May 30, 2005

UN Commission on Human Rights - A Macabre Joke

By Arnold Beichman,

The Washington Times, May 22, 2006

President Bush couldn’t be more right that the United Nations needs reform. The best proof of the need for U.N. reform is the U.N. Commission on Human Rights. There are 53 commission members. How can you take the UN seriously when six human rights commission members are among the most repressive regimes in the world? These six regimes, according to a Freedom House survey, include. China, Cuba, Eritrea, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Zimbabwe.

Instead of harrying U.S. ambassador-designate John Bolton, Congress should harry the United Nations for allowing such scandalous behavior. How can China, or Cuba, yes Cuba, be allowed membership on a commission responsible for monitoring and condemning human rights violations? Why aren’t there congressional hearings about such immoral, duplicitous behavior at the United Nations?

The first question such a White House co n f e r e n c e should ask is:
How did China, Cuba, Eritrea, Saudi Arabia, and Sudan and Zimbabwe become members of a body called the United Nations Commission on Human Rights? It’s bad enough to have these regimes in the U.N. exercising voting privileges they would not dare allow their own peoples — but have them sitting on the Commission on Human Rights? This is only one of the macabre jokes about the United Nations body allowing felons to sit in judgment on themselves.

“Repressive governments enjoying CHR membership work in concert," said Freedom House in its recently published survey, “and have successfully subverted the commission’s mandate. Rather than serving as the proper international forum for identifying and publicly censuring the world’s most egregious human rights violators, the CUR instead protects abusers, enabling them to sit in judgment of democratic states that honor and respect the rule of law.”

A March 21 report by U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan admitted the presence of these repressive governments on the CHR has severely injured the UN’s credibility. Mr. Annan recommended creating a reformed “Human Rights Council” whose members would be chosen based on compliance with the “highest human-rights standards.” Three cheers for Kofi Annan — but who will start the ball rolling?

Forgotten is article 3. “Everybody has the right to life, liberty and security of person” and Article 18 of the U.N. Universal Declaration of Human Rights proclaimed on Dec. 10, 1948:

“Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance?’ Those two clauses could well be the keynote of a White House Human Rights Conference to be convened, say, Dec. 10, 2005.

Arnold Beichman is a research fellow at the Hoover Institution. His updated biography, “Herman Wouk, the Novelist as Social Historian,” was recently published.


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May 28, 2005

Buried by the New York Times

(America’s Most Reputedly Authoritative Newspaper)

By Laurel Leff
Cambridge Press

Redacted from a Review by Daniel Johnson in Commentary Magazine, May 2005

THIS BOOK tells the story of how the most powerful newspaper in the world failed to inform its readers that the most terrible crime in history was taking place in occupied Europe. The New York Times did not ignore the Nazi persecution of the Jews. In fact, the paper ran hundreds of stories about it during the twelve years of the Third Reich, a handful of them on the front page. Its failure was to make no distinction between random persecution and genocide.

Laurel Leff, a former reporter for the Wall Street Journal who now teaches journalism at Northeastern University in Boston, demonstrates that the correspondents, the editors, and, especially, the publisher of the Times had the information they needed in order to grasp what was going on. Yet they quite cold-bloodedly downplayed the scale and significance of the unfolding tragedy: not inadvertently, but as a matter of policy.

For the Times, the Holocaust was not a story.

Why not? As Leff writes, to have drawn attention to the genocidal aims and methods of Nazi anti-Semitism, or to focus on the fate of individual victims, would have imposed a duty upon the Times to mobilize public opinion. The newspaper would have been obliged, through its news columns and editorial pages, to raise the national consciousness and thereby put pressure on the U.S. government to save as many Jewish lives as possible. That, however, was precisely what Arthur Sulzberger, the publisher, and his senior staff were determined not to do. Instead, all reports of deportations, massacres, and death camps were fitted into a framework that required no action to be taken beyond the overriding aim of winning the war.

Thus, according to the paradigm that dominated the mentality of Times executives, the Jews were only one of many targets of Nazi barbarity The notion that, as a people, they could have been singled out for a global “Final Solution” was, despite the overwhelming evidence, rejected. Even when the Nazis manifestly treated the Jews as a people or a race, Sulzberger denied that they were one. Indeed, he seems to have thought that taking at face value the Nazis’ intentions toward the Jews—as openly advertised in speeches, books, and propaganda would somehow lower the Times to their level.

According to Leff, Sulzberger was no less adamantly delusional on the subject of Zionism. Although mortal peril had rendered the creation of a Jewish state imperative, the Times editorialized even against the formation of a Zionist army unit under British command, on the grounds that it would create dual loyalties in Allied countries. Sulzberger was also receptive to the private denunciations of Zionists by his Middle East correspondent, Alexander C. Sedgwick, who found the Zionist creed to be “not unlike that of the Nazis.” …

Is it unfair today to castigate the Times for its coverage of events, however traumatic, that occurred six decades ago? Not only is it fair, the exercise is also highly relevant to the present situation. For ours is a moment when anti-Semitism has returned with a vengeance, primarily focused now on Israel and its American ally. Now, as then, the Times sets the tone for much of the rest of the American press and other media.

Yet even now, when the editors of the Times are acutely aware of the paper’s failures in World War II, they have responded to a sustained campaign of incitement and indiscriminate mass murder against Jews with, at best, neutrality. This book helps to explain why.

Daniel Johnson, who has served on the editorial pages of the London Times and Daily Telegraph, is now a columnist the New York Sun.

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 10:07 PM | Comments (0)

May 27, 2005

THE WELL-KEPT SECRET - ISRAEL'S 14 OBJECTIONS TO THE ROADMAP

By Aaron Lerner of IMRA Date: 15 June 2003

What with PM Sharon and President Bush both proclaiming the validity of the Roadmap Agreement, it is imperative that they and the world recall that the Knesset only agreed to the so-called Roadmap with 14 provisos.

These provisos are outlined by Dr. Lerner below and found in Israel Commentary, June 16, 2003.

The Primary Themes of the Knesset’s 14 provisos:

1.Both at the commencement of and during the process, and as a condition to its continuance, calm will be maintained. The Palestinians will dismantle the existing security organizations and implement security reforms during the course of which new organizations will be formed and act to combat terror, violence and incitement (incitement must cease immediately and the Palestinian Authority must educate for peace).
These organizations will engage in genuine prevention of terror and violence through arrests, interrogations, prevention and the enforcement of the legal groundwork for investigations, prosecution and punishment. In the first phase of the plan and as a condition for progress to the second phase, the Palestinians will complete the dismantling of terrorist organizations (Hamas. Islamic Jihad, the Popular Front, the Democratic Front Al-Aqsa Brigades and other apparatuses) and their infrastructure, collection of all illegal weapons and their transfer to a third party for the sake of being removed from the area and destroyed, cessation of weapons smuggling and weapons production inside the Palestinian Authority, activation of the full prevention apparatus and cessation of incitement. There will be no progress to the second phase without the fulfillment of all above-mentioned conditions relating to the war against terror.

2 Full performance will be a condition for progress between phases and for progress within phases. The first condition for progress will be the complete cessation of terror, violence and incitement. Progress between phases will come only following the full implementation of the preceding phase. Attention will be paid not to timelines, but to performance benchmarks (timelines will serve only as reference points).

3. The emergence of a new and different leadership in the Palestinian Authority within the framework of governmental reform. The formation of a new leadership constitutes a condition for progress to the second phase of the plan. In this framework, elections will be conducted for the Palestinian Legislative Council following coordination with Israel.

4. The Monitoring mechanism will be under American management. The chief verification activity will concentrate upon the creation of another Palestinian entity and progress in the civil reform process within the Palestinian Authority. Verification will be performed exclusively on a professional basis and per issue (economic, legal, financial) without the existence of a combined or unified mechanism. Substantive decisions will remain in the hands of both parties.

5. The character of the provisional Palestinian state will be determined through negotiations between the Palestinian Authority and Israel.
The provisional state will have provisional borders and certain aspects of
sovereignty, be fully demilitarized with no military forces, but only with
police and internal security forces of limited scope and armaments, be
without the authority to undertake defense alliances or military
cooperation, and Israeli control over the entry and exit of all persons and
cargo, as well as of its air space and electromagnetic spectrum.

6. In connection to both the introductory statements and the final settlement, declared references must be made to Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state and to the waiver of any right of return for Palestinian refugees to the State of Israel.

7. End of the process will lead to the end of all claims and not only the end of the conflict.

8. The future settlement will be reached through agreement and direct negotiations between the two parties, in accordance with the vision outlined by President Bush in his 24 June address.

9. There will be no involvement with issues pertaining to the final settlement. Among issues not to be discussed: settlement in Judea, Samaria and Gaza (excluding a settlement freeze and illegal outposts), the status of the Palestinian Authority and its institutions in Jerusalem, and all other matters whose substance relates to the final settlement.

10. The removal of references other than 242 and 338, as the primary basis of negotiations. A settlement based upon the Roadmap will be an autonomous settlement that derives its validity from these documents. The only possible reference should be to Resolutions 242 and 338, and then only as an outline for the conduct of future negotiations on a permanent settlement.

11. Promotion of the reform process in the Palestinian Authority: a transitional Palestinian constitution will be composed, a Palestinian legal infrastructure will be constructed and cooperation with Israel in this field will be renewed. In the economic sphere: international efforts to rehabilitate the Palestinian economy will continue. In the financial sphere: the American-Israeli-Palestinian agreement will be implemented in full as a condition for the continued transfer of tax revenues.

12. The deployment of IDF forces along the September 2000 lines will be subject to the stipulation of Article 4 (absolute quiet) and will be carried out in keeping with changes to be required by the nature of the new circumstances and needs created thereby. Emphasis will be placed on the division of responsibilities and civilian authority as in September 2000, and not on the position of forces on the ground at that time.

13. Subject to security conditions, Israel will work to restore Palestinian life to normal: promote the economic situation, cultivation of commercial connections, encouragement and assistance for the activities of recognized humanitarian agencies. No reference will be made to the Bertini Report as a binding source document within the framework of the humanitarian issue.

14. Arab states will assist the process through the condemnation of terrorist activity. No link will be established between the Palestinian track and other tracks (Syrian-Lebanese).

Dr. Aaron Lerner, Director IMRA (Independent Media Review & Analysis) Website: www.imra.org.il

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May 26, 2005

Bibi Netanyahu interviewed on Gaza in the Jerusalem Post, May 26, 2005

By David Horovitz, Editor in Chief and Gil Hoffman

(A small portion of the interview. More to follow)

Netanyahu’s response to Gaza disengagement question:

The compromise that the Likud party and I made with Prime Minister Sharon after the Likud plebiscite vote against disengagement was that we make the preparations for It but actually 4efer the decision until it came to the cabinet. And when it came to the cabinet I voted against It. — I did not vote against because I thought we should stay In the Gaza Strip forever I didn’t think that in a permanent settlement if we got one, we should stay there, because Gaza is a small place with a very large Arab population. But this is not the question now. This is a question of whether we should withdraw, unilaterally, under terrorist or and without any reciprocity thought that was a mistake. That’s why! I urged Sharon to fence in the major settlement blocs, so that the Palestinian terrorists do not have the sense of an unlimited victory. That is: Israel may give but it also takes.

Question: So, unilaterally, you would have done what?

Netanyahu:

I would have finished the fencing in of the Kedumim-Ariel bloc, the Ma’aleh Adumim bloc and the Gush Etzion bloc, as a minimum. This would be partial compensation for the withdrawal. As it turns out, we are going to withdraw without having done that, and it may take considerable time before we do. The principal problem with the withdrawal as it is taking place is that it may set in Palestinian minds the belief that there is a pattern of Israeli behavior: We received terror In Lebanon, and withdrew. We received terror in Gaza and withdrew. We received terror In Judea and Samaria, and we withdraw. And then under terror the Jews will withdraw from Palestine. All this was a preamble to Palestine. Palestine is Jaffa, Acre, and Haifa. This is what animates the Palestinian movements imagination. This is what fires the terrorists’ minds and hearts.

The greatest impetus to terror is their sense of impending victory. The greatest discouragement to terror is the sense of failure and hopelessness. It is very important that we do everything in our power even with this disengagement decision, to minimize their sense of victory. That’s why I advocate very forcefully that we demolish the houses. Because the last thing we want is for the terrorists to celebrate with fiendish glee this idea that they murdered and profited by it.

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 05:38 PM | Comments (0)

May 25, 2005

The Deaf, Dumb and Blind Dedication of so many Jews to the Democratic Party

By JACKIE MASON & RAOUL FELDER

(A redaction of an article from the Jewish Press, May 2005)

If Jews know better than anybody else what kind of an unbalanced mind it takes to produce the sickness of prejudice, why do they so comfortably practice it themselves by making a special target of prejudice any member of the Republican Party, especially if he is recognized as a far-right Republican?

Somehow Jews have always been enraptured by the words liberal” and “Democrat.” We convinced ourselves that the words “liberal” and “Jew” are a package made in heaven, ordained by God like a marriage, consecrated till death do us part. Love may be blind, but does it also have to be deaf and dumb — which it must be for Jews who can’t recognize the contempt many liberals have for them.

The story of Harry Truman is a perfect example. Jews are still blinded from the reality of Harry Truman’s real character, and possessed of a romanticized version of his love for the Jewish people. Whenever a Jew opened his mouth, the story of Truman’s Jewish partner in the haberdashery business came flying through his teeth, blinded to the fact that Truman not only found Jews distasteful and repulsive but even thought of his Jewish partner as a burden he had to bear because he couldn’t find any gentile in town who would trust him with his cash. It is a historical fact that Truman never invited his partner into his home, never even asked him if he was happy or healthy, he only cared if his hand could move enough to sign a check.

The vulgarity of the language with which Truman reacted to Eddie Jacobson’s pleas for the recognition of Israel would add up to enough filthy words to produce five pornographic movies. Most Jews are familiar with this story but even if you could identify and prove every word of it they would still be too blind to believe it.

As inconceivable as the Jewish love affair was with President Truman, love was never more blind than in the Jews’ persistent worship of Franklin D. Roosevelt. In this case their love was not only blind, it defied reason. Hitler was determined to kill the Jews, but many Jews needlessly died because Roosevelt totally ignored their plight and in some cases even helped Hitler.

When Jews were fleeing the death chambers in Germany toward the borders of America, it was the heartlessness of Franklin D. Roosevelt that forced them back to their destruction; Whenever Jews in America were aroused about Roosevelt’s callous indifference to their fate and he reacted like a mindless robot who, couldn’t see them or hear them as if the murder of the Jews was comparable to killing cockroaches in the kitchen.

He found the persistence of the Jewish complaints so obnoxious that in an uncontrollable rage he even attacked Henry Morgenthau, his Jewish Secretary of the Treasury yelling that the Jews should stop complaining because he felt they should thank God that they were allowed to live here without suffering the fate of the Jews in Germany.

Why has the history of the basic anti Semitic-driven inhumanities of Presidents Roosevelt and Truman had no effect on the Jewish love affair with the Democratic Party? Why do they ignore the contempt of these presidents for the lives of Jews? Obviously it is because Jews regard the Democratic Party as the crusaders for the underprivileged. And because many Jews spend their lives fighting for acceptance and respect by making money. Their religious teachings however place them in torment by a guilt-ridden conscience that taught them that good Jews don’t spend their lives pursuing greed and opportunism, and that a selfish life is a wasted one. Because a Jew is always struggling to overcome his fear of worthlessness, he spends his time finding ways to prove that he not only has a big fortune, but that he has an even bigger heart.

His ambition to become rich ends up with him giving much of his money to charity to remind himself and others that he only made money because of his compassion and selfless devotion to humanitarian causes and not for himself.

To avoid any connection with his perceived materialistic values, he has to reject and even hate the Republicans, To think of any connection with a far-right Republican would frighten him more than a firing squad in Saudi Arabia. That is why when the far-right Republicans dedicate themselves to fighting for the survival of Israel - even to the point of having to overcome Democratic Party opposition to what the Republicans consider the biblical God-given right of the Jewish people to possess the Holy Land - instead of being met with appreciation and applause, they are met with suspicion as though they, the Republicans, were building a smokescreen for their basic anti-Semitism.

Jackie Mason is the world-renowned comedic genius. Raoul Feder is a prominent Manhattan attorney.

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May 23, 2005

An Israeli asks help questioning Ariel Sharon upon his visit to US.

Dear Malcolm,

I know you must be under tremendous pressure regarding PM Sharon's visit, but I wanted to ask you if someone (you?) could ask the following questions (we have no opportunity to do so here!) of Ariel Sharon?

The current Commander of the IDF (Yaalon), the former and current heads of the Shabak (Secret Police) and all the heads of military intelligence have indicated clearly and openly (publicly) that the security situation will be much worse after Israel's retreat from Gaza. They have revealed that Hezbollah and al Quida are also active in the areas to be evacuated.

In the meantime, the PA refuses to stop incitement let alone collect illegal arms and stop terrorist attacks. The Egyptians continue to allow weapons to be transferred to Palestinian terrorists. How will retreat under fire and under these circumstances improve Israel's security and strategic position?

How can Israel ask the international community to boycott and eliminate terrorist organizations like Hamas when Israel is negotiating with them (which gives them recognition and legitimacy)?

Since it appears that Hamas is the controlling force in the Gaza Strip, is Israel prepared to turn over that territory to them? What are the implications of that move for any future withdrawals and policy decisions?

Moshe Dann, Political commentator
Jerusalem, Israel

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 09:47 PM | Comments (0)

May 20, 2005

Frontline/Public Broadcasting System(PBS) produces "documentary"

What Holocaust?

(re-printed from The Jewish Post - NYC, St. Louis Jewish Light ...)

By Dr. Jerome S. Kaufman

For about a minute and a half, Frontline/PBS had me fooled.

I had sat down at the TV with my two boxes of Kleenex to watch on Public Broadcasting System (PBS), a documentary called, Memory of the Camps. I was sure it would be about the concentration camps and Hitler's Final Solution to exterminate all the Jews of Europe. Immediately seen on the screen was that Frontline had the TV special produced. But, how could Frontline and PBS be involved in a TV special that I expected to be sympathetic to the extermination of over 6 million Jews? Invariably they had taken every pro-Palestinian Arab position possible in their TV productions and on PBS radio stations.

What is Frontline? Their literature states that " 'Frontline' is the registered trademark of WGBH Educational Foundation." WGBH is a Public Broadcasting Station (PBS) in Boston, MA. Frontline is thus an organization that is an integral part of PBS nationwide. Frontline formulates ideas, usually of political interest, which are then submitted to different TV production companies that are commissioned to create an apparent TV documentary that subtly propagandizes the public to Frontline's and ipso facto, PBS's agenda. Of course, the operative words are "apparent" and "documentary" - especially since the term "documentary" long ago lost its original definition. These are not the objective newsreels the public might expect from the former terminology. They are most frequently political ploys as demonstrated so expertly by the "documentaries" of Michael Moore.

There were no Jews in the TV film about concentration camps!

Why then was Frontline involved in this production that I imagined had to be sympathetic to the Jews? After a few minutes, the answer became crystal clear. Frontline had created real magic. There were no Jews in the TV film about concentration camps! All credit, if one could possibly call it credit, for 6 million Jews dying, had been eliminated from the production! PBS had created a generic with no Jews - just the "peoples of Europe", the "German people" when they meant the German Jews, and not one Jewish star shown - which had been routinely sewn on the uniform of Jewish prisoners - was seem in the entire film. The gut rending actual pictures of the piled up corpses and barbed wire and starvation and filth could not be denied. It was the script that was so cleverly used to promote the Frontline agenda.

It began with the introduction "for decades the film had been stored in the Imperial War Museum in London. The documentary was unfinished with missing sound tracks. But the directors, including Alfred Hitchcock had developed a script to go with the pictures." (How convenient!) Frontline then makes the totally disingenuous statement that it "presents the film unedited, as close as possible to what the producers intended over a half-century ago." Never mind the dubbed in sound track that was missing from the original and how do they know what the producers intended over a half-century ago?

Then the magnificent voice of Trevor Howard begins the narration. The allied troops enter the Bergen Belsen concentration camp in the Spring of 1945 and are horrified. In the narration the prisoners are identified simply as "they" or "the people" and referred to as no particular ethnic group. At the end of the segment Trevor Howard states, "We shall never know who they (the victims) were or from what homes they were torn. Whether they were Catholics, Lutherans or Jews, we only know they were born, they suffered and died in agony in Belsen Camp."

No mention of the fact was made that Bergen-Belsen became a collection camp for thousands of Jewish prisoners evacuated from camps closer to the front as Allied forces advanced into Germany in late 1944 and early 1945. With the arrival of prisoners evacuated from the east, there were over 60,000 by April 15, 1945 - by far, the major portion Jews.

Later in the narration Howard states, "On the 28th of February, 1933, a Presidential Emergency Decree suspended the basic civil rights of the German people - no mention of the fact that almost immediately afterward, April 1933, the Jews were singled out and dismissed from the public service, the universities and other professions and their lives made absolute hell from that point forward. In fact, the only reference to Jews in the one hour narration was a statement by Herr Schoker, the camp commandment of Dachau, who said, "I want at least 600 Jewish deaths reported in the camp office every day."

At one point the narration speaks of the liberation of Buchenwald, April 13, 1945 with 20,000 inmates remaining. The narration lists them: "African Negroes, Albanian, Austrians, Belgians, Brazilians, Canadians, Chinese, Croats, Czechs. Danes, French, Germans, British, Greeks, Dutch, Italians, Yugoslavs, Latvians, Letts, Norwegians, Mexicans, Poles, Rumanians, Spaniards, Swiss, Americans and Russians." Really! How convenient. No Jews identified as such and just how many of these prisoners actually represented the individual nations listed? What percentage of those in the camp? What an outrageous, disingenuously constructed lie!

My initial bewilderment was therefore solved. Frontline and PBS had not produced a "documentary" sympathetic to the Jews or Israel. They had produced a deliberate generic whose obvious goal was to re-enforce the gross lie of Holocaust denial which claims not that many Jews were killed at all. The Holocaust must have been just a grand plan to establish the State of Israel and steal "Arab Land" - another gross lie that has been well-promoted in many other Frontline/PBS productions.

Jerome S. Kaufman
http://www.israel-commentary.org

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 08:36 PM | Comments (2)

May 19, 2005

The Inexplicable Reaction of American Jews to President George Bush

By HILLEL HALKIN – The Jewish Press, May 13, 2005

What is it with American Jews? No one expects them to become Republicans or to rejoice that George W. Bush is in the White House. But why do so many of them revile him so? I was in America last month, along with Ariel Sharon: That is, I wasn’t actually with Mr. Sharon, who was at President Bush’s Texas ranch. But while Israel’s prime minister was as usual getting the warmest possible reception from the president, the American Jews I talked to were as hostile to Mr. Bush as ever.

Most of them simply couldn’t abide the man. Indeed, they seemed less able to abide him now than they could when he was elected in 2000 or reelected in 2004. “But why is that?” I said to one of them after another — all political liberals, many of them academics, all Jewishly knowledgeable and committed people “You don t have to love Bush in order to see what he’s done for Israel. He’s the first American president to adopt the Israeli position that meaningful negotiations with the Palestinians cannot be held as long as Palestinian terror persists.

He’s the first president to agree with Israel that Palestinian democratization must be an integral part of the peace process and to prove he meant it by shunning Yasir Arafat. He’s the first president to side with Israel the question of its future borders by stating that all areas of the West Bank in which Jewish settlers are heavily concentrated should be incorporated into Israel. - “And needless to say,” I went on, “Bush has also been the first president to order the military dismantling of an Arab dictatorship that was a strategic threat to Israel.

The toppling of Saddam Hussein’s regime though this as not its primary intention, has contributed more to Israel’s security than any other presidential act since the Nixon administration’s arms airlift during the 1973 war. The fact it that, in regard to Israel, Mr. Bush has been the kind of president that one would once have considered an impossibility Given America’s global interests, and its economic stake in the Arab Middle East, it has always been axiomatic that the best Jews could hope for from an American government was a balanced approach toward the Arab-Israeli conflict.

The optimum was a president who, like Lyndon Johnson or Ronald Reagan, had enough sympathy for Israel to keep from tilting toward the Arabs rather than a president like Dwight Eisenhower or Jimmy Carter who didn’t. A president who was openly and unabashedly pro Israel was quite simply unimaginable. And yet, as I kept repeating to my Jewish interlocutors, this is exactly what George W. Bush has been. “But he has imposed a radical right-wing Christian agenda on America!” they retorted. “He’s wrecked the economy to give tax breaks to the rich!” “He’s out to destroy Social Security!” “He has the worst record on the environment ever”

“Let’s say for the sake of argument that you’re right about every one of those things,” I tried answering. “There’s still Israel. Doesn’t his stand on it mean anything to you?” - “I don’t believe it’s real!” “He’s just backing Sharon —and I don’t trust Sharon either!”

Hillel Halkin is a prolific author and columnist living in Israel. His work has appeared in a number of publications including Commentary and The New York Sun, where this column originally appeared.


Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 09:38 PM | Comments (0)

May 18, 2005

For Those Confused over the Filibuster Debate.

By Donald Lambro, The Washington Times, May 8, 2005

The fierce political battle over President Bush’s judicial nominations may soon reach a climax; as talk of a compromise swept through the Capitol last week. But with each side escalating its rhetoric to a fever pitch and their loyal allies mounting a multimillion-dollar ad campaign, the possibility of a bipartisan deal seemed problematic at best. The whole business has clouded by a confusing fog of issues, from religious beliefs to constitutional checks and balances, that seem to have strayed from the central rule making issue before the Senate: Should a minority of senators be allowed to prevent a simple up-or-down vote on judicial nominees?

The Democrats believe they have the right to use – I would say abuse - the filibuster rule for unlimited debate for unlimited debate in confirmation proceedings for the sole purpose of preventing a vote, unless a super majority of 60 Senators agree to end that debate and proceed to a roll call.

But the Constitution gives them no such right and more than 200 years the Senate, with virtually no exceptions, brought a president’s judicial nominees up for a vote in the Judiciary Committee and if reported to the full Senate for an up-or-down vote by a simple majority.

The Constitution merely says the president “shall have power, by and with the advice of the Senate” to appoint judges. The Senate has the right to reject judges, but does it have the legal right—once a nomination is before the Senate—to actively prevent a vote on the president’s nominee in a self-governing democracy like ours? Clearly the minority does not have that right and the Democrats who claim they do are, well, being undemocratic.

The Senate’s filibuster rule of unlimited debate (the House has no such ride) was created to guarantee the rights of the minority for a full and fair discussion of every piece of legislation. The rule is there to prevent the tyranny of the majority not riding roughshod over the minority.

A single senator can object to a bill and filibuster against it until the majority can get closure to end the “debate” and proceed to a vote. Such a rule has an appropriate place in legislative proceedings no matter how inconvenient it can sometimes be for the orderly flow of public business. The genius of our representative form of government is in part due to the legislative hoops and hurdles the Founding Fathers created to make it difficult for bad legislation to become law.

Unlimited debate, by which a senator may hope to kill or at least stall a bill or amendment to extract some change in its provisions, was put into the Senate’s rules for just this reason. But applying the filibuster rule to prevent the Senate from carrying out its constitutionally granted authority to approve or disapprove each judicial nominee clearly violates our nation’s governing document.

It is not entirely clear a majority of Americans fully understand the ramifications of all this. A Washington Post – ABC News Poll last week found 66 % of 1,007 randomly selected adults oppose Senate Majority Leader’s proposal to require a majority vote for all judicial nominees. But, note how the question was phrased: Would you support or oppose changing Senate rules to make it easier for the Republicans to confirm Bush’s judicial nominees?” Nothing in this question reflects the real issue before the Senate which is bringing the president’s nominees up for a vote.

The partisan phrase “easier for the Republicans,” leaves a lot to the imagination if one doesn’t know what the rule change actually would do. But what if you asked the question this way, “ Would you support or oppose changing Senate filibuster rules to ensure Presidents judicial nominees be given and up-or-down votes? I think the response would be different.

This is a parliamentary debate over the abuse of the rules, one the Republican threats to end by inserting a little language that just tells the Democrats they no longer will be able to end the $senate majority right to vote on Federal judgeships. At stake are 10 of Bush’s nominee trapped in filibuster limbo for years merely because they are too conservative for the Democrats more liberal tastes.

But something deeper is at stake here, too, and that is our democratic system of government and whether we will allow abuse of the legislative rules to impede a presidential election mandate and the full and fair disposition of constitutionally granted presidential powers to appoint judges

Mr. Bush and the Senates Republican majority are note demanding anything extraordinary here. They simply want the right to vote on these nominations up or down, and the Democrats don’t because they lack the votes to defeat them.

Donald Lambro, chief political correspondent of the Washington Times is a nationally syndicated columnist.


Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 06:55 PM | Comments (0)

May 17, 2005

A Cartoon! The Secret Story of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion

The Final Work of Career Cartoonist, Will Eisner

A redaction of a review by Calev Ben David, Managing Editor of the Jerusalem Post, May 12, 2005

Will Eisner managed to cheat death to some degree with the posthumous publication this spring of his final work, The Plot - a history and refutation of the infamous anti- Semitic text, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, told in “graphic novel” form. It makes a fitting coda to Eisner’s storied career.

THE GENESIS for his final work came a few years ago when he was trolling the Internet and came across an English translation of the Protocols, which he read in full for the first time. Eisner was alarmed to learn how many other copies of the work were to be found on the Internet, and how it has continued to gain credibility and exposure, especially in the Islamic world.

A 1999 newspaper article on new research into the origins of the Protocols provided Eisner with an outline for the Plot. He begins his story back in the Paris of 1864, where a political pamphleteer named Maurice Joly wrote a polemical attack on the reign of Napoleon he titled “A Dialogue In Hell between Machiavelli and Montesquieu.” The narrative then skips forward 34 years to a time when reactionary elements in Imperial Russia were looking to stir up anti-Semitism among the masses as a means of combating the wave of liberal reform that was beginning to chip away at the reign of Czar Nicholas II.

The Okhrana, (Russian secret police) utilized the talents of Mathieu Golovinski, a talented forger and provocateur based in its Paris bureau, to come up with an inflammatory tract against the Jews. Golovinski drew liberally on Joly’s work, altering it enough to convert it into a supposed blueprint for world supremacy crafted by a secret International council of rich and powerful Jews.

Eisner shows how early on in the history of the Protocols there were serious attempts, most notably by The Times of London in 1921, to prove the Protocols were a complete fake. But he goes on to show how that didn’t stop anti-Semitic interests the world over, from Henry Ford’s Dearborn Independent newspaper and later the Nazi propaganda machine of Josef Goebbels, to continually revive the Protocols for their nefarious uses.

Eisner ends his own story on an ironic note with him handing in the manuscript of The Plot to his publisher, who responds: “So, we can finally say this is the end of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.” The next page is a drawing of a synagogue set ablaze, followed by actual newspaper clippings detailing the growing wave of global anti-Semitism of the past two years, and a coda that notes the Protocols is still widely available in bookstores across the world.

In his foreword to this work, Eisner notes: “For me, The Plot represents a departure from pure graphic storytelling. It marks an effort to employ this powerful medium to address a matter of immense personal concern.”

As Umberto Eco writes in his introduction: “I believe that - in spite of this courageous, not comic but tragic book by Will Eisner - the story is hardly over. Yet it is a story very much worth telling, for one must fight the Big Lie and the hatred it spawns.”

The reviewer is managing editor qt The Jerusalem Post.


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May 16, 2005

An Interview with Israeli President Moshe Katsav – Abu Mazen (Abbas)

International Jerusalem Post, May 12, 2005

Jerusalem Post question:
Are you worried about Hamas gaining strength in the Palestinian Legislative Council election in July? And if it does, what ramifications will that have for Israel? Can Israel cooperate with the PA if Hamas dominates the Palestinian Parliament?

President Katsav
The deve1opments are not positive. It would be better were Hamas to decide to join the political process. But Hamas wants to continue holding arms and sustaining an army But that combination cannot exist — you can’t be a political party and have your own army. Hezbollah and Hamas are similar in this respect.

I am surprised the democratic world accepts this standard. It is twisted. There is no such thing as a political party with an army and arms. It does not exist. Hamas needs to be disarmed and join the political system. Unfortunately, Abu Mazen (PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas) is showing great weakness. He wants to reach understandings and agreements with Hamas.

There was an election three months ago; Abu Mazen won and declared one Palestinian authority. He should say to Hamas and Islamic Jihad, ‘Listen guys, I was elected; you could have run, you didn’t. Now you must recognize my authority. You will not decide when to attack Israel and how. I will decide.

If they don’t accept his authority, it must be forced on them. Abu Mazen will pay a personal price if he doesn’t put brakes on Hamas, because it will shake his position, and he is liable to be thrown out. Then the conflict would move into another round of bloodshed that would continue for a number of years. And if Hamas continues along this path, it is something that could endanger moderate governments in the Arab world.

I think this is now a moment of truth, a historic opportunity because if Abu Mazen fails, the escalation will continue for many years. We can put an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict now

The gaps between Israel and the PA are smaller than they ever were, despite the intifada. Hamas - continues to try to Import weapons, manufacture Kassam rockets and manufac_ture mortars. The trend is negative.

The Palestinian’s enemy on a day-to-day is not us but Hamas and not us. They are leading the Palestinians from tragedy to tragedy, and if Hamas continues to carry out terror attacks, then unfortunately the chance of conciliation with the Palestinians Is likely to be pushed off for years, maybe a decade, until new leadership arises that will impose its authority on all the Palestinians.

Jerusalem Post: Do you plan on meeting Abu Mazen?

President Katsav
I spoke with him a number of times on the phone, and I intend to invite him for a meeting, but not until after he meets the prime minister. It is not proper for me to meet him here before he meets the prime minister, because that would look as if I was pushing the prime minister into a corner, which is not something I want to do. .


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May 14, 2005

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan says, “ HELL NO!”

By David R. Sands, THE WASHINGTON TIMES, May 8, 2005

Former Federal Reserve Board Chairman Paul Volcker says his investigation into the scandal-plagued oil-for-food program has not cleared UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan of wrongdoing, despite Mr. Annan’s claims to the contrary. In an interview aired on April 26 with Fox News, Mr.Volcker took direct issue with Mr. Annan’s insistence that he had been exonerated by investigators probing both his role in overseeing the Iraq aid program and conflicts of interest involving a key contract awarded to a Swiss firm that employed Mr. Annan’s son.

“I thought we criticized. Mr. Annan rather severely” Mr. Volcker said of his panel’s interim report, released March 29. “I would not call that an exoneration.” Asked point-blank whether Mr. Annan had been cleared of wrongdoing in the $10 billion scandal; Mr. Volcker replied, “No”

Mr. Annan has faced calls for his resignation from US critics in the wake of the oil-for-food scandal. Under the seven-year program that ended in 2003, Iraq was allowed to buy food and other humanitarian supplies through tightly controlled sales of oil. But the Congressional Government, Accountability Office found that the regime of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein stole about 10 billion during the period, either through illegal oil sales outside the program or through corrupt deals and kickbacks within it.

Senior U.N. officials have been implicated in the scandal, and Mr. Annan himself faced hard scrutiny when it was learned his son, Kojo Annan, had been employed by Cotecna, the Swiss firm that won a critical U.N. monitoring contract for the oil-for-food program in 1998. Mr. Annan, who has fiercely insisted calls that he step down, immediately claimed vindication after the panel reported on March 29 that it had found “no evidence” that the secretary-general had used his influence to help Cotecna win the contract.

In a press conference that same day, Mt Annan told reporters, “As I had always hoped and firmly be believed, the inquiry cleared me of any wrongdoing.” He has said he was “disappointed” to discover that his son had received hundreds of thousands of dollars in payments from Cotecna for several years after leading his father to think he had cut all ties with the UN contractor. Asked whether he considering resigning from his post before his term ends next year, Mr. Annon answered emphatically, “Hell no.”

The Volcker investigators faulted Mt Annan for what they said was an inadequate, one-day investigation into the Cotecna contract after his
Son’s job history with the firm came to light in l999. Had Mr. Annan demanded a “thorough and independent investigation,” the Volcker panel concluded, “it is unlikely that Cotecna would have been awarded renewals of its contracts with the United Nations?’

Mr. Volcker’s panel, which was commissioned by Mr. Annan last year, has come under fire with the recent resignation of two of the panel’s lead investigators, Robert Parton and Miranda Duncan, who left reportedly because they thought the reports released to date had gone too easy on Mr. Annan. A spokesman for the Volcker panel said the two had left because their contracts had expired, but Mr. Parton has said in an e-mail released to the Associated Press that he left his job over “a matter of principle. Efforts to reach the two investigators on April 26 were unsuccessful.

Mt Volcker, in the Fox News interview, said his panel “was not meant to be soft or hard” on Mr. Annan or the United Nations. ‘We are out to get the facts, and I’ve said, from the very beginning, our responsibility is to follow the facts wherever they lead.’

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May 13, 2005

Iran’s Nuclear Threat - What does the world and Israel have to fear?

By Flame

Despite evasions, denials and equivocations, it is quite clear now that Iran is intensely pursuing the holy grail of nuclear weapons. The question is whether it is six months or three years away from that goal. What would it mean to the world, what would it mean if Iran succeeded in this quest and if nobody, no country, would prevent it?

What are the Facts?

Because Israel correctly assessed the possibility as an existential danger in 1981, Israel, in a daring raid destroyed the Iraqi nuclear installation at Osirak, Iraq. The whole world, sad to say, including the United States, condemned Israel for this “act of aggression. But, of course, Israel did the world a tremendous favor, a favor that was only grudgingly acknowledged many years later. Had it not been for Israel’s decisive action, Saddam Hussein would indeed have had nuclear weapons. The Iraqi dictator would have been the undisputed master of the Middle East. The United States, indeed the whole world, would have been at his mercy.

An even much greater danger now threatens us from Iran, because Iran is governed by fanatically religious mullahs, who do not shrink from bringing any sacrifice, wreaking any destruction, if they believe that it will bring their religion-inspired goals to fruition The primary targets of that fanatical zeal of the Iranian ayatollahs are the U S (the “big Satan”) and Israel (“the little Satan”).

Since Iran is close to possession of long-range missiles, the United States would be in mortal danger of attack by that country. But even short of such attack, Iran, just as Saddam had planned, would be in unquestioned dominance of the Middle East and of its oil supply - the lifeblood of the Western world. It would cause intolerable damage to life and to the economy of the United States.

But Israel is the most immediate target of Iran’s fury. Iran’s unquenchable hatred of Israel is totally based on religious rage and on the conviction that “nonbelievers” have no legitimate place in the Middle East. Iran’s leaders have publicly threatened Israel with destruction once they come into possession of nuclear weapons. Israel is such a small country that one or two nuclear weapons strategically placed on its narrow coastal strip would destroy it.

Louis René Beres, professor of political science and international law at Purdue University, has described what would happen if and when Iran’s mullahs direct their Islamic bombs on Israel. In addition to an immediate death toll in the hundreds of thousands, overwhelming health problems would afflict the survivors. Beyond the immediate burn injuries, Israelis would be crushed by collapsing buildings and torn to shreds by flying glass. Others would fall victim to raging firestorms Fallout injuries would include whole body radiation injuries and injuries produced by deposits of radioactive substances within the body.

After an attack, medical facilities would be taxed beyond capacity. Water supplies would become altogether unusable. Housing and shelter would be unavailable for hundreds of thousands. Transportation and all other communication would break down and food shortages would be critical and long-term in correcting.

Normal human society would cease. Many of the survivors could expect an increase in serious degenerative diseases, also premature death, impairment of vision and sterility. A vastly increased incidence of all kinds of cancers would be unavoidable. Many balanced relationships in nature would be destroyed, upset by the extensive fallout. Survivors would have to deal with mushrooming insect hordes that would spread from the radiation-damaged areas in which they arose. This fact, coupled with the prevalence of unburied corpses, uncontrolled waste and untreated sewage would generate tens of trillions of flies and mosquitoes. Breeding in the dead bodies, these insects would make it impossible to’ control typhus, malaria, dengue fever and encephalitis. But beyond that throughout Israel, the largest health threat would be posed by of rotting human corpses. The survivors might envy the dead.

The effects of a nuclear attack on Israel are too horrible to consider. Even the description given above cannot begin to do justice to the devastation and to the total destruction that would be wrought. There can be little question that as its final action as a coherent society, Israel would use its own considerable military might against its tormentors and would convert the entire Middle East into a hell in which ultimately nothing could survive. It is clear that has to be prevented at all cost, and that no effort should be spared to keep the hands of the ayatollahs off the nuclear trigger. One hope is that it can be done by persuasion and diplomacy. But if it cannot, somebody, perhaps the United States or perhaps Israel, with or without the approval of the United States — would have to preempt and, by whatever means, keep Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. It is the most important cause of our time. The survival of the world is at stake

FLAME
Facts and Logic About the Middle East
P.O. Box 590359 • San Francisco, CA 94159. Gerardo Joffe, President


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May 12, 2005

Jimmie Carter, Elder Statesman and Nobel Prize winner

By Ned Rice

Quoted in the Washington Times, May 8, 2005

Shameless

“To those born with any sense of shame, the fact that Jimmy Carter regularly shows his face in this country in public is an infinite, multifaceted source of wonderment. The fact that Jimmy Carter sees himself as a sage elder statesman and regularly holds forth on subjects such as Middle East peace and what current US. presidents should and shouldn’t do is a thing of pure, unadulterated astonishment.

And the fact that Jimmy Carter (or any of his proxies) genuinely believes that his attendance was required (or even appropriate) at the funeral of the priest who stood up to Gorbachev — a priest who was, in so many ways, the professionally dovout Carter’s direct opposite – is not only bizarre on its face, it’s disgraceful …

“Then again, all John Paul II ever did was lead the world’s 1 billion Catholics for 25 years , travel millions of miles and bring hope to near every corner of the world, and help bring down the mightiest empire in the world armed only with a rosary.

Unlike Jimmy Carter, Pope John Paul II never won a Nobel Peace Prize?’

Ned Rice, writing on "Jimmy of Mayberry” April 15 in National Review Online

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May 11, 2005

Speech by Ariel Sharon on the contribution of Jewish fighters in the victory over Germany in WWII

9 May 2005 [From the Prime Minister's Office]

Today, when all over the world the defeat of Nazi Germany is celebrated, and the great victory in the campaign against evil, hatred and racism is marked, we commemorate the heroism of the Jewish fighters in World War II. It is also the day which marks the victory of the courage of the Jewish fighter.

1.5 million Jewish soldiers fought in all ranks of command - from privates
to commanders of armies - in the allied armies. Thousands more fought in
the Partisan units in Eastern Europe and in the anti-fascist underground
movements in Western Europe and North Africa. Approximately a quarter of a million Jewish warriors fell in battle, 200,000 of them served in the Red Army, and near 200,000 medals for bravery and citations were awarded to Jewish fighters - living or dead. I doubt if there is another nation who mobilized such a high percentage of its sons and daughters for the military efforts against Nazism.

The contribution by Jewish fighters was first and foremost in battle, facing
the enemy - in the air, sea and land.

In the air, the pilot Captain Paulina Vladimirovna Gelman, the Soviet
heroine, noticed a convoy of German tanks and military equipment during a
bombardment on enemy territory. At her own initiative, in an acrobatic
dive, she repeatedly bombed the convoy until it was completely destroyed.
Paulina carried out a total of 869 combat flights, sometimes six to eight
per night.

At sea, Major Tommy Gold served as deputy captain in a British submarine.
near Crete, two 50 kg bombs penetrated the submarine, but did not explode.
The submarine surfaced above water, while Tommy and another diver crawled to the bombs in order to remove them. They did so even though they knew that the bombs could explode at any moment and if a German aircraft were to approach, the submarine would be forced to submerge and they would drown with it. Tommy and his friend succeeded in their mission and won the highest medal awarded for bravery by the British Army.

On land, Lieutenant Raymond Zussman served as commander of the tank division of the U.S. army on Belgian soil. During battle, Raymond jumped out of his burning tank onto another tank while directing the tank fire, standing on the deck and using his own weapon. In that battle, he killed 19 Germans, captured 93 hostages as well as two antitank cannons, an antiaircraft cannon and two enemy trucks. Raymond was later killed in the war and was one of three fighters who won the greatest number of the highest medals awarded for bravery in the U.S. army.

These three stories of valor serve as examples for the thousands of stories
of heroism and courage under fire demonstrated by Jewish fighters.
However, the contribution of Jewish servicemen to the victory was not only
limited to the battlefield. General Semyon Alekseevich Lavochkin of the Red Army was the chief planner of the combat planes which were the first to
defeat the German Messerschmitt.

Admiral Ben Moril won the highest U.S army medals for rehabilitating the
naval bases in the Pacific Ocean following the attack on Pearl Harbor, and
for his contribution to the victory in the Pacific.

Jewish fighters - soldiers in the Red Army as well as the U.S. army - were
among those who liberated extermination camps and rescued the survivors.
Together with the fighters of the Jewish Brigade of the Land of Israel, they
were the first to embrace their brothers, the Holocaust-survivors, and
facilitated their transition from days of horror to a return to life.

Only three years after that victory, Jewish fighters who were among those
who defeated the Nazis, came to assist the nascent Jewish State. Here they
contributed, as either commanders or fighters, to the achievement of the
second historic victory, that of the War of Independence.

Many of the veterans, the Jewish heroes of World War II, immigrated to
Israel and built their homes here. Some arrived immediately following the
establishment of the State, and many more came with the great immigration
wave from the former Soviet Union - an immigration wave of one million
immigrants who made a significant contribution to the development of the
society, culture and economy in Israel over the past 15 years. Several of
these veterans are here today and I salute them.

The Veterans Law which grants recognition and honor to the Jewish fighters
of World War II, does not only address the material benefits which they
deserve, but also the need to commemorate their actions and heroism. This
heroism must be taught to future generations. This is why the Jewish
Fighter Museum should be established, here in Latrun. This museum must be established as soon as possible, in accordance with the Government
Resolution.

My fellow fighters, On my own behalf, on behalf of the Government of Israel and indeed on behalf of the entire Jewish people, I thank you for your heroism and valor. Let us hope that in the coming years we will live to see the days in which our fields of trial will no longer be battle fields, but rather the fields of science and culture, medicine and art, education and sport, and that we will have to demonstrate our strength and capabilities only in these.
Thank you all. Your courage strengthens us.


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May 09, 2005

Jews, Arabs and French Diplomacy

Commentary magazine, May 2005

The concluding paragraphs of an enthralling special report by David Pryce-Jones outlining the history of unrelenting French Anti-Semitism

Frances current president, Jacques Chirac, began his career in the governments of de Gaulle and Pompidou, becoming prime minister under Giscard as well as Mitterrand before being elected president in 1996. In the several crises engulfing the Middle East during his tenure, Chirac has imitated his predecessors by taking issue with the “Anglo-Saxons,” a Vichy-style phrase loose enough to include the United States, Britain, and anyone else perceived to stand in France’s way.

In April 1996, in a speech in Cairo, Chirac claimed that France intended to follow its traditional policies in the Middle East with renewed vigor. Visiting Jerusalem that October, and walking through the Old City, he accused Israeli security guards of closing in on him, pushing them away angrily with a gesture as symbolic as it was physical. At his next stop, in Ramallah, he declared that Arafat’s Palestinian democracy might serve as an example to all Arab states. Moving on to Amman in Jordan, he denounced the Western sanctions on Saddam Hussein, with whom he had maintained a friendly relationship dating back to the mid-1970’s. He advised Arafat not to sign at Camp David in 2000.

By means of supporting Arafat and Saddam, France was clearly hoping to lever itself into a position of mastery in areas where once Britain had been supreme and where the United States now had responsibility for keeping the peace. The end of the Oslo peace process and the outbreak of the al Aqsa intifada in 2000, the failure of the United Nations weapons inspectors in Iraq, the wrangling over Resolution 1441 at the UN and then the invasion of

Iraq in 2003—all spurred Chirac and his administration to prolonged diplomatic activity in pursuit of this grand design. The results have hardly been impressive.
Recently the Quai d’Orsay (French State Department)_has condemned Israel’s efforts to contain Hizballah in southern Lebanon, and criticized the annexation of Rachel’s Tomb near Bethlehem. The foreign ministry dragged out the effort to block the Hizballah television station al-Manar from spreading its hatred of Jews via a Paris-based satellite, and the French government still steadfastly refuses to designate Hizballah itself as a terrorist organization.

Sophie Pommier, the official responsible for following Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, revealed her emotional involvement in her work by plastering the walls of her office with portraits of Arafat. French consulates have been forbidden from recognizing Jewish weddings solemnized by West Bank rabbis. Jacques Huntziger, the French ambassador to Israel, slammed his fist on the table and left the room when the parents of three Israeli soldiers captured by Hizballah asked him to intervene on their behalf after a visit by Chirac to Lebanon.

Gerard Araud, the current French ambassador, declared in December 2004 “Israelis suffer from a neurosis, a veritable mental disorder that makes them anti-French.” At a London dinner party, Daniel Bernard, ambassador to England and previously the Quai d’Orsay’s official spokesman, called Israel “a shitty little country.” And so it goes.

As such pinpricks suggest, France today lacks the resources and the influence either to supplant the United States or to enlist the Arab world in its camp, to create a Palestinian state, or to dismantle Israel. Moreover, its nuisance value has rebounded on itself. Its chosen instruments, Saddam Hussein and Arafat, both proved untrustworthy: support for the former was evidently related to French profiteering from the UN oil-for-food scam, which dwarfed the corruption even of the Mitterrand era, and support for the latter had roots in obscure deals, protection rackets, and emotional anti-Americanism.

In the Middle East, France has forfeited whatever leverage it might once have enjoyed. At home, meanwhile, it has had to come to terms with a growing Arab underclass, one whose resentments and tendencies to violence have been whipped up in no small part by the inflexible hostility displayed by the French state to Jewish self-determination. The pursuit of becoming une puissance musulmane, (Napoleon’s planned Franco-Muslim kingdom under French domination, naturally) fitting Arabs and Jews into a grand design on French terms, has evidently been an intellectual illusion all along, and highly dangerous to the interests of everyone concerned.

David Pryce-Pryce Jones is a novelist and political analyst and a Senior Editor of the National Review. The present essay is based upon the public archives of the French foreign ministry.

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May 07, 2005

Let’s have a survey – What’s a Jew?

By Jerome S. Kaufman

Recently our own Metropolitan Federation elected to run yet another survey attempting to determine the logistics of our community since the time of the last survey some sixteen years ago. The issues that the survey is to address sound awfully familiar. The Detroit Jewish News reminded us of other nationwide, recently concluded surveys which determined the predictably rising assimilation rate with a 54 percent out-marriage rate; more deaths than births thus not maintaining even our own long term survival; less communal participation in all Jewish related events; a pronounced distancing from the State of Israel; 60% of all Jewish families not belonging to a synagogue and only 45 percent of American Jews, age 25-29, regarding being Jewish as very important at all. Unfortunately, we are well aware of all that and it is not hard to imagine what other depressing statistics will be revealed by yet another survey.

Maybe we should be addressing a more basic problem like, what is a Jew anyway? Maybe the very definition has gone astray and most Jews have not a clue as to what a Jew is supposed to be anymore or what his aspirations should encompass. Several articles that appeared in the same Jewish News amply enforced that possibility. One spoke of Humanistic Judaism commemorating the birthday of Albert Einstein who maintained, according to Rabbi Sherwin Wine, the founder of Humanism, “ethical rules flowed from human experience …, neither chance nor supernatural intervention governed the world’s events” - G-d, the Torah, the Commandments – none of that, of course, a possibility under Humanism.

Then there was a three-page article about another renowned Jew, Jeffrey Sachs, noted academic and public servant, who takes Tikkun Olam, (healing of the world) very seriously. He is in the midst of saving the whole world – Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Latin America, Russia etc. but mentioned not a word about the fact that one in five Israeli families live below the poverty line including 1 in 3 children, for a total of 1.32 million in a population of 6.5 million! Where’s their Tikkun Olam? Then Sachs went on to tell us what a great guy is Kofi Annan and the United Nations –no mention of the fact that a huge proportion of UN activity is formulating motions against the Jewish State and UNRWA is run completely by Arabs indoctrinating children in hatred and aiding and abetting Arab terrorists. Also neglected was the fact that Kofi Annan’s son is knee deep in the Oil-for-Food scandal that opposed American interests from day one with the culpability of Kofi himself yet to be determined.

Then we had an article extolling the great virtues of a Rockefeller family born lady who married a Jew but has “rejected the strictures of religion” but does “do Shabbat – but changed it to Fridays.” She also grows her own vegetables and has a great interest in environmental conservation!

We also are treated to an article by a Rabbi Arthur Waskow, who speaks of the US “occupation of Iraq” and “preventing a global war between the U.S. and Islam” as if that was the U.S. goal. He forgets to mention how the defeat of Saddam Hussein has taken Iraq right out of any action against the Jewish State, along with Libya and Syria and whatever other Arab states will fall in line as a result of a definitive anti-terrorism American policy. Then the rabbi continues his criticism of “globalized corporate capitalism, Oiloholic addiction scorching the earth” and also takes on the new Pope relative to his likely policies on sexuality and gender.

Is this all very confusing? Of course it is. Who and what are Jews supposed to be and believe and teach our children? Is our religion liberalism, humanism, environmentalism, radical individualism, atheism, agnosticism or relativism which, to quote Pope Benedict XVI, “does not recognize anything as for certain and which has as its highest goal one’s own ego and one’s own desires.”

How about we should go back to basics and teach us what Jews were supposedly placed on earth to do - proclaim the One God and his Torah and his commandments. Let us get our kids back to the synagogue and preferably a Jewish Day school where he and she truly learn to be the Torah’s definition of a righteous Jew and not one of the other characterizations above. Then, very likely, all these surveys with predictably depressing results will not be necessary. There will be an ingathering of Jews under the tent that the One God very carefully constructed as a shelter for us all.

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 09:18 PM | Comments (0)

May 06, 2005

Time running out on the West, Israel and the United States

How long will the U.S. depend upon France, Britain, Germany and the United Nations to truly act against Iran’s nuclear program?

And how long before the United States and Israel realize they have only a Yasser Arafat surrogate, Mahmoud Abbas, who like his predecessor, will never act against the terrorists, who, his people in fact, consider heroes.

Editorial comment, THE WASHINGTON TIMES, April 24, 2005

When it comes to President Bush’s recent meeting with Israel Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, the media seem fixated on the differences between Washington and Jerusalem on settlements to the exclusion of more pressing issues that the two leaders discussed, such as Iran’s nuclear weapons program and the need for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to act against terrorist groups.

Mr. Abbas has destroyed some tunnels used to smuggle weapons from Egypt into Gaza and taken other small steps. But, Israel says, Mr. Abbas has yet to do what is most essential: Clamp down on Hamas and other terrorist groups, instead of waiting for Israel to give them information.

Israel says that by refusing to disarm Hamas and disband its terrorist cells, Mr. Abbas is in violation of the U.S. backed roadmap for peace, which requires the Palestinians to take such steps. When it comes to Iran’s efforts to get atomic weapons, Mr. Sharon presented Mr. Bush with intelligence information showing that Iran’s nuclear program is at a very advanced stage, and that the democratic nations are running out of time to stop it. Contrary to the assertion of Britain, France and Germany, which have mounted a diplomatic campaign, to persuade Tehran to halt its nuclear weapons program, the danger that Iran will eventually combine the technology and raw materials necessary to acquire such weapons is actually worsening, Israel says.

Aside from the direct dangers posed by a nuclear attack, weapons of mass destruction in Iranian hands can function as a deterrent to Israeli efforts to neutralize Hezbollah, the Iranian-backed Lebanese terrorist group that funds and helps direct Palestinian terrorist activity in the West Bank and Gaza:

It is a mistake to think that Hezbollah’s growing role in supporting Palestinian rejectionists endangers only Israel. The organization’s activities, which carry with them the certainty of Israeli retaliation against Palestinians, pose a direct threat to Palestinian aspirations.

When it comes to dealing with terrorism, Israeli officials regard Mr. Abbas as a well-meaning but ineffectual leader. They point to his unkept promise to neutralize 495 fugitive terrorists in West Bank cities. (Israel promised not to arrest or assassinate the fugitives if Mr. Abbas either disarmed them or prevented them from traveling from city to city) Also, Palestinians affiliated with Mr. Abbas’ Fatah organization have been smuggling anti-aircraft missiles into Gaza, weapons that could be used to target Israeli military helicopters or bring down a civilian airliner. The time for Mr. Abbas to act is growing increasingly short. The burden is on him to demonstrate that he is prepared to move against terrorists instead of co-opting them.

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May 04, 2005

Don’t take college admission decisions personally

By Thomas Sowell, The Washington Times, April 24, 2005

Every year about this time high school students get letters of admission — or rejection from colleges around the country. The saddest part of this process is not their rejections but the assumption by some students that they we rejected because they just didn’t measure up to the high standards of the Ivy University or their flagship state university.

The cold tact is that objective admissions standards are seldom decisive at most colleges. The admissions process is so shot through with fads and unsubstantiated assumptions that it is more like voodoo than anything else.

A student who did not get admitted to Ivy U. may be a better student than some — or even most — of those who did. Admissions officials love to believe they can spot all sorts of intangibles that outweigh test scores and grade-point averages. Such notions are hardly surprising in people who pay no price for being wrong. All sorts of self-indulgences are possible when people are unaccountable, whether they be college admissions officials, parole boards, planning commissions or copy editors.

What is amazing is that nobody puts the notions and fetishes of college admissions offices to the test. Nothing would be easier than to admit half of a college’s entering class on the basis of objective standards such as test scores, and the other half according to the voodoo of the admissions office. Then, four years later, you could compare how the two halves of the class
Did. But apparently this would not be politically correct.

Among the many reasons given for rejecting objective admissions standards is that they are “unfair.” Much is made of the fact that high test scores are correlated with high family income. Very little is made of the statistical principle that correlation is not causation. Practically nothing is made of the fact that, however a student got to where he is academically, that is in fact where he is — and that is usually a better predictor of where he is going to go than is the psychobabble of admissions committees.

The denigration of objective standards allows admissions committees to play little tin gods, who think their job is to reward students who are deserving, sociologically speaking, rather than to select students who can produce the most bang for the buck from the money contributed by donors and taxpayers for the purpose of turning out the best quality graduates possible.

Typical of the mindset that rejects the selection of students in the order of objective performances was a recent article in the Chronicle of Higher Education which said colleges should “select randomly” from a pool of applicants who are “good enough?’ Nowhere in the real world, where people must face the consequences of their decisions, would such a principle be taken seriously.

Lots of pitchers are “good enough” to be in the major leagues but would you just as soon send one of those pitchers to the mound to pitch the deciding game of the World Series, as you would send Randy Johnson or Roger Clemens out there with the world championship on the line?

Lots of military officers were considered to be “good enough” to be generals In World War II but troops who served under Gen. Douglas MacArthur or Gen. George Patton had more victories and fewer casualties. How many more lives would you be prepared to sacrifice as the price of selecting randomly among generals considered to be “good enough”?

If you or your child had to have a major operation for a life-threatening condition, would you be just as content to have the surgery done by anyone who was “good enough” to be a surgeon, as compared with someone who was a top surgeon in the relevant specialty?

The difference between first-rate and second-rate people is enormous in many fields. In a college classroom, marginally qualified students can affect the whole atmosphere and hold back the whole class. In some professions, a large part of the time of first-rate people is spent countering the half-baked ideas of second-rate people and trying to salvage something from the wreckage of the disaster they create. “Good enough” is seldom good enough.

Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution. Stanford University. His column is distributed by Creators Syndicate.

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 07:34 PM | Comments (0)

May 02, 2005

Natan Sharansky's Resignation Letter to Ariel Sharon

Jerusalem, 23 Nissan 5765
May 2, 2005

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon
Office of the Prime Minister
Jerusalem

Dear Mr. Prime Minister,

I am writing to inform you of my decision to resign as Minister of Diaspora Affairs and Jerusalem. As you know, I have opposed the disengagement plan from the beginning on the grounds that I believe any concessions in the peace process must be linked to democratic reforms within Palestinian society. Not only does the disengagement plan ignore such reforms, it will in fact weaken the prospects for building a free Palestinian society and at the same time strengthen the forces of terror.

Will our departure from Gaza encourage building a society where freedom of speech is protected, where independent courts protect individual rights and where a free market enables Palestinians to build an independent economic life beyond government control? Will our departure from Gaza end incitement in the Palestinian media or hate-filled indoctrination in Palestinian schools? Will our departure from Gaza result in the dismantling of terror groups or the dismantling of the refugee camps in which four generation of Palestinians have lived in miserable conditions?

Clearly, the answer to all these questions is no.
The guiding principle behind the disengagement plan is based on the illusion that by leaving Gaza we will leave the problems of Gaza behind us. As the familiar mantra goes "we will be here, and they will be there". Once again, we are repeating the mistakes of the past by not understanding that the key to building a stable and lasting peace with our Palestinian neighbors lies in encouraging and supporting their efforts to build a democratic society.

Obviously, these changes surely will take time, but Israel is not even linking its departure from Gaza upon the initiation of the first steps in this direction.
In my view, the disengagement plan is a tragic mistake that will exacerbate the conflict with the Palestinians, increase terrorism, and dim the prospects of forging a genuine peace. Yet what turns this tragic mistake into a missed opportunity of historic proportions is the fact that as a result of changes in the Palestinian leadership and the firm conviction of the leader of the free world that democracy is essential to stability and peace - a conviction that is guiding America's actions in other places around the world - an unprecedented window of opportunity has opened.

Recent events across the globe, whether in former Soviet republics like Ukraine or Kyrgyzstan, or in Arab states like Lebanon and Egypt, prove again and again the ability of democratic forces to induce dramatic change. How absurd that Israel, the sole democracy in the Middle East, still refuses to believe in the power of freedom to transform the world.

Alongside my concerns, about the danger entailed in a unilateral disengagement from Gaza, I am even more concerned about how the government's approach to disengagement is dividing Israeli society. We are heading towards a terrible rift in the nation and to my great chagrin, I feel that the government is making no serious effort to prevent it.

As Minister I share collective responsibility for every government decision. Now, when the disengagement plan is in the beginning of its implementation stages and all government institutions are exclusively focused on this process, I no longer feel that I can faithfully serve in a government whose central policy - indeed, sole raison d'etre - has become one to which I am so adamantly opposed.

I would like to thank you for our productive cooperation over the last four years. In particular, you sensitivity toward issues of concern to the Jewish People and the strong backing you gave to my efforts to combat anti-Semitism and to strengthen Israel's connection with the Diaspora made possible for the State of Israel to forge the many successes which we achieved together in these areas.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank you for the central role you played in integrating Israel B'aliya into the Likud, a historic step of great national importance. As in the past, I will continue my lifelong efforts to contribute to the unity and strength of the Jewish People both in Israel and in the Diaspora. I will also continue to advocate and promote the idea that freedom and democracy are essential to peace and security.

Sincerely,

Natan Sharansky

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May 01, 2005

National Public Radio’s Calculated Policy of anti-Israel Reporting

By Andrea Levin, Executive director of CAMERA
(Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America)

(How friends of Israel can contribute to this Arab propaganda affiliate is beyond understanding)

As sure as the calendar moves toward spring, National Public Radio stations begin a fresh season of fund-raising. For listeners wondering about the network’s long-standing bias against Israel, a review of coverage in early. 2005 offers few signs of positive change. Instead, the tilt toward Arab positions continues. Gestures of accountability, including sporadic corrections and quarterly self-examinations of Middle East reporting, amount to little more than PR damage control.

Sloppiness with the facts is still commonplace. NPR’s Peter Kenyon, for instance, declared on March 9th “most observers believe under international law all Israeli settlements in the occupied territories are illegal.” Who the unnamed “observers” are and how Kenyon tallied their views in order to conclude that “most” consider settlements illegal is unclear. His count would necessarily exclude American policymakers, since the official US view does not hold that settlements, regardless of their strategic utility, are illegal.

The round up of guest speakers was also numbingly familiar - with, for instance, no fewer than nine interviews in eight weeks with Palestinian-Jordanian journalist Rami Khourl, editor-at-large of Lebanon’s Daily Star. An outspoken advocate of Arab views, Khouri, for example, argued on March 8 the Hizbullah is “a very impressive, legitimate, even heroic resistance movement,” and he dismissed any menace the group poses to the Jewish state. “Hizbullah, he declared, “is not a big threat to Israel.”

Neither Khouri nor the NPR host mentioned Hizbullah’s declared dedication to Israel’s destruction or Israeli estimates that 13,000 Iranian-supplied artillery and short-range Hizbullah rockets are trained on northern Israel - some in reach of major population centers. Nor are any references made to Hizbullah’s Nazi-style anti-Semitic rhetoric, widely disseminated on the group’s Al Manar television station. Omitted too are Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah’s rants against Israel, in which he terms the nation a “cancerous entity” an “ultimate evil,” and a ‘predatory beast.” Excluded are rantings such as: “Throughout history the Jews have been Allah’s most cowardly and greedy creatures.”

Among others repeatedly invited to comment on events was Khaled al Maeena, editor of Saudi Arabia’s Arab News, who has written that Israel “commits mass murder against Palestinians” and has railed against the monitoring group MEMRI for its exposés of Arab anti-Semitism.

Robert Malley, an outspoken proponent of the view that Israel was insufficiently forthcoming at the Camp David/Taba talks in 2000/2001 when it offered the Palestinians a state on more than 93 percent of the West Bank and Gaza, made another of his frequent appearances. So too did author Patrick Seale, a notorious apologist for the late Hafez al-Assad. In each of these and other similar cases, the guest speaker was presented as a neutral commentator.

During this same time, NPR’s Robert Siegel spent several weeks in Israel, reporting from the region and filing at least 14 stories. Although he was there during the February 25 terrorist attack on a Tel Aviv nightspot, he did not cover the breaking story or do a follow- up on the victims.

There were predictable segments with Hanan Ashrawi, Nabil Shaath and Saeb Erakat. There were familiar paired segments of Israeli and Palestinian students, and predictable NPR laxity in challenging blatant Palestinian falsehoods. When Arab students recited a litany of distorted allegations about Israel, Siegel interjected one apologetic corrective, noting that contrary to a Palestinian student claim that Israel had failed to open checkpoints or release prisoners:

“By Palestinian standard a very small release, but a few hundred people have been released so far.” To the ludicrous claim that “during the Oslo period there was no bombings, there was nothing,” Siegel was silent, failing to remind listeners that Oslo spawned unprecedented terror bombings. In fact, the Palestinians killed some 250 Israelis between Arafat’s arrival in the territories in July 1994 and his launching of the terror war in September 2000. But Siegel does not just fail to counter distortions; he himself presents Palestinian views as fact. On March 1, for instance, he declared that “one of the real obstacles of the moment... is the security barrier...” He added: “In many parts, it is pretty - although the word is disputed— it sure is a wall.”
In the Israeli view, “one of real obstacles of the moment” is the ongoing failure of the Palestinians to eradicate the terrorist infrastructure, and the fence is a monument to the Palestinians’ refusal to control the killers in their midst. Nor is it accurate and professional of Siegel not to report that the security barrier is actually 95 percent fence and 5 percent wall.

So early 2005 has been more of the same on NPR. Listeners who care about factual, balanced and unbiased reporting should keep this in mind when they’re asked to send contributions.


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