February 27, 2009

Our enemies, now rejuvenated, dump upon our surrogate representative, Barack Obama

Obama’s Supine Diplomacy

By Charles Krauthammer

The Biden prophecy has come to pass. Our wacky veep, momentarily inspired, had in October predicted that it would not be six months before the world tests Barack Obama. Then-Senator Biden probably had in mind an eve-of-the-apocalypse drama like the Cuban Missile Crisis. Instead, President Obama’s challenges have come in smaller bites. Some are deliberate threats to U.S. interests, others mere probes to ascertain whether the new president has any spine. Preliminary X-rays are not very encouraging.

Consider the long list of brazen Russian provocations:

(a) Pressuring Kyrgyzstan to shut down the U.S. air base in Manas - a crucial NATO conduit into Afghanistan.

(b) Announcing the formation of a rapid reaction force with six former Soviet republics - a regional Russian-led strike force meant to re-assert Russian hegemony in the Muslim belt north of Afghanistan.

(c) Planning a Black Sea naval base in Georgian breakaway province of Abkhazia, conquered by Moscow last summer.

(d) Declaring Russia’s intention to deploy offensive Iskander missiles in Kaliningrad if Poland and the Czech Republic go ahead with plans to station a U.S., anti-Iranian missile defense system.

The Obama response? “Biden Signals U.S. Is Open to Russian Missile Deal,” as The New York Times headlined Mr. Biden’s Feb. 7 Munich speech to a major international gathering. This followed strong messages from the Obama transition team even before the inauguration that Mr. Obama was not committed to the missile shield. And just to make sure everyone understood that the Bush policy no longer held, Mr. Biden in Munich said the U.S. wanted to “press the re-set button” on NATO Russian relations. Not surprisingly, the Obama wobble elicited a favorable reaction from Russia.

Iran has been similarly charmed by Mr. Obama’s gestures. A week after the new president went about sending sweet peace signals via al-Arabiya; Iran launched its first homemade Earth satellite. The message is clear. If you can put a satellite into orbit, you can hit any continent with a missile.

In addition, for emphasis, after the roundhouse hook, came the poke in the eye. A U.S. women’s badminton team had been invited to Iran. Here was a chance for “ping-pong diplomacy” with the accommodating new president, a sporting venture meant to suggest the possibility of warmer relations. On Feb. 4, Tehran denied the team entry into Iran.

Then, just in case Mr. Obama failed to get the message, Iran’s parliament speaker rose in Munich to offer his response to Mr. Obama’s olive branch. Executive summary: Thank you very much. After you acknowledge 60 years of crimes against us, change not just your tone but also your policies, and abandon the Zionist criminal entity, we might deign to talk to you.

With a grinning Goliath, staggering about sporting a “kick me” sign on his back, even reputed allies joined the fun. Pakistan freed from house arrest A.Q Khan, the notorious proliferator, who sold nuclear technology to North Korea, Libya and Iran. Ten days later, Islamabad capitulated to the Taliban - turning over to its tender mercies the Swat Valley, 100 miles from the capital. Not only will sharia law now reign there, but also the democratically elected secular party will be hunted down as the Pakistani army stands down.

These Pakistani capitulations may account for Mr. Obama’s hastily announced 17,000 troop increase in Afghanistan even before his various heralded reviews of the mission have been completed - hasty unexplained, but at least something Other than that, a month of pummeling has been met with utter passivity.

I would like to think the supine posture is attributable to a rookie leader otherwise pre-occupied (i.e. domestically), leading a foreign-policy team as yet unorganized if not disoriented. But when the State Department says that Hugo Chavez’s president-for-life referendum, which was preceded by a sham government-controlled campaign featuring the tear-gassing of the opposition, was “for the most part ... a process that was fully consistent with democratic process,” you have to wonder if Month One is not a harbinger of things to come.

(And, what a very sad day for the well-being of the United States of America and all of its citizens) jsk

Charles Krauthammer’s e-mail address is letters@charleskrauthammer.com

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 01:30 PM | Comments (0)

February 25, 2009

I Netanyahu outlines his new government policies II Netanyahu on the BBC

By Michael Widlanski, February 24, 2009

JERUSALEM - Benjamin Netanyahu and his Likud Party are actively seeking a broad national unity government, including participation by the left-of-center Kadima and Labor parties. But, in briefings early this week, Netanyahu and his closest colleagues said they would not permit Kadima to set the tone for the government. Likud already has a clear shot at a governing majority of 65 in the 120-seat Knesset, Israel's parliament, but Prime Minister-designate Netanyahu underscored his desire for a still broader government because of major challenges Israel faces:

A looming confrontation with Iran, which is aiming to produce nuclear weapons;

A major economic crisis brought on by the global financial collapse that began in the American housing and banking markets;

And, continuing war situations along the borders of Lebanon and the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip, both of which serve as bases for continued terror attacks on Israel.

“ Because at this fateful hour, the state of Israel faces enormous challenges," he said, referring to Iran's nuclear program, and Netanyahu stated he would seek a "unity government" to meet "the greatest threat to our existence since our War of Independence." As he formally accepted the assignment to form a new government, Netanyahu explained that " Iran's terror proxies confront us in the North and South"- a reference to Hizballah and Hamas.

“ For many decades, Israel has not faced an accumulation of so many great challenges at one time," added Netanyahu, offering "a full partnership" to Kadima and Labor, but his entreaties have been so far rejected by Ms. Livni, the current foreign minister who has demanded that Likud explicitly support forming a Palestinian state. She and her Kadima colleagues have been insisting on a "rotation agreement" under which she and Netanyahu would take turns as prime minister, as well as calling for Likud to adopt Kadima's more accommodating line in negotiations with the Palestinians and Syria. Netanyahu and his colleagues have rejected this.

Livni and some of her colleagues have demanded that Netanyahu publicly support the "two lands for two peoples"-Israel and Palestine-but most in the Likud and its religious and rightist partners seem to have no desire to do this.

"We believe in compromises, but not in being dictated to," declared Prime Minister-designate Netanyahu Sunday (Feb. 22). He stressed that he was offering major cabinet posts to Kadima chairwoman Tzippy Livni and Labor Party leader Ehud Barak, but the right-of-center Likud would set the tone.

"One thing is sure," declared Dr. Ze'ev Binyamin Begin, one of Likud's top leaders, "the former policy of the Kadima-Labor government will be abandoned," speaking in an exclusive briefing. “ The era of partial and intermediate agreements is over," said Dr. Begin, a geologist who is often referred to by his nickname "Benny." He and other Likud leaders, such as former Foreign Minister Sylvan Shalom-have made it clear that there is no real negotiating option with Syria, Hamas in Gaza or even the PLO-Fatah faction led by Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank.

"One of the tasks of this government is to pull people back to reality," declared Begin, explaining, "No peace agreement is possible not because of the situation in Israel but because of the position of the Arabs." He said that this point has even been acknowledged by Shimon Peres, Israel's president (largely ceremonial post) who was one of the architects of ties with the PLO, and he said that even major advisors of the Obama Administration-such as Aaron David Miller-had admitted that negotiation options were very limited.

Dr. Begin, who is the son of Israel's late Prime Minister Menachem Begin, said that his own father had joined a national unity government with the Israeli Labor Party in 1967 and 1969, even though there were many differences in views. He said the key was constructing a platform for action on immediate areas of shared interest, while formulating government guidelines that permitted all parties to preserve their views.

Likud officials and even politicians of the even more right-wing/religious Ihud Leumi (National Union) Party have suggested strongly that they would have no problem in sitting in the same government with almost any other Zionist party-leftist or even far-left-because negotiating options with the Palestinians (who have been killing each other and terrorizing Israel) do not really exist.

Begin asserted that the Western countries in general and Western journalists needed to begin taking a more realistic assessment of Arab/Islamic intentions rather than applying wishful thinking to their analysis. He accused the liberal/left in Israel with producing policies which required Israel to make major military moves such as the 2006 Lebanon War and the 2008 Gaza War.

He said that in the areas of Samaria and Judea-the traditional names for the West Bank-Israel had avoided the need for such policies by keeping a constant "hands-on" military and intelligence presence. “War mongers' like myself want to use force in a limited and sensible fashion," said Begin, and he said that major use of aircraft had only become necessary due to Israel's unwise unilateral withdrawal from Gaza in 2005.

Dr. Michael Widlanski is a research fellow at the Shalem Center,
specializing in Arab politics and communication as well as counter-terror
issues.

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

II Bibi Netanyahu on the BBC

February 11, 2009

Even those who aren't particularly sympathetic to Israel's Benjamin Netanyahu, could get a good measure of satisfaction from this interview with British Television this week. I guess it can be attributed to Minister Netanyahu's days studying history at Harvard. The interviewer asked him: "How come so many more Palestinians have been killed in this conflict than Israelis?" (A nasty question if there ever was one!)

Netanyahu: "Are you sure that you want to start asking in that direction?"
Interviewer: (Falling into the trap) Why not?

Netanyahu: "Because in World War II more Germans were killed than British and Americans combined, but there is no doubt in anyone's mind that the war was caused by Germany's aggression. And, in response to the German blitz on London, the British wiped out the entire city of Dresden, burning to death more German civilians than the number of people killed in Hiroshima. Moreover, I could remind you that in 1944, when the R.A.F. tried to bomb the Gestapo Headquarters in Copenhagen, some of the bombs missed their target and fell on a Danish children's hospital, killing 83 little children. Perhaps you have another question?"


Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 08:29 PM | Comments (0)

February 23, 2009

Yes, I am for reconstructing Gaza - Jewish Gaza!

A companion commentary on the previous Gaza article by a forcibly removed Israeli Gaza Resident,

By Anita Tucker
February 22, 2009

The present situation, as it has developed, absolutely justifies reconstructing the Gush Katif towns in southern and northern Gaza. I still live in a temporary caravilla site with no new town yet in sight. In recent army aerial photos and from reports from Arab friends in Gaza, the location of my former town of Netzer Hazani is covered again with sand and will soon again be the bare bald sand dunes they were when we first arrived there in 1975.

1. All our Arab acquaintances express yearning for our return and disgust at their present unpleasant situation under neither Hamas, nor do they miss the PA corrupt rule.

2. Peace is about two people learning to live side by side each other. If either people have to be forced to leave or to flee, peace has been distanced not brought closer!! So we must return and our neighbors must learn to live side by side other under Israeli rule (a thing obviously impossible under Hamas or PA rule that would murder any Israeli found)

3. In the 1947 UN partition plan agreement, the sand dunes that became Gush Katif were part of Israel and only came under Egypt because they conquered it when the Arab Legion attacked Israel attempting to annihilate it after 2000 years of Jewish forced exile. The land there was traditionally part of the Jewish heritage land. We then built 23 towns over 30 years out of nothing but the sand of the desert. These towns were unethically, immorally and cruelly destroyed by Israel’s own government, under Ariel Sharon. These hard working, productive families were uprooted from their homes, farms, history and centuries-old tradition. Justice deserves to be now done. These towns must be reconstructed.

We have now set up groups of families and young people who are willing to begin pioneering anew in these renewed sand dunes and begin the reconstruction of these Gush Katif towns in Gaza. I believe that those of our Arab neighbors there who are willing to live nearby us peacefully should have their homes repaired and reconstructed as well after they have proven, via time and attitude, their true desire towards this goal that they so willingly express to us today.

I think research institutes should be exploring this possibility as the one and only true way to bring peace to the area, at least as a small scale beginning. This concept would be an alternative to the prior Oslo “Pieces” Plan and the more recent Sharon Plan - both painfully proven existential disasters.


Anita Tucker

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 10:38 PM | Comments (0)

February 21, 2009

Reconstruct Gaza?

By Efraim Inbar

BESA Center Perspectives Paper No. 63, February 2, 2009

The developing international campaign to reconstruct Gaza is strategic folly. It is also unlikely to be effective. Moreover, under current circumstances, it is immoral. Since the Hamas takeover of Gaza in June 2007, most of the international community has argued that the best way to prop up the more moderate Palestinian Authority (PA) leader, Mahmoud Abbas, was to ensure economic support for his fiefdom in the West Bank. This, it was said, would make it clear to every Palestinian that Hamas is the "bad guy" unable to bring prosperity. This path would convince Palestinians that it is unwise to support the radical Islamist organization. Under this rationale, the PA has continued to draw unprecedented economic support from the world.

Israel's recent military offensive against Hamas inflicted heavy damage on Gaza. Aside from punishing Hamas for its rocket attacks on Israel, the beating was meant to demonstrate to reasonable Palestinians that Hamas attacks on Israel would only bring them havoc and suffering. Theoretically, the results of Operation Cast Lead would seem to complement the international community's efforts to make the lives of the Palestinians under Mahmoud Abbas better then those of the Gazans. Yet, this rationale seems to evaporate in a mush of sentimentalist manipulation. Instead of using the tough pictures coming out of Gaza to tell Gazans: "We told you all along that Hamas leadership would only make things worse" (just as it has in other places where radical Islamists gain power), Western leaders seem to have foolishly decided that Gaza should speedily be rebuilt!

This, of course, sends the wrong signal. It tells Palestinians that their leadership can make grave, deadly mistakes, and nevertheless gullible Westerners will bail them out. It also signals to Hamas that it can continue shooting at Israel because if Israel repeats its military action, merciful Westerners again will repair the damage. There is no way to reconstruct Gaza without strengthening Hamas. The PA has no standing in the Strip anymore. Aid through the UN is less objectionable, but Hamas will benefit from this too.

This leads us back to square one, because Hamastan must not be rebuilt by the world. The reconstruction of Hamastan in Gaza - an Iranian base that threatens Israel and many moderate Arab regimes - makes no strategic sense. America helped reconstruct Western Europe and Japan after World War II to make sure they would be ruled by friendly democratic regimes. Hamas is authoritarian and anti-Western. It is simply daft to facilitate the continuation of Hamas rule.

Does the enlightened international community really believe that Mahmoud Abbas is interested in the reconstruction of Gaza and consolidation of the Hamas regime? Is this what the Egyptians and the Saudis are after? Is it not clear that they also prefer the fall of Hamas and will be ready to cooperate against Iranian attempts to channel support to Gaza?

Looking at Palestinian economic performance - it is also clear that reconstruction of Gaza is unlikely to be successful. Since the Oslo process started in 1993, the Palestinians received many billions of euros and dollars, scoring the highest per capita aid in the world. Much of it was
squandered by corruption and ineptitude. Very little aid filtered down to the people.

Like many Third World countries, the Palestinians lack the legal and institutional infrastructure needed for effective dispersal of economic aid. Gaza is behind the West Bank in its development, making it an even less suitable candidate for effective international aid. Nevertheless, the standard of living of the Gazans is still higher than the Egyptians.

From what we know of the fortunes of the humanitarian aid transferred to Gazans in recent years, it is clear that a large proportion of the benefits of the external aid will be siphoned off to the Hamas leadership, followed by Hamas activists; and only what is left will go to the destitute. Those with arms always get the first and best cut from international aid sent to the suffering.

Finally, the morality of pouring money so that Gazans can live better is questionable as long as Hamas does not stop its terrorism against Israel and the smuggling of weapons. Unfortunately, Hamas was popular among the Gazans and continues to be so. Moreover, all polls show staggering support among Gazans for violence against Israelis. What moral justification exists for helping people that support an organization intent on destroying the Jewish state and who are actively engaged in killing innocent Israeli citizens?

The international community must think strategically with regard to Gaza, and not be drawn into sentimental escapades of rebuilding and humanitarian assistance that undercut our paramount strategic goals. It is time for tough love for Gaza.

Professor Inbar is director of the Begin-Sadat (BESA) Center for Strategic
Studies at Bar-Ilan University.
--------------------------------------------

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

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 07:27 PM | Comments (0)

February 19, 2009

More from Islam - the religion of peace and non-violence

Bridges TV, a Wife's Beheading, and Honor Murder

Redacted from an article by Daniel Pipes
http://www.danielpipes.org/blog/2009/02/bridges-tv-a-wifes-beheading-and-honor-murder.html

February 13-19, 2009

I have followed Bridges TV in a web log entry, "Were Investors in 'Bridges TV' Misled?" since it opened shop in 2004. It was critical of its faked demographic figures and its Islamist outlook. One hasn't heard much about Bridges TV for a while, however, presumably because its once-shimmering prospects declined under the weight of the realities of North American demographics.

But, it is about to re-appear in the news with a vengeance, and for the most ironic possible reason. The station that Muzzammil Hassan, 44, founded with the achingly benevolent idea, in the words of a November 2004 biography, to help "non-Muslims overcome the negative images they may have of both Muslims and Islam" has now abundantly enhanced negative images of Muslims and Islam.

Today comes news from Orchard Park, near Buffalo, New York, of Hassan's arrest on a second-degree murder charge for having beheaded his wife, Aasiya Z. Hassan, 37. (In New York State, first-degree charge is reserved for special circumstances, such the death of a police officer or torture.) Aasiya Z. Hassan, 37. Aasiya (known professionally as Aasiya Zubair) had recently filed for divorce and won an order of protection forcing him out of their shared house; it appears that Hassan attempted to create a murder scene for police that would allay suspicion of himself, but failed in this.

Erie County District Attorney Frank A. Sedita III offered his view, "Obviously, this is the worst form of domestic violence possible." The Western New York chapter of the Muslim Public Affairs Council issued an untitled press release on Feb. 13 calling the murder an instance of domestic violence and condemning it as such as anti-Islamic:

The Muslim community unreservedly condemns domestic violence of all types (including the so-called honor killing). Such crimes are despicable and unequivocally prohibited in Islam. Islam celebrates and protects human life. Muslims of all shades and opinions know that.

Comments: (1) No, this is not at all obviously about domestic violence. We do not know enough; it could be crime of passion or it could be something much colder and yet more vicious, namely an honor crime. District attorneys tend to refuse to see the latter but Phyllis Chesler establishes this distinction clearly in a forthcoming Middle East Quarterly article, "Are Honor Killings Simply Domestic Violence?" Spring 2009, pp. 61-69. She provides a table sketching out the differing characteristics of honor killing vs. domestic violence.

A listing of the table contents is outlined below

HONOR KILLINGS

Committed mainly by Muslims against Muslim girls/young adult women.

Committed mainly by fathers against their teenage daughters and daughters in their early twenties. Wives and older-age daughters may also be victims, but to a lesser extent.

Carefully planned. Death threats are often used as a means of control.

The planning and execution involve multiple family members and can include mothers, sisters, brothers, male cousins, uncles, grandfathers, etc.

If the girl escapes, the extended family will continue to search for her to kill her. The reason given for the honor killing is that the girl or young woman has "dishonored" the family.

At least half the time, the killings are carried out with barbaric ferocity. The female victim is often raped, burned alive, stoned or beaten to death, cut at the throat, decapitated, stabbed numerous times, suffocated slowly, etc.
The extended family and community valorize the honor killing. Mainly, honor killings are seen as normative.

The murderer(s) do not show remorse. Instead, they experience themselves as "victims," defending themselves from the girl's actions and trying to restore their lost family honor.

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

Committed by men of all faiths usually against adult women

Committed by an adult male spouse against an adult female spouse or intimate partner.

The murder is often unplanned and spontaneous.

The murder is carried out by one man with no family complicity

The batterer-murderer does not claim any family concept of "honor."

The reasons may range from a poorly cooked meal to suspected infidelity to the woman's trying to protect the children from his abuse or turning to the authorities for help.

While some men do beat a spouse to death, they often simply shoot or stab them.

They do not condemn the perpetrators in the name of Islam

The batterer-murderer is seen as a criminal; no one defends him as a hero. Such men are often viewed as sociopaths, mentally ill, or evil.

Sometimes, remorse or regret is exhibited.

Phyllis Chesler

"It is too early to conclude whether Aasiya's murder is an honor crime, domestic violence, or yet something else.

... I predict that this atrocity brings Bridges TV's short and ignominious career to an even faster and ignominious end. ...

Daniel Pipes

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

February 17, 2009

(No-one tells it straight like the great Cal Thomas)

Obama envoy to Middle East doomed to failure

By Cal Thomas

01/29/2009

Like Linus van Pelt sitting alone in the pumpkin patch, George Mitchell, Obama's special envoy to the Middle East, is in that dysfunctional region thinking that if he and the Obama administration demonstrate enough sincerity, the diplomatic equivalent of the Great Pumpkin will arrive, making all things right. Mitchell's mission is bound to fail, like every mission before it, for the simple reason that peace and stability are not about us, but about them. Their road to hell is paved with our good intentions.

In his first interview since becoming president, Obama said to Al-Arabia, a Dubai-based television network, "Americans are not your enemy." No, but we are the enemy of many of them and that is where the problem lies. The president suggested the Bush administration had contributed to frayed relations with the Arab and Muslim world. Few presidents have pushed harder for a Palestinian state than George W. Bush and he got nowhere because the objective of America's (and Israel's) enemies is not a Palestinian state, but no Israeli state and, eventually, no United States.

If evidence were sufficient to prove the futility of these diplomatic efforts, we would long ago have abandoned efforts at persuasion and focused more on self-defense and a stronger offense. The latest evidence should convince all but the most deluded that the jihads will settle for nothing less than total victory over all who prefer freedom.

Somalia is rapidly becoming an Islamic state. In Minneapolis, several members of the Somali community have disappeared and are believed to have traveled to their native land to engage in jihad. The FBI is investigating the Abubakar As-Saddique Islamic Center and its imam on suspicion the imam influences Somali young people to become jihads. Predictably, the mosque denies this. No one ever admits to training jihads. They drop out of the sky, fully formed.

In an exquisite example of self-delusion, nine alumni of a Saudi rehabilitation program that is supposed to reform "ex-jihads" have been arrested for rejoining terrorist groups. The idea of Saudi re-education camps for "ex-jihads" is something like expecting the Ku Klux Klan to change the minds of white supremacists. Saudi Arabia fuels jihadism by exporting the most radical brand of Islam, Wahabism.

Why would Westerners believe that a country responsible for radicalizing increasing numbers of Muslims could suddenly reverse itself and start teaching the opposite? A Saudi kingdom divided against itself cannot stand. Instead of listening to the sound of our own voices, we should be listening more to the sound of their voices, like that of deputy emir of al-Qaida and former Guantanamo prisoner Abu Sufyan Al-Azdi Sa'id Al-Shihri, who can be seen in a video (www.memri.org) promising to continue jihad until "we set up an Islamic state and establish a caliphate." In another video, the emir of al-Qaida, Abu Basir Nasir al-Wahishi, says, "We must cut off the aid to the Zionist crusader military campaign and kill every Crusader in our lands."

What can George Mitchell offer that will cause such people to change their mind? Back to the Somalians in Minneapolis, and growing Muslim communities throughout the country. In the forthcoming book "Al-Hijra: The Islamic Doctrine of Immigration: Accepting Freedom or Imposing Islam?" written by two former Muslims, Sam Solomon and Elias Al Maqdisi, "The Hijra was enshrined by Muhammad from the outset within Islam as the 'Doctrine of Immigration,' or the 'peaceful' means of extending the Islamic political state garbed and girded in religious terminology. Hijra and military conquest are two components of Islamic expansion." The cover art is of a Trojan horse.

We can awaken to this twin threat, or we can, like Linus, keep waiting for The Great Pumpkin. Our enemies know how to play us. If President Obama thinks like his predecessors, he will have the same result and America will become more vulnerable.

Readers may e-mail Cal Thomas at tmseditors@tribune.com

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 07:45 PM | Comments (0)

February 15, 2009

What former “happy relationship with Muslims and why is Obama apologizing?

We've Never Been Islam's Enemy

By Charles Krauthammer

Redacted from article in The Washington Post, January 30, 2009

Every new president flatters himself that he, kinder and gentler, is
beginning the world anew. Yet, when Barack Obama in his inaugural address
reached out to Muslims by saying "to the Muslim world, we seek a new way
forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect," his formulation was
needlessly defensive and apologetic.

Is it "new" to acknowledge Muslim interests and show respect to the Muslim
world? Obama doesn't just think so, he said so again to millions in his
al-Arabiya interview, insisting on the need to "restore" the "same respect
and partnership that America had with the Muslim world as recently as 20 or
30 years ago."

Astonishing! In these most recent 20 years -- the alleged winter of our disrespect of the Islamic world -- America did not just respect Muslims, it bled for them. It engaged in five military campaigns, every one of which involved, and resulted in, the liberation of a Muslim people: Bosnia, Kosovo, Kuwait, Afghanistan and Iraq.

The two Balkan interventions, as well as the failed 1992-93 Somalia
intervention to feed starving African Muslims (43 Americans were killed) were humanitarian exercises of the highest order, there being no significant U.S. strategic interest at stake. In these 20 years, this nation has done more for suffering and oppressed Muslims than any nation, Muslim or
non-Muslim, anywhere on Earth. Why are we apologizing?

And what of that happy U.S.-Muslim relationship that Obama imagines existed
“as recently as 20 or 30 years ago" that he has now come to restore?

1. Thirty years ago, 1979, saw the greatest U.S.-Muslim rupture in our 233year history: Iran's radical Islamic revolution, the seizure of the U.S. Embassy, the 14 months of America held hostage.

2. Which came just a few years after the Arab oil embargo that sent the United States into a long and punishing recession.

3. Which, in turn, was preceded by the kidnapping and cold-blooded execution by Arab terrorists of the U.S. ambassador in Sudan and his chargé d'affaires.

4. This is to say nothing of the Marine barracks massacre of 1983, and the
innumerable attacks on U.S. embassies and installations around the world
during what Obama now characterizes as the halcyon days of U.S.-Islamic
relations.

Look. If Barack Obama wants to say, as he said to al-Arabiya, I have Muslim roots, Muslim family members, have lived in a Muslim country implying a special affinity that uniquely positions him to establish good relations, that's fine. But, it is both false and deeply injurious, to this country, to draw a historical line dividing America under Obama from a benighted past
when Islam was supposedly disrespected and demonized.

As in Obama's grand admonition: "We cannot paint with a broad brush a faith
as a consequence of the violence that is done in that faith's name." Have "we" been doing that, smearing Islam because of a small minority? George W. Bush went to the Islamic Center in Washington six days after the Sept. 11 attacks, when the fires of Ground Zero were still smoldering, to declare "Islam is peace," to extend fellowship and friendship to Muslims, to insist that Americans treat them with respect and generosity of spirit.

And, America listened. In these seven years since Sept. 11 -- seven years
during which thousands of Muslims rioted all over the world (resulting in the death of more than 100) to avenge a bunch of cartoons
-- there's not been a single anti-Muslim riot in the United States to avenge the massacre of 3,000 innocents. On the contrary, in its aftermath, we elected our first Muslim member of Congress and our first president of Muslim parentage.

"My job," says Obama, "is to communicate to the American people that the Muslim world is filled with extraordinary people who simply want to live their lives and see their children live better lives." That's his job? Do the American people think otherwise? Does he think he is bravely breaking new ground? George Bush, Condoleezza Rice and countless other leaders offered myriad expressions of that same universalistic sentiment.

Every president has the right to portray himself as ushering in a new era of this or that. Obama wants to pursue new ties with Muslim nations, drawing on
his own identity and associations. Good. But when his self-inflation as
redeemer of U.S.-Muslim relations leads him to suggest that pre-Obama
America was disrespectful or insensitive or uncaring of Muslims, he is engaging not just in fiction but in gratuitous disparagement of the country he is now privileged to lead.

Iran has already responded to the Obama overture. In perfect tune with
Obama's defensiveness, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad declared that better
relations might be possible after America apologized for 60 years of
crimes against Iran.
Note the 60 years. The mullahs are as mystified by
Obama's pre-1979 (or 1989) good old days as I am.

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 06:23 PM | Comments (0)

February 13, 2009

“We got what we deserve”

(A rare Arab slams the Israeli-Arab radicalism that boosted Yisrael Beiteinu)

By Ali Zahalkan
ynet news.com

(Thank you to Dr. Daniel Pipes for bringing this article to our attention.)

The Arab-Israeli leadership is increasing pushing us into anti-Israel radicalism. This extremism climaxed with the “Death to the Jews” chants during Operation Cast Lead. Here is what I have to say to those leaders: Look at what you’ve done. We did not cry out in the face of rocket attacks on southern residents that went on for years. We did not cry out in the face of the suffering of our brethren, Gaza residents, who have been brutally repressed by Hamas.

Yet, we cried out, of all things, in the face of an onslaught against the most radical element in the Arab world. The Arab-Israeli leadership won’t connect, heaven forbid, to the moderate Arab elements such as Egypt, Mahmoud Abbas’ Palestinian Authority, or Jordan. These are of no interest to it. We saw Azmi Bishara, who left, and we saw where he went.

I don’t need to explain what Hamas is all about. The Egyptians and Palestinian Authority officials are doing it better than me. They ask Hamas how it can talk about victory when the war against Israel – which it sought and advanced – was managed on the backs and blood of thousands of Palestinians that were killed, wounded, or lost their property, while Hamas’ leadership stayed at fortified bunkers or in Damascus.

So now we can accurately measure the result of this conduct: 18. Why 18? Because this is the number of Knesset seats that the polls predict for Avigdor Lieberman’s party, Yisrael Beiteinu. Apparently, we got what we deserve. If we, citizens of the State of Israel, which has a Jewish majority, connect to the worst enemies of the State, why are we surprised that this is what we get?

Lieberman and his party are not a marginal political element such as Meir Kahane’s party, Kach. We are dealing with immense political power that constitutes tangible danger to Israeli Arabs. He hates us and incites against us, and we can see that it’s going very well for him: The more he incites against us, the stronger he gets. That is, we managed to make the Jewish public hate us so much that many are willing to support a racist party. If a party were similarly inciting against Jews overseas, those same Lieberman supporters would probably cry out “anti-Semitism.”

Our leadership, which for years had been leading us in a way that portrays us as the enemies of the State of Israel, while failing to take care of any of the real needs of Israel’s Arab residents, is now asking for our votes again. Yet, we interest our leadership just about as much as the Gaza population interests Hamas. For this leadership, we are merely a political means that allows it to make its damaging voice heard again and again.

I turn to Arab residents of Israel: This is a moment of truth for us. We are facing grave danger, and don’t say that you weren’t warned. Eighteen Knesset seats for Lieberman is no longer a political game. For us, it’s genuine trouble. We cannot stand by and watch on, as if this does not pertain to us. We must enlist and massively support the moderate parties that will weaken Lieberman.
We constitute 20% of the population in Israel and we have the ability to exert significant influence. We do not have the privilege to stay at home at this time and avoid the political game. If we fail to play it, others shall play it on our backs.

Therefore, do not abstain from voting, and do not vote for the radical Arab parties. Rather, vote in a way that reduces the great danger we are facing today – Lieberman and his colleagues. In other words: Support parties that are still willing to give us the opportunity to integrate as citizens with equal rights.

The writer is the principal of an elementary school at Kfar Kara

PS I tried to look up Kfar Kara on the Internet and found it confusing. It appears to be primarily a Muslim Arab village within Israel. It is very close to Um El Fahm, a village hot-bed of Arab nationalism within Israel where Left wing Israeli Jews delude themselves into thinking they are getting along well with Israeli Arabs. They have convinced themselves that they are finding common ground with the Arabs - all becoming equal loyal partners of the Israeli nation. Undoubtedly, there are still Israeli Jews that persist in living within this bubble so as not to allow over 100 years of facts to get in the way.

Jerome S. Kaufman

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

February 10, 2009

Controversy over Obama statement on “refugees”

There has been a legitimate controversy over and suggested correction of the piece just printed in Israel Commentary about the actions of President Obama and the “refugees” in Gaza.
Here is the direct quote from the White House Briefing Room.

THE BRIEFING ROOM

Tuesday, January 27th, 2009 at 12:00 am

Unexpected Urgent Refugee and Migration Needs Related to Gaza

MEMORANDUM FOR THE SECRETARY OF STATE

SUBJECT: Unexpected Urgent Refugee and Migration Needs Related to Gaza

By the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, including section 2(c)(1) of the Migration and Refugee Assistance Act of 1962 (the "Act"), as amended (22 U.S.C. 2601), I hereby determine, pursuant to section 2(c)(1) of the Act, that it is important to the national interest to furnish assistance under the Act in an amount not to exceed $20.3 million from the United States Emergency Refugee and Migration Assistance Fund for the purpose of meeting unexpected and urgent refugee and migration needs, including by contributions to international, governmental, and nongovernmental organizations and payment of administrative expenses of the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration of the Department of State, related to humanitarian needs of Palestinian refugees and conflict victims in Gaza.

You are authorized and directed to publish this memorandum in the Federal Register.

BARACK OBAMA

THE WHITE HOUSE,
January 27, 2009

There is indeed, no precise reference to the immigration of Hamas agents to the United States. One can’t help but wonder however, what interpretation could be rationalized from the phrases used. I don’t think it too much of a stretch for someone to decide to interpret the above, “refugee and migration needs,” as allowing immigration of Gazan “refugees” into the United States. And, there are a helluva lot of Hamas in Gaza that could be inadvertently included among these “refugees.” On the other hand, to claim President Obama actually invited Hamas from Gaza into the United States is certainly an unfair and erroneous statement.

Jerome S. Kaufman

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 09:15 PM | Comments (0)

February 09, 2009

Pres. Obama Invites Hamas Terrorists to America

By Dr. Paul L. Williams

New Media Journal February 7, 2009
http://www.newmediajournal.us/staff/p_williams/2009/02072009.htm

Bos Smith and Michael Travis contributed to the writing of this article.

By executive order, President Barack Obama has ordered the expenditure of $20.3 million in migration assistance to the Palestinian refugees and conflict victims in Gaza. The "presidential determination" which allows hundreds of thousands of Palestinians with ties to Hamas to resettle in the United States was signed on January 27 and appeared in the Federal Register on February 4.

President Obama's decision, according to the Register, was necessitated by "the urgent refugee and migration needs" of the "victims." Few on Capitol Hill took note that the order provides a free ticket replete with housing and food allowances to individuals who have displayed their overwhelming support of the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) in the parliamentary election of January 2006.

The charter for Hamas calls for the replacement of the nation of Israel with a Palestinian Islamic state. Since its formation in 1994, Hamas has been responsible for hundreds of terrorist attacks, including the 2002 Passover suicide bombing. The leaders of the movement signed the World Islamic Statement of 1998 in a document, penned by Osama bin Laden, which declared war on America and Israel.

President Obama's executive order is expected to bring hundreds of thousands of Palestinians, many with ties to radical Islam, to our shores, furthering a process that was inaugurated in 1995 by Senator Ted Kennedy and the Cedar-Hart bill.

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 11:28 PM | Comments (0)

February 08, 2009

Ouch! “Largely a Joyless Society” with an “Illusory Stimulus Package”

The Much Deeper Meanings Of Wall Street’s Wild Ride

By Louis Rene’ Beres, Professor of International Law, Purdue University

Special to The Jewish Press, January 23, 2009

In figuring out the core weaknesses of our troubled financial markets, there is far more than meets the eye. On the surface, Wall Street’s seemingly interminable wild ride is the obvious outcome of purely economic factors. Yet, at a deeper level, the problem of market weakness and volatility is not really fiscal, but human. Sure, the interrelated banking and housing and credit crises have played havoc with securities, but these crises are themselves epiphenominal. That is, they are a mere reflection of something “underneath” and much more fundamental.

At its heart, the ups and downs of Wall Street are the product of largely engineered and distorted human needs. As Americans, we are what we buy. Our status and self-worth correspond closely with what we own. This palpable celebration of inauthenticity and hyper-consumption is an incessant message received by everyone - again and again, day after day. More than anything else, it has created our broken economy. This economy, like the fragmented society from which it has plainly sprung, lacks any firm foundation. It is built upon sand.

Surely, this is not what we hear from the “experts.” It is not their task to go beyond hard economics to soft psychology. But, if we should look more closely, it will become clear that we may have as much to learn about core market crises from Adam Smith and Karl Marx. So long as we Americans accept expanding debt and a decidedly negative savings rate as the price of appearing successful to others, all government stimulus packages will be utterly beside the point.

Soon we Americans shall have to get a handle on the unceasing public need for more and more things, for tangible goods that can seemingly validate us as individuals. Wall Street’s wild ride will never slow down meaningfully with the arrival of more money to spread around in stores. And, even if we could actually fix core market problems by expanding consumption, exactly what sort of society would we be encouraging?

Ralph Waldo Emerson once spoke of self-reliance. He understood that a foolish “reliance upon property” was the result of “a want of self-reliance.” Today, living amid a humiliating barrage of advertising jingles, delirious collectivism and relentless imitation, the individual American desperately wants to project a “correct” image.

The demeaning consumer message of our American mass society is everywhere, even in the universities here, for the part, mimicry and repetition define “excellence.” Today almost all higher education is vocational. We generally graduate newly minted PhDs, MDs, JDs and MBA’s who know almost nothing but how to progress in their own fields. They may turn out to be perfectly good teachers, doctors, lawyers and accountants but they are nonetheless trained not educated.

Do we want a genuinely robust economy and a stable stock market? Then we must first re-orient our society from its cheapened ambience of mass taste to a more cultivated environment of thought and feeling. There is great beauty in the World, but it is best not to search for it at the bank, the video store or the shopping mall.

Even in that very large segment of Main Street that still knows little of Wall Street, there is deepening anxiety and considerable unhappiness. Taught that respect and success lien high salaries and corollary patterns of consumption, the American public dutifully worships the commonplace. Why should it be otherwise? Galvanized by mostly patronizing and vulgar entertainments this lonely American crowd thoughtlessly follows a flamboyant but impotent ringmaster. However well-intentioned and capable our newly elected president, he can never save us from ourselves.

Wall Street remains a thoroughly corrupted product of mass society. This mutually destructive dependence between Wall Street and Main Street can never bring us any success. Soon we must create conditions whereby each of us can feel important and alive without surrendering to manufactured images of power and status. Without such conditions, millions of Americans will continue to seek comfort in crime, mind-numbing music, mountains of drugs and oceans of alcohol.

Despite all the noise, we are now a largely joyless society that finds little or no authentic meaning within. This plainly human problem of a socially crushed individualism must be understood before we can fix what is actually wrong with Wall Street. It may seem re-assuring to count on the next, “stimulus package,” but the real benefits will be altogether illusory.

LOUIS RENÉ BERES was educated at Princeton (Ph.D., Politics, 1971) and is Professor of International Law, Department of Political Science, Purdue University. He is Strategic and Military Affairs columnist for The Jewish Press.

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 09:36 AM | Comments (0)

February 05, 2009

Sooner or later, Barack Obama must confront an implacable reality

Obama's charm offensive and the global jihad

By Jeff Jacoby

The Boston Globe
February 4, 2009

EARLY IN HIS PRESIDENCY, Jimmy Carter set about to alter US policy toward the Soviet Union. Six days after his inauguration he sent a letter to Soviet ruler Leonid Brezhnev, hailing the two countries' "common efforts towards formation of a more peaceful, just, and humane world" and saluting Brezhnev's supposed "aspiration for strengthening and preserving . . . peace."

In a commencement address at Notre Dame, he declared that Americans had shed "that inordinate fear of communism which once led us to embrace any dictator who joined us in that fear." In the months that followed, Carter slashed the defense budget, scrapped the B-1 bomber, welcomed the takeover of Nicaragua by a Marxist junta, and launched diplomatic relations with the Castro dictatorship in Cuba.

It wasn't until the Soviets invaded Afghanistan in 1979 that Carter finally woke up to his naiveté. Moscow's brutal aggression had "made a more dramatic change in my opinion of what the Soviets' ultimate goals are," he admitted, "than anything they've done in the previous time that I've been in office." Carter's failure to understand the threat posed by the Soviet Empire had costly consequences for America and the world.

Will this pattern now be repeated with Barack Obama and the global threat from radical Islam? Ever since taking office two weeks ago, Obama has been at pains to proclaim a change in US-Muslim relations. In his inaugural address, he invited "the Muslim world" to embark on "a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect." Six days later he gave Al-Arabiya, an Arabic-language satellite channel, his first televised interview as president. This week he continued his charm offensive with a friendly letter to the Organization of the Islamic Conference, which represents 57 Muslim governments. He has promised to deliver a major address in an Islamic capital by spring.

The president cannot be faulted for using his bully pulpit to reach out to the world's Muslims, especially given his Muslim roots and family ties. But, running through Obama's words is a disconcerting theme: that US-Muslim tensions are a mostly recent phenomenon brought on largely by American provincialism, heavy-handedness and disrespect. Missing is any sense that the United States has long been the target of jihadist fanatics who enjoy widespread support in the Muslim world.

"My job to the Muslim world is to communicate that the Americans are not your enemy," Obama said, although "we sometimes make mistakes" and "have not been perfect," and even though "too often the United States starts by dictating" and fails to use "the language of respect." Such apologetic pandering is inexcusable.

For decades, as commentator Charles Krauthammer noted last week, "America did not just respect Muslims, it bled for them." To liberate oppressed Muslims in Bosnia, Kosovo, Kuwait, Afghanistan, and Iraq, hundreds of thousands of Americans risked -- and in many cases lost -- their lives. Not even the Islamist atrocities of 9/11 provoked American leaders to treat Islam with disdain. "We respect your faith," George W. Bush earnestly told the world's Muslims in a nationally televised speech on Sept. 20, 2001. "Its teachings are good and peaceful, and those who commit evil in the name of Allah blaspheme the name of Allah." Would that the Muslim world's leaders spoke with such courtesy about Christianity and Judaism

Even more troubling is Obama's seeming cluelessness about US-Muslim history. "The same respect and partnership that America had with the Muslim world as recently as 20 or 30 years ago -- there's no reason why we can't restore that," the president said on Al-Arabiya.

Well, let's see. Twenty years ago, in 1989, American hostages were being tortured by their Hezbollah captors in Beirut and hundreds of grief-stricken families were in mourning for their loved ones, murdered by Libyan terrorists as they flew home for Christmas on Pan Am Flight 103. Thirty years ago, in 1979, the Ayatollah Khomeini overthrew the Shah of Iran, proclaimed America "the Great Satan" and inspired his acolytes to seize the US embassy and hold scores of Americans hostage for nearly 15 months. That same year Islamist mobs destroyed the US embassies in Pakistan and Libya, and staged anti-American riots in other countries.

The golden age of American-Muslim relations that Obama harks back to did not exist. Radical Islam's hatred of the United States is not a recent phenomenon, it has nothing to do with "respect," and it isn't going to be extinguished by sweet words -- not even those of so sweet a speaker as Obama. Sooner or later, Barack Obama must confront an implacable reality: The global jihad, like the Cold War, will only end when our enemies lose their will to fight -- or when we do. Let us hope he's a quicker study than Jimmy Carter.

(Jeff Jacoby is a columnist for the Boston Globe.)


Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 12:39 AM | Comments (0)

February 03, 2009

Blatant, constant abuses by the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Arab Refugees

Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Ranking Republican
U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee

(WASHINGTON) – U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Ranking Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, today commented on a report that the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) fails to properly screen staff members and humanitarian aid recipients for links to Foreign Terrorist Organizations. The report, authored by UNRWA’s former general counsel James Lindsay, also claims that top UNRWA officials frequently make biased statements in support of Hamas and against Israel, advance policies that only expand the ranks of refugees, and have failed to implement effective standards to prevent abuses. Lindsay concludes that while the U.S. is the agency’s largest donor, UNRWA has “often clashed with U.S. policies” and that “changes will not occur unless the United States … compels the agency to enact reforms.”

Ros-Lehtinen is the author of The United Nations Transparency, Accountability and Reform Act (H.R. 557), which conditions U.S. aid to UNRWA on that agency taking a number of steps to prevent its resources from supporting Foreign Terrorist Organizations.

Statement of Ros-Lehtinen:

“For years, American assistance to UNRWA has undermined U.S. interests. These allegations, coming from a former UNRWA senior official, reinforce long-standing concerns that hundreds of millions of U.S. taxpayer dollars are being used to support violent Palestinian groups.

“Meanwhile, see-no-evil UN officials refuse to act to prevent aid from being compromised, and incessantly blame Israel while refusing to condemn militant Islamists."

“Now, UNRWA wants millions more from the U.S. at a time of increasing economic strain for American taxpayers. Congress should pass pending UN reform legislation that denies further U.S. assistance to UNRWA until that agency completely uproots bias and violent Islamist activity from within its midst.”

Ros-Lehtinen comments on new European Union Policy towards Hamas

(WASHINGTON) – U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Ranking Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, today commented on remarks by EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana which softened the EU’s approach towards the Islamist militant group Hamas. Solana’s remarks proposed including Hamas in Middle East peace talks as a legitimate segment of the Palestinian Authority without first requiring that Hamas renounce violence and dismantle its militant infrastructure, accept existing peace accords, and recognize Israel’s right to exist.

Statement by Ros-Lehtinen:

“Any appeasement of Hamas while it embraces violence against civilians and denies Israel’s right to exist emboldens those whose goals of destroying Israel and imposing authoritarian rule are irreconcilable with peace."

“Diluting the existing preconditions for engagement with Hamas would elevate Hamas’s stature and pollute any negotiations with a hateful ideology which sabotages the search for regional peace and security."

“The new Administration must reaffirm the preconditions contained in the Palestinian Anti-Terrorism Act, and re-commit to international agreements regarding the engagement of Hamas which mandate that Hamas first accept Israel’s right to exist as a democratic, Jewish state, adhere to past agreements concluded between Israel and the Palestinians, and dismantle its violent and incendiary infrastructure.”






Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 03:00 AM | Comments (0)