January 31, 2009

What really happened with the war in Gaza?

The Gaza Aftermath

Redacted from a fine article that should be read in its entirety

By Max Boot

The Weekly Standard, February 2, 2009

... Since the war against Hezbollah in Lebanon August 2006 ... Israel has worked slowly and methodically to re-establish its deterrence factor. Two small steps in this process were the aerial bombing in September 2007 of a suspected Syrian nuclear reactor and the car bombing in February 2008 (widely believed to be the work of Mossad) that killed Hezbollah terrorist mastermind Imad Mugniyah in Damascus. A far bigger step occurred on December 27 when Israel launched what turned out to be a three-week onslaught into the Gaza Strip after Hamas dispensed with a six month ceasefire and resumed firing rockets into southern Israel.

Hamas, like Hezbollah, survived the war not so much because of its military prowess but because of Israel’s self-restraint. Destroying Hamas would mean high casualties among Palestinians (and possibly among Israeli soldiers). Even worse from the Israeli public’s perspective, it would force Israel to resume the role of occupier that it gave up in Gaza in 2005 because no conceivable alternative – not the “international community,” and not Fatah - could come into Gaza on short notice with any hope of displacing Hamas as the effective administration. Israel chose to fight a highly limited war against Hamas, more like a punitive expedition really.

The Israeli Air Force kicked off Operation Cast Lead at 11:30 AM. December 27 with a devastating series of strikes by 70, F-15 and F-16 bombers armed with satellite-guided Joint Direct Attack Munitions. Flying at 28,000 feet—too high to be seen they hit over 100 targets. Surprise was complete and the attack was devastating. An estimated 200 Hamas fighters died in the war’s opening minutes. Over the next week Israeli aircraft hit hundreds more targets—not only Hamas commanders and fighters but also buildings where they have conducted their operations and launched the missiles that hit Israeli towns.

On January 3, after eight days of bombing, Israeli ground forces entered the fray. The offensive was conducted by one division of about 10,000 soldiers. They quickly drove through the middle of the Gaza Strip all the way to the Mediterranean, isolating Gaza City to the north from the tunnels in the south that are used to smuggle in supplies from Egypt. Israeli forces then fought a war of attrition in the northern Gaza Strip for the next two weeks until Israel declared a ceasefire in the early morning hours of Sunday, January 18, to be followed 12 hours later by a Hamas ceasefire.

Naturally, Hamas claimed total vindication. “God has granted us a great victory, not for one faction, or party, or area, but for our entire people,” said Hamas prime minister Ismail Haniya. “We have stopped the aggression and the enemy has failed to achieve any of its goals. However, one doubts that even Haniya believes his own bombast.

In contrast to the halting, ham-handed war against Hezbollah, this time the Israel Defense Forces appeared well-prepared and purposeful. They had learned the lessons of 2006, especially about the need for closer cooperation between the ground and air forces. What they did not manage to do, because it was never their purpose, was to finish off Hamas for good. As a result, there is little doubt that Hamas, like Hezbollah, will rise from the rubble to emerge as strong as ever—and probably stronger.

The only faint hope of hindering Hamas in the future rests in Egypt’s presumed ability to close off tunnels running from its territory into Gaza. Israel only agreed to suspend Cast Lead after Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak gave vague assurances that he would move against the smugglers and after outgoing Secretary of State (Condoleezza Rice pledged that the United States would offer equally unspecified assistance in this endeavor. All these pledges are likely to prove as hollow as the promises by the United Nations and European Union in 2006 to prevent the rearming of Hezbollah.

Hamas will rearm and prepare to fight another day. Although it lost at least 600 fighters, it still has more than 10,000 left. It has accrued prestige that will allow it to mount an even stronger challenge to the decrepit Fatah bosses of the West Bank, Mahmoud Abbas’s term as president of the Palestinian Authority expired earlier this year but he dares not call another election for fear that llamas would win. “If the IDF leaves the West Bank, Hamas will take over in five minutes,” says Khaled Abu Toameh, the Jerusalem Post’s fearless Palestinian correspondent.

If there is any complaint in Israel, it is not that the offensive was too barbaric but that it was too restrained. However, the outgoing government, led by lame duck Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, thought it had done as much damage as it could without inflicting unacceptable civilian casualties. And, it was determined to end the offensive in advance of Israel’s February 10 elections and, just as important, the inauguration of Barack Obama on January 20. (Israeli leaders did not want to begin their relationship with the new American president while they were in the midst of a war that he might feel compelled to criticize.)
(As the reality of Israel, as a Banana Republic, once more rears it ugly head) Jsk

It may not have been as satisfying as winning the enemy’s unconditional surrender, but the Gaza war nevertheless can be counted as a victory for Israel. It was a highly limited and attenuated victory, to be sure, but one that nevertheless restored Israelis’ self-confidence and Arab’s fear of provoking Israel, both of which had been badly damaged by the inconclusive 2006 conflict with Hezbollah.

Most Israelis are under no illusion that they have won a lasting peace or anything more than the chance to get on with their lives for a few more years before they have to fight another war. They know that on the horizon looms the ultimate threat—a nuclear Iran. But for now what the Israel Defense Forces have accomplished is good enough for a disillusioned public that has come to believe that neither confrontation nor appeasement can produce a lasting victory against Palestinian terrorists.

In Washington, there is talk of “solving” the Israeli-Palestinian dispute. In Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, there is resignation that the problem has no solution, at least not in the foreseeable future. “Israelis,” says Labor party candidate Einat Wilf, “have found comfort in disillusionment—comfort in not expecting too much.”

(How very sad, very sick, and cowardly to my mind and ultimately, self-destructive) jsk

Max Boot is the Jeane J. Kirkpatrick senior fellow in national security studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, a contributing editor to The Weekly Standard

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 10:31 PM | Comments (0)

January 29, 2009

Where is Israel’s General George S. Patton?

To Israel’s General Staff - Lessons from a Master of War

Redacted from an article by Prof. Paul Eidelberg

The Jewish Press, January 9, 2009

Israel’s General Staff would do well to emulate George S. Patton, the general most feared by Nazi German. On the eve of battle, Patton would admonish his soldiers: “The object of war is not to die for your country. It is to make the other poor dumb bastard die for his.” This requires confronting and killing the enemy on the battlefield.

“Never let the enemy rest” No cease fires or hudnas. (A deliberate duplicitous delaying tactic, Muhammad preached to his forces in the 7th century. And the Israelis are still buying the same garbage, the same Persian or Arab carpet, 14 centuries later!) Jsk. Unconditional surrender should be Israel’s proclaimed war aim! (Just as it has been that of the United States and the rest of the world since war was invented)

“We want the enemy to know that they are fighting the toughest fighting men in the world!” This precludes benevolence (which Arabs despise). Just as Hamas terrorists would show no mercy to you, so you should show no mercy to them. These terrorists must be killed even if this results in civilian casualties “Forget about army regulations which are written by those who have never been in battle. Our only mission in combat is to win.” Hence, general officers may sometimes have to disobey the orders of the political echelon! (Israeli example No. 1 – The Original Arik Sharon). jsk

Israel must devastate the Arabs from top to bottom to erase the Islamic arrogance that prompts them to wage war against the Jewish State. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Defense Minister Ehud Barak must not shy away from these war principles, which would require them to order the IDF to confront and kill the enemy primarily on the battlefield. Bombing the enemy’s infrastructure should not obscure the importance of destroying the enemy’s ground forces. The defeat of these Arab terrorists must be so thorough, it will eradicate their desire to wage war for a hundred years — the policy of the Allis’ Powers that made militant Germany and Japan lovers of peace.

Israel’s political echelon will be reluctant to pursue this policy not for humanitarian reasons as evidenced by its brutality toward its own Israeli Jews in the Shomron settlement of Amona. No, it fears world opinion, UN condemnation and possible sanctions. This fear cannot but undermine the General Staff and the fighting spirit of Israeli soldiers. This fear is baseless. (And hypocritically applied to only Israel’s right to defend itself, protect its homeland and complete the defeat of its enemies – jsk)

It is of capital importance for Israel’s ruling elites to pursue war in Gaza as a war between good and evil. They must shun the (false) moral relativism that tainted Arik Sharon who said, while Jews were being reduced to exploded body parts, that he does not think in terms of “black and white.”

Israel’s victory in Gaza will ultimately depend on whether its General Staff is animated by the profound sense of good and evil that inspired America’s greatest generals — suffice it to mention, along with Patten, William Tecumseh Sherman of Civil War fame. Both generals inspired their armies with complete confidence in the justice of their cause. Yet, both pursued a war strategy that actually minimized casualties on all sides. They imbued their soldiers with the will to win and in the shortest possible time. This requires the use of overwhelming force and the uninterrupted attack.

The general who believes in the justice of his country’s cause will not shy from cruelty against Hamas because it is by means of cruelty that he can shorten the war and thus minimize bloodshed. Thus, in this war between good and evil, those Israeli generals who implement the principles of war will be our greatest humanists.

Professor Paul Eidelberg is the founder and president of the Foundation for Constitutional Democracy, a Jerusalem-based think tank for improving Israel’s system of governance.

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 02:50 PM | Comments (0)

January 27, 2009

Hypocritical moral preening against only Israel and the Jews, of course

Easy Talk, Hard Realities in the Middle East

By Thomas Sowell

The Washington Times, January 19, 2009

No phrase represents more of a triumph of hope over experience than the phrase “Middle East peace process?” A close second might be the once-fashionable notion that Israel should “trade land for peace?” Since everybody seems to be criticizing Israel for its military response to the rockets fired into their country from the Gaza Strip, let me add my criticisms as well. The Israelis traded land for peace, but they have never gotten the peace, so they should take back the land. (i.e. Gaza)

Maybe a couple of generations of Palestinians in Gaza living in peace under Israeli occupation and a couple of generations of the occupation troops squelching the terrorists - “militants” - for those of you who are squeamish — would set up conditions where the Palestinians would be free to vote. They would vote on whether they would like to remain occupied or to have their own state, minus terrorists and their rockets.

Casualty totals alone should be enough to show the Palestinian people are the biggest losers from the current situation, where the terrorists among them, firing rockets into Israel, can bring devastating retaliatory strikes. Why don’t the Palestinians vote for some representatives who would make a lasting peace with Israel? Because, the terrorists - would kill any such candidates long before election day - so nobody volunteers for that dangerous role. We don’t know what the Palestinians really want— and won’t know, as long as they are ruled by Hamas, Hezbollah and the like.

Whatever the benefits of peace for the Palestinian population, what are the terrorists going to do in peacetime - become librarians and furniture salesmen? So-called “world opinion” has been a largely negative factor in this situation nothing is easier than for people living in peace and safety in Paris or Rome to call for a “cease-fire” after the Israelis retaliate against people who are firing rockets into their country. The time to cease-fire was before the rockets were fired. What do calls for “cease-fire” and “negotiations” do? They lower the price of launching attacks. This is true not only in the Middle East but in other parts of the world as well.

During the Vietnam War, when American clergymen were crying out “Stop the bombing!” they paid little attention to the fact that bombing pauses made it easier for North Vietnam to move more ammunition into South Vietnam to kill both South Vietnamese and Americans.

After Argentina invaded the Falkland Islands, if British Prune Minister Margaret Thatcher had heeded calls for a “cease fire:’ that would have simply lowered the price to be paid by the Argentine government for their invasion.

Go back 100 years — before there was a United Nations and before “world opinion” was taken into account. An Argentine invasion of the Falkland Islands at that time would have risked not only a British counterattack to retake the islands but also British attacks on Argentina itself.

Anywhere in the world, attacks such as those on Israel today would not only have risked retaliation but invasion and annihilation of the government that launched those attacks. Today, so-called “world opinion” not only limit the price to be paid for aggression or terrorism, it has even led to the self-indulgence of third parties talking pretty talk about limiting the response of those who are attacked to what is “proportionate.”

By this reasoning, we should not have declared war on Japan for bombing Pearl Harbor. We should have gone over to Japan, bombed one of their harbors — and let it go at that. Does any one imagine that this would have led to Japan’s becoming as peaceful today as it has become after Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Or, is the real agenda to engage in moral preening from a safe distance and at somebody else expense.

Those who think “negotiations” are a magic answer seem not to understand that when A wants to annihilate B, this is not an “issue” that can be resolved amicably around a conference table.

Thomas Sowell is a nationally syndicated columnist

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

January 25, 2009

The George Mitchell Appointment:

The Tactics of: "Symmetrical Negotiations" May Not Work in "Asymmetrical Conflicts"

Jerusalem Issue Brief - Institute for Contemporary Affairs
Vol. 8, No. 19 25 January 2009

By Lenny Ben-David

· The appointment of former Senator George J. Mitchell as Middle East envoy was warmly received in Washington, Jerusalem and Ramallah. Yet, the Middle East that Mitchell will confront today is much changed from the one he wrestled with eight years ago as chairman of the 2001 Sharm el-Sheikh Fact-Finding Committee, which was created to investigate the outbreak of the Second Intifada.
· The 2001 Mitchell Report was seen as an "even-handed" document, reflecting President Clinton's directive to "strive to steer clear of...finger-pointing. As a result, the committee attempted - even at the risk of straining credibility - to split the blame for the crisis. The Mitchell Committee could not ignore Palestinian terrorism and the Palestinian use of civilians as human shields. Israel's transgression - and there had to be one to balance Palestinian sins --was its settlement activity. The committee recommended a "freeze" of all settlement activity, including the 'natural growth' of existing settlements." Israelis objected that the freeze - never mandated in the interim stages of the Oslo Accords - would serve to reward the Palestinians' terrorism.
· The committee was appointed before the 9/11 al-Qaeda attacks. Its report came prior to the capture of two weapons-laden ships bound for Gaza - the Santorini in May 2001 and the Karine A in January 2002 - and prior to President Bush's 2004 recognition of "new realities on the ground [in the territories], including already existing major Israeli populations centers." Bush continued: "It is unrealistic to expect that the outcome of final status negotiations will be a full and complete return to the armistice lines of 1949."
· The 2001 Mitchell Report was issued years before Hamas' coup in Gaza. Hamas remains dedicated to Israel's destruction. Its alliance with Iran and its affiliation with the Muslim Brotherhood mark Hamas as an enemy of moderate Arab regimes. Hamas may yet prove to be a fatal flaw to Mitchell's axiom that "there is no such thing as a conflict that can't be ended."

President Barak Obama's appointment of former Senator George J. Mitchell as Middle East envoy was warmly received in Washington, Jerusalem and Ramallah. Over the years, Mitchell, a respected judge, legislator and negotiator, has been tasked by presidents to broker a peace agreement in Northern Ireland, explore paths to peace in the Middle East, and even chair a commission to investigate steroid use in Major League Baseball. "The Conciliator" was the apt moniker given to Mitchell by one British newspaper.

The Middle East that Mitchell will confront today is much changed from the one he wrestled with eight years ago. In addition, the parties to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict bear little resemblance to the antagonists he dealt with in Northern Ireland. Mitchell chaired the "Sharm el-Sheikh Fact-Finding Committee," mandated by a Sharm el-Sheikh summit in October 2000 to investigate the outbreak of the "al-Aqsa Intifada" one month earlier and to recommend ways to stop the violence. His committee, which also included Senator Warren Rudman and three European statesmen, presented its findings to the new Bush administration on April 30, 2001.

Its recommendations were then incorporated into the April 2003 "Performance-Based Roadmap to a Permanent Two-State Solution to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict," drafted by the Quartet of the UN, European Union, United States, and Russia.

In 2003, Mitchell distilled his vision of the Middle East conflict: "Palestinians will never achieve a state if Israel does not have security. Israel will never get sustainable security if the Palestinians don't have a state." Based on his experience in reaching the Northern Ireland "Good Friday" peace agreement, Mitchell expressed his belief in 2003 and again in December 2008 that, "There is no such thing as a conflict that can't be ended."

The Mitchell Report was seen as an "even-handed" document, reflecting the fact that the committee was directed by President Clinton to "strive to steer clear of any step that will intensify mutual blame and finger-pointing between the parties. The Committee should not become a divisive force or a focal point for blame and recrimination but rather should serve to forestall violence and confrontation and provide lessons for the future. This should not be a tribunal whose purpose is to determine the guilt or innocence of individuals or of the parties."

As a result, the committee attempted - even at the risk of straining credibility - to split the blame for the crisis. "Some Israelis appear not to comprehend the humiliation and frustration that Palestinians must endure every day as a result of living with the continuing effects of occupation," the report wrote. "Some Palestinians appear not to comprehend the extent to which terrorism creates fear among the Israeli people and undermines their belief in the possibility of co-existence."

Humiliation is rarely fatal; terrorism usually is.

While the Mitchell Report did not blame Israeli Prime Minister Sharon for the outbreak of the Second Intifada, nonetheless, it sought to evenhandedly spread the responsibility for the violence, ignoring the evidence of Palestinian incitement. In response to Israeli claims that Arafat and the Palestinian Authority planned the violence, the committee declared, "[We were not] provided with persuasive evidence that the PA planned the uprising. Accordingly, we have no basis on which to conclude that there was a deliberate plan by the PA to initiate a campaign of violence at the first opportunity."

Subsequently, the real causes for the violence were exposed by a Palestinian minister in Yassir Arafat's government. Palestinian Communications Minister 'Imad al-Faluji admitted in the Lebanese daily al-Safir on March 3, 2001: "Whoever thinks the Intifada broke out because of the despised Sharon's visit to the Al-Aqsa Mosque is wrong.... This Intifada was planned, ever since President Arafat's return from the Camp David negotiations." Even earlier, al-Faluji had explained that the Intifada was initiated as the result of a strategic decision made by the Palestinians. The Intifada's premeditation is seen in the training and indoctrination of 25,000 Palestinian youth in summer camps even while Arafat was engaged in negotiations at Camp David.

The Mitchell Report's Recommendations

In its recommendations to the two sides, the Mitchell Committee could not ignore Palestinian terrorism and the Palestinian use of civilians as human shields. It issued these recommendations:

The PA should make clear through concrete action to Palestinians and Israelis alike that terrorism is reprehensible and unacceptable, and that the PA will make a 100 percent effort to prevent terrorist operations and to punish perpetrators. This effort should include immediate steps to apprehend and incarcerate terrorists operating within the PA's jurisdiction. The PA should prevent gunmen from using Palestinian populated areas to fire upon Israeli populated areas and IDF positions. This tactic places civilians on both sides at unnecessary risk.

According to the committee, Israel's transgression - and there had to be one to balance Palestinian sins - was its settlement activity. "The Government of Israel," the committee recommended, "should freeze all settlement activity, including the 'natural growth' of existing settlements." Two years later, the Roadmap would cite the Mitchell Report in its call for a settlement freeze in Phase I of the Roadmap. "Israel also freezes all settlement activity," the drafters instructed, "consistent with the Mitchell Report" (emphasis added).

Israelis objected to the draconian call for a freeze. Sharon asked Secretary of State Colin Powell, "What do you want, for a pregnant woman to have an abortion just because she is a settler?" Moreover, Israelis objected, the freeze - never mandated in the interim stages of the Oslo Accords - would serve to reward the Palestinians' terrorism.

A Changed World Since the Mitchell Report

The Mitchell Report was drafted relatively early in the Palestinian Intifada, when it was believed by some that the Palestinians' violent outbreak was actually a spontaneous reaction to Prime Minister Sharon's visit to the Temple Mount in September 2000. As mentioned above, the world today knows otherwise.

The committee was appointed before the al-Qaeda attack on September 11, 2001, and the revelation of hostile international Islamic terrorism. The report was issued prior to the capture of two weapons-laden ships bound for Gaza - the Santorini in May 2001 and the Karine A in January 2002 - and the surfacing of proof of the grand battle Arafat was planning against Israel. (The Grad rockets, explosives, mortars and anti-tank weapons on the ships would find their way into Hamas arsenals in Gaza five years later through tunnels from the Sinai Peninsula.)

By 2003, George Mitchell was refocusing his attention on the threat of terrorism. In a commencement address at MIT in June 2003, he stated, "Our committee's report was very tough on terrorism. We branded it morally reprehensible and unacceptable. It is also politically counterproductive. It will not achieve its objective. To the contrary, with each suicide bomb attack, the prospect of a Palestinian state is delayed. Such tactics also are destructive of Palestinian civil society and the reputation of the Palestinian people throughout the world."

Nevertheless, Mitchell repeated at MIT his opposition to Israel's settlement policies, in keeping with the "long-standing opposition to the government of Israel's policies and practices regarding settlements. That U.S. opposition," he continued, "has been consistent through the Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton and Bush administrations; just as consistent has been the continued settlement activity by the Israeli government."

The U.S. position toward settlements, of course, underwent a major change under President Bush, in April 2004, when he assured Prime Minister Sharon: "In light of new realities on the ground, including already existing major Israeli populations centers, it is unrealistic to expect that the outcome of final status negotiations will be a full and complete return to the armistice lines of 1949." The universal interpretation of Bush's letter was that settlement blocs would remain under Israeli sovereignty.

Lastly, the 2001 Mitchell Report was issued years before Hamas' coup in Gaza and it’s open fealty to Iran. Hamas remains dedicated to Israel's destruction. Its alliance with Iran and its affiliation with the Muslim Brotherhood mark Hamas as an enemy of moderate Arab regimes such as Egypt and Jordan. As such, Hamas cannot be compared to the Irish Republican Army (IRA), which wanted to throw the British out of Northern Ireland but had no aspirations to capture London.

Moreover, while the IRA had limited international contacts, it was not a part of a European-wide network and was not backed by a petrodollar-rich, oil-producing country like Iran, which was also on the verge of obtaining nuclear weapons, and thereby emboldening its regional surrogates. In short, Mitchell will be conducting diplomacy under completely different strategic circumstances than he did in the 1990s. Indeed, Hamas may prove to be a fatal flaw to Mitchell's axiom that "there is no such thing as a conflict that can't be ended."

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

January 22, 2009

The most important article I have ever posted

The year American greatness collapsed

By Jeffrey T. Kuhner
The Washington Times, January 12, 2009

Historians will look at 2008 and say it was the year that America ceased to be a great superpower. A war-weary public threw in the towel against Islamic fascism, and embraced President-elect Barack Obama’s policy of appeasement. Groveling in fear of a recession, Americans also overthrew their free market ideals. This was the year of false hope by an Obama prophet, who will only accelerate our demise.

The core of Mr. Obama’s appeal — behind the vacuous promises of “change” and hope” — is that his election will ”restore America’s standing in the world.” The muscular, unilateralist foreign policy of President Bush is over. Conservative nationalism is out; liberal multi-lateralism is in. Mr. Obama vows to wind down the Iraq war restore our alliances and engage in direct dialogue with rogue states, such as Iran, North Korea and Venezuela,

Tue American electorate has buried its collective head in the sand, hoping that Mr. Obama can somehow — through his slick rhetoric, artificial demeanor, and worldwide celebrity status – will convince our enemies to lay down their weapons. He will not succeed.

Our celebrity-in-chief does not frighten or inspire the murderous, anti-American thugs in Tehran, Pyongyang or Caracas. They see him for what he is: a weak, naive and oscillating leader, who does not understand the growing threat against the West. In fact, he is even part of the problem.
Not since the late 1960s has, the United States — and Western civilization — faced such a powerful array of enemies. Islamic extremism is on the march.

Nuclear-armed Pakistan has become a hot-bed of fundamentalism. The Taliban and al Qaeda have established a vital sanctuary within its borders. NATO troops are in a bloody quagmire in Afghanistan. Hezbollah has set up a theocratic statelet within Lebanon. North Korea continues to sell missile technology to Syria (which, in turn, supports Hamas and Hezbollah). Somalia is teetering on the brink of an Islamist revolution. Saudi Arabia continues to fund radical madrassas around the world. Sudan is recruiting jihadists in its genocidal campaign against Darfur.

The biggest threat, however, comes from revolutionary Iran: 2008 was when Tehran reached the point of no return in its quest for the bomb. Iran’s mullahs are now within reach of possessing the capability for a nuclear weapons program.

In the face of this gathering storm, Mr. Obama pledges diplomatic carrots and negotiations. He fails to recognize we are at war not only with terrorist sponsoring states, but a totalitarian fascist ideology that seeks to impose a global Muslim caliphate. Radical Islam’s greatest ally is Communist China. Beijing’s capitalists don’t much care for Islamic practices (in fact, they have a restive Muslim population of their own), but their attitude is more Machiavellian: the enemy of my enemy is my friend.

China’s leaders are bent upon becoming the world’s next superpower. They are engaged in a massive military buildup. They threaten neighbors, such as Taiwan, India and Japan. They have formed an anti-American, anti-democratic alliance with Russia, Iran, Venezuela, North Korea, Syria and Sudan.

If 2008 can be compared to any previous year, it is 1938 – the year of Munich, appeasement and self-delusion in the face of xenophobic militarism.
Then the Axis powers consisted of Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy and Imperial Japan. Today it is authoritarian China, a revanchist Russia and revolutionary Iran. Their goal: to bring America to its knees.

For the first time in decades, the United States faces a massive economic crisis. Moreover, 2008 saw the triumph of socialism in America. The taxpayer bailouts of the financial and auto sectors, the nationalization of the big banks, the explosion in deficit spending — all of it has not only failed to revive the economy, but marked a huge expansion in governmental activism.

Mr. Obama promises to complete America's transformation into a Scandinavian-style social democracy with universal health care, federally subsidized day care, a massive public works program and soak-the-rich tax increases. The results will be the same as in Europe: anemic economic growth, high unemployment, a bloated and ossified public bureaucracy and a dependent and less productive citizenry.

The European Union shows that a sclerotic, highly taxed, over-regulated economy eventually leads to a defanged military — and the inevitable loss of world power status. America has chosen to follow the ruinous road of Europe.

An honest and serious media would have exposed all of these issues — and the dangerous pitfalls of an Obama presidency. Instead, the 2008 campaign represented the culmination of a low, dishonest decade. A sycophantic press corps suppressed damaging information about Mr. Obama and effectively carried him into the White House. They have thus carried America’s Neville Chamberlain on their shoulders, in a massive delusion that the problem was George W. Bush when, in fact, the problem we face are the evil forces aligned against us.

In 1938, German dictator Adolph Hitler gained the precious months he needed to wage his war of aggression. History is repeating itself— except this time, Fascism does not have a Nazi face, but a Persian Islamic one. Americans think they have bought themselves peace and prosperity with Mr. Obama. Yet, neither peace nor prosperity has previously been secured by cowering to the enemies of freedom.

The year 2008 was the year of surrender.

Jeffrey T Kuhner is a columnist for the Washington Times

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 08:42 PM | Comments (0)

January 20, 2009

“Throwing anti-war agitators Markos Moulitsas and Arianna Huffington under the bio-diesel bus ...”

Now that their blood-letting and Bush-bashing has run its disastrous course...
Maybe Hollywood can return to its senses and get on with our vital defense?

Triangulating Scarlett Johansson

By Andrew Breitbart
The Washington Times, January 5, 2009

This was the year Hollywood finally realized that it couldn’t sell an anti-Iraq war film. It also was the year the mainstream media discovered it couldn’t report that the war on terror had failed. Countless prime-time hours and untold acres of celluloid and newsprint were wasted demeaning the American mission. Yet, in the end, the heroic warriors destroyed their media adversaries by defeating our true enemies on the battlefield.

Except for the election of an anti-war candidate, 2008 was a great year for the pro-war side and only an economic meltdown could divert attention from this fact. In addition, even President-elect Barack Obama seems poised to disappoint the zealous anti-warriors who flamed his candidacy. Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates could not have been the “change” Moveon.org believed in, just as soon-to-be Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton — who voted to authorize the Iraq war—isn’t likely what filmmaker Michael Moore had in mind.

Now, however, Mr. Obama — perhaps desirous of being a great wartime president—can do what a Republican president, especially one vilified in Hollywood, could not sell the war. Mr. Obama has the tools, the alliances and the skills needed to begin an unprecedented propaganda campaign to repackage America’s efforts against international terrorism and the global jihad movement. The goal would, be to strengthen the resolve of a conflict-weary American people and to send a message abroad that Americans stand united once again and that our war to defend modernity also is theirs.

It’s not as if there’s no precedent for Hollywood supporting a war under a Democratic president. Consider World War II. There were superstar actors and top directors in the military (Clark Gable, Jimmy Stewart, Frank Capra), and others such as Ronald Reagan and John Ford made training and propaganda films and documentaries. The studios turned out pro-war films such as ‘Air Force’ “Guadalcanal Diary” and the “Why We Fight series. Betty Grable adorned soldier’s locker, and anti-Nazi. German Marlene Dietrich did USO shows .as near the front line, as the military would let her. Some Stars even gave their lives, Carole Lombard died in a plane crash while on a bond-selling tour.

As for the current war on terrorism, there never was any chance of Hollywood liberals supporting it as long as George W. Bush was president. Wrong though it is, it is simply an article of the Liberal Faith that Mr. Bush stole the election in Florida. Look at movies such as the HBO film “Recount” and his entire White House reign was illegitimate - “Not my president” and all that. Barack Obama, “My President” — is prosecuting the war. That fundamentally changes the mind set.

On the precipice of victory in Iraq, and recommitting to destroy the Taliban in Afghanistan, continuing military victories on a Democratic president’s watch would be extraordinarily transforming party that pretends to thrive in the shadow of George McGovern. Throwing anti-war agitators Markos Moulitsas and Arianna Huffington under the bio-diesel bus would be a historic act that would cause moderates and traditional liberals to rejoice What would the nut cases at the Huffington Post and the Daily Kos do - draft Cindy Sheehan again - or support the Republican next go-around?

Most conservatives just want to win and don’t care who gets the credit. If Mr. Obama crushes al Qaeda over the next four years, he will be re-elected, and he will win over many Republicans, including Mr. Bush, who only cares about winning, not who gets the credit.

The president missed a historic opportunity to win over the hearts and minds of Hollywood immediately after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attack. One actor told me of immediately going to the Santa Monica, Calif., military recruitment office and attempting to sign up. Technically one year too old to enlist, the familiar face — who was at peak athletic condition at the time — insisted that the chain of command make an exemption. “Think of the good press it would get the television and film actor begged. “ Find someone - anyone who will grant me an exemption. I’ll even take on your best recruits to prove I can do the work better than anyone else?’ Bruce Willis famously tried to join the military ranks in 2001. “I wanted to sign up and fight with you guys, but they told me I was too old?’

A New York-based iconic writer and director who creates $100 million alternative universes went straight to the Defense Department and pitched his wares, “I can do propaganda for you. And they told me, ‘Sorry, We don’t do propaganda.”

Well, now we can, and we should fight the war in the media. Hollywood got Mr. Obama elected, and he has an army who will do whatever he says.
Scarlett Johansson has Mr. Obama’s e-mail address. Perhaps she can become the new face of the USO. And, Ben Afleck is still young enough to enlist. Susan Sarandon can play the part of Martha Raye. In one epic act of triangulation, deploying America’s awesome propaganda power, Hollywood and the Democratic Party can be redeemed.

Are you ready to win a war, President Obama? Or what?

Andrew Breitbart is the founder of the news Web site, www.breitbart.com. He also is co-author of “Hollywood Interrupted: Insanity Chic in Babylon — the Case Against Celebrity.”

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 04:27 PM | Comments (0)

January 18, 2009

From an Israeli legend whose opinions I greatly respect

And ... with which I totally agree (jsk)

To Deter or to Defeat

By Former Israel Defense Minister, Moshe Arens
Jan 14, 2009

It is not only our naive foreign minister, Tzipi Livni, who has announced that in the wake of the Gaza operation, Israel has restored its deterrent capability. Many of Israel's politicians are echoing this view. This would suggest that whereas Hamas did not hesitate to launch rockets against Israel's towns and villages over these past years, after the blows it took these past weeks it will not dare to do so again in the future.

Our military spokesmen boast of the blows Hamas has received, of the massive destruction of its infrastructure, of the hundreds of Hamas fighters who have been killed, and of the fact that a "price tag" has now been put on their rocket attacks against Israeli civilians, high enough to keep them from repeating such attacks in the future. Some even use the expression the "landlord has gone crazy" to express that from now on, Hamas will fear massive Israeli responses to any attacks.

Enamored with the concept of deterrence, some even have gone so far as to claim that the blows delivered by the Israeli Air Force to Lebanese targets during the unsuccessful Second Lebanon War, nevertheless succeeded to re-establish Israel's deterrent capability in the north, as the recent Katyusha rockets that fell on Nahariya were no more than "an isolated incident."

Deterrence, after all, provides the best of all possible worlds - the enemy is deterred from launching aggressive action, war and the attendant loss of life is avoided, and in an atmosphere of stability, life can go on normally. The popularity of the concept of deterrence goes back to the Cold War, when the nuclear capabilities of the U.S. and the Soviet Union deterred both countries from launching nuclear strikes on each other. And, in fact, the mutually assured destruction, even after being hit by a nuclear strike, was sufficient to establish a balance of terror.

This concept may apply to some of Israel's neighboring states, countries with considerable human and material assets that might be severely damaged by an Israeli response to aggression, and countries that have totalitarian governments whose rule might be endangered under such circumstances. Whether a nuclear Iran could be deterred by such considerations is not at all certain. That question is being pondered by decision makers in Jerusalem and Washington.

However, deterring a terrorist organization is quite another matter. It does not seem likely that a terrorist organization could be deterred from pursuing its aims, which include terrorizing civilians. Terrorist organizations do not generally own substantial assets that are vulnerable to attack, and striking them seems to increase their support from their fanatical fans. Their leaders, if killed, are quickly replaced by others. No, Al Qaida cannot be deterred; it has to be defeated. The claim that Hezbollah has been deterred from using its massive rocket arsenal on Israel is based on the fact that since the cease-fire, their rockets have not struck Israel (except for the recent attack in the north). But it is far more likely that rather than being deterred by Israel, Hezbollah intends to move at the time and place of its choosing. The capability to strike is there, and the proverbial pistol in the first act will go off before the play is over.

Hamas, a terrorist organization dedicated to the destruction of Israel, cannot be deterred. As the organization is struck, its support among the local population grows, and its popularity among fundamentalist Muslims around the world increases. It attaches no value to life, whether Muslim or Jewish. Israel is concerned over the loss of life in the Gaza Strip during the current round of fighting, but Hamas is not. The infrastructure in Gaza, if destroyed or damaged, will quickly be rebuilt with foreign donations after the fighting is over. If a cease-fire is established before Hamas' rocket capability has been eliminated, the group will be seen as the victor.

The idea of deterring Hamas is a fantasy. Hamas has to be defeated. Defeating it means eliminating its ability to launch rockets at Israel, and that means that the IDF has to reach the areas where the rockets are being launched. When the rockets cease falling on Israel, it will be clear who won this conflict, and from that point, all other issues regarding the presence of Hamas in the Gaza Strip can be dealt with.

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 07:44 PM | Comments (0)

January 16, 2009

Hamas’s No State Solution

Hamas, Shariah Law and 'Palestine.'


The Wall Street Journal

January 13, 2009

Of all the errors in the West's understanding of Hamas, none is more fundamental than the routine characterization of the group as a Palestinian movement. It is nothing of the sort.

This isn't to say that the Islamic Resistance Movement -- to use Hamas's proper name -- isn't led by Palestinians, or that it's unpopular among them. On the contrary: Even before the current fighting, Hamas was almost certainly more popular than its secular rival Fatah throughout the Palestinian Authority, including the West Bank. The only difference with Gaza is that Israel remains a presence on the West Bank, able to prevent Hamas from gaining sufficient strength to rout Fatah in an armed contest.

Hamas's claim on Palestinian hearts has only gained force in the last three weeks, though whether the feeling lasts will depend largely on how it emerges from the war. But the test of Hamas's Palestinian-ness, as it were, has nothing to do with its popularity. The test is whether it actually believes in something called Palestine. There is scant evidence that it does.

Bear in mind that there has never previously been an independent state by that name; politically, it remains a notional place. The idea of a Palestinian people, referring to the Arab inhabitants of the land, is also of relatively recent vintage. (The late, great Israeli pianist David Bar-Ilan, my predecessor as editor of the Jerusalem Post, was known, as a Jewish child during the British Mandate, as the "Palestinian piano prodigy.")

This isn't to deny, as Golda Meir famously did, the existence of a Palestinian people. But it is to say that a Palestinian people -- as opposed to merely an Arab one -- exists only as a kind of counterpart, perhaps a twin, to the Israeli people. Put simply: No Israel, no Palestine.

That's why the creation of the Palestinian Authority, on the basis of the 1993 Oslo Accords, could only happen once Yasser Arafat's PLO had recognized Israel's right to exist. Israel later learned, at great cost, that Arafat's "recognition" had been a lie. Yet the principle remains valid regardless of the lie. (that is a matter of opinion – certainly not mine – jsk)
Hamas, to its perverse credit, does not lie, at least not on fundamental issues. It has never accepted the Oslo Accords. It is sworn to Israel's destruction. Its charter is nakedly and aggressively anti-Semitic; no fig leaf of "anti-Zionism" there. The closest it has ever come to terms with the Jewish state is the offer of a long-term hudna, on the model of the Prophet's 10-year truce with the tribes of seventh century Arabia. "Anyone who thinks Hamas will change is wrong," said supreme leader Khaled Mashal in 2006. Could he be any clearer?

Of course, Hamas enjoys "democratic legitimacy" by virtue of its parliamentary victory in January 2006. And with the quiet expiration last week of Mahmoud Abbas's presidential term, it is the only Palestinian party that enjoys such legitimacy. But this turns out to be no legitimacy at all, since Hamas refuses to recognize the legal basis of the Authority it purports to represent. And this is to say nothing of the putsch through which Hamas came to power in Gaza.

Still, it isn't merely Israel's right to exist, or the Palestinian Authority's, that Hamas denies. It denies Palestine's as well.

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 05:30 PM | Comments (0)

January 15, 2009

Final Message from White House Liaison to Leaders of Jewish Community

January 14, 2009

Jewish leaders,

For the past eight years, President George W. Bush has been an unwavering supporter of Israel and a friend to the Jewish people around the world. You may recall that his first visit to Israel took place in 1998, when then Defense Minister Ariel Sharon escorted then Governor George W. Bush on a private helicopter tour around the country. President Bush’s clear and strong support, reinforced this week supporting Israel’s right to defend itself against terror rocket attacks from Hamas, is the most recent example of his commitment to the safety, security, and prosperity of the Jewish State.

As the President said in his address to Israel’s Knesset last May,

“The alliance between our governments is unbreakable, yet the source of our friendship runs deeper than any treaty. It is grounded in the shared spirit of our people, the bonds of the Book, the ties of the soul.”

Below are links to various speeches, photos, videos, and reports of the many ways President Bush has supported Israel and Jewish communities all over the world. I hope you will take a few moments to reflect on just some of what President George W. Bush has both worked towards and accomplished over the course of his Administration and the strong and resolute leader he has been.

On a personal note, it has been an honor and a privilege for me to serve President Bush for the past three years, and a true blessing to serve as his liaison to the Jewish community.

Thank you,

Scott Arogeti
White House Liaison to the Jewish Community

Strong Support for U.S.-Israel Relationship

Over the course of the past eight years, strengthening the U.S.–Israel relationship has been a top priority for President Bush. He has met with the Israeli Prime Minister on twenty separate occasions. Below you will find links to remarks, pictures, and video of each of these meetings.

Meetings with Israeli Prime Ministers

Prime Minister Sharon
3/20/01 - http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2001/03/20010320-3.html
6/26/01 - http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2001/06/20010626-12.html
12/2/01 - http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2001/12/20011202-2.html
2/7/02 - http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2002/02/20020207-15.html
5/7/02 - http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2002/05/20020507-12.html
6/10/02 - http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2002/06/20020610-1.html
10/16/02 - http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2002/10/20021016-13.html
6/4/03 - http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2003/06/20030604-1.html
7/29/03 - http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2003/07/20030729-2.html
4/14/04 - http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2004/04/20040414-4.html
4/11/05 - http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2005/04/20050411-2.html
9/14/05 - http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2003/06/20030604-1.html

Prime Minister Olmert

5/23/06 - http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2006/05/20060523-9.html
11/13/06 - http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2006/11/20061113-3.html
6/19/07 - http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2007/06/20070619.html
11/26/07 - http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2007/11/20071126-3.html
1/09/08 - http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2008/01/20080109-4.html
5/14/08 - http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2008/05/20080514-4.html
6/04/08 - http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2008/06/20080604-1.html
11/24/08 - http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2008/11/20081124-3.html

Visits to the State of Israel
President Bush also visited the State of Israel twice during his Administration. Below you will find links to remarks, pictures, and video of different highlights from these trips.

President Bush visits Yad Vashem

President Bush tours Masada

President Bush Addresses Members of the Knesset and Honors 60th Anniversary of the State of Israel


President Bush Visits Bible Lands Museum and Participates in Roundtable with Israeli Youth

Friend of the Jewish Community

President Bush Celebrates Hanukkah
President Bush was the first President to host an annual Menorah Lighting Ceremony and Hannukah Reception at the White House for American Jewish leaders. Below you will find links to remarks, pictures, and video from each of these Menorah Lighting Ceremonies.

2001 - http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2001/12/20011210-7.html
2002 – http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2002/12/20021204-15.html
2003 – http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2003/12/20031222-3.html
2004 – http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2004/12/20041209-16.html
2005 – http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2005/12/20051206-4.html
2006 – http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2006/12/20061218-13.html
2007 – http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2007/12/20071210-3.html
2008 - http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2008/12/20081215-5.html

President’s Remarks at National Dinner Celebrating 350 Years of Jewish Life in America


Solid Record on Confronting Anti-Semitism
Throughout his Administration, President Bush has been vocal in recognizing and confronting Anti-Semitism in all of its forms. Below are links to remarks by the President at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, a visit by the President to Auschwitz, as well as a report by the Office of the Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism.

President Bush gives Remarks at United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

President Bush visits Auschwitz

Comprehensive Report on Contemporary Global Anti-Semitism in all its Manifestations

Lastly, "The Policies of the Bush Administration 2001-2009," a collection of policy fact sheets, is also now available on the White House website in PDF format at:


Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 01:37 AM | Comments (0)

January 13, 2009

Arab addresses Arab

By Youssef Ibrahim

To my Arab brothers:

The War with Israel Is Over - and they won.

Now let's finally move forward with Israel entering its fourth week of an incursion into the same Gaza Strip it voluntarily evacuated over three years ago. A sense of reality among Arabs is spreading through commentary by Arab pundits, letters to the editor, and political talk shows on Arabic-language TV networks. The new views are stunning both in their maturity and in their realism. The best way I can think of to convey them is in the form of a letter to the Palestinian Arabs from their Arab friends:

Dear Palestinian Arab brethren: The war with Israel is over. You have lost. Surrender and negotiate to secure a future for your children. We, your Arab brothers, may say until we are blue in the face that we stand by you, but the wise among you and most of us know that we are moving on, away from the tired old idea of the Palestinian Arab cause and the "eternal struggle" with Israel.

Dear friends, you and your leaders have wasted three generations trying to fight for Palestine, but the truth is the Palestine you could have had in 1948 is much bigger than the one you could have had in 1967, which in turn is much bigger than what you may have to settle for now or in another 10 years.

Struggle means less land and more misery and utter loneliness. Now, brothers, you would be lucky to secure a semblance of a state in that Gaza Strip into which you have all crowded, and a small part of the West Bank of the Jordan River. It isn't going to get better. Time is running out even for this much land, so here are some facts, figures, and sound advice, friends.

You hold keys, which you drag out for television interviews, to houses that do not exist or are inhabited by Israelis who have no intention of leaving Jaffa, Haifa, Tel Aviv or West Jerusalem. You shoot old guns at modern Israeli tanks and American-made fighter jets, doing virtually no harm to Israel while bringing the wrath of its mighty army down upon you. You fire ridiculously inept Kassam rockets that cause little destruction and delude yourselves into thinking this is a war of liberation.

Your government, your social institutions, your schools and your economy are all in ruins. Your young people are growing up illiterate, ill, and bent on rites of death and suicide, while you, in effect, are living on the kindness of foreigners, including America and the United Nations. Every day your officials must beg for your daily bread, dependent on relief trucks that carry food and medicine into the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, while your criminal Muslim fundamentalist Hamas government continues to fan the flames of a war it can neither fight nor hope to win.

In other words, brothers, you are down, out, and alone in a burnt-out landscape that is shrinking by the day. What kind of struggle is this? Is it worth waging at all? More important, what kind of miserable future does it portend for your children, the fourth or fifth generation of the Arab world's have-nots? We, your Arab brothers, have moved on.

Those of us who have oil money are busy accumulating wealth and building housing, luxury developments, state-of-the-art universities and schools, and new highways and byways. Those of us who share borders with Israel, such as Egypt and Jordan, have signed a peace treaty with it and are not going to war for you any time soon. Those of us, who are far away, in places like North Africa and Iraq, frankly could not care less about what happens to you.

Only Syria continues to feed your fantasies that someday it will join you in liberating Palestine, even though a huge chunk of its territory, the entire Golan Heights, was taken by Israel in 1967 and annexed. The Syrians, my friends, will gladly fight down to the last Palestinian Arab. Before you got stuck with this Hamas crowd, another cheating, conniving, leader of yours, Yasser Arafat, sold you a rotten bill of goods - more pain, greater corruption, and millions stolen by his relatives - while your children played in the sewers of Gaza.

The war is over. Why not let a new future begin?

Youssef M. Ibrahim, a former New York Times Middle East Correspondent and Wall Street Journal Energy Editor for 25 years, is a freelance writer based in New York City and Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 05:01 AM | Comments (0)

January 10, 2009

The Disreputable New York Times – Newspaper Bible of the Left

Why Does The New York Times Love Hamas?

By Steve Emerson

January 6, 2008

The paper of record (NY Times) refuses to call them terrorists, extols the groups' humanitarian efforts and whitewashes its behavior during the now-broken ceasefire. In the past week, the Fourth Estate's Hamas cheerleaders have stripped away any pretense of being honest or neutral, with the New York Times continuing to take the side of the terrorist group in one of the most shameful journalistic episodes I have ever seen. In following the Times coverage for the past six months and checking external sources of information, one can see a clear pattern of propagandistic reporting favoring Hamas that selectively suppressed or willfully misrepresented information.

Even the Times knows it has a bias problem. Readers who detected it got a chilling confirmation of their suspicions in the December 13 column by Ombudsman Clark Hoyt. Hoyt addressed a public outcry over the paper's failure to use the term "terrorist" for the attackers who executed some 170 people in Mumbai, India in late November. Also mutilated were six Jews killed in the Chabad House - a fact never reported by the Times. Hoyt quoted several reporters and editors making extraordinary admissions that shed some light on the newspaper's most recent dispatches from Gaza.

Addressing the general guidelines for using the T-word, "Ethan Bronner, the Jerusalem bureau chief, said, "Our general view is that the word terrorist is politically loaded and overused." However, he said that sometimes, "when a person's act has been examined and its intent and result clearly understood, we call him a terrorist." (Never mind that Lashkar e-Taiba, the group behind the Mumbai attacks, has committed hundreds of terrorist attacks since 1996. How much more "studying" needs to be done?)

As for Hamas, the organization that controls Gaza, it has been sponsoring suicide bombers and launching rockets into Israel since 1987, killing and wounding thousands of Israelis (and Americans). But the Times has refused to call it a terrorist group because, according to deputy news editor Phil Corbett, the paper did not want to get into a situation where it might label a worker at a Hamas hospital a terrorist. So instead, it has given a blanket amnesty to all of Hamas including its Izzadin Al Qassem military wing, which openly claims responsibility for carrying out terrorist atrocities.

This is a familiar ruse by Islamic terrorist groups (including the non-profit Islamic charities in the United States, which were shut down after 9/11): create humanitarian branches to distract from the true nature of their organizations. But, has Ethan Bronner ever stepped inside one of these Hamas hospitals or schools? I have, several years ago, in Gaza, where I saw murals on the wall of Palestinians stabbing Israelis to death.

In the stories filed this past week, Gaza-based Times reporter Taghreed El-Khodary, has also fallen for another classic tactic of terrorist groups:, embedding their fighters and facilities in residential areas to incur more civilian casualties. El-Khodary's dispatches have decried the "shocking" nature of the Israeli attacks on Palestinian civilians, sidestepping the fact that Hamas purposely locates its infrastructure among civilians in effect holding them hostage.

Despite the fact that Hamas has executed scores of rivals, smuggled in hundreds of tons of explosives and tens of thousands of weapons, killed local Christians and shut down their churches, and summarily executed "collaborators" (those who have been accused, mostly falsely, of working with the Israelis), the paper appears intent on humanizing the brutal regime in Gaza.

On October 20, 2008, for example, the Times painted a sweet portrait of Hamas fostering love, not war, through arranged marriages for members of Izzadin Al-Qassem (the terrorist squad that specializes in suicide bombings, although this fact was conveniently left out in the story). "Taking advantage of the pause in violence," Taghreed El-Khodary wrote, "the Hamas leaders have turned to matchmaking, bringing together single fighters and widows, and providing dowries and wedding parties for the many here who cannot afford such trappings of matrimony."

How touching. The next installment could be on Al Qaeda's mixers for Gen-Y terrorists or Hezbollah's Harmony-style dating service for those terrorists too shy to walk up to female mujahid and ask her if she likes his AK-47. And by the way, those Hamas lovebirds were able to participate in an open-air wedding ceremony, because, the Times reported, Hamas "has been observing a truce with Israel since June, allowing its underground fighters to resurface but leaving them without much to do." In fact, Hamas was routinely violating the truce, allowing scores of rockets to be fired into Israel, smuggling explosives, building underground tunnels and, as we now know, building tens of thousands of rockets and long-range missiles to target southern Israel.

Yet a week before Israel launched its most recent offensive in Gaza, on December 20, Ethan Bronner was still promoting the Hamas line that it had "imposed its will and even imprisoned some of those who were firing rockets." What he neglected to say is that those allegedly imprisoned were never jailed more than two days, and that Hamas fired more than 200 missiles at Israel during the truce.

In this same article Bronner places the blame for breaking the truce on "Israel's decision in early November to destroy a tunnel Hamas had been digging near the border drove the cycle of violence to a much higher level." In fact, if Bronner had read his own paper's June 25 report, "Rockets Hit Israel, Breaking Hamas Truce", he would have learned that "three Qassem rockets fired from Gaza on Tuesday struck the Israeli border town of Sderot, constituting the first serious breach of a five-day-old truce between Israel and Hamas."

Another example of the Times downplaying Hamas' evil nature occurred deep in a December 29 story by Bronner and El-Khodary. Although focused mostly on the Palestinians killed by Israeli bombs, it did make a relatively brief reference to the fact that "Hamas gunmen publicly shot suspected collaborators with Israel," which the paper described somewhat nonchalantly as "internal bloodletting." The Times said that five victims were taken out of their hospital beds and shot in the head - a chilling episode that should have been a stand-alone story about the thugs who rule Gaza.

Moreover, calling these men "collaborators" when, for all we know, they were simply political opponents of Hamas, conjures up self-justifying images of the French collaboration with the Nazis.

Throughout last week's reporting by Bonner and El-Khodary, there were numerous references to two Palestinian children killed by Israeli bombing raids, with the clear implication that Israel was recklessly attacking civilian areas. The paper never once blamed Hamas for intentionally using civilians as human shields. Even more telling of the Times' bias: On December 26, 2008, the Jerusalem Post reported that, according to the Palestinian Health ministry, two Palestinian children, ages five and 12, were killed when Hamas rockets fell short of their Israeli targets. Yet, the Times never once reported those deaths.

In its purported evenhanded approach to reporting the news from the Gaza front, the New York Times continues to betray the trust placed on journalists to give readers all the facts. In this clear attempt to place the blame on one party alone, Israel, the Times is advancing the cause of Hamas. If the Times really wanted to present the truth, it would simply drop the pretense of being honest and simply register as a foreign agent of Hamas.

Additional reporting by Linda Keay

Steve Emerson is Executive Director of the Investigative Project on Terrorism and author of several books and countless articles on terrorism. His most recent book is, Jihad Incorporated: A Guide to Militant Islam in the U.S.

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 11:04 PM | Comments (0)

January 08, 2009

The Hypocrisy and Existential Danger of Contriving a Moral Equivalency ...

Between Israel and Hamas - Them and Us

Candidly Speaking: End the cant and hypocrisy

By Isi Leibler
Jerusalem Post
January 2009

Anyone seeking a case study of the forces of good facing evil incarnate would not find a better template than our current confrontation with Hamas. Yet, having for years endured bias and the application of double standards from the amoral international community, we are pained that much of the global media continues relating to us in a malevolent and hypocritical manner. In lieu of being commended for defending ourselves against terrorists, we are portrayed as the heartless killers while the barbarians committed to murdering us are depicted as innocent victims.

Self-styled liberals refuse to face the brutal truth that that our Hamas neighbors have created a criminal society based on death and destruction.
Like the Nazis, Hamas is committed to destroying the Jewish people and willing to transform its own citizens into martyrs to promote this goal. "A Palestinian who kills one Jew will be rewarded as if he killed 30 million," proclaimed Hamas legislator Fathi Hamad at a press conference. Whereas we grieve over the death of fellow Israelis and innocent Palestinians, Hamas celebrates the murder of both - the first as "apes and pigs," the latter as prized martyrs of Allah whom they gleefully exploit for propaganda purposes.

An independent state of Palestine is not Hamas's primary goal. Its charter unequivocally prioritizes the destruction of the Jewish state and killing as many Jews as possible: "The annihilation of the Jews in Palestine is one of the most splendid blessings for Palestine," said Palestinian cleric Muhsen Abu Ita recently on Al Aksa TV. Only last week on Hamas TV, masked women clad in explosive belts and holding rifles vowed to become "martyrs" and blow themselves up among the "apes and pigs." From kindergarten, their children are brainwashed to sanctify their lives by becoming martyrs to the cause of killing the hated Jews.

In our desperate quest for peace, we elected successive governments which tried to achieve "peace in our time" by appeasing these fanatical terrorists - even unilaterally dismantling Jewish settlements which were subsequently transformed into launching pads for intensified missile attacks on our civilians.

During the past year, our government entered into a truce with Hamas despite repeated proclamations by its leaders that they accepted a cease-fire only to regroup and to obtain more sophisticated weapons from Iran, to be employed at a time of their choosing. Even that "truce" was never honored and Hamas continued targeting Israelis.

When Hamas formally abrogated the "period of calm" and began intensifying missile attacks, Israel finally responded militarily. Despite unprecedented efforts to minimize civilian casualties, even warning Palestinian noncombatants in advance of an attack, civilian loss of life in war is inevitable. However, had the IDF, with its enormous firepower, been targeting civilians as the biased media alleges, tens of thousands would have fallen. Besides, in the midst of hostilities, would the truckloads of humanitarian aid to Gaza have been approved?

Most casualties could have been avoided had Hamas not deliberately located its missile launchers, weapons factories and arms caches in densely populated residential areas, schools, mosques, hospitals and homes, cynically utilizing women and children as human shields. Hamas representative Fathi Hamad openly told Al-Aksa TV: "Palestinians formed human shields of women, children, the elderly and the Mujahedeen in order to challenge the Zionist bombing machine. It was as if they were saying to the Zionist enemy: We desire death like you desire life." Not surprisingly, those human rights groups continuously castigating Israel refuse to concede that such behavior would qualify as war crimes under international law.

NO COUNTRY whose citizens are continuously under missile attack from its neighbor would match the restraint displayed by Israel. I take no pride in this because I believe that the government's failure to respond earlier was unconscionable. It emboldened Hamas terrorists, accustomed the world to accepting that as long as many people were not killed, launching missiles against Israel was "tolerable" and effectively eliminated our deterrent capability. Moreover, it doomed close to a million citizens in the South to becoming refugees in their own land as they took refuge from missile attacks which, by any benchmark, were acts of war.

Now, in a rare display of unity so far including even the most dovish Knesset parties, Israelis have affirmed that the outcome of this conflict must ensure that missiles shall never again target their citizens. An imposed unilateral cease-fire with Hamas that fails to implement this would be akin to the US and its allies consummating an unconditional truce with a victorious Taliban in Afghanistan.

That is why international public opinion is so important. If the victims who defend themselves by killing Hamas terrorists and the perpetrators who target and kill innocent civilians are viewed as morally equivalent, that would represent a clear victory for the global Jihadists.

Regrettably, there are sectors of the international community who once again are burying their heads. While the United States, Germany, the Czech Republic and Australia hold Hamas responsible, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned Israel for invading Gaza and employing "disproportionate" force and harming civilians.

Other Europeans, led by the retiring head of the European Union, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, also accused Israel of responding in a disproportionate manner. One can only speculate how Sarkozy would have reacted had neighboring Belgium been launching thousands of missiles targeting French civilians. Or the Russians, whose response to the Chechnya uprising and mauling of Georgia hardly qualifies them to preach to anyone about proportionality.

Hamas is not a terrorist splinter group. It is the controlling authority in Gaza and determines what happens. Were it to curtail missile attacks and come to terms with the existence of a Jewish state, a cease-fire would instantaneously come into effect. Until then, it is responsible for every single Palestinian casualty. Besides, since when is proportionality determined as tit for tat? Moreover, how does that apply to an entity which proclaims that its objective is to destroy the Jewish state?

Would the inadvertent death of noncombatants become "more justifiable" if only more targeted Israelis were killed? Does Israel have to experience a mega massacre before implementing deterrence? What sort of sick thinking is this? As Barack Obama said in June when he visited Sderot, "If somebody was sending rockets into my house where my two daughters sleep at night, I would do everything to stop that and would expect Israel to do the same thing."

Today, as never before, we need the international community to act in a responsible manner. We therefore appeal to our friends and people of goodwill everywhere. Raise your voices now and support our struggle to overcome terrorism. Hamas is not merely another brand of Taliban. It is also the surrogate of Iran. If Western governments appease this criminal organization at the expense of the security of Israel, they strengthen the forces of global jihad, signal moderate Muslims that it is futile to resist the fanatics and expose citizens in their own capitals to increased bombing attacks.

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 10:37 PM | Comments (0)

January 07, 2009

Two-Week Pollard Countdown Begins With Giant Prayer Rally

06 January 09

From article by Hillel Fendel

Please call and ask Pres. Bush to grant Pollard clemency. 202-456-1414 or 202-456-1111, Monday-Friday, 9 AM to 5 PM EDST. Organizers say that the successful continuation of the phone campaign is still critical.

The Tenth of Tevet – a traditional Jewish day of fasting marking the start of the destruction of Jerusalem over 2,500 years ago – has been marked for a day of prayers at the Western Wall on behalf of Jonathan Pollard, the soldiers fighting in Gaza, and troubled Jews around the world.

The event was originally called exclusively on behalf of Pollard, who has been in prison in the United States for well over 23 years. The campaign for his release has entered possibly its most critical phase ever, with President George W. Bush set to leave office in just two weeks. In accordance with well-entrenched American tradition, the President pardons many prisoners in his final hours in office. Jews around the world are hoping and praying that Pollard is on the list as well.

Conservatives for Pollard
Just last month, for the first time, the Conservative Jewish movement in the United States and around the world urged the American president to consider clemency for Pollard. Raymond Goldstein, International President of the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism (USCJ), and Rabbi Jerome Epstein, the organization’s Executive Vice President, wrote to President Bush as follows: "We do not minimize the treasonous nature of Pollard's espionage, for which he was rightfully arrested, tried, and sentenced. Nevertheless, he has been imprisoned since 1985, and has served far more time in prison than anyone else convicted of espionage, even those who were in the pay of enemies of the United States. Given the disproportionate length of his sentence, we strongly believe that it would be an act of kindness consonant with the deepest American values to grant him clemency.”

Three days earlier, on Dec. 21, the USCJ's board of directors passed a resolution calling on Bush to commute the sentence of Pollard. The movement's rabbinical arm, the Rabbinical Assembly, adopted a similar resolution in 1999.

Iranian Spy Gets 15 Months
Also last month, Muhammed Raza Alawi, an American-born Iranian, was sentenced in the U.S. to just 15 months in prison for having passed nuclear plans to Iran. The judge explained the lenient sentence by saying that no “immediate damage to the U.S.” could be attributed to the acts of the accused.

Pollard supporters note that this was precisely the opposite of what happened in his case. Pollard was sentenced to life in prison, instead of the expected 2-4 years, because it was estimated that damage would one day be caused to the U.S. as a result of his acts. Even though this fear has been proven false over the past 23 years, his sentence was not commuted, and he continues to see his health and life wane away as he cleans latrines for the U.S. Federal Bureau of Prisons.

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 12:27 AM | Comments (0)

January 05, 2009

To Jewish Leaders: President GW Bush’s remarks in the Oval Office Re: Gaza

Earlier today, President Bush met with First Vice President of Sudan and President of Southern Sudan, Salva Kiir Mayardit, in the Oval Office to discuss ways to bring peace to the Sudan. During the remarks, the President talked about the situation in Gaza.

In his remarks, the President said:

“Finally, I've been -- Secretary Rice was just here, and prior to the Vice President's arrival we did talk about Gaza. I've been closely monitoring the situation in Gaza. I understand Israel's desire to protect itself, and that; Hamas caused the situation now taking place in Gaza. Instead of caring about the people of Gaza, Hamas decided to use Gaza to launch rockets to kill innocent Israelis. And Israel has obviously decided to protect herself and her people.

The United States is concerned about the humanitarian crisis. We care about the people of Gaza, and, therefore, have provided millions of dollars of fresh aid to the United Nations to help. And, finally, all of us, of course, would like to see violence stopped -- but not at the expense of an agreement that does not prevent the crisis from happening again. I know people are saying let's have that cease-fire, and those are noble ambitions. But, any cease-fire must have the conditions in it so that Hamas does not use Gaza as a place from which to launch rockets.

There are many hopeful signs in the Middle East. Democracy is taking hold in parts of the world in the Middle East. But, the Hamas reminds us that there are people who are willing to kill innocent people to stop the advance of free societies. And the challenge for those of us who long for peace, Mr. Vice President, is to recognize the realities of the world, recognize we're in the midst of an ideological conflict, and work with the agents of peace.

I am still hopeful that some day there will be a Palestinian state living side by side with Israel in peace. I believe the Palestinian Authority under President Abbas has got the capacity, the foresight and the vision necessary to see that become a reality. In the meantime, all of us are going to have to deal with Hamas -- those who threaten peace, those who want to deny the existence of a peaceful Palestinian state.”

Thank you

The White House
Office of the Press Secretary

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 07:14 PM | Comments (0)

January 04, 2009

Cut the Media Politically-Obscured BS. What really happened in Bombay

The Indian Front


The attack on Bombay offers the grim prospect of much future bloodshed. Here were Muslim terrorists who, in the manner of commandos at war, crossed in small boats from Pakistan to India intending to kill 5,000 people. Their training was highly professional, their equipment first-rate, their determination unwavering. Firing indiscriminately, they made sure to kill Hindus and Christians, but they also sought out Jewish victims. In other words, they had given themselves the right to execute anyone and everyone who happened not to be a Muslim. Such is the nature of the jihad in which lslamists are now proud to engage.

Jihad has its structure, its institutions. These particular terrorists were members of Lashkar-e-Taiba, a group in Pakistan that purportedly exists to “liberate” Indian-held Kashmir. Alongside the group stand al-Qaeda and the Taliban. Nominally, these groups are banned in the country, yet they operate quite openly, offering military training under cover of religious dedication.

Thousands of poverty-stricken youths are fodder for them. Here is a slow-motion revolution, and it would be inconceivable without the backing of the crypto-Islamist Pakistani intelligence service, the ISI, whose loyalties are notoriously two-faced. Accordingly, a whole range of tenor-masters are free to choose whether to target Afghanistan, Palestine or some other objective that harms the West or now India, as circumstances and their ambitions dictate That too is the nature of this jihad.

Pakistani president Asif Ali Zardari is in the opening months of his term in office. A self-declared democrat and reformer, he has the frontline task of resisting and defeating Islamist terror. It is by no means certain that he has enough support either from the ISI and the army or from the population at large to he able to do so. His reaction to the Bombay outrage has veered between apology and wishful thinking. It was rather pitiful for him to plead that the terrorists may not have come from Pakistan, when they had taken no trouble to hide the electronic trail of their route from Karachi to Bombay. The confession of the one captured terrorist fills in the details of the Pakistani background of them all. Now at last, after a shootout in a raid on one of their bases, a number of terrorists and their ringleaders have reportedly been arrested.

The Indian government wants a great deal more - asking named Islamist leaders to be extradited and brought to trial. Many Indians on the street are calling for war as the proper response. The Muslim Council in Bombay has taken the unprecedented step of appealing to all cemeteries in India to refuse to bury the nine dead terrorists. Well-meant appeals by the Indian Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, for unity and restraint do not allay the anger and the fear aroused by the atrocity. The terrorists have brought the two nuclear-armed rivals of the sub-continent face to face.

Some in the West have criticized “War on Terror” as a description of events too loose or too open-ended to be meaningful. However, time and again the terror-masters and their recruits prove that they really do see themselves at war with the whole of non-Muslim mankind. Unmistakably, such is the nature of jihad. There can be no reasoning with this enemy. As the issue is ideological and global, there can also be no avoiding it.

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 02:55 AM | Comments (0)

January 02, 2009

C-Span, Gaza, and the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA)

For Palestine Refugees in the Near East

By Jerome S. Kaufman

January 2, 2009

Please excuse my confusion. It has always been my understanding that when a nation went to battle with any entity, especially one that had declared its primary intention was to wipe it off the face of the earth, that nation did whatever possible to see that the threatening entity was rendered incapable of achieving that goal. I don’t recall the United States, while nuking Nagasaki and Hiroshima, or the Allied Powers after destroying the German city of Cologne, sending food, medical supplies and fuel supplies or other goodies to the local populations of Japan or Germany while the battle was going on. Re-building, if done at all, was not begun until those entities had been rendered completely incapable of raining destruction down upon us and had unconditionally surrendered.

Not so, of course, with the double standard of warfare that Israel has adopted for itself and which the anti-Semites of the world have gleefully accepted. Israel, bizarrely, and in another one of their many gestures of self destruction, is aiding and abetting the “innocent civilians of Gaza” while putting Israeli soldiers at unnecessary risk in their attempts to eliminate this sworn enemy. Completely ignored is the fact that it was these “innocent civilians” of Gaza that overwhelmingly elected Hamas, outspokenly dedicated to Israel’s destruction.

What prompted my confusion was the awful experience I had the other night watching C-Span television covering a UNRHA Press conference. What exactly is UNRHA? I refer you to the web page, Israel Commentary. Please type in the word, UNRHA on the first page search engine. Many articles of interest pop up. The first one is summarized below but I recommend you read the complete version plus many of the other articles listed on the subject.


A Barrier to Peace

By Jonathan Spyer
Perspectives Papers No. 44, May 27, 2008

“Executive Summary: The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), was created under the jurisdiction of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), with the unique responsibility of solely aiding the Palestinian Arabs. Due to this special status, the UNRWA perpetuates, rather than resolves, the Palestinian refugee issue, and therefore serves as a major obstacle toward resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Like no other UN body, UNRWA’s definition of refugees includes not only the refugees themselves, but also their descendents. Moreover, refugees keep their status even if they have gained citizenship. UNRWA employs teachers affiliated with Hamas and allows the dissemination of Hamas messages in its schools. The Hamas coup in Gaza of July 2007 has resulted in a Hamas takeover of UNRWA facilities there.”

What prompted today’s article was my own great pain from watching C-span telecasting officials of this UNRWA agency, in full propaganda mode. UNRWA had called a press conference dedicated to Israel-bashing and was attended by a bunch of sycophant world-wide media correspondents. The UNRWA officials leading the press conference were Karen Abu Zayd, a long term Arabist and appointee of Kofi Annan, as Commissioner General of UNRWA and John Holmes, United Nations Undersecretary General of Humanitarian Affairs.

After their introductory Israel-bashing presentation, they took turns answering journalist’s questions in the same vein. Abu Zayd is in charge of the masses of aid coming into the Arabs of Gaza. Literally millions of dollars is coming into Gaza daily much of it from Israeli sources, who in their usual self defeating contradictory policy were aiding the “innocent civilians” who, somehow the Israelis had decided were not really Hamas! Conveniently overlooked was the fact that it was these same “innocents,” who had elected Hamas overwhelmingly.

The presentation and questions were posed predictably around why Israel attacked Gaza and why did the Israelis not send in more medical, food, oil supplies and why their stringent check points preventing the exchange of goods. Never mentioned was the fact that Israel citizens in Southern Israel, extending all the way up the coast to Ashkelon and to Israel’s largest city in the Negev, Beer-Sheva had been subjected to thousands of indiscriminate rocket attacks against its civilian population for months. This has taken place from the very same day Israel made the huge error of withdrawing unilaterally from Gaza, destroying their own self –contained productive farm communities and leaving 8000 Israeli citizens homeless.

The moment this mindless act was completed, Arab mobs poured into these communities, destroyed their green houses, destroyed the fish hatcheries, the schools, the synagogues and made them centers for terror from which to attack Israel. The thought evidently never occurred to them to maintain and enlarge these productive facilities, bring work and badly needed income to their own people. Far more important was to use the areas as new terror bases from which to try and kill Israelis.

Evidently, for the moment, Israel has finally had enough. No more allowing their citizens to he killed, their communities destroyed and their homeland attacked. The question remains whether the Israeli leadership has truly woken up to their national peril or, is this just an election ploy by Olmert, Barak and Livni attempting to improve their Party’s chances in the eminent Israeli elections?

Jerome S. Kaufman

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 12:09 AM | Comments (0)