is that simple.
Ami Isseroff
Last update - 21:19 17/04/2009    
Mitchell: A Palestinian state is a U.S. national interest
By Haaretz Service
United States special envoy to the Middle East George Mitchell met on Friday with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who told him the Palestinian people expect the U.S. to press Israel to carry out its diplomatic obligations in regard to the peace process.
After the meeting, held in the West Bank city of Ramallah, Mitchell said that the founding of a Palestinian state is a national interest of the United States. He specified that the United States is hoping the Arab peace initiative will play a role in bringing a Palestinian state to fruition.
Mitchell also said that a two-state solution is the only solution to the Middle East crisis.
Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said that Abbass stressed to Mitchell the Palestinian desire to bring a freeze in settlement building and said that Israel if does not accept previously agreed to diplomatic initiatives, it will only serve to strengthen extremists on both sides.
Mitchell is also expected to meet Friday with Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayed.
Mitchell's talk in Ramallah come after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu -- who opposed Israel's unilateral 2005 withdrawal from Gaza, arguing that it would stoke Hamas hostility - stated he wants talks with the Palestinians to focus on security and economic matters for now, not sovereignty.
In meetings with Israeli leaders on Thursday, Mitchell stressed Obama's commitment to the goal of a two-state solution, "in which a Palestinian state is living in peace alongside the Jewish state of Israel", ending the decades-old conflict.
"That is our objective. That is what we will pursue vigorously in the coming months," Mitchell said
An Israeli official said Netanyahu also told Mitchell that any negotiations on a two-state accord should be conditioned on the Palestinians recognizing Israel as a Jewish state.
Senior Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat dismissed that demand as part of an effort by the two-week-old Israeli government to dodge commitments made by its predecessor to negotiate thorny issues such as statehood borders, and the future of Jerusalem and Palestinian refugees.

Continued (Permanent Link)

Bayefsky statement at Preparatory meeting of Durban Review Conference


April 17, 2009
United Nations, Palais des Nations, GENEVA, Switzerland

The eyes of millions of victims of racism, xenophobia and intolerance are upon YOU, the representatives of states and the United Nations. And instead of hope you have given them despair. Instead of truth you have handed them diplomatic double-talk. Instead of combating antisemitism you have handed them a reason for Jews to fear UN-driven hatemongering on a global scale.

The Durban conference – allegedly dedicated to combating racism, antisemitism and other forms of intolerance – will open April 20th on the anniversary of the birth of Adolf Hitler without agreement on even so much as remembering the Holocaust and the war against the Jews. Your draft words on the Holocaust – the very foundation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights – have been narrowed to the barest mention from previous versions. And if the minor reference survives at all – it will be a testament to your interest in Jews that died 60 years ago, while tolerating and encouraging the murder of Jews in the here and now.

Furthermore, the draft before you demonizes the Jewish state of Israel and then has the audacity to pretend to care about antisemitism in a single word buried among 17 pages. Antisemitism means discrimination against the Jewish people. Since it is evident that almost none of you have the courage to say it, the face of modern antisemitism IS the UN – your – discrimination against Israel, the embodiment of the Jewish people's right to self-determination.

Over and over again we have heard a massive misinformation campaign about the content of these proceedings and the draft before you. We have heard the tale that this draft does not single out Israel, that the hate has been removed, that the fault of the antisemitism at Durban I was that of NGOs while states and the UN were blameless.

Perhaps you think that journalists and victims will not bother to read for themselves the Durban Declaration adopted by some governments. There is only one state mentioned in it – Israel. There is only one state associated with racist practices in it – Israel. And yet the very first thing that this draft before you does is to reaffirm that abomination, abomination for Jews and Arabs living in Israel's free and democratic society, and for all the victims of racism ignored therein. Lawyers call it incorporation by reference when they hope nobody reads the small print. The propaganda stops here. We have read it. We understand the game. And we decry the ugly effort to repeat the Durban agenda to isolate and defeat Israel politically, as every effort to do so militarily for decades has failed.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Chair of this Preparatory Committee also told us this week that the Durban Declaration in all its aspects is a consensus text. Perhaps they are unfamiliar with the Canadian reservations made in Durban in 2001 which state categorically that the Middle East language was outside the conference's jurisdiction and not agreed. Perhaps they failed to notice that one of the world's greatest democracies, the United States, voted with its feet and walked out of the Durban I hatefest? The Durban Declaration has never represented a global consensus among free and democratic nations. When the head of the Islamic conference treats Durban as a bible, in their words, it is more accurately a defamation of religions.

This week you decided which states ought to serve in a leadership role at next week's conference. Among them are some of the world's leading practitioners of racism, not those interested in ending it. You have also decided to hand a global megaphone to the President of a state which advocates genocide and denies the Holocaust.

So in a state of shock and dismay we address ourselves not to the human rights abusers that glorify the Durban Declaration or its next incarnation, but to democracies -- and we ask: Will Germany sit on Hitler's birthday and listen to the speech of an advocate of genocide against the Jewish people and grant legitimacy to the forum which tolerates his presence? What about the United Kingdom, the birthplace of the Magna Carta? Or France that helped to ship last generation's Jews to crematoriums?

You could have fought racism. You chose instead to fight Jews. You could have promoted the universal standards against racism already in existence. You chose instead to diminish their importance in the name of alleged cultural preferences. You could have protected freedom of expression. You chose instead to undermine it by twisted concepts of incitement. You could have brought victims of racism together in a common cause. You chose instead to pit victims against each other in an ugly struggle for meagre recognition. For those democracies that remain under these circumstances you are ultimately responsible for what can only be called an appalling disservice to real victims of racism, xenophobia and related intolerance around the world.

CONTACT: Anne Bayefsky, +1-917-488-1558 or +41 77 470 5689,; Vivian Hakkak, +41 78 740 2422,

Continued (Permanent Link)

Proactive foreign policy: Israel meeting the Obama challenge

..."Moderate" Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas has refused to recognize Israel as a Jewish state. From the beginning, that should have been the cornerstone of Israeli policy - Arabs, Palestinians included, must recognize the validity of the League of Nations British Mandate for Palestine and of UN General Assembly Resolution 181, both of which explicitly recognize the right of the Jewish people to self determination. After all, that is what the whole conflict is about. Once the Palestinians are will willing to accept international law, we can quibble about borders, refugees and other issues. President Obama's off-the-cuff remarks must be converted into a commitment by the United States to support the existence of Israel and its recognition by its Arab neighbors as the homeland of the Jewish people. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has already made a statement demanding that Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state. Too bad that demand was not part of Avigdor Lieberman's speech. It will be remembered, also, that Ehud Olmert made a similar effort and then mysteriously dropped it. This issue has to be a centerpiece of Israeli policy, raised at every opportunity. not just a sound bite to be used when the occasion seems to call for it.

Similarly, though it is not a prior condition for negotiations, everyone should be made to understand that Israel will assert the historic rights of the Jewish people in "East Jerusalem." The Palestinians have been allowed to establish a historical "fact on the ground" by dint of repetition: They have convinced at least themselves, and perhaps much of the world, that they have a "right" to a capital in East Jerusalem, even though Jerusalem was never the capital of any Arab state, and was not even included in the Palestinian area in the 1947 partition plan. Jerusalem was always known as the ancient capital of Jewish people, and the old city had a large Jewish community until it was ethnically cleansed in pogroms beginning in 1920 and culminating in the expulsion of the remaining Jews by force by the Jordanian Legion in 1948. Absurdly, a sizeable part of world opinion now believes that somehow "East Jerusalem" ought to be the capital of an Arab state and that Israel and the Jews have no rights there.

On these bases, when it is clear what is is being negotiated and what the end of the process will be for Israel, and it is clear that the agreements will be kept at least by the Fatah lead Palestinian Authority, it makes sense to continue negotiations. If they have any intellectual honesty, even the most enthusiastic proponents of "Annapolis" in the USA and in the EU would have a hard time explaining why Israel has to negotiate and what is to be negotiated with a partner that declares that its constituent groups - containing the same personnel who do the negotiating - are not bound by any agreements, and that the end goal of the negotiations is to destroy Israel as a Jewish state. But we can hardly expect others to agree with this point of view if the Israel Foreign Ministry itself has not advanced it at every opportunity.

Read the whole article here:

Proactive foreign policy: Israel meeting the Obama challenge

Labels: , , , ,

Continued (Permanent Link)

Netanyahu: Palestinians must recognize Israel as a Jewish state

This Deutche Welle report misses the point entirely and intentionally. Israel wants recognition as the state of the  Jewish people, regardless of any borders, even if the Jewish state is finally recognized only in a postage stamp sized area. 
The publication has willfully and malevolently mixed Palestinian refusal to recognize the Jewish right to self determination with a totall irrelevant issue:
Similar demands have been made of the Palestinian Authority in the past, but the body says it will only recognize Israel as it existed before 1967, prior to the Jewish state seizing control of the West Bank and Gaza Strip in the Six Day War.
The question is not related to borders in any way.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has demanded Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state. The call was made during his meeting with the visiting US special envoy to the Middle East, George Mitchell.

Similar demands have been made of the Palestinian Authority in the past, but the body says it will only recognize Israel as it existed before 1967, prior to the Jewish state seizing control of the West Bank and Gaza Strip in the Six Day War.
Meanwhile, stark differences between US and Israeli policies emerged during the first meeting between President Barack Obama's Middle East envoy and the new Israeli leadership which took office in late March.
Special envoy George Mitchell made it clear Washington is aiming for the creation of a Palestinian state.
"US policy favors, with respect to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, a two-state solution," Mitchell told reporters in Jerusalem on Thursday.
New tack needed
New Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman observed that past Israeli concessions have led to violence, not peace.
Lieberman told reporters that the peace process with the Palestinians "had reached a dead end" and that new ideas must be found.
"The traditional approach has so far led to no solutions or results," Lieberman said.
Mitchell is expected to travel to the West Bank for talks with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas of the Fatah party and other officials on Friday.
More rocket fire
Israeli aircraft bombed a house in the Gaza Strip on Thursday - the first strike in more than a month on the densely populated area. No casualties were reported.
The raid came one day after Gaza militants fired a rocket into southern Israel.
Both Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas have failed to observe the ceasefires they announced in mid January to end a deadly 22-day war.
According to a Palestinian rights group, nearly 1, 500 Palestinians, including 926 civilians, were killed in the fighting. Israel, however, disputes those figures.

Continued (Permanent Link)

Source: Israel to accept "two state" principle.

According to an article by Ben Caspit in Ma'ariv, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will tell President Obama during his vist to the United States that Israel accepts the principle of a two state solution (literally, "the two states" prinicple). He will try to wrap it up in caveats, conditions, economic envelopes and "goodies."  He will accept two states just as Ariel Sharon accepted the Road Map, with a raised brow, a wrinkled nose, but with no alternative, it will be inscribed and enter the political jargon of the region and the world.  The process of reevaluating the contacts has not been completed. Reports of a break are exaggerated. George Mitchell was happy to give Israel more time to complete its reevaluation. Agivdor Lieberman will shortly change his policies and will attend the meeting in Sharm el Shaikh, according to the report.

Continued (Permanent Link)

Thursday, April 16, 2009

African refugees in Israel

Foreigners in a Foreign Land—Refugees in Israel

By Ben Kaminsky
Epoch Times Staff Apr 16, 2009

While Jews all over the world were celebrating their freedom and their journey from Egypt to the Promised Land a few thousand years ago, hundreds and thousands of African refugees were walking a similar path from their troubled homelands to Israel.

Israel for them is a promised land, the only land in the area in which they feel they can be saved. Hundreds of them who have already arrived in Tel Aviv have celebrated this Passover in a unique event.
Passover marks the exodus of the Jewish people from Egypt from slavery to freedom. According to the Jewish religion, Jews are commanded to tell the story as if it had happened to them personally and not as a mere historical event. Jews are commanded to treat strangers and the weak segment of society with compassion, because they were foreigners in a foreign land, Egypt, where they were slaves.

Human rights organizations and activists have decided to show sympathy and care to those who, similar to the Jews, are journeying through Egypt into Israel to find shelter and security.
For years, thousands of asylum seekers originating in Sudan (including Darfur), Eritrea, Congo, and other troubled African countries are crossing the open border from Egypt to Israel in order to find new hope. Some of them have lost their families in genocidal acts in Darfur, some are persecuted for their beliefs, and some are politically persecuted by their governments.

It was reported that when trying to cross to Israel, some asylum seekers where shot dead by the Egyptian police, and others were beaten severely and arrested. Some asylum seekers were reportedly repatriated by Egypt despite the danger in their homelands.
In a special event that took place in a Tel Aviv park, human rights activists held a holiday feast for the African refugees, and used this opportunity to show their support and to raise awareness of the refugees' situation. The Israeli authorities seemingly fear a rising tide of asylum seekers getting into Israel, and therefore are making things hard on the refugees.
Yael Dayan, the head of the Tel Aviv City Council, is also in charge of the refugees issue in the municipality. She came to the event to show support. She says that the goal of the event is to "show the love we have also to people who are not Jewish and not Israeli, and it is kind of embracing the thoughts of freedom and liberty which this holiday represents."
She told The Epoch Times that the Tel Aviv municipality is assisting refugees and asylum seekers by providing free education for the children, and in supporting organizations which support the refugees. In the past, the municipality also ran shelters for refugees who had no place to dwell.
One of the greatest difficulties refugees are dealing with is finding jobs. Dayan explains that refugees who get permits to work are allowed to work only in specific locations far from Tel Aviv, in which work is hard to find. She blames the state authorities for not assisting the refugees, who even make it hard on them in order to not encourage more asylum seekers to come.
Some Africans who came to the event showed The Epoch Times their U.N. protection papers, which state that they are not allowed to be deported; but these papers do not protect them from being arrested, and they are not helping them find work when they have no work permit. They told about their difficulties in caring for their needs.
A Sudanese asylum seeker who has been in Israel for four months after crossing the border told The Epoch Times: "I am being treated very well. I am very pleased, but the only thing is that I can't find livelihood here, because they send us to work in all kinds of far places. I hope this problem will be solved." He said that he came to the event mainly to eat, feel the atmosphere, and to watch an exhibition that was shown there about the lives of the refugees in Israel.
Some asylum seekers in Israel suffer arrests and harassment by the immigration police. Often after being released, they are required to show up in the immigration police station, sometimes far from where they live, in order to register, which makes it very hard for them to make a living.
Many volunteers came to support, help, and participate in the celebration. Some of them are members of human rights organizations and youth movements. Many of the volunteers came from the Israel Activists movement, which is composed of Jewish youth who came to Israel for one year in order to learn about Israel and to volunteer, and also Jewish youth who have just immigrated to Israel.
Nat Kochan just finished his last year in high school in London, and came to Israel for one year as part of a program of his Jewish youth movement. As part of his volunteering, he has recently finished making a movie about the refugees in Israel called  Where is My Solomon.

"The purpose was to show the human side of the concept of a man in flight who is struggling for his life, and also to help to understand the details of their daily life in Israel," he explains. "For me, it is about basic human rights. Without the respect for human rights, Zionism has the potential of being an evil ideology."
David Davis immigrated to Israel from London in 2008. He is also a volunteer with Israel Activists and has decided to contribute his talent as events manager taking resopinsibility for making the event work. "I'm glad I could do it. I don't have money, but what I have is time."
"I think the refugee community in Israel is very appreciative of the help that they get," he said. He also said that in Israel, contrary to their homelands, they are not subjected to danger and severe discrimination, although he believes Israel is not treating them as well as it should.
"Human rights are the most important. I think this is the obligation of Israel as a country, which is virtually composed of refugees, to stand for the rights of refugees and support them in the international community—both for these refugees and for the refugees in the entire world. That's why they arrive in Israel—they feel that this is the safest country for them in the area."
Last Updated
Apr 15, 2009


Continued (Permanent Link)

More bad news about the Durban II conference

How sad, cynical and maddening will the Durban II farce become? An "anti-Racism" conference with a racist agenda is in a class of its own for racist cynicism.
The Durban II Snow Job: One giant leap backwards for humankind
The UN's idea of an anti-racism conference entered the final stretch today with the planning committee deciding Iran ought to preside as a Vice-Chair, Libya will serve as the Chair of the "Main Committee" running the conference and Cuba will be the Rapporteur. All three human rights paragons will assume their new duties on the first day of "Durban II" set for Monday, April 20th.

Although the flowers are blooming by Lake Geneva, these Durban II preparations are best described as a massive snow job. The UN had set aside three days this week to hammer out a final document to be adopted formally at the conference itself. But Libyan Chair Najat Al-Hajjaji adjourned the meeting half an hour after it began – despite the fact that half of the 142-paragraph draft manifesto has not yet been agreed.

Al-Hajjaji is serving as the front for the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) . Her not-so-hidden agenda is shared by the Secretary-General of Durban II, UN High Commissioner Navi Pillay. For Pillay, a native of Durban, South Africa, the Durban Declaration's stature is of biblical proportion. Sitting at the podium side-by-side, Al-Hajjaji and Pillay's strategy became painfully obvious to the hundreds of assembled diplomats and NGO representatives who thought they had came to talk about combating racism.

Their maneuver had two main elements. First, run out the clock. By adjourning rapidly, and probably for most of the next two days, the conference will be bound to start on Monday with the European Union at the table and the threat of a democratic pull-out gone. All UN diplomats are well aware of the fact that the EU will agree to just about anything when faced with the spectacle of a "failed" UN conference. EU members don't have the numbers to prevail at the UN if a vote is called and therefore feign consensus instead of appearing to be "losers" to the folks back home. They are also fond of the UN as a means to outweigh the United States 27-1. And EU states wilt at the prospect of being labeled former colonial racists (by racists from the developing world.)

The second Al-Hajjaji-Pillay/OIC-UN move is to keep all disagreements behind closed doors as long as possible. This way, the damage done to combating racism in the backroom negotiations will be in the form of indecipherable ambiguous UN-eze by the time it is a done deal.

When Al-Hajjaji clocked out 30 minutes after showing up for work, she asked delegates to pick up a new draft of the "Durban II Outcome Document" on their way out the door. Little wonder she wanted no opportunity for public discussion. Here is what can be found in the latest draft of the UN's new "anti-racism" bible:

  • Condemnation of "foreign occupation" – aka Israel-bashing. Foreign occupation is said to be "closely associated with racism, racial discrimination…and contribute to the persistence of racist attitudes and practices…" In other words, labeling the Jewish nation as the world's racist state is back.
  • "Defamation of religions" returns under a new guise. The document professes "deep concern" about "the negative stereotyping of religions."
  • More of the Islamic assault on free speech. The draft "reaffirms that all dissemination of ideas based on…incitement to racial discrimination…shall be declared offences punishable by law…"
  • More Iranian-driven references to "cultural diversity" – the diplomatic cover for the murder of homosexuals, judicially-sanctioned amputation of hands and feet, and the stoning of woman for alleged adultery.
  • Renewed emphasis on the "transatlantic slave trade" and total rejection of a proposed mention of the trans-Saharan slave trade perpetrated by Arabs and other Africans.
  • Additional emphasis on the adoption of "complementary standards" on racism and xenophobia – an Islamic idea designed to subvert the universal principles in existing treaties.
And lest anyone be under the impression that Durban II will go away come April 25th, the draft demands that the Durban Declaration be implemented or "mainstreamed" "in the whole UN system" forevermore.

Silencing public commentary on the abomination was not the only thing the OIC-UN nexus accomplished in the space of thirty minutes. Also quickly gaveled without comment was approval of 81 NGOs to participate in Durban II. Included among these illustrious "human rights" partners:

  • The Independent Jewish Voices – a network composed largely of anti-Zionists preoccupied with driving a wedge between Jews and Israel.
  • The Palestine Return Center which objects to the creation of a Jewish state with the tale of "ethnic cleansing of Palestine that began more than sixty years ago".
  • The Gaddafi International Charity and Development Foundation, headed by the son of Muammar al-Gaddafi. This fellow still insists that the Libyans convicted of the bombing of PanAm flight 103 were innocent.

The Obama administration has delayed a decision whether to come or go to this fiasco UNTIL the final hour. The opening sentence of this new draft still "reaffirms" the 2001 Durban Declaration which the US rejected the first time around for its overt discrimination and demonization of Israel. The administration has said it wouldn't go to Durban II if this Declaration was "reaffirmed in toto." Combined with the new allegations of racism against Israel, the President and UN Ambassador Rice have nowhere left to hide.

Other countries that might stay out, together with Canada and Israel, include Australia, Italy and the Netherlands. Australia has had a wet-finger in the wind for months. Italy is not participating at the moment and doesn't have any reason to go back with this latest travesty. And Dutch efforts to improve the outcome document have been treated with disdain. Still the Germans and French are pressing hard for a show of EU solidarity – the merits of Durban II and all those faux-"red-lines" they once espoused be damned.

On Monday, April 20th, the anniversary of Hitler's birth, an Iranian will be elected as a Vice-chair of a global "anti-racism" conference. In the afternoon of opening day, a genocidal Holocaust denier – Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad – will address a UN conference "against" racism. The European Union will sit and listen to an antisemite give a lecture about combating intolerance. And in the end most UN states will adopt a document incompatible with the UN's foundational principle of the equality of all men and women and nations large and small.

A good day for UN-based antisemites. A bad day for those who care about human rights.

Continued (Permanent Link)

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Bahrain condemns attempts to meddle with Egypt's internal affairs

Bahrain condemns attempts to meddle with Egypt's internal affairs
Bahrain News Agency - 15 April, 2009

The Kingdom of Bahrain has condemned on Tuesday attempts to meddle with
Egyptian internal affairs and violate its sovereignty.

The condemnation came during a telephone call between Bahraini King Hamad
bin Issa Al-Khalifa and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, state media said.

The King expressed during the conversation the kingdom's support and
solidarity with Egypt, noting that the security of Egypt is a common Arab

Talks between the two leaders also highlighted bilateral ties, Egyptian
stances towards the Palestinian cause and Arab issues in general.

Continued (Permanent Link)

Palestinians: No rights for Israel in East Jerusalem

This is the Palestinian position:

There will be no peace whatsoever unless East Jerusalem – with every single stone in it – becomes the capital of Palestine.

Yasser Arafat said to Clinton defiantly: "I will not be a traitor. Someone will come to liberate it after 10, 50, or 100 years. Jerusalem will be nothing but the capital of the Palestinian state, and there is nothing underneath or above the Haram Al-Sharif except for Allah." That is why Yasser Arafat was besieged, and that is why he was killed unjustly.

In November 2008… Let me finish… Olmert, who talked today about his proposal to Abu Mazen, offered the 1967 borders, but said: "We will take 6.5% of the West Bank, and give in return 5.8% from the 1948 lands, and the 0.7% will constitute the safe passage, and East Jerusalem will be the capital, but there is a problem with the Haram and with what they called the Holy Basin." Abu Mazen too answered with defiance, saying: "I am not in a marketplace or a bazaar. I came to demarcate the borders of Palestine – the June 4, 1967 borders – without detracting a single inch, and without detracting a single stone from Jerusalem, or from the holy Christian and Muslim places. This is why the Palestinian negotiators did not sign

This claim made below is false:

East Jerusalem is an occupied area, just like Khan Yunis, Jericho, and Nablus were. Its status in international law will never be anything else. Therefore, any arrangements regarding East Jerusalem are categorically unacceptable.

The truth is that under international law, according to UN Security Council resolution 252 of 1968, passed following the Six Day War, and reaffirming several previous resolutions, Jerusalem does not have the same status as the rest of the "West Bank" at all. Jerusalem is a corpus separatum that was to have been an internationalized area. It was occupied illegally by Jordan. It is a myth that East Jerusalem is "Arab East Jerusalem." Jews lived in the Old City of Jerusalem for hundreds of years until they were ethnically cleansed from Jerusalem in 1948. According to international law, there is no reason to favor Arab sovereignty in East Jerusalem over Israeli sovereignty.

Chief Palestinian Negotiator Saeb Erekat: Abu Mazen Rejected the Israeli Proposal in Annapolis Like Arafat Rejected the Camp David 2000 Proposal

Following are excerpts from a TV debate with chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat, which aired on Al-Jazeera TV on March 27, 2009.

Saeb Erekat: I am sitting in Jericho, in the house where I was born, four kilometers from the Jordan River, and there are Israeli flags from the Jordan River all the way to the Mediterranean Sea. Therefore, we are living under Israeli occupation. But let me say that Jerusalem has not been – and will not be – lost. 300,000 Palestinian citizens live in Jerusalem.


Jerusalem has not gone anywhere. Jerusalem is here to stay – in the same place throughout the ages. The important thing is for us to return and to liberate Jerusalem.


It is true that the negotiations continued for many years, but don't you know that President Yasser Arafat was besieged in Camp David and was killed unjustly, only because he adhered to Jerusalem, and because he refused to let the Israeli measures on the ground give rise to any [Israeli] right or any [Palestinian] obligation? The Palestinian negotiators could have given in in 1994, 1998, or 2000, and too months ago, brother Abu Mazen could have accepted a proposal that talked about Jerusalem and almost 100% of the West Bank, but it is not our goal to score points against one another here. Our strategic goal, when we strive for peace, is not to do so at any price. We strive for peace on the basis of an Israeli withdrawal to the June 4, 1967 borders, the establishment of an independent Palestinian state, with East Jerusalem as its capital, and with the West Bank and the Gaza Strip geographically connected.


There will be no peace whatsoever unless East Jerusalem – with every single stone in it – becomes the capital of Palestine.


In my family, we are seven siblings. My six brothers and sisters are in the diaspora. But this does not deny them the right to inherit this land. Ten million Palestinians own Palestine, just like I do. Our survival and steadfastness on this land, our wresting of an independent Palestinian state within the 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital – this is what we can achieve in our generation.


Let me recount two historical events, even if I am revealing a secret. On July 23, 200, in his meeting with President Arafat in Camp David, President Clinton said: "You will be the first president of a Palestinian state, within the 1967 borders – give or take, considering the land swap – and East Jerusalem will be the capital of the Palestinian state, but we want you, as a religious man, to acknowledge that the Temple of Solomon is located underneath the Haram Al-Sharif." Yasser Arafat said to Clinton defiantly: "I will not be a traitor. Someone will come to liberate it after 10, 50, or 100 years. Jerusalem will be nothing but the capital of the Palestinian state, and there is nothing underneath or above the Haram Al-Sharif except for Allah." That is why Yasser Arafat was besieged, and that is why he was killed unjustly.

In November 2008… Let me finish… Olmert, who talked today about his proposal to Abu Mazen, offered the 1967 borders, but said: "We will take 6.5% of the West Bank, and give in return 5.8% from the 1948 lands, and the 0.7% will constitute the safe passage, and East Jerusalem will be the capital, but there is a problem with the Haram and with what they called the Holy Basin." Abu Mazen too answered with defiance, saying: "I am not in a marketplace or a bazaar. I came to demarcate the borders of Palestine – the June 4, 1967 borders – without detracting a single inch, and without detracting a single stone from Jerusalem, or from the holy Christian and Muslim places. This is why the Palestinian negotiators did not sign…

TV host: Okay…

Saeb Erekat: This is the Palestinian position.

TV host: But let's return to Camp David. When you were in the meetings with Shlomo Ben-Ami… After two weeks of meetings between Barak, Arafat, and Clinton, which led to nothing, there was a meeting in which you proposed that there be [Palestinian] sovereignty, with arrangements in the Old City, including the Haram Al-Sharif. In other words, you proposed Palestinian sovereignty, with Israel playing a role in the administrative aspects. In other words, Israel would participate in the administration of the Haram area – unlike the "reduced sovereignty" demanded by Shlomo Ben-Ami at that meeting. In other words, you wanted to let [Israel] play a role, one way or another, with regard to the so-called Holy Basin.

Saeb Erekat: They will never have this. Like President Abu Mazen said in front of President Bush and PM Olmert: I am not in a marketplace or a bazaar. East Jerusalem is an occupied area, just like Khan Yunis, Jericho, and Nablus were. Its status in international law will never be anything else. Therefore, any arrangements regarding East Jerusalem are categorically unacceptable.

Labels: , , , ,

Continued (Permanent Link)

It's official - BBC's Jeremy Bowen is anti-Israel

 BBC Trust Rules Against Mideast Editor Jeremy Bowen

[Camera Press Release] Boston, MA - The BBC has determined that its Middle East editor, Jeremy Bowen, had violated the broadcaster's ethical guidelines calling for impartiality and accuracy. The finding is likely to amplify concerns that BBC news coverage of the Arab-Israeli conflict is largely biased against Israel.

The March 31, 2009 decision by the Editorial Standards Committee (ESC), a unit of the BBC's top decision-making body, the BBC Trust, comes in response to a formal complaint filed by the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA), and a similar complaint filed independently by a member of the U.K.-based Zionist Federation.

CAMERA's complaint charged that Bowen's June 4, 2007 article about the Six-Day War and its aftermath was marred by "serious omissions, exaggerations and outright anti-Israel bias." The detailed complaint came before the ESC after the BBC News Web site and Editorial Complaints Unit defended Bowen's article.

In response to the ruling, CAMERA Senior Research Analyst Gilead Ini said that while ESC's willingness to openly fault unethical reporting by Bowen is important and encouraging, it is unclear that the BBC will draw appropriate conclusions from its findings and take concrete steps to combat the broadcaster's chronically biased reporting. "Acknowledging the glaring problems in this article is a good first step, but it's only a first step," he said. "The BBC also needs to consider the wider implications here. Not only did the senior BBC reporter in the Middle East show bias in his reporting, but he also made it clear, while defending his piece before the ESC, that he thinks it's reasonable to report from the Palestinian perspective and ignore other mainstream narratives."

Ini feels that the ESC findings and, especially, Bowen's "outrageously deceptive" attempts to defend his report, explain the journalist's past biased coverage and cast doubt on his suitability as a BBC reporter and editor. "There's good reason to be skeptical of Mr. Bowen's reporting," he said, "and by extension, the reporting of BBC reporters who are subordinate to him."

CAMERA is concerned that the ESC, despite having ruled that Bowen's reporting was not impartial, is apparently not calling on the reporter to be objective in future articles. Its ruling states that it is not necessary for Bowen to have given equal space to different views. "All that was required was a clear statement signposting that there were alternative theses subscribed to by respectable historians."

This assertion is inconsistent with the BBC's Editorial Guidelines, Ini argues. "If Jeremy Bowen consistently promotes only one point of view linked to a controversial subject and fails to relay in any real depth other prominent and reasonable views, the result is biased reporting," he said. "This is true regardless of whether or not Bowen throws in a sentence 'signposting' that other views exist."

The ESC finding that "the article had breached the guideline on impartiality" came after an independent advisor commissioned by the BBC described Bowen's assessment of the Six-Day War as being "firmly of the 'New Historian' kind," and "unqualified by an acknowledgment that the opposite or 'mainstream' opinion might have some weight too."

The advisor had also consulted with mainstream historian Martin Gilbert and revisionist historian Avi Shlaim, who both agreed that aspects of Bowen's piece were not accurate.

CAMERA will soon be posting on its website key excerpts from the complaint and the BBC rulings.

Continued (Permanent Link)

Iranian Humor: " Iran complains to UN about Israeli 'threats'"

Iran on Tuesday urged the United Nations to respond firmly to what it described as Israel's "unlawful and insolent threats" to launch an attack on Tehran's nuclear installations.
Israeli officials, including President Shimon Peres, recently have suggested that Israel could use military force to prevent Tehran from developing nuclear weapons, as the West suspects it is doing.
Iran, the world's fourth largest oil producer, insists it is only interested in building reactors that peacefully generate electricity.
The Islamic Republic's UN ambassador, in a letter to Mexican UN Ambassador Claude Heller, said Israel was violating the UN charter and urged the international body to respond clearly and resolutely. Mexico holds the rotating presidency of the Security Council.
"These outrageous threats of resorting to criminal and terrorist acts against a sovereign country and a member of the United Nations not only display the aggressive and warmongering nature of the Zionist regime, but also constitute blatant violations of international law," Iranian Ambassador Mohammad Khazaee wrote.
The letter came two days after Peres told Israel's Kol Hai radio that Israel would respond with force if Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad refused to soften his position on proceeding with a uranium enrichment program.
"We'll strike him," Peres said in the interview.
An aide to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was quoted last month by Atlantic magazine as saying the government was weighing the military option.
Khazaee said the remarks were "unlawful and insolent threats" based on "fabricated pretexts."
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who has said that Israel should be "wiped off the map," has vowed to continue his country's nuclear program.
Iran said on Monday it would welcome constructive dialogue on its nuclear program with the the five Security Council permanent members - the United States, Britain, France, China and Russia - as well as Germany.
The Security Council has adopted five resolutions demanding that Iran freeze its uranium enrichment program, three of which imposed sanctions against Tehran. Iran has so far refused to stop enriching uranium.
In his interview with Israeli radio, Peres also urged Ahmadinejad to speak with U.S. President Barack Obama, who has promised to adopt a policy of engagement with Iran and has said he is willing to meet with its leaders.
Washington cut off ties with Tehran in 1980 after militants seized the U.S. embassy in the Iranian capital. Former U.S. President George W. Bush pursued a policy of isolating Iran during his eight years in office.
U.S. officials, diplomats and analysts say Obama opposes the use of military force against Iran's nuclear sites but is worried Israel, which bombed Iraq's nuclear reactor at Osiraq in 1981, might bomb Iranian sites if engagement fails.
If Tehran continues to enrich uranium, analysts say, Obama will have no choice but to support a push for a new round of UN sanctions against the Islamic Republic later this year

Continued (Permanent Link)

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Warrior Jews, not Worrier Jews

This was very well done, I think, except that New York might not be the real problem. What about Washington DC Jews (as in Theater J) and what about San Francisco Jews?

Center Field: Don't cry for us, New York Jewry

Apr. 8, 2009

Reports of distressed American Jews are stacking up faster than airplanes trying to land at La Guardia at rush hour. On a recent visit, lovely, passionate, pro-Israel friends shared their dismay. Some admitted they avoided talking about Israel because "it is too painful." The epicenter of the worrying - and the disdain - seems to be New York's Upper West Side, still the capital of liberal American Jewry.

The latest trigger, of course, is the anti-Israel backlash following the Gaza war. The IDF has withdrawn, Hamas' rocket fire has resumed, but the condemnations of Israel have intensified. The New York Times, the New York Jew's Bible, has fed this frenzy. The Times gave splashy, repeated, front-page coverage to rehashing the unsubstantiated rumors about Israeli soldiers brutalizing Palestinians, with no independent reporting. Days later, the damage done, an article buried on page 4 treated the IDF's defense as a "he-said, she-said" disagreement rather than a strong repudiation, not only by the top brass but by many soldiers who tried hard to minimize civilian casualties.

Good people should be angry with the Palestinians, not embarrassed by Israel. Inon, a 25-year-old law student turned soldier, saw an elderly Palestinian woman in pain during the war. When Israeli medics approached to help, they noticed her suicide bomb belt. "This is what we are up against," Inon sighed on During my two visits to the Gaza front, most Israeli soldiers I met mentioned "Hadilemot," the Heblish word for the dilemmas in fighting an enemy cowering behind civilians.

More recently, the lovely story about the Palestinian youth orchestra from Jenin that played for Holocaust survivors in Holon soured when the "moderate" Palestinian Authority shut down the orchestra, banning the conductor from the PA. The Palestinians denounced the conductor and any attempts at "normalization," which is also why Palestinians face death if they sell Jews land, and many "moderate" Fatah leaders still insist they never recognized Israel's right to exist.

It is not PC to acknowledge that we are dealing with a different culture and a murderous ideology - the resulting "dilemmot" are heartbreaking, horrible. I remain proud that under these circumstances the number of civilian deaths was far smaller than it would have been with any other army in the world - including America's. Yes, one wrongful death is too many. But given both sides' firepower (and Hamas has smuggled in another 70 tons or so since the war ended), that only a few hundred civilians died reflects Israel's moral and operational discipline.

AFTER 60 YEARS, Israel should no longer be on probation, with its legitimacy questioned in the world, or its popularity among Jews so contingent upon good behavior. American liberals did not question America's legitimacy even when they hated president George W. Bush. Yet many Jews and non-Jews repudiate Israel entirely because of one action, or one leader. Nationalism, patriotism, morality, usually runs deeper.

This Upper West Side discomfort suggests that if Israel is not the Disneyland in the Desert it promised to be in the 1960s, it is not worth supporting. Yet Israel is more friendly, pleasant and in many ways progressive than it was in the heyday of the kibbutz and Moshe Dayan. Israel today is remarkably functional. with a higher quality of life than New York Times reportage suggests. The headlines overlook the vibrant community life, the warm Jewish holiday observances, the Western comforts, the openness and diversity, let alone the scientific and hi-tech breakthroughs.

At the same time, yes, there are struggles. Ruth Gavison, the Hebrew University law professor and founding president of Metzila, a center for Zionist, Jewish, humanist and liberal thought, embraces the creative tension resulting from forging a state that is Jewish and democratic, that is moral and fights for survival. As Rabbi Daniel Gordis reminds us in his compelling new book, Saving Israel: How the Jewish People Can Win a War That May Never End, the "very name 'Israel,'" the name Jacob earned after wrestling with the angel, connotes "struggling, grappling, the interaction of the human with what is beyond human." Gordis proclaims: "The real challenge facing Israel is to produce a society worthy of its name."

As Americans - and Upper West Siders in particular - adjust to the startling new economic realities, more and more are recognizing that this prolonged, Reagan-Clinton-Bush "Never, Never Land" that is ending seemed to defy the laws of gravity, unrealistically promising a life without struggle. As a result, our collective moral conscience lost its edge - which the new age of austerity may revive.

Similarly, modern Judaism has been dulled. Many Jews have simply stopped "doing Jewish," because it was too hard, too distracting when there was so much money to be made and so much fun to be had. Many Jewish leaders fed this problem, watering down Judaism, trying to make Jewish life as fluffy as the rest of American life. But this unbearable lightness of being Jewish failed to compel many, who then felt if Jewish values were pale reflections of secular values, why bother? Traditionally, the rabbis taught about "the neshama yetara," the extra soul acquired on Shabbat. This weekly boost gave Jews a taste of redemption while steeling them for the week's upcoming hardships.

Too many of us - and I regret to say, too many of my prosperous, self-righteous, Upper West Side friends - have lost that extra soul. Since Yasser Arafat led his people from negotiations toward terrorism, my family and I have set an extra seat at the Seder in memory of one terror victim who is missed at his or her Seder; this year, I am tempted to set an empty place for New York Jews' deliciously constructive grit, for their neshama yetara.

We need warrior Jews, not just worrier Jews. Israelis should justifiably say: "Don't cry for us New York Jewry (and elsewhere). Our state, for all its challenges, is thriving. Our neighbors - and the world - need fixing."

The writer is professor of history at McGill University. He is the author of Why I Am a Zionist: Israel, Jewish Identity and the Challenges of Today and Leading from the Center: Why Moderates Make the Best Presidents. He splits his time between Montreal and Jerusalem.

This article can also be read at

Continued (Permanent Link)

Monday, April 13, 2009

Is Iran taking the USA for a ride?

Though I would like to believe otherwise, I cannot find any argument to counter what Rubin writes below, and it is very easy to find additional evidence to support his view.

What Iran Really Thinks About Talks

It's a game of diplomacy without sincerity.


On Apr. 9, Gholam Reza Aghazadeh, the head of Iran's atomic energy agency, announced that the Islamic Republic had installed 7,000 centrifuges in its Natanz uranium enrichment facility. The announcement came one day after the U.S. State Department announced it would engage Iran directly in multilateral nuclear talks.

Proponents of engagement with Tehran say dialogue provides the only way forward. Iran's progress over the past eight years, they say, is a testament to the failure of Bush administration strategy. President Barack Obama, for example, in his Mar. 21 address to the Iranian government and people, declared that diplomacy "will not be advanced by threats. We seek engagement that is honest and grounded in mutual respect."

Thus our president fulfills a pattern in which new administrations place blame for the failure of diplomacy on predecessors rather than on adversaries. The Islamic Republic is not a passive actor, however. Quite the opposite: While President Obama plays checkers, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei plays chess. The enrichment milestone is a testament both to Tehran's pro-active strategy and to Washington's refusal to recognize it.

Iran's nuclear program dates back to 1989, when the Russian government agreed to complete the reactor at Bushehr. It was a year of optimism in the West: The Iran-Iraq War ended the summer before and, with the death of revolutionary leader Ayatollah Khomeini, leadership passed to Ayatollah Khamenei and President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, both considered moderates.

At the beginning of the year, George H.W. Bush offered an olive branch to Tehran, declaring in his inaugural address, "Good will begets good will. Good faith can be a spiral that endlessly moves on." The mood grew more euphoric in Europe. In 1992, the German government, ever eager for new business opportunities and arguing that trade could moderate the Islamic Republic, launched its own engagement initiative.

It didn't work. While U.S. and European policy makers draw distinctions between reformers and hard-liners in the Islamic Republic, the difference between the two is style, not substance. Both remain committed to Iran's nuclear program. Former Iranian President Mohammad Khatami, for example, called for a Dialogue of Civilizations. The European Union (EU) took the bait and, between 2000 and 2005, nearly tripled trade with Iran.

It was a ruse. Iranian officials were as insincere as European diplomats were greedy, gullible or both. Iranian officials now acknowledge that Tehran invested the benefits reaped into its nuclear program.

On June 14, 2008, for example, Abdollah Ramezanzadeh, Mr. Khatami's spokesman, debated advisers to current Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at the University of Gila in northern Iran. Mr. Ramezanzadeh criticized Mr. Ahmadinejad for his defiant rhetoric, and counseled him to accept the Khatami approach: "We should prove to the entire world that we want power plants for electricity. Afterwards, we can proceed with other activities," Mr. Ramezanzadeh said. The purpose of dialogue, he argued further, was not to compromise, but to build confidence and avoid sanctions. "We had an overt policy, which was one of negotiation and confidence building, and a covert policy, which was continuation of the activities," he said.

The strategy was successful. While today U.S. and European officials laud Mr. Khatami as a peacemaker, it was on his watch that Iran built and operated covertly its Natanz nuclear enrichment plant and, at least until 2003, a nuclear weapons program as well.

Iran's responsiveness to diplomacy is a mirage. After two years of talks following exposure of its Natanz facility, Tehran finally acquiesced to a temporary enrichment suspension, a move which Secretary of State Colin Powell called "a little bit of progress," and the EU hailed.

But, just last Sunday, Hassan Rowhani, Iran's chief nuclear negotiator at the time, acknowledged his government's insincerity. The Iranian leadership agreed to suspension, he explained in an interview with the government-run news Web site, Aftab News, "to counter global consensus against Iran," adding, "We did not accept suspension in construction of centrifuges and continued the effort. . . . We needed a greater number." What diplomats considered progress, Iranian engineers understood to be an opportunity to expand their program.

In his March 24 press conference, Mr. Obama said, "I'm a big believer in persistence." Making the same mistake repeatedly, however, is neither wise nor realism; it is arrogant, naïve and dangerous.

When Mr. Obama declared on April 5 that "All countries can access peaceful nuclear energy," the state-run daily newspaper Resalat responded with a front page headline, "The United States capitulates to the nuclear goals of Iran." With Washington embracing dialogue without accountability and Tehran embracing diplomacy without sincerity, it appears the Iranian government is right.

Mr. Rubin is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.


Continued (Permanent Link)

Muslim Converts To Christianity In Egypt - is this going to happen?

Muslim Converts To Christianity In Egypt-A First?
April 13th, 2009 by Fred Stopsky

In theory, Egypt allows freedom of religion to Christians but there are limits as to what the nation's Coptic religion is allowed to do. Any Muslim is allowed to try converting a Christian to his religion, but freedom to convert ordinarily halts at the door of the church. Egypt's Coptic Church has for the first time issued a certificate of conversion to a person who was born into the Muslim religion and decided to become a Christian. Maher al-Gohari is seeking to change his religion on official documents to indicate he is now a Christian. This is the first time the Coptic Church has issued such a certificate. It is only the second time a Muslim has officially requested having his statement of religion changed on identify cards.
Last year a court rejected such a request by a Christian convert from Islam. Tension between Coptic Christians and Muslim continues in Egypt. Ironically, Muslims argue that Jews took the land of Israel from Muslims, but Coptic Christians predate Muslims in Egypt by hundreds of years.

Continued (Permanent Link)

U.S. leaning toward taking part in Durban 2 summit

Last update - 23:41 12/04/2009       
U.S. leaning toward taking part in Durban 2 summit
By Shlomo Shamir and Natasha Mozgovaya, Haaretz Correspondents
Senior U.S. officials in Washington and New York are leaning in favor of participating in the "Durban 2" UN-sponsored anti-racism conference scheduled to take place on April 20 in Geneva, diplomatic sources said on Sunday.
The diplomats, who share a close working relationship with the American delegation to the United Nations, informed leading Jewish officials in New York that Washington has increasingly become convinced of the need to dispatch representatives to the conference.

Israel plans on boycotting the conference for fear that it will turn into a platform for singling out Jerusalem for criticism over its policies in the Palestinian territories.
Leading figures in the organized American Jewish community have been lobbying Western ambassadors and European diplomats in the UN to dissuade their governments from participating in the Geneva summit.
A senior Jewish activist who took part in some of the discussions with Western diplomats told Haaretz that he would not be the least surprised if the U.S. indeed decides to send an official delegation. The official said that while the U.S. pledged it would not participate, it was not an adamant opposition.
Dozens of human rights groups and activists in the United States have petitioned President Barack Obama to rethink his decision to boycott the conference, expected by many countries to be used as a forum for criticizing Israel.
"The Durban Review Conference is one of the most important international platforms for discussing the elimination of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerances," the activists wrote in a letter to the White House.
"Given the brutal history of slavery and Jim Crow in the United States, your Administration has much to contribute to this discussion," the petition read.
"A boycott would be inconsistent with your policy of engagement with the international community... How can your Administration engage in any manner with the international community if it has no representation at the discussion table?"
United Nations officials said a few weeks ago that Muslim-backed references to 'defamation of religion' and criticism of Israel have been dropped from a draft being prepared for next month's world racism meeting.
Initial draft resolutions for the United Nations Durban II summit branded Israel as an occupying state that carries out racist policies. It now speaks only of concern about the negative stereotyping of religions and does not single out Israel for criticism, according to the officials.
The April 20-25 meeting in Geneva is designed to review progress in fighting racism since the global body's first such conference eight years ago in Durban, South Africa.

Continued (Permanent Link)

Gaza terror boat explodes near Israel Navy vessel

Last update - 10:17 13/04/2009       
Gaza boat explodes near Israel Navy vessel
By Amos Harel, Haaretz Correspondent and The Associated Press
A booby-trapped fishing boat exploded on Monday near an Israel Navy vessel off the coast of the northern Gaza Strip.
No one was wounded in the blast, which occurred after Israel Navy soldiers opened fire on the boat about 300 meters from the Gaza coast, near the Israel border.
The Palestinian vessel was laden with explosives, but was unmanned.
The blast was heard further along the coast in Gaza City. Local Palestinian media, however, did not immediately report on the incident.
Gaza's Hamas rulers have threatened in the past to use various means to lift the Israeli-led blockade on the coastal territory.
The Israel Defense Forces occasionally receives intelligence warnings of planned attacks involving explosives-laden boats.
Israel and Hamas have largely observed a fragile cease-fire in Gaza since the IDF ceased its offensive against the Palestinian Islamist group in mid-January.

Continued (Permanent Link)

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Arab discovers secret of Zionist conspiracy

Don't tell anyonje about this.
April 6, 2009  No. 2307
In an article posted March 26, 2009, in the Arab liberal e-journal Elaph, Jordanian-American author Dr. Shaker Al-Nabulsi criticized the Arab countries for rejecting normalization with Israel, in which, he argued they were motivated by negativism that is inculcated by self-serving political leaders into Arab mentality. Al-Nabulsi stated that it was Egypt and Jordan rather than Israel that benefited from their peace treaties with Israel, that Israel was disillusioned and disheartened by the Arabs' attitude towards it, and that it had no incentive to sign any more peace treaties with the Arabs.
Following are excerpts from Al-Nabulsi's article: [1]
If Not for the Arabs' "Brazen Negativism," a Solution to the Palestinian Problem Would Not Be So Long in Coming
"On March 26, 1979, Egypt and Israel signed a peace treaty. Thus Egypt - the biggest and most important state involved in the Arab-Israeli conflict - became the first country to have peaceful relations with Israel. This took the entire world by surprise, caused an upheaval in the Arab street, and shook the foundations of the Arab and Muslim world. This upheaval, however, was nothing but a commotion raised by a flock of cocks who fell into a puddle of water, scrambled out, and were now shaking their feathers dry. The Arabs, who are not used to abrupt rational turns of civilization, went berserk. They resisted the impending peace, embodied in the person of their courageous and rational leader, President [Anwar] Al-Sadat, who had restored to Egypt everything it had lost on account of Abd Al-Nasser's political and military adventures, which had [brought it] destruction and devastation.
"Although Sadat installed Egypt in a place it well deserved in both the Middle East and worldwide, the Arabs were engulfed by a mad rage that knew no bounds. Today, 30 years after Sadat's historic move, they have begun to come to their senses and regret everything they did to Egypt and rejecting peace [with Israel]. They are gnawing their knuckles in remorse over their past acts of lunacy: expelling Egypt from the Arab League (aka the Fools' Café) and transferring the Arab League headquarters from Cairo to Tunis; boycotting books by Naguib Mahfouz and films based on them; employing all sorts of ugly measures against Egypt and placing it on the same cup of the scales with their worst enemy, Israel.
"The Arabs rejected normalization [with Israel] because [accepting it would have been] a positive [move], while resisting it was a negative [move]. It is much easier to say 'No' in Arabic, [inasmuch as] the Arabs are a negative people. [Indeed,] if not for this brazen negativism, a solution to the Palestinian problem and the establishment of the Palestinian state would not have tarried these past 60 years. The Palestinians will never achieve anything as long as the Arabs persist in their fanaticism and negativism, [fail to gain] self-confidence, continue nurturing in their minds the culture of war, and are unable to form a correct and realistic view of the future."
"The Culture of Peace in the Arab Countries Is Nonexistent"
"Why did the Arabs act in this way in 1979 and thereafter - [as if] they were controlled by demons [destroying] peace and angels [instigating] war? The most obvious answer is that, in the Arab world, the culture of peace is virtually nonexistent, while the culture of war predominates, due to declarations by mendacious political leaders concerning [everyone's] obligation to support armed struggle. In their own countries, these politicians are plagued by social and political problems, as well as [the lack of] economic development - which [prompts them] to opt for supporting armed struggle, in order to divert their subjects' attention from the problems that keep piling up in their countries…
"Moreover, sponsoring resistance movements does these regimes a great service, in that it enhances their power and influence, and at the same time enables them to hang their various problems onto one hanger, which is Israel and America. This, [in turn,] desensitizes the masses and inculcates their minds with the notions that the West and Israel are weak, that Israel will disappear in the near future, and that a miraculous political figure is about to come and restore to the Palestinians their [occupied] lands. Thus, the culture of peace in these countries does not exist, nor can it be cultivated, due to a lack of education and free media that would instill into the citizens' minds humanistic values, which - as Lafif Lakhdar has shown - are the backbone of the culture of peace. Neither do these states teach the young generation to think independently, to reason realistically and rationally, or to free themselves from obsession with [political] affiliations and religious fighting.
"The policy of rejecting normalization with Israel pursued by the two Arab countries that signed peace treaties with it (Egypt and especially Jordan) is a hideous political crime against the Palestinians, which is being committed, [albeit] unwittingly, by the Arabs. This policy, which is promoted by Islamist and pan-Arabist streams and by the proponents of rejectionism and deception, is a political decision of unmatched stupidity and foolishness. This idiotic policy of rejecting normalization has proved of great benefit to Israel, which is manifested in a number of ways:
1. Israel has been able to convey to world public opinion the following message: We want peace, but the Arabs refuse it, even though the [Arab] rulers have accepted it.
2. Israel presents itself as a country which is harassed and in need of protection by the West and the U.S., since all the Arabs are against it. Therefore, [it claims,] the political, financial, and military support to it must grow rather than diminish or stop altogether.
3. Israel's extreme right, led by Likud and Israel Beiteinu, have proved to the world that they are right while the Labor party and those who signed the two peace treaties with the Arabs were deluded and made a grave mistake. This resulted in a greater number of declarations by Netanyahu to the effect that the idea of 'land for peace' no longer exists, and that if Israel agrees to peace today, it must do so in return for peace rather than land. What prompted Netanyahu to make this claim is Israel's experience over the past 30 years, i.e., since the 1979 Camp David treaty - namely, the rejection and reticence of the Arabs, which has not encouraged Israel to sign any more such treaties."
"Israel Has Realized that a Peace Treaty with the Arabs Is Not Worth a Fig"
"4. Israel - its government, its public opinion, its Knesset, and its media - has realized and become convinced that a peace [treaty] with the Arabs is not worth a fig, or the paper it is written on. Consider Egypt. It got back the entire Sinai desert and also Taba, without losing one penny or one soldier. Moreover, not only did it allocate the funds which it would otherwise have spent on the army and weapons to various development projects, but in the past 30 years it has also received [U.S.] aid amounting to hundreds of billions [of Egyptian liras] (approximately 50 billion U.S. dollars). Yet the only thing Israel got in return is an apartment in Cairo, which they turned into an embassy, and in which the [Israeli] ambassador and the staff are [effectively] imprisoned. [Indeed,] they can move around only under the protection of the [Egyptian] intelligence and security guards. Israel is forbidden to participate in Egyptian public life, even in book fairs. In fact, Israel has no part whatsoever in Egyptian public life, and the same holds for Jordan.
"So how can we expect Israel to sign more peace agreements with the rest of the Arab countries, and especially Syria, after its [disheartening and] bitter experience with Egypt and Jordan. And nevertheless, without a comprehensive peace and despite all the above, over the past 30 years, Israel has progressed politically, militarily, culturally, and economically - while the Arabs lagged behind. The Arab [policy of] isolating Israel has given it strength and triggered its advancement. Except for some Arab countries, Israel is recognized by the entire world. Israel's army has become the strongest army in the Middle East. Its annual per capita income has reached $18,000, which amounts to the total per capita income for all Arab countries put together, excepting the Gulf states. Culturally and scientifically, Israel is one of the top countries in the world… Three of its universities (the Hebrew University [of |Jerusalem], Tel Aviv University, and Haifa University) are ranked among the 20 best universities in the world, while no Arab university is listed among [even] 400 best universities in the world (Cairo university is ranked 401)."
"Israel's Success and Most of Its Achievements Can Be Attributed to Failures and Defeats of the Arabs and Palestinians"
"All this Israel has accomplished in the shadow of [Arab] hostility and the media war waged against it by the Arabs. So what interest does Israel have in peace with the Arabs, which is illusory and fragile, which it [must buy] with precious Arab lands, and which - I repeat - is not worth a fig, or the paper on which [peace treaties] are written. We can conclude, therefore, that Israel's success and most of its achievements can be attributed to failures and defeats of the Arabs and Palestinians. If Israel's opponent were not the Palestinians with their stupid cowardly leadership, but some other nation, it would have established an independent state a long time ago.
"[Who were these Palestinian leaders?] There was Haj Amin Al-Husseini (an Al-Azhar student, who was kicked out of the university during his first year), Ahmad Al-Shuqeiri (an mediocre lawyer), Yasser Arafat (a civil engineer working for the Kuwait Minucipality), and Isma'il Haniyya (an imam at a mosque) - while, on Israel's side, there was [Theodor] Herzl (doctor of law) and the Rothschild family (the world's gold coffer). It is noteworthy, [by the way,] that the Rothschilds gave Harry Truman two million dollars for his election campaign on condition that he recognize Israel immediately upon his election - and this is precisely what happened. Then there was Ben Gurion, the outstanding leader who ended the right-wing Zionist terrorism.
"Whoever reads my book Settlement Train - A study in the Palestinian compromise, published in 1986, will realize what a great number of golden opportunities to establish the Palestinian state have been missed by the Palestinian and Arab leadership. The Palestinian leadership put their stakes on the Cold War between two superpowers, the U.S. and the Soviet Union, and did not anticipate the sudden fall of the Eastern Bloc. [As a consequence,] in the 90s, they became dependent on the U.S. By that time, however, the U.S. had already been allied to Israel with a number of strategic treaties (beginning in 1967), on account of which it came to regarded as America's 51st state.
"In sum, as we have shown, it was the Arabs who benefited from the partial peace between Israel and Jordan, while Israel was the loser. Therefore, Israel will not sign any more peace agreements with the Arabs in the near future - and if it does, it will be with extreme caution and on demanding conditions. And peace be upon you all."
[1], March 26, 2009.

Continued (Permanent Link)

Jews for anti-Semitism

When an organization, regardless of its purported affiliation, supports racism, it becomes unworthy of the support of decent persons. That has to be true regardless of whether it is racism directed at Africans, Jews or Muslims. It must be true even. or especially, if the organization claims to represent the group it is slandering. Such organizations, and the groups and persons that endorse them, should be isolated and deprived of recognition, support and funding. A US 501(c) group that claims to be a pro-Israel group (though not just for Jews) in its mission statement but disseminates anti-Semitic propaganda, should lose its tax exempt 501(c) status, because it violated its mission. The KKK and Stormfront don't qualify as "pro-Israel" either.

Theater J of the Washington DC Jewish Community decided to stage a racist play and legitimize anti-Semitism. The supposedly "pro-Israel" "Jewish" 501(c)(4) lobby group, J-Street, endorsed the project. J-Street's Amy Spitalnick commented

The decision to feature Seven Jewish Children at Theater J should be judged not on the basis of the play's content but, rather, on its value in sparking a difficult but necessary conversation within our community. To preclude even the possibility of such a discussion does a disservice not only to public discourse, but also to the very values of rigorous intellectual engagement and civil debate on which our community prides itself.

As Jeff Goldberg noted, J-Street should, on the same logic, stage a reading of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

Let's be clear: This is not about "criticism of Israel." The play is about Jewish parents. Not Israeli parents. All Jewish parents. It represents Jews according to timeworn anti-Semitic canards. More: J-Street: Jews for Anti-Semitism

Continued (Permanent Link)

Abbas calls Israel's Netanyahu, urges peace moves

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Sunday telephoned Benjamin Netanyahu for the first time since he became Israel's prime minister and said they should both advance peace efforts, Israeli officials said.
Abbas extended holiday greetings for the Jewish Passover festival, adding that "both sides needed to work for peace," a statement from the Israeli prime minister's office said.
Netanyahu, whose right-leaning government took office on March 31, said "he intended to resume" talks and cooperation with the Palestinians for the sake of promoting peace, the statement said.
Israeli officials said it was the first contact between the two leaders since Netanyahu became prime minister for the second time. He last held the post from 1996 to 1999.
Netanyahu "recalled their past cooperation and conversations, and how he intended to resume this in the future in order to advance peace," said the statement.
Senior Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said on Friday Abbas had made peace talks with Netanyahu's cabinet conditional on it committing to U.S.-brokered understandings reached at a 2007 Annapolis summit, and freezing Jewish settlement growth.
Erekat's remarks followed comments last week by far-right Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman that the statehood talks launched at Annapolis were no longer valid.
Netanyahu himself has been more vague, saying his priority was to focus on economic and security issues instead of negotiating core issues such as statehood borders and the fate of Jerusalem and Palestinian refugees.
Netanyahu's stance could put him on a collision course with the administration of U.S. President Barack Obama, who called this week for a Palestinian state alongside Israel as outlined in Annapolis, and said both sides needed to make compromises.
(Reporting by Allyn Fisher-Ilan; editing by Tim Pearce)

Continued (Permanent Link)

Report: Broad Dutch initiative on the Jewish question: "Hamas, Hamas, Joden aan Het Gas"

[Amsterdam, April 12] Under the slogan "Hamas, Hamas, Joden aan Het Gas!" the progressive forces in Holland are evidently uniting with Muslims in a new broad movement to deal with the Jewish problem and encourage Muslim integration into Dutch society.
The Dutch Labor party's new initiatives regarding the Hamas organization and Israel evdently indicate that Labor's Martijn van Dam, along with Socialist party leaders, believe it is time for a broad initiative regarding the Jewish question as well as better integration of Muslims in Holland and more openness to their needs. The Labor party is going  to campaign for repeal of EU blacklisting of Hamas, and support a boycott of Israel until Israel agrees to negotiate with Hamas and accept Hamas conditions (see here). Hamas was founded  to fulfill the prophetic vision according to which the Muslims will murder all the Jews at the end of days. As stated in the Hamas charter:

...the Islamic Resistance Movement aspires to the realisation of Allah's promise, no matter how long that should take. The Prophet, Allah bless him and grant him salvation, has said:

"The Day of Judgement will not come about until Muslims fight the Jews (killing the Jews), when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say O Muslims, O Abdulla, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him. Only the Gharkad tree,  would not do that because it is one of the trees of the Jews." (related by al-Bukhari and Muslim).

Israel would apparently have to agree to this program under threat of EU boycott under the proposed initiaves. 

Dutch sources are speculating that the Labor party sees itself as a partner to Hamas in implementing the solution to the Jewish question. Dutch Muslims and progressives, including those who demonstrated under the slogan, "Hamas Hamas joden aan het gas" (Hamas, Hamas Jews to the gas) such as Socialist MP Harry van Bommel, are evidently supportive of the initiative. The video below records such a recent demonstration.

Click here if you can't see the video

Labor and Socialist party activists believe that this broad popular movement cannot be ignored and must be accomodated. One supporter is reported to have said, "There is no doubt that support for this cause is growing and if it is not accomodated it will become a dangerous source of social unrest. But Muslims and progressives will not be satisfied with cosmetic moves such as boycotts of Israel. We must undertake a broad campaign of rapprochement with Islam that also addresses the Jewish question and the unwarranted influence of the Israel lobby in EU politices. Among the Dutch measures regarding Islam and the Jewish problem reportedly being considered:

  • New legislation will make it a crime to criticize Islam or Islamic organizations. A source close to Labor Party leaders reportedly explained, "Criticism of Islam and Islamic organizations creates needless friction. We have only to consider the sad cases of Theo van Gogh and Hirsi Ali to understand that such agitation is undesirable, pointless and dangerous."
  • To raise the level of interfaith dialog and minority integration and make Muslims feel at home in Holland, Van Dam's party may propose that polygamy should be legalized, and that marriages to girls as young as age 9 should be allowed with parental consent  This proposal may be very popular among certain non-Muslim circles as well.
  • Another Labor proposal would legalize limited wife-beating in Holland. Labor party sources explained that according to Sharia law, it is a religious commandment to beat your wife if she is disobedient. Current Dutch law is racist, since it  prevents the proper exercise of the Muslim faith. Likewise, according to Labor party supporters, other laws should be liberalized, New legislation will allow Muslims to carry out punishment of homosexuals and adultresses in compliance with Islamic law, which prescribes death sentences for these offences. In the view of many progressives and Muslims, these are all matters of personal preference and individual and community conscience. Nobody will force anyone to have several wives of course, but the Muslim community should have autonomy to act according to its customs. Dutch law should not impose restrictions that are a provocation for extremists.
  • To show support for Hamas objectives, Labor will raise EU 50 million and equip an armaments ship to break the Gaza blockade and bring much needed supplies such as long range missiles to the Hamas.
  • To identify and isolate members of the Israel lobby, members of the Jewish faith may be required to wear an identifying yellow star They may also be confined to living in certain neighborhoods. This will help to limit their ability to spread their extremist right wing ideology and Islamophobic ideas. Socialist and Labor leaders are said to believe this is a responisble approach that will also protect the Jews against growing violence.
  • A boycott of Jewish shops and businesses to show solidarity with Hamas.
A broad consensus of European progressives who believe that the Jews and the Israel lobby have disproportionate influence is likely to support these shrewd political moves. Opposition is expected only from right wing extremist racists such as Geert Wilders.



Continued (Permanent Link)

Subscribe to
email newsletter for this site and others

Powered by

Feedblitz subcription
To this Blog only

You can receive our articles by e-mail. For a free subscription, please enter your e-mail address:

Preview | Powered by FeedBlitz

Web Logs & Sites

This Site

Zionism & Israel
Zionation Web Log
IMO Web Log (Dutch)

ZI Group
Zionism-Israel Pages
Israël-Palestina.Info (Dutch & English)
Israël in de Media
MidEastWeb Middle East News and Views
MidEastWeb Middle East Web Log

Brave Zionism
Israel: Like this, as if
Israel & Palestijnen Nieuws Blog

Friends and Partners
EinNews Israel
Israel Facts
Israel Proud Adam Holland
Middle East Analysis
Irene Lancaster's Diary
Middle East Analysis
Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
Israel Facts (NL)
Cynthia's Israel Adventure
Jeff Weintraub Commentaries and controversies
Meretz USA Weblog
Pro-Israel Bay Bloggers
Simply Jews
Fresno Zionism
Anti-Racist Blog
Sharona's Week
Z-Word Blog
Jewish State
Take A Pen - Israel Advocacy
Zionism on the Web
ZOTW's Zionism and Israel News
Zionism On The Web News
ZOTW's Blogs
Christian Attitudes
Dr Ginosar Recalls
Questions: Zionism anti-Zionism Israel & Palestine
Southern Wolf
Peace With Realism
Sanda's Place
Liberal for Israel
Realistic Dove
Blue Truth
Point of no Return
Christians Standing With Israel
Christians Standing With Israel - Blog

Encylopedic Dictionary of Zionism and Israel
Middle East Encyclopedia
Zionism and its Impact
Zionism & the creation of Israel
Zionism - Issues & answers
Maps of Israel
Christian Zionism Resources
Christian Zionism
Albert Einstein
Gaza & the Qassam Victims of Sderot
Zionist Quotes
Six Day War
Jew Hatred
Learn Hebrew
Arab-Israeli Conflict
International Zionism

Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel
Israel Boycott
Boycott Israel?
Amnesty International Report on Gaza War
Boycott Israel?
Dutch Newspaper Reporting: A Study of NRC Handelsblad
Hamas (Dutch)
Dries van Agt (Dutch)
Isfake lobby

At Zionism On the Web
Articles on Zionism
Anti-Zionism Information Center
Academic boycott of Israel Resource Center
The anti-Israel Hackers
Antisemitism Information Center
Zionism Israel and Apartheid
Middle East, Peace and War
The Palestine state
ZOTW Expert Search
ZOTW Forum

Judaica & Israel Gifts
Jewish Gifts: Judaica:
Ahava Products

Elsewhere On the Web
Stop the Israel Boycott


Powered by Blogger

Subscribe to
Posts [Atom]

RSS V 1.0

International Affairs Blogs - BlogCatalog Blog Directory