Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Muslim American: "Profile Me...Please"


In the video above, Asra Nomani, a Muslim American, advocates religious profiling in airport security

VideoBite 1947: 10 Minute History Lesson

Eyewitness accounts of the November 1947 UN vote to partition Mandate Palestine into two states
[Aish HaTorah]
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Stranger than Fiction: Iranian Airport sports Jewish Star



Iran Outraged as Star of David Revealed on Airport -Nayef Zidani

A satellite image of Tehran airport taken by Google Earth [pictured above] has outraged Iranian government officials as it reveals a Star of David on the roof of the headquarters of the national carrier Iran Air.

Iranian media explained that the building was constructed by Israeli engineers during the time of the Shah.
(Al-Arabiya)
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Palestinian National Band: music of hate





-Itamar Marcus & Nan Jacques Zilberdik

The Alashekeen song and dance group that has recently performed hate and violence promotion songs in the Palestinian Authority, has been honored and turned into an official Palestinian national band by decree of PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.
(Palestinian Media Watch)
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WikiLeaks Reveals that Arabs pressed US to hit Iran


Saudi Arabia Urges U.S. to Attack Iran Nukes -Ian Black & Simon Tisdall

King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia has repeatedly urged the U.S. to attack Iran to destroy its nuclear program, according to leaked U.S. diplomatic cables that describe how other Arab allies have secretly agitated for military action against Tehran. 

"He told you [Americans] to cut off the head of the snake," the Saudi ambassador to Washington, Adel al-Jubeir said, according to a report on Abdullah's meeting with U.S. Gen. David Petraeus in April 2008.

The leaked U.S. cables also reveal that officials in Jordan and Bahrain have openly called for Iran's nuclear program to be stopped by any means, including military.
(Guardian-UK)


Arab States Scorn "Evil" Iran -Ian Black

Leaked U.S. State Department cables catalogue a litany of complaints from the Saudis and smaller Gulf states, as well as Egypt, Jordan and others, on issues from Tehran's nuclear ambitions, to its involvement in Iraq and support for Hizbullah in Lebanon and the Palestinian Hamas. "You as Persians have no business meddling in Arab matters," Saudi King Abdullah was quoted as telling Manouchehr Mottaki, Iran's foreign minister. Abdullah declared: "May God prevent us from falling victim to their evil. We have had correct relations over the years, but the bottom line is that they cannot be trusted."

Abu Dhabi's crown prince and deputy commander of the UAE armed forces, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan, referred to Iran as an "existential threat" and even suggested that the U.S. should send in ground forces if air strikes were not enough to "take out" Iranian nuclear targets. The UAE foreign minister is described as viewing "Iran as a huge problem that goes far beyond nuclear capabilities....Iranian support for terrorism is broader than just Hamas and Hizbullah. Iran has influence in Afghanistan, Yemen, Kuwait, Bahrain, the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia and Africa."
(Guardian-UK)


Israel Tried to Coordinate Gaza War with Abbas -Barak Ravid

Israel tried to coordinate the 2009 Gaza war with the Palestinian Authority, classified diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks said, but both the PA and Egypt refused to take over Gaza in case of a Hamas defeat.
(Ha'aretz)
 
 
WikiLeaks Vindicate Israel -Yaakov Katz

WikiLeaks may have done Israel a service, presenting Arab leaders as more extreme in their remarks than Israeli leaders regarding the danger involved in allowing Iran to continue with its nuclear program.
(Jerusalem Post) 
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UPDATE

WikiLeaks Tell Us That Linkage Was Nonsense -Jennifer Rubin

The Obama team over and over again has made the argument that progress on the Palestinian conflict was essential to obtaining the help of the Arab states in confronting Iran's nuclear threat. We know that this is simply and completely false. The documents show that the Arab states were hounding the administration to take action against Iran.
(Commentary)
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Beautiful Gaza



"Is this the Gaza we have been hearing about?" asked a Sudanese official who arrived about a month ago on the "Viva Palestina" aid convoy and was quoted by Palestinian news agency Maan.

"Where is the siege? I don't see it in Gaza. I wish Sudan's residents could live under the conditions of the Gaza siege," he added.
(Ynet News)
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Friday, November 26, 2010

Israel's Western Wall Heats Up



Western Wall Feud Heightens Israeli-Palestinian Tensions -Isabel Kershner

The prime minister of Israel strongly denounced a Palestinian Authority paper that denies any Jewish connection to the Western Wall, the iconic holy site and place of Jewish worship in the Old City of Jerusalem, describing the report as "reprehensible and scandalous." The episode appeared to signal a worsening atmosphere after a two-month hiatus in peace talks. Netanyahu's statement referred to a long article that appeared in Arabic on the Information Ministry Web site of the Western-backed Palestinian government.

The Western Wall is a remnant of the retaining wall of a plateau revered by Jews as the Temple Mount, the site where their ancient temples once stood. The Palestinian paper denying any Jewish historical connection with the site was written by Al-Mutawakel Taha, an Information Ministry official. In it, he stated that "the Al Buraq Wall is the western wall of Al Aksa, which the Zionist occupation falsely claims ownership of and calls the Wailing Wall or Kotel."

Palestinian officials have often denied claims of Jewish heritage in Jerusalem. Netanyahu said the Western Wall "has been the Jewish people's most sacred place for almost 2,000 years, since the destruction of the Second Temple." He added that the Palestinian Authority's denial of a Jewish link "calls into serious question its intentions of reaching a peace agreement, the foundations of which are coexistence and mutual recognition." Netanyahu called on the authority's leaders to disavow the document.
(New York Times)


Palestinians: We Won't Give Up a Single Stone

PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad said that the Wall is part of occupied eastern Jerusalem and that its historic, cultural, and religious characteristics must not be changed, Al-Hayat reported.
(MEMRI)


Western Wall Not Jewish Says Palestinian Official -Diaa Hadid

An official Palestinian report claiming that a key Jewish holy site - Jerusalem's Western Wall - has no religious significance to Jews evoked an angry response from Israelis. Decades of archaeology have shown that the Western Wall, the holiest place where Jews can pray, was a retaining wall of the compound where the two biblical Jewish Temples stood 20 centuries ago. The Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, Islam's third-holiest site, is built atop the ruins. Al-Mutawakil Taha, deputy minister of information in the Western-backed Palestinian Authority, said his study published on a Palestinian government website reflected the official Palestinian position.
(AP-Arab News-Saudi Arabia)


PA Study on Jerusalem's Western Wall a "Moderate" Outrage -Editorial

The PA's information ministry this week released an official "study" declaring that the Western Wall in Jerusalem's Old City - revered for 2,000 years as one of Judaism's holiest sites - isn't Jewish at all. In fact, claims the report by a senior ministry official, it is nothing more than the western wall of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, and has only been a worship site for Jews since World War I - and then, only because of "Muslim tolerance."

This, it should be noted, isn't coming from Hamas. It emanates from the same "moderate" Palestinians whom President Obama and the rest of the world embrace, make concessions to, and trust with Israel's long-term security. What is contemptible is that those efforts increasingly are being endorsed by the world at large.

The whole point of this ongoing exercise is to erase any Jewish connection with the biblical Land of Israel - with an eye toward negating the modern state of Israel's existence.
(New York Post)
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Muslim Moderate Hero Condems Anti-Semitism

Tarek Fatah


Moderate Muslim Author Condemns Virulent Anti-Semitism Infiltrating Islam
-Barbara Yaffe

In his newly published book, The Jew Is Not My Enemy, Toronto author Tarek Fatah, 61, founder and former head of the Muslim Canadian Congress, argues that if Muslims in the Middle East have anyone to blame for their plight it's their own political and religious leaders. "Despite my solidarity with the Palestinian cause, I denounce anti-Semitism and refuse to hate either Israel or the Jewish people," says the Pakistani-born journalist, who immigrated to Canada from Saudi Arabia in 1987.

"By any rational standard, Muslims and Jews should have been, and could be, partners." Their faiths are similar, he says, and more unites than divides them. His book is a condemnation of the virulent anti-Semitism that has infiltrated Islam, a "medieval madness that is creating monsters within the Muslim community."

Muslims are told early and often by clerics and in religious tracts that Jews are the descendants of pigs and apes and the brothers of monkeys, that they annually sacrifice people to drink their blood. This nonsense has only been fueled by the spread of Wahhabism, courtesy of a wealthy "Saudi hate machine." He says clerics regularly close Friday prayers with a call to arms to defeat the Jews. By contrast, he notes, Jewish scriptures and teachings do not feature anti-Muslim preachings.
(Vancouver Sun-Canada)
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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Climbing the Ladder But Not Ascending



Peace Process to Nowhere -Elliott Abrams & Michael Singh

A stand-alone border agreement is a mirage.

For Israelis, more important than where the border lies is what lies beyond it - what security arrangements will be put in place to prevent a barrage of rockets originating from the West Bank, as they now do from Gaza?
(Foreign Policy)


Bad Ideas Come from Bad Premises -Bret Stephens

The consistent willingness of Western news organizations to downplay stories about Palestinian illiberalism and thuggery goes far to explain why so much of the world misdiagnoses the nature of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Settlements are a convenient alibi: They foster the illusion that the conflict can be resolved by Israeli territorial concessions alone. But if that were true, Gaza would have turned peaceful the moment settlements were withdrawn five years ago. The opposite happened.
(Wall Street Journal)
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Monday, November 22, 2010

Cyberattack worm used on Iran called a "Digital Warhead"


The Stuxnet cyber attack on Iran began with the use of a flash drive like the one above. 
The extent of the damage to the Iranian nuke program is unknown. 


Worm Can Deal Double Blow to Iran's Nuclear Program -John Markoff

German software engineer Ralph Langner, who in September was the first to report that the Stuxnet computer worm was apparently designed to sabotage targets in Iran, said that the program contained two separate "digital warheads," designed to disable both Iranian centrifuges used to enrich uranium and steam turbines at the Bushehr nuclear power plant.

He described two different attack modules that are designed to run on different industrial controllers made by Siemens. "It appears that warhead one and warhead two were deployed in combination as an all-out cyberstrike against the Iranian nuclear program," he wrote.
(New York Times)


UPDATES:

Iran's Nuclear Program Reportedly Struggling - Glenn Kessler

Iran's nuclear program has experienced serious problems, including unexplained fluctuations in the performance of the thousands of centrifuges enriching uranium, leading to a temporary shutdown. Speculation immediately centered on the Stuxnet worm, a computer virus that some researchers say was designed to target Iran's centrifuge machines so that they spin out of control.
(Washington Post)
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Report Suggests Problems with Iran's Nuclear Effort -William J. Broad

International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors reported that when visiting the main Iranian enrichment plant at Natanz on Nov. 16, they found that engineers had stopped feeding uranium into the long rows of centrifuges. Six days later, Iran said it had restarted the process.

Independent experts suggested that the computer worm suspected of being aimed at Iran's nuclear program had caused the machines to break down. David Albright, president of the Institute for Science and International Security, said the new disclosures made incapacitation from the Stuxnet worm "sound more credible."

American officials have not claimed responsibility for the worm, but they do say the Obama administration has stepped up a broad covert program, inherited from the Bush administration, to undermine Iran's nuclear program.
(New York Times)
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Pointed at Tel Aviv



Tel Aviv May Be Front Line of Next Conflict

Tel Aviv is likely to be on the front lines in the next large military confrontation, Maj.-Gen. Amos Yadlin, the head of Military Intelligence, warned the Israeli Cabinet.
 
"The quiet should not fool us," Yadlin said. "Our enemies are getting stronger and arming." "Iran's tentacles extend to all those who are working against Israel," he said. "In the next confrontation there is a likelihood that more than one front may erupt, and Tel Aviv will be turned into the front lines."
(Jerusalem Post)
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VideoBite: Saturday Night Live Hits Airport Security


The video above sports from SNL's recent dig at US airport security
CONTENT WARNING: Strong sexual inuendo

Saturday, November 20, 2010

MidEast Conflict Is Not About Land


Never Again? -Leon De Winter

In A New Shoah: The Untold Story of Israel's Victims of Terrorism, Giulio Meotti, an Italian author and journalist, has written a monumental study of pain and grief, of mourning and remembrance, of hatred and love. Meotti makes clear that he considers Palestinian terrorism and Arab hatred of Israel and the Jews the continuation of Nazi anti-Semitism.

He shows that Palestinian and Arab rhetoric is focused on Jews - not just Israelis. The dream of the Islamists is to destroy the Jewish people, not just the sliver of land called Israel.

Meotti's list of murderous anti-Semitism by Palestinian leaders and media is exhausting. But it is a list the Western media ignore as it would destroy the prevailing narrative that the Mideast conflict is about land and Palestinian suffering. It isn't. It is about that old sickness, Jew-hatred. Meotti writes of "more than 150 suicide attacks carried out, plus more than 500 prevented. It's a black hole that in 15 years swallowed up 1,557 people and left 17,000 injured."

This 400-page study of Jewish love of life is indispensable for anybody who wants to understand Israel's position in the world and the tragic position of the Jews in history. There is the story of Massoud Mahlouf Allon. "He was mutilated, bludgeoned and beaten to death while giving poor Palestinians the blankets he had collected from Israelis," Meotti recounts. Or the disabled Arnad, who was blown up in the seat of his motorized wheelchair in Jerusalem's Mahane Yehuda market.

This book doesn't dumb down evil. It doesn't try to understand terrorists as victims of their socio-economic circumstances, doesn't miscategorize them as poor or uneducated (they are often middle class) or driven allegedly to despair by the very same people they murdered. No, in A New Shoah, the terrorists remain what they are, the executors of a hate-filled religious ideology.
(Wall Street Journal)
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MidEast Cooperation behind the headlines



Scientists Dig Below Dead Sea to Probe Earth's History

An international team of scientists has begun drilling deep below the Dead Sea [pictured] in an effort to extract material that could provide an unusual look at Earth's history over the past 500,000 years.

The project aims to examine the layers of sediment left behind beneath the lowest place on Earth over the course of millions of years, providing clues about shifting weather patterns, seismic activity and climate change.

The governments of Israel and Jordan as well as the Palestinian Authority are co-operating with the project.
(Telegraph-UK)
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US Airport security is "theatre"


How Israelis Secure Airports -Michael J. Totten

While air travel terrorists have yet to use the same weapon twice, U.S. Transportation Security Administration agents look for the item the most recent terrorist used. Security officials should pay less attention to objects, and more attention to people. The Israelis do.

Israelis don't use security theater to make passengers feel like they're safe. They use real security measures to ensure that travelers actually are safe.

Even when suicide bombers exploded themselves almost daily in Israeli cities, not a single one managed to get through that airport.
(New York Post)
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Don't touch my junk -Charles Krauthammer

[T]he entire apparatus of the security line is a national homage to political correctness. Nowhere do more people meekly acquiesce to more useless inconvenience and needless indignity for less purpose. Wizened seniors strain to untie their shoes; beltless salesmen struggle comically to hold up their pants; 3-year-olds scream while being searched insanely for explosives - when everyone, everyone, knows that none of these people is a threat to anyone.

The ultimate idiocy is the full-body screening of the pilot. The pilot doesn't need a bomb or box cutter to bring down a plane. All he has to do is drive it into the water, like the EgyptAir pilot who crashed his plane off Nantucket while intoning "I rely on God," killing all on board.

But we must not bring that up. We pretend that we go through this nonsense as a small price paid to ensure the safety of air travel. Rubbish. This has nothing to do with safety - 95 percent of these inspections, searches, shoe removals and pat-downs are ridiculously unnecessary. The only reason we continue to do this is that people are too cowed to even question the absurd taboo against profiling - when the profile of the airline attacker is narrow, concrete, uniquely definable and universally known. 
So instead of seeking out terrorists, we seek out tubes of gel in stroller pouches. We will swallow hard and pretend airline attackers are randomly distributed in the population.
[Washington Post]
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Note: The partisan video above takes a low shot at "liberals," but the point is too valuable not to post. 

Obama: Promises, Promises



Struggling to Conclude Settlement Freeze Pact -Crispian Balme

Talks between Israeli and U.S. officials aimed at reviving Middle East peace negotiations have hit snags over incentives promised by Washington to persuade Israel to resume a freeze of Jewish settlement building. An Israeli official said the U.S. appeared reluctant to commit to paper all the promises Netanyahu says he was offered verbally last week.

Netanyahu's coalition allies demanded a written pledge from the U.S. to make clear the building freeze did not include east Jerusalem and to spell out there would be no U.S. pressure for any subsequent moratoria.

The Israeli official said there appeared to be a disconnect between the White House and State Department, with Obama unhappy that Clinton had offered so much.
(Reuters)


U.S. Statement on East Jerusalem Hard to Come By -Tovah Lazaroff

[F]ormer American ambassador to Israel Daniel Kurtzer said [that] it was highly unlikely that a clear written commitment would be made.
(Jerusalem Post)


Settlement Subtleties -Gil Troy

Reducing the complex Israeli-Palestinian conflict to the settlements is an act of historical vandalism, defaming the memory of nearly 30,000 Israelis, very few of whom died in settlement-related violence - most of whom died because of the continuing Arab refusal to accept Israel's existence. Obsessing about the settlements blames Israel while absolving the Palestinians of responsibility. It is a form of racism, condescendingly treating the Palestinians as if they are not accountable for their deeds and words.

It ignores the fact that Israel withdrew from 25 settlements in Gaza and Samaria in 2005, then endured thousands of rocket attacks and a Gaza takeover by Hamas, whose charter targets the entire Jewish state - and the Jewish people. It overlooks the fact that when Yasser Arafat led his people away from the Oslo negotiations back toward terror in 2000, Palestinians blew up Jerusalem buses, Tel Aviv felafel stands and Haifa cafes, treating all of Israel as a "settlement."

Traditionally, when countries fight, the winner keeps the territory. I challenge my historian colleagues to name one example when a country won a defensive war, then voluntarily returned the territory it conquered, if it had a prior claim to the land.
The writer is professor of history at McGill University and a research fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem.
(Jerusalem Post)
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Thursday, November 18, 2010

VideoBite: Dennis Prager: MidEast Made Easy


The video above features author Dennis Prager presenting the Middle East conflict succcinctly

US Gov will now protect Jews on College Campuses



US Government To Protect Jewish Students From Harassment

After a six-year campaign, the U.S. Department of Education announced that Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 will now be interpreted and enforced to protect Jewish students from anti-Semitic harassment, intimidation and discrimination. 

In October 2004, the ZOA filed a Title VI complaint with OCR on behalf of Jewish students at the University of California, Irvine.  The complaint alleged that students had been subjected to years of anti-Semitic harassment, intimidation and discrimination that the university knew about but failed to redress. 

Morton A. Klein, ZOA’s National President said, “when Jewish students are being harassed or intimidated, or facing a hostile anti-Semitic school environment, their schools will no longer be able to ignore the problem, or make token efforts to redress it.  There will now be financial and other consequences under federal law if colleges and universities do not respond to end the anti-Semitic harassment and prevent it from recurring."
[ZOA]
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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Tobin: 'Clinton/Obama clueless'



Netanyahu Chooses the Lesser of Two Evils -Jonathan S. Tobin [pictured below]

President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton may be among the last people on Planet Earth to fail to understand that PA leader Mahmoud Abbas has neither the will nor the interest in signing a peace accord, no matter where Israel's borders are drawn. 

As much as Netanyahu would have been justified in bluntly and publicly telling Obama and Clinton that their demand for another freeze was wrong, that would have meant putting his country in the position to be accused of saying "no" to peace.
(Commentary)


Over to You, Mr. Abbas -Editorial

With Israel on board, in step rather than in friction with Washington, it is Abbas who should come under pressure to compromise - and to take positions that give his people, and ours, the opportunity for genuine reconciliation and a secure future.
(Jerusalem Post)
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Will Lebanon be taken over by Hizbullah?

Is Nasrallah's Hizbullah planning a coup? 


A report by a UN panel probing the assassination of former Lebanon Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, which may indict top Hizbullah officials, could lead to Lebanon being taken over by Hizbullah, Army Radio quoted IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi as saying.
(Ha'aretz)
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Monday, November 15, 2010

VideoBite: Football in the Holy Land


American style football has found its way to Israel, bring together Jews & Palestinians

Obama's Blackmail?



Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel has agreed to push his cabinet to freeze most construction on settlements in the West Bank for 90 days to break an impasse in peace negotiations with the Palestinians. In return, the Obama administration has offered Israel a package of security incentives and fighter jets worth $3 billion that would be contingent on the signing of a peace agreement, the official said. The U.S. would also block any moves in the UN Security Council that would try to shape a final peace agreement.

This proposed 90-day freeze would be nonrenewable: the U.S. would not ask for further extensions. The logic behind a 90-day extension is that the two sides would aim for a swift agreement on the borders of a Palestinian state. That would make the long dispute over settlements irrelevant since it would be clear which housing blocs fell into Israel and which fell into a Palestinian state.

The security incentives offered by the administration, do not appear to go far beyond the support the U.S. typically offers Israel.
(New York Times)


A 90-Day Bet on Mideast Talks -Ethan Bronner & Mark Landler

The West Bank is the heartland of much Jewish history, so for many Israelis, giving it up is a painful prospect and should come only as part of a comprehensive deal including Palestinian recognition of Israel as the homeland of the Jewish people.
(New York Times)


Is America Bribing Bibi or Blackmailing Him? -Lexington

There another way of looking at the supposed U.S. "incentive" being offered to Israel.

Until this weekend, most people assumed that Israel enjoyed an unconditional American promise to maintain its military edge, and a nearly unconditional promise to support it in the UN. Now it seems that President Obama is making the continuation of some of these things conditional on Israel's acceptance of a three-month settlement freeze, during which Israel will be pressed to agree to final borders with a putative Palestinian state in the West Bank.
(Economist-UK)
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Saturday, November 13, 2010

Chilean Miners to spend Christmas in Israel



Chilean Miners to Visit Israel for Christmas

Israel says the 33 Chilean miners who captured the world's attention surviving 69 days in a collapsed mine have accepted an Israeli invitation to visit the Holy Land for Christmas.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said that Israel offered the miners an all-expenses-paid, weeklong tour of Christian holy sites and other attractions over the holidays.

Palmor says the Chilean ambassador has confirmed the miners would come.
[Associated Press]
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Canadian Prime Minister speaks out for Israel



Stand Up to Those Who Delegitimize Israel -Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper [pictured]

Anti-Semitism has gained a place at our universities, where at times it is not the mob who are removed, but the Jewish students under attack. And, under the shadow of a hateful ideology with global ambitions, one which targets the Jewish homeland as a scapegoat, Jews are savagely attacked around the world - such as, most appallingly, in Mumbai in 2008.

We must be relentless in exposing this new anti-Semitism for what it is. Of course, like any country, Israel may be subjected to fair criticism. And like any free country, Israel subjects itself to such criticism. But when Israel, the only country in the world whose very existence is under attack - is consistently and conspicuously singled out for condemnation, I believe we are morally obligated to take a stand. Demonization, double standards, delegitimization, the 3 Ds, it is a responsibility to stand up to them.

But, as long as I am Prime Minister, whether it is at the UN or anywhere else, Canada will take that stand, whatever the cost. Not just because it is the right thing to do, but because history shows us, and the ideology of the anti-Israeli mob tells us all too well, that those who threaten the existence of the Jewish people are, in the longer term, a threat to all of us.

As I said on the 60th anniversary of its founding, the State of Israel appeared as a light in a world emerging from deep darkness. Against all odds, that light has not been extinguished. It burns bright, upheld by the universal principles of all civilized nations - freedom, democracy, justice.
(National Post)
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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

With election over, Obama initiates conflict with Israel



Obama: Israel Construction Plans Unhelpful -Christi Parsons

President Obama said that Israel is not helping the cause of peace by restarting home construction in territory claimed by both Arabs and Israelis.

"This kind of activity is never helpful when it comes to peace negotiations," Obama said. "And I'm concerned that we're not seeing each side make the extra effort to get a breakthrough that could finally create a framework for a secure Israel living side by side in peace with a sovereign Palestine."
(Los Angeles Times)


Netanyahu Rejects Obama Criticism -Gwen Ackerman, Jonathan Ferziger & Christopher Power

Netanyahu called Palestinian complaints about Israeli settlement construction "a minor issue" that has become "way overblown."

He said previous settlement construction hadn't prevented Egypt or Jordan from concluding peace agreements with Israel.
(Bloomberg)


Netanyahu: Jerusalem Is Not a Settlement

Prime Minister Netanyahu said: "Jerusalem is not a settlement; Jerusalem is the capital of the State of Israel. Israel has never accepted upon itself restrictions of any kind on construction in Jerusalem."

"Israel sees no connection between the diplomatic process and planning and building policy in Jerusalem, which has not changed in 40 years. All Israeli governments in the past 40 years have built in all parts of the city. During this period, peace agreements were signed with Egypt and Jordan, and for 17 years, diplomatic negotiations have been conducted with the Palestinians. These are historical facts. Construction in Jerusalem has never hindered the peace process."
(Prime Minister's Office)
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From Jakarta to Jerusalem -Editorial

What did President Obama talk about upon arriving in Jakarta? Israeli construction projects.

Israeli governments of both the right and left have encouraged similar building projects since Jerusalem was reunified in 1967. All Israel has done is insist that Jews have a right to live anywhere in their capital city, something that might be controversial in Ramallah but ought not to be in Washington.

Mr. Obama's public endorsement of the Palestinian view of what constitutes a settlement only puts the negotiated peace he seeks further out of reach.

Meanwhile, the Indonesian government forbids Israeli citizens from visiting their country. If Mr. Obama wants to bridge the distance between Jakarta and Jerusalem, maybe he can start with that one.
(Wall Street Journal)
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Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Rachel's Tomb in the center of a storm



UNESCO Classifies Jewish Holy Site as a Mosque

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon discussed a recent ruling by UNESCO that West Bank heritage sites such as Rachel's Tomb would be considered Palestinian.

Netanyahu said, "the profound link between the Jewish people and the Tomb of the Patriarchs and Rachel's Tomb had existed for close to 4,000 years."

"Over a billion people know of this bond and it is documented in the Bible....Historical facts should not be distorted in the name of politics."
(Ha'aretz)


Rachel's Tomb Was Never a Mosque -Nadav Shragai

UNESCO has declared that Rachel's Tomb near Jerusalem is the Bilal ibn Rabah mosque - endorsing a Palestinian claim that first surfaced only in 1996 and which ignores centuries of Muslim tradition.

As opposed to the Temple Mount and the Cave of the Patriarchs which also serve as the location of mosques, Rachel's Tomb never served as a mosque for the Muslims.
Rachel's Tomb, located some 460 meters south of Jerusalem's municipal boundary, has been identified for over 1,700 years as the grave of the Jewish matriarch Rachel. Many generations of Jews have visited the place for prayer. The depiction of Rachel's Tomb has appeared in thousands of Jewish religious books, paintings, photographs, stamps, and works of art.

There is a Muslim cemetery on three sides of the compound mainly belonging to the Bedouin Taamra tribe, which began burying its dead at the site due to its proximity to a holy personality. Members of the Taamra tribe harassed Jews visiting the tomb and collected extortion money to enable them to visit the site. With this background, Moses Montefiore obtained a permit from the Turks to build another room adjacent to Rachel's Tomb in 1841 to keep the Muslims away from the room of the grave and to help protect the Jews at the site.

Jewish caretakers managed the site from 1841 until it fell into Jordanian hands in 1948. In contravention of the armistice agreement, Jordan prevented Jews from accessing the site during all the years of its rule (1948-1967). On October 19, 2010, the anniversary of her death, some 100,000 Jews visited Rachel's Tomb.

In 1830 the Turks issued the firman that gave legal force to Rachel's Tomb being recognized as a Jewish holy site. The governor of Damascus sent a written order to the Mufti of Jerusalem to fulfill the Sultan's order: "the tomb of esteemed Rachel, the mother of our Lord Joseph...they (the Jews) are accustomed to visit it from ancient days; and no one is permitted to prevent them or oppose them (from doing) this."

Ironically, Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan, whose government has been described as "neo-Ottoman" in outlook, told the Saudi paper al-Watan (March 7, 2010) that the Cave of the Patriarchs and Rachel's Tomb "were not and never will be Jewish sites, but Islamic sites."
(Institute for Contemporary Affairs-Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)


Ottoman Imperial Decrees Debunk Erdogan's Claim
 
Former Israeli UN ambassador Dore Gold noted that "Erdogan did not even bother to have his people check the Ottoman records before making such an outlandish comment about Rachel's Tomb never being a Jewish holy site."

The Turkish premier's comments constituted "another example of how leaders who view themselves as Israel's adversaries are ready to deliberately distort history in order to advance their narrow political objectives."
(Jerusalem Post)
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Israel Brings Drip Irrigation to Africa



Israeli Know-How Helping to Combat Hunger in Africa
-Danielle Nierenberg & Janeen Madan

Israel has been a leader in developing innovative drip-irrigation systems that reduce the amount of water needed for farming.

The Family Drip Irrigation System (FDIS) was developed by the International Program for Arid Land Crops at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, in partnership with the Israeli irrigation company Netafim.

The Israel Foreign Ministry is partnering with local government agencies and NGOs to introduce FDIS in countries across Africa.
(Jerusalem Post)
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Who raised these kids? Jewish Students at Brandeis hate Israel


Brandeis University began in 1948 as a haven for smart Jewish students excluded from top universities.  The adjective 'smart' may no longer describe Brandeis students.


Ideology poses as scholarship at Brandeis U. -Richard Cravatts

Seeming to confirm a world view that the brilliant British commentator Melanie Phillips describes in her new book as "a world turned upside down," Brandeis University is hosting a troubling series of events in the tellingly-named "Israeli Occupation Awareness Week," being held from Nov. 8-11.

[T]he events once again demonstrate the moral incoherence seen on college campuses whenever there is debate about the Israeli/Palestinian conflict.

Brandeis University, of course, was named for Justice Louis Brandeis, who believe[d] that "Zionism finds in it, for the Jews, a reason to raise their heads, and, taking their stand upon the past, to gaze straightforwardly into the future," a notion that might well have informed the thinking on the University's campuses for much of the 20th century.

But that was before campus ideology was hijacked by the Left's obsessive reverence something that came to be known as "social justice," an ideological pathology that informs the very educational mission of Brandeis today...

[I]f the Brandeis community wants to make itself collectively feel better by seeking to bring "social justice" to the long-suffering Palestinians by demonizing, delegitimizing and libeling Israel, they will have achieved that objective with the noxious, Israel-hating event.

But the only awareness that such events create is the realization that much of what tries to pass as scholarly debate on campuses today is nothing more than propaganda and ideology dressed up as true intellectual inquiry.
[Daily Targum/Rutgers University]
[Hat Tip: NancyV]
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Sunday, November 07, 2010

VideoBite: Killing Kasztner



Bruce's MidEast Soundbites gives this film my highest recommendation.  Raises morally compelling questions that will leave you biting your nails.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Obama could bring hell to the Middle East



Obama Mustn't Force a Final Deal -Ari Shavit

The real game begins now: establishing a viable Palestinian state within a year. Why? Because the American president believes establishing a Palestinian state would placate the Arab Muslim world, which he wishes to appease.

In a certain sense, the president's resolve is to be commended. It's good to have a world leader trying to save the two-state solution. But in another sense Obama's determination is dangerous. If Obama tries to impose an end to the conflict prematurely, he will upset the stability, encourage violence and leave chaos in his wake.

Obama, even after losses at home, has enough power to coerce Israel. But Obama does not have enough power to turn the fake into real. He cannot topple Hamas, revoke the demand for return, and turn a Palestine into a peace-loving state.

[I]f he insists on forcing the issue, all hell will break loose.
(Ha'aretz)
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Wednesday, November 03, 2010

The "Palestinian Narrative"

The Nakba Was a Self-Inflicted Tragedy -Moshe Arens

Are there really two narratives to the history of Israel's War of Independence?

Would anyone suggest that in American schools the "Japanese narrative" of World War II be taught alongside the "American narrative"? Is the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor no more than the American version? Or how about teaching in Russian schools the "German narrative" of the German invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941?

Yes, there is a "Palestinian narrative" of the 1948 war called "Nakba." But as every student of that war and the still-living witnesses know only too well, the Nakba version is no more than a pack of lies. One percent of the Jewish population fell fighting against the Arab attack by local Arab militias and regular armies of the neighboring Arab countries, plus Iraqi forces, which attempted to destroy the Jewish state in a war they started immediately after the UN resolution dividing western Palestine into Jewish and Arab states in November 1947.

It is true that the Arab population of Palestine suffered grievously during that war. But it is also beyond doubt that this tragedy was brought on them by the decisions taken by the Arab leadership. If true peace is ever to reign among Israel and its Arab neighbors, it is important that the Arabs recognize that what they call the Nakba was a self-inflicted tragedy.
(Ha'aretz)
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Palestinians staging acts of vandalism




Arabs have been documented cutting down Palestinian olive trees using an electric saw in order to falsely accuse Israelis of vandalism, the Tazpit organization said.

Many incidents allegedly targeting Palestinians in the last few weeks were said to be staged by the Palestinians themselves in order to harm the image of Israeli settlers. Tazpit director Amotz Eyal said that "during every olive harvest season, just like this one, there are many cases of Arab farmers cutting down olive branches, later blaming it on the settlers."
(Ynet News)
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Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Islamist Cat Stevens aka Yusuf Islam makes an appearance in Washington DC Rally





Peace Train My A**! -Gadi Adelman

On the National Mall this past Saturday, Comedy Central had their so called non-political event: "The Rally to Restore Sanity" hosted by Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert.

I was amazed to hear on the news that Yusuf Islam was a surprise singer at the event. You know, Yusuf Islam, he was once known as Cat Stevens before he converted to Islam in December 1977.  Personally I could care less what he converted to, I like so many others was just sorry that he had stopped writing and singing.

When I was growing up I loved this guy, he was an amazing singer/song writer. His albums such as "Tea for the Tillerman" and "Teaser and the Firecat" were just some of my favorites.

On February 21, 1989, Yusuf Islam addressed students at Kingston University in London about his conversion to Islam and was asked about the controversy in the Muslim world and the fatwa calling for Salman Rushdie's execution. He replied, "He must be killed. The Qur'an makes it clear - if someone defames the prophet, then he must die." {Philadelphia Inquirer, February 24, 1989, p.5A, "Iran: West to blame Islam for forthcoming terrorism"}

[O]n May 22, 1989 he made similar statements on the BBC according to the NY Times.

The musician known as Cat Stevens said in a British television program that rather than go to a demonstration to burn an effigy of the author Salman Rushdie, "I would have hoped that it'd be the real thing." 

But that wasn't enough, oh no, not for Mr. Islam. In 1988 the [Israeli] government claims that he delivered tens of thousands of dollars to Hamas. Two years later, in 1990, he tried to enter again along with his 8-year-old son but was banned from Israel, ABC news reported

Then in September, 2004 he was deported from the U.S. after his name turned up on US lists of suspected terrorists.

In 2004 the website Militant Islam Monitor posted an article "Yusuf Islam & The Muslim Council of Britain's terrorism ties - Muslim Aid 'charity' funds Al Qaeda & sent Mujahideen to Bosnia."
 
Funding [Hamas] and having ties to Al Qaeda seems like it would be enough for Yusuf Islam to remain on a "no fly" list. 
 
So, he sang at [Jon Stewart's] "Rally to Restore Sanity." I watch[ed] the beginning of the video [but] turned it off right after he strapped on his guitar, held up both hands in the "V" sign, said "Peace" and started to sing "Peace Train".
 
I guess I have a problem with a Hamas supporter who also backs the fatwa calling for Salman Rushdie's death, singing a song about "peace".
[Weekly Blitz-Bangladesh]
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Catholic Bloodbath by Baghdad Jihadists: Priest shot during Mass





Security forces stormed a Catholic church in Baghdad to free dozens of hostages.

The gunmen had demanded the release of jailed al-Qaeda militants. The Islamic State of Iraq, a Sunni militant umbrella group to which al-Qaeda in Iraq belongs, claimed responsibility for the attack.

The group said Iraqi Christians would be "exterminated"...[a]t least 52 people were killed. 

One eyewitness, who was inside the church, said the gunmen "came into the prayer hall and immediately killed the priest". The witness, who declined to give his name, said worshippers were beaten and herded into an inne hall.

There was an hours-long stand-off as security forces surrounded the building with helicopters hovering overhead.
(BBC News)
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UN aides Palestinian Rejection Syndrome



UNESCO and the Cradle of Jewish History -Editorial

UNESCO, the UN body in charge of preserving historical sites, went too far this time in a particularly blatant attempt to erase Jewish ties to the Land of Israel.

The UNESCO board declared [Hebron's] Cave of the Patriarchs and [Bethlehem's] Rachel's Tomb to be "an integral part of the occupied Palestinian territories."

As the second intifada was being launched in 2000, Al-Hayat al-Jadida, a Palestinian daily, published an article that blatantly departed from Muslim tradition, which corresponds with Jewish tradition, to claim that Rachel's Tomb was originally a Muslim mosque. Until then, all official PA references to the site had recognized it as Rachel's Tomb.

[I]t is an undeniable fact that the geographical area referred to as the West Bank and that includes Hebron and Bethlehem was the cradle of Jewish history. No amount of historical revisionism or UNESCO declarations will erase this fact. If not for the Israeli security presence, Rachel's Tomb and the Cave of the Patriarchs would be off limits to Jews today.
(Jerusalem Post)
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Monday, November 01, 2010

"Profiling" Packages key to security



Profiling of cargo, shippers and a package's planned destination are key in uncovering terrorist plots involving air cargo, according to Pini Schiff, one of the founders of Ben-Gurion Airport's security division.

Israel, a world leader in aviation security, began investing resources in inspecting cargo and passengers back in the 1970s, after experiencing a number of hijackings and aviation-related attacks.
(Jerusalem Post)


U.S. Synagogues on Alert -Yitzhak Benhorin

U.S. synagogues and Jewish facilities were ordered to be extra cautious and thoroughly check any items received by mail, following the discovery of explosives bound for Jewish facilities in Chicago. Chicago police beefed up security around all the city's synagogues.
(Ynet News)


Package Bombs Linked to Al-Qaeda -Peter Finn & Mary Beth Sheridan

Investigators examining explosives found in packages intercepted in Britain and Dubai suspect the material points not only to the role of an al-Qaeda affiliate in Yemen but to Saudi bomb-maker Ibrahim Hassan al-Asiri, 28.  Asiri is also believed to have built the underwear bomb that a Nigerian man trained in Yemen attempted to detonate last Christmas Day on a commercial aircraft approaching Detroit.

A British minister said that the bomb found in Britain, in a package destined for a Chicago synagogue, was "viable" and could have brought down the UPS plane that was carrying it. U.S. officials said the packages were intercepted following a tip from intelligence officials in Saudi Arabia. 
(Washington Post)
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UPDATES:

Al-Qaeda in Yemen Becoming More Lethal -Robert Baer

The bombs found on airplanes in Dubai and Britain show a higher degree of professionalism than we've ever seen come out of al-Qaeda. If al-Qaeda indeed made them, they've teamed up with true professionals.

PETN, the explosive found in these two bombs, is the preferred explosive of professional bombmakers. It's particularly lethal, but more importantly it's malleable and can be disguised as all kinds of things.
(TIME)


The Foiled Yemeni Bomb Plot and Anti-Semitism - Lee Smith

Had a mosque been targeted, we can be sure that the president, rightly, would have denounced not only the act but the idea that it had singled out a particular section of the American people.
(Tablet)
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Co-existence in Hebron

Arabs & Jews in a spontaneous soccer game in Hevron

Day of Hope in Hebron -Yair Altman

In Hebron in the West Bank, about 10,000 people visited the Jewish community ahead of the Torah portion marking Abraham's acquisition of the Cave of the Patriarchs in the city.

For the first time in many years, Jews were able to enter Hebron's Old City without a personal security escort.

The highlight of the day occurred when Jewish youngsters touring the city spontaneously joined Palestinian youths playing soccer. Dozens of teenagers, both Jewish and Arab, gathered at the site to cheer on the players, as smiling police officers and IDF soldiers looked on.
(Ynet News)
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