Saturday, October 31, 2009

Finally, a positive from Obama visa-vis Israel

linton calls Israeli concessions "unprecedented"

Clinton's Mideast Mission for Peace Play Video ABC News – Clinton's Mideast Mission for Peace

* Clinton, Pakistani students trade views Play Video Video:Clinton, Pakistani students trade views AP
* Clinton:Afghan decision after polls Play Video Video:Clinton:Afghan decision after polls Reuters
* Clinton in Israel to relaunch peace talks Play Video Mideast Video:Clinton in Israel to relaunch peace talks AP

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton ,right, reacts as Israeli Prime AP – U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton ,right, reacts as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu …
By ROBERT BURNS, AP National Security Writer Robert Burns, Ap National Security Writer – 26 mins ago

JERUSALEM – U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Saturday that Israel is making "unprecedented" concessions on West Bank settlement construction — a position clearly at odds with the prevailing Palestinian view.

Palestinian leaders have said they will not return to peace talks with Israel unless it halts all settlement building on lands they claim for a future state, and they believe Israel has blatantly defied a U.S. demand for a settlement freeze.

Speaking at a joint press conference with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday, Clinton said Israel is putting significant limits on settlement activity.

Friday, October 30, 2009

answering deligitimizers of Israel

Responding to the anti-Israel protests

J street supports Goldstone

Sloppiness on the part of J Street will not last forever. J Street –another Soros tool. He has a lot of them.

J Street Adviser Morton Halperin Goes to Work for Goldstone

THE WEEKLY STANDARD has obtained a document authored by Judge Richard Goldstone that is now being circulated on Capitol Hill. The document was written in response to HR 867 -- the resolution sponsored by Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Howard Berman condemning Goldstone's report on Israeli war crimes in Operation Cast Lead. Goldstone explains in the document that he sends his "comments on this resolution in an effort to correct factual errors."

Spencer Ackerman reported today that J Street would oppose the resolution in the House, but J Street chief Jeremy Ben-Ami has also said his organization "refuses to embrace" the Goldstone report. But it seems that certain elements of J Street have indeed embraced Goldstone and his report. Upon further inspection of the Goldstone letter, the actual author seems to be Morton H. Halperin, who serves on the J Street advisory council and is a senior adviser at George Soros's Open Society Institute. The original document can be downloaded here. (A check of the file's "properties" reveals the author as Morton H. Halperin.)

Individuals with official ties to J Street are not just embracing the Goldstone report, they are involved in efforts on behalf of Goldstone himself to scuttle opposition to the report in Congress. It's just another example of the disconnect between J Street's official positions and the actions of those who are connected to the organization.

Israeli books tries to deligitimize Israel

One arguments in the arsenal to deligitimize Israel is to undermine the Zionist argument that the Jews right to that land is the best claim of any people to any land in history. The Arabs challenge that, arguing that modern Israel was created by European colonialists who have no ties to the land. Obama aided that view in his Cairo speech, saying Israel’s justification is the Holocaust, which Arabs deny occurred.
(JWR June 9 2009 Obama's stunning offense to Israel and the Jewish people By Anne Bayefsky President yet again makes his intentions clear | President Obama's Cairo speech was nothing short of an earthquake — a distortion of history, an insult to the Jewish people, and an abandonment of very real human-rights victims in the Arab and Muslim worlds. It is not surprising that Arabs and Muslims in a position to speak were enthusiastic. It is more surprising that American commentators are praising the speech for its political craftiness, rather than decrying its treachery of historic proportions. Obama equated the Holocaust to Palestinian "dislocation." In his words: "The Jewish people were persecuted. …anti-Semitism …culminated in an unprecedented Holocaust…. Six million Jews were killed…. On the other hand, it is also undeniable that the Palestinian people — Muslims and Christians — have suffered in pursuit of a homeland." This parallelism amounts to the fictitious Arab narrative that the deliberate mass murder of six million Jews for the crime of being Jewish is analogous to a Jewish-driven violation of Palestinian rights.
Some Left Wing Israeli Jews try and undermine Zionism similarly.
See today’s Oct 30 2009 Wall Street Journal Book Review Israel is the Where Do Jews Come From?
This much is known: In the mid-eighth century, the ruling elite of the Khazars, a Turkic tribe in Eurasia, converted to Judaism. Did the Khazar converts to Judaism remain Jews, and, if so, what became of them? Enter Shlomo Sand. In a new book, "The Invention of the Jewish People," the Tel Aviv University professor of history argues that large numbers of Khazar Jews migrated westward into Ukraine, Poland and Lithuania, where they played a decisive role in the establishment of Eastern European Jewry. The implications are far-reaching: If the bulk of Eastern European Jews are the descendents of Khazars—not the ancient Israelites—then most Jews have no ancestral links to Palestine. Put differently: If most Jews are not Semites, then what justification is there for a Jewish state in the Middle East? By attempting to demonstrate the Khazar origins of Eastern European Jewry, Mr. Sand—a self-described post-Zionist who believes that Israel needs to shed its Jewish identity to become a democracy—aims to undermine the idea of a Jewish state."The Invention of the Jewish People" is being translated into a dozen languages. Mr. Sand is delivering lectures this month in Los Angeles, Berkeley, New York and elsewhere.
""A few Jews in Eastern Europe presumably came from the Khazar kingdom, but nobody can responsibly claim that most of them are the descendents of Khazars," says Israel Bartal, a professor of history at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. According to Peter B. Golden, a professor of history at Rutgers University, the Khazars are likely one of a number of strains that shaped the Jewish population in Eastern Europe. But, he stresses, DNA studies have confirmed that the Middle Eastern strain is predominant.
Members of Stormfront, a self-described "white nationalist" Internet community, have predictably reacted to Mr. Sand's book with glee. Sands is worried about how the The Khazar theory, he knew, was an article of faith among anti-Semites and anti-Israel Arab politicians. I asked Sands how the forthcoming Arabic translation might be received in the Muslim world, where, he says, anti-Semitism is growing. I ask if the confident tenor of his book might exacerbate the problem. He falls quiet for a moment. "Maybe my tone was too affirmative on the question of the Khazars," he reluctantly concedes. "If I were to write it today I would be much more careful." Such an admission, however, is unlikely to sway the sinister conspiracists who find the Khazar theory a useful invention. —Mr. Goldstein is a staff editor at the Chronicle of Higher Education.
My Response:
1. Genetics show the link between modern Israelis and ancient near east.
From todays Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs DAILY ALERT
Scientist Solves Jewish Genealogy Riddles - Peter Goodspeed
Dr. Karl Skorecki works on the cutting edge of molecular science, revolutionizing medicine through genetics and the use of stem cells to test anti-cancer therapies. As a sideline, he has become world famous for applying genetics to genealogy and transforming history. He has found evidence to support traditional claims that modern-day Jewish priests, Cohanim, are descended from a single common male ancestor - biblically said to be Aaron, the older brother of Moses. He has also found that 40% of Ashkenazi Jews can trace their descent to four "founding mothers" who lived in Europe 1,000 years ago, and evidence that all Jewish communities share a common paternal origin in the Near East.
He is now director of the Rappaport Family Institute for Research in Medical Sciences and a researcher at the Rambam-Technion University Medical Center in Haifa. (National Post-Canada)
2. Genetics is a Nazi argument anyway. Even if all Jews are descended from Khazar converts, which they don’t, they are part of the covenant of God promising the land to the Jews Genesis 12. Only way to deny that is deny the Bible.
3. How does this challenge the Arab Jews who lived in Babylonian empire since 586 BCE and now make up huge part of Israel population?
4. What do the anti-Zionists think happened to the Jews taken as slaves to Rome from Judea?
5. No nation has a better claim than Israel does for any land.
Moslems took their land by force from 8th century on. Americans stole USA from Natives. Etc Jews have rights from Bible, history, UN. Etc.

The Return of Israel's Existential Dread In tabloid cartoons and dinner conversations, Israelis brace themselves for war with Iran. * By YOS

The Return of Israel's Existential Dread
In tabloid cartoons and dinner conversations, Israelis brace themselves for war with Iran.



The postcard from the Home Front Command that recently arrived in my mailbox looks like an ad from the Ministry of Tourism. A map of Israel is divided by color into six regions, each symbolized by an upbeat drawing: a smiling camel in the Negev desert, a skier in the Golan Heights. In fact, each region signifies the amount of time residents will have to seek shelter from an impending missile attack. If you live along the Gaza border, you have 15 seconds after the siren sounds. Jerusalemites get a full three minutes. But as the regions move farther north, the time drops again, until finally, along the Lebanese and Syrian borders, the color red designates "immediate entry into a shelter." In other words, if you're not already inside a shelter don't bother looking for one.

The invisible but all-pervasive presence on that cheerful map of existential dread is Iran. If Israel were to launch a pre-emptive strike against Iranian nuclear facilities, Tehran's two terrorist allies on our borders—Hezbollah and Hamas—would almost certainly renew attacks against the Israeli home front. And Tel Aviv would be hit by Iranian long-range missiles.

On the other hand, if Israel refrains from attacking Iran and international efforts to stop its nuclearization fail, the results along our border would likely be even more catastrophic. Hezbollah and Hamas would be emboldened politically and psychologically. The threat of a nuclear attack on Tel Aviv would become a permanent part of Israeli reality. This would do incalculable damage to Israel's sense of security.

Given these dreadful options, one might assume that the Israeli public would respond with relief to reports that Iran is now considering the International Atomic Energy Agency's proposal to transfer 70% of its known, low-enriched uranium to Russia for treatment that would seriously reduce its potential for military application. In fact, Israelis from the right and the left have reacted with heightened anxiety. "Kosher Uranium," read the mocking headline of Israel's largest daily, Yediot Aharonot. Media commentators noted that easing world pressure on Iran will simply enable it to cheat more easily. If Iranian leaders are prepared to sign an agreement, Israelis argue, that's because they know something the rest of us don't.

In the last few years, Israelis have been asking themselves two questions with increasing urgency: Should we attack Iran if all other options fail? And can we inflict sufficient damage to justify the consequences?

As sanctions efforts faltered, most Israelis came to answer the first question affirmatively. A key moment in coalescing that resolve occurred in December 2006, when the Iranian regime sponsored an "International Conference to Review the Global Vision of the Holocaust," a two day meeting of Holocaust deniers. For Israelis, that event ended the debate over whether a nuclear Iran could be deterred by the threat of counter-force. A regime that assembles the world's crackpots to deny the most documented atrocity in history—at the very moment it is trying to fend off sanctions and convince the international community of its sanity—may well be immune to rational self-interest.

Opinion here has been divided about the ability of an Israeli strike to significantly delay Iran's nuclear program. But Israelis have dealt with their doubts by resurrecting a phrase from the country's early years: Ein breira, there's no choice. Besides, as one leading Israeli security official who has been involved in the Iranian issue for many years put it to me, "Technical problems have technical solutions." Israelis tend to trust their strategic planners to find those solutions.

In the past few months, Israelis have begun asking themselves a new question: Has the Obama administration's engagement with Iran effectively ended the possibility of a military strike?

Few Israelis took seriously the recent call by former U.S. National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski to shoot down Israeli planes if they take off for Iran. But American attempts to reassure the Israeli public of its commitment to Israel's security have largely backfired. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's recent threat to "obliterate" Iran if it launched a nuclear attack against Israel only reinforced Israeli fears that the U.S. would prefer to contain a nuclear Iran rather than pre-empt it militarily.

On the face of it, this is not May 1967. There is not the same sense of impending catastrophe that held the Israeli public in the weeks before the Six Day War. Israelis are preoccupied with the fate of Gilad Shalit (the kidnapped Israeli soldier held by Hamas), with the country's faltering relations with Turkey, with the U.N.'s denial of Israel's right to defend itself, and with an unprecedented rise in violent crime.

But the Iranian threat has seeped into daily life as a constant, if barely conscious anxiety. It emerges at unexpected moments, as black humor or an incongruous aside in casual conversation. "I think we're going to attack soon," a friend said to me over Sabbath dinner, as we talked about our children going off to the army and to India.

Now, with the possibility of a deal with Iran, Israelis realize that a military confrontation will almost certainly be deferred. Still, the threat remains.

A recent cartoon in the newspaper Ma'ariv showed a drawing of a sukkah, the booth covered with palm branches that Jews build for the autumn festival of Tabernacles. A voice from inside the booth asked, "Will these palm branches protect us from Iranian missiles?"

Israelis still believe in their ability to protect themselves—and many believe too in the divine protection that is said to hover over the fragile booths. Both are expressions of faith from a people that fear they may once again face the unthinkable alone.

Mr. Klein Halevi is a senior fellow at the Adelson Institute for Strategic Studies at the Shalem Center in Jerusalem, and a contributing editor to the New Republic.

another great Israeli inovation

New Israeli System Saves Water by Sealing Leaks
The World Bank estimates that 88 billion liters of treated water is lost from leaking urban pipelines every day from what is called "background leakage" - small cracks that drip water continuously. Indeed, background leakage is so pervasive that water suppliers accept 3,500 liters of water per km. of pipe per day as the minimum achievable loss. Now an Israeli company called Curapipe has developed a system that aims to seal leaks cheaply with only a small disruption to the water supply. Curapipe's system works together with the system commonly used to clean urban water mains, sealing cracks. The system may also be suitable for sealing leaks in oil and gas pipelines. (Economist-UK)

Countering protesters

The last 2 Israel related events i attended in downtown Chicago, Friends of IDF dinner and Israel Film Cinema opening night, had protesters outside advocating boycotts of Israel and shouting stop Israeli apartheid.

The people attending just hurried by. i couldn't stand it last night so started shouting back
"you advocate murder, support terrorists sending missiles at innocent people."

They had shocked looks like no one ever challenges them.

We need counter demonstrations/signs
Moslem Brotherhood
Suicide bombers
remember Beirut
Iranian terror
Holocaust deniers
and be out there with bullhorns too

shouting "Arab terrorists/murderers" over and over

Its like graffiti-if you let it go unchallenged, it just spreads

Jews linked to Israel genetically

Scientist Solves Jewish Genealogy Riddles - Peter Goodspeed
Dr. Karl Skorecki works on the cutting edge of molecular science, revolutionizing medicine through genetics and the use of stem cells to test anti-cancer therapies. As a sideline, he has become world famous for applying genetics to genealogy and transforming history. He has found evidence to support traditional claims that modern-day Jewish priests, Cohanim, are descended from a single common male ancestor - biblically said to be Aaron, the older brother of Moses. He has also found that 40% of Ashkenazi Jews can trace their descent to four "founding mothers" who lived in Europe 1,000 years ago, and evidence that all Jewish communities share a common paternal origin in the Near East.
The Y chromosome consists almost entirely of non-coding DNA, which is passed from father to son without recombination. Therefore the genetic information on a Y chromosome of a man living today is basically the same as that of his ancient male ancestors, with rare mutations that occur along hereditary lines. By tracking those neutral mutations or genetic markers, scientists can come up with the genetic signature of a man's male ancestry. Skorecki's test found an array of six common chromosomal markers in 97 of the 106 Cohens he tested. Calculations based on variations of the mutations rooted the men's shared ancestry 3,300 years ago, or the approximate time of Exodus. He also discovered the common set of genetic markers in both Ashkenazi (European) and Sephardic (North African) Cohens, indicating they shared the same ancestry before their communities were separated more than 1,000 years ago.
"It's like an archeological finding. But instead of digging up in the sand, we dig in contemporary DNA," Skorecki says. Skorecki moved from Toronto to Israel in 1995, where he is now director of the Rappaport Family Institute for Research in Medical Sciences and a researcher at the Rambam-Technion University Medical Center in Haifa. (National Post-Canada)

Iran keps making a fool out of us

Iran Accused of Playing Games on Nuclear Deal - Richard Spencer
Britain and other EU nations were preparing to reject Iran's counterproposal on sending its uranium abroad for enrichment, raising the threat of a protracted confrontation and new sanctions. Britain, France and Germany believe Iran is trying to use the deal merely as a starting point for another protracted round of talks. During that time they think the Iranians could continue to enrich uranium and conduct more research on the scientific know-how necessary to turn it into a nuclear weapon. "It's like playing chess with a monkey," said one diplomat close to the talks. "You get them to checkmate, and then they swallow the king." (Telegraph-UK)

Thursday, October 29, 2009

about the Fastforgaza rabbi from anonymous

Yes it is dangerous to call someone a traitor or a malshin because to paraphrase the old joke, anyone who goes to one more Israel day rally than you is a right wing extremist and anyone who goes to one less is a leftist Palestinian apologist. But as far as I know the malediction against malshinim is still recited daily in the Sim Shalom prayerbook. It means something. Malshinim do exist. The Neturei Karta who support the destruction of Israel and stand with Ahmanadinajad fall under such a category to my mind. And a Jewish leader, a prominent one, one of the top ten rabbis in America (according to that important guide to Jewish life, Newsweek) who refuses to show compassion for his own people under attack but only has compassion for those
who would commit genocide against Jews has to fall under that rubric as well. It is one thing for a person to stand against violence and oppression and castigate Israel AND the Palestinians. But to stand with Israel's enemies against Israel, to not even suggest moral equivalence between the two parties but only to have room in your heart for compassion for an enemy who calls for murder against Jews (not Israelis acc to the Hamas charter), I just cannot fathom how perverse such a hateful person can be. And of course he would want to meet with Ahmanadinajad, it is the realization of the rabbinic dictum, "those who are kind to the cruel, will end up cruel to the kind".

The Israel Test

Who Will Pass the Test?
Michael Medved Reviews The Israel Test

By: Michael Medved
November 1, 2009

Link to Original Article

It wasn’t the author’s intention, to be sure, but George Gilder’s new book, The Israel Test, may infect some Jewish readers with a bad case of WASP envy: only a Protestant patrician with no hint of Hebraic background would dare to write so positively about Israel and the Jews. To those who seek to explain murderous hostility to Israel with reference to its supposed policy failures or purportedly harsh treatment of Palestinians, Gilder elegantly responds: “Locked in a debate over Israel’s alleged vices, they miss the salient truth running through the long history of anti-Semitism: Israel is hated above all for its virtues.”

Chief among those virtues, in Gilder’s frankly philo-Semitic view, are Jewish intelligence, creativity, entrepreneurial energy, and economic productivity, all of which are widely condemned as disproportionate and therefore inherently unjust. In this respect, hostility to Israel bears an unmistakable and significant connection to worldwide hostility toward capitalism:

Anti-capitalists, like anti-Semites throughout history, have always been obsessed with the “gaps” everywhere discernable between different groups: gaps of income, power, achievement and status. Against the background of Palestinian poverty, anti-capitalists and anti-Semites alike see Israel as primarily a creator not of wealth but of gaps.

This insight deftly solves the riddle of how secular Marxists like Hugo Chavez can make common cause with medieval-minded Islamists like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad: in their enmity toward Israel and the United States, they share a hatred of individual success, of dynamic and productive free markets, that transcends all their ideological differences.

That obsessive hatred has proved vastly more destructive for those who harbor and encourage it than for the societies against which it is directed. The common thread binding brutal Muslim theocracies, failed socialist utopias, and fetid third-world kleptocracies is the insistence on blaming the accomplishments of others for their own manifold failures and explaining the stranglehold of local poverty as the result of the economic progress somewhere else. To Gilder, history teaches conclusively that misery stems, in fact,

from the belief that wealth inheres in things and material resources that can be seized and redistributed, rather than in human minds and creations that thrive only in peace and freedom. In particular, the immiseration of the Middle East stems chiefly from the covetous and crippling idea among Arabs that Israel’s wealth is not only the source of their humiliation but also the cause of their poverty.

In one of The Israel Test’s most important chapters, Gilder reviews the Palestinian predicament, pointing out that mass Jewish immigration to the Middle East, and even Israeli military control of the West Bank and Gaza, decisively raised the living standards of local Arab populations. Citing authoritative figures from the International Monetary Fund, Gilder identifies the so-called occupied territories as “one of the most dynamic economies on earth” between the time of Israel’s takeover in 1967 and the commencement of the first intifada in 1987.

During that period, per capita income tripled in the West Bank while it rose in Gaza more than twentyfold—from $80 to $1,706. This startling progress could not placate the rejectionist Arab leadership, any more than Israeli withdrawals from Sinai, southern Lebanon, and Gaza have brought acceptance from the wider Arab world. Gilder sneers at American policymakers in every administration who seem to believe that “the key problem in the Mideast is that Israel has too much land.” Considering the diminutive dimensions of the Jewish state (approximately the size of New Jersey), the argument is absurd on the face of it. Moreover,

whatever the Arabs of the jihad and the intifada mean by the word “land” cannot be satisfied by giving up any particular patch of ground. Land to them is less transactional than transcendental and apocalyptic. As with all the ideologies of race and fatherland, all the cults of blood and soil, with all their ruinous and romantic rejections of modernity, inevitably making the Jews their first chosen enemies, they are haunted and driven by demons no Peace Process can exorcise.

The echoes of Nazi themes and tropes are deliberate: Gilder traces the origins of Palestinian nationalism to Hitler’s most prominent Muslim supporter and collaborator, Haj Amin al-Husseini, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem. The Israel Test also offers a careful reading of Hitler’s Mein Kampf and notes that “the deeper Jewish offenses that he primarily details and denounces” are “all expressions not of cultural inferiority or Marxist machinations but of capitalist superiority. . . . The fundamental conflict in the world pits the advocates of capitalist freedom, economic growth, and property against the exponents of blood and soil and violence”

In making his case, Gilder does not ignore the irony that Israel’s founders were themselves hostile to capitalism. He is unsparing in his criticism of earlier generations of Israeli leadership, not just for their frequent naiveté and sentimentality in dealing with their Arab neighbors but also for their stubborn refusal to embrace the free-market principles that had allowed Jews to prosper nearly everywhere else in the world. Benjamin Netanyahu emerges as a special hero in the book for his warnings to the West of the dangers of Islamo-fascist terror (more than 20 years before 2001), as well as for his central role in shifting his country away from its sclerotic, overregulated, welfare-state economy.

In his first term as prime minister (1996-99) and later as finance minister (2002-03), Netanyahu spearheaded the tax cuts and other business-friendly policies that stimulated the explosion of Israeli high-tech and made the Jewish state’s economy one of the most vibrant and productive in the world. As such, Israel serves today as the perfect example of Gilder’s long-standing theme (going back at least to Wealth and Poverty in 1981) that wealth as a product of mind always trumps power that depends on matter. “As one of the world’s most profitable economies built on one of the world’s most barren territories,” he writes here, “Israel challenges all the materialist superstitions of zero-sum economics based on the ‘distribution’ of natural resources and the exploitation of land and labor.”

While making such points forcefully and eloquently at the opening and conclusion of his ardent tome, Gilder follows a more meandering, leisurely course in its middle sections. He offers vivid portraits of a quirky collection of Israeli entrepreneurs, inventors, engineers, and research scientists.* He also indulges an odd obsession with the spectacularly brilliant Hungarian-American mathematician John von Neumann, whose contributions to quantum mechanics, computer science, set theory, the Manhattan Project, and game theory qualify him as a titanic figure of 20thcentury science but whose vestigial Jewish identity makes him a strange focus for a book about Israel.

The lengthy discussions of von Neumann’s prodigious influence highlights the most conspicuous shortcoming of The Israel Test. Gilder repeatedly invokes and praises the intellectual excellence and even superiority of the Jewish people but makes scant attempt to explain these gifts and achievements. Any serious attempt to understand the illogically prominent Jewish role in science and economics of the past 150 years might require a separate full-length volume.

In discussing the visionary intellectual leaps of von Neumann and Einstein, for instance, Gilder resorts to the sort of vaporous pseudo-connections blessedly absent from his otherwise brisk and rigorous book asserting that “European Jewish scientists of the time possessed a passionate faith in the coherence of the cosmos. . . . In its way, it was a religious faith as formidably fecund as the Jewish monotheism of the Torah from which it ultimately stemmed, and it found its liturgy in the logic of mathematics.” Later, when he quotes at length from the Nobel Prize–winning economist (and master of game theory) Robert Aumann, who is a deeply committed and richly schooled Orthodox Jew, Gilder stands on firmer ground in associating his distinctive vision with his religious background.

Even at its most digressive, Gilder’s book fascinates and entertains, bristling with unexpected insights and dry wit. Noting the “objective anti-Semitism” of “Karl Marx, Noam Chomsky, Friedrich Engels, Howard Zinn, Naomi Klein and other Jewish leftists who above all abhor capitalism,” he drily concludes, “Jews, amazingly, excel so readily in all intellectual fields that they outperform all rivals even in the arena of anti-Semitism.” He also explains the designation of Yasir Arafat’s successor, Mahmoud Abbas, as a widely hailed “moderate.” Gilder notes: “This seems to be the term for anti-Semites who are ambivalent about whether to celebrate the Holocaust or to deny that it occurred.”

Like his previous provocations, Sexual Suicide (1973), Naked Nomads (1974), and Telecosm (2000), this new book is powerful enough to open eyes and even, perhaps, to open minds. And it is nowhere more powerful than in its treatment of the relationship between anti-Israel sentiment and anti-American activism and the ways in which both connect with the same envious, leveling instinct that seeks to bury capitalism. They are also bound by an intertwined history:

The achievements of the twentieth century are heavily attributable to the capitalism in the West and its ability to accommodate the genius of the Jews. Without them, the world would be radically poorer and its prospects for the future would be decisively dimmed. . . . As with America, so with Israel. Israel is not a dispensable Jewish “best friend,” a noble but doomed democracy, or even a charitable dependency we can no longer afford. It is an indispensable ally, and in the past twenty years it has evolved into perhaps our most valuable partner.

Gilder’s impassioned volume is an unambiguous, unapologetic, and unshakable brief on behalf of the virtues and glories of the Jewish state and its outsized importance as a harbinger of a better future. As such, The Israel Test presents a particular challenge for American Jews—a test to see whether they can speak as boldly and without qualification for the Zionist project as the righteous Gentile who posed it.

Michael Medved is a contributor to Commentary, a syndicated radio host and a Senior Fellow of Discovery Institute in Seattle, Washington.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

It is all about Islam-Koran is worse than mein kampf

October 26, 2009
Losing Israel
By Bill Warner
When America entered the war in Vietnam, Ho Chi Min said that it would be a long war and that the communists would win by using propaganda in the media and the universities. He was correct.

It is time to take stock in the war between Israelis and the Palestinians and deal with some forbidden subjects. Israel is losing the propaganda war, hasbarah, and for a very good reason.

Israel is not in the hasbarah game, unless one counts belated responses to the Palestinians' propaganda offensives. Pierre Rehov, a Moroccan French Jew, is a documentary filmmaker. He claims that the Palestinians have made over 50 propaganda movies, while Israel has done only 8. Of those eight, Mr. Rehov made six.

Why don't Jews and Israel want to deal with propaganda? Simple. It would mean talking about Islam. Jews and Israel must face the facts that the Koran and the Sunna (the actions and words of Mohammed) are filled with invectives against the Jews. At first the words were complimentary, but when the Jews of Medina rejected Mohammed as a prophet they were all enslaved, exiled, murdered and robbed -- all acts of jihad. These were not historical acts, but perfect examples of Islamic action towards Jews -- models prescribed for Muslims to follow up to the present time. To illustrate the severity of this predicament, statistically speaking, in the Koran of Medina 10.6% of the text is devoted to Jew hatred, whereas, only 6.8% of Mein Kampf is devoted to Jew hatred.

The language and actions of Palestinians and all Muslims in general are directly approved by Islamic political theological doctrine. Not only the language, but also policy is set by the Islamic political doctrine. To repeat: political doctrine -- a political theological doctrine of jihad against all kafirs.

Yet, it seems until now that both Jews and Israel choose annihilation over talking about Islam. It is simply not an acceptable subject matter. Political correctness prevails over survival. Unfortunately, these are suicidal choices. It is obvious that the ADL and the Jewish Federations for example, are only two Jewish organizations that have corporate polices of not discussing Islamic political ideology.

The ADL will admit that there are a "few" radical Muslims, and would gladly argue in public that except for a few Muslim extremists, Islam is not the problem. ADL is the first to argue that Jews and Christians have their share of crazies and they are no different from the Muslims. This is the ultimate multiculturalist view, which may well lead to a disaster for Israel and aid in the demise of Western civilization.

Since a propaganda war is about the use of intelligence, one would think that the Israelis would be the world's best and the Muslims would be the worst. Look at Nobel prizes, especially in the sciences. Israelis win them by the handful compared to the Arab world. But in the hasbarah, public relations, the Israelis are lazy fools and the Palestinians are industrious geniuses.

Israeli government officials who will comment off the record say that as a government, Israel cannot launch a propaganda war over Islam.

And, if Israel were to launch an ideological war, who would be the target audience? The ultimate target would be the secular and liberal Jews of America and Israel, who are the near enemy. If you can launch a hasbarah campaign that would open their eyes, enough of the world would tag along.

Otherwise, if the Israelis continue to think that they can keep scoring military victories and by that win this ideological war, they are fools and worse. America won the Tet offensive on the battlefield, but lost the propaganda war in the media and the universities, exactly as Ho Chi Min predicted.

As a brilliant example of ideological war, revisit Netanyahu's UN speech on September 24, 2009. He laid out the civilizational differences between Holocaust deniers and Israel. The same arguments about civilization should apply to the war between the Palestinians and Jews in Israel. This is because the Israel/Palestinian conflict is no different than the jihad in Kashmir, India, the Philippines, or in dozens of fronts in Africa.

After the Mumbai terror attack, the Jewish community in Nashville, TN had a rally at a synagogue. They prayed for peace in Israel. The same day, Christian supporters of Israel held a rally, and they prayed for Israel's victory.

Now, which one of the two maintains a stronger position -- peace or victory? Today Israel desires peace and the Palestinians insist on victory. Guess who wins? Peace is for losers. Regrettably, Israelis and American Jews are choosing to be the losers. The consequences however are too dire; ultimately, Israel may get their peace, but it may be the peace after jihad's victory.

Ironically, Israelis and Jews abroad are not the only ones in a state of denial about Islamic politics; they just happen to be at the frontline. President Bush demonstrated after 9/11 that he too had no clue how to fight this Islamic ideological war. Instead of using military force against our enemies, he and his successor- President Obama should have declared ideological war against our true enemy-political Islam.

They seem to lose their war and so will Israel unless some tough questions are faced and actions are taken.

Bill Warner is Director, Center for the Study of Political Islam

Israel's thriving economy

Israel has thrived during the global collapse—thanks to an entrepreneurial culture built on compulsory military service. Dan Senor and Saul Singer on why U.S. companies should take notes.

For all the press coverage of the Middle East, there is one side of Israel that gets scant attention: the country’s economy has the highest concentration of innovation and entrepreneurialism in the world today. For years, multinational technology companies and global investors have been beating a path to Israel. Even in 2008—a year of global economic turmoil—per capita venture investments in Israel were 2.5 times greater than in the United States, more than 30 times greater than in Europe, 80 times greater than in China, and 350 times greater than in India. And Israel still boasts the highest density of start-ups in the world (a total of 3,850 start-ups, one for every 1,844 Israelis). More Israeli companies are on NASDAQ than companies from all of Europe, China, India, Korea, and Japan combined.

J Street is a negative

Marty Peretz observes that “since J Street was putting out its banners on the Jewish street, it defined itself as it had to: yes, ‘pro-Israel, pro-peace.’ But in a very palpable sense it was not pro-Israel in that it favored every cockamamie strategy and tactic, personality and group (and grouplet), slogan and world-view that put the Jewish homeland in peril. In the end, almost everyone came to realize that J Street would not and maybe could not be supportive of a Jewish homeland until every last Palestinian was satisfied.”

National Security Adviser James Jones announces that the Palestinian-Israeli problem is the most important problem in the whole wide world. (Kind of gives away the game on Iran going nuclear, doesn’t it?) Prediction: his promise that the administration will be represented at future J Street conferences won’t be adhered to by any other administration (should J Street last that long).

Ambassador Michael Oren says his concerns about J Street haven’t been “sufficiently allayed.” Not after the past two days, certainly

Correction about 7 Jewish Children

Shalom, Jonathan!
I hope you're doing well and mazal tov on the success of your electronic outreach to so many. I appreciated the length and thoroughness of your questioning Roberta P. Seid. But I do want to offer one important clarification with respect to a completely misinterpreted event at our theater:
Theater J never "produced" Caryl Churchill's 10 minute play, SEVEN JEWISH CHILDREN (A PLAY FOR GAZA); we held a two-night "critical inquiry" about it, inviting panelists to hear the play and then discuss it; we invited Israeli and American artists to write their own response plays to it. And I, in a lengthy introduction, explained that the most effective way to both understand and criticize the play would be to hear it as it was intended to be heard; as a piece of theater recited by actors.
We never "produced" the play; it was read (in both Hebrew and English) -- it lasted 8 minutes -- it proved itself to be better than its detractors would have you believe, and we could come to understand what was unfair about it. The act of presenting it allowed us to demystify it. The act of being in dialogue with Carly Churchill herself allowed us to see her not as a flaming anti-Semite but as a dramatist who was moved out of twin sympathies and a sense of tragic historical irony that Jews once under siege were now laying siege. That's the aspect of her play to which most Jews are most angered; it suggests an implicit meaning that Jews who once suffered at the hands of the Nazis are now behaving like Nazis. That's not what the play says, or shows, but that's the trope that has inflamed discussion around it. As you know, there are many ways to interpret a line of text. Churchill's plays--and she's regarded as one of the finest playwrights in the world--are frequently open-ended and elusive. Her short text, SEVEN JEWISH CHILDREN, required an informed Jewish response from a theater that could both grapple with the theatrical challenge in presenting her words artfully, while still providing a Jewish context and frame through which to view her work coolly and rationally.

Our community and critics appreciated the effort to bring light to the subject. You can read the Washington Post's front page assessment of our handling of the situation here.
'Seven' Revels In Not Only Acting, but Interacting
By Peter Marks
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, March 27, 2009

J Street undermines Israel on Iran

This is the wife of the husband and pair team of Leveretts who routinely are featured in articles and on the op-ed pages of the New York Times.

COMMENTARY contributor Jamie Kirchick gives an eye-opening account of the panel on Iran at the J Street confab. He observes that it featured none other than Hillary Mann Leverett of “Ahmadinejad Won, Get Over It” fame, who put on a display of moral equivalence that was breathtaking even for the J Street crowd. Forget for a moment her opposition to any sanctions (a position shared by J Street but rejected by an overwhelming percentage of Americans, and American Jews specifically), Mann Leverett is opposed to any criticism of the Iranian negotiation ploys and head fakes. To even mention the stall-a-thon is to be guilty of, yes, “reinforcing stereotypes of Iranian duplicitousness” and acting in a “fundamentally racist” way.

This perfectly encapsulates the J Street mentality — which seeks to defend and deflect criticism from Israel’s most virulent foes. Israel and its government, or perhaps the dreaded neo-cons, are the subject of its endless rants, criticism, and vilification. Iran and Hamas? We hear nary a harsh word. The result is a sort of delusional explanation of events in which no adverse facts or interpretation contrary to the “Israel is the problem” narrative is permitted.

The closest thing we have seen to this nauseating flackery is the unsavory history of those in the American Left (both during and after the Stalinist era) who ran interference for the Soviet Union, which in the eyes of its American lackeys also could do no wrong and also was the perpetual victim of American intransigence, bullying, and insensitivity. And like the post-Stalinist variety of apologists, today’s crop of anti-anti-Iranian-regime Leftists don’t have the excuse of ignorance. We know the nature of that regime after the brutal suppression of democracy protesters, and we know the mullahs have been duplicitous in, among other things, hiding the Qom facility. It is not “stereotyping” to speak of these truths, but it is, according to this gang, now unacceptable to say so.

This see-no-evil, hear-no-evil, speak-no-evil — except if we’re talking about Israel — is J Street’s chosen approach. There is a ready market for this sort of thing among the Left. However, it isn’t at all clear there is much of a market for this claptrap within the American Jewish community. That rebranding idea (nix the “pro-Israel” label) may be a wise marketing move.

Katyusha Rocket from Lebanon Strikes Northern Israel -

Katyusha Rocket from Lebanon Strikes Northern Israel - Anshel Pfeffer and Eli Ashkenazi
A Katyusha rocket fired from Lebanon exploded near Kiryat Shmona in the Upper Galilee on Tuesday. Nine Katyushas have struck northern Israel since the Second Lebanon War in 2006. A Lebanese security official said the rocket was fired from Houla in southern Lebanon. Lebanese troops on Wednesday found and dismantled four more rockets ready for launching from the same site. Last month, two Katyushas fired from Lebanon struck the Western Galilee. (Ha'aretz)

Iran is toying with the world,

Earlier Wednesday, Kadima leader Tzipi Livni warned that "Iran is toying with the world," and said the current proposed deal between the West and Teheran might not be sufficient to ensure the Islamic republic does not achieve military nuclear capability.

"Iran is toying with the world. The deal doesn't solve a major issue - the complete halt of uranium enrichment. There's a clear international consensus that a nuclear Iran is unacceptable," Livni said in a statement during a one-day visit in Moscow.

Obama's lobby

Special Report
Obama's Jewish Lobby

By Jamie Weinstein on 10.27.09 @ 6:08AM

On Sunday evening at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in downtown Washington, D.C., J-Street opened its first ever-national policy conference. Officially founded over a year ago, the self-proclaimed "pro-Israel, pro-peace" lobby was birthed amid controversy. While J-Street positioned itself as the voice of mainstream American Jewish opinion on Israel, critics (myself included) argued it was a left-wing front far from the mainstream.

J-Street's Executive Director Jeremy Ben-Ami opened the proceedings on Sunday by saying that among the 1000 or so attendees to the conference there were "doubtless 1000 opinions" with "1000 stories." While surveying over a dozen of those opinions right before the conference officially began, one quickly comes to the conclusion that J-Street's critics might have a point.

Said to be involved in "peace activism" for over 40 years, Barbara Taft came to the conference from Arizona. She sees J-Street "as the antidote to [the American Israel Public Affairs Committee]," the effective pro-Israel lobby which boasts wide support among Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill. Taft believes the whole Israeli-Palestinian problem stems all the way back to the way Israel was established by the international community in 1948. Asked whether she thinks Israel committed war crimes in the recent Gaza war, Taft said that "she has seen coverage from overseas which indicates that definitely much of what Israel did was in the category of war crimes." As for whether Israeli leaders like former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Defense Secretary Ehud Barack should face trial, Taft said yes, stating "I think the people who gave the orders that led to harming civilians probably should be [put on trial]."

As for dealing with Hamas, Taft sees the terrorist organization as broad ideologically as the democratic Jewish state.

"Hamas is made up of a fairly broad range of people like the state of Israel is," she said of an organization whose charter calls not only for the destruction of Israel, but the killing of Jews generally. "There are people who can be dealt with and people who will refuse to talk. I think it is important to keep lines of communication open."

Debra Hirshberg of Cleveland Heights, Ohio, said in an interview that in addition to both sides being plagued with weak leadership, settlements were a big hindrance to peace in the region. "The settlements should not only stop expanding but be dismantled," she said.

While she believes both sides have committed war crimes in the recent Gaza war, Hirshberg doesn't think there should be international war crimes trials since U.S. leaders aren't subject to such trials. "I think the U.S. is open to the same kind of charges," she said, adding, "Would I like to see Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld put up for war crimes? Yes, of course I would."

Asked whether she sees one side in the conflict more to blame than the other, Hirshberg said no.

"No. I don't think that there is one side more to blame," she explained. "I think each side has a narrative that is very believable and that you just have to look at it from each perspective."

Hirshberg also feels that Israel should accept the 20-year truce that she says Hamas has offered it. "They [Hamas] have offered a 20 year ceasefire…I think that should be accepted by Israel as a starting point."

Dr. Warren Spielberg of Brooklyn, New York, said he has been working toward peace in the Middle East since 1973 through Americans for Peace Now, a partner organization to J-Street. Asked whether he thought the Goldstone report accusing both Israel and Hamas of committing war crimes in the Gaza War was fair, Spielberg said "it was more than fair." He continued, "I think that Israel as a state with more power has more responsibility and more culpability. I mean, with more power comes more responsibility. Israel was an aggressor in the war."

As to whether their should be war crime trials for Israeli officials, Spielberg said that "failing an internal investigation being done, yea, I think the UN should push it."

Alan Sagner is a major contributor to J-Street and a member of its advisory council. He was emphatic in his belief that American Jews should "back our President" and "not tell him what to do." His restraint with interfering in presidential decision-making didn't extend to presidents who supported things he disagreed with, like President George W. Bush's war in Iraq. Sagner also believes it is important for American Jews to intervene to save Israel from what he sees as its infantile actions.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Elie Wiesel Mocked at J Street Conference

Elie Wiesel Mocked at J Street Conference

The "independent" blogger panel at J Street's conference can only be described as clownish. The panel consisted mostly of crackpots and self-described anti-Zionists and "one-staters" (J Street director Jeremy Ben-Ami calls the one-state solution a "nightmare," but it seems to be the dream of many of the organization's supporters). Though J Street tried to distance itself from the panel by describing it as an "unofficial" and "independent" event, the bloggers used one of the rooms otherwise reserved for conference events, a podium in the front had a J Street placard on it, and a J Street banner hung on the back wall of the room. Ben-Ami came in to "check up" on the panel, and a J Street flack ejected someone from the room at the behest of one of the panelists. If this wasn't an official event, I don't know what official means.

At the event, Helena Cobban, who describes herself as "agnostic" on a two-state solution, said that blogging had "changed international relations" because now the world could get real-time reaction from the people "underneath U.S. and Israeli bombs."

Another panelist, Max Blumenthal, attacked Ben-Ami for having "capitulated" in an interview with Jeffrey Goldberg last week. Most of the media at the conference were pleased with Ben-Ami's interview with Goldberg -- it was proof, they said, that J Street was indeed a reasonable organization. But that was not the view of the average conference participant. There was "a lot to be troubled with in this interview," Blumenthal said. Ben-Ami had "prostrated himself before this 'serious man.'"

Blumenthal really doesn't like Goldberg. He called him the "Chief Rabbi of a one man island," and then, with respect to Ben-Ami, asked, "if you can't stand up to Goldberg, how can you stand up to Netanyahu?" Blumenthal was upset that Ben-Ami had, under pressure from Goldberg, denounced Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer, authors of The Israel Lobby, as anti-Semites. Among the rank and file at the J Street conference, Walt and Mearsheimer are revered. Matt Duss, another panel participant who writes for John Podesta's Center for American Progress, said "the idea of attacking [Walt and Mearsheimer] as anti-Semites is outrageous."

Blumenthal went on to trash Elie Wiesel for speaking this past weekend at the Christians United for Israel conference in San Antonio. After mocking Pastor John Hagee, the founder of CUFI, Blumenthal said "the last time Elie Wiesel trusted someone so much it was Bernie Madoff." Wiesel admitted earlier this year that he lost "everything" he had in Madoff's ponzi scheme. The audience erupted with laughter at Blumenthal's tasteless joke.

Finally, we heard from the proprietor of the blog, a hijab clad Palestinian woman who said she doesn't consider Mahmoud Abbas to be the legitimate president of the Palestinian Authority. Does she support Hamas? Who knows. "Whenever I hear two-state solution, I shake my head," she said, "I'm a one-stater." Again the room erupted with applause. Philip Weiss, another blogger participating in the panel, looked around and said "there are many Zionists in this room, there are also some non-Zionists and anti-Zionists." I would say that's a pretty good description of the J Street conference as a whole.

One other note: I didn't see a single member of Congress at the conference today. That's not to say there were none there -- there was an afternoon panel featuring Reps. Boustany, Schakowsky, and Filner -- but I didn't see any wandering around. I did see Jonathan Tasini, who is running a primary against New York Democrat Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand in 2010 and has tried to make an issue out of Gillibrand's decision to pull her support for the J Street conference.

Posted by Michael Goldfarb on October 26, 2009 06:10 PM | Permalink

J street's danger
Rosner's Domain: Roberta Seid on why J Street is bad for Israel


A couple of days ago I linked here to a long interview with J Street's founder Jeremy Ben-Ami. Now it's time for the opposition to speak up. And opposition means Roberta P. Seid.

Seid earned her doctorate at UC Berkeley in European Social History, taught Gender Studies and European history at the University of Southern California, and currently teaches a course on Israel at UC Irvine. She is Education/Research Director of StandWithUs, an international Israel education organization, and was a member of the America Israel Demographic Research Group (AIDRG) which analyzed Palestinian and Israeli demography. Dr. Seid has authored and co-authored books and articles in these fields in both the scholarly and non-scholarly press.

She was answering my question on the way to J Street's conference - she's there to follow and protest, not to show support. Here we go:

1. How is J Street "frequently endorses anti-Israel, anti-Jewish narratives"?

In StandWithUs' extensive experience covering anti-Israel events, speakers, and organizations, we have found certain patterns: they exclude context, draw moral equivalencies, defend defamations and one-sided narratives under the banner of free speech, use half-truths and outright lies to stain Israel and Jews, or promote speakers who delegitimize Israel. Unfortunately, J Street has exhibited a pattern of doing some or all of these things.

Some examples: J Street:

Refused to condemn the bias and misrepresentations of the UN Goldstone Report, faulted the Israeli government for not cooperating with the investigation, and urged "the Israeli government to establish an independent state commission of inquiry to investigate the accusations, something Israel has done on several occasions in the past."

"7 Jewish Children" J Street endorsed Washington DC's J-Theater production of "7 Jewish Children" in March, 2009, claiming it would stimulate "rigorous intellectual engagement.”" Even the BBC would not air the piece after British Jewish leaders condemned it for historical distortions and for portraying "Israeli parents as inhuman triumphalists who care little about anything except their children's feelings and who teach them that Arabs are sub-human and must be hated."

Launched a public letter campaigns to support programs with anti-Israel bias, such as Bob Simon's "60 Minutes" biased view of the settlements in January, 2009. J Street launched a campaign to defend Simon against CAMERA and Abe Foxman's criticisms. Foxman called the show a "hatchet job on Israel."

Adopted the anti-Israel interpretation of why Charles Freeman did not get appointed to a top intelligence post in the Obama administration. J Street refused to take sides in this controversy, but afterwards objected to the outcome, writing that "It cannot be a litmus test for service in the American government that you have never criticized Israel or its policies publicly." In fact, the Freeman appointment was scuttled because of Freeman's apologia for China’s brutal crackdown in Tianamen Square in 1989, his position as president of MEPC, an Arab lobby group partially funded by Saudi Arabia and the Bin Laden family, and because he did not "criticize" Israel, but rather fulminated against it in a series of screeds that repeated false anti-Israel charges.

Praised Jimmy Carter without denouncing the misrepresentations and pernicious influence of Carter's book that claimed Israel had instituted apartheid vs the Palestinians. J Street posted and urged distribution of Nancy Kaptur's (D-OH) speech which called for Jimmy Carter's op ed against Israel actions in Gaza to be entered in the Congressional Record. Jeremy Ben-Ami, J Street's executive director, praised Jimmy Carter in 2009: "You have to respect him, which I don't think everybody has done... And he deserves more respect and more thanks than he has gotten."

Blamed Israeli policy for Palestinian terrorism instead of recognizing the existence of extremist terrorist groups and strategy among Palestinians, portraying Palestinians solely as helpless victims instead of active agents in their policy choices. "But we're not doing a very good job at creating a secure home by conducting ourselves in this manner towards another people that are a minority, and that are powerless, and treating them in a way that forces them essentially to become terrorists, and leads to us being again in danger" (Ben-Ami in Salon interview).

2. Do you think criticizing Israel is necessarily "anti-Israel"? if not - where do you draw the line?

Of course criticizing Israeli policy is not inherently anti-Israel. Israelis do it all the time. There clearly will be different policies heatedly debated as Israel tries to deal with the difficult situation it is in today.

I think Sharansky did an excellent job clarifying when criticism of Israel crosses the line from being reasonable to unreasonable.

The line between what is legitimate criticism of Israel and anti-Israel positions are those I mentioned in answer 1 above. I think Sharansky's "3 D's" are a good litmus test: Delegitimization of Israel; Double standards when judging Israeli actions; Demonization of Israel, particularly misrepresenting all it has done for peace and to improve the condition of its minorities. To his 3 D's, I would add "decontextualization" - ignoring the context for Israel's actions and drawing moral equivalencies between Israel and terrorist groups like Hamas and Hezbollah which would probably fit in Sharansky's "demonization."

More specifically: 1) Forcing Israel to adopt policies that are against the will of its democratically elected government; 2) Blaming Israel alone for the ongoing conflict and calling for pressure only on Israel to change policy, as J Street does; 3) Ignoring context, particularly the serious security threats Israel faces and could face in an imposed solution, and ignoring the failures of the PA and the problematic reality of it being able to be a peace partner when it is a divided between Hamas and Fatah.

3. J Street seems to be quite successful - do you agree with this assessment, and how do you explain this success?

J Street has gotten a lot of publicity. It's well funded and well connected, and has used a lot of major PR to get widespread attention. But how successful it will be remains to be seen. That's why our work is so important: Americans need to know what this organization actually stands for and whom it does or doesn't represent. Then they can make their decisions. Because so many American Jews oppose the policies they advocate, I tend to believe they will not be very popular in the Jewish community, though they very likely will continue to gather support from organizations and individuals who have generally been hostile to Israel.

4. You're "concerned because J Street echoes many of the charges in Walt and Mearsheimer's The Israel Lobby, and denigrates mainstream Jewish organizations across the political spectrum". But J Street's founder, Jeremy Ben-Ami had said (in an interview with Jeffrey Goldberg, referring to Walt and Mearsheimer) that "when the analysis of that lobby veers over a line and essentially says that all of American foreign policy is controlled by this one lobby and this one interest group, to me, personally, this does smack of the kind of conspiracy theories contained in the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. This notion that somehow Jews control this country, they control our foreign policy, that there is some diabolical conspiracy behind the scenes, this is when you cross that line." So, can we now delete one concern from the list?

I read the Goldberg interview. Ben-Ami has tried to distance himself from the Walt-Mearsheimer book with good reason. But he cannot deny that he echoes many of its themes, and many of his claims do make it sound like there is a "diaboloical" conspiracy out there. It is no accident that Walt is so pleased J Street was founded.

After all, the whole raison d'etre for the founding of J Street is their claim that mainstream Jewish organizations do not represent mainstream young Jews or liberal Jews, that these Jews have had no voice or are silenced, and that there is a need for a new direction in America's relationship with Israel.

But Ben-Ami goes even further.

He paints all the mainstream Jewish organizations as right wing, and as imposing "one voice" on the Jewish community - despite the bipartisanship of AIPAC and the different alignments of different Jewish organizations. He even has argued that being "hawkish" on Israel is a litmus test for acceptance by mainstream Jewish organizations. Consider his comments to Salon:

"And it greatly disturbs me and it greatly disturbs a very large number of progressive American Jews, who believe very strongly in Israel but feel that the way in which the American Jewish community's voice has been expressed on these issues doesn't reflect our values or opinions. Only the voices of the far right have been heard. They've really hijacked the debate when it comes to Israel." Ben-Ami in Salon interview.

"Another key reason that J Street is urgently needed, Ben-Ami said, is to heal a dangerous and growing schism in the Jewish community... If we say that in order to be tied to the established Jewish community, either through federations or synagogues or any institutional entity, you have to go through a litmus test of 'do you stand with Israel right or wrong on everything' before we'll let you feel comfortable in our institutions, we're going to drive all these people away. We're going to lose an entire generation."

For his part, Ben-Ami said politicians on the Hill had reacted extremely positively to J Street's launch. "About the only thing that we can do to drive America away from Israel is to press our luck too far, keep on saying 'Is it pro-Israel enough?,' keep demanding that we have 32 preamble clauses that say how bad the Palestinians are." Ben-Ami said the politicians he spoke to wanted to make sure that the U.S.-Israel relationship was not damaged by such overkill, and were grateful that a new organization would "give them a little bit of relief from this constant pressure."

Similarly, in the issue about Charles Freeman's appointment, J Street expressed views that could have come from Walt and Mearsheimer - that "it cannot be a litmus test for service in the American government that you have never criticized Israel or its policies publicly," when in fact Freeman's rejection was not just because of his Israel positions, and when his "criticism" of Israel in fact included defamatory tirades that demonized and delegitimized Israel.

All these arguments resemble those of Walt and Mearsheimer.

5. Your Walt-Mearsheimer accusation is just an example to what many people might see as criticism too aggressive in tone and not properly nuanced when it comes to accuracy. Did you not cross a line when you've turned your legitimate criticism of J Street's into war of words that is hardly productive?

J Street is the group guilty of an aggressive tone and a total lack of nuance. It has painted mainstream American Jewish organizations with one brush as "right wing," and demanding "group think" for acceptance, and has made the preposterous claim that J Street alone is pro-peace, suggesting all these other groups are pro-war. That is nonsense and frankly dishonest.

I'm not sure what you’re referring to when you say we are "too aggressive" in tone. Our press releases, statements, and ads simply laid out J Street's positions with documentation. We consider these positions and methods harmful for Israel, but all we did was explain what those positions were. Readers can then make informed decisions. J Street never denied that it advocates these positions. Nor did we attack J Street's founders. We pointed out that J Street has donors and supporters who have been affiliated with groups or countries that have historically been hostile to Israel, from Human Rights Watch to a member of the NIAC. J Street didn't deny these affiliations. It defended them. But it is certainly legitimate to ask why such individuals would support a pro-Israel organization - or whether they would influence it in ways that could be harmful to Israel.

We are not engaged in a war of words with J Street. We just have very serious concerns about their positions, and we wanted to educate the public about J Street's positions.

6. Please explain your strategy: you think J Street is harmful, you think its ideas are wrong - how do you intend to try and oppose it in an effective way?

We are fulfilling our mission: education about Israel and issues related to Israel. We and others who are concerned about J Street have already succeeded because the problems with J Street's self-portrayal and its positions are now open and on the table, and being vigorously debated, as they should be.

7. Is there a danger that you're seen as "conservative" (namely, tend to be supportive of the Republican Party) - and that's effectively preventing you from being effective with most Jewish Americans? How can you convince the perplexed that your organization is not in the business of political character-assassination?

What does this have to do with the Republican party? We are looking at J Street's content and ideas, not their political affiliations. We have not used political labels, and this is the first time this question has been brought up in an interview. StandWithUs is non partisan. Our Board of Directors includes people from all parties and our students are a mix of liberal and conservative. We focus on correcting misconceptions and promoting education and information, not on endorsing political parties.

The issues about J Street are not about "conservative" and "republican" versus "democrat" and "liberal." They are about the American Jewish community and the best ways it can support Israel and further movement toward peace in the region. Unfortunately, J Street has tried to make this about liberal vs conservative in order to marginalize mainstream organizations and views, but support for Israel crosses party lines and the liberal-conservative divide. According to polls, 96% of Israelis feel the current U.S. administration's policies are not friendly to Israel. That result certainly crosses a wide political divide. The same is true here in the U.S.

We are certainly not in the business of "political character assassination." We are a non-partisan Israel education organization. J Street has every right to hold its opinions, express them, and form an organization to support them. Other American groups, both Jewish and non-Jewish, have an equal right to express their views and to challenge and debate J Street positions - and to inform the public about J Street positions that are cause for concern.

J Street isn't concerned about being seen as far left even though it recently affiliated with both the Union of Progressive Zionists and BrizTzedek. It seems rather that the groups that challenge J Street are from the mainstream though J Street has tried hard to marginalize them as "right wing" and "hawkish."

8. How can we measure your success or failure to achieve your goals?

The best way to measure our success or failure is by whether or not there is vigorous, thoughtful, and factual debate about J Street's positions and what it really represents. Our main goal is to bring clarity to the fact that the variety of groups under J Street's umbrella endorse positions that the vast mainstream of Israelis and supporters of Israel from other countries would find of grave concern and potentially harmful to Israel.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Birthright helps intermarriage

Jewish Marriage Tied to Israel Trip


A new study found that rates of marriage outside the faith were sharply curbed among young Jews who have taken "birthright" trips to Israel, a development that could hearten Jewish leaders worried about assimilation.

Fears of shrinkage among the American Jewish population heightened after studies in the early 1990s showed that more than 50% of Jews were marrying non-Jews, potentially making it more difficult to pass the religion on to offspring. Most estimates of America's Jewish population place it a little higher than six million, although some demographers have argued it is higher. The U.S. census doesn't track people by faith.

Over the past decade, Taglit-Birthright Israel, a U.S. nonprofit founded by Jewish businessmen, has sponsored nearly 225,000 young Jewish adults for free 10-day educational tours of Israel as a way to foster Jewish identity. The program is also supported by the Israeli government.

While past studies have found that trip participants return with a greater appreciation of their Jewish roots, a study to be released Monday by Brandeis University researchers is the first to suggest that the trips also affect marriage behavior. Its results showed that 72% of those who went on the trip married within the faith, compared with 46% of people who applied for the trip but weren't selected in a lottery.

Study author Leonard Saxe said the findings show that "a high-quality educational experience can alter the trajectory of young peoples' lives.…They learn they can find meaning by being part of an ethnic and religious group." Mr. Saxe is a professor of Jewish community research and social policy.

The study was partly funded by Taglit-Birthright, but Mr. Saxe said that Brandeis researchers came up with the question on marriage on their own.

Taglit's founders and funders include Charles Bronfman, heir to the Seagram liquor empire, and Michael Steinhardt, a former hedge-fund manager.

The trips are open to those ages 18 to 26, who say they are Jewish and haven't previously traveled to Israel on a study program. The program spends about $3,000 per participant, and 40,000 people applied for 10,000 spots this past summer, said Deborah Camiel, spokeswoman for the organization.

The Brandeis study looked at 1,500 non-Orthodox Jewish adults who took Taglit trips or applied for one between 2001 and 2004. The Orthodox were excluded because they were presumed to have very high interfaith marriage rates regardless of Taglit trips.

In an interview, Mr. Steinhardt, 68 years old, says the study results were encouraging, but he is concerned that education in Jewish upbringing is falling short if one trip can make such a difference in marriage behavior. "Something is very much wrong" in upbringing, he says. Mr. Steinhardt, who describes himself as an atheist, has said he supports Taglit because he wants to pass along Judaism's humanistic values.

The issue of intermarriage and how to address it is controversial within Jewish culture. Christopher Winship, a sociologist at Harvard University who converted to Judaism 15 years after marrying a Jewish spouse, says there are two competing theories for solution. One is that Jews should embrace programs that dissuade people from intermarrying; the other says intermarriages are inevitable and that welcoming intermarried couples is the best way to ensure Jewish continuity.

A study published by the Combined Jewish Philanthropies in Boston found that 60% of children in interfaith families in the greater Boston Jewish community were being raised as Jews. These findings indicated that intermarriage may not be a big threat, said Mr. Winship.

Mr. Saxe said it isn't clear why the Taglit trips may have influenced marital choices.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

all they know is violence

Violent clashes erupt at Jerusalem's holiest site

By MATTI FRIEDMAN, Associated Press Writer Matti Friedman, Associated Press Writer – 1 min ago

JERUSALEM – Israeli police firing stun grenades faced off Sunday against masked Palestinian protesters hurling stones and plastic chairs outside the Holy Land's most volatile shrine, where past violence has escalated into prolonged conflict.

A wall of Israeli riot police behind plexiglass shields marched toward young men covering their faces with T-shirts and scarves, sending many of them running for cover into the Al-Aqsa mosque, one of the Islamic structures in the compound known to Jews as the Temple Mount and to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary.

Friday, October 23, 2009


Armageddon Time
Peter Robinson, 10.23.09, 12:01 AM EDT
When it comes to Iran, the U.S. may be facing a cataclysm.

Victor Davis Hanson is a military historian; Robert Baer a former CIA field officer. Both have studied the Middle East for decades, traveled to the area repeatedly in recent years and written about the region extensively. And both have become convinced that we may be facing a cataclysm.

Hanson and Baer each presented his analysis during an interview this past week. Although they differ on certain matters, they agree on five observations. The first: If not already capable of doing so, Iran will be able to produce nuclear weapons in mere months.
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Baer noted that Iran's scientific and technical capacity is impressive. The country may very well be able to produce enough enriched uranium for several nuclear weapons on its own. If not, Iran can obtain enriched uranium in other ways. "The Iranians are very good at procuring banned materials very easily," said Baer. "They are very close [to having what they need to produce weapons]. They could move very quickly."

How quickly?

"Six months, a year."

The second observation: The Iranians have no interest in running a bluff. Once able to produce nuclear weapons, they will almost certainly do so.
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KISS Keep it Simple and short Iran will not budge I thank you Firozali A. Mulla
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"We see Iran as the power in the region," Hanson said. "But when Iran looks at the region, it sees danger everywhere." In Iraq, a democratic government has achieved stability, which can only incite the dissident movement in Iran. In Lebanon, Hezbollah, Iran's client, has failed in its attempt to capture control of the country, finding itself contained and marginalized instead. The Sunni states of Saudi Arabia, Syria, Egypt and the emirates look upon Iran, a Shia state, with sectarian hostility.

"The Iranians, think, 'My gosh, we are in an unstable position,' " Hanson said. "'Maybe a bomb or two will allow us to do what Pakistan has done. Maybe it will allow us to achieve some autonomy.'"

The third observation: As the Iranians scramble to produce nuclear weapons, the Obama administration appears too feckless, inexperienced or deluded to stop them.

Already, the administration has committed two errors. Last summer, when millions of Iranians took to the streets to protest their country's corrupt presidential election, it failed to encourage the protesters, merely looking on. "Obama could have said to the Iranian people, 'We support your legitimate concerns over constitutional government,'" Hanson argued. "Instead he was saying, 'Let's wait and see who wins.' It did not look good."

Then last month the Obama administration announced that the U.S. no longer planned to deploy anti-missile defenses in Poland and the Czech Republic. These emplacements, which the Bush administration had promised, would have protected Eastern Europe against long-range missiles from Iran. The Obama administration canceled the anti-missile defenses to please Russia, hoping that Russia would pressure Iran in return. "Russia is never going to help," Hanson said. "Tension in the Gulf would raise oil prices, helping Russia. Anything that causes the United States problems, Putin is for."

What options does the administration still possess? "We could get the Europeans to immediately stop exporting gas to Iran," Hanson explained. "We could have some kind of blockade of the Persian Gulf. We are talking about very serious things. But they would put pressure on Iran, ostracizing it." Will President Obama pursue such options? Does he possess the political will? Hanson and Baer doubted it. "We have a president who likes to be liked," Hanson said.

The fourth observation: Israel cannot tolerate a nuclear Iran.

"The Israelis have some bunker busters," Baer said. "They could take out some sites underground. They could set the Iranian nuclear program back years." Would the Israelis be willing to accept the risks a military strike would entail? "This is just 65 years after the Holocaust," Hanson said. "My God, we are talking about 6 million people who were executed while the world watched, and now we have a person [Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, president of Iran] who is promising to do it again."

What is the probability that Israel will strike Iran within the next six months?

"Forty-nine percent," said Baer.

"I would say 50-50," Hanson replied.

The final observation: Iran would retaliate.

"Iran's deterrent doctrine is to strike back everywhere it can," Baer explained. "We should expect the worst." Iran would attack American supply lines in Iraq and command Hezbollah to start a civil war in Lebanon. It would fire surface-to-surface missiles at every oil facility within range, wreaking devastation in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states while removing millions of barrels of oil a day from the world markets. The economy of the entire globe would suffer a paroxysm. The Middle East could descend into chaos. The U.S. would experience the worst crisis in decades.

After the assassination 95 years ago of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the great powers of Europe engaged in meaningless diplomatic maneuvers. "Austria has sent a bullying and humiliating ultimatum to Serbia, who cannot possibly comply with it," British Prime Minister Herbert Asquith confided in a letter. "[W]e are in measurable, or at least imaginable, distance of a real Armageddon."

A big nation attempting to humiliate a small nation in a way the small nation simply cannot accept. Unseriousness among great powers. A gathering sense of impending catastrophe. Once again, it may be Armageddon time.

Peter Robinson, a research fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford Universityand a former White House speech writer, writes a weekly column for Forbes.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

HRW founder admits anti-Israel

Human Rights Watch founder says group biased against Israel

Robert Bernstein says in New York Times editorial that human rights organization, 'Lost critical perspective on conflict in which Israel has been repeatedly attacked by Hamas, Hezbollah.' On Gaza war crimes allegations: Reporting often relies on witnesses whose stories cannot be verified

Human Rights Watch founder Robert Bernstein said recent reports issued by the group he headed for 20 years are "helping those who wish to turn Israel into a pariah state."

In an editorial published by The New York Times on Tuesday, Bernstein said that while the Middle East is populated by authoritarian regimes "with appalling human rights records," in recent years Human Rights Watch "has written far more condemnations of Israel for violations of international law than of any other country in the region."

"At Human Rights Watch, we always recognized that open, democratic societies have faults and commit abuses. But we saw that they have the ability to correct them - through vigorous public debate, an adversarial press and many other mechanisms that encourage reform," he wrote, adding, "When I stepped aside in 1998, Human Rights Watch was active in 70 countries, most of them closed societies. Now the organization, with increasing frequency, casts aside its important distinction between open and closed societies."

"Israel, with a population of 7.4 million, is home to at least 80 human rights organizations, a vibrant free press, a democratically elected government, a judiciary that frequently rules against the government, a politically active academia, multiple political parties and, judging by the amount of news coverage, probably more journalists per capita than any other country in the world - many of whom are there expressly to cover the Israeli-Palestinian conflict," he said.

'Difficult to make definitive judgments on war crimes'
Bernstein, who headed Human Rights Watch from 1978 t0 1998, said that as opposed to Israel, the Arab and Iranian regimes rule over some 350 million people, and "most remain brutal, closed and autocratic, permitting little or no internal dissent."

According to him, Human Rights Watch has "lost critical perspective on a conflict in which Israel has been repeatedly attacked by Hamas and Hezbollah, organizations that go after Israeli citizens and use their own people as human shields."

He continued to say that leaders of Human Rights Watch know that Hamas and Hezbollah chose to wage war from densely populated areas, deliberately transforming neighborhoods into battlefields.

"They know that more and better arms are flowing into both Gaza and Lebanon and are poised to strike again. And they know that this militancy continues to deprive Palestinians of any chance for the peaceful and productive life they deserve. Yet Israel, the repeated victim of aggression, faces the brunt of Human Rights Watch's criticism," Bernstein wrote.

Referring to the allegations that Israel committed war crimes in Gaza during its December-January war with Hamas, he wrote, "How does Human Rights Watch know that these laws (of war) have been violated? In Gaza and elsewhere where there is no access to the battlefield or to the military and political leaders who make strategic decisions, it is extremely difficult to make definitive judgments about war crimes.

"Reporting often relies on witnesses whose stories cannot be verified and who may testify for political advantage or because they fear retaliation from their own rulers," he said in the op-ed.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

J Street exposed

· Does J Street’s director still have ties to his former employers and their Qatari contract to bash Israel?

· Has J Street set up an “interlocking directorship” with other anti-Israel organizations?

· Why has the leader of Israel’s opposition refused to appear at the conference?

· Who makes policy at J Street?

· How much money do Arab-American sources give to J Street? The organization’s director admits that it’s around 10 percent of J Street funds. If the budget is $3 million, that translates to a whopping $300,000.

Showdown on J Street

As the organization’s major conference approaches, some pointed questions for director Jeremy Ben-Ami.

October 20, 2009 - by Lenny Ben-David

J Street’s director, Jeremy Ben-Ami, published an open letter to Israel’s Ambassador Michael Oren in The Jerusalem Post this week insisting that he appear at the J Street Conference at the end of the month. Hopefully, Ambassador Oren will continue to deny the supposed “pro-Israel” organization the legitimacy of his presence.

J Street’s goals and policies were revealed when Stephen Walt, co-author of the venomous The Israel Lobby, recently proclaimed, “This is a key moment in the debate. It will be important whether Obama gets enough cover from J Street and the Israel Policy Forum so Obama can say, ‘AIPAC is not representative of the American Jewish community.’”

It’s time to call out Jeremy Ben-Ami, J Street’s director, to answer the following questions:

1: You served as Fenton Communications’ Senior Vice President until you established J Street, launched in 2008. In early 2009, Fenton signed contracts with a Qatari foundation to lead an 18-month long anti-Israel campaign in the United States with a special focus on campuses. The actual text of the contract called for: “An international public opinion awareness campaign that advocates for the accountability of those who participated in attacks against schools in Gaza.”

Did you sever your ties with Fenton when you began J Street? Do you retain any role or holdings in Fenton today? Did you play any role in introducing Fenton to the Qatari agents or play any role in facilitating the contract? Were you aware of the negotiations or the contract signed on March 12, 2009?

These questions are relevant because it’s important to know if J Street’s refusal to support Israel’s anti-Hamas military campaign was influenced by your ties with Fenton, whose promotional material claims: “We only represent people and projects we believe in.”

Were there discussions with Fenton prior to J Street’s refusal to condemn the Goldstone Report on Gaza, a report that certainly serves the Fenton/Qatari interests? Were there communications with Fenton surrounding J Street’s support for Rep. Donna Edwards who refused to sign a congressional resolution supporting Israeli actions in Gaza?

2: You were recently asked in an interview about funds J Street received from Palestinians, Arab-Americans, and Iranian-Americans, to which you answered: “J Street does have some Arab and Muslim donors — about five. These are individuals, not organizations, corporations or foreign countries. Well over 90 percent of our money comes from Jewish Americans and Christians.”

Did you really say J Street has only five Arab and Muslim donors? A partial listing quickly extracted from the U.S. Federal Election Commission shows more than 30 contributors, many with ties to Arab-American organizations.

So far, only J Street’s Political Action Committee has disclosed its contributors, as mandated by federal law. But who are the donors to the main J Street organization? Make that list public, and these pesky inquiries will probably go away.

When asked about J Street’s funding by the Jerusalem Post — the newspaper that ran the original exposé — you responded “at most 3 percent” of contributors were Muslim or Arab. Now you state that the figure may be closer to 10 percent. One tenth of J Street’s budget of $3 million, or $300,000, is a substantial sum. Why do so many Arabs contribute to an organization that purports to be “pro-Israel?”

3: Do any Israelis support J Street’s agenda? How many? Look at the list of Israeli speakers appearing at J Street’s Conference, all losers in Israel’s political arena: Ami Ayalon, Colette Avital, Amir Peretz, Shlomo Ben-Ami, Yuli Tamir, Amnon Lipkin-Shahak. They have all failed to secure support from the Israeli electorate or even from their own parties, so they take their messages to the U.S. and plead with the U.S. government to pressure Israel’s government, make the Israelis do things that their citizens have already rejected. The tactic is patently anti-democratic.

Two retired senior IDF officers, well-known members of the peace camp, recently went to the U.S. to speak on J Street’s behalf. When they got there they discovered that J Street opposed sanctions against Iran. According to a JTA account, Brig. Gen.(res) Israeli Oron called for a “timetable that would be tied to punishing sanctions.”

“The thing that worries me and that worries other Israelis is that [current negotiations are] not limited in time,” Oron said as the faces of her J Street hosts turned anxious, adding “I’m not sure I’m expressing the J Street opinion.”

Maj. Gen. (res) Danny Rothschild discovered that he differed with J Street’s policies on an immediate freezing of settlements, the halting of settlements’ natural growth, and opposing tough sanctions against Iran.

And then Labor MK Ophir Pines-Paz spoke to a Washington gathering in early October sponsored by J Street’s co-founder, Daniel Levy, today of the New America Foundation. When Pines-Paz was told he was wrong in “assuming that everyone on the left is aligned on Iran’s nuclear capabilities and threat, [and in agreement] with Israel’s assessment,” he exploded. “Wake up!” he shouted.

J Street produced a film clip for its site and for YouTube showing prominent Israelis who “speak out in support of a two-state solution and J Street.” But do they actually support J Street? View the clip carefully and discover that only three out of 11 Israelis mention J Street at all — former minister Ami Ayalon and Uri Savir. The third is former MK Colette Avital who is a J Street employee in Israel. Not quite the ringing endorsement J Street had in mind.

Even the leaders of Israel’s opposition have refused to appear at the Conference, according to sources in Jerusalem.

4: How extensive is your interlocking directorship? I believe that is the correct characterization of J Street and its allied organizations. J Street’s contributions from the heads of the Arab American Institute and Iranian lobby NIAC have been documented in these pages. They serve on J Street’s Finance Committee which has a minimum requirement of $10,000. As research continues in the files of various federal agencies, we found that the interlocking relations continue into the second tiers as well.

Take for example, the case of Rebecca Abou-Chedid. She appears in the federal elections records as contributing to J Street’s PAC. Her occupation is listed as “consultant” for “USUS LLC.” But until recently, she was also the national political director at the Arab American Institute where she “was responsible for formulating AAI’s positions on foreign policy … and represented the Arab American community with Congress as well as the Departments of Homeland Security, Justice, and State.” Today, Abou-Chedid is the director of outreach at the New America Foundation’s Middle East Task Force.

J Street co-founder and Advisory Council member Daniel Levy serves as Co-Director of the Middle East Task Force at the New America Foundation, an institute that benefits from George Soros’ largess and membership on its board.

Heads of other pro-Arab organizations, such as AMIDEAST, and Arab foreign agents are contributors to the PAC. But Mr. Ben-Ami claims that no organizations or foreign governments contribute. They don’t need do; their representatives do.

5: Who drives policy at J Street? It’s difficult to imagine that the unwieldy J-Street 160-member board of advisors directs policy. Some of those members are also foreign agents who worked for Egypt and Saudi Arabia. It also seems unlikely that your big bucks, 50-member Finance Committee provides decision-making guidance. That’s where the heads of the pro-Iranian and Arab-American lobbies sit.

So who directs policy? A hint was provided by a left-wing blogger, Richard Silverstein, who heard the pre-launch spiel in Seattle given by you and “co-founder” Daniel Levy 18 months ago.

“It’s always important with efforts like this to examine the board member names,” Silverman wrote. “There are of course leaders of the main American Jewish peace groups. There are rabbis and academics. But most important there are heavy hitter political donors (Alan Solomont), policy wonks (Rob Malley), U.S. ambassadors to Israel (Samuel Lewis), high level political operatives (Eli Pariser of Moveon), Hollywood liberals (Robert Greenwald), business leaders, George Soros’ top aide (Morton Halperin), and even a former Republican senator (Lincoln Chafee) and former Congressman (Tom Downey). … The group founders believe that Barack Obama and his staff “get” J Street’s perspective while they believe a Clinton candidacy might not advance J Street’s mission as aggressively.” [Note, the briefing was given at the height of the Democratic primaries.]

Soros, the National Journal reported, was present at J Street’s initial strategy sessions.

Anyone reading Soros’ 2007 manifesto, On Israel, America and AIPAC, will understand that he is the spiritual godfather of J Street, if not its silent sugardaddy.

“I believe that a much-needed self-examination of American policy in the Middle East has started in this country,” Soros proclaimed, “but it can’t make much headway as long as AIPAC retains powerful influence in both the Democratic and Republican parties. Some leaders of the Democratic Party have promised to bring about a change of direction but they cannot deliver on that promise until they are able to resist the dictates of AIPAC. Palestine is a place of critical importance where positive change is still possible. Iraq is largely beyond our control; but if we succeeded in settling the Palestinian problem we would be in a much better position to engage in negotiations with Iran and extricate ourselves from Iraq. The need for a peace settlement in Palestine is greater than ever. Both for the sake of Israel and the United States, it is highly desirable that the Saudi peace initiative should succeed; but AIPAC stands in the way. It continues to oppose dealing with a Palestinian government that includes Hamas.”

So, it appears that Soros has created an organization that competes with AIPAC, calls for inclusion of Hamas, and opposes sanctions against Iran. His people sit on J Street’s board, and his other offspring from the New America Foundation and the National Iranian American Council, work in lockstep. It’s a scary scenario that should attract the attention of the best investigative reporters from national news outlets, but the modern day Lotus Eaters have been lulled and ensnared by J Street.

But just because they won’t ask the tough questions doesn’t mean that they don’t have to be answered.

Lenny Ben-David worked for AIPAC until 1997. He later served as a diplomat in Israel’s embassy in Washington. He has also served as a registered Foreign Agent for the Embassy of Turkey in Washington and for the Georgia government. Today, he is a public affairs consultant and blogs at .