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Saturday, June 13, 2009

Fraud in Iranian elections

The results of the Iranian elections are hardly a surprise. As the connoiseur of elections in such regimes, Joseph Stalin, is said to have observed, "In elections, it doesn't matter who votes. It matters who counts the votes."
Since all the candidates had approximately similar stands on foreign affairs issues, the outcome of the Iranian election should not really be of much concern to the West or Israel. If anyone was so naive as to think that Iran is a democracy, it is their problem.
It is also naive to think that disorganized unrest such as that which is taking place in Iran now is likely to  topple the regime. At most, it will lay the foundation for a dedicated revolutionary movement that would mount a revolution at a more opportune moment. But contrary to mythology, revolutions can't just happen spontaneously in modern determined totalitarian regimes, because the regime has too many tools to disrupt revolutionary movements, demoralize their supporters and make opposition a practical impossibility. The Chinese regime could not be toppled by riots in Tienanmen. Even the Tsarist regime and the Russian provisional government would not have fallen without a succession of disastrous military reverses and the  determined  intervention of German intelligence on behalf of V.I. Lenin.
The disturbances will be blamed on Zionist neocons and American agents and the protestors will pay dearly for their folly. Wise people will keep their mouths shut and show sufficient enthusiasm for the regime.
Judith Apter Klinghoffer 


U.S. analysts find it "not credible" that challenger Mir Hossein Mousavi would have lost the balloting in his hometown or that a third candidate, Mehdi Karoubi, would have received less than 1 percent of the total vote, a senior U.S. officials told FOX News.

American "experts" on Iran are shocked, shocked, shocked Karim Sadjapour, analyst at carnegie endowment for international peace:

"I don't think anyone anticipated this level of fraudulence. This was a selection, not an election. At least authoritarian regimes like Syria and Egypt have no democratic pretences. In retrospect it appears this entire campaign was a show: (Supreme Leader) Ayatollah (Ali) Khamenei wasn't ever going to let Ahmadinejad lose."

Trita Parsi, President of national Iranian American council:

"I'm in disbelief that this could be the case. It's one thing if Ahmadinejad had won the first round with 51 or 55 per cent. But this number ... just sounds tremendously strange in a way that doesn't add up ... It is difficult to feel comfortable that this occurred without any cheating.

"If there is a fight in Iran and there are accusations of fraud and Mousavi declares himself a winner and you have numerous leading clerics and other figures recognising Mousavi, you are going to have paralysis and significant infighting in Iran. . . .

As can be seen below, the fighting has begun though it is not going to be easy. The Mullahcracy is not only brutal but technologically savvy:

Mr. Mousavi said there was an organized effort to block his campaign staff from communicating with one another and the public on Friday. The Ministry of Telecommunications imposed a nation-wide block of text messaging from mobiles. Mr. Mousavi's supervisors at polls were planning to report discrepancies by text messages.

Thousands of Mr. Mousavi's volunteer supervisors were not issued credentials by the Interior Ministry, which runs the elections, and were barred from polling stations, Mr. Mousavi said. Internet speed was slower than usual all day and by noon nearly all Web sites affiliated with Mr. Mousavi were blocked.

The campaign said that a group of people, who identified themselves as intelligence officers, entered Mr. Mousavi's campaign headquarters in northern Tehran on Friday evening demanding that the young strategists at the campaign, responsible for much of deploying new media techniques, leave the premises.

Mr. Mousavi's campaign lawyer, Mahmoud Alizadeh, said in an interview that Tehran's chief prosecutor informed Mr. Mousavi's campaign lawyer that security agents would arrive Saturday morning with a court order to shut down all their communication operations.

What next? That depends on the commitment and courage of Mosousavi's supporters. They are on their own. No one is going to lift a finger to help them and they know it.

See, BBC video of police response here

Continued (Permanent Link)

Report: Defeated Ahmadinejad rival Mousavi Arrested in Iran

We should not place too much credence in this report of a momentarily confused situation. Ahmadinejad and Khameinei hold the reins of police, army and political power in Iran, and it is unlikely that any protests will move them as long as the IRGC remains loyal to the regime. Mousavi's protest may be more valiant than it is wise.
Last update - 21:42 13/06/2009    
Report: Defeated Ahmadinejad rival arrested in Iran 
By Yossi Melman, Haaretz Correspondent, and News Agencies  
Iranian presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi was arrested Saturday shortly after he was defeated at the polls by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, an unofficial source reported.
According to the source, the presidential hopeful was arrested en route to the home of Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Nevertheless, it should be noted that were a number of contradictory reports from Iran on Saturday, in a large part due to the heavy restrictions imposed on the media in the Islamic Republic, in particular on foreign reporters.

It was also reported that former Iranian president Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani resigned from all of his official positions in protest against the results of the election, which Mousavi denounced as rigged.
Supporters of Mousavi, the main election challenger to Ahmadinejad, earlier clashed with police Saturday as authorities declared that the hard-line Iranian president was re-elected in a landslide. Opponents responded with the most serious unrest in the capital in a decade and charges that the result was the work of a dictatorship.
Khamenei closed the door on any chance he could use his limitless powers to intervene in the disputes from Friday's election. In a message on state TV, he urged the nation to unite behind Ahmadinejad, calling the result a divine assessment.
But Ahmadinejad's main challenger, Mir Hossein Mousavi, has rejected the
result as rigged and urged his supporters to resist a government of lies and dictatorship.

The clashes in central Tehran were the more serious disturbances in the
capital since student-led protests in 1999 and showed the potential for the showdown over the vote to spill over into further violence and challenges to the Islamic establishment.
Several hundred demonstrators - many wearing the trademark green colors of
Mousavi's campaign - chanted the government lied to the people and gathered near the Interior Ministry as the final count was announced. It gave 62.6 percent of the vote to Ahmadinejad and 33.75 to Mousavi, who served as prime minister in the 1980s and has become the hero of a youth-driven movement seeking greater liberties and a gentler face for Iran abroad.
The turnout was a record 85 percent of Iran's 46.2 million eligible voters. Two other candidates received only a fraction of the vote.
Protesters set fire to tires outside the Interior Ministry and anti-riot
police fought back with clubs and smashed cars. An Associated Press
photographer saw a plainclothes security official beating a woman with his
In another main street of Tehran, some 300 young people blocked the avenue by forming a human chain and chanted Ahmadi, shame on you. Leave the government alone.
Mousavi's campaign headquarters urged people to show restraint.
Interior Minister Sadeq Mahsouli, who supervised the elections and heads the nation's police forces, warned people not to join any unauthorized gatherings. Earlier, the powerful Revolutionary Guard said it would not tolerate any challenges by Mousavi's green movement - the color adopted by Mousavi's campaign.
"I'm warning that I won't surrender to this manipulation," said a statement on Mousavi's Web site. "The outcome of what we've seen from the performance of officials ... is nothing but shaking the pillars of the Islamic Republic of Iran's sacred system and governance of lies and dictatorship."
He warned people won't respect those who take power through fraud.
"I'm warning I will not surrender to this dangerous charade. The result of such performance by some officials will jeopardize the pillars of the Islamic Republic and will establish tyranny," Mousavi said in a statement made available to Reuters.
The headline on one of Mousavi's Web sites read: "I won't give in to this dangerous manipulation."
It was even unclear how many Iranians were even aware of Mousavi's claims of fraud. Communications disruptions began in the later hours of voting Friday - suggesting an information clampdown. State television and radio only broadcast the Interior Ministry's vote count and not Mousavi's midnight press conference.
Nationwide, the text messaging system remained down Saturday and several
pro-Mousavi Web sites were blocked or difficult to access. Text messaging is frequently used by many Iranians - especially young Mousavi supporters - to spread election news.
At Tehran University - the site of the last major anti-regime unrest in Tehran in 1999 - the academic year was winding down and there was no sign of pro-Mousavi crowds. But university exams, scheduled to begin Saturday, were postponed until next month around the country.
The state-run Islamic Republic News Agency reported that Ahmadinejad plans a public address later Saturday in Tehran.
Even before the count began, Mousavi declared himself definitely the winner based on all indications from all over Iran. He accused the government of manipulating the people's vote to keep Ahmadinejad in power and suggested the reformist camp would stand up to challenge the results.
"It is our duty to defend people's votes. There is no turning back," Mousavi said, alleging widespread irregularities.
Mousavi's backers were stunned at the Interior Ministry's results after
widespread predictions of a close race - or even a slight edge to Mousavi. Many Iranians went to the people because they wanted to bring change.
"Almost everybody I know voted for Mousavi but Ahmadinejad is being declared the winner. The government announcement is nothing but widespread fraud. It is very, very disappointing. I'll never ever again vote in Iran," said Mousavi supporter Nasser Amiri, a hospital clerk in Tehran.
Bringing any showdown into the streets would certainly face a swift backlash from security forces. The political chief of the powerful Revolutionary Guard cautioned Wednesday it would crush any revolution against the Islamic regime by Mousavi's green movement.
The Revolutionary Guard is directly under the control of the ruling clerics and has vast influence in every corner of the country through a network of volunteer militias.
In Tehran, several Ahmadinejad supporters cruised the streets waving Iranian flags out of car windows and shouting "Mousavi is dead!"
Mousavi appealed directly to Iran's supreme leader, Khamenei, to intervene and stop what he said were violations of the law. Khamenei holds ultimate political authority in Iran. "I hope the leader's foresight will bring this to a good end," Mousavi said.
Iran does not allow international election monitors. During the 2005 election, when Ahmadinejad won the presidency, there were some allegations of vote rigging from losers, but the claims were never investigated.
The outcome will not sharply alter Iran's main policies or sway major
decisions, such as possible talks with Washington or nuclear policies. Those crucial issues rest with the ruling clerics headed by the unelected Khamenei.
But the election focused on what the office can influence: boosting Iran's sinking economy, pressing for greater media and political freedoms, and being Iran's main envoy to the world.
Before the vote count, President Barack Obama said the robust debate during the campaign suggests a possibility of change in Iran, which is under intense international pressure over its nuclear program. There has been no comment from Washington since Ahmadinejad was declared the winner. 

Continued (Permanent Link)

EU Foreign Policy Chief Solana meets Hezbollah, legitimizes terrorist group.

Solana has opened a chapter in European history that will be remembered with deep shame in years to come. Hezbollah is a genocidal terror group, responsible for the deaths of European and American troops in the 80s. Solana's meeting signals that Europe is willing to cede Lebanon to the Hezbollah. Several UN resolutions call for disarming Hezbollah, but this was never implemented. Instead, a Spanish UNIFIL general boasted    

Last update - 20:40 13/06/2009     
EU Foreign Policy head meets with Hezbollah official 
By Haaretz Service  
European Union Foreign Policy Chief Javier Solana met with a Hezbollah official on Saturday, the first time that an EU official has met with a member of the radical Shi'ite organization, AFP reported on Saturday.
Solana met in Beirut with MP Hussein Hajj Hassan, a member of the organziation's contingent in Lebanon's parliament.
According to AFP, Solana responded to the fact that Hezbollah is considered a terror organization by the United States, saying "Lists of terrorist groups are not the same in every country".

"Hezbollah is a member of the Lebanese society and it is represented in the Lebanese parliament and it will bear responsibilities," Solana told reporters.
AFP quoted Hajj Hassan as saying that the meeting "means more EU overture towards Hezbollah, and one at a higher level. 

Continued (Permanent Link)

Israel pioneers hybrid solar/natural gass technology

First Hybrid Solar/Natural Gas Power Station Goes Online in Israel

No plans currently for Wigsphere conversion

Continued (Permanent Link)

Friday, June 12, 2009

Iran: The die is cast

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad seems to have swept to victory in Iran. Anyone who thought that elections would change the course of Iranian policy would have been wrong in any case, but the re-election of Ahmadinejad seems to seal the fate of the confrontation with the West. A different president would have brought a new style, if not new substance. Iran's concealed nuclear program however, was begun under reformist president Khatami, and would not be altered no matter who was in power.
By News Agencies 
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was ahead with almost 69 percent of the votes in Friday's presidential election, after 35 percent of the ballot boxes had been counted, election commission figures showed.
Ahmadinejad's main challenger, moderate former Prime Minister Mir Hossein Mousavi, had nearly 29 percent of the votes cast, according to the commission which is part of the Interior Ministry.
Earlier Friday, Iran's IRNA news agency announced that Ahmadinejad was re-elected in a nationwide election after the polls closed Friday. The official count is still not ready, but supporters of the two front-runners, Ahmadinejad and Mousavi, have claimed victory.

Mousavi said at a Tehran press conference that he was the clear winner of the votes but accused the government of having made numerous legal violations.
Iranians packed polling stations from boutique-lined streets in north Tehran to conservative bastions in the countryside Friday with a choice that has left the nation divided and on edge: keeping hard-line President Ahmadinejad in power or electing a reformist who favors greater freedoms and improved ties with the United States.
Turnout was massive and could break records. Crowds formed quickly at many voting sites in areas considered both strongholds for Ahmadinejad and Mousavi, who served as Iran's prime minister in the 1980s and has become the surprise hero of a powerful youth-driven movement.
"I hope to defeat Ahmadinejad today," said Mahnaz Mottaghi, 23, after casting her ballot at a mosque in central Tehran.
Outside the same polling station, 29-year-old Abbas Rezai said he, his wife and his sister-in-law all voted for Ahmadinejad.
"We will have him as a president for another term, for sure," he said.
Voting was extended by six hours to midnight (1930 GMT, 3:30 p.m. EDT) to allow those still in line time to cast ballots.
Highly charged atmosphere, blistering recriminations
The fiery, month-long campaign unleashed passions and tensions. The mass rallies, polished campaign slogans, savvy Internet outreach and televised
debates more closely resembled Western elections than the scripted campaigns in most other Middle Eastern countries.
U.S. President Barack Obama said Iran's robust debate leading up to elections shows change is possible there, and it could boost U.S. efforts to engage Tehran's leadership.
In a sign of the bitterness from the campaign, the Interior Ministry - which oversees voting - said all rallies or political gatherings would be banned until after the announcement of results, expected Saturday.
In the only violent episode to be reported, a campaign organizer for Mousavi said about a dozen Ahmadinejad supporters attacked one of his campaign offices in Tehran with tear gas.
No one was injured, and police quickly dispersed the group, said Saeed Shariati, head of Mousavi's youth cyber campaign. There was no independent confirmation of the attack.
The cyber campaign ran several Web sites and Facebook pages supporting Mousavi. Authorities blocked at least three of them Friday.
The highly charged atmosphere brought blistering recriminations against Ahmadinejad - whom Mousavi said was moving Iran to a dictatorship - and a
stunning warning from the ruling establishment. The political chief of the powerful Revolutionary Guard warned Wednesday it would crush any revolution against the Islamic system by Mousavi's green movement - the signature color of his campaign.
The outcome will not sharply alter Iran's main policies or sway high-level decisions, such as possible talks with Washington. Those crucial policies are all directly controlled by the ruling clerics headed by the unelected Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
But Mousavi has offered hopes of more freedoms at home. If elected, he could try to end crackdowns on liberal media and bloggers and push for Iran to embrace Obama's offer of dialogue after a nearly 30-year diplomatic freeze. He favors talks with world powers over Iran's nuclear program, which the United States and others fear is aimed at making weapons. Iran says it only seeks reactors for electricity.
Iranians around the world also voted. In Dubai, home to an estimated 200,000 Iranians, the streets around the polling station at the Iranian consulate were jammed with voters overwhelmingly favoring Mousavi.
"He is our Obama," said Maliki Zadehamid, a 39-year-old exporter.
With the race too close to call, a top election official predicted turnout could surpass the nearly 80 percent in the election 12 years ago that brought President Mohammad Khatami to power and began the pro-reform movement.
A strong turnout could boost Mousavi. He is counting on under-30s, who account for about a third of Iran's 46.2 million eligible voters.
In Tehran's affluent northern districts - strongly backing Mousavi - voters waited for up to an hour to cast ballots. Mahdi Hosseini, a university student, blasted the firebrand Ahmadinejad for degrading Iran's image in the eyes of the world.
Ahmadinejad brought Iran international condemnation by repeatedly questioning the Holocaust.
In the conservative city of Qom, home to seminaries and shrines, hundreds of clerics and women dressed in long black robes waited to vote in a long line outside a mosque. Ahmadinejad's campaign has heavily courted his base of working-class families and tradition-minded voters with promises of more government aid and resistance to Western pressures over Iran's nuclear ambitions.
There were no reports of serious problems at the polls. But a top Mousavi aide, Ali Reza Beheshti, said some polling stations in northwestern and southern provinces ran out of ballots, claiming it was a deliberate attempt by the government to keep people from voting.
Iran's elections are considered generally fair, but the country does not allow international monitors. The ruling clerics, however, put their stamp on the elections from the very beginning by deciding who can run. More than 470 people sought to join the presidential race, but only Ahmadinejad and three rivals were cleared.
During the 2005 election, there were some allegations of vote rigging from losers, but the claims were never investigated.
After casting his vote in the white ballot box, the Supreme Leader Khamenei urged Iranians to remain calm.
"As far as I see and hear, passion and motivation is very high among people," Khamenei told reporters. "If some intend to create tension, this will harm people," he added.
After voting at a mosque on Friday in eastern Tehran, Ahmadinejad commented on the high turnout.
Interior Minister Sadeq Mahsouli said reports to election officials indicate an unprecedented turnout will be recorded in the country's election history, according to the official IRNA news agency.
Mousavi voted with his wife at a mosque in Tehran's southern outskirts.
In the southeastern city of Zahedan - where a bomb blamed on Sunni militants killed at least 25 people at a Shiite mosque last month - there were no reports of tensions. The bombed mosque was used as a polling station.
The race will go to a runoff on June 19 if no candidate receives a simple majority of more than 50 percent of the votes cast. Much depends on how many votes are siphoned off by the two other candidates: conservative former Revolutionary Guard commander Mohsen Rezaei and moderate former parliament speaker Mahdi Karroubi.

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Bangladesh anti-Islamist pleads for protection from government terror

Questions to Mr. Robert Blake


Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Robert O. Blake will be arriving in Bangladesh on Saturday, June 13, for a two day visit. This is his first visit to Bangladesh as Assistant Secretary. He will meet with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Foreign Minister Dr. Dipu Moni, Home Affairs Minister Advocate Sahara Khatun, and opposition leader and former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia. In each of these meetings, the Assistant Secretary will discuss new opportunities for cooperation between the United States and Bangladesh. He will also meet with parliamentarians, business people, and members of civil society.

Robert Blake is a career Foreign Service Officer. Ambassador Blake entered the Foreign Service in 1985. He has served at the American Embassies in Tunisia, Algeria, Nigeria and Egypt. He held a number of positions at the State Department in Washington, including senior desk officer for Turkey, Deputy Executive Secretary, and Executive Assistant to the Under Secretary for Political Affairs. Ambassador Blake served as Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Mission in New Delhi, India from 2003 – 2006, as Ambassador to Sri Lanka and Maldives from 2006 to mid-2009, and as Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asian Affairs from May 2009 to the present.

Mr. Blake earned a B.A. from Harvard College in 1980 and an M.A. in international relations from Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) in 1984.

Great news! But, I would like to press here one question for Mr. Blake! During this Dhaka trip, will he show any interest on the point of state-patronized terror on the civilians of this country? Will he try to know, why Bangladesh government is continuing all forms of repressive actions on me just because I confront religious extremism and jihad? Will he try to know, why Bangladeshi government shows no respect to the US House Resolution Nu. 64? Will he ask his counterparts in Bangladesh as to why Bangladeshi government is continuing repression on press?

For the kind information of Mr. Robert Blake, Bangladesh government has been totally silent when unknown men claiming to be 'intelligence people' are continuing to chase my car, watch my house and even threatening me over phone, saying the government was 'following' me. Why the government should follow me? Am I a criminal? Is it a crime for any individual to confront killing of Jews and Christians in the name of jihad? Is it a crime for any individual to demand relations between his country and the democratic nation of Israel? Is it a crime to confront hate speech?

These 'intelligence people' are doing everything to frighten my neighborhood by continuing to watch my house from every corner, asking questions to my neighbors about who am I and what I do etc. etc.. etc...

Many of my neighbors are even reporting to me that these intelligence people are harrassing them for being my neighbor.

I contacted a number of intelligence officials and none ever came back to me with any response as to whether these people are sent by them.

Mr. Blake possibly will know that, jihadists are being breeded in thousands of madrassas in the Muslim nations. They are poisoned with the the indoctrination of hating United States, Israel, Jews and Christians as 'enemies of Islam'.

Mr. Robert Blake, you will be happy to know that majority of the people in Bangladesh are peaceloving. They do not support religious extremism. When JMB kingpins were nabbed in the country, people were celebrating it. When they were hanged, the entire country was satisfied to witness this. Bangladesh is truly a peace-loving nation. Only point is, we need our governments to understand the minds of the people. Our governments should stop appeasing the Islamists and religious fanatics.


Continued (Permanent Link)

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Following Holocaust Museum shooting, hundreds hold vigil against racism

There are numerous groups and Web sites like the one that inspired the attack on the Holocaust museum. Each such attack is carefully nurtured by these people.

Hundreds hold vigil against racism

Jun. 12, 2009

Scores of mourning staff members, Jewish community representatives and interfaith leaders gathered at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum on Thursday to stand against bigotry and hate and express support for the family of a security guard killed by a white supremacist a day earlier.

Holding memorial candles and standing in somber reflection, the hundreds-strong crowd filled the courtyard of the museum in a vigil quickly organized by the Interfaith Conference of Metropolitan Washington following Wednesday's fatal attack.

"As a interfaith community we have come together to show our disgust with such acts," declared Ari Rudolf of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington.

FBI agent Joseph Persichini made a similar point at a press conference held at the museum earlier in the day.

"It is very important that we send a message that this country does not authorize or approve any act that is attached to hatred in America," said the assistant director of the District FBI field office.

Law enforcement officials announced on Thursday they were charging the attack, James W. von Brunn, with murder and gun violations and that they were considering charging the 89-year-old white supremacist with hate crimes or civil rights violations.

Persichini said investigators were searching Von Brunn's computer, home and car for evidence. While he acknowledged that there hadn't been any open investigations against Von Brunn, Pershichini said law enforcement had long been keenly aware of him.

Von Brunn has claimed to be an associate of William Pierce, founder of the white supremacist group, the National Alliance. Von Brunn, who in 1999 published a book Kill the Best Gentile!, also ran an anti-Semitic Web site called "The Holy Western Empire," and in 1981 he was arrested for using a sawed-off shotgun to try to take hostages at the Federal Reserve Board on the grounds that Jews control America's banking system. He served six and a half years in prison.

In 2008, the Southern Poverty Law Center designated his Web site as a "hate site."

"He's been on our radar screen for decades," said Mark Potok, the director of the center's Intelligence Project.

Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi, founder and president of The Israel Project, said she warned local police about the National Alliance several years ago and expressed frustration that not enough had been done at that time.

In December 2005, more than a dozen homes in Annapolis, Maryland - including Mizrahi's - were blanketed with anti-Semitic leaflets. An investigation connected the leaflets to the National Alliance, but prosecutors did not press charges because the leaflets were protected by the First Amendment.

"The hands of the police department were tied," she recalled. "There was no legal recourse."

Around the same time, a video promoting the Aryan race was aired for three nights on a local public access television station. At the time, county officials said they had no way to prevent the ads, which were protected by the First Amendment.

"We checked everything to see if I had to legally allow them to proceed. I did," then-Anne Arundel County executive Janet S. Owens said at the time, calling the ad "anti-everything."

Mizrahi said she could not be 100 percent sure Von Brunn had anything to do with leafleting her home, but she has little doubt. In 2005, a police officer told her the perpetrator was a "cranky old man" living in Annapolis.

"I don't know how many cranky old men living in Annapolis are putting out absolutely vicious hate material on people's yards. I'd like to think there's not more than one," she said.

She urged authorities to investigate the remaining members of his group, and said the lesson of Wednesday's attack should be clear.

"The point is when people say we hate you, and we want to kill you, you need to take it seriously, whether it's a white supremacist group in Arundel County or Ahmadinejad in Iran," Mizrahi said.

Still, Potok said such expressions were entirely protected by the First Amendment. "How might this man have been stopped? I don't have an answer for that," he said.

Potok said, "The most important thing to learn from this attack is that this man was not some isolated sociopath on the fringe of the fringe of American society. He may indeed have been sick in the head, but he represents a very real, vibrant and apparently growing movement in this country."

On Thursday, Washington Mayor Adrian Fenty expressed his condolences to the family of the museum guard, Officer Stephen Johns, who was killed in the attack. "One life lost is a tragedy, but this could have been much, much worse," he said.

Jewish groups - whose buildings were fortified with extra security - responded to the shooting with a sense of shock, and sadness over the killing of Johns. "There is no shortage of hate in the world. But when it happens to you, your workplace, your family, your colleagues, it gets very painful," the chief of staff for the museum, Bill Parsons, said at a news conference.

Earlier in the day, former US defense secretary William Cohen, who was at the museum during the shooting, spoke on national television and recounted seeing Von Brunn park his car and seconds later hearing gunshots.

"It was pretty clear that they were gunshots," he said on CBS's Early Show. "It was fairly chaotic. As we went up the stairs, we didn't know if people were going to be following us up, whether there were more than one gunman."

As he approached the stairs, he stopped a group of tourists who were about to leave the building. "Don't go there," Cohen recalled saying. "It's too dangerous."

Those who came to the vigil on Thursday, though, said they wouldn't be made to feel afraid and would stand against those who tried to intimidate them.

"I'm still going to wear a yarmulke. I'm still going to be Jewish," said Bruce MacIver, who works for the United Jewish Communities.

He also said of the vigil, "I think it's a great showing to honor the slain officer and the Jewish community."

Indeed, many members of the Jewish community tried to express support for Johns, 39. The American Jewish Committee announced that it was starting a fund to support the guard's family. The House of Representatives drafted a resolution condemning the shooting and praising Johns.

Amid the outpouring of support, many at the vigil remained sobered by what had taken place at the museum just the day before.

Harriet Fischel, an education volunteer at the museum, noted that usually she took pride in imparting knowledge to others.

But on Thursday, she said, "The fact that it could happen there means we're not doing a good enough job."

Continued (Permanent Link)

Taking down fake Zionists and "pro-Israel" groups

I am glad that someone has had the courage to speak out about fake "pro-Israel" groups. I too got the e-mails that urged Jews to "stand up for Obama" and bombard congress to vote down the initiative to give President Obama the legal power to impose energy sanctions on Iran, as noted in the article. It was amusing to try to puzzle out how voting down a bill that would give a president power could be "support" for that president. I thought supporting a president was done by giving him more power, not less. It was even more amusing to read In Time magazine that the order for this initiative came directly from the White House and that it is part of Obama's strategy. These groups are more "pro-Obama" than Obama. They are so "pro-Obama' that they are against Obama's policies.
I think that their support of negotiations with Hamas. and M.J. Rosenberg's support, which ran to an obsession, for Charles Freeman, are far worse than their "support" of Obama, and much harder to justify. Obama is the President and Americans are going to tend to agree with his policies. But Freeman is the head of a large Arab lobby group and is outspokenly anti-Israel, pretty much to the point of anti-Semtism. As for Jews who support the genocidal Hamas, that is totally beyond comprehension.
Ami Isseroff

Candidly Speaking: Bogus 'Zionist' Israel-bashers

Jun. 9, 2009

It is ironic that many of the disconcerting themes relating to Israel in US President Barack Obama's Cairo speech replicated those widely promoted for months by a noisy minority of radical American Jews. These "Israel bashers" now proudly proclaim that the new language being employed by Obama "echoes the vocabulary we use."

On the eve of Binyamin Netanyahu's arrival in Washington, a full page advertisement inserted by the Israel Policy Forum (IPF) appeared in The New York Times. Instead of the customary welcome message to a visiting prime minister or expressions of solidarity, it urged Obama to press Israel to make further unilateral concessions to the Palestinians, assuring him that in the event of a confrontation, he would enjoy the backing of most American Jews because "they are not Israelis living in exile." IPF's Washington director, M.J Rosenberg, issued a call to neutralize "the minority of Jews falsely" purporting to present the Jewish community as "blind supporters" of the Israeli government.

ISRAEL POLICY FORUM is only one of a cluster of radical left-wing organizations that have the chutzpa to describe themselves as lovers of Israel and even "Zionists," while actively lobbying the Obama administration to pressure Israel. They deviously sugarcoat their anti-Israeli campaigns by comparing themselves to parents whose children are drug addicts requiring "tough love" to force them to change their dangerous habits.These sentiments were effectively replicated in Obama's Cairo speech.

They were joined in April last year by J Street, a new group initially funded by the Jewish tycoon George Soros who had achieved notoriety for demonizing successive Israeli governments irrespective of their political leanings.

J Street and another radical group, Brit Tzedek v'Shalom, proudly announced that they had succeeded in persuading 11,000 of their members to bombard the White House with e-mails urging Obama to stand firm against Netanyahu.

During the Gaza offensive, J Street condemned the action against Hamas as "disproportionate." Refusing to "pick a side" and identify "who was right and who was wrong," it applied moral equivalency to both parties proclaiming that "we recognize that neither Israelis nor Palestinians have a monopoly on right and wrong... While there is nothing 'right' in raining rockets on Israeli families or dispatching suicide bombers, there is nothing 'right' in punishing a million and a half already suffering Gazans for the actions of the extremists amongst them."

J Street also opposes Israel's efforts to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear power. Despite the fact that Israelis of all political opinions are united on this issue, J Street members were e-mailed and urged to actively lobby against a bipartisan congressional resolution calling for tougher sanctions to be applied against Iran.

The radical groups also resurrected the bogus anti-Semitic charge of "dual loyalties," warning Jews that by continued "blind" support of Israel, they risked alienating the American public and would be condemned for displaying greater loyalty toward Israel than the US. They were almost hysterical in their condemnation of Jews who exercised their rights to protest against the proposed appointment of the fiercely anti-Israel Charles Freeman to head the National Security Agency. IPF spokesmen went so far as to explicitly state that being an anti-Israeli fanatic was insufficient grounds for barring a person from assuming a senior administration role.

If there was any doubt about J Street, its endorsement of the British anti-Semitic play Seven Jewish Children, effectively a contemporary blood libel, placed it squarely in the camp of those seeking to demonize the Jewish state. It justified its support on the grounds that the play would promote "rigorous intellectual engagement and civil debate on which our community prides itself."

J Street and IPF also seek to slander and undermine AIPAC, the highly effective pro-Israel lobby group, depicting it as an extreme right-wing and hawkish body although it has consistently promoted the policies of all Israeli governments, including the dovish administrations preceding Netanyahu.

IN AN ENVIRONMENT in which global anti-Semitism and demonization of Israel are beginning to make inroads into the United States, the potential of such radical groups to destabilize the standing of Israel should not be underestimated.

Never before has the Jewish community faced a situation in which organizations presenting themselves as Zionists shamelessly lobby their president to pressure the democratically elected government of the Jewish state to make concessions which could have life and death implications for its citizens.

Not that anti-Jewish Jews are a new phenomenon. Jewish communists were bitterly opposed to the campaign to liberate Soviet Jewry and defended state-sponsored anti-Semitism in the Soviet Union. But they were marginalized and regarded as pariahs by the Jewish community.

The problem in the US is that the established Jewish leaders decided to ignore these organizations, mistakenly believing that confrontations would be construed as attempts to restrict freedom of expression and would transform the radicals into martyrs.

But the issue of freedom of expression is a red herring. Any Jew is entitled to express his beliefs, no matter how nauseating or deviant such views may appear to the majority. That certainly applies to those arguing in favor or in opposition to settlements. Surely the red lines are being crossed when, as distinct from expressing views, American based organizations claiming to "love" Israel aggressively lobby the US government to pressure it to make concessions that could place lives at risk. To tolerate such groups within the framework of the Jewish community provides them with an aura of respectability to which they are not entitled. Alas, today some of these groups already attend administration briefings on a par with the recognized mainstream organizations.

Furthermore, failure to confront these Israel bashers has already provided the general media with grounds to suggest that American Jewish support of Israel is collapsing. That has certainly encouraged the Obama administration to intensify its pressure on the Netanyahu government. It may also cause some weak-kneed Jews to distance themselves from Israel to avoid confronting a popular American president.

There are even ominous mutterings predicting a possible replay of what transpired during World War II, when fearing a confrontation and bedazzled by president Franklin Roosevelt, Jewish leaders lacked the courage to protest against the indifference of the US government to the Nazi extermination of the Jews.

Now, as never before, when the beleaguered State of Israel confronts Iran, potentially one of the greatest existential threats since its creation, the support of American Jews is crucial.

A united Jewish community should marginalize the anti-Israeli radicals and urge Obama (who received 80 percent of its votes) to stand by commitments made to Israel by previous US administrations in the same manner as the Netanyahu government is obliged to adhere to undertakings made by previous Israeli governments. A strong Jewish stand in this direction could effectively tip the balance in averting a catastrophic major rift between the US and Israel.

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Lebanese Hezbollah with Iranian passports attempted to attack Israel embassy in Azebaijan

Two Hizbullah men nabbed in Azerbaijan

Jun. 11, 2009

Two Hizbullah operatives arrested recently in Azerbaijan for allegedly plotting to attack the Israeli Embassy were caught with Iranian passports and were working on behalf of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards as well as al-Qaida, Azeri news reports have reported.

According to new details revealed this week, the two men - identified as Karaki Ali Muhammad and Najmaddin Ali Huseyn - were caught with Iranian passports that they used to enter Azerbaijan.

In addition to the embassy, the cell planned to attack a Jewish community center in Baku as well as the Gabala Radar Station that Russia leases from Azerbaijan and is located in the north of the country.

Four Azeri citizens have also been arrested, for allegedly providing the two Lebanese terrorists with logistical support.

Azeri police reportedly caught the terrorists with explosives, cameras, pistols equipped with silencers, and reconnaissance photos. The two leaders of the cell were sent to Azerbaijan by Hizbullah and al-Qaida leaders in Lebanon, according to one report.

Their trial resumes on June 24.


Continued (Permanent Link)

The German Left and Israel - signs of change?

This is another article (see German left party and Israel: Time for a change?) about the possible, hopeful change in the doctrinaire attitude of the German left toward Israel. After the reception of Foreign Minister Lieberman (see What Germany expects), this article may seem a bit optimistic.

The German Left and Israel

By Robert Zwarg

Writing about the German Left and Israel—the debates on anti- Semitism and anti-Zionism of the last several years—often feels like a race against history. Not a day goes by without another piece being added to this complex and troublesome mosaic. No topic has stirred up so much debate and emotion and created so great a rift inside the German Left as Israel. These discussions, one could say, precipitated the erosion of anti-imperialism as a hegemonic framework for leftist thought.

In the beginning of 2009, there were huge demonstrations protesting Israel's military actions in Gaza. Few voices asked for understanding or pointed out the complexities of the situation. When Chancellor Angela Merkel blamed Hamas for being the cause of Israel's attack, she had to defend her statement against criticism in Parliament. Not only in Germany but throughout Europe there were the biggest anti-Israeli demonstrations since the second intifada. They lacked neither intensity nor (sometimes) violence. In Oslo, an Israel-friendly demonstration of about five hundred people was attacked by a pro-Palestinian group double its size. In London, an angry pro-Hamas mob tried to storm the Israeli embassy, chasing the police down the street. In Duisburg, Germany, during a protest, a neighbor enraged the demonstrators by hanging an Israeli flag in his window. The apartment was attacked with stones and bottles. Eventually the police, unable to cope with the situation, broke into the apartment and confiscated the flag while the protesters cheered.

Leaving these events aside, the year 2008, the sixtieth anniversary of Israel's creation, provided a good occasion for reflection on the relationship between the German Left and Israel. It revealed something about the Left's extra-parliamentary debate, happening mainly in cultural centers, journals, and the academy and something also about the reflection of this debate at the parliamentary level. These two levels exemplify two models of political practice: critique of ideology (Ideologiekritik) vs. Realpolitik.

Microcosm of the Left On a mild Friday evening in May 2008, about 230 people, mostly between the ages of sixteen and thirty, gather at a local left-wing cultural center in a fairly large East German city to talk for two- and-a-half hours. The city is well acquainted with political debate. But there haven't been this many people at such a meeting for a long time. The topic that brings them together might sound even more surprising: what can solidarity with Israel mean today?

Sitting on the panel are members of existing and former political groups, and the short presentation quickly turns into a discussion with lively audience participation. A number of things could strike an outside observer as peculiar. Everyone on the panel, as well as in the rather young audience, seems to agree on the importance of supporting Israel. There is no big fight about "selling out" left- wing standards, no one demonizing a country about as big as the federal state of Hesse. Instead, what seems to worry the debaters is the relationship of a pro-Israel position to radical left-wing politics—whether it's an external relationship or an internal one, and what this means for actual political work. In particular, the question of strategic alliances is viewed differently among the discussants. Can a strategic alliance with members of the conservative Christian Democratic Party—which has at times proved to be more progressive concerning Israel than its left-wing counterparts —be justified? And since the radical Left still alludes to concepts such as "liberated society," how is active engagement in the well- being of people in the Middle East, how is the democratization and— horribile dictum—capitalization of countries steeped in theocracy and modern forms of feudalism to be reconciled with a utopian vision, free from capitalism?

Given the history of leftist movements, the sole fact that solidarity with Israel, at least in some places, is accepted among such groups is remarkable. But an event like this one is exceptional. Similar groups in other cities encounter the strong and at times even violent resistance of traditional anti-imperialist and communist groups. (At a discussion in Magdeburg in June 2008, attackers used stones and tear gas to disrupt the event. And just a few days before this article was written, a pamphlet on the United Kingdom Indymedia Web site called for "visits" to known pro-Israel leftist venues in Berlin, giving names and addresses. The internal dynamics of political movements, that is, the way in which substantial differences accumulate and finally explode, haven't changed. Allegations of sectarianism, of "selling out," and of careerism are as much a part of these debates as is the wish to solidify one's own position.

So the debates are not new. Ever since the West German Left in 1967 turned from being rather Israel-friendly to being vehemently anti- Zionist and even anti-Semitic, this dominant position has always been contested, if only by minority groups. After 1989, when Germany was facing a wave of nationalism and the Left needed to reconsider almost its entire framework, the discussions took on a whole new dynamic. It was not only a debate about current political events—the second Gulf War being the most important. It was also a troubling revelation about the history of leftism, that is, its own connection to nationalism and anti-Semitism. In a nutshell, it can be described as a history of perception blocked by the neutralizing layers of the cold war, with a return of memory after 1989. While the traditional Left continued to interpret the world along Manichean geopolitical lines, a significant minority launched a critique of anti- imperialism, anti-Semitism, and regressive forms of anti-capitalism. As for anti-Zionism, one went by the late sixties slogan of Jean Améry: "Anti-Zionism contains anti-Semitism like a cloud contains a storm."

Contested Fields

When Gregor Gysi, parliamentary co-leader of Germany's Left Party (Die Linke), gave a speech on "The German Left and the state of Israel" in April 2008, celebrating Israel's sixtieth birthday, he probably knew that he would upset many of his comrades. His party is the successor to the East German Socialist Unity Party, which ran the country. From 1949 to 1989 the German Democratic Republic refused even to recognize Israel; in 1976, trade with Israel was forbidden, and reparations for Holocaust survivors were refused. Gysi's speech thus came as a surprise. In the strongest terms ever heard from the leadership of the Left Party, he deemed anti- imperialism an inadequate framework for a full and responsible comprehension of Israel's history and the conflict in the Middle East. Furthermore, he strongly criticized the romanticization of groups like Hezbollah and Hamas as "anti-imperialist" forces and firmly emphasized Israel's right to exist and to defend itself. Controversy wasn't long in coming. In April, Werner Pirker—a writer for the traditionally left-wing newspaper Junge Welt and notorious for bashing Israel—denounced Gysi for rejecting the crucial coordinates of left-wing politics. Other party members criticized the speech as a move toward the center and toward the acceptance of the value of the nation-state (a position whose wrongness they commonly forget when it comes to Cuba and Venezuela). More than a few people felt offended by the presence of the Israeli flag on the party's Web site. That Gysi is one of two members of the German Parliament with Jewish ancestors (Jerzy Montag of the Green Party is the other) aroused suspicion.

The controversy is not surprising. In the discussion of Iran's efforts to acquire nuclear weapons, Gysi's co-leader, Oskar Lafontaine, expressed sympathy for Iran, which he saw as under an imminent threat; he gave up his plans to visit the country only after Gysi's speech. An invitation to Hamas to attend a conference on the Middle East only failed due to entry regulations of the European Union. And Norman Paech, the party's foreign policy spokesperson, frequently accused Israel of being one-sidedly responsible for the conflict, at the same time minimalizing anti- Semitic sentiment in the region and denying the threat to Israel. At a demonstration in January 2009, he held that Israel's attacks on Gaza were in no way justified by a right of self-defense and were indeed "criminal."

Gysi's speech thus stands out for several reasons. First, statements like these are rarely heard from party officials, who usually only react on this issue. Second, and most important, Gysi knew that he spoke without the support of a large part of his base and against a number of people in the party's leadership, not least Lafontaine. The bigger parties can support a variety of policy positions without turning them into existential issues. The intensity this issue provokes, however, suggests that for a large part of the Left, opposition to Israel is not only integral to their political framework, but utterly necessary.

To be clear, anti-Semitic or anti-Zionist incidents occur periodically in all politically relevant parties in Germany. Just to name a few: on October 3, 2003, a national holiday commemorating Germany's reunification, Martin Hohmann, a Christian Democratic parliamentarian, wondered publicly if it wouldn't be justified to deem the Jews a "people of perpetrators" (Tätervolk) for their involvement in the Russian Revolution. The aim of the speech was to absolve Germany of collective responsibility for the horrors of the Second World War. Jürgen Möllemann, a representative for the liberal Free Democratic Party until 2002, did not hide his sympathy for Palestinian suicide bombers. When his colleague Jamal Karlsi, back then a member of the Green Party, used national-socialist rhetoric and spoke of a "war of annihilation" (Vernichtungskrieg) against the Palestinians and denounced a supposed "Zionist lobby" for obstructing open discussions, Möllemann rushed to his support and organized Karlsi's move to the Free Democrats.

But it is especially interesting to consider the dynamic of these discussions in the Left Party. In a way, the debates of the extraparliamentary Left over the last years are now being repeated on the parliamentary level, with special intensity. The "radical Left" plays a role in this repetition insofar as the Left Party is one of the only political spaces open to a "radical politics" (whatever that means). Not only does its membership consist in large part of former socialists from the GDR, it also has a communist section, made up of traditional communists and Trotskyites.

However, the younger party members, who come out of the radical Left, could lead to an erosion of dominant views on the Middle East. In 2008, an internal party workgroup was founded: BAK Shalom (BAK standing for the German word Bundesarbeitskreis, meaning Federal Working Group). Its long-term aim is to foster a serious discussion on the renewal of progressive positions in the twenty-first century. That involves, as the caucus declared in its founding document, opposition to anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism, as well as to regressive criticisms of capitalism inside and outside the party. "The leftist movement in general and the Left Party in particular," argued Benjamin Krüger and Sebastian Voigt, members of BAK Shalom, "have to decide whether they want to be a modern Left, as they already are in part, or if they would rather stick to old ideological dogma, peering at the world through the prism of the Cold War."

Even if they are still a minority, these young people not only managed to draw attention to the debate outside of Germany, but also to stir up discussion inside and outside the party. Party officials, like Norman Paech, who was sharply criticized by BAK Shalom, either denied the need for discussion or tried to shut it down. On January 15, 2009, the newspaper Neues Deutschland, a main organ of the Left, announced that it would no longer publish Jürgen Elsässer. Elsässer, author and journalist and close to Die Linke, especially to Lafontaine, was one of those who frequently appealed to national- bolshevist sentiment, calling upon the nation to fight finance capital. These ideas brought him close to the far right, which heralded him as one of their own. After a discussion in which he sought to start a Volksfront (popular front) against "Anglo-American finance-capital," at which Nazis and a Holocaust denier were present, Neues Deutschland cut him off. BAK Shalom had demanded his removal that same day. The statement might not have triggered the decision of the newspaper but the issue shows that it becomes more and more impossible to ignore such discussions.

Quo Vadis?

Since the time of Konrad Adenauer, Germany's first chancellor after 1949, a generally Israel-friendly position has been part of Germany's raison d'état. This wasn't always a sign of true conviction but rather of a bad conscience and of the desire to fit into the postwar international community. Even during the Adenauer years, former national socialists, such as Hans Globke—active in the formulation of the racist Nuremberg laws—could occupy leading positions in politics. And it certainly didn't affect the government's reluctance—to put it mildly—to agree to pay reparations to people who had to endure forced labor on German soil. The argument about that is still going on today. Even in 2008, when Angela Merkel's speech in front of the Knesset was called "historical," Germany was the second largest trade partner of one of Israel's fiercest enemies, Iran. Any close look at this issue always has to distinguish between official declarations, single actions of party members, and the common sentiment of the German population. In 2003, according to a poll funded by the European Union, 65 percent of Germans felt threatened by Israel and deemed it a larger threat to world peace than any other state.

Opposition to these attitudes and resentments should always be supported, not only by the Left—though perhaps especially by people who feel themselves part of that tradition. That these categories— left and right—themselves may seem outdated or at least blurred is another question. It's certain, however, that they continue to reassert themselves in the struggle for a truly reasonable politics. As a framework of debate, they can't easily be done away with; nor should they be ossified into dogma. That at least a part of the Left has managed to think past its history is a success, even if the ramifications of this new thinking are still small. What does that say about the relation of these extraparliamentary discussions to mainstream politics? It is important that progressive movements be a step ahead of whoever is in power and maintain a critical distance— in the best tradition of Ideologiekritik. This is not, of course, just for the sake of being different but for the sake of never being content. What's commonly understood as Realpolitik is never going to fit perfectly with the traditions of the Left. A mediation between the two is not a bad goal for the Left. Meanwhile, it is crucial to bear in mind certain peculiarities of the German situation. Despite all official declarations on behalf of Israel and against anti- Semitism, Germany's recent history has given more than one reason for remaining skeptical. In a society in which history always tends to distort political discussions, an actor who takes on the role of the "bad conscience" is absolutely necessary.

Robert Zwarg is a student at Leipzig University and a member of the Coalition Against Anti-Semitism-Leipzig. He was an intern at Dissent in spring 2008.

Continued (Permanent Link)

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Gunman at U.S. Holocaust Museum is a Neonazi

Neo-Nazi opens fire at U.S. Holocaust Museum
By Natasha Mozgovaya, Haaretz Correspondent and News Agencies
An elderly white supremacist opened fire with a rifle inside the crowded U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum early Wednesday afternoon, gravely wounding a security guard before two other officers returned fire.
The assailant and his victim were both hospitalized. Police named the gunman as James Von Brunn, an 89-year-old linked a Web site advocating
anti-government and anti-Jewish sentiments. A law enforcement official said Von Brunn's vehicle was found near the Washington, D.C. museum and tested for explosives.

The assailant was in critical condition, said Washington Mayor Adrian Fenty. Police chief Kathy Lanier said the gunman appeared to have acted alone.
Fire department spokesman Alan Etter told CNN a third person was hurt after being cut by broken glass.
The museum normally has a heavy security presence with guards positioned both inside and outside. All visitors are required to pass through metal detectors at the entrance, and bags are screened.
It was not immediately known whether the gunman made it through the detectors before opening fire. He was engaged by security guards immediately after entering the door, Police chief Lanier said.
The museum, located just off the National Mall near the Washington Monument, is a popular tourist attraction. It draws about 1.7 million visitors each year.
Roads surrounding the museum were closed just after the attack.
Obama 'saddened' by Holocaust museum attack
U.S. President Barack Obama said immediately following the incident that he was saddened by the attack and concerned for the health of the wounded guard.
White House spokesman Robert Gibbs told reporters he gave Obama the facts as they were known at the time, shortly after shots were fired. The White House is receiving regular updates from the FBI, Homeland Security Council and the Situation Room, said Gibbs.
The Embassy of Israel release a statement following the incident saying it was "shocked and saddened by today's shooting incident at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington. The Embassy of Israel condemns this attack and is closely following the situation."
Rabbi Eric Yoffie, President of the Union for Reform Judaism, issued the following statement:
"That today's shooting at the United States Holocaust Museum should take place at a site expressly created to teach the world about the destruction and devastation brought about by human evil deepens the resonance of this terrible act."
Washington Mayor Fenty called the attack "an extremely isolated incident."
"In these days and times you never know when someone is going to grab a gun and use it in an inappropriate way as was done today," he said.
Stephanie Geraghty, 28, who had been visiting the museum, said the shooter appeared to be a white male carrying a silver gun.
"I heard the first shot, it sounded like something had been dropped from the upper stories down," she told Reuters. "The next two came really fast - bam bam. At that point everyone took off, chaos, running."
A woman whose teenaged daughter was visiting the museum at the time of the shooting said that the children heard several gunshots before they were evacuated from the building.
Sandy Perkins says her daughter, Abigail, called her shortly after the shooting and said some of her friends were very shaken, but otherwise were fine.
The teens did not see where the shots were coming from before they were safely evacuated to buses outside the museum.
Police search Von Brunn's home in wake of shooting
Von Brunn being investigated as the prime suspect in the shooting at the U.S. Holocaust Museum, according to unnamed law enforcement agents, but officials have declined to publicly confirm him as their suspect.
According to Joseph Persichini, assistant director in charge of the Washington FBI field office, authorities have dispatched people to a suspect's home to check his computer. He said they are investigating this as a possible hate crime or domestic terrorism.
Von Brunn has a racist, anti-Semitic Web site and wrote a book called Kill the Best Gentile.
In 1983, Von Brunn was convicted of attempting to kidnap members of the Federal Reserve Board. He was arrested two years earlier outside the room where the board was meeting, carrying a revolver, knife and sawed-off shotgun.
At the time, police said Von Brunn wanted to take the members hostage because of high interest rates and the nation's economic difficulties.
On his Web site, Von Brunn says he was a PT boat captain in the U.S. Navy
Reserves during World War II.

Continued (Permanent Link)

Did Barack Obama wreck nuclear non-proliferation?

Few noticed this statement by Barack Obama, which destroyed the entire basis of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation regime that the US had carefully set up after World War II, to prevent nuclear weapons from falling into the wrong hands.

Obama accidently abrogates America's right to oppose Iran's nuclear weapons

By Barry Rubin

"No single nation should pick and choose which nation holds nuclear weapons." Thus spake President Barack Obama in his Cairo speech. After a pause for contemplation, I respond, "Why the Hell not?"

Indeed this statement—like many in the speech (though there are some good ones, too) is so disastrous in its implications that the mind is boggled. A re-boggle occurs when things like this are allowed to pass by among people who should know better as acceptable or even as brilliant statesmanship.

Consider all the things wrong with Obama's sentence:

First, a nation, especially a great power, should certainly decide whether it wants certain nations to hold nuclear weapons. In effect, he sabotaged the United States by saying that it has no right to seek to deny Iran nuclear weapons. So why should there be any sanctions at all? He may not have intended it—but to attribute major policy statements of the president of the United States to ignorance is no compliment—but he said it.

Second, does this mean that a single nation can ally with other nations to pick and choose? After all, despite mythology, the previous Bush administration was extremely multilateral in its policy toward Iran's nuclear weapons. It actually delegated the diplomacy to Britain, France, and Germany who tried but failed completely. So is Obama implying that if you get a UN resolution then that's ok?

Third, it is horrifyingly a repeal of any counter-proliferation policy. The United States thus has no right to pick and choose against North Korea, or Cuba, or Venezuela or just about anyone else from having nuclear weapons.

Yet, of course, Obama is committed to stopping Iran from getting nuclear weapons, isn't he? So how can one reconcile this contradiction?

Such statements, which transcend specific declared policies, are signs of an ideology that abdicates America's leadership role in the world, abandoning everything we should have learned from the 1930s and seemed to have learned since December 7, 1941. Obama says, in effect, that America is not moral or wise enough to tell others what they should do (except Israel, of course). Forget about George W. Bush, this is a betrayal of everything Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, and Bill Clinton believed and practiced.

Secretary of State Hilary Clinton must be spinning in her limousine seat.

Is America a free, successful, democratic country whose stances for freedom and decency give it a right as a "single nation" to fight regimes and movements which are murderous, dictatorial, and brutal?
Well, it's all relative, isn't it (and this is an undercurrent in Obama's world view)? How dare we say that the United States is "better" as a society and government than that which prevails in Iran or Saudi Arabia or Venezuela or North Korea? Doesn't America have its sins? (Yes, but they are far smaller in recent decades and it has worked hard to correct them.)

What, one might ask, does a "single nation" have the right to do, assuming that the nation is the United States? Answer: apologize, listen, and show respect for others.

Incredibly destructive change you can believe in. Yes we can…demolish the influence of the United States, the greatest hope for peace, stability, and progress among the best elements in the world.

Now the greatest hope is either that Obama learns better, he is persuaded by more knowledgeable members of the administration, or November 2012, whichever comes first.

Of course, there is an element of exaggeration in what I've written here. But it is shocking how accurate it is nonetheless. Ignorance, inexperience, and an extremely destructive ideology are very much present.

Here's the best responce of all to Obama's Cairo speech. It comes in private conversation
with an Arab Muslim whose country is ruled by a dictatorship:

"We don't want Obama to act like a Muslim or Arab," he said, "We want him to act like an American."

Continued (Permanent Link)

At least two shot at U.S. Holocaust Museum in Washington DC

At least 2 shot at US Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington

Jun. 10, 2009
Associated Press , THE JERUSALEM POST

Authorities say at least two people have been shot at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington.

D.C. police spokeswoman Traci Hughes said a man walked into the museum with a rifle and shot a guard. Hughes says the attacker was also shot.

Hughes says the victims' conditions were not known. Both were being taken to a hospital.

US Park Police gave slightly different information, saying three people had been shot.

The attacker was in police custody.

The mother of a Massachusetts teenager said children at the museum heard several gunshots before they were evacuated from the building.

Sandy Perkins said her daughter, Abigail, called her shortly after the shooting.

Abigail told her mother that some of her friends were very shaken, but otherwise were fine.

The teens did not see where the shots were coming from before they were safely evacuated to buses outside the museum.

A gunman opened fire at the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday afternoon.
The incident occurred when a person walked into the museum armed with a rifle, and shot a security guard, said a spokesman for the D.C. police.
According to the spokesman, somebody returned fire on the gunman. The spokesman said the condition of the victims was unknown, but both have been rushed to hospital. According to media reports, the gunman was taken into custody.
A woman whose teenaged daughter was visiting the museum at the time of the shooting said that the children hear several gunshots before they were evacuated from the building.
Sandy Perkins says her daughter, Abigail, called her shortly after the
shooting and said some of her friends were very shaken, but otherwise were fine.
The teens did not see where the shots were coming from before they were safely evacuated to buses outside the museum.
Last month, 21-year-old Jewish student, Johanna Justin-Jinich, was shot at the Wesleyan College in Connecticut. Authorities have called the attack an anti-Semitic incident.
Also last month, four New York men were arrested for allegedly plotting to bomb a Bronx synagogue.

Continued (Permanent Link)

Peace in our time?

Deadlines, Americans believe, get things done. But what will this deadline accomplish?
London-based al-Sharq al-Awsat newspaper says US President Obama has laid out plan to resolve Israeli-Palestinian conflict based on two-state solution; Prime Minister Netanyahu given six weeks to respond
Roee Nahmias
Published:  06.09.09, 09:10 / Israel News
The United States has presented Egypt and Israel with a plan meant to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict within two years, based on the two-state solution, London-based Arabic-language al-Sharq al-Awsat newspaper reported Tuesday.

According to the report, the plan was presented to Egyptian Intelligence Minister Omar Suleiman, Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, during their visit to Washington last month.
The parties were asked to respond to the offer as soon as possible, with Netanyahu given a six-week extension to formulate his answer.
According to the report, the Egyptian leadership believes that the offer is a serious one and that the major obstacle it faces is the internal Palestinian strife. Cairo has therefore decided, after consulting with various Arab leaders, to make every effort to bring the situation to an end, so progress may be made.
The paper also said that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who was also briefed on the initiative, has sent Head of the Palestinian negotiations team, Ahmed Qureia to Egypt, and that Cairo had asked Hamas Politburo Chief Khaled Mashaal to set a timetable for such negotiations.

Cairo has also called an urgent meeting of the Arab foreign ministers for June 17. A senior Egyptian source told the paper that a meeting between Suleiman and Mashaal has been set for later Tuesday.

"Suleiman invited a Hamas delegation to Cairo in an effort to end the Palestinian split and with aim to advance the political process," the source was quoted as saying. "Egypt will continue its dealings with all Palestinian factions and leaders in hopes of seeing the negotiations mature into a Palestinian reconciliation by July 7."

Netanyahu and US President Barack Obama spoke for a reported 20 minutes on Monday. Sources in the Prime Minister's Office said the tone was a positive one and that various topics were discussed, including the prime minister's planned address to the Knesset next week.
Earlier this week, Netanyahu announced that he would make a formal address in response to Obama's historic Cairo speech, which outlined his vision for the Middle East, and that he plans on detailing his notions as to the best way to achieve peace and security for Israel.
Obama reportedly told Netanyahu that he was looking forwards to hearing his speech. 

Continued (Permanent Link)

Racist "Peace" promotion

Following is the English part of a message circulated by Gush Shalom, promoting the anti-Semitic play Seven Jewish Children by Caryl Churchill. The showing of the play is sponsored by the Jewish women for peace coalition. The message of the play is that Jewish parents are murderers, and that they lie to their children about their murder activities. Jews believe they are "chosen" people according to the play and cover up their theft of Arab land. Jews come on Aliya and tell their children lies about Israel and so on.
This play is surely no less racist than Geert Wilders' film about Islam, yet WIlders' film is generally shunned and no "peace" groups would ever sponsor it. How can we excuse the fact that these groups, Gush Shalom and the "Coalition of Women for Peace" get money to promote peace and understanding, and instead promote racist incitement?
A sample of the dialogue:

Tell her it's the land God gave us

Dont tell her religion

Tell her her great great great great lots of greats grandad lived there

Dont tell her he was driven out

Tell her, of course tell her, tell her everyone was driven out and the country is waiting

for us to come home

Dont tell her she doesnt belong here


Tell her about Jerusalem.


Dont tell her who used to live in this house

No but dont tell her her great great grandfather used to live in this house

No but dont tell her Arabs used to sleep in her bedroom


Tell her again this is our promised land.

Dont tell her they said it was a land without people


Tell her it's not the water for their fields

Dont tell her anything about water.

Dont tell her about the bulldozer

Dont tell her not to look at the bulldozer

Dont tell her it was knocking the house down

Tell her it's a building site


Dont tell her how many of them have been killed

Tell her the Hamas fighters have been killed

Tell her they're terrorists

Tell her they're filth


Dont tell her about the family of dead girls

Tell her you cant believe what you see on television

Tell her we killed the babies by mistake

Dont tell her anything about the army

Tell her, tell her about the army, tell her to be proud of the army. Tell her about the family of dead girls, tell her their names why not, tell her the whole world knows why shouldnt she know? tell her there's dead babies, did she see babies? tell her she's got nothing to be ashamed of. Tell her they did it to themselves. Tell her they want their children killed to make people sorry for them, tell her I'm not sorry for them, tell her not to be sorry for them, tell her we're the ones to be sorry for, tell her they cant talk suffering to us. Tell her we're the iron fist now, tell her it's the fog of war, tell her we wont stop killing them till we're safe, tell her I laughed when I saw the dead policemen, tell her they're animals living in rubble now, tell her I wouldnt care if we wiped them out, the world would hate us is the only thing, tell her I dont care if the world hates us, tell her we're better haters, tell her we're chosen people, tell her I look at one of their children covered in blood and what do I feel? tell her all I feel is happy it's not her.

Coalition of Women for Peace invites you to the play

Seven Jewish Children (A Play for Gaza)

Play by: Caryl Churchill

From English: Shimon Levy, Uri Shani

Thursday, 11.6.09, 7 pm, Rabin Square, Tel Aviv

The play has been translated into Hebrew and will be performed in Tel Aviv directed by Samieh Jabbarin - a Palestinian political prisoner. The Tel Aviv staging of Caryl Churchill's short play - written in record time by the highly esteemed British play-write in the midst of the Israeli bombardment of Gaza last winter will protest the two year anniversary of the Siege of Gaza and 42 years since the 1967 occupation.

Tell her it's a game
Tell her it's serious
But dont frighten her
Dont tell her they'll kill her

Actresses: Sarah von Schwartze, Gabby Eldor, Samah Wakim and others

Director: Samieh Jabbarin

Initiative: Tamara Schreiber and Rachel Avileah
Artistic Designer: Anisa Ashkar
Music: Deerar Kalash (Saxophone)
Production: Inna Michaeli, Lana Khaskia, Eilat Maoz
Special Thanks to: Adi Maoz, Raja Zoubi Omri

The play was first staged in English on February 6th 2009 in the Royal Court Theater in London

Caryl Churchill (1938) is a British feminist and anti-capitalist playwright who has written dozens of plays including: Top Girls, Owners, Cloud Nine and Far Away.

Spectatorship is free. According to the terms of copyright, all contributions will be donated to MAP – Medical Aid for Palestinians, which supplies humanitarian aid and advocates for policy change in Britain.

For further information: Inna 0508575777



To subscribe reply to

Continued (Permanent Link)

Jewish reaction to EU elections

Jews: Far-right gains in Europe alarming

Jun. 9, 2009
Associated Press , THE JERUSALEM POST

Jewish groups across Europe reacted to far-right gains in the European parliamentary elections by urging the EU on Tuesday to do more to tackle racism and intolerance.

The European Jewish Congress, which represents Jewish communities across Europe, said winning seats in the European Parliament based on "racist, anti-Semitic and xenophobic platforms" pointed to an erosion of tolerance.

Results of voting for a new European Union assembly showed that far-right parties in the Netherlands, Britain, Austria, Hungary, Denmark and Romania posted significant victories.

In a statement, the Paris-based Jewish Congress called that a "clarion call" for the EU to tackle racism and intolerance through legislation and dialogue.

"Europeans of all backgrounds, ethnicities and religions are looking to our elected officials to unite, rather than divide us," it said.

The congress also said the victory of groups using racist and xenophobic platforms "belies a disturbing acquiescence of government to this type of incitement and a need for immediate action and education."

It said it was troubled by the fact that far-right forces did better than in the last EU assembly elections in 2004 and that they were scattered across the 27-nation EU.

"The success of such rabid groups as The Freedom Party in the Netherlands, the Freedom Party in Austria... the British National Party, and Jobbik in Hungary, among others, will sadly only serve to embolden those who espouse the dangerous concepts of extreme nationalism, racism, anti-Semitism and xenophobia," the congress said.

It urged the European Parliament and the European Commission, the EU executive, to work for effective anti-racism legislation.

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Tuesday, June 9, 2009

15 questions about Obama's Cairo speech

Dr. Walid Phares
15 Hard Questions About the Cairo Speech
June 8, 2009

Perhaps the most challenging task for analysts and commentators to accomplish after having listened to President Obama's speech in Cairo (addressed to the "Muslim World") is to know how to read it, understand the links between the points he made, capture the arguments inserted by his speech writers and thus analyze the text as a major policy change since 9/11. In short, I would recommend for readers to establish a "map of the speech" before venturing to its various exotic suggestions and hints.

Evidently, each political constituency in America, the region and the international community has its priorities and will jump to the part it deems most pressing, either exciting or depressing. However, I suggest looking at the whole idea of addressing the "Muslim world" or as the President coined it often in his speech, "the Muslims" (two different things), and understand where Obama is coming from and going to. To help in this analytical task -- and to simplify what seems to be complex -- I propose to raise the following questions and address them separately in the debate before re-sowing them as a one bloc of ideas. Here are the ones I identify as building blocks of the Obama "Muslim platform" drawn from his speech

1. Is the equation of mending relations between a nation state, America, and a whole civilization, Islam, rational? Is it academically sound to put one country and fifty two other countries in one framework of relationships? Are all 52 Muslim countries in one basket and America in another? Who framed this equation?

2. The speech mentioned "violent extremists" several times as the foe to contain and isolate. Is there not a clearer explanation of what is "violent extremism" and who are the followers of such a behavior? Is it about violence only? Are all those who practice violence, from household abuse, gangsterism to mass murder part of one group? Of course not. So what constitutes extremism? Do "violent extremists" have an ideology, a platform, goals, strategies? Are they the Jihadists that the whole world knows about? Why wouldn't President Obama simply names them as such?

 3. The speech argued that Americans were "traumatized" because of 9/11 and thus their view of Islam changed. Why would their view of a religion change because of an attack perpetrated by 19 hijackers? Who is drawing this conclusion? In short, if indeed Americans had a change in perception after 9/11, what was their perception before? Is this reality or is it the framing of the war of ideas by the apologist elite? Why is there a complex of guilt forced on Americans? 

4. The speech argued directly and indirectly that the US government -- because of 9/11 -- did things it was not supposed to do constitutionally (or ethically). Among these breaches Mr. Obama mentioned the opening of Guantanamo. The question is: Is opening a detention center in a state of war (even not declared officially) in which active elements of the armed opponents are detained is an act aimed against an entire religion? Who said so and who framed it as such?

5. The speech delved into the claim that Islam "has demonstrated through words and deeds the possibilities of religious tolerance and racial equality." While it is perfectly legitimate for academics to engage in such research and draw the conclusions they wish, can an elected President in a liberal democracy make philosophical assertions in the field of controversial and debated conflicts -- not part of his or her national realm?

6. The speech -- rightly so -- praised the integration of Muslim-Americans in their own country. But did the President mention why a large number of American citizens fled many Muslim countries, including Muslim-American citizens? 

 7. The speech -- rightly so -- rejected stereotypes about Muslims and America. However who made these stereotypes, who propagated the narrative that they exist and who is indoctrinating segments of societies about the latter?

 8. The President gladly (after significant messaging preceding the speech) mentioned Darfur. But he never called it genocide, why? Moreover, what is to be done about it? The speech was generous about what Israel and Hamas must do, and about U.S. forthcoming spending in the region, but left the audiences clueless about what to do about the first genocide of the 21st century. Why?

 9. The speech called Iraq's war one of choice but stated that Iraqis are better off without the tyranny of Saddam Hussein. Doesn't this statement need more explanation? Is the conclusion that it is better to leave people under tyrannies even if they are subjected to mass killing? As for Afghanistan, the President didn't mention the Taliban once. Who are NATO, the US, Afghanistan and Pakistan facing off with? Is it normal that the one Jihadi force which protected al Qaeda as launched the 9/11 attacks and is on the offensive against democracies in two Muslim countries is not identified in the speech to the Muslim world? 

 10. The speech reasserted – logically -- a U.S. standing policy of supporting a two-states solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. However, if Israel and the Palestinian Authority have agreed on such principle already in 1993, who then is obstructing the process? Why wasn't the obstructing force, Hamas and Iran, named as such? 

 11. The speech granted Iran a right to develop a peaceful nuclear program, but who denied it to the Iranian people to begin with? The question is about the Iranian regime's expansionist agenda in the region not the type of technology. Nuclear capacities in the hands of a terror regime will become dangerous and armed. Is it not about the intentions of the regime?

 12. The speech mentioned that there has been a controversy about democracy in the region, particularly because of the Iraq war. The question is: what is that controversy about, and thus where does the U.S. stand in this debate? Are there different values for different countries and cultures when it comes to freedom? What are they?

 13. The speech advocated religious freedoms. The question is who is breaching them? The President mentioned the Maronites and the Copts but didn't explain who is causing them harm?

 14. The speech addressed women's rights and the President rejected one Western position in the debate about Muslim women's freedom assessment, and asserted the rights of some women to wear the Hijab unquestioned. However why didn't he list the grievances of Muslim women who do not want to wear the Hijab and are forced to do so? The President argued that the real issue in women's status is education. But isn't their education a political and fundamental right? How can women practice the right to education if they cannot practice their freedom to choose it?

 15. The speech announced – gladly -- that the United States will be spending money to help Muslim communities develop on multiple continents. But why didn't the President ask the rich elite in these countries to share the burden if not to assume it fully? Why would a nation in the northern part of the Western Hemisphere be footing the bill of development in remote regions where the financial establishment is buying shares of and controlling the American economy?

These are only few questions about a speech that will be studied and used by the current administration, its opposition, future administrations, regimes in the region, the Jihadists and dissidents alike for many years to come. It is essential that the students of such text focus on the essence and draw the proper conclusions. Indeed words matter, especially in the midst of a raging war of ideas, even if the author of the speech and the speech writers' main goal is precisely to end such a war.

Continued (Permanent Link)

Mitchell soothes Israel

Last update - 13:46 09/06/2009       
U.S. envoy assures Israel of close alliance, despite policy rift
By Barak Ravid, Haaretz Correspondent
U.S. special Mideast envoy George Mitchell assured Israel on Tuesday that Washington would remain its close ally despite differences over West Bank settlements and peacemaking with the Palestinians.
Mitchell told President Shimon Peres his goal was to create conditions for "prompt resumption and early conclusion" of talks leading to the establishment of a Palestinian state "side by side in peace and security with the Jewish state of Israel".
U.S. President Barack Obama, who sent Mitchell back to the Middle East, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are at odds over settlement expansion in the occupied West Bank and the Israeli leader's reluctance to endorse Palestinian statehood.
"Let me be clear. These are not disagreements among adversaries. The United States and Israel are and will remain close allies and friends," Mitchell said.
Mitchell also met on Tuesday morning with Defense Minister Ehud Barak, who helps oversee settlement policy, and was slated to hold talks with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu later in the day.
Netanyahu has refused to accept U.S. calls to support the creation of a
Palestinian state and freeze settlement construction on captured lands claimed by the Palestinians. That has led to the most public disagreement between Israel and the U.S. in a decade.
"We all share an obligation to create the conditions for the prompt resumption and early conclusion of negotiations," Mitchell said at a meeting with President Shimon Peres in Jerusalem.
He tried to allay Israeli fears of a rift with Washington, saying the policy gaps are not "disagreements among adversaries" and that the two countries remain close allies and friends.
In Mitchell's meeting with Barak in Tel Aviv, the two discussed the question of settlement construction, Barak's office said in a statement.
The two also spoke about ways to advance the Palestinian economy and develop its infrastructure and legal system.
Mitchell was scheduled to meet later Tuesday with Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and then to travel to the West Bank city of Ramallah on Wednesday for talks with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Netanyahu and Obama spoke on the telephone Monday night, in a conversation which the PM's Bureau described as positive.
Netanyahu updated Obama on his plan to make an important political speech at Bar-Ilan University on Sunday, where he will outline his program for peace and security.
Obama reportedly said that he is eager to hear the speech and the two leaders agreed to continue their telephone exchanges.
Mitchell reportedly told former MK Yossi Beilin that the U.S. would like to commence negotiations on the core issues of the final status agreement as soon as possible.
The envoy is also expected to raise the possibility of resuming negotiations on the Syrian track. With this in mind, Fred Hoff, Mitchell's chief of staff and a Syria expert, is expected to arrive in Israel, too. Mitchell will continue on to Damascus and Beirut later this week.
Another matter expected to top the agenda during the meetings is the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip. Netanyahu and Barak will brief Mitchell about Wednesday's scheduled special cabinet meeting on the subject, expected to result in a decision to lift restrictions on importing foodstuffs and other goods into the Strip. The cabinet is also expected to lift the ban on exports.
Meanwhile, Abbas met with Beilin at the Muqata'a government compound in Ramallah Monday, where the Palestinian leader expressed his satisfaction with the results of his White House meeting with President Obama, two weeks ago. "Washington has changed its attitude toward the Palestinians completely," Abbas told Beilin.
During their conversation, Abbas said the PA intends to meet the U.S. demand to cease incitement against Israel by official Palestinian organs. "There are things that we need to correct in our official media and elsewhere," Abbas said. "I am in favor of dealing with these issues. But at the same time, Israel needs to address similar matters, too."
Abbas talked extensively about the PA's activities against Hamas in the West Bank and noted the recent clashes in Qalqilyah, during which two militants and three PA police officers were killed. "We are doing a great deal to preserve security," Abbas said.
Abbas also emphasized his wish to resume negotiations on a final status agreement as soon as possible.

Continued (Permanent Link)

Reports that Israel seized Catholic funds wrong

But reports that the Catholic church seized Jewish funds for centuries are regrettably correct.
June 9, 2009
ROME (JTA) -- Israel will not seize funds of Catholic institutions in the country, as Italian and Catholic media previously reported.
A statement Tuesday by the Israeli embassy to the Holy See said that "the seizure of funds from the Ministry of Education destined for some educational institutions of the Catholic Church in Israel will not be made, and that the situation remains unchanged."
Reports that Israel would seize assets of some Catholic institutions to pressure the Vatican to pay disputed taxes were published by Catholic and Italian media on Monday.
Italian media Tuesday quoted Israeli sources as saying the reports were the result of "a technical error" and a "misunderstanding."

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Palestinian suicide attack- against Palestinians!

It is only a matter of time, before an attack succeeds...
Last update - 12:56 09/06/2009       
Three Hamas women arrested for plotting suicide attack against Fatah
By The Associated Press
Palestinian Authority security forces have arrested three Palestinian women who were allegedly planning a suicide attack targeting
their own policemen in the West Bank.
Palestinian official Jamal Muheisen said Tuesday the women are members of Hamas, the Islamic group that has a long-running feud with the Western-backed Fatah government in the West Bank.
Muheisen said the women were arrested Sunday on their way to the town of Qalqiliya, where four police officers and four Hamas militants were been killed in recent clashes.
He added that one woman was carrying an explosive belt and confessed she intended to blow herself up in a police compound.

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Obama is waiting for Netanyahu

During the waiting period prior to the Six day war, a hit song was "Nasser is waiting for Rabin." A privately issued plan should be replied to in private.
Jun. 9, 2009 Staff , THE JERUSALEM POST

The US has formulated a 2-year plan for cementing a two-state agreement between Israel and the Palestinians and is now waiting for Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to convey Israel's reply to the plan, the London-based pan-Arab daily Asharq Al-Awsat reported Tuesday.

According to the report, the new plan was presented to Netanyahu during his visit to Washington in May. The prime minister was reportedly given six weeks to provide his response to the initiative, starting from Obama's address Cairo address last week.

The plan was also presented to Egyptian intelligence chief Omar Suleiman and Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit during their visit to the US, the report said.

According to the report, the Egyptian leadership is taking the initiative seriously, but is assessing that Palestinian divisiveness could impede its implementation. The Egyptian leadership has therefore decided to make Palestinian reconciliation a top priority, the report said, and has tasked Suleiman with expediting the unity talks.

The Jerusalem Post could not confirm the report.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas was also reportedly informed of the plan and has sent a delegation to Egypt, headed by negotiator Ahmed Qurei. Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal was also summoned to Cairo ahead of the reconciliation talks, the report said.

A senior Egyptian official was quoted as saying that Suleiman would meet Mahsaal and the rest of the Hamas delegation in Cairo.

"Suleiman asked the Hamas delegation to come to Cairo as part of the efforts that Egypt is pursuing in order to bring an end to inter-Palestinian division, with the goal being to ready the way for the diplomatic process," the Egyptian official was quoted as saying. "Egypt will keep up its consultations and contacts with the Palestinian organizations and faction in the near future in a manner that will facilitate the signing of a final agreement that will bring inter-Palestinian reconciliation on July 7."

Obama's plan has also reportedly prompted the forum of Arab prime ministers to set an urgent meeting for June 17, in which the Arab world will debate Egypt's efforts to reconcile the disparate forces among the Palestinians.

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Monday, June 8, 2009

A bit behind schedule, Saudi Arabia moves into the twentith century - with Movies

In 1961, Saudi Arabia took a bold step into the nineteenth century, when, under the pressure of the evil, colonialist, petroleum driven imperialist Americans, it abolished slavery. This step threatened the traditional Saudi way of life, and is a prime example of Western arrogance. Now, succumbing to the evil blandishments of the west, the Muslim monarchy has introduced, horror of horrors, the cinema. into the capital city of Riyadh. Protesters rightly pointed out that films violate Islamic values. There is no telling where this degeneracy will end. Will they grant women the right to vote? Drivers' licenses? Will they stop punishing homosexuality with death? Will they stop cutting off the hands of theives? Will they, horror of horros, allow Jewish sons of dogs and apes, or Christian sons of dogs and pigs, to practice their own religions or to enter the holy city of Mecca?  

Protests as Saudi film screened in Riyadh

A policeman talks to a convervative protester as they walk past posters advertising the film Menahi.
Conservative protesters believe the film undermines Islamic values

People in the Saudi capital Riyadh are being allowed to go to the movies for the first time in 30 years.


The film is a Saudi-made offering called Menahi, a comedy about a naive Bedouin who moves to the big city.

A few religious hardliners have tried to turn movie-goers away, or to disrupt the performances.

No women were allowed into the performance, which followed similar initiatives in other Saudi cities with more liberal Islamic traditions.

The country has begun to open up to the arts since King Abdullah came to the throne in 2005.

But it still took the film's producers five months to gain government permission for showings in Riyadh, at a government-run cultural centre, and there was little advance publicity.

Public cinemas were shut down in Saudi Arabia in the 1970s, as the country's deeply conservative leaders feared they would lead to the mixing of the sexes, and undermine Islamic values.

Since then, there's been little public entertainment, except for horse and camel racing, and festivals celebrating traditional Saudi culture.

Saudi Arabia is also the base of the Arabic entertainment company Rotana, owned by the billionaire Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal.

The Rotana network has produced Menahi, and it has already been showing it in several other Saudi cities, including Jeddah and Taif.

Woman were allowed into screenings outside Riyadh, although they sat on the upper floor while the ground floor was reserved for men. But Islamic practice is even stricter in Riyadh.


The film has been showing in Riyadh since Friday, at the King Fahd Cultural Centre, with two performances a day attracting near capacity audiences of about 300.

On Saturday, a group of conservative men gathered outside the centre, trying to persuade people from going in.

Most cinema-goers politely ignored them, as they queued up for soft drinks and popcorn, and for a chance to pose with the film's stars.

Prince Alwaleed, a nephew of King Abdullah, has said he believes that cinemas will eventually open in Saudi Arabia. And last year the kingdom held its first Saudi film festival.

The audience for Menahi has been enthusiastic, with one movie-goer, quoted by AFP news agency, calling it "the first step in a peaceful revolution".

In 2005, the Saudi authorities allowed a hotel in Riyadh to screen foreign cartoons dubbed into Arabic to audiences - but only to women and children.

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A good thing happened in Lebanese elections - Maybe

Good Mews from Lebanon - for a change. It's not great news, because Hezbollah still gets to vote with AK-47s, but at least the pro-West, moderate coalition maintained, and perhaps expanded, its majority. Michel Aoun's courting of Hezbollah cost him seats. Likewise, Walid Jumblatt, once stalwart in defense of Lebanese independence, shocked his audience of party faithful by declaring, in the last days of the election, that they would have to bow to the "inevitable" and accept Hezbollah hegemony. He too lost votes. A key thing novices have to know about Lebanese politics is this: "Everyone" supposedly knows that March 8 or M8 is the pro-Syria and pro-Hezbollah alliance, while March 14, or M14 is the pro-West, anti-Syrian bloc that coelesced around Saad Hariri, son of the popular Rafiq Hariri who was assassinated either by Syria or the Hezbollah. Because "everybody" supposedly knows it, Lebanese never mention it, so almost nobody who doesn't follow the issues closely can tell what they are talking about and what all these dates are about.   Tony Badran has the story. But what he is not saying is that the Lebanese election law still seems to discriminate against the Shi'a, who are probably a majority (Lebanon has not had a census in a long time) and in favor of the Christian minority, many of whom have fled abroad. Another thing to keep in mind is that Hezbollah has a way of reduing the parliamentary majority of the government - it seems to murder MPs it doesn't like. Someday murders them, at any rate.

Tony Badran
Let's run through what seems to be the final result of the election. It seems, with the preliminary results, that the March 14 coalition and its independent allies have won 71 seats, adding one seat to their current total, despite what March 8 thought would be an electoral law advantageous to them (the 1960 law adopted in the now-defunct Doha Accord). This puts to rest the myth that in 2005, M14 won because of its alliance with Hezbollah and the gerrymandering of the electoral law of 2000. M14's victory is clear. It ran unified lists and wherever M14 won, the lists won in total without any breaches.

Who are the winners and losers?

Obviously, M14 as a coalition emerges victorious. The independents add a couple to the total number but M14 still maintains a majority on its own. It's a decisive majority trashing once and for all Bashar Assad's "imaginary majority" and "transient few" snide remarks.

Hariri reemerges with the biggest bloc and thus keeps his position as head of the parliamentary majority. The Future Movement sailed through in the north, Beirut, the Western Bekaa and Zahle, and swept two seats in Sidon. The Lebanese Forces performed very strongly in Koura and Batroun, with M14 sweeping both, and eliminating Aoun's son-in-law Gebran Bassil in what is a major symbolic victory.

Walid Jumblat sacrificed from his share for the sake of the M14 alliance, and he emerges with a slightly diminished bloc as a result.

On the other side, Michel Aoun took a hit with the loss of his son-in-law, and saw his huge margin in Keserwen dwindle down drastically to about 2,000 votes, with Mansour al-Bone and his list performing ably.

Furthermore, this was done with Aoun's preferred electoral law, which he had been bragging about since the Doha Accord saying that he "forced" it on the other parties, and that it would "liberate" the Christian vote, especially in places like Ashrafiyeh, and that he would expand his bloc to over 30 MPs. Well, his list was demolished in Beirut 1 (Ashrafiyeh), where M14 swept all five seats.

Also, his allies in Zahle (Elie Skaff and the "Popular Bloc") got smashed, with M14 performing very strongly there.

Nevertheless, Aoun scored big in districts with large Hezbollah votes, namely Baabda and Jbeil. While a victory in Jbeil was expected, the sweep in Baabda is a net win. Aoun also maintained his sweep in Keserwen, despite a dramatically narrower edge. He also did well in the Metn, winning 6 (in alliance with the Armenaian Tashnag party) out of 8, with Michel Murr and Sami Gemayel getting the other two. As such, Aoun will still claim he is the strongest in the Maronite heartland. Nevertheless, the win is very obviously a lot shakier than the "tsunami" of 2005, and nothing made it clearer than his son-in-law's big loss in Batroun. Batroun, whose citizens lost an Army pilot, shot down in his helicopter by Aoun's Hezbollah's allies, threw out the Aounists completely.

In effect, the Christian vote, as always, is still split. Aoun and his allies (Frangieh, Tashnag) will still have the largest Christian bloc (the seats in Jezzine will not be counted because they were never in play for M14, and they were gifts from Hezbollah -- and, incidentally, a setback for Berri).

The Tashnag Party, which huffed and puffed (and was puffed up by Western journos) mightily before the elections, ends up with a dud, getting only two seats (keeping the seat in Metn, and gaining a seat in Beirut 2). The other Armenian seats (Zahle, Beirut 1) went to M14.

Similarly, Michel Murr didn't pull off the kind of performance many thought he would, keeping only his seat in the Metn. He fielded a candidate in Baabda (Gharios) who lost. His companion in the Metn, Sarkis Sarkis, also lost.

Similarly, the so-called centrist bloc that was touted before the elections, comes out decidedly smaller than even initially thought. The bloc was supposed to be affiliated with the President, Suleiman, with candidates close to him, or effectively putting themselves in his corner, not breaking through: Nazim Khoury in Jbeil, al-Bone and Farid Haykal Khazen in Keserwen, Edmond Gharios (and even perhaps Pierre Daccache) in Baabda, and even Murr himself. Although there are others who did make it (people like Robert Ghanem, etc. can still support the President), the bloc as initially conceived did not quite materialize.

This balance of power will now be transferred to the battle over the cabinet formation. M14 has a clear victory, and so will pick the Prime Minister. The battle, however, will be over the heresy of the "veto third" -- which has no existence in the constitution or the Taef Accord. Hariri has been consistently rejecting its continuation in the future cabinet, and he got support today from
Jumblat as well, who called it a "fallacy." M14 will agree to a national unity government, though its principled position now is that it rejects the "veto third" formula. They are making plenty of noise about giving a boost to Suleiman, and how that will materialize remains to be seen. M8 is almost certainly going to reject it and will cite the relatively weak performance of the so-called independents/centrists as support for their position. This is a potential looming crisis on the horizon, as I argued in my pre-election briefing, especially since Hezbollah and the March 8 groups have shown themselves to be anti-democratic and violent forces who wouldn't hesitate to paralyze the country and ultimately attack people in their homes to get what they want.

Let's see how this plays out.

Continued (Permanent Link)

Obama Speech: Truth, Justice and Tolerance upside down

Truth, Justice and Tolerance upside down
Our President the Messiah just spoke in Cairo and he said he wanted to speak truth but the speech was a lie from start to finish. He tried to portray Islam as a tolerant religion. Try ask the families of the million and half Armenian Christians butchered by the Turks in the name of Allah, or the Hindus butchered in the tens of millions in India during the middle ages or try telling the 850,000 Jews who fled Arab countries between 1948 and 1973, or what about the millions of Christians and Black Muslims (not real Muslims according to the Arabs) butchered by the Arab Muslims in Darfur Sudan; just a few of the tolerant moments of Islam.  Maybe we could examine the persecution of Copts, Maronites and other Middle Eastern Christians over the last several centuries including the current times. I personally have spoken to dozens of families about how their wives, daughters, aunts and nieces have been subjected to unspeakable rapes, kidnapping and imprisonment with no course for redress.
John Adams the second president may have signed a peace treaty with Tripoli (morocco) Pirates but did not compliment Islam, the President Obama took those words out of context and then on top omitted the castigation and condemnation of Islam by John Adams' son; John Quincy Adam's, the sixth president, who said quote "The essence of his doctrine (Islam) was violence, lust: to exalt brutal over the spiritual part of human nature." 
President Obama continues with his his lies about the "Justice, progress and dignity of all Human beings in Islam". Well Mr. President try asking that question to the wives of most Muslims; if only those women had a chance to taste Western freedom of expression. Our President deceives himself as he deceives others. He is a disgrace to the cause of civil rights, not for just Christians and Jews but to all that live under the yoke of Islam. The huge amount of evidence showing Islamic brutality today and of the past that is denied by President Obama with omission and unfortunately also denied by many in our society, including most of the church in America and the West.
According to the philosophy of the left and our President, is that if you are a minority you have the right to be more privileged than the majority because of the past injustices that were inflicted on that minority.  Affirmative action is for every minority except for Jews/Israelis because if you are a Jew living in the Middle East or Israel you have to be subservient to the Muslims and to our President Barack Hussein Obama, who is "proud of his Muslim heritage."
If Islam is not a peaceful religion and Zionism is true then I am a proud extremist.  The President does not speak the truth and should be impeached for hate crimes and racism against Jews, for despising and undermining our constitution, for attempting to bankrupt the country, for lying to the American people about what he promised them before being elected and allegedly for proposing a racist supreme court judge. America is still divided and not united because the truth is lost, lies are embraced and deception is the order of the day.
In regards to Israel the President made a clear and unequivocal statement at AIPAC about an undivided Jerusalem but that I am sure will be the next change in his position after he pounds the Jews into giving up Judea.
If you are a true liberal how can you justify Jews giving up their homes or expanding their economic welfare because they are Jews?  Arabs want a state called Palestine, fine, if that is what they want why can Jews not live in a state called Palestine as a peaceful minority just like Arabs live within Israel's Green Line. If Jews cannot be part of "Palestine" then Arabs should not be part of Israel, kick them all out, let them live in their utopia terror state called Palestine. No, because if Israel were to do this they would be called an apartheid state but it is OK to be an Arab and be guilty of an Apartheid policy, which is called "freedom fighting" by the left and the Arabs. How tolerant Mr. President! And for those that say that Jews should not be there in the first place, that is another lie. Jews lived in JUDEA continuously for nearly 4000 years except between 1948 and 1967 when THEY were ethnically cleansed by the Jordanians. In 1967 after the Six Day War did Jews ret urn to reclaim the birthright of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.  Hebron is in Judea, Bethlehem the burial place of Rachel is in Judea. If Judea does not belong to the Jews then neither does Tel Aviv or Haifa. Stand up Jews and make your case, stop being so practical and reasonable, your enemies are not interested in land, or economic development, or living in harmony with you, their religion of Islam forbids it, they are only interested in destroying you, Islamic tolerance is a myth, a lie and a deception. When they shouted idbah-al-Yahud (slaughter the Jews) prior to 1948 war, prior to 1967 war and today in every mosque in the Middle East, what part of 'slaughter the Jews' do you Jews not understand?
When Israel withdrew all the Jews from Gaza, all this brought was more war, actually more Palestinian Arabs died when Israel gave them "freedom," more Palestinian Arabs have been murdered by their own people; more Palestinian Arabs have been imprisoned by Hamas, due to Israel's foolish policy which has also caused the death of dozens of Jews, as well as terrifying the whole population of towns in Southern Israel. Yet our rock star President wishes to direct Israel to make the exact same concessions in Judea and Samaria and expect a different result. In fact if Israel does do the President's bidding, and withdraws from Judea and Samaria can we expect peace or another Gaza blueprint?
You do not have to be a committed right winger or Zionist ideologue, but use ones common sense to be able to understand that the most likely outcome would be another Gaza situation, but this time it will be even worse, because now you have every person in Israel that can be targeted by Hamas Rockets. Yes Hamas rockets, because every person who understands the security situation knows that if Israel hands control over Judea and Samaria to Abbas of the PLO, then Hamas will immediately overthrow him and you will have the same situation as Gaza. Abbas depends on Israel's security forces for him to maintain power. The whole peace process with Abbas is a complete sham.
If the American administration truly understood the reality then it needs to be racist towards Hamas instead of the Jews, i.e. destroy the terrorists with uncompromising force then you may not get peace but you will have neutralized the enemy and disemboweled their ability from making war which is much better than the current status quo.
If Israel had some common sense it would use the above arguments in the public domain to make their case, but alas they stand silent. By their silence they will not get peace, they will not get security and they will continue to suffer. They suffer because they will not honor truth, they will not honor G-d's Promise.
Walid Shoebat and Keith Davies

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Gay and Zionist

One of the most interesting and unfathomable phenomena of Israel hate, next to anti-Zionist Jews, are groups like "Queers for Palestine." When they are Jewish as well, it is really disconcerting. It is highly recommended to those people to hold a gay pride parade in Gaza city. Go on. I dare you. Israel's record on gay rights is outstanding, but it hasn't earned it much support from the gay community. The effort described below sounds good, but it takes for granted that gay people know about the situation of gay rights or lack of them in Arab society and particularly in Hamas controlled Gaza. Evidently they do not.
Gay pride being used to promote Israel abroad
Jun. 7, 2009
A group of prominent gay opinion-shapers from around the world are to visit Israel to grapple with the country's sexuality issues on a five-day seminar centering around Tel Aviv's gay pride parade, scheduled for Friday.
iPride, a project created by international Israel advocacy organization Stand With Us, will begin on Wednesday and focus on showing participants a side to Israel that does not revolve around "conflict" in the traditional military sense.
Instead, the group will hear from speakers discussing the issue of sexuality within Israeli institutions such as government, the IDF and Israeli film, and discover more about Israel's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community.
The event will bring together around 15 magazine editors, reporters, academics and activists from Harvard, Berlin, the UK, Spain and Italy, including Queer Eye for the Straight Guy presenter Brian Kelly. Speakers at the seminar will include influential figures from Israel's LGBT community, such as Meretz MK Nitzan Horowitz and movie producer and Kochav Nolad ("A Star is Born") TV judge Gal Uchovsky.
The idea is to improve Israel's image across the globe, according to Noa Meir, coordinator of iPride. Meir is participating in the Stand With Us fellowship program, which recruits 20 people on the Tel Aviv University campus and 150 students from around Israel in an effort to groom the country's future leaders.
"We decided to improve Israel's image through the gay community in Israel; we found that the issue is not familiar around the world," said Meir, whose team members are all heterosexual.
Although the event deliberately avoids the Israeli-Palestinian issue, the idea for the project was partly inspired by reactions to Operation Cast Lead - specifically one incident in San Francisco which saw a gay group identifying with the Palestinian cause and publicly calling to "free the gays in Israel."
"We know that gays around the world are liberal usually and they tend to identify with the Palestinians," explained Meir, "and we find it a bit ironic because you can't really be gay in the Palestinian territories."
However, Meir stressed that iPride reaches beyond the conflict and instead looks at being gay in Israel, "for better or for worse."
The group is being taken to Jerusalem next Sunday, for example, to examine the controversy that sexuality issues arouse in the capital.
A panel discussion will be held there that will debate whether an annual gay pride parade should take place in the holy city.
"Our mission is education and we want to work with different communities and populations in order to talk about issues that matter to them, and relate them to the Israel that we know and love," said Michael Dickson, director of the international Stand With Us office in Israel.
"We're glad to have the opportunity to do what hasn't been done enough, which is to reach out to the gay community and have them see, hear and experience Israel for themselves."
iPride has received some opposition however, though not from the Tel Aviv Municipality, the Foreign Ministry, the Tel Aviv University Student Union or the National Union of Israeli Students, which all support the seminar through cooperation or sponsorship, but from some of the Tel Aviv transgender community.
Meir and her fellowship team invited some transgender figures to sit on a panel, but the offer was not just refused, but condemned, though Meir is uncertain why. More recently, however, one transgender individual has agreed to represent that community in the Jerusalem debate.
During the seminar, the group will also attend Israel's 11th Gay Pride Parade, tour Tel Aviv's gay nightlife spots and Jerusalem's Old City. The tours and discussions are all due to be featured in a documentary about iPride, hosted by Brian Kelly for Channel 4 in the UK.
"We're hoping to show that Israel is a liberal country, a multicultural, pluralistic country," emphasized Meir. "That is a side of Israel we are very proud of and that we think should be shown around the world.
"Unfortunately it's a side that doesn't get enough attention… As far as a lot of people are concerned, Israel is Gaza and the West Bank and tanks, and they don't see the beautiful culture and the liberal side."
This article can also be read at

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Entertaining news: Hungarian anti-Semite may have 'half Jew' daughters

 Krisztina Morvai (Christina Morvay), the Hungarian political who said that Jews should stick to playing with their circumcised tails, may have been married to a Jew and have "half Jew" daughters, according to this article from Simply Jews: Hungarian Jews should stick to playing with their what? 
A Web post alleges:
Don't be surprised! We have nearly the same way of thinking public figure in Hungary. Her name is PHD prof Christina Morvay, who is working for the Budapest University of Law, mum of two nice half-jew daughter, and with a palestinien scarf around her neck, went to the Israelien Ambassy the day before yesterday, to press the Ambassador on behalf of Hangarian mothers, for stop killing the palestinian kids. I wish, all the civilized people in the word meet her name and turn out of her. I ashemed to be a hungarian mother. IDON'T WANT TO BE ASHEMED BECAUSE OF HER! Posted by: mARSCHALL éVA at Jan 14, 2009 4:12:13 PM
Her prejudice against Jews and her remark about circumscised tails may be based on personal experience. Simply Jews has a nice photo of the lady and other goodies too.

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Alleged Liberian war criminal Charles Taylor said to claim Jewish faith

According to the article, "Former Liberian president Charles Taylor, on trial in the Hague for alleged war crimes committed during the civil war in Sierra Leone, has adopted Judaism, one of his wives said."  
Is that the Shabbes wife or the one for every day, the milchig one or the fleishig one?
Jews are only allowed to have one wife of course.
Former Liberian president Charles Taylor, on trial in the Hague for alleged war crimes committed during the civil war in Sierra Leone, has adopted Judaism, one of his wives said.
The former warlord is on trial in the Special Court for Sierra Leone for allegedly encouraging atrocities during that country's civil war, which ended in 2002.
On a broadcast aired last week, Victoria Taylor told the BBC World Service's Peter Ndoro that Taylor "is now a Jew. He's practicing Judaism."
Asked if Taylor believes his newfound faith will aid him in his trial, his wife suggested he does.
"Oh yes, I have seen a lot of transformation in my husband," she said, "and I know he truly wants to serve God with all his heart, all his mind and all his might."
In fact, Taylor found his Judaism upon entering the courtroom, she said.
"When he got to The Hague, he got to know that he really, really wanted to be a Jew. And he wanted to convert to Judaism. And that's what he has done… He wants to know deeply about God and all about creation, and he wants to serve God accordingly and immediately."
His wife insists, however, that he remains a believing Christian.
"He wants to follow the two religions," she said, adding that while he had questions concerning Christianity, "of course, he does believe in Christ."
Ndoro asked if Taylor's "conversion" included admitting "to having done wrong for which he's seeking forgiveness right now.
"To be honest with you," Victoria replied, "I have never raised that question with him. I have never talked to him about that. I know he has a lot of regret concerning all that happened in his presidency and in the war... We don't talk in detail concerning that."

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European elections bring out anti-'zionist' crazies in France

It doesn't matter if Dieudonne wins a seat. It is the thought that counts. See also here.
PARIS (JTA) -- French Jews are shocked and outraged by an anti-Zionist party's campaign slogans for upcoming European Union Parliament elections.
Campaign graphics showing a crossed-out Israeli flag over a map of France "constitute an insult and a threat to oust Jews from their country," said the National Bureau of Vigilance Against Anti-Semitism, in a May 28 statement. In its statement, the bureau said that it had been flooded with calls from concerned Jews who see the current anti-Zionist party campaign as "propaganda that reminds them of the darkest days of the 20th century" leading up to the Holocaust.
The group also asked the interior minister to block the anti-Zionist party from participating in the June 7 European elections.
The anti-Zionist party, run by the French comedian known as Dieudonné, is campaigning across the Paris region, and notably in immigrant suburbs with large Muslim populations, according to the party's Web site.
The Web site also outlines the group's official program, which calls on the party and the parliament to: "Stop Zionist interference in the Nation's public affairs; denounce politicians who apologize for Zionism; eradicate all forms of Zionism in the Nation; prevent enterprises and institutions from contributing to the war efforts of a foreign nation, which does not respect International Law. Free our state, our government, our institutions from the possession and pressure of Zionist organizations."
Some French politicians have unsuccessfully attempted to bar the anti-Zionist party from participating in the E.U. elections.
On Sunday a "violent" fight broke out between anti-Zionist campaigners and several still unidentified individuals, in an immigrant district in northeastern Paris, reported the French daily, Le Parisien. Dieudonne was reportedly present at the time of the fight, but did not participate.  Four people were injured, and five detained by police, according to Le Parisien.

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Anti-Hezbollah forces declare victory in Lebanese elections

The majority of the anti-Hezbollah and anti-Syria group is somewhat smaller than before, and it may shrink some more when the official results are tallied. The Lebanese paralysis will continue as before, since a minority that has guns can control the agenda, and they do. When they decided that the "democracy" was unfavorable to them, Hezbollah surrounded Saad Hariri's home and closed down his TV station. If that doesn't work, they can always kill a few more MPs, as they have evidently done in the past. Being an anti-Hezbollah MP is bad for your health.
Last update - 10:18 08/06/2009       
Lebanon's Western-backed majority declares victory over Hezbollah
By The Associated Press
Lebanon's pro-Western coalition declared victory early Monday, as local television stations reported the faction had successfully fended off a serious challenge by the Shi'ite militant group Hezbollah and its allies to grab the majority in parliament.
Official results for Sunday's election were not expected until later Monday, but the winners were already celebrating by shooting in the air, setting off fireworks and driving around in honking motorcades.
The election was an early test of President Barack Obama's efforts to forge Middle East peace. A win by Hezbollah would have boosted the influence of its backers Iran and Syria and risked pushing one of the region's most volatile nations into international isolation and possibly into more conflict with Israel.
"I present this victory to Lebanon," Prime Minister Fuad Saniora said on television after stations projected his pro-Western coalition was winning. "It is an exceptional day for democracy in Lebanon."
OTV, the television station of one of Hezbollah's key Christian allies, former army chief Michel Aoun, conceded that the party's candidates who challenged pro-Western competitors in several Christian districts had been defeated, preventing a victory for the Hezbollah coalition. But Aoun was able to hang on to his representation in other districts.
Lebanese Broadcasting Corporation, a leading private Christian TV station, projected the pro-Western coalition to win 67 seats in the next parliament, with 52 for Hezbollah and its allies, two for independents and seven undecided.
That would almost replicate the deadlock that existed in the outgoing parliament, in which the pro-Western bloc had 70 seats and an alliance of Hezbollah and other Shiite and Christian factions had 58.
The leader of the largest bloc in the pro-Western coalition, Saad Hariri, said early Monday in a televised speech that he extends his hand to the losing side to work together and seriously for the sake of Lebanon. He urged supporters to celebrate without provoking opponents.
But despite the conciliatory tone, Lebanon was at risk of sliding again into a political crisis over formation of the next government similar to the one that buffeted the country for most of the last four years.
Hezbollah had veto power in Saniora's Cabinet for the last year, which it won after provoking the worst street clashes since the 1975-1990 civil war. The pro-Western coalition had vowed not to give Hezbollah and its allies a blocking minority in the new government if they won.
The battle in Christian districts was the decisive factor. Lebanese generally vote along sectarian and family loyalties, with seats for Sunnis and Shiites in the half-Christian, half-Muslim, 128-member parliament already locked up even before the voting started.
Christians in the pro-Western coalition warned that Hezbollah would bring the influence of Shiite Iran to Lebanon. The Maronite Catholic Church made a last-minute appeal, warning that Lebanon as a state and its Arab identity were threatened, a clear reference to Hezbollah and its Persian backer, Iran.
Sunnis were also driven to vote for the pro-Western coalition to get back at Shiite Hezbollah gunmen for seizing the streets a year ago in Beirut from pro-government supporters.
The interior minister said after polls closed that the turnout
nationwide was about 52.3 percent, an increase over the 2005 figure of 45.8 percent.
Saniora won his first parliamentary seat in the southern port city of Sidon, defeating a pro-Hezbollah Sunni incumbent, according to TV projectilcC.
The race for the parliament is the first major event in the Middle East since Obama reached out to the Arab and Islamic worlds last week in his speech in Cairo in which he called for a new beginning between the United States and Muslims. Obama challenged Muslims to confront violent extremism across the globe and urged Israel and the Palestinians along with Arab states to find common ground on which to forge peace.
Hezbollah, which the U.S. considers a terrorist organization, has been one of the staunchest opponents of U.S. policy in the Middle East and a sworn enemy of Israel. It fought Israel in southern Lebanon in 2006 in a devastating war and has tried to smuggle weapons to the Palestinian group Hamas in Gaza through Egypt.
Obama's speech did not resonate in the election campaign. But warnings by the United States that it could reconsider aid depending on the election's outcome have sparked Hezbollah accusations of U.S. interference. The U.S. has given around $1 billion to Lebanon's pro-Western government since 2006.
In his Cairo speech, Obama said the United States will welcome elected,
peaceful governments, provided they govern with respect for all their people.
Former President Jimmy Carter, in Beirut to monitor the elections, expressed hope that the United States, Iran and other countries will recognize the results and not try to interfere in the process.
Hezbollah's coalition includes the Shiite movement Amal and Aoun's Christian faction. Opposing it are the overwhelmingly Sunni Muslim supporters of current majority leader Hariri, allied with several Christian and Druse factions.
Hezbollah tried to strike a moderate tone in the election campaign. The group only fielded 11 candidates and must work with its various political allies.
The group's Christian allies argue that involving Hezbollah more deeply in the political process - rather than shunning it - is the only way to bridge the country's sectarian divides.
Their opponents counter that the heavily armed Hezbollah would be driving
Lebanon into the arms of Iran, which could use it as a front in the Islamic republic's confrontation with Israel.
In Israel, government officials were concerned about gains by Hezbollah.
Vice Prime Minister Silvan Shalom said last week a victory by Hezbollah would be very dangerous for the stability of the Middle East, and by
that, the stability of the entire world.
The voting was largely peaceful, with complaints of long waits at polling
stations from voters, many of whom had to travel across the country to cast their ballots. Army troops in armored personnel carriers and trucks took up positions on major highways, part of a 50,000-strong security force deployed for voting day.
President Michel Suleiman, among the early voters, cast his ballot in his
hometown of Amchit on the coast north of Beirut. He set the political tone for the post-election period irrespective of who won, hoping for a national unity government, a prospect both sides have already raised.

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Sunday, June 7, 2009

Washington Post: Compromise on Settlement issue

A very important Washington Post editorial that may signal the way some people in the US administration are thinking calls for compromise with Israel over the settlement freeze issue:
The question is whether the administration will allow Mr. Netanyahu the room to side with Mr. Obama, should he choose to do so. According to some officials in his government, there is much the Israeli leader may be willing to do to mend the rift. What he almost certainly will not do, however, is abandon the position of previous Israeli governments -- accepted in practice by both the Bush and Clinton administrations -- that some "natural growth" must be allowed in existing settlements. ...

The problem is that no Israeli government -- not Mr. Netanyahu's, not even one led by the current opposition -- is likely to agree to a total construction ban. By insisting on one, the administration risks bogging itself down in a major dispute with its ally, while giving Arab governments and Palestinians a ready excuse not to make their own concessions. Meanwhile, the practical need for a total settlement freeze is debatable. Palestinian negotiators have already conceded that many of the towns will be annexed to Israel in any final deal; so did former presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.

A good compromise is achievable. Mr. Netanyahu should publicly acknowledge that the peace process will lead to Palestinian statehood, and should adopt a series of measures curtailing settlements. He should quickly dismantle those deemed illegal, end all government subsidies, prohibit the territorial expansion of all settlements, stop new construction in those outside Israel's West Bank fence and agree to a monitoring mechanism that will prevent cheating. Mr. Obama can reasonably accept that as a freeze, while not requiring that not a single brick be laid in any of the more than 120 West Bank communities. Then he can turn to the equally important task of pressing Palestinian leaders and Arab states for measures that match Israel's actions.

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Prediction: Hezbollah bloc did not win the Lebanese election

The feared victory of pro- Hezbollah and pro Syrian forces in the Lebanese elections evidently did not happen, according to this Reuters story but it is probably too early to be certain. A loss will probably produce another unity government and national paralysis, as the "March 14" forces that oppose Syria and Hezbollah are unable to get a large majority and probably Hezbollah would use its arms to overthrow a government that excluded them. Unfortunately, March 14 Members of Parliament tend to have a short life expectancy, meeting accidents such as having their automobiles bombed. That reduces the majority over time.
An anti-Syrian coalition defeated Hezbollah and its main Christian ally Michel Aoun in Lebanon's parliamentary election on Sunday, sources on both sides said.
If confirmed, the result would be seen as a blow to Syria and Iran, which support Hezbollah, and a boost to the United States, Saudi Arabia and Egypt, which back Hariri's alliance.
"We have lost the election," said a senior politician close to the bloc that includes Shi'ite groups Hezbollah and Amal, as well as Aoun. "We accept the result as the will of the people."
Christian politician Samir Geagea said he believed the anti-Syrian "March 14" coalition, to which his Lebanese Forces party belongs, had won, perhaps only by a narrow margin.
"In my opinion, yes, March 14 ... will return as the majority," Geagea told LBC television.
A source in the campaign of Saad al-Hariri, the coalition's Sunni Muslim leader, predicted a clear victory, saying the bloc would win at least 70 seats in the 128-member assembly.
No official results have been announced.
Perhaps 100 of the 128 seats were virtually decided in advance, thanks to sectarian voting patterns and political deals, with Sunni and Shi'ite communities on opposing sides.
The real electoral battle centred on Christian areas, where Aoun was up against former President Amin Gemayel's Phalange Party, the Lebanese Forces of Samir Geagea and independents.
Lebanon's rival camps are at odds over Hezbollah's guerrilla force, which outguns the Lebanese army, and ties with Syria, which dominated Lebanon for three decades until 2005.
The likeliest outcome of the poll is another "national unity" government, analysts say.
"A national unity government is necessary, conditional on March 14 reaching a victory," anti-Syrian Druze leader Walid Jumblatt said before the preliminary result had emerged.
Interior Minister Ziad Baroud said after polls closed at 7 p.m. that preliminary figures showed a turnout of more than 54 percent, a high figure for Lebanon, where hundreds of thousands of the 3.26 million eligible voters live abroad.
Security was tight, with 50,000 troops and police deployed across Lebanon, especially in the most contested districts.
Security sources said one person was wounded by gunfire in the northern city of Tripoli and there were brawls between rival supporters elsewhere, but no reports of serious fighting.
According to unofficial results, Prime Minister Fouad Siniora, who has enjoyed Western and Arab support, won a parliamentary seat in the mainly Sunni southern city of Sidon.
Siniora, 66, has headed the cabinet since the Hariri-led coalition won the 2005 parliamentary election. He led the government through 18 months of political conflict with Hezbollah and its allies, but is not expected to keep his post.
Voting was relatively trouble-free across Lebanon, although there were many reports of vote-buying before the poll, with some Lebanese expatriates being offered free air tickets home.
The United States, which lists Hezbollah as a terrorist group, has linked future aid to Lebanon to the shape and policies of the next government. Hezbollah, which says it must keep its arms to deter Israel, is part of the outgoing cabinet.
The anti-Syrian majority coalition has enjoyed firm backing from many Western countries, as well as Saudi Arabia and Egypt, since the 2005 assassination of Hariri's father Rafik al-Hariri.
The coalition took power in an election following Hariri's killing, but struggled to govern in the face of a sometimes violent conflict with Hezbollah and its allies.
Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, who heads a team of international observers, urged Lebanese parties and their foreign backers to accept the result of the vote.
"I don't have any concerns over the conduct of the elections. I have concerns over the acceptance of the results by all the major parties," he said at a Beirut polling station.
Tensions in Lebanon have mostly been kept in check by leaders whose rivalries pushed the country to the brink of civil war last year. A thaw in ties between Saudi Arabia and Syria has also helped maintain stability in Lebanon in recent months.

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Slaughtering Israel's holy cows

The law that exempts Haredim (ultra-orthodox Jews) from military service makes about as much sense as the ancient Roman dole of free wheat, which eventually put a crushing burden on the treasury. In a few hundred years, people will wonder how any country burdened with overwhelming security problems could possibly make such an absurd and unjust law. Because Haredim exempt from military service are supposed to be studying continuously, they are also unable to take jobs legally. That was the problem the Tal law was supposed to solve, but it did not, because living on the (generous) dole and working "off the books" is more convenient. Therefore, Israel is creating an army of parasites instead of an army.

Court hears petition against Haredi IDF exemption

Jun. 7, 2009

The High Court of Justice on Sunday heard five petitions challenging the constitutionality of the Tal Law, which enables yeshiva students to perform truncated military service or a year of public service and then join the work force without being drafted.

Because of the complexity of the issues involved, the petition was heard before a panel of nine justices and a ruling is expected to take several months.

The Tal Law was originally approved in 2002 as a transitional law for five years. Its aim was to pave the way for haredi men to enter the workforce after making some sort of contribution to the state. The underlying assumption was that a certain percentage of haredi men would leave full-time yeshiva study for work, if the threat of being drafted into the army for a lengthy period were removed.

Two years ago, after the High Court had rejected petitions against it, the Knesset extended the law for another five years. Once again, several petitions were filed against it.

"There are two classes of citizens," said 70-year-old attorney Yehuda Ressler, who has been fighting against massive draft exemptions for yeshiva students in court for almost 40 years. "There is discrimination between one person's blood and another's.

"Why doesn't the government conscript haredim from this day forward as it does secular Israelis? It is a cancer in the nation," he said. "We can't live with this."

In the decision to reject the earlier petitions, the court had agreed with them that the Tal Law was discriminatory and hence violated the Basic Law: Human Freedom and Liberty.

Although it had been passed for good reasons, as an attempt to integrate the haredim into Israeli society, it had failed the test of proportionality because of the meager results achieved. But the court was willing to give the law more time.

On Sunday, the state's representative, Avi Licht, argued that the law had made great progress since then. An authority had been established to assist haredim find work in public service. Within one year, the number who had left yeshivot and were performing public service had jumped from 70 to 700, he said.

He also said that there had been major changes in haredi society. Rabbinical leaders understood that not everyone could belong to the "community of learners" and that haredi men would have to work to support themselves.

At this point, Justice Ayala Procaccia asked Licht to explain why, if the haredi leadership had come to understand this, it had forced through a law permitting them not to learn the secular "core curriculum" in the yeshivot ketanot, which are attended by high-school age boys. These core studies teach students skills that are meant to help them find a place in the modern world.

"On what basis do you expect the Tal Law to succeed and a process of change to take place in the haredi community, when we see that no such change is going to take place in the haredi educational system?" asked Procaccia. "Such changes don't happen by themselves."

Licht replied that the fact was that within one year, the number of haredim performing public service had increased tremendously.

"We cannot ignore this," he said.

Licht added that there will always be some yeshiva students who will continue to study full-time.

"The question is whether the arrangements provided by the law will reduce the gap," he said.

Licht predicted that beginning in 2012, about 2,000 yeshiva students would do public service and a few hundred would join the army each year.

He maintained that the number of haredim in the age cohort which reached draft age each year was about 4,500. Licht said that a total of about 6,000 yeshiva students ask for draft deferments, but many of them are enrolled in religious-Zionist yeshivas and seek to defer their service only by a year or two.

Eliad Shraga, who represented the Movement for Quality Government, said the number of haredim currently in the army or public service was a drop in the bucket. He said that as opposed to these figures, there were roughly 56,000 haredim of military conscription age who were studying in yeshivot and renewed their deferments each year.

This figure, he added, did not include tens of thousands of young haredim who had not served in the army and were still of draftable age but had married and had enough children to no longer be draftable. These students had to be taken into account when comparing the number of haredim serving in the army or in public service with those who do not serve at all.

Shraga also argued that the right to equality was not the only constitutional right that was violated by the Tal Law. Since the burden of military service was shared by fewer citizens than would be if the haredim also served, the danger to those who did serve increased. This situation violated their right to life.

Other rights that were violated by the law included the right to property, intellectual development and quality of life, Shraga argued.

This article can also be read at

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Saudis want Obama to impose a Middle East peace solution

Note the peculiar wording of this report:
Saudi Arabia was the driving force behind an Arab peace initiative first put forward by Arab states in 2002 offering Israel recognition in return for withdrawal from Arab land captured in the 1967 Six-Day War and a Palestinian state.
Israel has reacted coolly to the offer, renewed in 2007, saying a return of Palestinian refugees to areas now inside Israel would destroy the Jewish character of the state.
Israel's reaction to the peace initiative makes no sense, because the description of the peace initiative by Reuters is incorrect. They "forgot" to mention the little detail of return of refugees and the other little detail about Jerusalem.
Last update - 20:08 07/06/2009       
Saudis tell Obama: Impose Mideast solution if needed
By Reuters
King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia has urged U.S. President Barack Obama to impose a solution on the festering Arab-Israeli conflict if necessary, a Saudi newspaper said on Sunday.
Saudi Arabia and other Arab states want Obama to get tough with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over his refusal to endorse Palestinian statehood and for defying U.S. calls to halt the expansion of settlements.
King Abdullah told Obama during his visit to Riyadh last week that Arab patience was wearing thin and that a solution of the Arab-Israeli conflict would be the "magic key" to all issues in the region, al-Hayat said, quoting what it called informed sources.
"We want from you a serious participation to solve the Palestinian issue and impose the solution if necessary," the Saudi monarch told Obama, according to the paper, which is owned by a nephew of the monarch. It did not elaborate.
Saudi Arabia was the driving force behind an Arab peace initiative first put forward by Arab states in 2002 offering Israel recognition in return for withdrawal from Arab land captured in the 1967 Six-Day War and a Palestinian state.
Israel has reacted coolly to the offer, renewed in 2007, saying a return of Palestinian refugees to areas now inside Israel would destroy the Jewish character of the state.
"We [Arabs] want to devote our time ... to build a generation capable of confronting the future with science and work," King Abdullah said, according to al-Hayat.
Saudi Arabia believes the collapse of Middle East peacemaking has given Iran a chance to expand its regional influence through Sunni Islamist groups such as the Palestinian Hamas, as well as its Shi'ite traditional Hezbollah allies in Lebanon.

Continued (Permanent Link)

Three Failed Plans to Wipe Israel Off the Map that keep the conflict going

Three Failed Plans to Wipe Israel Off the Map that keep the conflict going

By Barry Rubin

There are now no less than three main plans for wiping Israel off the map.

1. Conquest. This is the old PLO strategy and continues to be the Hamas strategy. In addition, it is endorsed less overtly by a large group—arguably a majority—in Fatah, the party that controls the Palestinian Authority.

Israel will be militarily defeated, perhaps with some assistance from internal collapse, and replaced by a Palestinian Arab Islamic (Fatah version) or Palestinian Arab Islamist state.

2. Two-Stages. This was officially adopted by the PLO and Fatah. It is an alternative vision that appeals to many in those two groups but is rejected by Hamas.

A Palestinian state will be created on as much territory as possible and then used as a base for conquering the rest . A diplomatic deal can only be made to obtain such a state, however, if its terms do not foreclose the possibility of the second stage being implemented. The demand that virtually all Palestinians who wish to do so can go and live in Israel is a supplement to ensure that phase one turns into phase 2. In 2000, Yasir Arafat either rejected this in preference to Plan Number 1 or at least deemed the terms offered insufficient to make the second stage easy or possible.

3. Binational state (also known as the one-state solution). This is supported by some in PLO and Fatah, partly because it has more appeal to naïve or other Westerners. It is rejected by Hamas.

A binational state will be created. (Note the irony that this totally betrays the idea of the Palestinian movement being a nationalist one seeking its own state.) Despite assurances, it will be unworkable and beset by violence. But since Israel's strength would be dismantled and millions of Palestinian Arabs would migrate onto its territory, there would be a relatively brief—but very bloody—transition to an Arab victory and the reconstitution of the state as an Arab Muslim Palestine. Continued at:  Three Failed Plans to Wipe Israel Off the Map that keep the conflict going

Continued (Permanent Link)

Palestinians may execute Palestinian woman accused of spying for Israel

A Palestinian woman could face the death penalty after prosecutors charged her with spying for Israel, said court officials Sunday, in a rare development.
Palestinian men have been convicted of collaborating with Israel, but few
women have been charged before. Palestinian prosecution said it plans to ask for her execution, though death penalties are rarely carried out.
Court officials told The Associated Press that the 22-year-old woman worked as a collaborator after obtaining a divorce from her husband, who forced her to work as a prostitute, making her a social outcast in Palestinian society.
The officials asked not to be named because they were not allowed to speak to reporters.
The young woman, wearing a white scarf across her face, a shirt and jeans was escorted out of a courtroom, flanked by Palestinian policewomen, after military judges delayed their decision on her case until later this month.
Palestinian military judge Abdul Karim al-Masri said the woman confessed to passing low level information and refused a lawyer. She didn't hurt anybody except herself, he said.
The issue of collaborators is sensitive, because Palestinian militants have been arrested or killed by Israeli forces based on their information and those suspected of working with Israel were once shot dead in the streets.
In the past two years, more than 30 Palestinians have been sentenced to death for spying, but none of the sentences have been carried out.
However, some of those sentenced in the Gaza Strip were shot to death as they attempted to escape earlier this year, according to Hamas officials 

Continued (Permanent Link)

Netanyahu to unveil peace policy

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced Sunday that he would deliver a major address on his foreign policy next week, in the wake of U.S. pressure over the peace process with the Palestinians and President Barack Obama's address to the Muslim world last week.
Join the debate on Obama's speech on the Facebook group
"Next week I will deliver a major diplomatic speech in which I will present to Israel's citizens our principles for achieving peace and security," said Netanyahu at the weekly cabinet meeting.
"Ahead of the address, I will be happy to hear the opinions of my coalition partners and of other figures in the Israeli public."
Obama has made repeated calls for Israel to halt West Bank settlement construction, and last week declared he would personally pursue a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, a concept Netanyahu has so far refrained from publicly supporting.
"Over recent days I have read and heard different quotes that were attributed to me - but that I did not say," Netanyahu added.
"I wish to clarify that we want to achieve peace with the Palestinians and with the Arab world while attempting to reach optimal understanding with the U.S. and the international community."
Netanyahu has drawn fire in Israel over his failure to back a two-state solution; his comments on Sunday came shortly after opposition leader Tzipi Livni warned that this may cause the United States to withdraw its support for Israel.
At Sunday's meeting, Netanyahu declared: "My aspiration is to reach a stable peace that rests upon the foundation of security for the State of Israel and its citizens."

Continued (Permanent Link)

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