March 30, 2004

Spain’s body politic votes to appease terror

By Tony Blankley, editorial page editor of the Washington Times, March 28, 2004

(Are the Israelis far behind, and at what awful cost?) jsk

The reign in Spain died mainly on the train. I apologize for a silly, but irresistible, opening to a deadly and portentous topic: the electoral fall of our ally Jose Maria Aznar’s Popular Party in the aftermath of a presumed al Qaeda terrorist assault on a Madrid train.

The Spanish electorate decided to defeat its government for seeming to bring Islamist terrorist slaughter to Spain. It is true that a large majority of Spaniards never supported their government’s decision to send troops to Iraq. Nonetheless, the day before the terrorist attack, every Spanish poll and political expert predicted a solid win for Mr. Aznar’s party. But after the attack, about 3 million Spanish voters changed their impending electoral decision. Thus, their vote was not out of anger at Mr. Aznar’s policy, but out of fear of the terrorist’s wrath. And so we are returned to Winston Churchill’s lamentation about avoiding crocodiles.

On Jan. 20,1940, four months after Hitler invaded Poland, Churchill gave a world address to urge the neutral nations of Europe to abandon appeasement and rally round the Union Jack and the French Tricolor (France was still in the fight then) as the surest path to safety against the Nazi onslaught: “At present their (the neutral’s) plight is lamentable; and it will become much worse They bow humbly and in fear of German threats. Each one hopes that if he feeds the crocodile enough, the crocodile will eat him last. All of them hope that the storm will pass before their turn comes to be devoured. But I fear — I fear greatly — the storm will not pass. It will rage and it will roar, ever more loudly and more widely.”

The European neutrals, however, continued to appease - until in the spring, they were devoured. Appeasers are likely to underestimate the price of appeasement. They always assume that peace and tranquility are available at some price. But the crocodile doesn’t want a finger or a toe — he wants the whole carcass.

The Spanish voter’s fear is understandable. But not only have they not saved themselves from further harvest by the Saracen scimitar, they also have increased the likelihood and advanced the arrival of similar slaughters for their cousins in the streets of Europe and America. It is hard not to assume that within all the al Qaeda war councils, advocates of pre-election terror attacks have gained a fearsome advantage.

But notwithstanding the evidence of the terrorist’s unlimited objectives, the verisimilitude of logic that appeasement offers the fearful remains comforting - even if falsely so. Appeasement has an awful, seeming logic to it because we all practice appeasement every day - with our spouses, our children, our bosses, etc. Interlocutors with limited goals are often usefully appeased if the cost of conflict is more than the cost of appeasement. (“Yes, dear, Ill be glad to clean up the garage?’)

And when the cost of non-appeasement (i.e. the decision to fight) is very high, we are strongly. Motivated to assume our opponent has limited demands — in order for the cost-benefit calculus to continue to lead us to the comforting appeasement option. I have little doubt but that, since the Spanish election returns, politicians across the globe have become tempted to harvest such votes of fear, because the politicians themselves are suffering - under the same false calculus of cost/benefit.


Now we must wait and see which other Western electorates may succumb to the Spanish disease. It would be easy, and comforting to assume that Americans will be resistant. After all, we are renowned for our unflinching instinct to rally round the flag when American blood has been spilled. But the Spaniard too, is renowned for his courage — at least as an individual.

It is only by the vigor and pride of a nation’s collective body politic that it may be immune to the disease of appeasement. In the coming months and years, America, Britain, Poland, Australia and other countries will all be tested. Already, millions of Americans have put the war on terrorism out of mind — content to express support for politicians whose terrorism policy is largely to turn it over to the United Nations and Interpol.

President Bush is mocked by comedians and Washington journalists alike for the assertion that he is a wartime president. Anyone who thinks that is funny doesn’t think there is a war. For a threat so minimized, we need not pay the high price of eternal vigilance. There is probably about a 4 in 10 chance that the American electorate will come down with the Spanish disease this November.

Eventually, of course, as the genocidal nature of the Islamist fury becomes manifest even to the most obtuse, all will rally to the resistance — as eventually they did in occupied Europe against Hitler. The question that remains is how many more must die before the maximum war- fighting effort is mounted by the united civilized nations.


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March 23, 2004

US State Dep't vs. Administration and the Congress

US State Department ignores the Congress and the American People in their flagrant bias against Israel.

By Evelyn Gordon

The International Jerusalem Post, March 19, 2004

The US State Department has long been the most anti-Israel organ of a generally pro-Israel American government, ever since the days when then Secretary of State George Marshall fought a pitched battle to prevent the Jewish state from coming into existence. The Jerusalem Post’s Caroline Glick aptly described one manifestation of this attitude recently in her analysis of the department’s annual human rights report, which personalizes Palestinian Intifada victims while leaving Israeli victims nameless and faceless.

Nowhere, however, is State’s bias more evident than in its steadfast refusal to recognize Israel’s capital city as part of the State of Israel. The extent of this refusal, as well as its discriminatory nature, is on full display in a lawsuit filed last year by two American immigrants to Israel who want their son’s passport to list his birthplace as “Jerusalem, Israel” rather than merely “Jerusalem.”

The baby was born in Sha’arei Zedek Hospital, in west Jerusalem - the part of the city that has been Israeli since 1948, and that everyone, even the Palestinians, agrees will remain Israeli under any final-status agreement. Moreover, Congress enacted an explicit law in 2003 stating that if an American citizen is born in Jerusalem, “the $secretary [of State] shall, upon the request of the citizen or the citizen’s legal guardian, record the place of birth as Israel.” -

Nevertheless, the US embassy in Tel Aviv refused to register the baby’s birthplace as Israel. His parents, Naomi and An Zivotofsky, therefore filed suit in an American court to get the registration. In its response to the suit filed on December 22, 2003, the State Department explained that it has been a cornerstone of American foreign policy since 1948 not to recognize any part of Jerusalem as Israeli unless the entire Arab world does so first (!) - or in State lingo; “The consistent foreign policy of the United States is that the competing claims to Jerusalem are open questions to be resolved pursuant to ‘Permanent Status Negotiations,’ as part of a negotiated settlement in the Middle East.”

Indeed, this refusal is so all-encompassing that the US consulate in Jerusalem –which is headquartered in west Jerusalem, with a branch in the eastern part of the city - is maintained as “an independent US mission whose members are not accredited to a foreign government” and “do not report to the US ambassador to Israel. It is hard to imagine a greater insult to Israeli sovereignty than that —though here, Israel is equally at fault. What self-respecting country allows a foreign consulate in its capital city to refuse to be accredited to its government?

Were State’s policy simply that it does not, recognize the 1949 armistice line as the border of the State of Israel, it might be hard to object - after all, neither does Israel. Even the most dovish Israelis want to retain parts of east Jerusalem and a few major settlements under any final-status agreement. But State does consider everything on the other side of this line to be Palestinian. Current Secretary of State Colin Powell, for instance, has repeatedly said that Israel has no right to build its separation fence east of the Green line because that is all Palestinian territory. It is only on the Israeli side of the line, in west Jerusalem, that State views the armistice line as meaningless.

The extent of the bias is even more astonishing; however, when one considers State’s claim, expounded in its response to the lawsuit, that non-recognition of Israel sovereignty over Jerusalem is so central to American policy that the 2003 law would constitute an unconstitutional infringement on the executive’s right lo set for foreign policy unless the court reinterpreted the “shall” in the law to mean “may” — thereby allowing State to continue refusing to register people born in Jerusalem as born in Israel.

As the Zivotofskj’s’ lawyers, Nathan and Alyza Lewin, point out in their response to State’s brief (filed on February 4, 2004), nowhere else in the world does the US government view a mere line in a passport as an existential threat to US foreign policy. For instance, they note, the US never recognized the Soviet Union’s annexation of Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia – yet Americans born in these countries were allowed to list the birthplace as USSR if they so chose. And in cases of disputed territory - which Jerusalem, by State’s own definition, is — the general rule laid down by State is that the birthplace should be listed in the passport as “shown on the application,” meaning in “accordance with the applicant’s wishes.” Only in Jerusalem does this rule not apply.

Even more incredible, however, is that State gives people (Arabs) born in Israel the right not to recognize the Jewish state’s existence, even within the borders that America does recognize. The Lewins point out that not only are people born before 1948 allowed to list their birthplace as “Palestine” rather than “Israel” if they so choose, but even born in Israel after 1948 — in Tel Aviv or Haifa, for example — are given the option of listing only their city of birth, with no country, “if the applicant objects to showing the country having present sovereignty” i.e. Israel.

Thus State is perfectly willing to subordinate American foreign policy to the individual’s wishes if the goal is to deny Israeli sovereignty. Only if an individual wishes to affirm Israeli sovereignty does foreign policy suddenly become sacrosanct.

That, it seems, is State’s idea of an “evenhanded” approach to the conflict.

The writer is a veteran journalist and commentator.


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March 21, 2004

Another Poignant Tragedy

This time on the other side ...

But do they consider it a poignant tragedy when it is on our side. Somehow, I don't get that impression

Text of Bizarre Israel Foreign Ministry Item On Murder of Khoury By Fatah

[IMRA: Israel's Foreign Ministry writes that "The Fatah Al-Aqsa Martyrs
Brigade, which claimed responsibility for the attack, later published an
apology." without noting that the apology wasn't for murdering an Israeli
jogging in French Hill but instead an apology for murdering an Arab instead
Of a Jew.]

George Khoury

Mar 19, 2004 - George Khoury, 20, a Christian Arab and the son of well-known veteran attorney Elias Khoury of Beit Hanina, was shot to death from a
vehicle while jogging
in the north Jerusalem neighborhood of French Hill.
The Fatah Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, which claimed responsibility for the
attack, later published an apology.

George Khoury, a second year student at the nearby Hebrew University, had
taken his mother's car and driven two kilometers from his family home for
his weekly Friday night jog in French Hill. At about 7:20 p.m., as he ran on
Rehov Hahayil, he was gunned down by terrorists who opened fire from their
passing car. The attackers then sped away via the adjacent Arab neighborhood
of Isawiya, in the direction of Ramallah.

George, the middle son in the Khoury family, was a graduate of the Anglican
International School in Jerusalem. He was active in sports and played the
piano, representing his school in international music competitions. Like his
father and grandfather, George tried to promote Jewish-Arab co-existence,
participating in interfaith dialogues in Germany and England. He was
studying economics and international relations at the Hebrew University and
planned to follow in his father's footsteps and become a lawyer. His cousin
described him as both athletic and an intellectual, who loved books and
films.

Khoury's father, Elias, is a prominent east Jerusalem lawyer who has
represented Palestinian political figures and Israeli Arabs in court. His
grandfather, Daoud Khoury, was killed in a terrorist bombing at Zion Square
in Jerusalem in July 1975.

George Khoury will be buried in the Christian cemetery on Mount Zion. He is
survived by his parents and two brothers.

--------------------------------------------
IMRA - Independent Media Review and Analysis
Website: www.imra.org.il

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March 19, 2004

Finally, The G-d's Honest Truth of the American/Israeli Relationship

Israel Can 'Just Say No' to US Pressure
22:33 Mar 17, '04 / 24 Adar 5764


“Israel can just say no!” Dr. Rand Fishbein, former Professional Staff Member of the U.S. Senate Defense Appropriations and Foreign Operations Appropriations subcommittees, told participants of the three-day Jerusalem Conference.

“The democratically elected leaders of the State of Israel are under no obligation to reflexively bow to State Department pressure – you can say no!” Dr. Rand Fishbein told the Jerusalem Conference today (Wednesday, March 17, 2004)

The conference was organized by B’Sheva newspaper and is on its final day. Dr. Fishbein’s comments were made during a panel discussion on Israel’s relations with the United States.

“American policy in the Middle East today is driven by …flawed notions,” said Fishbein who went on to give several examples of such faulty assumptions. “That democratization and political reform are possible in the Arab world in our lifetimes, that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict can be contained and Arab sensibilities appeased by continual Israeli concessions, and that threats to Israel’s security are manageable and do not constitute existential dangers.”

The ex-congressional staffer outlined what he saw as “disturbing signs of trouble in the U.S. – Israel relationship,” warning that Israel must not be naןve regarding America’s stated commitment to the Jewish state’s security. “There is the discriminatory way in which export licenses often are denied Israeli companies while approvals are granted almost effortlessly by Washington to companies operating in non-democratic countries like China and Saudi Arabia,” said Fishbein. “There are regular denunciations of Israel by the State Department for its use of pre-emption to stop imminent attacks on its population, yet the doctrine of pre-emption is what now guides the U.S. military in the war on terrorism.”

Dr. Fishbein also mentioned that Israel was the only one of America’s allies in the war with Iraq explicitly barred from bidding on prime contracts – despite the fact that “Israel contributed mightily to the U.S. victory in Iraq by providing extensive intelligence and logistical support to American forces.”

Even more sinister, according to Fishbein, is the fact that there has been an “exponential rise in the quality and quantity of high-tech weapons provided to Arab countries.” Fishbein chose Egypt as an example delineating the, “extraordinary array of state-of-the-art offensive weaponry” approved by the U.S. for sale to Cairo. The long lists includes over 200 M1 Abrams tanks, extended-range missile launch systems, Harpoon anti-ship missiles (which can also be used as cruise missiles), 24 F16 aircraft, Blackhawk and Apache helicopters, Stinger missile launchers and missile boats.

Fishbein also pointed out the discrepancy in American policy regarding loan guarantee’s given to Israel versus other nations, such as Egypt. America docked $289.5 million from Israel’s loan guarantee package on account of policies that the U.S. administration objected to. Egypt on the other hand continues to receive its entire $2.3 billion in U.S. foreign assistance, despite Egypt’s opposition to Saddam Hussein’s removal. The U.S. administration has also turned a blind eye as Egypt, “aids and abets the smuggling of weapons from the Sinai to terrorist groups in Gaza…, acquired 24 No-Dong missiles from North Korea capable of striking Israel anywhere within its borders with weapons of mass destruction, as well as resuming defense ties with Iran after a nearly 25-year hiatus.”

However Fishbein did not lay the blame with America but rather called upon Israel’s leaders to take responsibility for their “plans of retreat”. Fishbein also made clear that Israeli leaders have hid from criticism from the Israeli public by insinuating that America is dictating such policies as “unilateral withdrawal”. Fishbein dismissed the assumption that Israel’s withdrawal from parts of Yesha (Judea, Samaria and Gaza) would lead to increased support by the Bush administration – calling it “rubbish”.

“The planned Gaza retreat has undercut Israel’s strongest supporters in the Congress who believe that any retreat in the face of terrorism only encourages more terrorism,” lamented Fishbein. “I would remind Israel’s leaders that they have no greater friend than the U.S. Congress.”

“Israel must continue to stand tall and resolute – commanding the respect of the world through its tenacious defiance of its enemies,” concluded Fishbein. “This must be the guiding precept for Israel and America as they chart their future together – for nothing less than their mutual survival is at stake.”

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March 17, 2004

Another comment on “Passion”


What a perfect phrase coined by Laura Berman, columnist for the Detroit News in a beautiful column dated March 14, 2004. She describes her visit to the imposing new Holocaust Museum in Farmington Hills, MI. after having just seen the movie, "Passion."

Understandably surprised at the upbeat mode projected by the Museum, Berman writes:

… the Holocaust center strikes me as a fitting antidote to the “leaking poison of Gibson’s Passion.”

(And … unfortunately, what with the great promotion and popularity of the film, a “leaking poison” that could last as long as movies are shown. (jsk))

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March 14, 2004

Arab/American “Swing Vote”

It comes as somewhat of a surprise that both political parties seem so intent on the Arab/American vote - as if it were some sort of swing vote as described by Jim and John Zogby in their latest press release. Of course, every vote and every ethnic group is important – either because of their numbers or the amount of funds they contribute to the political party.

Evidently, some political strategists have been mislead by grossly inflated numbers as to the number of Arabs there are in the country. Larry Witham, in the Washington Times, reported on the results of an independent, extremely reliable survey conducted by the Religious Congregations and Membership of 2000. The every-decade survey, a project since 1966 of the Glenmary Home Missioners, a Catholic organization in Cincinnati, is considered the most reliable database on religious affiliation at the county level. Its findings were based on the number of Muslims affiliated with America’s more than 1000 mosques. The number came to 1.6 million, far below the estimates of 5 million put out by Islamic groups.

Understandably, the pro-Arab Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) took great exception to these numbers since their political influence would wane accordingly. In fact, Mr. Witham reported that other national surveys have also argued that the U.S. Muslim population is below 2 million.

There is also the question of the objectivity of political polls.
John Zogby, the owner of Zogby International, happens to be the brother of Jim Zogby, pre-eminent Arab propagandist in the United States. Concerning the recent polling of Zogby International in Michigan, Ed Sarpolis, a Michigan pollster just took great exception to Zogby’s determination that 5% of Michiganders were of Arab descent. Sarpolus determined the number at closer to 1%.

The final word comes from the official U.S. census of 2000 confirming the Glenmary Home Missioners report. The Arab population of the USA was determined to be 1.25 million up from 940,000 in 1990 - hardly the 3-5 million claimed by non-objective sources nor is it a number great enough to produce a “swing vote” of any sort.

Jerome S. Kaufman, political commentator

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March 12, 2004

Same sex marriage, a Jewish value? Bush, bad for the Jews?


The Great Jewish Divide By HILLEL HALKIN

Often, an ex-American Jew living in Israel who visits America often and occasionally appears before American-Jewish audiences, I feel that the two communities — the Israeli-Jewish and the American-Jewish — are not so much drifting apart as already living in totally different worlds. Rarely, however, have I felt this so strongly as when reading in the newspapers about the vote at the Massachusetts constitutional convention in mid-February on the so-called Travis Amendment, which would have outlawed same-sex marriage in that state.

Not only did all 14 of the Jewish legislators at the convention vote in favor of gay marriage, but the Jewish community of Massachusetts clearly regarded this as a triumph of Jewish values. Prior to the convention vote, the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston held its own ballot on the issue, which went 51 to 5 against the amendment. And polls show that the remark of state Rep. Stanley Rosenberg of Massachusetts that same-sex marriage is a Jewish cause because “Any time you single out a minority and subject them to unequal treatment, you are validating the historical discrimination against Jews throughout history express an American-Jewish consensus.

As an Israeli, one’s mind boggles at this. The right of two people of the same sex to marry each other, a Jewish value? The refusal to grant homosexuals wedding licenses a validation of the ghetto, the Inquisition, pogroms, concentration camps? Same-sex marriage as consistent with “Jewish history in a way that is radical and [yet] also very traditional,” as a San Francisco rabbi was recently quoted as saying?

From the perspective of Israel, where — unlike America — real Jewish tradition still plays a strong role and is something that even many nonobservant Jews are familiar with, all this seems like sheer madness. Although homosexuals are hardly persecuted in Israeli society, the idea of their marrying one another, much less of their having an innate right to do so, strikes most Israelis as comically absurd. And the idea that such a right can be construed as anchored in the history of Judaism, a religion that has for 3,000 years frowned on homosexual relations while placing a supreme value on the sanctified union of males and females, seems not only absurd, but a shameless falsehood.

Israel is, of course, in many ways a more traditional place than America, one in which, for all its modernity, human concerns tend to be closer to what they always have been, and still are today, in most of the world: forming and maintaining families, raising children, providing for them economically, protecting one’s territory, defending oneself against one’s enemies.

Gay rights have never been much of a public issue here, not because there is widespread homophobia — there isn’t — but because most Israelis feel comfortable with traditional male and female roles and wish to continue living in a society that promulgates them. It makes about as much sense to them to say that homosexuals should be granted marriage licenses in the name of human equality as it would to make sense to say that it is discriminatory to withhold driver’s licenses from people who can’t drive.

Such an attitude strikes most American Jews today as reactionary and undemocratic. And because, even if they are not personally religious, these Jews wish to feel proud of their Jewishness, this attitude has come to seem to them un-Jewish as well. Never mind that, historically, Judaism has always in the past made fundamental distinctions between men and women, fathers and mothers, and the roles they should play. It is now, in America, the great equalizer.

The divide is not between all Israeli Jews and all American Jews. There are American Jews, especially among the Orthodox, who see things more as Israelis do, and Israelis, especially on the political Left, whose values are more like those of American Jews. Yet on the whole, the gulf between the two communities is growing — and it will grow even more if President Bush’s constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriages ever gets off the ground.

On the face of it, such an amendment is an internal American issue, though one that would be one of the most culturally and politically divisive issues in American history. And yet it is not an issue that other countries, Israel among them, can pretend to have no stake in.

Like many peoples in the world who look toward America for leadership and protection, Israelis want to feel that America is a country they admire and with which they share a basic congruence of values. And, indeed, it still is that in many ways, a land that takes its ideals seriously and offers the individual more opportunities to advance and improve his situation than any other society on earth.

And yet an America that turns its back on basic notions of sexuality that have prevailed almost everywhere throughout the course of human history and embarks on a social experiment that much of the human race finds preposterous will be a difficult country to identify with, not only in Warsaw or Baghdad, but in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem too.

Already, Israeli and American Jews are deeply at odds over the Bush administration, which Israelis see as the most sympathetic to them ever to hold power in Washington, D.C., and American Jews view as a menace to liberal social values.

Already, too, Israeli and American Jews have a very different estimation of the Christian right in America, instinctively feared and disliked by most Jews in America, appreciated by Israelis for its pro-Israel positions.

An American kulturkampf over same-sex marriage will only add to all this by becoming an Israeli-American Jewish dispute too. It would be nice to believe this could be avoided, but American Jews seem already to have crossed the Rubicon.

Mr. Halkin is a contributing editor of The New York Sun.
Publication: The New York Sun; Date: Mar 3, 2004;


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March 11, 2004

President Bush and Republicans in the Congress were not the only ones

who believed the undisputable evidence regarding Iraq's weapons of destruction and the need to remove Saddam Hussein.

Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Minority Leader of the Congress, December 16, 1998
"Saddam Hussein has been engaged in the development of weapons of mass destruction technology which is a threat to countries in the region and he has made a mockery of the weapons inspection process."

Al Gore, Sept. 23, 2002
"We know that he has stored secret supplies of biological and chemical weapons throughout his country."

Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA), Sept. 27, 2002
"We have known for many years that Saddam Hussein is seeking and developing weapons of mass destruction.”

Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY), Oct 10, 2002
"In the four years since the inspectors left, intelligence reports show that Saddam Hussein has worked to rebuild his chemical and biological weapons stock, his missile delivery capability, and his nuclear program. He has also given aid, com-fort, and sanctuary to terrorists, including al Qaeda members."

Sen. John F. Kerry (D-MA), Jan. 23. 2003
"We are in possession of what I think to be compelling evidence that Saddam Hussein has, and has had for a number of years, a developing capacity for the production and storage of weapons of mass destruction... So the threat of Saddam Hussein with weapons of mass destruction is real..."


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March 08, 2004

I DETEST THIS FILM ... WITH A PASSION


By Christopher Hitchens, columnist for Vanity Fair.

London Daily Mirror -- February 27, 2004

A FEW years ago, Mel Gibson got himself into an argument after uttering a series of crude remarks that were hostile to homosexuals. Now he has made a film that principally appeals to the gay Christian sado-masochistic community: a niche market that hasn't been sufficiently exploited.

If you like seeing handsome young men stripped and tied up and flayed with whips, The Passion Of The Christ is the movie for you. Some people used to go to Ben-Hur deliberately late, and just watch the chariot race while skipping the boring quasi-Biblical stuff.

Alas, that isn't possible with this film. Along with the protracted torture comes a simple-minded, but nonetheless bigoted version of the more questionable bits of the Gospels. It's boring all right - much of the film is excruciatingly tedious - but it also manages to be extraordinarily nasty.

Gibson claims that the Holy Ghost spoke through him in the directing of this movie, and that everything in it is from the Bible. I very much doubt the first claim, and I can safely say that the second one is false.

The Bible does not have an encounter between Jesus and a sort of Satanic succubus figure in the Garden of Gethsemane. The Bible does not have a raven pecking out the eye of one of the crucified thieves. The Bible does not have Judas pursued to his suicide by a horde of supernatural and sinister devil-children.

Moreover, whatever the Bible may say, the Roman authorities in Jerusalem were not minor officials in a Jewish empire, compelled to obey the orders of a gang of bloodthirsty rabbis. It was Rome that was boss. Indeed, Pontius Pilate was later recalled by the Emperor Tiberius for the extreme brutality with which he treated the Jewish inhabitants (and you had to be quite cruel to get Tiberius to raise his eyebrows). YET Gibson is evidently obsessed with the Jewish question, and it shows in his film.

It also shows when he's off-screen. Invited by Peggy Noonan - a
sympathetic conservative interviewer - in Reader's Digest to say what
he thought of the Holocaust, Gibson replied with extreme coldness that
a lot of people were killed in the Second World War and no doubt some
of them were Jews. Shit happens, in other words.
He doesn't seem to
grasp the point that the war was started by a political party which
believed in a Jewish world conspiracy.

He doesn't go as far as his father, who says that the Holocaust story is "mostly fiction" and that there were more Jews at the end of the war than there were at the beginning, but he does say that his old man has "never told me a lie".
And he does say that he bases his film on the visions of the Crucifixion experienced by a 19th-century German nun, Anne-Catherine Emmerich, who believed that the Jews used the blood of Christian children in their Passover rituals. (In case you have forgotten, the setting of the film is the Jewish Passover.)

Yesterday, as the movie opened, a Pentecostal church in Denver, Colorado, put up a big sign on its marquee saying: "Jews Killed The Lord Jesus." Nice going. In order to keep up this relentless propaganda pressure, Gibson employs the cheap technique of the horror movie director. Just as you think things can't get any worse, he shoves in a gruesome surprise. The flogging scene stops, and you think: "Well, that's over." And then the sadistic guards pick up a new kind of flagellating instrument, and start again.
The nails go through the limbs, one by one, and then, for an extra touch, the cross is raised, turned over and dropped face-down with its victim attached, so that the nails can be flattened down on the other side.
The vulgarity and sensationalism of this would be bad enough if there
wasn't a continual accompaniment of jeering, taunting Jews who want
more of the same.

The same cynical tactic has been applied to the marketing of the movie.
Gibson is well known to be a member of a Catholic extremist group that
rejects the Pope's teachings and denounces the Second Vatican Council
(which, among other things, dropped the charge that all Jews were
Christ-killers).

He went to some trouble to spread alarm in the Jewish community, which
rightly suspected that the film might revive the old religious paranoia.
HE showed the film at the Vatican, and then claimed that the Pope had
endorsed it - a claim that the Vatican has flatly denied, but then every little
helps
.Then he ran a series of screenings for right-wing fundamentalists
only, and refused to show any tapes to anyone who wasn't a religious
nut. (It took me ages to get around the ban and get hold of a pirated
copy, and I was writing for the Hollywood issue of Vanity Fair.)

Having secured a huge amount of free publicity in this way, and some
very lucrative advance block bookings from Christian fundamentalist
groups, Gibson now talks self-pityingly about how he has risked his fortune and his career, but doesn't care if he "never works again" because he's done it all for Jesus. The clear message I get from that is that he'll be boycotted by sinister Hollywood Jews. So it's a win-win for him: big box office or celebrity martyrdom. With any luck, a bit of both. How perfctly nauseating.

In a widely publicised concession, Gibson said that he'd removed the
scene where the Jewish mob cries out that it wants the blood of Jesus
to descend on the heads of its children's children. This very questionable episode - it is mentioned in only one of the four gospels - has in fact NOT BEEN CUT. Only the English subtitle has gone. (The film is spoken in Aramaic and Latin, though Roman soldiers actually spoke a dialect of Greek.)

So when the film is later shown, in Russia and Poland, say, or Egypt
and Syria, there will be a ready-made propaganda vehicle for those who
fancy a bit of torture and murder, with a heavy dose of Jew- baiting
thrown in. Gibson knows very well that this will happen, and he'll be raking it
in from exactly those foreign rights to the film.

So my advice is this. Do not go.Leave it to the sickoes who like this sort of thing, and don't fill the pockets of the sicko who made it.

mirrornews@mgn.co.uk Christopher Hitchens is a columnist for Vanity Fair.

I

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March 05, 2004

Kerry's dubious appointees

ALL FOUR OF KERRY'S POSSIBLE CANDIDATES FOR U.S. ENVOY TO ARAB-ISRAELI TALKS ARE BIASED TOWARD ARABS

NEW YORK- All four of the reported candidates for a future
position of U.S. envoy to Arab-Israeli negotiations have records of pro-Arab
bias, the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has warned.


The New York Times reported on March 1, 2004, that U.S. Senator John
Kerry has mentioned former National Security Adviser Sandy Berger and former Mideast envoy Dennis Ross as possible choices for the post. Previously Senator Kerry also named former President Jimmy Carter and former Secretary of State James Baker as additional candidates.

SANDY BERGER - IMPLICITLY JUSTIFIED ARAB VIOLENCE: Berger, who served as National Security Adviser in the Clinton administration, is
remembered for his statements implicitly justifying Palestinian Arab
violence against Israelis. In a speech he gave at Tel Aviv University on
May 21, 2000, Berger said that Palestinian Arab violence was not only a
"curse," but also "a blessing" because it might speed up the negotiating
process. In a similar vein, Berger said before a meeting of the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations on July 31,
2000, that "If there is no agreement, we may be sadder and bloodier, but
then maybe they'll be prepared to make a deal." (Washington Times, Aug.4,
2000) Berger's remarks were strongly criticized by Jewish leaders, and
sixteen Members of Congress signed a letter of protest.

JAMES BAKER - "JEWS FORGET INSULTS AS SOON AS THEY SMELL CASH": His frequent public condemnations of Israel earned Baker a reputation as the most anti-Israel Secretary of State in U.S. history. In 1992, Baker even used a four-letter obscenity when referring to American Jews who disagreed with his pressure on Israel. Jerusalem Post editor David Bar-Illan revealed that Baker once remarked, "Don't worry, Jews remember the Holocaust, but they forget insults as soon as they smell cash." N.Y. Post, March 6, 1992)

DENNIS ROSS - "HIS VISION OF PEACE RESTS ON PRESSURING ISRAEL": After serving as James Baker's right-hand man in the Bush administration, Ross became chief U.S. envoy to the Arab-Israeli talks in the Clinton administration. He frequently pressured Israel to make one-sided
concessions and almost never criticized the Palestinian Arabs' constant
violations of the Oslo accords. An investigative report in The New
Republic (July 8, 1996) concluded that Ross's vision of a Mideast peace
agreement "rested on pressuring Israel," and even after Baker left office,
Ross "wound up executing Baker's anti-Israel agenda." In October 2003,
Ross brought three officials of Yasir Arafat's terrorist Fatah movement to
Washington, where he presented them as moderates and arranged for them to meet with Members of Congress and journalists.

JIMMY CARTER - WAS "BUOYED BY THE INTIFADA": During his
presidency, Carter frequently pressured and criticized Israel. After
leaving the office, Carter continued to exhibit a strong pro-Arab bias. A
1998 book (The Unfinished Presidency) by Prof. Douglas Brinkley, director
of the Eisenhower Center at the University of New Orleans, concerning
Carter's post-presidential activities, revealed that Carter was "buoyed by
the Intifada [and] passed on to the Palestinians through Arafat, his congratulations" (p. 247); Carter privately believes "that the Israeli
government ran an apartheid state" (p. 239); Carter claims that Yasir Arafat
has been "unfairly maligned in the Western press" (p. 121); and Carter
"drafted on his home computer the strategy and wording for a generic speech
Arafat was to deliver soon for Western ears" (p. 341).

Zionist Organization of America National President Morton A. Klein said: "For there to be any chance of facilitating a durable and meaningful peace, a U.S. envoy must have an appreciation of the importance of the Israel-America alliance so that the Arabs understand from the beginning that the U.S. will not join them in pressuring Israel for one-sided concessions. In addition, the U.S. envoy must recognize that the Palestinian Arabs have consistently violated all of the agreements they previously signed with Israel, and that the Palestinian Authority does not accept Israel's right to exist as demonstrated by its official maps, letterhead, and school textbooks, which show "Palestine" replacing all of Israel. None of these four candidates meet those basic criteria."

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 04:24 AM | Comments (13) | TrackBack

March 03, 2004

Europe against the Jews – So, what else is new?

(And, the worst part to me is that the Israelis turn somersaults attempting to ingratiate themselves with these killers) jsk

By Ilka Schroeder, The International Jerusalem Post, March 5, 2004

The European Commission has just held a seminar on anti-Semitism. This helped clarify what we already knew - that the EU strongly condemns anti-Semitism. At the same time, Europe continues to encourage what it condemns with its Middle East policy and with the anti-Semitic war it is helping to finance against Israel.

It is a well-known fact that parts of the EU funding to the Palestinian Authority (945 million from 2000 and 2003) were channeled to an undisclosed budget and that the PA has financed a terrorist war against Israel. In May 2002, Israel provided the European Commission with proof of the diversion of PA funds for terrorism

Since then, the commission has denied having any knowledge of these facts; and the European parliament successfully stalled an inquiry committee on this issue. Instead of preventing the use of EU money to kill citizens of Israel, the majority of the political establishment dreams of an international “peace enforcement” Israel, led or joined by the EU.

The German government is already discussing its participation in such military action, which would mean that German soldiers could shoot at Jews again. Such action would amount to the breaking of the last taboo of German foreign and military policy since the Holocaust. Israel is in danger of being the next victim of European superpower ambitions.

Today, the cold war against the Jewish state is underway. Ideologically as well, the vast majority of Europeans see Israel’s existence as the root cause of the threat to world peace. It is not a coincidence, then, that the media portrays Israel as a brutal oppressor always ready to kill innocent women and children, unwilling to have an equal partnership with the Palestinians. European media coverage of the Middle East should be no surprise to students of the history of anti-Semitism in Europe, since it regularly makes use of old stereotypes. It is not surprising that the widespread conspiracy theories are related to anti-Americanism and the notion of a “worldwide Jewish conspiracy.”

Nor should it amaze that the situation for Jews in Europe has worsened in the last three years. These are all direct outcomes of the political situation that the European Union, along with its member states and the media has created. The relationship between the EU’s actions and the open expression of anti-Semitism is among the last things responsible EU officials would like to be discussed publicly. Yet they know that this open expression is the logical result of their efforts for “peace and understanding” in the Middle East.

When a report discreetly suggested that it would not be totally absurd to see a link between the hatred towards Israel and the growth of anti-Semitism worldwide, It was suppressed- by a European agency — the very same agency suppose to fight racism and xenophobia. When more than 60 percent of the Europeans described Israel as an important threat to world peace, nearly everyone was sure that the questions were not posed properly. Whoever challenged the European support for Arafat and his colleagues waging a bloody war against Israel was silenced by the reference to Israel’s aggressive policies against the people living in the territories. As if Israel were the only nation state that resorts to force to defend itself in a war against anti-Semitic terrorism.

A new report may challenge this point of view. In February 2003, OLAE the anti-fraud office of the EU started an investigation into Israeli accusations concerning the misuse of the EU money. In January 2004, OLAF investigators were sent to Israel and the PA. What nobody expected seems to have proved true. OLAF — well known for its inefficiency - might end the cover-up policy of the European Union concerning its fatal role in the region.

During the past weeks, several German and Austrian newspapers have reported that even the investigating OLAF team could not deny that the accusations are well justified. Since then the attitude of European Parliament members toward the commission and its policy gained a new quality.

Markus Ferber (German Conservative) was quoted as saying that the resignation of Commissioner Patten could-be a “quite possible” outcome of the OLAF investigations. Johannes Swoboda (Austrian Socialist), formerly fighting any serious inquiry told the Austrian newspaper Die Presse that there “are hints which suggest that financial support was indirectly channeled to the surroundings of terrorist organizations.” Only a few days later, Armin Laschet (German Conservative) was cited, “ It is obvious that the direct budgetary assistance to the Palestinian Authority was a big mistake.”

Up to now, no efforts have been made to back up such talk. On February 18, however, the French journal La Liberation reported that the supposedly confidential OLAF report concluded that there was no misuse of the EU aid to the PA at all — even if OLAF in the same report supposedly admits that $300 million vanished without a trace. This revelation should have sparked a public outcry that the European Union has been inadvertently funding attacks on Israeli citizens. Instead of triggering a thorough investigation, everyone is trying to downplay the EU’s indirect hand in a war against Israel.

In 2004, a new parliament and a new commission will be elected. Hardly any European politician could be interested in having the EU’s supp6rt of the war against Israel become in the European elections. Conservatives, Socialists, Liberals, Greens and Leftists were involved in downplaying, hushing up, and denying the mortal effects of the European “peace” policy. The collective hope is that nobody will be interested in the scandal after June 2004.

Maybe EU officials will seek to avoid a major scandal by officially condemning the “misuse” of EU money, which they allowed to happen and refuse to correct. During the next months, we may have to listen to uncommonly sweet songs of solidarity with the Jewish people.

Maybe or maybe not But even if Europe adopts a more moderate tone in the coming months, the dream of German blue helmets on patrol in East Jerusalem will still be alive. The strategy may change, but the aim will be same: to use the Middle East as a playing field for Europe’s ambitions to become an insignificant and dominant superpower in world politics.

The writer is an independent member of the European Parliament.

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 08:33 AM | Comments (20) | TrackBack

March 01, 2004

Confront the Evil


By Isi Liebler, Sr. VP World Jewish Congress, Jerusalem Post Jan ‘04:

While hypnotizing ourselves into accepting “the irreversible peace process” we also delude ourselves into believing that anti-Semites had become an extinct species. Not surprisingly, critics of Israel dispute this, alleging that the charge of anti-Semitism is a diatribe to divert criticism away from the “occupation.”

This is humbug. It is riddled with double standards. The same people who display a persistent passionate hatred against the only democracy in the Middle East invariably ignore the monstrous outrages involving the murder of millions of innocent people in other countries, none of whom are threatened by neighbors seeking to destroy them.

IRONICALLY THIS hypocrisy is also expressed by a small but highly vocal number of Jews, including Israelis, who are often at the forefront of the demonizatlon and delegitimization of the Jewish state. These turncoats are effectively exploited by anti-Semites and lionized by those Left and liberals in the Western world who were once staunch friends of the Jewish people but now head the anti-Jewish pack. Yet, paradoxically, there are still Jews gullible enough to believe that the upsurge of anti-Semitism is basically a byproduct of Israel’s policies. The logic is that in the absence of a Jewish state anti-Semitism would somehow disappear.

This has led some Jews to even distance themselves from Israel and join the anti-Zionist click — as If there were a distinction between demonization of Israel and hostility against Jews. Both are birds of a feather and rooted in a common hatred. Nothing would delight our enemies more than to drive a wedge between Israeli and Diaspora Jews. They realize better than some Jews that without Israel the Jewish people is doomed.

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 08:45 PM | Comments (11) | TrackBack