July 31, 2008

Barack Obama selects yet another anti-Israel advisor

By Emanuel A. Winston, Middle East Analyst

It is said that you are known by the company you keep. Daniel Kurtzer is now an advisor about the Middle East to Barack Obama, presumptive Democratic candidate for President. You may recall that Kurtzer was one of James Baker’s select pool of what came to be known pejoratively as "Baker’s Jew-Boys.” Baker’s team of Dennis Ross, Daniel Kurtzer and Aaron Miller (later joined by Martin Indyk) and Richard Haase became famous - infamous to some - because they seemed dedicated to Baker’s Plan to eviscerate the Jewish State of Israel. Yes, Kurtzer is the "perfect" advisor to Obama, thereby stamping him as a clone of James Baker’s ideology.

By Ruth Matar (Women in Green)
Jerusalem Thursday, July 17, 2008

I was deeply shocked to learn that presidential candidate Barack Hussein Obama has appointed Daniel Kurtzer as his key Middle East adviser!
Kurtzer, a former U.S. Ambassador to Israel, has long been recognized by Israel leaders, including prime ministers, as biased against Israel and is notorious for urging extreme concessions from the Jewish State.
The first time I came across the name Daniel Kurtzer was in December 2003, when, as U.S. Ambassador to Israel, he instructed Israel Defense Minster Shaul Mofaz that Migron, a community in the Judean Hills just minutes from Jerusalem, had to be the first "Jewish settlement" to be evacuated, so as to make possible a contiguous Palestinian State.

Migron had actually been approved by Sharon and the Defense Ministry. In fact, successive previous defense ministers have insisted that Migron was essential strategically and must never be abandoned. It had been built on land completely owned by Jews and its residents had the legal papers to prove these facts.

This affair is more than shameful on more than one level; Israel's Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, under heavy American pressure, made the decision to destroy Migron, and Kurtzer, a supposedly Orthodox religious Jew lent himself to the attempt to the destroy the Jewish State, because of personal ambition.
Women in Green decided to demonstrate against the forcible evacuation of Migron. Two bus loads of Women in Green traveled to Migron. We brought refreshments for the adults and a teddy bear for each child. At least the small children of Migron would than each have a teddy bear to hug!


By Aaron Klein of WorldNetDaily (May 13, 2008)

JERUSALEM - Jerusalem must be included in any negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, stressed Sen. Barack Obama's Middle East adviser Daniel Kurtzer. "It will be impossible to make progress on serious peace talks without putting the future of Jerusalem on the table," Kurtzer said yesterday at a conference organized by the Jewish People Policy Planning Institute (JPPPI).

Kurtzer, a former U.S. ambassador to Israel, has long been recognized by Israeli leaders, including prime ministers, as biased against Israel and is notorious for urging extreme concessions from the Jewish state. He was appointed as a primary Obama adviser on the Middle East earlier this year.
During a discussion panel yesterday, Kurtzer reportedly went on to fault the Bush administration for not doing enough to pressure Israel into dividing Jerusalem. In reaction, JPPPI head Yechezkel Dror said Jerusalem must become the cultural center of the Jewish people.

Israel recaptured eastern Jerusalem, including the Temple Mount - Judaism's holiest site - during the 1967 Six Day War. The Palestinians have claimed eastern Jerusalem as a future capital; the area has large Arab neighborhoods, a significant Jewish population and sites holy to Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

Tens of thousands of Arab complexes in eastern Jerusalem were constructed illegally on land purchased by the Jewish National Fund, a Jewish nonprofit organization that purportedly raises donor funds for the purpose of Jewish settlement, WND previously exposed.

Obama's appointment of Kurtzer raised eyebrows among the pro-Israel Jewish community. "We oppose the appointment of Kurtzer because of his long, documented record of hostility to and severe pressure upon Israel," said Zionist Organization of America National Chairman Morton Klein.Kurtzer has been blasted by mainstream Jewish organizations, including the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.

He has angered Israeli leaders many times for pushing Israel into what they described as extreme concessions to the Palestinians. "With Jews like Kurtzer, it is impossible to build a healthy relationship between Israel and the United States," Benjamin Netanyahu was quoted saying in 2001 by Israel's Haaretz newspaper.

Former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir said Kurtzer "frequently pressured Israel to make one-sided concessions to the Arabs; he constantly blamed Israel for the absence of Mid-east peace, and paid little or no attention to the fact that the Palestinians were carrying out terrorist attacks and openly calling for the destruction of Israel."

Morris Amitay, former executive director of the America-Israel Public Affairs
Committee, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency in 2001: "Kurtzer will use his Jewishness as a protective cover for his anti-Israel views."
The ZOA points out Israel's leading daily, Yediot Ahronot, editorialized on Kurtzer's negative influence against Israel: "Possibly more than any other U.S. State Department official, Kurtzer has been instrumental in promoting the goals of the Palestinians and in raising their afflictions to the center of the U.S. policymakers' agenda," the paper stated.

Kurtzer first rose to prominence in 1988 when as a State Department adviser he counseled the Reagan administration to recognize the Palestine Liberation Organization led by Yasser Arafat. The PLO had carried out scores of anti-Western attacks, but in the late ‘80s, Arafat "claimed" to have renounced violence.

In 1988, Kurtzer was noted as the principal author of a major policy speech by then-Secretary of State George Shultz in which the U.S. government first recognized the "legitimate rights" of the Palestinians. Haaretz reported in 2001 that Kurtzer had a "vocal conflict" with an Israeli government official in Philadelphia in the summer of 1990 after Kurtzer "attacked the Israeli government for refusing to include the PLO in the peace process [and] said that this constituted the main obstacle to peace"

In Kurtzer's latest book, "Negotiating Arab-Israeli Peace: American Leadership in the Middle East," he largely blames Israel for the collapse of U.S.-brokered negotiations at Camp David. Contradicting accounts by the immediate parties to the negotiations - President Bill Clinton and Prime Minister Ehud Barak, both of whom he squarely blamed Arafat for refusing to make peace, Kurtzer argues in his book Israel did not offer enough concessions to the Palestinians. This statement despite the fact that at Camp David, Israel offered Arafat a state in the Gaza Strip, West Bank and eastern Jerusalem with Ehud Barak also offering Arafat the upper sections of the Temple Mount!

(How many anti-Israel appointments by Obama will it take to finally awaken American Jews to the true nature of their hero? Or, do they just not give a damn?) Jsk

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 08:49 PM | Comments (0)

July 29, 2008

Oh my gosh! Even the Lefty NY Times is wising up to Barack Obama!

Playing Innocent Abroad

By David Brooks, Editorial Writer
The New York Times, July 25, 2008

Radical optimism is America’s contribution to the world. The early settlers thought America’s founding would bring God’s kingdom to earth. John Adams thought America would emancipate “the slavish part of mankind all over the earth? Woodrow Wilson and George W. Bush preached their own gospels of world democracy.

Barack Obama is certainly a true American. In the first major foreign policy speech of his campaign, delivered in Chicago last year, he vowed a comprehensive initiative to “ensure that every child, everywhere, is taught to build and not to destroy.” America, he said, must promote dignity across the world, not just democracy. It must “lead the world in battling immediate evils and promoting the ultimate good.”

In Berlin on Thursday, it was more of the same. Speaking before a vast throng (and a surprising number of Yankees hats), he vowed to help “remake the world.” He offered hope that a history-drenched European continent could “choose its own tomorrow free from the shadows of yesterday.” He envisioned “a new dawn in the Middle East.”

Obama’s tone was serious. However, he pulled out his “this is our moment” rhetoric and offered visions of a world transformed. Obama speeches almost always have the same narrative arc. Some problem threatens. The odds are against the forces of righteousness. Nevertheless, people of good faith unite and walls come tumbling down. Obama used the word “walls” 16 times in the Berlin speech, and in 11 of those cases, he was talking about walls coming down.

The Berlin blockade was thwarted because people came together. Apartheid ended because people came together and walls tumbled. Winning the cold war was the same: “People of the world,” Obama declared, “look at Berlin, where a wall came down, a continent came together and history proved there is no challenge too great for a world that stands as one.”

When I first heard this sort of radically optimistic speech in Iowa, I have to confess my American soul was stirred. It seemed like the overture for a new yet quintessentially American campaign. But, now it is more than half a year on, and the post-partisanship of Iowa has given way to the post-nationalism of Berlin, and it turns out that the vague overture is the entire symphony. The golden rhetoric impresses less; the evasion of hard choices strikes one more.

When John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan went to Berlin, their rhetoric soared, but their optimism was grounded in the reality of politics, conflict and hard choices. Kennedy didn’t dream of the universal brotherhood of man. He drew lines that reflected hard realities: “There are some who say, in Europe and elsewhere, we can work with the Communists. Let them come to Berlin.” Reagan didn’t call for a kumbaya moment. He cited tough policies that sparked harsh political disagreements — the deployment of U.S. missiles in response to the Soviet SS-20s — but still worked.

In Berlin, Obama made exactly one point with which it was possible to disagree. In the best paragraph of the speech, Obama called on Germans to send more troops to Afghanistan. The argument will probably fall on deaf ears. The vast majority of Germans oppose that policy. But, at least Obama made an argument.

Much of the rest of the speech fed the illusion that we could solve our problems if only people mystically come together. We should help Israelis and Palestinians unite. We should unite to prevent genocide in Darfur. We should unite so the Iranians won’t develop nukes. Or, as Obama put it: “The walls between races and tribes, natives and immigrants, Christian and Muslim and Jew cannot stand. These now are the walls we must tear down.”

The great illusion of the 1990s was that we were entering an era of global convergence in which politics and power didn’t matter. What Obama offered in Berlin flowed right out of this mind-set. This was the end of history on acid. Since then, autocracies have arisen, the competition for resources has grown fiercer, Russia has clamped down, Iran is on the march. It will take politics and power to address these challenges, the two factors that dare not speak their name in Obama’s lofty peroration.

The odd thing is that Obama doesn’t really think this way. When he gets down to specific cases, he can be hard-headed. Last year, he spoke about his affinity for Reinhold Niebuhr, and their shared awareness that history is tragic and ironic and every political choice is tainted in some way.

However, he has grown accustomed to putting on this sort of saccharine show for the rock concert masses, and in Berlin, his act jumped the shark. His words drift far from reality, and not only when talking about the Senate Banking Committee. His Berlin Victory Columns treacle would have made Niebuhr sick to his stomach. Obama has benefited from a week of good images. But substantively, optimism without reality isn’t eloquence. It’s just Disney.

David Brooks' column has appeared on the Op-Ed page of The New York Times since September 2003. He is also currently a commentator on "The Newshour with Jim Lehrer." Mr. Brooks is the author of "Bobos In Paradise: The New Upper Class and How They Got There" and “On Paradise Drive : How We Live Now (And Always Have) in the Future Tense,” both published by Simon & Schuster.

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 05:22 PM | Comments (0)

July 28, 2008

American public turns on caribou deer and the cross-eyed pink owl

Public Opinion Shift

By Michael Barone

Sometimes public opinion doesn't flow smoothly; it shifts sharply when a tipping point is reached. Case in point: gas prices. $3 a gallon gas didn't change anybody's mind about energy issues. $4 a gallon gas did. Evidently, the experience of paying more than $50 for a tank full gets people thinking we should stop worrying so much about global warming and the environmental dangers of oil wells on the outer continental shelf and in Alaska. Drill now! Nuke the caribou!

Our system of divided government and litigation-friendly regulation makes it hard for our society to do things and easy for adroit lobbyists and lawyers to stop them. Nations with more centralized power and less democratic accountability find it easier: France and Japan generate most of their electricity by nuclear power and Chicago, where authority is more centralized and accountability less robust than in most of the country, depends more on nuclear power than almost all the rest of the nation.

In contrast, lobbyists and litigators for environmental restriction groups have produced energy policies that I suspect future generations will regard as lunatic. We haven't built a new nuclear plant for some 30 years, since a Jane Fonda movie exaggerated their dangers. We have allowed states to ban oil drilling on the outer continental shelf, prompted by the failure of 40 or 50-year-old technology in Santa Barbara, Calif., in 1969, though current technology is much better, as shown by the lack of oil spills in the waters off Louisiana and Mississippi during Hurricane Katrina.

We have banned oil drilling on a very small portion of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge that is godforsaken tundra (I have been to the North Slope oil fields, similar terrain -- I know) for fear of disturbing a herd of caribou -- a species of hoofed animals that is in no way endangered or scarce.

The ANWR ban is the work of environmental restriction groups that depend on direct-mail fundraising to pay their bills and keep their jobs. That means they must always claim the sky is falling. They can't get people to send a check or mouse-click a donation because they did a good job, the restrictions they imposed on the Alaska pipeline in the 1970s have done a good job in preserving the environment or because clean air acts of the past have vastly reduced air pollution.

ANWR is a precious cause for them because it can be portrayed (dishonestly) as a national treasure and because the pressure for drilling there has been unrelenting. Democrats have enlisted solidly in their army, and they have also, been able to recruit Republicans who wanted to get good environmental scorecards to impress environ-conscious voters in states like Florida, New Jersey and Minnesota.

Now all that is in danger, because the pain of paying $60 for a tank of gas has convinced most Americans to worry less about the caribou or the recurrence of an oil spill that happened 39 years ago. Democratic leaders are preventing Congress from voting on continental shelf and ANWR drilling or oil shale development because they fear their side would lose and are making the transparently absurd claim that drilling won't lower the price of oil. They're scampering to say that they would allow drilling somewhere -- mostly in places where the oil companies haven't found any oil.

In a country with less in the way of checks and balances, which can be gamed by adroit lobbyists and litigators, we would be building more nuclear plants, and would be drilling offshore and in ANWR. We would be phasing out the corn ethanol subsidies that are enriching Iowa farmers and impoverishing Mexican tortilla eaters, and we would be repealing the 54-cent tariff on Brazilian sugar ethanol (the sugar for which would be produced not in defoliated Amazon rainforests but in the desolate and currently unused certao).

On balance, of course, I prefer our system to the more centralized, less accountable systems of France and Japan (and Barack Obama's Chicago). But it sure does have its costs. But it also has its benefits: Public opinion, when it has changed as it has with $4 gas, has an effect. Environmental restrictionists, like Al Gore have been selling a form of secular religion: We have sinned against Mother Earth, we must atone and suffer, there can be no argument but we must have faith.

That was an appealing argument to many, perhaps most, Americans when gas was selling for $1.40. It has a much more limited appeal now that gas is selling for $4.10. The time may be coming when our lunatic environmental policies are swept away by a rising tide of common sense.

Michael Barone is a senior writer with U.S. News & World Report and the principal co-author of The Almanac of American Politics, published by National Journal every two years. He is also author of Our Country: The Shaping of America from Roosevelt to Reagan, The New Americans: How the Melting Pot Can Work Again, the just-released Hard America, Soft America: Competition vs. Coddling and the Competition for the Nation's Future.

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 07:02 AM | Comments (0)

July 26, 2008

US, UN, EU and Israel collusion in Useful Idiocy

By Professor Paul EidelbergThe Jewish Press, July 18, 2008

The fact that Israel’s ruling elites seek peace with Islamic despots means they do not understand or take Islam seriously. Idiocy — some would say insanity; others would say moral relativism — has rendered these elites impervious to the enormity of evil. They are certainly impervious to history. For example: Since the inception of Islam, 14 centuries ago, Muslims have slaughtered millions of human beings in the name of Allah! This mania for murder is called “jihad.” Jihad makes Islam a ruthless and demonic religion whose deity is a façade for deeply rooted Arab paganism.

Israel’s ruling elites know nothing of this — or so it seems. They are oblivious of the inexorable conflict between Islam and civilization, two basic principles of which are tolerance and hatred of violence. These benighted elites ignore the plain fact that Islam cannot make genuine and abiding peace with “infidels” without ceasing to be Islam.

Israeli prime ministers have released more than 2000 Muslim terrorists who have subsequently murdered more than 300 Jews. Lenin would call these prime ministers “useful idiots.” These idiots are witless patrons of Arab terrorism. Of course, such useful idiots are everywhere. What is one to say of American politicians and diplomats who want to negotiate with Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a despot who openly aspires to a world without the United States?

When all is said and done, however, Israel’s government wins the Prize for Idiocy. I don’t think any other government has a policy of releasing, arming and paying terrorists — although the government of the United States has been complicit in this idiotic policy. Come to think of it, the world’s capital of useful idiots is New York, home of the United Nations, of which Israel is so proud to be a member. Although Shimon Peres, Israel’s useful idiot par excellence, boasts that we can learn nothing from history, allow me to bore you.

1) In December 1970, after seven terrorist attacks during the previous seven months, the UN General Assembly passed a resolution recognizing the “inalienable rights of the Palestinian people.” Only useful idiots in the West genuflect to the myth of a “Palestinian people,” a conglomeration of rival Arab tribes and clans with no culture or language that can be called “Palestinian.”

2) In November 1974, PLO chief Yasser Arafat was allowed to speak at the UN General Assembly, becoming the first non-state leader to do so. A few days later, the UN granted observer status to the PLO, the world’s leading terrorist organization. Arafat now had a base from which to make more idiots useful.

3) Thus, in 1978, President Jimmy Carter, America’s most useful idiot, allowed the PLO to establish an office in Washington, D.C.!

4) During 1979, Arafat was welcomed to European capitals as if he was a head of state. (America has no monopoly on useful idiots.)

5) In 1982, Pope John Paul II received Yasser Arafat in Rome. The Pope had at least five meetings with Arafat, more than he would ordinarily have with heads of state! In this case, however, the Pope, though useful, was not an idiot.

6) In September 1993, Arafat signed the Oslo Accords on the White House lawn. Though known to have ordered the assassination of two American diplomats in Khartoum in 1978, four former American presidents applauded Arafat: Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, George H. W. Bush and Ronald Reagan.

7) In December 1994, the godfather of international terrorism received a Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo together with Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres.

8) Finally, let’s not forget that Columbia University recently honored Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. But then, as Nietzsche said, “great learning and great stupidity go well together under the same hat.” Or, as George Orwell put it — apropos of the peace process: “One has to belong to the intelligentsia to believe things like that. No ordinary man could be such a fool.”

Ouch! (jsk)

Professor Paul Eidelberg is the founder and president of the Foundation for Constitutional Democracy, a Jerusalem-based thin tank for improving Israel’s system of governance. He can be reached through the FCD website: http://www.foundation1.org

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 10:54 PM | Comments (0)

July 24, 2008

What Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and most Media don't want you to read

Jeffrey T. Kuhner

The Washington Times, July 21, 2008

President Bush was right to invade Iraq. His 2003 decision to topple Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein will go down in history as one of the most courageous acts of statesmanship of the early 21st century. Contrary to the claims of antiwar critics, Mr. Bush did not manipulate the intelligence to justify the Iraq invasion, nor has he waged the “wrong war in the wrong place at the wrong time?’

It was longstanding U.S. policy throughout the 1990s to champion regime change in Iraq. The Clinton administration — backed by Congress — supported the Iraq Liberation Act, which authorized the overthrow of Saddam. The United States was convinced the Iraqi strongman possessed chemical and biological weapons, as well as an advanced nuclear program. Saddam had used chemical weapons in the 1980s during his war with Iran. He also used them against Iraq’s Kurds, killing thousands.

Despite countless United Nations resolutions insisting Saddam completely dismantle and verifiably dispose his weapons of mass destruction, the Butcher of Baghdad embarked upon a deliberate policy of deceit and obfuscation. Thumbing his nose at the international community, he effectively kicked out U.N. weapons inspectors.

In 1998, President Clinton responded by launching Operation Desert Fox, a four-day bombing campaign that targeted Iraq’s command-and-control facilities. “You allow someone like Saddani Hussein to get nuclear weapons, ballistic missiles, chemical weapons, biological weapons. How many people is he going to kill with such weapons?” said then-Vice President Al Gore. “We are not going to allow him to succeed.”

In fact, it was not Mr. Bush who made it a national priority to depose Saddam. It was a bipartisan foreign policy consensus. Moreover, the CIA and nearly every foreign intelligence agency believed Saddam had weapons of mass destruction (WMDs).

Following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, the Iraqi tyrant posed a clear and present danger to America’s security. The policy of containment was crumbling. Through the corruption of the U.N.’s oil-for-food program, Saddam accumulated more than $21 billion in kickbacks and pay-offs. This large personal fortune enabled him to rebuild his military. Saddam was more than simply a kleptocratic despot: He was a pan-Arab fascist, who sought to dominate the Middle East and assist the forces of Islamic terrorism in their jihad against America (and Israel).

Saddam erected a totalitarian state and murdered more than 2 million Iraqis. He crushed political dissent. He waged wars of aggression against Iran and Kuwait. He sought to assassinate the elder President Bush in 1993. He was the only world leader to publicly celebrate the Sept. 11 attacks. He provided a safe haven to key al Qaeda operatives, such as Abu Musab Zarqawi. His intelligence services financed Ansar al-Islam, a radical Islamic terrorist group whose members were being trained in al Qaeda camps in Afghanistan. His regime cooperated with jihadists in Somalia who sought to murder Americans.

In short, Saddam’s Iraq had forged an unholy alliance with Islamists bent on destroying America. The fact that WMDs were never found in Iraq doesn’t mean Saddam never had them — it just means they were never found. David Kay, the head of the Iraq Survey Group, which was tasked to find the WMD stockpiles, said he discovered evidence some WMDs were transported to Syria. In the lead-up to the war, US intelligence satellite photos also showed convoys of Iraqi trucks crossmg the Syrian border.

However, even if Saddam had eliminated his stockpiles, removing him from power was still the necessary —and right — thing to do. As the Iraqi tyrant later confessed to FBI interrogators, he planned to resume his WMD programs, especially his nuclear weapons project, once international sanctions had collapsed. His programs were still largely intact. He also possessed the equipment to reconstitute a full-fledged WMD arsenal. Mr. Kay testified to the Senate that the Iraqi regime was scheming to sell valuable WMD know-how to the highest bidder — including terrorist groups such as al Qaeda. It was only a matter of time before Saddam re-emerged as a grave international threat.

Mr. Bush did the United States and the world a favor by overthrowing Saddam. America’s action liberated 27 million Iraqis from totalitarian rule; removed a regional menace; drove a stake into the heart of a murky network of Islamists and their state sponsors; and established a liberal democracy that has the potential to transform the Arab world.

Mr. Bush is similar to President Harry Truman: a national-security hawk willing to stand up to America’s enemies. Truman confronted Soviet communism and fought an unpopular but necessary war in Korea. Mr. Bush has laid the groundwork to defeat Islamic fascism. Just as Truman was vilified in his own age but later acknowledged a brave visionary, Mr. Bush eventually will also he vindicated. Iraq is the right war in the right place at the right time.

Jeffrey T. Kuhner is a columnist for The Washington Times.

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 07:35 AM | Comments (0)

July 22, 2008

The killer of a 4-year-old child cheered like a rock star.

By Mitch Albom
The Detroit Free Press, July 20, 2008

It was a ghastly trade, flesh and blood for two boxes of bones. Many criticized it. Some could not bear to watch it. But, if anything showed the difference between Israel and Hizballah in last week’s exchange of two dead Israeli soldiers for five live prisoners and 199 corpses, it was not the trade itself. It was the reaction.

In Israel, where the bodies of Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev arrived in black coffins, the mood was, according to reports, somber and mournful. Candles were lit. Prayers were recited. These two young soldiers, both students and reservists at the time, were captured in a cross-border raid two years ago by Hizballah guerrillas, setting off a small war that left 160 Israelis and 1,000 Lebanese dead.

Because the Israeli military vows to never leave a soldier on the battlefield, negotiations were held to get the two men back, even though most believed they were dead. Hizballah captured the two men to use them as bargaining chips and held firm to its demand that Israel free several prisoners, including Samir Kuntar.

Not Kuntar!, many Israelis said. He was serving life sentences for murdering three people in 1979: a police officer, a civilian named Danny Haran and Haran’s 4-year-old daughter, whose head Kuntar smashed on rocks and with his rifle butt. Haran’s wife, hiding her other baby from Kuntar, covered her mouth to stop her whimpering. The child suffocated.

Kuntar’s killings were regarded in Israel as the most brutal form of terrorism. The thought of freeing him went against every fiber of justice. But, last week, after almost 30 years behind bars, Kuntar was allowed to go by the Israeli authorities. And on Wednesday, he walked down a red carpet in Beirut and was kissed by the Hizballah leader and cheered like a rock star. Samir! Samir!” the crowd reportedly yelled. This for a man convicted of smashing a child’s head into pieces.

You can take whatever side you like in the Israeli-Palestinian debate. You can argue who is entitled to land, statehood and borders. But you cannot defend the frenzied love-fest that took place for Kuntar in Lebanon, as if he were some long-lost statesmen, instead of a common murderer who did the worst thing you can do: take the life of a child. What religion condones that? What holy book says that is a good thing? A banner in Beirut, according to the New York Times, read “God’s Achievement Through Our Hands.”

What God would have a child’s murder on anyone’s hands? How do people celebrate such a killer? Is it because the little girl was Israeli — and Israel is the enemy? Since when does a 4-year-old know of politics or war? Is it because Arab children got killed by Israelis? Yes, children undeniably die in bombings — on both sides. However, an Israeli soldier who deliberately smashed a child’s head on a rock should — and likely would — be tried as a criminal, not cheered like a hero.

The total disregard for life of anyone who does not believe what Hizballah believes stands in stark contrast to the value of life — and even of its demise — that Israel demonstrated in bringing those two bodies back. The families of Goldwasser and Regev were able to put their sons in the ground, to say good-bye, to end the wondering. That small act meant something to the government, which voted on the exchange. In the midst of the never-ending conflict Israel faces, that says an awful lot.

Meanwhile, here is what Kuntar said to the cheering crowd: “I return from Palestine only to go back to Palestine, I promise families in Palestine that we are coming back, me and my brothers in the resistance.” You’ll note he never says the word “Israel.” To men like Kuntar, Israel does not exist and should never exist. He and the terrorist group that freed him (and you can install Hizballah into all the government seats you want, a terrorist group is still a terrorist group) want a world in which Israel has no place. The Jews should be driven into the sea.

With a philosophy like that, it may be hard to expect remorse. But if you can justify Hizballah calling a national holiday to cheer home a child murderer, there is no talking to you. There is only mourning — as there were over two coffins last week — for a world in which such things and such thinking can take place.

MITCH ALBOM, multiple award winning journalist at Detroit Free Press malbom@freepress.com

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 03:17 PM | Comments (0)

July 20, 2008

Senator McCain on the death of captured Israeli soldiers

Thursday, July 17, 2008 (Arlington, VA)

U.S. Senator John McCain issued the following statement on the passing of Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser:

"I wish to extend my deepest condolences to the families of Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser. When I met the Regev and Goldwasser families in Israel, I was moved by their profound love for their sons, who were kidnapped by Hezbollah in the summer of 2006.

Now we know that Eldad and Ehud made the ultimate sacrifice for the country terrorist groups supported by state sponsors of terror like Syria and Iran pose a severe threat to Israel.

Our democratic ally is under siege, and these two deaths are just the latest in a long line of brave Israelis who have been killed by vicious terrorists.

Though we mourn the loss of Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser, we are reminded by this that we must never waver in our support for Israel, and we continue to demand the release of Gilad Shalit, taken captive by Hamas and held illegally since the summer of 2006."

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 03:22 AM | Comments (0)

July 18, 2008

Total Corruption at the very top of the Israeli Government

By Steve K. Walz
The Jewish Press, July 4, 2008

The political second “marriage of convenience” between Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Defense Minister Ehud Barak last week not only showed how much Barak has not changed since he was booted out as prime minister in 2001, it also depicted how Olmert is literally challenging the country’s constituency, electoral system and judiciary to try and get rid of him. To date, the seemingly Teflon prime minister has beaten back every effort to topple him from power, even as polls show that he is perhaps the most despised Israeli leader in modern times.

For the past year, Attorney General Menachem Mazuz has been sitting on a mound of evidence that implicates Olmert in a series of alleged shady dealings — some having nothing to do with Morris Talansky. And even as you read this column, Israeli police investigators have fanned out across New York and at least one other state searching for bank records, hotel receipts, etc.

Why Mazuz has waited this long to hand down a criminal indictment against Olmert is anyone’s guess, especially after Mazuz openly intimated that Olmert and his government lack moral and political credibility to govern this country. 0lmert is dragging Israel into “peace” negotiations that have no chance of succeeding, unless he literally surrenders nearly the entire country.

Meanwhile “Defense” Minister Barak refuses to obliterate the Hamas terror entity in Gaza, nor warn Hizbullah that they risk annihilation if they attempt to open an Iranian front on Israel’s northern border. Instead, Barak is biding his time hoping that Mazuz indicts Olmert, permitting him to be elected prime minister once more by defeating Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu.

The fantasy world that both Olmert and Barak have created for themselves and their political groupies in the Knesset has made for a dangerous situation that will only get worse. When the parents of kidnapped soldiers are allowed to bypass the government and petition the Supreme Court (which has no business sticking its nose in state security matters) for their loved ones’ release, you know that the country is completely off kilter.

Ironically, Mazuz can also eliminate Barak’s political ambitions, based on files he possesses. They allegedly contain damaging information about Barak’s business and fund-raising activities. The attorney general has proven to be a huge disappointment because he has failed to go after the inherently corrupt political echelon head-on. Is it because the Israeli police department itself is so inept and corrupt that getting a slam-dunk conviction is almost impossible? Or is it because the Supreme Court, which also believes it cannot be touched or changed by the Knesset or Justice Ministry, will not allow a right-wing leaning nationalist government get elected and challenge its godlike authority?

Former president Moshe Katsav rejected Mazuz’s generous plea bargain and wants Mazuz to try him in a court of law, even though it is obvious.that Katsav would embarrass himself and the country. But, this charade by Katsav’s powerful cadre of lawyers underscores the weakness of Israel’s legal system. Can Mazuz’s staff be that inept that they are incapable of putting Katsav behind bars for his actions? Are the Israeli police a contemporary form of “Police Academy”?

To let Olmert continue with Barak for another year constitutes a true national security risk for Israel’s citizens. “Yom HaDin” (The Day of Judgment) with Hamas, Hizbullah and Iran are rapidly approaching, but Olmert and Barak are more interested in their imminent self-survival rather than the country’s long-term future. Mazuz is just as responsible as Olmert for the horrific state of the nation. In this case, legal inertia is just as dangerous as a Kassam attack because the longer Mazuz drags out his investigations against Olmert, the more the nation will suffer from Olmert’s dangerous, self-serving political games.

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 06:34 PM | Comments (0)

July 17, 2008

Mort Klein on Obama and Hagel

Morton A. Klein, National President Zionist Org. of America on:
Senators Barack Obama and Chuck Hagel

July 15, 2008

The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) is urging Democratic presidential candidate Senator Barack Obama to remove Senator Chuck Hagel (R-NE) from his retinue of advisers and as his possible vice-presidential running mate. The ZOA is urging Senator Obama to do this because of Senator Hagel's deeply worrying record on Israel and Islamist extremism. His anti-Israel record is such that the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) the leading Islamist lobby and apologist group in the United States, said on August 28, 2006, "Potential presidential candidates for 2008, like Hillary Clinton, John McCain, Joe Biden and Newt Gingrich, were falling all over themselves to express their support for Israel. The only exception to that rule was Senator Chuck Hagel" (Shmuel Rosner, 'The new "Obama advisor" problem: Senator Chuck Hagel,' Haaretz, July 14, 2008).

Past conduct of Senator Hagel:

· · August 2006: Hagel was one of only 12 Senators who refused to formally call upon the European Union to declare Hizballah a terrorist organization ('NJDC Criticizes Senators for Refusing to Call on EU to add Hezbollah to List of Terrorist Organizations,' National Jewish Democratic Council press release, August 7, 2006).
· · July 2006: At the outbreak of the Lebanon war, Hagel advocated giving Israel the time to break Hizballah, urging instead an immediate ceasefire ('Key Republican breaks with Bush on Mideast,' CNN.com, July 31, 2006).
· · December 2005: Hagel was one of only 27 senators who refused to sign a letter to President Bush urging him to pressure the Palestinian Authority (PA) to ban terrorist groups from participating in Palestinian legislative elections.
· · June 2004, Hagel refused to sign a letter urging President Bush to highlight Iran's nuclear program at the G-8 summit.
· · November 2001: Hagel was one of only 11 Senators who refused to sign a letter urging President Bush not to meet with the late Yasser Arafat until his forces ended the violence against Israel.
· · October 2000: Hagel was one of only 4 Senators who refused to sign a Senate letter in support of Israel.

Yet, despite this record, Senator Obama has touted Senator Hagel as one of his top advisers and included him on his upcoming trip to Germany, along with Senator Jack Reed (D-RI). Obama stated, "They're both experts on foreign policy, they reflect I think a traditional bipartisan wisdom when it comes to foreign policy, neither of them are ideologues but they try to get the facts right and make a determination about what's best for U.S. interests and they're good guys."

ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, "We are concerned about Senator Hagel, this most anti-Israel of Republican senators, becoming Senator Obama's vice-presidential running mate and also by the fact that Senator Hagel is advising Senator Obama on foreign policy questions. These developments increase already justified concerns felt widely throughout the American Jewish community that Senator Obama's recent professions of support for Israel are hollow.

"Senator Obama is on record as being very supportive of the Palestinians prior to running for high office. He has a record of association with rabid anti-Israel extremists like Rashid Khalidi, a former PLO spokesman and Ali Abunimah, who advocates the disappearance of Israel and its absorption into an Arab-dominated single state. Virtually without exception, his other past and present Middle East advisers – Zbigniew Brzezinski, Daniel Kurtzer, Robert Malley, General Merill 'Tony' McPeak, Samantha Power, Susan Rice – are hostile to Israel.
(I have also seen Madeleine Albright cozily sitting right at his side at recent press conferences. JsK)

"Until recently and for nearly twenty years, Senator Obama himself belonged to a black racist church and was close to its pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright. He disassociated himself from Wright and his church – not when Wright's racist, anti-Israel and anti-white rants became widely known – but only when it became politically damaging to maintain the connection.

"In recent weeks, Senator Obama made a bold statement about the need for Jerusalem to remain undivided – and then backtracked the very next day. It is also deeply worrying that Senator Hagel was conspicuously lacking in support for Israel defending itself during the 2006 Lebanon war, something that Senator Obama publicly – and rightly – supported.

"We urge Senator Obama to scotch rumors that he will appoint Senator Hagel as running mate and we urge Senator Obama to remove him as an adviser."

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 08:24 AM | Comments (0)

July 15, 2008

Will someone please tell Al Gore?

(As he continues to try and negotiate our economy into the dumpster with his self-serving nonsense.)

China rejects G8 on climate control


AP July 10, 2008

TOYAKO, Japan — China, India and other energy-guzzling developing nations rejected key elements of a global-warming strategy embraced by President George W. Bush and leaders of other wealthy nations and the United Nations’ top climate official dismissed the goals as insignificant.

The sharp criticism emerged at the close of a summit of the Group of Eight industrial powers that was dominated by the issue of how to address the warming Earth. (a concept roundly denied by hundreds of reputable scientists – jsk). The end of the session included developing nations but merely showcased a widening rift over the best approach.

It was the final G8 summit of Bush’s presidency, and he said “significant progress” occurred on fighting climate change when the, leaders agreed to slash global-warming gas emissions in half by 2050 and to insist that developing nations be part of any new international agreement. “In order to address climate change, all major economies must be at the table, and that’s what took place,” Bush said before boarding Air Force One to return to Washington.

The major economies are the world’s 16 largest global warming emittmg nations, accounting for 80% of the world’s air pollution. This was the first time their leaders had sat down together for climate discussions. But it ended with only a vague reference in their formal declaration to a long-term goal for reducing global emissions and a pledge for rich and poor countries to work together. Only a few of the emerging powers — Indonesia, Australia and South Korea — agreed to back the reduction target of 50% by 2050.

The five main developing nations — China, India, Brazil, and South Africa, which together represent 42% of the world’s population — issued a statement saying they rejected the notion that all should share in the 50% target, because wealthier countries have created most of the environmental damage up to now.

China President Hu Jintao said that “developed countries should make explicit commitments to continue to take the lead in emissions reduction.” “China’s central task now is to develop the economy and make life better for the people,” he said. “China’s per-capita emission is relatively low.” (because they have near 1.5 billion people to divide it!) jsk

Yvo de Boer, who leads UN negotiations to forge a new climate change treaty, challenged Bush’s optimistic assessment of the meetings. “I don’t find the outcome very significant,” de Boer said in the Netherlands. He said the target for reducing carbon emissions by 2050 mentioned no baseline, was not legally binding and was open to vastly different interpretations. The other G8 nations are Japan, Germany, Britain, France, Italy, Russia and Canada.

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 05:35 PM | Comments (0)

July 13, 2008

Islamism and the Supposed ‘Muslim Voting Bloc’

Redacted from an article by Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser

July 4, 2008

The modus operandi for the political empowerment of Islamists in America is in full public display during every election cycle. The sad part is few realize how central "Islamic politics" is to the driving force of transnational Islamism and its threat to American security. The incessant attempts by American Islamist groups (like the MAS, CAIR, MPAC, ISNA, ICNA to name a few) to collectivize Muslims in the body politic - from voter registrations to their ideological grievance mill - point to their goals.

What better way to push forth a quasi-theocratic political agenda than to deceive the Muslim faithful into believing that their political survival as a minority in America depends upon the mixture of their faith identity with their political identity? These same Islamists spread the ideology of victimization and identity politics among any Muslims who will listen while they internally promote political Islam and Islamist statecraft within the ummah (Muslim community). They use their efforts at Muslim electoral involvement to exploit the spiritual ummah for political purposes.

Most importantly, many in the mainstream media (MSM) and government turn to them to purportedly speak for the American Muslim population, even though they have no mandate or significant membership to do so. The fact is that they (the Wahhabi lobby working in tandem with for what all practical purposes appears to be the international Muslim Brotherhood network) only speak for their memberships, organizations and donors while certainly not representing the majority of American Muslims. But, what better way for them to cultivate future Islamists than to teach them and non-suspecting American media and government that the faith of Islam is intertwined with their political activism?

Forget party affiliation when they can indoctrinate their Muslim brethren that the Muslim ummah should become their political platform for societal and legal change and division. The mission is clear - first, build a political Muslim identity which drives the activism of American Muslims in their sway. Then, once that bond is created, slip in the agenda of political Islam driven by a domestic and foreign policy agenda which favors the interests of Islamists in government over other ideologies. Motivating a Muslim ‘bloc vote' is based upon this paradigm of Islamism for the Islamist minority.

Minority politics and the Islamist Agenda in America

In Western nations like the United States where Muslims are a small minority (less than 2% of the population) in a free election system where the laws of the land are secular, Islamist organizations must be far more cunning. They have quickly co-opted the propaganda of victimology and identity politics in order to collectivize American Muslims under their Islamist banners and exploit the grand deception that Muslims are monolithic.

Forget the diversity of political opinions within the Muslim community. Forget the wide spectra of political ideology in both domestic and foreign policy with which devout Muslims may agree or disagree. The Islamist movement depends upon the motivating propaganda of victimology and identity while dismissing any genuine ideological debate on issues vital to America first.

Since 2000, these same eleven American Muslim organizations have set out to empower a "Muslim voting bloc." They then formed the American Muslim Political Coordination Committee-PAC. Back in 2000 on the heels of their lukewarm endorsement of then-Gov. George W. Bush, they, along with many other ‘American voting blocs', went on to claim credit for President Bush's narrow victory. This year, the same PAC is moving toward a similar strategy claiming that the three priorities for Muslim voters are civil rights, a fair immigration policy and ending the war in Iraq. This is clearly an Islamist agenda focused on victimology, identity politics and the advocacy of Islamist interests in Iraq and abroad.

Talk to non-Islamist Muslims not affiliated with these organizations and you will find an agenda which more closely mirrors that of general America - the economy, health care, and national security. The Islamist agenda is simply to exaggerate their Muslim grievance mill so that candidates who are loath to be identified as anti-Muslim will divert the attention of the nation completely away from the national security problems associated with various Muslim ideologies contained within the global movements of political Islam. Again, gone is any discussion of an approach nationally to the forces of global political Islam - other than appeasement.

Empowering Islamist Movements hampers anti-Islamists

It is certainly within the rights of any minority community to unite, circle the wagons, and affect democracy - many certainly do. But, a faith-based voting bloc of Islamists, who are the embodiment of political Islam, is blurring the line between religion and state far too much. It compromises a central element in the defeat of radical Islamism and our counter terrorism efforts - the defeat of the ideology of political Islam (ends) and the fuel for radical Islamism (the means).

Political Islam and its stated goals fly in the face of our nation's principles that led to the tax exemption status for religious organizations. Isn't the establishment of this so-called Muslim voting bloc one step closer to the behaviors of the theocrats that our ancestors in the Middle Eastern community left behind by coming to the U.S?

It is time for media, government and American citizens to understand and expose the deception that the Islamist agenda is somehow with little critique related to a larger Muslim spiritual agenda. A healthy distrust of the Islamist agenda will actually go a long way toward empowering non-Islamist Muslims to rise against the collectivist behaviors of Islamists on our behalf.

Separating the agenda of political Islam from Islam will need a much deeper reform within our theology. We need to separate the ummah from national politics and Sharia from government. But this will take decades - if not generations, much like it did for the Enlightenment in the West. In the meantime, we should at least refrain from accepting the mixture of the agenda of Islamists with that of all American Muslims. And American Muslims who continue to try and circle their wagons and exploit tribalism, need ask themselves just one question - how relevant would their voting bloc be if American Christians voted en bloc in the upcoming 2008 elections?

M. Zuhdi Jasser is the founder and Chairman of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy based in Phoenix Arizona. He is a former U.S. Navy Lieutenant Commander, a physician in private practice and a community activist. He can be reached at Zuhdi@aifdemocracy.org

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

July 11, 2008

Who do the Israelis prefer – McCain or Obama?

War and Peace Index: June 2008

By Prof. Ephraim Yaar and Prof. Tamar Hermann

Which of the two candidates-Obama or McCain-would be better for Israel?

· It turns out McCain (46%) has a clear advantage over Obama (20%) among the Israeli Jewish public.
· Nine percent said there was no difference between the two candidates from Israel's standpoint.
· A relatively high rate (25%) had no clear opinion on the matter.

A breakdown of the responses to this question by political parties that make up the Knesset, shows that McCain leads among the voters for all the parties except Meretz, (The far left wing party with only 5 of the 120 Knesset members)

The War and Peace Index is funded by the Tami Steinmetz Center for Peace
Research and the Evens Program in Mediation and Conflict Resolution of Tel
Aviv University, headed by Prof. Ephraim Yaar of Tel Aviv University and
Prof. Tamar Hermann of the Open University.)

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

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 09:07 PM | Comments (0)

July 10, 2008

Suicidal Israel aided and abetted by Ehud Olmert

Israel Staticide

By Frank Gaffney

The Washington Times, June, 2008

A Greek tragedy unfolds in the Middle East. In response to past mistakes and a result of hubristic political calculation, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olnert is setting in motion forces that promise to lead inexorably to grief for his nation. The result could be “staticide,” the destruction of the Jewish state, with incalculably serious repercussions for the Free World in general and the United States in particular.

In pursuing peace with its neighbors, Israel has made one strategic concession after another. In 1979, it surrendered the Sinai to Egypt when Anwar Sadat promised peace and then was murdered for doing so. In 1993, Israel adopted the Oslo accords, legitimating one of its most virulent enemies —Palestine Liberation Organization terrorist chief Yasser Arafat — and setting the stage for Palestinian control of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Eight years ago last month, Israel unilaterally withdrew from South Lebanon, creating a vacuum promptly filled by Iran’s proxy army there, Hezboilah. Then, in 2005, Israel forcibly removed its citizens living in Gaza and turned the strip over — temporarily —to Arafat’s right-hand man and successor, Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas.

Space constraints will not permit a full rendering of the costs associated with these serial mistakes. The “peace” with Egypt proved a very cold one. In Sadat’s stead, the government of Hosni Mubarak has promoted virulent hatred for Israel among its people and assiduously armed for renewed conflict with the Jewish state. It has also used the Sinai to funnel ever-longer range missiles and other advanced weapons from Iran to the Gaza Strip — now under the control of another Palestinian terrorist faction, Hamas.

The latter and its friends, including the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, al Qaeda and the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, now use Gaza as a safe haven for planning and executing terrorism against Israel. It is a safe bet that Israel’s most important ally, the United States, is being targeted from there, as well.

Meanwhile, Hezbollah has not just taken over South Lebanon — its dominance of which was greatly strengthened when Mr. Olmert’s government proved incapable of decisively defeating the forces of this so-called “Army of God” in 2006. More recently, Hezbollah launched attacks in Beirut that effectively produced a coup d’etat. The hopes for a democratic Lebanon, free of Syrian and Iranian interference, have given way to a dark future for the Lebanese people and their neighbors in Israel, alike.

Tragically, despite this sorry record of retreat followed by intensified danger, Ehud Olmert is making further and even more strategic territorial and political concessions to Israel’s enemies. By so doing, the Israeli prime minister evidently hopes to stave off accountability for these past mistakes. He also appears to calculate that “peace-making” will spare him prosecution on myriad corruption charges.

(Not unlike his mentor before him – Ariel Sharon and his sons giving up Gaza) Jsk

Unfortunately, there is now no basis for depicting such a policy as one in which Israel trades “land for peace?’ Today, Israel is giving up land for war in the illusion there is any appreciable difference between Fatah and Hamas, Mr. Olmert’s government is trying to turn over nearly all the West Bank and even parts of Jerusalem to Mr. Abbas and his faction’s Palestinian police force. A similar illusion causes the United States to give Fatah’s troops training, intelligence collection equipment and arms. The latter have already used their American-supplied know-how and weapons to kill Israelis.

Mr. Olmert is also allowing the Egyptians to broker a cease-fire with Hamas. The result is predictable: Hamas will be legitimated, effectively ending international efforts to relegate it to pariah status and probably producing a unity government whereby the two Palestinian factions join forces once again. The stage will then be set for the ultimate defeat of Fatah by llamas in the West Bank as well, putting all of Israel within range of its weapons.

One further, potentially staticidal act, is now compounding these tragic steps. Mr. Olmert has just launched negotiations to surrender all of the Golan Heights to Syria. This concession would place Syrian — and quite possibly Iranian — forces on high ground which, in Israeli hands, has kept the peace fur 35 years. If once again at the disposaj of Israel’s enemies, these heights will put northern Israel at risk of, at best, harassing fire and, at worst, a new invasion in three.

Moreover as my esteemed colleague Caroline Glick obserrves in her Jerusalem Past column two weeks ago, if Israel can no longer use the Golan to threaten Syria, Damascus and Tehran may feel free to redouble their subversion in Iraq. Iran may even conclude the Golan can allow it to any checkmate any Israeli willingness to interfere with the mullahs’ pursuit of nuclear weapons

Importantly the Israeli people finally seem to have had enough of false peace Processes. Recent polls indicate two thirds of Israelis Oppose their country’s surrender of the Golan; a majority believes it is motivated by Mr. Olmert’s efforts to stave off prosecution. Even the Bush administration (except possibly the sage military genius, Condolezza Rice, is said to be Unhappy about his Golan initiative.

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) — universally known as “the Israel lobby” — held its annual policy conference in Washington. The organization exists to support the Israeli government~ At this juncture, however attendees had an opportunity to object to the government’s increasingly reckless, and predictably tragic, conduct After all, friends don’t let friends commit staticide.

(Unfortunately, for the Israelis and for the USA, AIPAC took no such courageous stand – going along with their illusionary non-confrontational politic business, as usual.) Jsk

(Frank Gaffney Jr. is a nationally syndicated columnist and more important, a great friend of Israel and the Jewish people. No Israeli government or US government is sacrosanct in his eyes.) jsk

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 02:05 AM | Comments (0)

July 07, 2008

Obama’s crucial learning curve requirement

By Anne Bayefsky
National Review Online, May 21, 2008

‘It’s terrorism, stupid.” Nothing short of blunt talk will do in light of Sen. Barack Obama’s comments this past week on Iran, Hamas, and Hezbollah. They are the most significant indication to date of the looming catastrophe for American national security posed by an Obama presidency. Here is Obama in his own words, speaking in Pendleton, Oregon:
“Iran, Cuba, Venezuela, these countries are tiny compared to the Soviet Union… In Iran, they spend 1/100th of what we spend on the military. If Iran ever tried to pose a serious threat to us, they wouldn’t stand a chance.”

How does one begin a course for a presidential candidate in Terrorism 101? Where has Obama been for the past three decades during which the greatest threats to peace and security have moved beyond the sphere of state actors operating alone? After 9/11, why doesn’t Obama recognize the capacity of relatively small entities to wreak havoc, at comparatively little cost, on a nation as large and strong as America?

Despite Obama’s claim to be a foreign-policy realist, his fancy foreign-policy footwork contains as much realpolitik as a dancing sugar-plum fairy. Obama is keen to explain his hankering for an early heart-to-heart with Iranian President Ahmadinejad — with whom he would “be willing to meet separately, without precondition during the first year of [his] administration” or his desire to engage in “direct presidential diplomacy with Iran without preconditions.”

His strategy so far has been to deny the undeniable transaction costs of an unconditioned presidential get-together: the undeserved legitimacy conferred on a would-be mass murderer, the time lost while a nuclear-weapons program continues in full swing, and the betrayal of brave local dissenters.

“ Tiny” and not “serious” move us another step closer to the edge. The unfortunate reality is that Iran not only poses a serious threat already, but it does stand a chance of carrying out its dire program. Ahmadinejad, in addition to his professed affinity for genocide, is funding terrorist proxies in Lebanon and Gaza who believe they have started the job and are committed to finishing it.

The message Obama sends in denying that Iran has “tried to pose a serious threat to us” is that a grave threat to the peace and security of Israel is not a threat to the peace and security of the United States. Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer, of “Israel Lobby” fame, would be proud. But, even the anti-nuclear-anything activists in the Democratic Party should begin to worry about a president who thinks the consequences of an Iranian nuclear strike on Israel can be confined to the locals.

Official U.S. policy holds Iran to be a state sponsor of terrorism, along with Cuba, North Korea, Sudan and Syria. Not only has Iran tried, and is trying, to pose a serious threat to us, in some ways it is a greater threat than that posed by the Soviet Union. The terrorist organizations or non-state actors whom these rogue states sponsor are not subject to the same economic and political pressures that could be brought to bear on the Soviet Union. Madmen and religious fanatics driven by a belief in the imminent reappearance of the 12th Imam following worldwide chaos, or visions of virgins in post-suicidal heaven, or who just hate us more than they love their children, are not susceptible to the rational calculus of Mikhail Gorbachev.

But according to his recently reported conversation with New York Times columnist David Brooks, Obama believes the problem with Hamas and Hezbollah is that the poor things don’t “understand that they’re going down a blind alley with violence that weakens their legitimate claims.” We need to hear more about where in the governing Hamas Charter (with its overt anti-Semitism and manifest dedication to the destruction of Israel), and Hezbollah’s takeover plans for Lebanon, Obama finds legitimate claims. In addition, the solution according to Obama: “The U.S. needs a foreign policy that looks at root causes of problems and dangers.”

Hezbollah Leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah couldn’t have said it better himself. Surely, Obama ought to know that invoking the language of “root causes” to illuminate the behavior of Hamas and Hezbollah plays into the nefarious strategy of these terrorist organizations and their sympathizers.

How about the “tiny” factor? On the one hand, we could all hum tip-toeing through the tulips along with Obama and Tiny Tim. On the other hand, we might cast our minds back to “tiny” anthrax envelopes or think about “tiny” suitcase bombs or “tiny” nanotechnology innovations in chemical and biological weapons. I also wonder how all those developing countries, allegedly ready to embrace us once again with a President Obama, will enjoy the big boy’s view of their tiny status.

Coming from a man who aspires to bear the single greatest responsibility for the peace and security of the free world, the resemblance to “peace for our time” is the least of Obama’s problems. The real problem is a book with a name like “Terrorism for Dummies” would have to become bedside reading at the White House.

Anne Bayefsky is senior fellow at the Hudson Institute. She also serves as the director of the Touro Institute for Human Rights and the Holocaust and as the editor of EYEontheUN.org.

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July 06, 2008

(While Israel asleep at the switch, with its Hamas “truce”)

Analysis: Fortress Gaza



Since the agreement on the tahadiyeh (lull) was reached between Hamas and Israel on June 19, the border crossings between Israel and Gaza have already been closed six times in response to Palestinian rocket fire.Israeli officials acknowledge that none of these attacks was carried out by Hamas. Hamas, nevertheless, is keeping itself busy. The organization's military wing is putting in place preparations based on a comprehensive strategy for facing an expected eventual large IDF operation into Gaza. Hamas gunmen are training extensively to play their allotted roles within this strategy.

The model for Hamas is Hizbullah's preparations for and conduct of the Second Lebanon War in 2006. The evidence suggests that Hamas is using its uncontested control in Gaza to effect a qualitative change in its abilities and ambitions. Hamas's strategy derives at the highest level from the group's muqawama (resistance) doctrine. According to this view, Israel's Achilles' heel is its inability to absorb large numbers of military and civilian casualties. Hamas believes Israel's will can be broken through attrition and a steady toll of unexpectedly high numbers of both military and civilian casualties.

In the event of a major IDF incursion into Gaza, Hamas would seek to maintain a steady rain of rockets on Israeli communities around the Strip and to break the sense of armored and air invulnerability hitherto enjoyed by Israeli forces engaging with its fighters. Hamas would of course also try to inflict steady losses of 4 to 10 casualties per day on IDF's ground forces during the fighting. Looking to the 2006 model, the movement's planners believe that achieving these goals could be sufficient to break Israel's will.

To make this possible, Hamas is feverishly training as well as acquiring relevant weapons systems - of a type far superior in quality to those previously associated with the organization. The weapons systems on which Hamas is thought to be currently training in the Gaza Strip include a wire-guided anti-tank missile, probably the AT-3 Sagger, and additional anti-tank guided missiles: the AT-4 Spigot, the tripod-fired AT-5 Spandrel and the shoulder-fired AT-14 Spriggan - all useful against armor. All these systems have ranges of several kilometers.

In addition, Hamas is thought to have brought into Gaza large numbers of RPG-29 Vampir handheld anti-tank grenade launchers with a range of 500 meters, which are capable of penetrating reactive armor and are considered far superior to the RPG 7 systems used by the movement in the past. Hamas is also developing improvised explosive devices, i.e. bombs.

The organization possesses an Iranian-developed, locally-produced system known as the Shawaz explosively-formed penetrator that it says can penetrate 20 cm. of steel. Hamas also claims to possess air defense missiles, though no
information could be obtained on their nature or the veracity of the claim. Imports from Iran and Syria and local production are all playing a role in the movement's development of its arsenal.

In addition to arming Gaza to the teeth, Hamas is recruiting fresh fighters. Once again, the model is Hizbullah, and the intention appears to be to
develop a force part-way between a regular army and a guerrilla force, of
the type developed under Iranian tutelage by the Shi'ite Lebanese group.
Extensive recruitment has been taking place in the past month. New fighters
have been accepted to both the Izzadin Kassam Brigades - Hamas's
long-standing military wing, and to the Executive Force - the newer group
created since Hamas's election victory in January 2006.

The latter force played the key role in Hamas's rout of Fatah in its 2007 coup. Hamas claims to have around 20,000 men under arms, though some sources suggest that the number may be higher. Again, both Iran and Syria are thought to be playing a role in providing advanced training to cadres from both of these organizations: around 1,000 Hamas men are thought to have trained in one of these countries in the last months.

What does Hamas's attempt to create "Fortress Gaza" mean? Its political leaders have consolidated their rule internally vis-à-vis other Palestinian forces. They are thought to face a certain problem from yet more radical Sunni Islamist currents among both the rank and file fighters and commanders of their own military organizations. But for the moment, with no serious internal challenge, Hamas is digging in.

The Hamas rulers believe that Israelis want only peace and quiet, which makes them both vulnerable and defeatable. Thus, Hamas is seeking to create a solid shield around its Gaza fiefdom that can be turned into a weapon of attack at a time and situation of its choosing.
IMRA - Independent Media Review and Analysis
Website: www.imra.org.il

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 03:52 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 04, 2008

The Travesty of “Progressive” American Jews

by Isi Leibler
On-Line Jerusalem Post

It's disconcerting and sad to see American Jewish "progressives" frenziedly lobbying the American administration to pressure Israel for further unilateral concessions to the Palestinians. To make matters worse, they understate - even obfuscate - their real game plan. They describe themselves as "pro-Israel," "Zionist" and "moderate."

They lay claim to being the true custodians of peace, portraying other Jewish leaders and AIPAC as neo-conservatives and extremists. While tempting to dismiss their behavior and Orwellian doublespeak as naïve and inconsequential, recall that the sham Soviet peace fronts succeeded in duping many gullible well-meaning liberals into endorsing campaigns promoting totalitarianism.

It's all the more bizarre because no one would suggest that the current Israeli government is "hawkish." On the contrary, the Olmert government has lost the confidence of its people precisely because of unilateral concessions which undermine Israel's security and embolden terrorists. His government is an amen chorus which capitulates to every demand imposed on it by US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. It has provided weapons to the Palestinians which will almost certainly once again be redirected against Israel; it has released and granted amnesty to terrorists; and despite bitter opposition from the IDF, it has closed checkpoints and acceded to demands compromising security which have already resulted in Israeli casualties.

Yet like a replay of the odious behavior of Haaretz editor David Landau, who told Rice that it would be his "wet dream" for the US "to rape Israel" for its own good, American "progressives" are urging their government to exert pressure on Israel for further unilateral concessions.

This is not a new phenomenon. For years the Israel Policy Forum (IPF) has been lobbying the White House to get tougher with Israel. They claim that in 1993, prime minister Yitzhak Rabin appreciated their support for his efforts to reach a peace settlement with Arafat. They fail to mention that in contrast to Olmert, Rabin did stand up to US pressure. Rabin would have exploded had he encountered Jewish organizations exploiting his name as a means to justify lobbying the US administration to exert pressure on Israel.

As far back as 2005, IPF president Seymour Reich boasted how his organization had successfully persuaded Rice to force Israel to make concessions on the Gaza border crossing - concession that have since resulted in the loss of Israeli lives.

More recently the IPF shamelessly lobbied the White House to press Israel to negotiate directly with Hamas. Reich wrote to Rice on March 21 that "no progress can be made if Hamas - the governing body in Gaza - is totally excluded from the process." M.J. Rosenberg, IPF's policy director, urged the U.S. to "be extending carrots and not just slapping them [Hamas] with sticks".

The Progressive Jewish Alliance, another self-styled "pro-Israel" body, promotes exhibitions on US campuses of photo montages alleging the dehumanization of Palestinians by the Israeli army. They insist that their demonization of the IDF represent an expression of their love for Zion.

Now with great fanfare and endorsement by much of the US liberal media, we have a new "progressive" initiative: an amalgam of various far-left organizations and individuals spearheaded by "Americans for Peace Now" and "Brit Tzedek V'Shalom" to establish "J.Street," a political action committee. Although proclaiming their intention to espouse "moderation" and bring "balance" into American Jewish leadership, their actual intent is to further US pressure on Israel and to undermine AIPAC, (and the Zionist Org. of America - jsk) the highly effective pro-Israel lobby.

Such behavior is especially unconscionable since - aside from permits for extra housing to cope with natural growth in the densely Jewish populated settlement blocs implicitly endorsed by President Bush - the Olmert government has conceded to all US government demands. It has even discouraged AIPAC and American Jewish leaders from trying to neutralize State Department pressures on itself for fear of antagonizing the administration.

J Street also publicly opposes the use of force to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear capabilities, which undermines Israel's campaign to pressure Iran from going nuclear. In addition, J Street supports a swift withdrawal of US forces from Iraq, calls for direct dealings with Hamas and urges Jews to boycott Christian Zionists - Israel's strongest allies. J Street intends to raise funds to provide $50,000 for selected Congressional candidates supporting these aims.

Aside from a number of respectable personalities under the illusion that they have associated themselves with a "moderate" body seeking to promote peace between Israelis and Palestinians, J Street is mainly supported by prominent far-left Americans and Israelis like Ron Pundak, architect of the Oslo Accord. One of its principal theorists is Daniel Levy, a former adviser to Yossi Beilin who trivializes Palestinian incitement to murder Israelis.

Former Jewish Agency chairman Avrum Burg, who has compared Israelis to Nazis and has urged the former to follow his lead and obtain European passports, is another notable J Street supporter. Burg's ranting against his country is so vile that even most of his Israeli associates distanced themselves from him. Writing this week in Haaretz, Burg pushed the envelope further and provided a gift to anti-Semites everywhere by accusing AIPAC of imposing "dual loyalties" on American Jews and of "institutionalizing near-treason and turning it into an enormous octopus of a political mechanism with enormous dimensions and numerous victims."

Another key Israeli supporter is David Kimche, a leading figure in Israel Policy Forum. Kimche was director general of the Foreign Ministry under Yitzhak Shamir, where I had regular dealings with him. In those days, not only was he a hawk, but he even had the reputation of savagely roasting any Jewish leader who dared question Israeli government policies. "We live and die by our decisions, while you sit and pontificate from your armchair," he would say. Today he identifies with the extreme left. The Israel Council of Foreign Relations, which he heads, recently hosted a meeting in Jerusalem for ex-president Jimmy Carter, obliging the sponsor, the World Jewish Congress, to formally dissociate itself from the event.

The "progressives" will also try to capitalize on the fact that the Barack Obama campaign has embraced former ambassador to Israel Daniel Kurtzer and appointed him Obama's adviser on Middle East affairs. Kurtzer, a Jewish dove, previously urged the Administration to take a tougher line with Israel. In his just-released book - Negotiating Arab Israel Peace - Kurtzer refers to the withholding of loan guarantees from the Shamir government by the first President Bush as an example of how an American government can effectively bring Israel into line. He accused Dennis Ross - the Clinton-designated Middle East representative - of having been biased in favor of Israel. He even castigates the Clinton and Bush Administrations for not employing sufficient Arabists in the State Department.

The US is the only country capable of withstanding pressure from Arabs and their allies to isolate and delegitimize Israel. Thankfully, US public opinion and Congress has never been more favorably disposed towards Israel than today.
Yet over the past year, the Bush Administration has tilted from its former policy. Nor can we exclude the possibility of a future US administration distancing itself further from Israel.

It is therefore imperative that American Jewish leaders not underestimate the damage "progressive pro-Israel" groups can inflict, especially in light of the mainstream liberal media support J Street has enjoyed at its launch.
In the face of existential threats, Israel needs the support of America Jewry more than ever. While all are free to express their opinions, "peaceniks" who have the gall to call on the US to put the heat on Israel to act as they believe best, rather than what the citizens of that democracy have decided is, must be exposed as fringe groups outside the Jewish mainstream.

Isi Leibler is a veteran international Jewish leader with a distinguished record of contributions to the Jewish world and the cause of human rights.
Described in the new edition of Encyclopaedia Judaica as "unquestionably the dominant Jewish lay leader in Australia during the previous quarter century." Now lives in Jerusalem with his wife and 3 children.

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

July 01, 2008

Do you know John McCain, Presidential Candidate?

By Abraham Katsman

It's amazing when you think about it. War hero John McCain has been in the public eye almost his entire adult life. He's run numerous campaigns, served in Congress for 25 years, and is in his second run for the presidency. Yet, there is so much of his life that reveals a sterling character, but remains largely unknown to the public. Moreover, in spite of the tremendous political advantages that publicity could confer, McCain instinctively keeps that information private. Although as a presidential candidate he may be forced to overcome this reticence, he honorably shies away from using his personal heroics for political gain.

How aware is the public that McCain has raised seven children? Or, that he adopted his two oldest sons as small boys (children from his wife's prior marriage)? Or, that he has raised a Bangladeshi girl with severe health problems adopted from Mother Theresa's orphanage? Or, that his own sons have served in the military, including in Iraq?

It's widely known that McCain, a Navy pilot, was shot down, captured and tortured by the North Vietnamese for 5 and a half years - an episode worth a forthcoming column all its own. But few are aware that he refused early release until all the POWs captured before him were freed, and that he refused special treatment offered once it was discovered that he was the "crown prince" (the son of the admiral in charge of the Pacific Fleet) because he wouldn't provide the enemy with any propaganda victories. Even fewer seem to know that those years were a fraction of a 22-year Navy career. Although broken and battered, after his release from Vietnamese captivity he went right back to the Navy, where he continued to serve for an additional eight years.

Both Israel and America honor military service, knowing all too well the sacrifice of those who step up, stand guard, and put their lives on the line to protect their fellow citizens from the ever-present threat of harm. Readers in Israel, where military and national service is intertwined with society perhaps more than in any other free country, especially appreciate the McCain family's tradition of military service and the intergenerational transmission of values that comes with it.

Anyone can talk about "supporting our troops" - The McCains serve. McCain's father and grandfather were respected American admirals. Of McCain's four sons, three have gone the military route. One was a Navy pilot like his father, one enlisted in the Marines at age 17 and recently completed a tour in Iraq and one is completing his education at the Naval Academy (raising the strong possibility that, for the first time in half a century, the United States will have a president with a son at war).

Yet, likely because of those same values, McCain maintains a strict code of silence about his sons' military service, no matter how legitimate his pride or politically useful their military status. Through 2007, McCain was the strongest Senate advocate of vastly increasing troop levels in Iraq, strongly influencing the administration's wildly successful "surge" strategy. Yet, McCain never brought up his own son's service in some of the roughest areas of Iraq. His principled refusal of political advantage from his son's Iraq service extends to refusal even to be interviewed on the subject, or to introduce his son to campaign audiences.

Also little-known is the story of McCain's youngest child. As a result, of a 1991 Cindy McCain visit to Mother Teresa's orphanage in Bangladesh, the McCains adopted an infant daughter dying from a host of health issues. The orphanage could not provide the medical care needed to save the little girl's life, so the McCains, already the parents of six children, brought the child home to America, and paid for desperately needed surgeries and years of rehabilitation. That child is their teenage daughter Bridget.

In fact, there was a second infant girl brought back from the orphanage that the McCains saved. She ended up being adopted by one of McCain's aides, Wes Gullett, and his wife. "We were called at midnight by Cindy," Gullett has stated, and "five days later we met our new daughter Nicki at the LA airport." This fall, Nicki will be a high school junior. Even after years of expensive medical treatment for the child, Gullett says, "I never saw a hospital bill" for her care. It is an extraordinary man who commits himself to such generous and heroic acts; it is an extraordinary politician who won't utter a word about such acts for political aggrandizement.

Thus, it turns out that McCain, standard-bearer of the party constantly slandered as racist, has, without fanfare, raised as his own a Bengali daughter of color. But the character demonstrations regarding his daughter are even more impressive: during his 2000 presidential run, as he was on the verge of becoming the front-runner, rogue staffers of other candidates reportedly conducted a whisper campaign in South Carolina disparaging the McCains for having a "black baby."

Yet, with every justification to unload with both barrels for such nasty politicking, and with as great an opportunity to set the record straight and tell the world about the heroics of being an adoptive father, McCain chose to shield his child by ignoring the smear. Some analysts believe that move may have ultimately cost him the nomination. Nevertheless, McCain has never questioned his choice. It says a lot about the man that he would readily sacrifice the pinnacle of personal political achievement to protect his family's feelings and privacy.

The contrast with other politicians couldn't be more stark. How many candidates have we heard try to score political points as they crow in the public limelight about their own brief military stints, or their wife's cancer, son's car accident, or sister's death from smoking? The contrast is consistent with McCain's internalizing the codes of honor and military conduct since his youth: the veneration of courage and resilience; the expectation of fidelity to principles of honor; the homage paid to Americans who sacrificed for their country; the nobility of service and sacrifice; the expectation that one would prove worthy of the country's trust; and the humility that comes from recognizing that there are causes and people greater than oneself. It is, in short, a contrast in character.

Character matters. In a president-and particularly in a commander-in-chief, that kind of character arguably counts more than any particular political orientation or policy. From character flows leadership, as it is character which dictates morally grounded direction and engenders public trust. Character is critical to determining how a leader will respond to crisis. Will he reach deep within himself and in the traditions that shaped him and find the courage and grace to inspire strength and greatness? Will soldiers trust the wisdom and integrity of his decision when he orders them to war? Will he truly understand the terrible toll of war, as well as the price of appeasement? Will he make decisions based on considerations greater than cheap political expediency?

Now, ask yourself: which candidate has repeatedly demonstrated that kind of character?
The writer, an attorney, is Counsel to Republicans Abroad Israel

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 01:43 PM | Comments (0)