November 30, 2007

The Skinny on Australia from One Smart Aussie Jew

One of our best friends defeated

By Isi Leibler

Jerusalem Post Online, November 29, 2007

Australian Labor party leader, Kevin Rudd, the scholarly former diplomat to Beijing who speaks fluent Mandarin, won a landslide victory in Sunday's Australian elections, abruptly terminating the uninterrupted near-12 year reign of Conservative Prime Minister John Howard and ending his illustrious 33 year political career.

Like Winston Churchill in his day and many another politicians, Howard misread the mood of the electorate. He underestimated the "its time for a change" factor which invariably leads to voters rejecting outstanding political leaders who have been in power for a long duration, even when they have brought affluence, as long as there is a credible alternative candidate.

Many Australian Jews and Israelis will be deeply saddened to lose a leader whose genuine and unremitting friendship captured their hearts. John Howard was unquestionably one of Israel's greatest champions among world statesmen and a unique friend of the Jewish people. His outspoken support for Israel during the difficult days of the second intifada and Second Lebanon War set him apart from other leaders, including those who regarded themselves as friends of Israel.

He regarded his principled support of Israel as a moral imperative and displayed contempt for the political correctness exemplified by the Europeans at international forums who were inclined to distance themselves from supporting Israel even when, by all objective criteria, the Jewish state held the moral high ground. There are few politicians who could state, as he recently did, "the personal friendship I have for the Jewish people will never be diminished. It is something I value as part of my being and as part of what I have tried to do with my life."

The defeat of the Howard government will also see the retirement of Foreign Minister Alexander Downer and Treasurer Peter Costello, both of whom were enthusiastic supporters of Israel in their own right. The only saving grace is that Howard's successor as leader of the Opposition will probably be Malcolm Turnbull, the former minister for the environment who also has a consistent track record of supporting Israel. The special relationship of the Howard government with Israel does not imply that their predecessors were hostile. Australia has a uniquely bipartisan track record of friendship with the Zionist cause which dates back well before the creation of the state.

Since 1948, there has only been one leader, Gough Whitlam (1972-1975), whose hostility against Israel in the course of the Yom Kippur War made him an exception to the rule. Much of the credit for this can be attributed to the 120,000 strong, fiercely proud Jewish community which has a proportionately higher number of Holocaust survivors than any other Diaspora, and is recognized as being strongly Zionist orientated.

There is considerable hope that the new Prime Minister Kevin Rudd will maintain Australia's tradition of friendship. He has visited Israel twice, in 2003 and 2005. When I dined with him in Jerusalem, my initial impression was that although Rudd had a contrasting background and personality to Howard, he nevertheless displayed a genuine friendship. However, I did harbor reservations subsequently when I heard that Rudd would invariably tend to support the "more politically balanced" approach on the Middle East exemplified by European abstentions on Israel-related issues in United Nations bodies. Rudd also distanced himself from President George W. Bush on Iraq and has committed his new government to a phased withdrawal of the 550 Australian troops stationed there.

Yet, by and large since assuming leadership of the Labor Party prior to the elections, Rudd has unquestionably displayed a warmer approach to Israel. When I met him again last month on a visit to Australia I was left with the feeling that despite nuances, a Labor government will remain closer aligned to the policy of the Howard legacy than most people visualize. In fact, on the eve of the elections, Rudd declared his adamant refusal to have any relationship with Hamas unless it reversed its refusal to recognize the Jewish state. He also announced that a Labor government would initiate steps to summon Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad before the International Court of Justice on charges of incitement to genocide. Rudd said that the Iranian president's remarks about wiping Israel off the face of the world and his convening a conference to review the veracity of the Holocaust "amounted to incitement to genocide, criminalized under the 1948 genocide convention."

In a parallel move related to the needs of the Australian Jewish community, Rudd committed Labor to provide $36 million of additional support for Jewish schools over a four year period. This included funds to cover the special security related requirements of Jewish day schools. This precedent is of great importance to a Jewish community which prides itself on having achieved the highest pro rata enrolment in Jewish day schools in the world.

Needless to say, undertakings made prior to elections should not be taken for granted. Rudd will encounter opposition from within his party to the implementation of some of his commitments. He will certainly face opposition from the radical pro-Palestinian wing of the party, described by a former Jewish Labor Party Minister Barry Cohen as "distinctly anti Semitic." They will undoubtedly endeavor to undermine Rudd's pro-Israel stance. However, their chances of success are slim for they are politically marginal.

The impact of Islamic fundamentalism, including the Bali bombing which killed nearly 100 Australians and the venomous public outbursts from some of the more radical Muslim clerics in Australia have undoubtedly influenced public opinion and weakened the Palestinian cause. In addition, after such a landslide victory at the polls, Rudd is now in a unique position of strength to ensure that his policies are implemented.

To summarize, all indicators suggest that the new government will remain pro-Israel. Only time will tell the extent to which it will fully replicate the extraordinary support of the former Howard government and resist the temptation to become more "even handed" at the UN and other international forums. Michael Danby, a committed Zionist parliamentarian close to Rudd, is quoted in the media as saying that on the eve of the elections, his leader had told a Jewish audience "that support for Israel and the Jewish community is in his DNA." That surely gives grounds for optimism.

The writer was head of the Australian Jewish community for many years before making aliya.

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 06:52 AM | Comments (0)

November 28, 2007

“Allah Speaks through his Prophet Mohammed...”

The Associated Press, November 28, 2007

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia — Saudi Arabia’s Justice Ministry said a woman it sentenced to jail time and flogging after seven men gang-raped her was an adulteress who invited the attack because she was partially dressed in a parked car with her lover. The ministry’s statement, which the Saudi Press Agency carried late Saturday, defended the court’s decision to sentence the woman to six months in prison and 200 lashes for violating the country’s strict sex segregation laws. It also sought to ease international outrage over the case by discrediting the woman, who had told reporters that she was meeting a friend from high school when the attack occurred.

“The Saudi justice minister expressed his regret about the media reports over the role of the women in this case which put out false information and wrongly defended her,” the statement said. “The charged girl is a married woman who confessed to having an affair with the man she was caught with.” Known only as the “girl from Qatif,” the 19-year-old rape victim said she was a newlywed who was meeting a high school friend in his car to retrieve a picture of herself from him when the attack occurred in the eastern city of Qatif. While she was in the car with him, two men got into the vehicle and drove them to a secluded area where others waited, and then she and her companion were raped.

The ministry’s latest account of the incident alleges that the 19-year-old woman and her lover met in his car for a tryst “in a dark place where they stayed for a while.” It said the sentence of prison and lashes, handed down last week after an appeal, was legal and followed “the book of God and the teachings of the prophet Mohammed,” noting that she had “confessed to doing what God has forbidden.” The woman and her husband agreed to the verdict, it said.

The woman was initially sentenced to prison and 90 lashes for being alone with a man not related to her. When her lawyer appealed the sentence, he was removed from the case, his license was suspended and the penalty was doubled to 200 lashes. The increase in sentence received heavy coverage in the international media and prompted expressions of astonishment from the US. Government. Canada called it “barbaric.”

Under Saudi Arabia’s strict interpretation of Islamic Sharia law, women are not allowed in public in the company of men other than their male relatives.
In addition, women in Saudi Arabia are often sentenced to flogging or death for adultery and other crimes. The seven men convicted of gang-raping the woman were given prison sentences of two to nine years. The initial sentences for the men ranged from 10 months to five years in prison. ~

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 01:55 PM | Comments (0)

November 25, 2007

As the Syrians Deign to Attend the Annapolis Travesty ...

The Truth about Syria (and Bashar Assad)

Book by Barry Rubin
Palgrave Macmillan 304 pages

Book review by Asaf Romirowsky

The Jerusalem Post International, November 8, 2007

Syria has long presented a solemn problem for the region, US foreign policy and Israel. Its mix of competing religious and ethnic groups, radical ideologies and political repression makes it a 72,000-square-mile time bomb waiting to explode. This reality has become increasingly self-evident since Bashar Assad took over for his father Hafez in 2000. In his latest book, The Truth about Syria, Barry Rubin, director of the Global Research in International Affairs Center, dissects some of the volatile and enigmatic issues we confront when dealing with Syria.

Of late, after an alleged IAF attack on Syria, the northern border is heating up as Assad looks for an excuse to open an active front against Israel. The aftermath of the attack could help rally support for Assad, including the popular vote he desperately needs. Rubin’s essential point is that Syria is not radical because of mistreatment by the West or Israel, but because the regime needs radicalism to endure. Syria is governed by a small, Alawite minority dictatorship that restricts its approximately 19 million citizens’ freedoms and opportunities for advancement. Demagoguery is essential to the regime’s survival as it justifies the scapegoating of America and Israel, the abuse of Lebanon and a destabilized Iraq. All these elements boost the Syrian ego and morale.

Assad today is one of the biggest supporters of Islamism in the region, even as he heads a secular Arab regime. Furthermore, Assad uses his support of Islamism to mobilize and bolster animosity toward America and Israel, thus diverting attention from Syria’s internal problems of corruption, a crumbling economy and a lack of civil rights. Despite Syria woeful performance, this has been a splendid strategy.

Understanding this is key to realizing that Bashar’s talk and intentions for peace are worthless, and therefore we have to be careful not to fall into his trap. He is an Islamist. Moreover, since Bashar was not his father’s chosen heir one might think that he would have been less devoted to the cause. Nevertheless, after his elder brother’s death in 1994, Bashar, an ophthalmologist, was called back from London to report for duty and was put on a fast-track dictatorship tutorial.

Nonetheless, Rubin explains how Bashar’s inexperience and brashness come to life in his governing style as well as his belief that he can do whatever he pleases without any consequences. Unlike Bashar, Rubin writes, Hafez Assad did not need to prove anything to anyone: “He was a career military officer, a pilot, a real military commander, a political conspirator who outmaneuvered dangerous rivals to seize total power.”

Bashar does not even come close to his father’s governing, let alone the fear he engendered throughout the country. Bashar was Hafez’s only son educated outside of Syria. Despite his Western influence, however, he hasn’t taken the country in this direction. Unlike his peer, King Abdullah II of Jordan, he has put pan-Arabism before economic vitality through strengthened ties with the US and Israel.

Rubin illustrates how Syria’s Achilles’ heel is its military weakness; though there has been much talk about the possibility of renewed Russian aircraft and missile sales, Syria’s military is badly outdated. Furthermore, Syria has no superpower as an ally and it cannot depend on a single Arab government. Most of the regime’s threats and its use of terrorism, however, act as a smoke screen to distract from this reality.

As for Syria’s objectives in the Golan Heights, the real issue is whether or not there would be lasting peace if Syria were to get control of the territory, and if so, would Syria be able to justify its military leadership and failing economy? It is these and other questions that Rubin examines in his book, revealing the regime’s true intentions.

Rubin clearly shows that Bashar views the world from a pan-Arabist lens that calls for Israel’s destruction. In Bashar’s version of history, he writes, three generations of Arabs fought Israel and lost but — though Westerners might expect that the desire to fight would decrease due to repeated failure and high cost — now Bashar proudly proclaims that a fourth generation is eager for more battle, and the desire for struggle is in fact increasing over time.

This battle cry was bolstered after the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri cost Bashar the support of his Arab brothers as well as France. To regain approval in the Arab world and boost his regime at home, Bashar is counting on a war with Israel. More precisely, he believes that the threat of a war will force Israel to beg the US to facilitate peace negotiations.

Such negotiations will inevitably raise the demand to legitimize the Syrian presence in Lebanon, stop investigation of the Hariri murder and grant other concessions. Moreover, like the past peace talks they will likely lead to another dead end. So Bashar is caught in a gamble; he hopes that defiance of Washington will strengthen his position at home in conjunction with his ties with Iran, Hizbullah and al-Qaida - and that when President George W. Bush leaves office, US policy toward Syria will soften.

In this vein, Syria under Bashar Assad is even more dangerous than it was under his father because he is so unpredictable and lacks the support of his father’s old guard. There is no doubt that Syria is a wild card in the region. To better understand it, one should read Rubin’s book, a guide to the country’s complexities and nuances. His vast knowledge and experience of the Middle East have produced a much needed examination of a significant state.

The writer is an associate fellow at the Middle East Forum and manager of Israel and Middle East affairs for the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia.

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 08:33 PM | Comments (0)

November 24, 2007

Exactly, Who are the Sudanese “Rebels”?

By Jerome S. Kaufman

Syndicated columnist, Jim Hoagland, writes a three column piece on Sudan describing the genocide that is being perpetrated against a huge portion of the civilian population and orchestrated by the Sudanese government, yet the reader still is not told what is really going on. Hoagland describes, “murder, arson and rage,” with one million dead and two million displaced people, according to the United Nations.

He writes vaguely of some “warped sense of racial solidarity with Arab countries and post-colonial African nations.” What does that mean? Have not these groups always been incompatible – unless one calls “compatible,” the Arab, centuries-old industry of kidnapping and selling African blacks into slavery, which continues to this very day!

Who are the “rebels” - just in case you are not sure? The “rebels” happen to be the civilians that, of all things, are rebelling against being killed! The immediate history is studiously ignored. Following independence of the Sudan from the British in 1956, the Sudanese government acquired a strong Arab character and civil war began between the Arab dominated government and the non-Muslims defending their rights and now pejoratively referred to as “rebels.”

In 1983, the Second Sudanese Civil War ensued when the president declared Sharia law in the south. In February 2003, two “rebel’ groups accused the government of oppressing non-Arabs in favor of Arabs and attacked government forces and installations. The government response was to mount a campaign of aerial bombardment supporting ground attacks by an Arab militia, the Janjaweed, recruited from local tribes and armed by the government.

These killers have methodically and unmercifully attacked non-Muslims and Muslims not sympathetic to their cause, driving them from their land, burning their villages, raping and then killing their women and children and taking possession of the land - all under the subterfuge of Shari law and with no end in sight.

Charles Moore, a syndicated columnist in the United Kingdom, presented the problem succinctly in his September 9, 2006 article. “... What is perplexing is that our leaders, and most of the media, do not really explain why Darfur is as it is. Even now, the thing is presented almost as a natural disaster. However, in fact, the death in Darfur is the result of a calculated policy - the policy is that of the Sudanese government, which is Islamist and Arab”

The facts before our eyes are then just another example of Islamo-Fascism attempting, and successfully, to take over yet another part of the world. Is it not well past time for the world to be made completely aware of its peril instead of being cleverly immersed in a cloud of politically-correct smoke?


Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 06:21 PM | Comments (0)

November 22, 2007

Excerpts from a speech by a true friend of Israel and the USA

By the Honorable Congressman Thaddeus G. McCotter (R-MI), Chair of the Republican House Policy Committee

(Given at the Hudson Institute, American Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists and the Touro Law Institute Conference on The United Nations: “Hijacking Human Rights)

New York City, November 18, 2007

The Liberty Alliance:
Championing Liberty and Dignity in our Human Community

In the immediate aftermath of World War II, President Harry Truman confronted two momentous challenges – the commencement of the Cold War with the Soviet Union and the struggle to create a Jewish state in Palestine. In his blunt, son of the middle border manner, Truman enunciated the eponymous doctrine he would apply to these and all international challenges during his March 12, 1947, address to a joint session of Congress:

“I believe that it must be the policy of the United States to support free peoples who are resisting attempted subjugation by armed minorities or by outside pressures… I believe that we must assist free peoples to work out their own destinies in their own way… I believe that our help should be primarily through economic and financial aid which is essential to economic stability and orderly political processes.

“One way of life is based upon the will of the majority, and is distinguished by free institutions, representative government, free elections, guarantees of individual liberty, freedom of speech and religion, and freedom from political oppression. The second way of life is based upon the will of a minority forcibly imposed upon the majority. It relies upon terror and oppression, a controlled press and radio fixed elections, and the suppression of personal freedoms…

“The seeds of totalitarian regimes are nurtured by misery and want. They spread and grow in the evil soil of poverty and strife. They reach their full growth when the hope of a people for a better life has died. We must keep that hope alive.

“The free peoples of the world look to us for support in maintaining their freedoms. If we falter in our leadership, we may endanger the peace of the world – and we shall surely endanger the welfare of our own nation.”

Regarding the Soviet Union, in the face of “experts’” arguments Stalin’s imperialist dictatorship should be psychologically “understood” and indulged to purchase an illusory peace, Truman morally comprehended this evil empire’s threat to the United States and the Free World. Through the United Nations, multi-lateral and bi-lateral treaties, his strategy to contain and defeat inhuman communism called for the United States to champion the cause of human liberty and dignity.

Regarding Israel, again despite “experts’” opinions to the contrary, Truman applied his principled strategy to the cause of Israel. At midnight on May 14, 1948, the Jewish state proclaimed its existence; eleven minutes later, the United States announced its de facto recognition of Israel. Then, on January 25, 1949, the Jewish state held its first democratic election; four days later, the United States announced its de jure recognition of the a democratic Israel.

Lagging America, on May 11, 1949 the UN admitted Israel. Over time, this act has proven akin to a boa constrictor’s asking a mouse to dance:
For decades, the UN denied Israel admission into a regional group; only in 2000 was Israel conditionally accepted into the Western European and Others Group.

From 1967 to 1989, the UN General Assembly passed 429 anti-Israeli resolutions; condemned Israel 321 times; and, of 131 UN Security Council resolutions adopted regarding the Arab-Israeli conflict, 88 criticized, opposed the actions of, or found against Israel’s interests.
In 1975, the UN General Assembly approved Resolution 3379 and branded Zionism as racism. It took 15 years for the General Assembly to repeal this abominable slander.

During the 61st session from 2006-2007, the UN General Assembly passed 22 resolutions against Israel; and the UN Human Rights Council passed 10 resolutions condemning Israel. By April of 2007, the new, unimproved UN Human Rights Council had specifically condemned only one country – Israel – while other countries with severe, UN documented human rights abuses, like Sudan, were merely advised of the body’s "deep concern."
On this note, it is revealing how the UN Human Rights Council’s pathetic descent into moral perversity has mirrored the United Nations’ squalid devolution into venality.

The UN “humanitarian” aid program, "Oil-for-Food," provided little bread for Iraqis but large bribes for Hussein, his regime, UN cronies and, likely, terrorists. Estimates are Saddam's dictatorship siphoned $10 billion from the program through oil smuggling and systematic thievery, and illegal payments and kickbacks from international contractors – all beneath the non-judgmental gaze of UN bureaucrats, who were nevertheless judged culpable for gross incompetence, mismanagement, and, potentially, complicity with Saddam in perpetrating the biggest corruption scandal in human history.

Secondly, widespread instances and allegations of the sexual exploitation and abuse of Congolese women, girls and boys were leveled against the UN personnel sent to protect them. The particulars of this barbaric sexual abuse are unfit for this forum.

Thirdly, the UN’s waste, fraud and malfeasance have turned tawdry graft into a global art, an epic debacle of avarice less worthy of journalist than a satirist. As one UN peace-keeping staffer informed the Inter Press Service News Agency: "Corruption and kickbacks were taken for granted in most overseas operations." However, not in New York Federal Court, where on June 7th the former top U.N. procurement official, Sanjaya Bahel, was convicted of steering $100 million worth of UN peace-keeping contracts to the family of a friend. UN officials refuse to explain how Bahel was twice exonerated by its internal investigations, while a New York jury convicted him of fraud and corruption in half a day.

President Harry Truman viewed the UN as a future hope not an immediate panacea. Though personally honest, Truman was versed in Boss Tom Pederast’s political machine, and so understood the UN’s membership’s math boded ill for free people. Today, according to Freedom House, of 192 UN member states, 89 are “fully free and 103 are not. Thus, a solid majority (54%) of member states know liberty directly threatens their survival, which requires the suppression of their own peoples and, through their UN membership, the entire human community.

The UN’s Permanent Security Council includes a nuclear armed communist China and an increasingly authoritarian Russia. Their unsettling synergy of interests and actions on this body ominously echoes the heights of their Cold War co-operation.

Consider:
Despite over a decade of U.S. protestations, communist China and Putin’s Russia are the top exporters of nuclear technology, chemical weapons precursors and guided missiles to Iran. In 2004, the U.S.-China Security and Review Commission declared "Chinese entities continue to assist Iran with dual-use missile-related items, raw materials and chemical weapons-related production equipment and technology,” and further noted these transfers took place after the communist Chinese government’s 2003 pledge to withhold missile technology from the Iranian regime.

Looking at the UN Human Rights Council, some members are more suited to a rogues’ gallery than a roster of righteous nations. Soon the UN will enthrone as arbiters of global human rights regimes like communist China, communist Cuba, Putin’s Russia and Saudi Arabia. Only the UN would put oppressed people’s hopes in such blood stained hands.

Our association with this insanity exacts a steep price. Since 1945, the U.S. has been the UN’s largest annual contributor. In 2006, American taxpayers forked over $423.5 million in dues (or 22% of the UN’s regular budget) and over $5.3 billion in total to the UN. In 2007, Israel, unconditionally and on time, will pay the UN $9 million (or 0.419% of its regular budget); this amount ranks Israel as the UN’s 27th highest dues paying member. In addition, Israel will pay the UN’s separate peacekeeping forces’ budget $35 million. Nevertheless, Israel, the U.S. and all free nations remain the targets of the UN’s member regimes’ internal intrigues and corrupt practices.

In our time, we face challenges equivalent to those posed to President Truman. Once more, the United States, Israel and the entire Free World face a global, generational War for Freedom against vicious enemies bent upon our destruction. To win, our devotion to liberty must transcend their obsession with death. This cannot be accomplished by fecklessly continuing to rely upon a debauched UN for our collective security.

The Liberty Alliance must be composed of free nations dedicated to expanding human liberty to peoples yet free. Now, two sanguine hopes, the U.S. and Israel will lead the establishment of the Liberty Alliance. The United States, Israel and all free peoples are cemented and steeled by the harmonic bonds of liberty, community and duty. Like Harry Truman and the greatest generations of both our nations – to date – we, will not bend, we will not break in our reasoned faith in a future graced by free nations. “We (will) keep that hope alive.”

And may God continue to grace, guard, guide, and bless the people of the United States, Israel and our entire human family.

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 12:34 PM | Comments (0)

November 20, 2007

Senator Joe Lieberman Delivers in the National Interest

By William Krystol, Editor in Chief
The Weekly Standard, November 19, 2007

If a senator gives a speech, and no major newspaper reports it, does it matter? Joe Lieberman spoke in Washington Thursday on “the politics of national security.” The next day, the New York Tunes, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal and USA Today ignored his talk. Most Democrats will ignore it. However, five guys named Rudy, John, Fred, Mitt, and Mike will read it. So should you. To that end, we’re happy to provide excerpts from the remarks of the independent Democrat from Connecticut:

“Between 2002 and 2006, there was a battle within the Democratic Party. ... We could rightly criticize the Bush administration when it failed to live up to its own rhetoric, or when it bungled the execution of its policies. Nevertheless, I felt that we should not minimize the seriousness of the threat from Islamist extremism, or the fundamental rightness of the muscular, internationalist, and morally self-confident response that President Bush had chosen in response to it.

But that was not the choice most Democrats made . . . Since retaking Congress in November 2006, the top foreign policy priority of the Democratic Party has not been to expand the size of our military for the war on terror or to strengthen our democracy promotion efforts in the Middle East or to prevail in Afghanistan. It has been to pull our troops out of Iraq, to abandon the democratically elected government there, and to hand a defeat to President Bush.

Iraq has become the singular litmus test for Democratic candidates. No Democratic presidential primary candidate today speaks of America’s moral or strategic responsibility to stand with the Iraqi people against the totalitarian forces of radical Islam, or of the consequences of handing a victory in Iraq to al Qaeda and Iran. Moreover, if they did, their campaign would be as unsuccessful as mine was in 2006. Even as evidence has mounted that General Petraeus’ new counterinsurgency strategy is succeeding, Democrats have remained emotionally invested in a narrative of defeat and retreat in Iraq, reluctant to acknowledge the progress we are now achieving....

I offered an amendment earlier this fall, together with Senator Jon Kyl of Arizona, urging the Bush administration to designate Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist organization and impose economic sanctions on them. The reason for our amendment was clear. In September, General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker testified before Congress about the proxy war that Iran and in particular, the IRGC and its Quds Force subsidiary, has been waging war against our troops in Iraq. Specifically, General Petraeus told us that the IRGC had been training, funding equipping, arming, and in some cases directing Shiite extremist who are responsible for the murder of hundreds of American soldiers....

Although the Senate passed our amendment, 76-22, several Democrats, including some of the Democratic presidential candidates, soon began attacking it—and Senator Clinton, who voted for the amendment. In fact, some of the very same Democrats who had cosponsored the legislation in the spring, urging the designation of the IRGC, began denouncing our amendment for doing the exact same thing.

There is something profoundly wrong—_something that should trouble all of us—when we have elected Democratic officials who seem more worried about how the Bush administration might respond to Iran’s murder of our troops, than about the fact that Iran is murdering our troops. There is likewise something profoundly wrong when we see candidates who are willing to pander to this politically paranoid, hyper-partisan sentiment in the Democratic base—even if it sends a message of weakness and division to the Iranian regime.

For me, this episode reinforces how far the Democratic Party of 2007 has strayed. ... That is why I call myself an Independent Democrat today. It is because my foreign policy convictions are the convictions that have traditionally animated the Democratic Party—but they exist in me today independent of the current Democratic Party, which has largely repudiated them.

I hope that Democrats will one day again rediscover and re-embrace these principles. ... But regardless of when or if that happens, those convictions will continue to be mine. And I will continue to fight to advance them along with like-minded Democrats and like-minded Republicans...”

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 06:19 PM | Comments (0)

November 18, 2007

What is really happening in Syria?

(A compelling address by Walid Jumblatt, Leader of the Druze community of Lebanon)

ADDRESSING THE WASHINGTON INSTITUTE FOR NEAR EAST POLICY,
From: The Near East Report, Nov. 1-15, 2007

The moment of truth, if I can say so, started on August 26, 2004, when [Syrian President Bashar al-Assad summoned Rafiq Hariri, the late prime minister of Lebanon, to a meeting in Damascus that did not last more than ten minutes. Assad told him bluntly, “Emile Lahoud [the pro-Syrian president of Lebanon is me, and if somebody in Lebanon wants me out, I’ll break Lebanon. Go and renew his mandate.”

The Lebanese parliament was convened on September 3, 2004 and voted for the constitutional amendments renewing l.ahoud’s mandate. Out of 128 members of parliament, twenty-nine defied Syrian orders—Bashar’s orders. I was one of them. Hariri could not but abide reluctantly....

Going back to U.N. Security Council Resolution 1559, adopted on September 2, 2004: It called upon all remaining forces to withdraw from Lebanon. We still had Syrian troops at that time, the Israelis having left in the year 2000. The Syrians left—yes, they left. They left Lebanon at the end of April 2005, under the pressure of international support for a free Lebanon. However, mainly after a huge, peaceful, popular upheaval of free Lebanese on March 14, 2005, called the Cedar Revolution, asking the Syrians to leave, defying Syrian puppets and allies and paying homage and tribute to the memory of Rafiq Hariri and his comrades. He was assassinated by a truck bomb-on February 4, 2OO5 - thirty days before. Yes, Assad was right. He was trying to break Lebanon.

Nevertheless, the journey of the Lebanese people for life, freedom and democracy continued, defying each time the will of Assad to break Lebanon. On April 7 of the year 2005, upon the request of the Lebanese government, the Security Council approved resolution 1595 declaring an independent International Commission of Inquiry. It was known as the tribunal for the murder of Hariri and his comrades, formed at that time, as we are not able, after thirty years of Syrian occupation, to rely on our proper means of security apparatus.

The killing continued. Assad was not intimidated and still is not. Finally, the Security Council having realized that it was impossible to establish the tribunal through the normal constitutional process in Lebanon (the parliament having been closed illegally by the actual speaker, Nabih Berri), the Security Council decided to adopt the tribunal on May 13, 2007, the resolution 1757. They provided ten days to implement it under the binding chapter seven, in case the parliament of Lebanon could be convened by miracle.

This miracle did not materialize, but a bloody message came again on June 13, 2007. Three days after the implementation of the tribunal by the Security Council on June 10, 2004, Walid Eido, Member of Parliament, member of the legal commission of the parliament, outspoken critic of the Syrian regime—like Gibran Tueni, like Samir Kassir, like others—was assassinated by a car bomb in Beirut. Yes, Bashar was continuing to break down and oppose justice, local justice and international justice in Lebanon.

Before ending, we are in the three weeks coming to face the moment of truth. Either we will he able to elect a president that will fulfill the aspirations of the Lebanese for a free, independent, sovereign Lebanon in conformity with March 14, the Cedar Revolution - a president that will respect international resolutions, abide by them and cooperate fully with the tribunal - or Lebanon will succumb to Syrian tyranny and Iranian hegemony. Lebanon will just disappear – the only model of diversity and pluralism and democracy in the Middle East. (Evidently, at this point, Jumblatt neglected to mention Israel). jsk

However, let nobody be fooled that the killing machine will stop. As long as Assad is there—the ruler of Damascus feeling secure in Damascus, supported by the Iranians—as long as some people think that by engaging him it could lead to changes in behavior—well, in such a case, why not he engaged with bin Laden. Like Chamberlain, long time ago engaged with Adolph Hitler. We know that history is full of events when engaging dictators led to massacres, to tragedies.

I have discovered that justice cannot co-exist with tyrants, and that so-called “resistance movements” or “movements of national liberation” supported by dictators in Damascus or forces of darkness in Tehran cannot but act according to...the wishes of their masters and dictates. And having done my best to materialize the tribunal, waiting for the verdict and reminding the audience how fierce they are — the allies of Syria and Iran opposing the tribunal, opposing justice—I hope that by my actual action and by my comrades justice will he done, and that the murderers will be brought to trial.

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 09:40 PM | Comments (0)

November 16, 2007

A Political Disaster, A Balagan, before our eyes.

Excerpt from an essay by Ambassador John R. Bolton

Commentary Magazine, November, 2007, page 23

Norman Podhoretz correctly and concisely names WWIV the war we have been in, consciously or not, since well before September 11, 2001. He accurately depicts the failures of many in America and Europe to understand the nature of the Islamo-fascist threat, let alone formulate strategies to deal with it. He identifies the terrorist threat posed in Iraq, and places it in the larger context of what will unquestionably be a “long, hard slog.”

‘Well and good, but let’s cut to the chase: what does any of this have to do with promoting democracy? In response: in the short run, very little, and in the longer run, who knows? First, I think our emphasis must be more on liberty rather than democracy, which a careful reading of President Bush’s speeches shows is his real emphasis. To state the obvious, liberty is not the same as democracy, the first being freedom from government, the second being one way to select governments. Many Muslim Societies and many non-Muslim societies, while we are on the subject— need the former more urgently than the latter.

Second, “democracy” is a word used so frequently and so ritualistically that, like many incantations, it loses meaning over time. Parliamentary democracies, for example, merge executive and legislative powers in the hands of one electoral majority; something the framers of our Constitution rejected as dangerous to liberty. Moreover, proportional-representation systems, especially those with national party lists, are not as reflective of electorates as are single-member districts.

(Think “Israel” reading the above paragraph and then understand why their political system does not work. Ambassador Bolton warns against “Parliamentary democracy merging executive and legislative powers in the hands of one electoral majority.” Then, superimpose an egomaniacal, activist, far Left, universalistic Israeli Supreme Court super-ceding the entire process. The result, as expected – A disaster, a balagan.) jsk

Is Europe, where these approaches predominate, as “democratic” as the United States? I think not. Moreover, democracy is not necessarily an end-point in politics, but perhaps only a way station. Via the European Union, “Europe” may be passing from a pre-democratic feudal society to a post-democratic bureaucratic one, parts of the continent having sojourned only relatively briefly as actual democracies. Russia may be a place where democracy was a long time in coming but only a short time in going. China, home of the original Mandarins, may never get there. These are hardly models for the Middle East or other Muslim lands.

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 05:09 PM | Comments (0)

November 15, 2007

Samuel Goldwyn, Alav Hashalom (May He Rest in Peace) Speaks Out

By Bill O’Reilly

The Washington Times, November 5, 2007

Reese Witherspoon can’t be pleased with the performance of her new movie “Rendition.” It is a colossal bomb and will disappear as quickly as one of the movie’s characters, courtesy of the evil CIA, of course. Once again, Hollywood is on a “let’s make America look bad” binge. This is directly caused by loathing for the Bush administration, which the entertainment left sees as a combination of the Third Reich and Emperor Nero. Thus, a series of earnest “America is a human-rights violator” films are coming to a theater near you, and the odds are you will ignore them. Good.

The Sundance Kid, Robert Redford, has directed a movie called “Lions for Lambs’ of which Variety opines: “Back - bendingly liberal but also deeply patriotic.” Well, that doesn’t sound so bad, but then Mr. Redford goes to Rome and says this about the USA: “We have lost lives, we’ve lost sacred freedoms, we’ve lost financial stability.” Really, Bob? You seem mighty rich to me, and I believe you can make movies that say anything you want them to say. So, what’s this loss of “sacred freedoms” deal?

While researching this column, I came across a letter written by Samuel Goldwyn in 1961. Mr. Goldwyn was a major movie mogul responsible for hundreds of classic films. In this letter, Mr. Goldwyn tells producer Jerry Wald: “Today we are at a crucial period in history. Even if the cold war never develops into a hot one, our country still has its hands full all over the world. The pictures we send abroad have an effect in every corner of the globe. “We should never lose sight of the fact that, no matter how entertaining a picture may be or how much money it may make, it can do our country a great deal of harm if it plays into the hands of our enemies. [...] We have a great responsibility in this regard — far greater than almost any other segment of our country — and we must guide ourselves accordingly.”

I believe Samuel Goldwyn, if he were alive today, would be appalled at how radically leftist the American entertainment industry has become. He would, I suspect, also suggest to Mr. Redford that he tone it down. There is no question that every time a Robert Redford, Sean Penn or Barbra Streisand bash the United States to the overseas press, millions of American haters rub their hands with glee. Prop up Hugo Chavez, sure. Shake hands with the Iranian fascists certainly. However, the tide has turned against these showbiz pin-heads, and the failure of movies like “Rendition” proves it. Dissent is fine. Dishonest Propaganda is not.

Robert Redford and his crew might bemoan the loss of “sacred rights,” but I’m with Samuel Goldwyn. These Hollywood big shots have an obligation to the country that has allowed them to become wealthy and speak their collective minds on any subject they choose. The Sundance Kid has truly been out in the sun way too long. Wise up, Bob.

(Bill O’Reilly is a syndicated columnist and host of the television show, The O’Reilly Factor.)

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 02:37 AM | Comments (0)

November 12, 2007

Jimmy Carter’s New Film – Tainted Money in His Bank

Friday, Nov. 9, a film opened in theaters nationwide (it has already opened in New York and L.A.) called "A Man From Plains." It is a documentary (how loosely that word has become defined!) approx. two hours and 10 minutes long directed by Academy-Award winner Jonathan Demme ("Silence of the Lambs") and financed by the folks who gave the world the movie "An Inconvenient Truth" (Al Gore) that follows Jimmy Carter around on his nationwide book tour for Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid.

The film is a total, unadulterated anti-Israel diatribe which seeks to rob Israel of any claim of legitimate rights to Judea and Samaria (of course, the film calls those areas the "West Bank"). It casts (as does his book) Israeli acts outside of the "Green Line" as more horrific and barbaric than that of the South African regime, and perhaps even Genghis Khan. At the same time, Carter is portrayed as grandfatherly, kind, hard-working, gentle, sincere, committed to making the world better, beloved and honest to a fault. (Pardon me if I vomit)

I must tell you that the directors do a very convincing job. All but the most ardent Zionist will leave the theater thinking the worst of Israel and Jews, in general. Since the film is more likely to attract those who are more politically active, many who see the film may be compelled to urge the White House, Congress and the media to "get tough with Israel" - to use a euphemism. In fact, in several scenes in the documentary, Carter and those asking questions in assorted Q&A sessions represented in the film make that very point: that the media needs to be more critical of Israel and report all the really bad things Israel is doing to the "Palestinians. " In addition, Israel -- through AIPAC – (The boogie man - grossly overrated “Jewish Lobby) has our government and politicians intimidated and wrapped around its little finger.

Carter repeatedly refers to the area as "Palestine;" calls the security barrier a "wall"; talks about roads for Jews only; accuses Jews of stealing land that Palestinians have lived on for generations and cutting down ancient and valuable olive trees, and on and on – encompassing all the usual Arab propaganda lies that anti-Israel forces love to embrace. There is much footage of Israeli bulldozers uprooting trees and demolishing houses, and sad, tearful Arab faces.

Jews who protested at the Carter book-signing and speeches are shown as practically foaming at the mouth and nasty, while the Arabs are respectful and just want "their" land "back" and peace.

Carter is shown at Camp David making "peace", between Begin and Sadat, which many historians now consider Israel’s first major error in dealing with the Arabs: building houses in Katrina-ravaged New Orleans, shaking hands and well, walking on water. Yes, the audience is told several times, he reads the Bible every night. It is ghastly, especially since many presidential political analysts consider Jimmy Carter one of the worst presidents we have ever had.

As you may know, Al Gore's film won an Oscar, and has been shown in public schools as gospel throughout the land. We can expect at least such a push with this film about Carter. The film will serve as a "Cliff's Notes" version of Carter's book; the people who did not read it but rather decided to "wait for the movie."

There is no question that this film is a direct threat undermining the security of the United States as well as that of our only reliable ally in the Middle East – Israel. We dare not ignore it or think: "It's only a movie.” It is rather yet another example of well directed, calculated lies and propaganda for which many are convinced Jimmy Carter, and his “Foundation” are being handsomely compensated by forces subversive to the vital interests of the United States of America.

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 09:50 PM | Comments (0)

November 11, 2007

Redacted from: A Man with a Plan

(But, don’t hold your breath, unfortunately)

By Michael Freund

The Jerusalem Post, November 7, 2007

Something may at last be stirring on Israel's Right.

Over 14 years have passed since the signing of the Oslo Accords with the PLO. In the intervening 170 months, Israel has endured seemingly endless waves of unprecedented terror and unspeakable cruelty. The wounds are still fresh, and the pain still real, but much of it seems like one big horrible blur. The kidnapping and killing of Nachshon Wachsman, the February-March 1996 suicide bombings in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, the Ramallah lynchings, the murder of infant Shalhevet Pas in Hebron, the abduction of Gilad Schalit. Nonetheless, successive Israeli governments have inexplicably continued to pursue still more treaties, understandings and joint declarations with our foes, just as our present administration appears intent on doing as well.

Moreover, throughout it all, the Right has proven consistently prescient, warning in advance of the dangers of appeasing the Palestinians. However, as good as the Right has been at pointing out the failures of the Left, it has been equally unskilled at presenting a viable alternative to the public. In the battle of ideas over peace, the Right has settled comfortably into the role of a popular, yet cranky, movie critic. In recent weeks, however, Knesset Member Rabbi Benny Elon of the National Union party has been promoting a novel approach, one that may just mark an important turning point in the debate over the country's future.

KNOWN AS "the Israeli Initiative," the plan is elegantly simple without being simplistic. It tackles the underlying challenges of the region head on, and offers some of the new thinking that our political discourse so desperately needs. Elon's plan rests on three core principles: rehabilitation of Palestinian refugees, strategic partnership with Jordan, and Israeli sovereignty over Judea and Samaria. The basic idea, of course, is that the concept underlying Oslo, namely that trading land would bring peace, has proven to be a disaster, and it is therefore time for a new approach, one that is founded on a mixture of strength, compassion and diplomacy.

Notice, for example, how the first element in Elon's plan is to solve the Palestinian refugee issue. Elon bemoans at length the fate of the refugees, noting, "Not a single Palestinian refugee has been removed from the tally of refugees and become a citizen of one of the countries of the world." "On the contrary," he says, "the number of refugees has only increased from year to year, while introducing fresh generations into the circle of poverty, despair, and hate." Arguing that the ongoing existence of the refugee camps six decades after the war that led to their creation is "both a source of shame to humanity and a grave threat to security and peace in the Middle East," Elon calls for their gradual dismantling. He says that Israel, together with the US, Europe and the Arab states, must find a "humanitarian solution" that would include compensation and rehabilitation. This, he asserts, is the only way to drain the reservoirs of anger from which terrorism sprouts. Whether you agree or not with this approach is beside the point. What is intriguing is the approach itself, and the fact that it is being put forward by a leading spokesman of the Right.

The second plank of the program is even bolder. Underlining the failure of the Palestinian Authority to serve as a reliable partner for peace, Elon nonetheless does not throw up his hands in despair. Rather, he says, Israel must embrace a new partner in its stead: “Jordan, Israel, the US, and the international community will recognize the Kingdom of Jordan as the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinians, and Jordan will again grant citizenship status to the residents of Judea and Samaria," says the proposal. The aim is to tie the Palestinians' political identity to a relatively stable entity, while allowing them to express their civil and political rights in a manner that doesn't threaten Israel's existence.

Hand in hand with this goes the third element of the plan, whereby "In coordination with Jordan, Israel will extend its sovereignty over Judea and Samaria." Thus, there will be no political vacuum in the territories, with Israel secure in its control over the vital heartland.

It is of course hard to do justice to a plan in a short op-ed piece, but the key point here is that Israel's Right now has a man with a plan, and one that the overwhelming majority of Israelis would find reasonable. The Elon plan has the potential to change the nature of Israel's political equation, reshaping the debate over the future road to peace. For the first time in a long time, the right-wing has something positive and broadly appealing to say to the public about the political process with our neighbors. In contrast to what the Left has to offer, the Israeli Initiative is consistent with Israel's best interests while taking into account the complex realities on the ground.

Sure, the critics will declare it to be a non-starter and term it "unrealistic" or "unimaginative." In addition, whether all of the Israeli Right will rally around it remains an open question. Yes, the Right still has a lot of work to do in confronting the Left in the battle of ideas. Nevertheless, putting forward a solid, well thought-out plan such as the Elon initiative sure seems like a good place to start.

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 06:07 AM | Comments (0)

November 08, 2007

Israel’s ‘Teflon’ Prime Minister

By Steve Walz

The Jewish Press, Nov. 2, 2007

(As we went to press, anchorwoman Ilana Dayan had temporarily postponed the broadcast of UVDA’s investigative report, due to Prime Minister Olmert’s announcement that he was suffering from prostate cancer.)

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is thinking two and three steps ahead of embattled State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss and Finance Ministry Accountant General Yaron Zelekha in their quest to tear the lid off incessant corruption. Last week, the Attorney General’s Office decided not to indict Olmert on two of his alleged shady real estate dealings, citing a lack of hard evidence and witnesses to the alleged misdeeds.

Attorney General Menahem Mazuz is shoulder-deep with incriminating documents against former prime minister Ariel Sharon and his sons, with ex-president Moshe Katsav and now with Olmert. But, he appears to be almost impotent to go after corrupt Israeli politicians who have brought shame and near disaster to the Jewish state. In addition, as I’ve repeatedly pointed out in this column, the Israeli media —a power base in its own right — continues to shield Olmert.

Last week, it was alleged that the Anglo-Orthodox left-wing editor of Haaretz openly admitted at a public forum that the paper will continue to support Olmert in spite of the growing number of investigations against him, as long as he goes to Annapolis to slice and dice the Jewish state once more with powerless Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

Not only does Olmert have powerful friends within the Israeli business and legal establishments, he’s also very well-connected to extremely influential businessmen and organizational leaders in the U.S. and Australia who are experts in defending themselves against investigations. Is it any wonder why many young American Jews have a hard time connecting to both Jewish issues and Israel when wealthy and self-perpetuating machers prevent new blood from assuming control of long-since fossilized organizations?

A recent investigative report by Israel’s Channel 10 TV reporter, Tamar Ish-Shalom, focused on one particular meeting in New York between Olmert and American Jewish organizational leaders, who fawned over the beleaguered Israeli politician. As Ish-Shalom walked around the room, she reported that the meeting was devoid of any young Jewish leadership. When she asked a senior Jewish leader where the new and young dynamic members were, she received a blank stare and an unintelligible response. Olmert has made sure to keep his longtime American Jewish friends on a leash, especially if they wish to continue having red-carpet access to the corridors of power.

In the last few days, new details are emerging in the Israeli and American media about Gilad Sharon’s alleged illegal financial activities in New York and Montreal. It turns out that both Israel’s National Fraud Squad and U.S. authorities have been probing Sharon’s activities dating back to his family’s association with a well-known business associate who dabbled in Canadian real estate.

Gilad’s brother, Omri, has yet to serve a day in jail after being convicted of illegally creating fictitious organizations that served as fronts for illegal campaign contributions in the run-up to Ariel Sharon’s last and final election campaign. The Israeli justice system has so far refused to say “enough” to Omri’s petitions to stave off his incarceration, making a mockery of the system. These actions have actually had a direct correlation on the growing number of violent and non-violent crimes in Israel, where criminals actually believe they can beat the system if they hire high-profile attorneys who know how to manipulate the weak judicial structure.

There are still at least two major investigations against Olmert that could topple him from power. This time, it could be Attorney General Mazuz who is put on the hot seat. This Thursday, Israel’s top rated newsmagazine program, UVDA (Fact), returns to the airwaves with a Diane Sawyer look-alike, Ilana Dayan, anchoring the show. Dayan, not known for harboring right-wing nationalistic sentiments, intends to shed new light on the various investigations surrounding Olmert. Yes, there is a quest for high ratings, but UVDA has previously revealed unknown information that could put both Olmert and Mazuz in a corner.

A small group of influential media members who have grown tired of the growing corruption in Israeli society have been waging an unsuccessful campaign to mobilize the public into demanding change from the top down. A harsh expose by UVDA might create just the right amount of geshrei (outcry of anguish) to push Mazuz into doing what’s right, rather than worrying about the political and economic consequences on Israeli society. (But, don’t hold your breath – jsk)

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 02:08 PM | Comments (0)

November 06, 2007

Why I am a Jewish Conservative

(An Outstanding Explanation. Please read entire article) jsk

THE JEWISH PRESS • November 2, 2007

By RICHARD BAEHR

There are many kinds of conservatives. I consider myself a small-government conservative. Small-government conservatives believe lower tax rates on employment and capital spur an economy and promote work and entrepreneurship. The alternative is the nanny state — where government seeks to control and provide more services, and tax rates are far higher to support this.

In Europe, the fastest growing economies are all the low-tax model countries, many of them in Eastern Europe, countries that have had their fill of collectivism and state control. The slow growing economies, with high unemployment and little new job creation, are in Western Europe and follow the high tax, social welfare model. The new leaders in Germany and France are finding how difficult it is to combat an entrenched culture and laws developed over 50 years that penalize work and job creation even though this model has produced sustained high unemployment levels and slow growth for decades.

The European system has also affected immigrant absorption. Compare the integration over time of immigrants to this country with those who have arrived in Western Europe. In European cities, we see immigrants without jobs, supported by the welfare state, remaining outsiders and growing increasingly alienated from their societies. Alternatively, those who come to America to work almost always find it, and over time are integrated into American society. In Europe, almost all foreign aid or aid to the poor is of the government variety. There is very little private charity. As with so much else, people in Western Europe assume the government will do it for them. In the U.S., most aid and philanthropy is from individual charity, not from the government, and the combination of American public and private charity dwarfs that of any other country in the world on a total or per capita basis.

Which brings me to social conservatism. The debate over social issues in this country is heated — not only between liberals and conservatives, but even among individuals of the same faith. Orthodox and Reform Jews, for instance, do not agree on abortion policy. Abortion is always the central issue behind debates over Supreme Court nominees. However, the conservative argument over abortion is not strictly one of legality but of how the right to abortion was established. Prior to Roe v Wade, several states had adopted legalized abortion policies for their residents through legislation. Roe v Wade made abortion a national right, relying on dubious links to a constitutional right to privacy and utterly bypassing the legislative process.

Going even further, the justices produced trimester delineation over when abortion was protected and when not. Regardless of one’s feelings about whether abortion should be legal, I believe that had abortion rights grown through acts of state legislatures, or even Congress, the issue would be far less contentious today. A conservative principle, judicial restraint, holds that we leave to legislatures the job that is theirs: creating new laws. When the Supreme Court decided Roe v Wade and then affirmed it in the Casey decision, it established that abortion was legal in the first two trimesters of a woman’s pregnancy. In the third trimester, it could be performed only if the mother’s life and health were at risk. In 1973, fetal viability before six months of pregnancy was pretty much unheard of. Today it is not. Premature infants are kept alive who have been delivered after but 20 weeks of pregnancy.

I find it impossible to rationalize how our society can continue to permit abortion on demand during the period when fetal viability has been established by modern medical technology. At that point in the pregnancy cycle, if not earlier, we have to think very carefully about what choice means.
The kind of thinking that disturbs me in this debate was evident in a conversation between a reporter and Barbara Boxer, California’s very liberal Democratic senator, when the Senate was debating restrictions on a procedure known as partial birth abortion. The reporter asked Boxer what she believed were a woman’s rights if a partial birth abortion went bad — in the sense that the fetus was delivered alive. Just describing the event in that manner is disturbing. Boxer responded that she believed the woman retained her right to choose. To choose what, pray tell - To club the newborn to death?

Finally, I am a conservative because of foreign policy — in particular American national security and support for Israel. For me this issue trumps all the others. In fact, I am not just a conservative but a neoconservative. The very term neoconservative has become to a certain extent a slander; for many left wing critics of the Iraq war, the term is used as virtually synonymous with Jews, particularly with the group of Jews who they believe encouraged or supported the Bush Administration in going to war in Iraq.

There are non-Jewish neocons, of course, but those who blame neoconservatives for the Iraq war generally overlook or exclude them — after all, a core part of the anti-neocon argument is that the neocons were doing Israel’s bidding, and it is more convenient to blame Jews for this.

The charge is preposterous. The idea that President Bush, Vice President Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Condoleezza Rice and Cohn Powell are shrinking violets who needed a push from a group of neocons to decide to go to war strains credulity. Moreover, none of those current and former administration figures have ever suggested that they needed any push from anybody else to take action in Iraq. What is disturbing is that so many American Jews have been oblivious to the rank anti-Semitic undercurrent in the charge as well as to the danger to American support for Israel that is tied to the effort to associate the neocons — meaning Jews and Israel — with the Iraq war.

For the record, the formation of the neoconservative movement long preceded any talk about Iraq. Many neocons were supporters of Senator Henry Jackson of Washington when he ran for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1976. Jackson was a cold warrior who believed America needed to enhance its military strength and remain resolute in dealing with the Russians, challenging their aggression in various spots around the world. Jackson believed the Soviet system would eventually collapse and that the people of Eastern Europe would at some point know the freedoms of those in the West. Events following Jackson’s death proved that his vision was the correct one.

Jackson was also the strongest supporter of Israel in the U.S. Senate, seeing that nation as a moral beacon in the region, and a steadfast cold war ally. Alas, he was defeated for the nomination by Jimmy Carter, who was then elected president. In addition, the Democratic Party continued its move to the left, a process that began with the nomination of George McGovern in 1972.

Many neocons, Democrats to that point, switched parties in 1980 and supported Ronald Reagan, who believed in Jackson’s approach to the Cold War. They and Reagan were committed to expanding the arc of freedom worldwide. Except for most parts of the Muslim world, that arc of freedom has been expanding — not only in Eastern Europe but also in much of Latin America, and Asia, and parts of Africa.

Today this country faces serious challenges in Iraq and the Middle East — dealing with Iran’s nuclear program and its destabilizing efforts in Lebanon; battling the Taliban and Al Qaeda in Afghanistan; keeping Pakistan, a nuclear power, from falling to Al Qaeda and the radical Islamists; coping with North Korea and its nuclear and missile programs, etc. It is certainly not a time to pull in our horns and make believe the world would be a better place if we just left it alone.

Whatever one’s views on the wisdom of the Iraq invasion, at this point the debate needs to be on policy going forward. The neoconservative view is that the Middle East will become far more dangerous for the U.S. and its allies, including Israel, if it is perceived that we are withdrawing from Iraq before our job is done, hanging our heads in defeat.

Our enemies — and Israel’s enemies — in the current struggle keep probing to find weakness, to see if our side can deal with pain and fight on. This country has a history of doing just that: of getting off the canvas and taking the fight to our enemies.

In the case of Israel, the risks of inaction are higher. Forty percent of the world’s Jewish population resides in Israel, and Iran is continually calling for the destruction of the Jewish state. Of all the world’s people, we Jews should know to take threats of annihilation seriously. The Jewish population worldwide is currently some four million below the level it was in 1939. Could a second holocaust, this time perpetrated against Israel, be the final blow to our people? Would we have the strength to go on in a Diaspora already reeling from a 50 percent intermarriage rate and a low birthrate?

It seems obvious to me that the Jewish future is in Israel and that the protection of Israel has to be a primary concern of American Jews. I am a conservative at this moment because I sense a greater understanding of Israel’s peril among conservative Jews than among liberal Jews, who sometimes seem embarrassed by Israel and think it is Israel that has been the principal obstacle to achieving peace with the Palestinians. A serious study of the history proves conclusively that this is not the case.

Israel needs to be high or at the top of our agenda, not way down the list after the minimum wage, stem cell research, no child left behind and Al Gore’s new movie. So yes, I favor a foreign policy that does not shy away from action. Moreover, the brand of conservatism I have described here, I believe, offers our best hope to expand our freedoms and continue our economic progress at home, and to protect our freedom and Israel’s from threats from abroad.

Richard Baehr is political director of American Thinker (www.americanthinker.com), where a longer version of this article appeared. The essay was adapted from a recent address by Mr. Baehr at Chicago’s Congregation Rodfei Zedek.

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 11:31 AM | Comments (0)

November 04, 2007

The Arab Mentality – Gravely Misunderstood by the West

Remarks by Nonie Darwish

Nonie Darwish was born in Cairo, and in the early 1950s moved with her family to Egyptian-occupied Gaza, where her father, Lt.-Gen. Mustafa Hafez, was appointed by President Gamal Abdel Nasser to command Egyptian army intelligence. Hafez founded the Palestinian fedayeen units that launched terrorist raids across Israel's southern border. Between 1951 and 1956, the fedayeen killed 400 Israelis. In 1978, Darwish moved to the U.S. During a recent visit to Jerusalem, she said in an interview:

... "Israel really brings hope to the region. Israel is the only country in the Middle East that allows religious freedom. Even though it is the tiniest country in the region, it is not afraid to allow Muslims to have mosques to pray in; it is not afraid to allow Christians all these freedoms. It is really a credit to Judaism that it doesn't have Islam’s possessiveness.

... You know, it's amazing, with all the land the Muslims have, and all the wealth from oil, and all the armies, that no Arab country is secure in its existence. Why else would 1.2 billion Muslims feel threatened by five million Jews? It says a lot. However, I’ve learned that the fear and hate are by the design of Islam's religious educators, its political leadership and its intellectuals. Hatred for Israel is part of how the Arab world operates. They need an enemy."

... "Islamists are blinded by envy and can't understand Israel’s success. They say it must be due to conspiracy and not merit.... They have forgotten that Jewish success is due to a culture that promotes excellence and is blessed with self-discipline, education, dedication and a drive to leave this world a better place. There is no conspiracy there!

If Arabs want to compete with Jews, let them do it in the realm of innovation and education, and not by terrorizing and eliminating the opposition. Arab mistakes are blamed on Israel, the West, past injustice or colonialism. Looking at a map of Israel in relationship to the Arab world tells us that Arabs don't need land; they need tolerance."

... "America's defense of the Muslims against the Serbs, the Afghani Muslims against the Soviet Union, feeding Somali Muslims starved by their own leadership, received no credit in the Muslim world. In fact, the results are just the opposite; the more we try to help stabilize the region, the more we are despised. Muslims do not want to be rescued by infidels. This is a proud culture that is easily shamed by feelings of dependency on non-Muslims."

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 02:11 AM | Comments (0)