April 29, 2008

Reverend Jeremiah Wright’s speech before the NAACP

By Jerome S. Kaufman
April 29, 2008

Evidently, much of the media and I were listening to different speeches at the NAACP convention in Detroit, by famous or infamous (depending upon your point of view) preacher, Reverend Jeremiah Wright. In either case, Wright left absolutely no doubt as to his great oratorical skills, nor of his obvious brilliance and knowledge of music, history, dance and any number of other topics. However, what about the content of the speech?

Reverend Wright pointed out repeatedly, the differences between ghetto black speech, black music, black dance, black churches, etc. etc, from that of whites. He advised whites that in these areas blacks are just different, not better or worse. Really! How many whites don’t understand that? Perhaps more important, evidently, Reverend Wright has not been privy to the fact that he cannot stereotype his own people. There are millions of blacks, who will resent being lumped together under these headings no matter what the circumstances or as innocuous as they may be.

Furthermore, does American white society have any real objection to so-called black music or black dance or black churches or black anything? To the contrary, whites have welcomed with open arms these contributions to American society. What was disastrous to me was the fact that Wright, in his great emphasis on these areas, was apparently ignoring and excusing under the title of “different” those areas of black culture that requires immediate improvement. What about this black English, these fatherless homes, this mistreatment of black women, the use of alcohol and addictive drugs, the glorification of sports, the failure to emphasize education? Are all these whitey’s fault?

Perhaps some of this misplaced pride is what is crippling African Americans from catching up with other ethnic groups in this country. In fact, Blacks are immediately falling behind many of our most recent immigrants. Maybe blacks should be paying more attention to the practical, no holds barred lectures of men like Bill Cosby rather than the brilliant, emotional orations of Reverend Jeremiah Wright?

There was one commentator, Geraldo Rivera, of all people, a pretty left wing guy, that seemed to hear the speech as I did. Rivera, immediately after the speech, commented that he did not believe the speech would do Barack Obama any good. Why? Maybe because Wright seems to continue to emphasize a form of black pride and Black Nationalism, not unlike that of Louis Farrakhan or Malcolm X or the Nation of Islam that advocates a racial definition (or redefinition) of black national identity, as opposed to American multiculturalism.

Unfortunately for Obama, it is to multiculturalism many of us attribute the great success of this country and our own individual successes. Overemphasis upon being “different” will not, in fact, garner many votes among the general population, no matter how innoucuous it may be.

Jerome S. Kaufman, Political Commentator


Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 07:19 PM | Comments (0)

April 27, 2008

Islam, the religion of peace, in Brooklyn, NY

By Bob Smith

Don't snap a photo of the Masjid At-Taqwa Mosque in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn unless you want to be hauled away by a group of angry Muslims in Islamic attire to the basement of the facility where a group of twenty "security guards" in karate suits will interrogate you. This might sound preposterous. However, it happened on Saturday, April 24, at 3:00 in the afternoon.

Ali Kareem, the head of security for Siraj Wahaj's mosque, conducted the grilling. A small, muscular man with a wispy black beard that has been dyed red with henna, Kareem demanded to know the reason why a trio of kafirs had dared to photograph the building on a public street without securing his permission. He further insisted on securing our identities and obtaining our motives for such a violation of Islamic space. Being surrounded by a group of militant guards in a mosque basement from which there is no means of escape, is not a comforting place to be especially, for a Wall Street financier.

We tried to explain that we found the neighborhood with its halal meat vendors and food stores; Islamic dress shops, featuring the latest styles in burqas and hijabs; Muslim souvenir outlets, replete with bumper stickers stating "Don't Be
Caught Dead Without Islam"; and Middle Eastern restaurants offering a variety of goat dishes to be rather quaint and interesting. This explanation was not sufficient. Kareem was impatient and did not want a detailed explanation of the reason for our excursion (simple sight-seeing) or a graphic account of the sights we had seen and photographed. "I ask the questions here," he said, "and you provide the answers."

Realizing that we were in a bit of a pickle, my companion explained that we were interested in various religions and knew Siraj Wahaj, the imam of the mosque, was a prominent Muslim figure whom we would like to interview for a news outlet. This didn't work too well since we could not produce a business card from a wacko blog, let alone credentials from a national publication.

Finally, we blurted out that we were admirers of Islam and the Prophet Muhammad (Peace and Be Upon Him) and wanted to obtain information about conversion. We were even knowledgeable enough to blurt out "Salaam" and "Allah akbar." The last utterance seemed to be the "Open Sesame" that got us out of the basement and back to Bedford Street, where we managed to take a picture of the mosque before hailing a cab and making a getaway.

The experience was disconcerting. Surely, anyone who takes a picture of St. Patrick's Cathedral or the Riverside Church is not hauled off to a basement for questioning by a threatening figure in a karate uniform and a band of Ninjas.
What is taking place within Masjid At-Taqwa? And what about Siraj Wahaj, the celebrated imam of this mosque who claims to be a moderate?

Masjid At-Taqwa at 1226 Bedford Street was an abandoned clothing store, which Wahaj purchased at an auction in 1979 for $30,000 with cash from oil-rich Saudis. The interior is divided into spacious, windowless rooms that have been painted green and beige. At Friday afternoon prayers, the meeting room is crammed with hundreds of congregants. Some show up in do-rag stocking caps and Sean John sweatshirts; others wear finely embroidered, authentic-looking Muslim caps and flowing robes of crimson and gold. About half of the attendees are African-Americans. The others are immigrants from the Middle East, South Asia and Africa. Worshipers range from Brooklyn street bums to the local celebrities, such as former heavy-weight champion Mike Tyson.

The place has played host to a number of notorious exponents of radical Islam, including Clement Rodney Hampton-El (Dr. Rashid), a key player in the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center. Mr. Hampton-El is presently cooling his heels in a federal slammer since he was found guilty of seditious conspiracy. Mr. Hampton-El, who was born and raised in Brooklyn, fought as a mujahadeen under Gulbuddin Hekmatyar in the holy war against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan.

Upon his return, members of the mosque hailed Hampton-El as a hero. Imam Wahaj has said that young and old alike for spiritual advice as an “elder” in the community sought him out. Wahaj, in fact, appeared as a character witness for Hampton El when the former mujahadeen stood trial before Judge Michael Mukasey in New York's Federal District Court on charges of seditious conspiracy and attempted bombing. Hampton-El is currently serving thirty-five years in a supermax prison for America's most dangerous inmates.

Blind Sheikh Omar Abdel-Rahman visited Masjid At-Taqwa on many occasions while serving as the imam of the nearby Masjid al-Fooqra at 554 Atlantic Avenue, several blocks from Masjid At-Taqwi. On the second floor of Rahman's mosque, al Qaeda had opened an office under the name of the al-Kifah Refugee Center. It became a favorite haunt for members of Wahaj's congregation. Rahman also spoke on occasion at Masjid At-Taqwa. In one speech, the fiery sheikh suggested that Muslims should rob banks to benefit Islam.

In 1995, Sheikh Rahman was hauled into court as the alleged architect of the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center and for planning to blow up the United Nations, the Lincoln and Holland tunnels, the George Washington Bridge and buildings throughout Manhattan. At his side was his good friend Siraj Wahaj who provided testimony of the sheik's sterling character. In a Feb. 2, 1995, letter to defense lawyers in the landmarks-bombing case, then-U.S. Attorney Mary Jo White named about 170 people as "un-indicted persons who may be alleged as co-conspirators." Imam Wahaj was on the list.

Other infamous characters reportedly have made their way to the Bedford Street mosque, including Imam Gulshair el-Shukrijumah, whose son Adnan has been singled out by the Justice Department as "the next Muhammad Atta." Gulshair, it turns out, served a stint as imam at another radical Brooklyn mosque - - the now defunct Masjid Nur a-Islam, at 21 Church Street.

Another visitor, according to informed sources, was Sheikh Gilani, the founder of Jamaat ul-Fuqra, who served as the imam of yet another Brooklyn mosque - - the Yasin Masjid at 777 Saratoga Avenue. This infamous mosque is now a beauty salon. From 1980 to 1995, it served as a recruiting center for the jihad and for paramilitary Islamic compounds that remain in existence throughout the country.

Since the time of its inception, Jamaat ul-Fuqra has been responsible for more terror attacks on American soil (30 and counting) than all other terrorist groups combined. Members of ul-Fuqra, which maintains headquarters in Pakistan, have been convicted in US courts of such crimes as homicide, conspiracy to commit murder, firebombing, gun smuggling, grand theft, counterfeiting and workers' compensation fraud. Others remain leading suspects in criminal cases throughout the country, including ten unsolved assassinations and seventeen fire-bombings. Some of the better-known adherents of ul-Fuqra are Richard Reid, the shoe bomber and John Allen Muhammad, the Beltway sniper.

But, what of Wahaj? Is he an exponent of radical Islam - - a man who poses a threat to millions of Americans? He is a well-known and welcome figure in Washington DC. He was the first Muslim cleric to offer the invocation at the opening session of Congress. He has dined with former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and serves on the boards of no less than five major Muslim organizations. He has received commendations from the Brooklyn police for eradicating crime from the Bedford-Stuyvesant area. In 2003, Siraj Wahaj Day was celebrated in Brooklyn in recognition of what one borough official called a "lifetime of outstanding and meaningful achievement." But, the proof of the real Wahaj is in the proverbial pudding.

In one of his sermons, Wahaj announced that the "real terrorists" are the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Central Intelligence Agency. In another, he said, "In time, this so-called democracy will crumble, and there will be nothing. And the only thing that will remain will be Islam." He proclaimed that a society governed by strict Islamic law, in which adulterers are stoned to death and apostates beheaded, would be vastly superior to American democracy.

To a Muslim audience in New Jersey, Wahaj advocated the idea of Muslims forming a coup to take control of the federal government. "If we are united and strong," he said, "we'd elect our own emir [leader] and give allegiance to him. Take my word for it, if six to eight million Muslims united in America, the country will come to us."

His so-called "moderate" interpretation of the Qu'ran became clear by this remark: "If Allah says 100 strikes, 100 strikes it is. If Allah says cut off their hand, you cut off their hand. If Allah says stone them to death, through the Prophet Muhammad, then you stone them to death, because it's the obedience of Allah and his messenger -- nothing personal.”

Wahaj informed an audience of black women wearing Muslim head coverings in Orlando, Fla., that Islam condones a man's marrying up to four wives, and that this rule, when introduced in the seventh century, served as a restriction on arrangements involving even more wives per husband.

And, there are the national organizations to which Wahaj remains affiliated. He served as emir (president) of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), which has been charged with funneling millions to terror groups, and as an advisory board member of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), which has been labeled by author and counter-terrorism expert Steven Emerson as a "radical fundamentalist front group for Hamas."

All this may be well and good, save for the fact that Wahaj and his mosque retains a small army not of brown-shirts but black-belts who now claim the right to collar ordinary citizens on the sidewalk and to haul them off for interrogation. You're only safe in Brooklyn at this writing if you say your prayers - - meaning, of course, the Basmalah, an Arabic noun used as the collective name of the whole of a recurring Islamic phrase that constitutes the first verse of virtually every "sura" (or chapter) of the Koran.

(Bob Smith holds a law degree from Wake Forest University. He serves in the securities division of a major Wall Street investment bank. The research for this article was conducted in preparation of his soon to be released book; Within the Belly of the Beast: Jihad in America. Questions and comments may be directed to mail@bossmith.org).

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

April 25, 2008

As to Barack Obama’s Chance of being elected ...

By Ken Blackwell

African-American columnist for the New York Sun

It's an amazing time to be alive in America. We're in a year of firsts in this presidential election: the first viable woman candidate; the first viable African-American candidate; and, a candidate who is the first front-running freedom fighter over 70. The next president of America will be a first. We won't truly be in an election of firsts, however, until we judge every candidate by where they stand. We won't arrive where we should be until we no longer talk about skin color or gender.

Now that Barack Obama steps to the front of the Democratic field, we need to stop talking about his race, and start talking about his policies and his politics. The reality is this: Though the Democrats will not have a nominee until August, unless Hillary Clinton drops out, Mr. Obama is now the frontrunner, and its time America takes a closer and deeper look at him. Some pundits are calling him the next John F. Kennedy. He's not. He's the next George McGovern.

Moreover, it's time people learned the facts. Because the truth is, Mr. Obama is the single most liberal senator in the entire U.S. Senate. He is more liberal than Ted Kennedy, Bernie Sanders, or Mrs. Clinton. Never in my life have I seen a presidential frontrunner whose rhetoric is so far removed from his record. Walter Mondale promised to raise our taxes, and he lost. George McGovern promised military weakness, and he lost. Michael Dukakis promised a liberal domestic agenda, and he lost. Yet, Mr. Obama is promising all those things, and he's not behind in the polls. Why? Because the press has dealt with him as if he were in a beauty pageant.

Mr. Obama talks about getting past party, getting past red and blue, to lead the United States of America. But, let’s look at the more defined strokes of who he is underneath this superficial 'beauty.' Start with national security, since the president's most important duties are as commander-in-chief. Over the summer, Mr. Obama talked about invading Pakistan, a nation armed with nuclear weapons. He talked about meeting without preconditions with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who vows to destroy Israel and create another Holocaust. He talked about North Korean Kim Jong II, who is murdering and starving his people, but emphasized that the nuclear option was off the table against terrorists - something no president has ever taken off the table since we created nuclear weapons in the 1940s. Even Democrats who have worked in national security condemned all of those remarks. Mr. Obama is a foreign-policy novice who would put our national security at risk.

Next, consider economic policy. For all its faults, our health care system is the strongest in the world. Free trade agreements, created by Bill Clinton as well as President Bush, have made more goods more affordable so that even people of modest means can live a life that no one imagined a generation ago. Yet, Mr. Obama promises to raise taxes on 'the rich.' How to fix Social Security? Raise taxes. How to fix Medicare? Raise taxes. Prescription drugs? Raise taxes. Free college? Raise taxes. Socialize medicine? Raise taxes. His solution to everything is to have government take it over - Big Brother on steroids, funded by your paycheck.

Finally, look at the social issues. Mr. Obama had the audacity to open a stadium rally by saying, “All praise and glory to God! “ but says that Christian leaders speaking for life and marriage have 'hijacked' - hijacked - Christianity. He is pro-partial birth abortion, and promises to appoint Supreme Court justices who will rule any restriction on it unconstitutional. He espouses the abortion views of Margaret Sanger, one of the early advocates of racial cleansing. His spiritual leaders endorse homosexual marriage, and he is moving in that direction. In Illinois, he refused to vote against a statewide ban - ban - on all handguns in the state. These are radical left, Hollywood and San Francisco values, not Middle America values.

The real Mr. Obama is an easy target for the general election. Mrs. Clinton is a far tougher opponent. However, Mr. Obama could win if people don't start looking behind his veneer and flowery speeches. His vision of 'bringing America together' means saying that those who disagree with his agenda for America are hijackers or warmongers. Uniting the country means adopting his liberal agenda and abandoning any conflicting beliefs. Nevertheless, right now, everyone is talking about how eloquent of a speaker he is and - yes - they're talking about his race. Those should never be the factors upon which we base our choice for president. Mr. Obama's radical agenda sets him far outside the American mainstream, to the left of Mrs. Clinton.

It's time to talk about the real Barack Obama. In an election of firsts, let's first make sure we elect the person who is qualified to be our president in a nuclear age during a global civilization war.

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 07:33 PM | Comments (0)

April 21, 2008

Why John McCain Is My Choice For President - Just in case you missed this ...

By Senator JOE LIEBERMAN

The Jewish Press, February 1, 2008

All across the nation the American people will be voting in a tightly contested election that will help determine who will be the next president. In this election, however, we are not just choosing our next president. We are also choosing our commander-in-chief — the person whose No. 1 job will be to defend our nation at a time of war. And, have no doubt: We are at war.

Although much of this war unfolds in the shadows, it remains deadly real. Every day, in fact, our terrorist enemies are working feverishly to strike at us and our allies around the world, from the deserts of Iraq to the mountains of Afghanistan and — if given the chance — right here at home in America.

From the moment the next president steps into the Oval Office, he or she will be confronted with life-and-death decisions that will make the difference between victory and defeat in this war. That is why I believe we need a president who is ready to be commander-in-chief from day one — a president who won’t need on-the-job training. That is why I have decided to cross party lines to endorse U.S. Sen. John McCain for president.

I know that it is unusual for someone who is not a Republican to support a GOP candidate for president. However, the dangers we face as a nation are too profound, and the challenges we face too real, for us to play partisan politics with the presidency. After all, the Islamist extremists we are fighting in this war do not distinguish between Democrats and Republicans. They want to kill all of us, irrespective of our political differences, because we are all Americans.

I have worked with Sen. McCain on just about every major national security issue over the past 20 years — from stopping the genocide in the Balkans, to reducing our dependence on foreign oil, to creating the 9/11 Commission and enacting its recommendations into law. I have seen Sen. McCain, time and again, rise above the negativism and pettiness of our politics to get things done for the country he loves so much.

Sen. McCain has quite literally dedicated his life in service to America.
He has fought in uniform on the front lines against America’s enemies, and has been tested under fire like no other candidate in this race. It is more than his unrivaled experience that makes Sen. McCain so qualified to become president, however. It is character and leadership.

Throughout his career, John McCain has proven that we can trust him to do what is right for our country, not only when it is easy, but when it is hard and to do what is necessary, not only when it is popular, but when it means standing against the tide. When others were silent, John had the courage and the conviction to sound the alarm about the mistakes we were making in Iraq, and to call for more troops and a new strategy there. When others wavered, and were ready to flee the field of battle, John had the courage and the conviction to stand against public opinion and fight for the surge in Iraq — where at last today the forces of Islamist extremism are on the run, and we are winning.

This is the kind of leadership we, as a nation, desperately need in the years ahead It is the kind of leadership that you can expect when John McCain is in the White House. There are many fine people running for the presidency this year. But, when it comes to keeping America safe and solving our most important problems, I firmly believe that John McCain is the candidate who has the experience, the strength and the character to bring our country together and lead us forward.

We need a president who is a proven leader on national security matters and someone who can re-unite our country, restore faith in our government and rebuild confidence in America’s future. John McCain is just that person and I would urge you to vote for him when you go to the polls.

Joe Lieberman has been a U.S. senator from Connecticut since 1989.

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 04:44 PM | Comments (0)

April 18, 2008

Obama naiveté can’t be hidden - His stance on Iraq ultimately won’t play

By Michael Gerson
Washington Post April 13, 2008

It is a political error for a candidate to believe that voters who agree with him will always end up supporting him. There is little doubt that Americans generally feel that the initial use of military force in Iraq was a mistake. Recent, paradoxical polls show a dramatic increase in the number of people who believe that the war is now going well alongside a hardening majority who believe it should not have been begun at all. Barack Obama’s strongest argument on Iraq is increasingly about the past.

But, presidential elections tend to focus on the future. In spite of their past failures, whom do you trust more to conduct a flawed, messy war in the years ahead? Lincoln or McClellan? Nixon or McGovern? Bush or Kerry? McCain or Obama? At some point, most foreign policy debates, especially during a war, come down to a binary determination: Is a candidate strong or weak? Voters can disagree with a nominee on many things and still find him stronger than his opponent.

So far, Sen. Obama has not taken this challenge with sufficient seriousness. His Iraq approach comes down to three points. First, he has voted twice against funding U.S. troops in the field — a political necessity in the Democratic primaries, but a blunder with the broader electorate. No matter what subtleties Sen. Obama attempts to develop in his Iraq position, this will be seen as a symbol of impulsive radicalism, unbecoming in a commander in chief.

Second, Sen. Obama advocates a specific timetable for the withdrawal of American combat troops in order to pressure the Iraqi government to take its responsibilities more seriously. (In fact, according to Sen. Obama’s January 2007 Iraq plan, all combat troops would already be out of Iraq.) But it seems increasingly unfair to denigrate the efforts of Prime Minister Noun al-Maliki’s government, which has moved forward on 12 of 18 benchmarks set by Congress and has recently engaged Shiite militias in a fight the US has been demanding. In many cases, the Iraqis seem to lack capacity, not will — which is precisely Gen. David Petraeus’ argument for continued American engagement.

Third, Sen. Obama promises to personally negotiate with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Iran’s destabilizing support and training of Shiite militias. What might seem a bold strategic maneuver from a Nixon or Kissinger smacks of dangerous naiveté from a fourth-year senator.

Sen. Obama — the most reflective of candidates — displays little self-knowledge when it comes to these political challenges. When questioned recently about his choice for vice president, he responded, “1 would like somebody who knows about a bunch of stuff that I am not as expert on. I think a lot of people assume that might be some sort of military thing to make me look more command-in-chief-like... Ironically, this is an area — foreign policy is the area where I am probably most confident that I know more and understand the world better than Senator Clinton or Senator McCain.”

The question here is not self-confidence but public confidence. Moreover, Sen. Obama’s political judgment is exactly wrong. He will have enormous advantages on domestic policy in the coming campaign, on which he seems both more activist and interested than Sen. McCain. But Sen. McCain leads on measures such as “strong leader.” Sen. Obama needs to seem, and be, more commander-in-chief-like.

Sen. McCain has challenges of his own. The fortunes of his campaign remain tied to events in Iraq, as they have been from the beginning. But, the debate has moved far beyond a candidate’s initial support for the war. This has led to an odd inversion of the generational battle. Young Obama’s strongest arguments are focused on the failures of the past. The older man, by insisting on victory, is more responsible and realistic about the future.

Michael Gerson, a former speech writer for President Bush, is a columnist for The Washington Post.

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 04:35 AM | Comments (0)

April 17, 2008

Opposition leader, Bibi Netanyahu’s analysis of Olmert Government

By Amnon Meranda

YNET Published: 04.13.08, Israel News

Opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday harshly criticized the Olmert government's policy in all fields.

Speaking at a Likud event in Tel Aviv held ahead of Passover, the party chairman said, "security is flawed, the policy is detached from reality, the economy is in a state of retreat, and education is collapsing."

According to Netanyahu, the Olmert government is rushing into handing
territories over to a non-existent Palestinian partner.

" The Likud faction is the best faction in the Knesset," the opposition leader told his party members. " I promise you that it will be the biggest faction in the Knesset in the next elections.

“ On the eve of the feast of freedom, we first hope for the return of our captives - Shalit, Regev and Goldwasser. On the eve of Passover, we tell Israel's citizens that the State of Israel can succeed," he said.

According to Netanyahu, Israel should and could restore its security and resume the economic growth, while raising the education level.

“ We will reduce taxes and resume growth. In the social field, we will help those who are weak. Today I am still against helping imposters, those who can work but want to live at your expense."

'Government engaged in political survival'

Netanyahu went on to say that the current situation in Israel was "the result of the leadership's weakness, or to be precise, the lack of leadership and the lack of foresight and planning.

"We have a government which escapes responsibility, and sometimes it seems that it is only cynically engaged in political survival. I believe that the State can be led differently, in a successful way. But this way compels us to look straight into reality and tell the people the truth."

The Likud chairman once again called on Shas ministers to leave the government. "For how long will you stay in this government? Until we return to the '67 lines; until the flag of Palestine is waved on the Temple Mount. I ask you to get out of this government, get out of there."

Addressing political mistakes made over the past few years, the opposition
chairman said, "(Defense Minister and former Prime Minister Ehud) Barak
withdrew from Lebanon, strengthening Hizbullah. (Prime Minister Ehud) Olmert made a mistake with the disengagement, strengthening Hamas.

“ These two mistakes by Barak and Olmert have set up two radical Islam bases controlled by Iran. Some 8,000 missiles and rockets have been showered on the top of Israelis' heads from these two bases. In the north and in the south, our enemies are arming themselves with lethal Iranian weapons." 'Israel is buying “peace” in Abbas' supermarket'

Netanyahu noted, "The Likud is a party of peace. It has made peace and will make peace, but the greatest mistake in diplomacy is giving in to dreams and being detached from reality.

“ Our political rivals choose to picture a non-existent reality, invent a
non-existent partner. The Palestinians who might want peace can't bring it, and those who could bring it don't want it.
So I ask Olmert and Barak: Who will be given the homeland territories which you are so glad to give away in such remarkable generosity? Do you have a real partner for peace on the other side?

" I read this week a commentator's column claiming that in closed forums
Olmert says that Abu Mazen (Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas) can't even make a decision about adding a floor to his house. If this is what you believe, Mr. Olmert, how can let Abu Mazen build a state when he cannot even build a room?

“ We all know the truth - the IDF leaves, Hamas enters. This is exactly what will happen if Olmert continues to blindly advance the withdrawal agreement, which is today called 'the shelf agreement.' They found themselves a term, as if peace can be bought in Abu Mazen's supermarket.

“ In this supermarket, Israel pays everything in advance without receiving
anything in return. This is amateurism endangering the entire country, including the Tel Aviv Metropolitan area and Jerusalem," Netanyahu concluded.

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

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 12:50 PM | Comments (0)

April 14, 2008

Obama seen through the wide open eyes and ears of a syndicated Black columnist

By Ken Blackwell - Columnist for the New York Sun

It's an amazing time to be alive in America. We're in a year of firsts in this presidential election: the first viable woman candidate; the first viable African-American candidate; and, a candidate who is the first front-running freedom fighter over 70. The next president of America will be a first. We won't truly be in an election of firsts, however, until we judge every candidate by where they stand. We won't arrive where we should be until we no longer talk about skin color or gender.

Now that Barack Obama steps to the front of the Democratic field, we need to stop talking about his race, and start talking about his policies and his politics.
The reality is this: Though the Democrats will not have a nominee until August, unless Hillary Clinton drops out, Mr. Obama is now the frontrunner, and its time America takes a closer and deeper look at him.

Some pundits are calling him the next John F. Kennedy. He's not. He's the next George McGovern. Moreover, it's time people learned the facts. Because the truth is that Mr. Obama is the single most liberal senator in the entire U.S. Senate. He is more liberal than Ted Kennedy, Bernie Sanders, or Mrs. Clinton.

Never in my life have I seen a presidential frontrunner whose rhetoric is so far removed from his record. Walter Mondale promised to raise our taxes, and he lost. George McGovern promised military weakness, and he lost. Michael Dukakis promised a liberal domestic agenda, and he lost. Yet, Mr. Obama is promising all those things, and he's not behind in the polls. Why - because the press has dealt with him as if he were in a beauty pageant.

Mr. Obama talks about getting past party, getting past red and blue, to lead the United States of America. But, let’s look at the more defined strokes of who he is underneath this superficial 'beauty.' Start with national security, since the president's most important duties are as commander-in-chief. Over the summer, Mr. Obama talked about:

· Invading Pakistan, a nation armed with nuclear weapons
· Meeting without preconditions with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who vows to destroy Israel and create another Holocaust;
· Meeting with Kim Jong II, who is murdering and starving his people
· Emphasized that the nuclear option was off the table against terrorists - something no president has ever taken off the table since we created nuclear weapons in the 1940s.
Even Democrats who have worked in national security condemned all of those remarks. Mr. Obama is a foreign-policy novice who would put our national security at risk.

Next, consider economic policy. For all its faults, our health care system is the strongest in the world. In addition, free trade agreements, created by Bill Clinton as well as President Bush, have made more goods more affordable so that even people of modest means can live a life that no one imagined a generation ago. Yet, Mr. Obama promises to raise taxes on 'the rich.' How to fix Social Security? Raise taxes. How to fix Medicare? Raise taxes. Prescription drugs? Raise taxes. Free college? Raise taxes. Socialize medicine? Raise taxes. His solution to everything is to have government take it over - Big Brother on steroids, funded by your paycheck!

Finally, look at the social issues. Mr. Obama had the audacity to open a stadium rally by saying: 'All praise and glory to God!' but says that Christian leaders speaking for life and marriage have 'hijacked' - hijacked - Christianity. He is pro-partial birth abortion, and promises to appoint Supreme Court justices who will rule any restriction on it unconstitutional. He espouses the abortion views of Margaret Sanger, one of the early advocates of racial cleansing. His spiritual leaders endorse homosexual marriage, and he is moving in that direction. In Illinois, he refused to vote against a statewide ban - ban - on all handguns in the state. These are radical left, Hollywood and San Francisco values, not Middle America values.

The real Mr. Obama is an easy target for the general election. Mrs. Clinton is a far tougher opponent. Nevertheless, Mr. Obama could win if people don't start looking behind his veneer and flowery speeches. His vision of 'bringing America together' means saying that those who disagree with his agenda for America are hijackers or warmongers. Uniting the country means adopting his liberal agenda and abandoning any conflicting beliefs.

Nevertheless, right now, everyone is talking about how eloquent of a speaker he is and - yes - they're talking about his race. Those should never be the factors upon which we base our choice for president. Mr. Obama's radical agenda sets him far outside the American mainstream, to the left of Mrs. Clinton. It's time to talk about the real Barack Obama. In an election of firsts, let's first make sure we elect the person who is qualified to be our president in a nuclear age during a global civilization war.

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 01:21 PM | Comments (0)

April 12, 2008

Islamists attempt to intimidate against freedom of speech

From The Republican Jewish Coalition

The Islamists who seek the end of democracy and the implementation of Shari’a law world-wide have several weapons at their disposal. Terrorism is one. However, less violent means are available to them as well, specifically, using democracies’ legal systems to silence those who speak out against Islamist ideas, activities and supporters.

In 2006, Robert 0. Collins, a history professor and J. Millard Burr, a retired State Department employee, wrote Alms for Jihad: Charity and Terrorism in the Islamic World. The book examines Muslim charity organizations that have been used as vehicles for finding international terrorism. One of the people mentioned in the book, Saudi billionaire Khalid bin Mahfouz, has been singled out by many researchers as being connected to terrorism finding.

Mahfouz threatened to sue the authors and publisher of Alms for Jihad in British court. The publisher, Cambridge University Press, surrendered unconditionally. Cambridge agreed to pay Mahfouz’s legal costs and damages (to be paid to a charity of his choice) and apologized publicly. In an Orwellian attempt to make the book disappear completely, they also announced that they would destroy all unsold copies and ask libraries around the world to remove it from their shelves.

Mahfouz has sued or threatened suits at least 36 times, according to one defendant, American author Rachel Ehrenfeld. Mahfouz brings these suits in Britain, where libel laws are far looser than in the U.S. None of Mahfouz’s cases have been tried on their merits. All have ended in summary judgments in his favor or have been settled out of court. Most of his Opponents, fearful of financial ruin, have not pushed back against his claims in open court.

Here in the U.S., suits and threats of suits have been used in attempts to suppress free speech about Islamic terrorism. The Council of American Islamic Relations (CAIR) sued Andrew Whitehead for founding and maintaining an anti-CAIR web site, where he described CAIR as an Islamist group with ties to terrorist organizations That lawsuit was dismissed after CAIR refused to open their files to Whitehead’s discovery requests. CAIR also tried to sue then-U.S. Congressman Cass Ballenger for saying in an interview that CAIR was a “fundraising arm for Hezbollah.” A federal appeals court ruled against the organization.

Last April, former U.S. Treasury Department official Matthew Levitt was sued by a Muslim charity for suggesting in his book, Hamas - Politics, Charity and Terrorism the Service of Jihad, that the organization sent money to Hamas. In August, the group dropped its suit, freeing Dr. Levitt and the publishers, Yale University Press and the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, from all claims.

Freedom of speech is also under attack in Canada. Author Mark Steyn stands accused before two Canadian Human Rights Commissions of being “flagrantly Islamo-phobic” because of passages from his book, America Alone, published by Maclean magazine. The Canadian Islamic Congress (CIC) filed the complaints against him. In the Calgary Herald, Rebecca Walberg explained why this case is important: “The Canadian Human Rights Commission, though, has the power to embroil Steyn and Maclean's in paperwork, to force them to pay for legal representation in this process, and even the power to fine them and force them to agree to terms satisfactory to the CIC. The CIC’s real goal seems to be not justice or the pursuit of truth, but the abolition of public discourse that is critical of Islam.”

Another Canadian, Ezra Levant, has been called before the Alberta Human Rights Commission to defend his decision to publish the Danish cartoons of Mohammad in his magazine, the Western Standard. Levant has publicly objected to the proceedings, arguing that the Human Rights Commission is infringing on his freedom of speech.

There are many fronts in the war against radical Islam. We have thankfully fought the violent side of that war away from our shores since 9/11. However, the legal battles being fought in courts and tribunals in the U.S., Canada, Great Britain and other democracies are also of great importance.

Republican Jewish Coalition
50 F Street NW, Suite 100
Washington, DC 20001-1590

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 09:28 PM | Comments (0)

April 11, 2008

My Hero – The great syndicated columnist, Cal Thomas

From an article by Jason Maoz, Senior Editor Jerusalem Post International

April 4, 2008

As an Evangelical Christian, Cal Thomas — author, syndicated Senior Editor columnist, television talking head — brings to his work a deep religious commitment combined with a sophisticated media sensibility. His worldview is governed by biblical absolutes, among them the unshakable conviction that the Jews have a divine right to the Land of Israel. (That last point alone is enough to distinguish him from most Jewish pundits and, for that matter, most American Jews, whose unease with any public acknowledgment of God or religion can border on the pathological.)Jsk

Thomas, who started out as a copyboy for NBC News and years later served as a high-level spokesman for Jerry Farwell’s Moral Majority, began writing his column in 1984 for the Los Angeles Times syndicate. The column, carried today by Media Tribune Services, now appears in more than 540 newspapers, making Thomas the nation’s most widely syndicated op-ed columnist.

He is blissfully unburdened by the need to appear even-handed or non-judgmental. On the Middle East that translates not only into an unbending support for Israel, but a healthy distrust of Israel’s enemies as well. Concerning Israel’s serial concessions to its enemies, Thomas has written, “It is particularly unpleasant when Jews are co-conspirators in their own destruction.”

His skepticism about the good intentions of Arab leaders makes for a glaring contrast with the cheap sentimentality so much in vogue among Jews in Israel and the U.S. Indeed, Thomas has little patience with the Pollyanna’s who tremble with delight each time a Palestinian spokesman puts on his best diplomatic airs for gullible Western reporters and statesmen.

To Thomas, such perorations amount to nothing but “a piece of theater designed to mask the true intention of Israel’s enemies: complete domination of all the land they continue to regard as Palestine. Such an objective remains in their language, in the sermons of their clergy, in their television news, in classroom instruction aimed at creating a new generation of Jew haters, and in their hearts.”

Nor does he harbor illusions about the defeatist mindset afflicting a significant number of Israelis. In a column some years ago, he described a conversation he had with an Israeli woman who expressed to him her “longing for peace.”
She went on to explain that she already had one son in the army and another one going soon, and she didn’t care whether Israel had to give upland in order to get peace. “We are so tired of war,” she declared.

Thomas asked her how much land she thought Israel would have to relinquish for peace — “Would the 1948 borders suffice?” When she emphatically stated that a move back to 1948 lines would be too much, Thomas asked her just how much land would be enough. She admitted she wasn’t sure. “Don’t you believe what your enemies say in their press and in their mosques and to their own people about wanting all the land and being satisfied with nothing less?” he asked. “Oh, I don’t believe any of that,” she replied.

That Israeli, wrote Thomas, “is the type of person the State Department Arabists and Israel’s other enemies are counting on to seal any ‘peace deal.’ What it will seal, of course, is Israel’s fate.” Israel, he has written, is automatically guaranteed the short end of the stick in any peace talks, which he likens to a cycle forever repeating itself:

(1) The Arabs make great peace overtures to get Israel and the West excited
(2) Israel and the Arabs negotiate an accord that promises certain concessions from the Arabs in exchange for land given to them by Israel
(3) Israel gives them land, but the Arabs do not reciprocate
(4) The peace process stalls
(5) Israel is blamed
(6) The West pressures Israel to get on with the process
(7) Efforts to “jump start” the process are made by Israel with input from the West
(8) nothing happens, the Israeli leader is ousted in elections and his successor promises to do better
(9) Go back to (1) and begin again...

(Of course, we are seeing exactly the same thing before our very eyes with GW Bush and C. Rice. In their last gasp at trying to burnish their image for posterity, they are placing Israel’s existence on the line oblivious to the fact that the US’s rear end is right there with Israel’s) Jsk

In a prescient column he wrote several years before the abandonment of Gaza and the onslaught of the Kassams, Thomas posed the rhetorical question of how Israeli leftists would respond when Israel inevitably came under attacks launched from territories relinquished to its adversaries. Easy, he said, “Their line will be that Israel did not compromise fast enough and so made her enemies angry.” (Could you vomit?) jsk

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 06:48 PM | Comments (0)

April 10, 2008

Please excuse me - An irrepressible moment of levity.

Softball in Heaven

Two 90-year-old women, Rose and Barb, had been friends all of their lives.

When it was clear that Rose was dying, Barb visited her every day.

One day Barb said, "Rose, we both loved playing women's softball all our lives, and we played all through High School. Please do me one favor: when you get to Heaven, somehow you must let me know if there's women's soft-ball there."

Rose looked up at Barb from her deathbed and said, "Barb, you've been my best friend for many years. If it's at all possible, I'll do this favor for you."

Shortly after that, Rose passed on.

At midnight a few nights later, Barb was awakened from a sound sleep by a blinding flash of white light and a voice calling out to her, "Barb, Barb."

“ Who is it?" asked Barb, sitting up suddenly. "Who is it?"

" Barb -- it's me, Rose."

" You're not Rose. Rose just died."

" I'm telling you, it's me, Rose," insisted the voice.

" Rose! Where are you?"

" In Heaven," replied Rose. "I have some really good news and a little
bad news."

" Tell me the good news first," said Barb.

" The good news," Rose said, "is that there's softball in Heaven. Better yet, all of our old buddies who died before us are here, too. Better than that, we're all young again. Better still, it's always springtime, and it never rains or snows. And best of all, we can play softball all we want, and we never get tired."

" That's fantastic," said Barb. "It's beyond my wildest dreams! So what's the bad news?"

" You're pitching Tuesday."


(Thank you to Paul Draznin, former softball player)

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 02:16 AM | Comments (0)

April 08, 2008

As to those awful Evangelists trying to convert the poor Jews...

Jerome S. Kaufman

Evangelist pledges $6 million for Israel

The Palm Beach Post – April 7, 2008

JERUSALEM — American evangelist John Hagee announced donations of $6 million to Israeli causes on Sunday and said that Israel must remain in control of all of Jerusalem.

Hagee, a Christian Zionist who has been in the spotlight lately for endorsing presidential candidate John McCain and criticizing the Catholic Church, brought hundreds of backers on a solidarity trip to Israel. Hagee and his group, Christians United for Israel, joined keynote speaker Benjamin Netanyahu, the leader of Israel’s hard-line Likud Party, at a rally in support of Jerusalem remaining united under Jewish control.

PS I always find it revealing and alarming when some half-ass supposedly objective news reporter inserts a subliminal editorial comment like “hard line” Likud party. Hard line to the informed means a party that sticks up for a strong Israel maintaining every possibility for defending itself from its enemies. This, of course, pertains particularly to keeping all land that was supposed to be Israel’s in the first place. It also requires Israel to advise its reputed good friends to mind their own business and follow their own advice, if they like. For instance, the US might start by giving Southern California, parts of Texas and Arizona to the Mexicans, Louisiana to the French along with parts of Michigan and the Northern borders of the US plus the Aleutian Islands and other parts of Alaska to the Russians.

Of course, not to be omitted would be the return of a greater part of the former Western frontier and a huge part of the Southern US to our indigenous population – the American Indians. All of this is, of course, irresponsible moral equivalency. The legitimate claim to all of Israel, by the Jews, is thousands of times more justifiable than any possible American land acquisition.


Jerome S. Kaufman

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 06:12 PM | Comments (0)

April 07, 2008

The Left’s Mantra – Bush’s “gross error” attacking Iraq - Refuted

Editorial The Washington Times

March 31, 2008

Newly declassified documents captured in Iraq show that Saddam Hussein’s regime had extensive ties with a variety of Islamist and other terrorist groups - in some cases dating back to the early 1990s. Saddam’s Iraqi Intelligence Service (or Mukhabarat) established a working relationship with Egyptian Islamic Jihad, whose leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri, later merged the group with al Qaeda, according to a new report by the Institute for Defense Analyses.

In addition, the Mukhabarat trained scores of non-Iraqi Arabs to attack Israel. The new report contains copies of captured Iraqi documents that provide what may be the most detailed picture ever of Baghdad’s support for terrorism.

Few stories, in recent memory, have been as badly misreported by mainstream media. News outlets — including The Washington Post, the New York Times, CNN and ABC —all issued reports earlier this month declaring that the IDA report showed no link between Saddam and al Qaeda. While the report does say that there was no direct operational link between the two, its most significant new disclosure may be evidence of ties between Zawahiri’s EIJ and Saddam’s regime.

A 1993 memo from Iraqi intelligence to Saddam says that Iraq had aided the Egyptian group previously and was restarting contacts with the goal of overthrowing Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s government. Two other Iraqi memos included in the IDA report describe the EIJ’s terrorist bona fides, including its assassination of President Anwar Sadat in 1981 and emphasize the importance of training and financing that group.

Zawahiri, who is believed to be in hiding with Osama bin Laden, is on the FBI’s most-wanted-terrorism list for his role in the Sept. 11 attacks and the August 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.

In fact, the al Qaeda connection only scratches the surface of Saddam’s terrorist ties. As Rowan Scarborough reported last week, the IDA report reveals that Saddam provided millions of dollars and arms to Palestinian terror groups and trained Palestinians in Iraqi terror camps. Saddam’s security service maintained representatives in the West Bank anti Gaza, who met with Hamas founder Ahmad Yassin and conveyed his military needs to Baghdad.

Another terrorist who found refuge in Baghdad was Abu Abbas, a leader of the Palestinian Liberation Front, who engineered the 1985 hijacking of the Italian cruise ship Achille Lauro. The documents show that Abbas served as Saddam’s conduit for meetings with Hamas. Coalition forces captured Abbas in 2003 as he attempted to flee to Syria. Abbas died of natural causes while in custody the following year.

The IDA report also includes translations of Iraqi Intelligence Service documents that describe efforts to destabilize other Arab governments including the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, and the regime’s campaign to kill humanitarian aid workers operating in the Kurdish region of northern Iraq. The study also reveals that on Sept. 17, 2001, Saddam gave orders to his military intelligence directorate to recruit Iraqi officers to conduct “suicide operations” against the United States.

PS (The Left also conveniently chooses to forget that Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait in the Gulf War I 1990-1991, attempting to take over the country, rule over the world’s oil, pillaged Kuwaiti banks of all gold and burned the countries oil wells on the way out causing irreversible damage. And, by the way, he waged an 8 year war against Iran (1980-1988) including deliberate mutual attempts to annihilate civilian populations via any means available. With all this in mind, it is very hard for all but the far Left, to sustain the politically developed mantra of Bush’s “grave error” in removing Hussein from power.) Jsk

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 02:29 AM | Comments (0)

April 05, 2008

Israel's settlements conform to all rules and norms of international law.

By Israel Foreign Ministry

Israeli settlements in the West Bank are legal both under international law and the agreements between Israel and the Palestinians. Claims to the contrary are mere attempts to distort the law for political purposes. Yet whatever the status of the settlements, their existence should never be used to justify terrorism. The Palestinians often claim that settlement activity is illegal and call on Israel to dismantle every settlement. In effect, they are demanding that every Jew leave the West Bank, a form of ethnic cleansing. By contrast, within Israel, Arabs and Jews live side-by-side; indeed, Israeli Arabs, who account for approximately 20% of Israel's population, are citizens of Israel with equal rights.

The Palestinian call to remove all Jewish presence from the disputed territories is not only discriminatory and morally reprehensible; it has no basis either in law or in the agreements between Israel and the Palestinians. The various agreements reached between Israel and the Palestinians since 1993 contain no prohibitions on the building or expansion of settlements. On the contrary, they specifically provide that the issue of settlements is reserved for permanent status negotiations, which are to take place in the concluding stage of the peace talks. The parties expressly agreed that the Palestinian Authority has no jurisdiction or control over settlements or Israelis, pending the conclusion of a permanent status agreement.

Furthermore, Israel had established its settlements in the West Bank in accordance with international law. Attempts have been made to claim that the settlements violate Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949, which forbids a state from deporting or transferring "parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies." However, this allegation has no validity in law as Israeli citizens were neither deported nor transferred to the territories.

Even if the Fourth Geneva Convention were to apply to the territories, Article 49 would not be relevant to the issue of Jewish settlements. The Convention was drafted immediately following the Second World War, against the background of the massive forced population transfers that occurred during that period. As the International Red Cross' authoritative commentary to the Convention confirms, Article 49 (entitled "Deportations, Transfers, Evacuations") was intended to prevent the forcible transfer of civilians, thereby protecting the local population from displacement.

Israel has not forcibly transferred its citizens to the territory and the Convention does not place any prohibition on individuals voluntarily choosing their place of residence. Moreover, the settlements are not intended to displace Arab inhabitants, nor do they do so in practice. According to independent surveys, the built-up areas of the settlements (not including roads or unpopulated adjacent tracts) take up about 3% of the total territory of the West Bank.

The Fourth Geneva Convention was certainly not intended to prevent individuals from living on their ancestral lands or on property that had been illegally taken from them. Many present-day Israeli settlements have been established on sites that were home to Jewish communities in the West Bank (Judea and Samaria) in previous generations, in an expression of the Jewish people's deep historic and religious connection with the land. Many of the most ancient and holy Jewish sites, including the Cave of the Patriarchs (the burial site of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob) and Rachel's Tomb, are located in these areas. Jewish communities, such as in Hebron (where Jews lived until they were massacred in 1929), existed throughout the centuries. Other communities, such as the Gush Etzion bloc in Judea, were founded before 1948 under the internationally endorsed British Mandate.

For more than a thousand years, the only time that Jewish settlement was prohibited in the West Bank was under the Jordanian occupation (1948-1967) that resulted from an armed invasion. During this period of Jordanian rule, which was not internationally recognized, Jordan eliminated the Jewish presence in the West Bank (as Egypt did in the Gaza Strip) and declared that the sale of land to Jews was a capital offense. It is untenable that this outrage could invalidate the right of Jews to establish homes in these areas, and accordingly, the legal titles to land that had already been acquired remain valid to this day.

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 09:03 PM | Comments (0)

April 04, 2008

Sen. John McCain interviewed in Israel – “An Unequivocally Pro-Israel Platform”

From article by Herb Keinon and David Horowitz, Editor

The International Jerusalem Post, April 3, 2008

Question: You have an ethos about not declaring a war unless you are prepared to win it. How do you apply that in a world where warfare is very different now, and where - in the Israeli case — we are fighting these asymmetrical missile wars, launched from civilian neighborhoods, where hitting back necessarily affects civilians?

McCain: I can only put it into the broad statement that we are in a titanic struggle, and will be for the foreseeable future, between radical Islamic extremism and the forces of freedom and democracy and everything we value and treasure. The nature of the enemy is hydra-headed, it is multi-dimensional, and the struggle is military, diplomatic, intelligence and ideological.... We’re going to have to succeed in all these areas.

Iran is a threat to the entire region. The latest information is that they are arming and training extremists in Iran that come out of Iraq and sending them back in. They are obviously supporting Hizbullah. They are obviously pursuing nuclear weapons. They continue to have an influence in the southern part of Iraq, as we all know. The influence they appear to have over Syria is very apparent; as a result, the challenge of Iran is a very large one. In addition, I have said we have many areas and ways to pursue this part of the struggle.

I view Iran as part of this large struggle, one that is going to require the closest coordination, cooperation and assistance — and at the end of the day, we have many options to pursue. But, at the end of the day, we can still not afford to have Iran with nuclear weapons [because of the threat to Israel, the nuclearization of the region, proliferation of nuclear weapons in the region, the threat it poses to other nations, as well as Israel. We know they have ambitions that are not just aimed at Israel, [such as] destabilization of the entire region upon which United States national security interests rest.

By the way, how do you define victory? In counter-insurgencies, and Iraq has turned into a counterinsurgency, you win over time and you succeed gradually.... There’s no peace-signing [ceremony]. There’s no Camp David accord. There’s a gradual reduction of the influence and strength of the enemy.

Question: Let us ask some specifics about our struggle. First of all, in Gaza, the Palestinians voted fur Hamas and they are now in full control. Are there strategies that Israel can effectively pursue? How do you win an ideological struggle when the [Hamas] government is encouraging the extremists?

McCain: It is extremely difficult, but one of the lessons here is that if the government is not responsible to the people [it will fail]. Furthermore, we’ve seen that through history. Fatah, as we all know, did not provide social services and help the people the way Hamas did.

Chairman Mao said first you feed the stomach, and then you feed the brain. I’m not the greatest admirer of Chairman Mao, but he was pretty smart in some ways. Shouldn’t Fatah have understood the lesson here and taken care of the people? So all I can say is that we have to try to regain the ideological high ground on Gaza. I do not know how exactly you do that. I’ve been involved in these issues for 25 years, but I can’t give you a formula.

I cannot say this is how you get Gaza back to some kind of government amenable to a peaceful outcome. I can say that we ought to help Abbas and ought to help Fatah. But, we also ought to make it very dear to them about the need to take care of the people who are living in very bad conditions, as we all know.

Question: Should Israel engage with Hamas?

McCain: I don’t think so. However, let me say this. I don’t think I am the person to make that decision. That is the decision of a freely elected democratic government. I’ve made it a practice for the last 25 years to say, “I trust this government, I trust its leaders.” My job as a senator, and in any position of leadership I might hold, is to work with the government of Israel, not dictate to the government of Israel what I think is the solution:

My personal feeling is that no [Israel should not talk to Hamas], because someone is going to have to answer me the question of how you are going to negotiate with an organization that is dedicated to your extinction. That is my personal view. However, I am not going to tell the government of Israel, which may see an opportunity, [what to do]. But, I don’t see it myself.

Question: The Palestinian argument to counter what you said is that they are trying to improve things, but that Israel, with settlement expansion, is making it very hard for them, that the Israelis are playing into the hands of the extremists?

McCain: I’ve heard, listened, and been briefed 200 to 300 times throughout the years, and I understand and agree with our government spokesperson who urges “restraint,” which is what the Bush administration recently said.
But I also understand that there are some isolated settlements that will also be closed down. That’s a tough decision for the [Israeli] government. I’ve seen the film when they go in and remove people from settlements, and it is a democracy.

My job is not to make a decision as to whether the settlements should be expanded or not, but rather my job, I think, is to try to create conditions that would lead to negotiations and a settlement grounded on the belief that it is not just [about] my commitment to the state of Israel. If Hamas/Hizbullah succeeds here, they are going to succeed everywhere, not only in the Middle East, but everywhere, and Israel is not the only enemy. They are dedicated to the extinction of everything that the US, Israel and the West believes and stands for. Therefore, America does have an interest in what happens here, far above and beyond our alliance with the state of Israel...

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 05:27 AM | Comments (0)

April 02, 2008

Naive US and Western Europeans create their own future poison

Kosovo

By Rael Jean Isaac, Editor

Outpost Magazine
April 2008

It’s not often we side with Russian and China but by ignoring Serbia’s legitimate claims to Kosovo (legally part of Serbia and the cradle of its civilization) and promoting another Moslem state in the Balkans, the Bush administration is taking a step profoundly inimical to the interests of the U.S., the West and international stability

It has split the EU, with countries like Spain, worried about its own Basque separatists, opposing recognition. Needless to say, the 57 country Organization of the Islamic Conference is enthusiastic—which should be enough in itself to give the West pause. EU foreign ministers supportive of Kosovo’s unilateral declaration of independence drafted a statement declaring this a “one-of event ” which shouldn’t set a precedent elsewhere. But of course it will set a precedent, encouraging geographically concentrated ethnic minorities to follow in the Kosovo Liberation Army’s footsteps, using violence and the threat of violence to achieve their aims.

British Foreign Secretary David Miliband said the EU was eager to close the book on “two decades of violence and conflict and strife” in the western Balkans. For Miliband and anyone else who thinks this will foster stability or multi-cultural harmony in the Balkans, there’s a bridge for sale in Brooklyn. On the contrary, George Friedman asserts in the Stratford intelligence newsletter, the U.S. and the EU are tossing out the principle that has formed the basis for European stability since World War II, namely that outside powers cannot redefine recognized international boundaries, which can be changed only through mutual agreement.

On the truly important issues—reining in Iran’s nuclear weapons program, putting pressure on North Korea to live up to its commitments—the U.S. will have undercut such ability as it had to obtain Russian and Chinese cooperation. Indeed the Russians could well step up support for Iran as a response to the West’s ignoring what Russia has defined as a fundamental interest.

Moreover, for what purpose is the U.S. recognizing Kosovo’s independence? As a Washington Times editorial (Feb. 19) noted, the Kosovo Liberation Army (whose veterans are bound to assume a major role in an independent Kosovo) was among the first international terror groups linked to al Qaeda in the late 1990s - its members training at al Qaeda training camps. Lawlessness and terrorism are likely to fester inside an independent Kosovo, an economic basket case rife with mafia-style criminal gangs, drug running and corruption, just like adjoining Moslem Albania. (Does the term “Palestine” come to mind? Jsk). In the clash of civilizations, the U.S. has just struck a blow for the other side.

As for the frequently cited bromide, that the Kosovars are “moderate Moslems,” Israeli Knesset member Aryeh Eldad reminds us “it was from these moderate Moslems that Haj Amin El-Husseini gathered tens of thousands of volunteers for the 13th SS Division (Handschar) and 21st SS Division (Skanderbeg).” On them, he built his dream of marching with Hitler’s armies into Palestine and destroying the Jews of (then) Palestine.

For Israel, the implications are ominous. In the December 2007 Outpost, we quoted a paper published by the Begin-Sadat center: “The theory that outside powers can award part of a state’s sovereign territory to a violent ethnic or religious minority would put in question not only Judea and Samaria. - But even such areas as the southern Galilee and parts of the Negev, where non-Jews have, or may eventually acquire, local majorities.”

Going further, Israel Harel, writing in Haaretz (Feb. 21), says, “Kosovo is already here.” He notes that in Galilee the Arabs are already a majority with Jews steadily leaving the area since the Arab riots of October 2000, which cut off access to Jewish communities there. Similarly, in the Negev, Harel writes, “the Bedouin are taking over large stretches of land almost without hindrance. This inertia will probably continue, with the Zionist state financing a population that is de facto establishing a Palestinian state within the sovereign State of Israel—separate, of course, from the Palestinian state that the Arabs are pushing for in Judea and Samaria.”

Serbia at least has Russia and China backing her claims to Kosovo, which has meant the UN, where they exercise veto power, could not be used as an instrument for giving legitimacy to Kosovo’s independence. With the U.S. apparently endorsing the principle that a local majority trumps recognized boundaries, Israel, could find itself cut into small ribbons by a unanimous Security Council any time in the future.

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 07:25 PM | Comments (0)