Saturday, October 30, 2010

Obama vilifies and lies about Chamber commerce while they help Israel

Business.Foreign money in politics? Not provenPublished: Monday, October 11, 2010

0diggsdigg ShareThis3By JIM KUHNHENN
The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration and its allies are going all out against the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and GOP-leaning groups, accusing them of using foreign money to help finance political ads. Trouble is, they’re providing no evidence.

The mere idea, lack of proof aside, is part of a Democratic message that tries to tie Republicans to foreign interests and to jobs shifted overseas. On Monday, the liberal group began airing an ad in Illinois against Senate candidate Mark Kirk using his support from the chamber to link him to foreign corporations that, in the ad’s words, “threaten American jobs.”

And in Pennsylvania, Vice President Joe Biden kept up the attack on the chamber and other groups that are spending millions of dollars in political ads against Democrats without having to reveal their contributors.

“I challenge the Chamber of Commerce to tell us how much of the money they’re investing is from foreign sources,” Biden said during a fundraiser for Democratic Rep. Chris Carney in Scranton. “I challenge them, if I’m wrong I will stand corrected. But show me, show me.”

Republicans suggest it’s more about digging up votes than digging up answers, a sign of desperation by Democrats worried that they’re about to lose control of the House.

“We are seeing an attempt to demonize specific groups and distract Americans from a failed economic agenda,” Bruce Josten, the chamber’s top lobbyist, said after Biden’s remarks. “With three weeks until Election Day, it’s time to return to the discussion that Americans care most about: job creation.”

Using foreign money to pay for political activity is illegal, and the Chamber of Commerce says the minimal amount of money it receives from overseas is carefully segregated from political spending. The chamber says its 115 foreign business councils, known as “AmChams,” pay a total of about $100,000.

There is no evidence at all that the chamber has done anything illegally,” said Richard L. Hasen, an expert on election law at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles. But he also noted that the potential for impropriety exists with any organization that accepts funds that would be illegal if spent on politics.

US Chamber of Commerce sees Israel opportunitiesAs America works to reboot its economy, increased trade with Israel can provide a promising avenue for creating more high-quality jobs.
28 October 10 15:55, Myron Brilliant
Successive American presidents and Israeli prime ministers have spoken out about the importance of the US-Israel relationship and how this alliance is sacrosanct, based on Israel's standing as a vital US military and political ally and a key outpost of Western-style democracy in the Middle East.
Yet one of the most critical elements shaping US-Israeli relations is actually one of the most overlooked - the commercial ties between American and Israeli companies. While these partnerships have generated innovations that have transformed the world, they're about to receive an infusion of energy that will change the countries' alliance for generations to come.

This month, the US Chamber of Commerce launches the US-Israel Business Initiative, a national effort to strengthen and advance US-Israel commercial relations. This new enterprise kicked-off officially with a global summit in Washington, bringing together American and Israeli government leaders and top innovators and entrepreneurs from both countries.

Following this event and working with partners both around the US and in Israel, the Chamber is implementing a multi-faceted program, including the development of grassroots and online educational tools, a high-level forum for American and Israeli business exchanges, and events that will shine a light on this aspect of the bilateral relationship in order to deepen our commercial connection.

US business partnerships with Israel really began twenty-five years ago this month, when America and Israel codified our economic relationship by inking the first bilateral trade agreement in the post-World War II era. That historic compact led to a ten-fold increase in trade between the two countries. As America works to reboot its economy, increased trade with Israel can provide a promising avenue for creating more high-quality jobs here.

In recent years, the US business community has begun paying increased attention to Israel, and for good reason. Israel has evolved from a hardscrabble economy relying upon on US aid, tourism, and fruit exports into a global economic powerhouse and hotbed of entrepreneurship.

Incredibly, Israel has more start-ups per capita than anywhere in the world and there are more Israeli companies found on the NASDAQ stock market today than any other country besides the US and China.

The Intel microchips found in hundreds of millions of computers world-wide, including the Pentium MMX Chip, the Pentium-4, and the Centrino, were all designed in Israel. Another innovation, Google Suggest, is an innovative Israeli-developed tool that reduces browser search times by automatically completing search queries. Israeli engineers originally designed the program with China in mind, where the length and complexity of Chinese characters made searches unwieldy. Following the product’s overwhelming success there, Google rolled it out in more than a hundred other countries, including the United States.

While around the United States a tremendous amount of good work has been done to spotlight Israeli innovation and to help foster connections and relationships, so much more can be done to capture the energy and promise that Israel offers to American companies and the broader US-Israel relationship.

The Chamber's October summit is the launching pad for a long-term Chamber-led initiative. In the months and years ahead the Chamber will help lead the way in increasing awareness of the opportunities created by Israeli commercial partnerships. The role of catalyst for this endeavor is a natural fit for the Chamber, which is at the forefront of American trade, representing the business interests of small, medium and large American companies. From our headquarters near the White House we maintain a professional staff of hundreds of the nation's top policy experts, lobbyists, lawyers, and communicators.

As the Chamber embarks on this new project, we are fortunate that we can build on the excellent work that has taken place for years at the local, state and regional levels through the US-Israel chambers of commerce, the Israel-America Chamber of Commerce in Tel Aviv, and other business groups around the country. These organizations have played a vital role and we look forward to joining forces with them in order to advance our shared goals.

By pooling resources and talent, the US and Israel are creating a remarkable synergy that is good for both countries and literally changing our world. We have already seen the impact on a wide range of industries from energy to life sciences to communications and technology where the examples are too numerous to name. Israel's modern-day impact around the globe is fulfilling an ancient mandate to serve as a light unto the nations.

By building upon burgeoning ties of industry and ingenuity, and with the Chamber's Business Initiative providing a framework, America and Israel have a unique opportunity to use commerce to deepen relations between our countries.

Such efforts will enable both nations to move from strength the strength in the years ahead to help deliver increased economic prosperity and innovation that benefits not just America and Israel and our hardworking citizens, but ultimately billions of people all across the world.

The author is Senior Vice President for International Affairs at the US Chamber of Commerce, the world's largest business federation.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - - on October 28, 2010

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd

Thursday, October 28, 2010

DO not go to Spain or buy Spanish

Dichter turns down speech in Spain for fear of arrest
10/25/2010 20:46

Kadima MK Avi Dichter canceled a visit to Spain on Monday, because Spanish authorities would not guarantee that he would not be arrested.

Dichter, a former Shin-Bet chief, was invited to speak at a conference. Arrest warrants for top Israeli politicians and generals have been issued in Spain, including for Dichter, who was internal security minister at the time of Operation Cast Lead in the Gaza Strip.

J street unmasked

Dem Repub split on Israel

An April 2009 poll by Zogby International asked about U.S. policy: Ten
percent of Obama voters and 60 percent of voters for Republican John McCain
wanted the president to support Israel. Get tough with Israel? Eighty
percent of Obama voters said yes and 73 percent of McCain voters said no.
Conversely, 67 percent of Obama voters said yes and 79 percent of McCain
voters said no to Washington engaging with Hamas. And 61 percent of Obama
voters endorsed a Palestinian "right of return," while only 21 percent of
McCain voters concurred.

While there are some Jews who still are grasping at straws and trying to
create the illusion that President Obama is a friend of Israel, former White
House spokesman Ari Fleischer offers a fair but frank assessment of
President Obama and his obvious disdain for Israel. Here is the link:

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

us drops ball on Iranian nuks

Iranian nuks
US drops ball on Iranian nuks

To: edlasky@att.netFirst the numerous skipped deadlines….the silence and lack of support for Iranian protesters..the continual pushback of the date that Iran would be nuclear-weapon capable..and now “US has no problem with Iran’s Busherh atomic plant”. Iran is rich with natural gas- a relatively clean way to generate electricity. Iran does not need nuclear power. BTW, when America makes a statement such as this one the rest of the world will see no reason to be less complacent.

Clinton: US has no problem with Iran's Bushehr atomic plant


As Iranians begin injecting uranium fuel rods into the core of the nuclear power plant, US secretary of state says Washington more concerned with facilities at Natanz, Qom where they fear weapons program conducted.

The United States does not see Iran's Bushehr nuclear reactor as a threat, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Tuesday, on the day that the Islamic Republic began fueling the core of the power plant.

Clinton said that the US is more concerned with other Iranian sites where they believe the Islamic Republic may be attempting to create nuclear weapons.

"Our problem is not with their reactor at Bushehr, our problem is with their facilities at places like Natanz and their secret facility at Qom and other places where we believe they are conducting their weapons program," Clinton stated while addressing reporters at a meeting with Austria's foreign minister.

Iranian authorities began injecting uranium fuel rods into the core of the Bushehr nuclear power plant on Tuesday, Iranian Press TV reported.

According to the report, the nuclear plant will become operational once all 163 fuel rods have been injected into the plant's core, and it should begin generating electricity in early 2011.

On Monday, an Iranian lawmaker declared Iran's intent to continue with its nuclear program despite international concern.

"Despite all efforts and policies of America and the European Union to put sanctions on Iran, the fuel of the Bushehr power plant will be loaded into its core tomorrow," Iranian MP Alaeddin Boroujerdi was quoted as saying by official media.

Boroujerdi is the head of the Iranian parliament's national security and foreign policy committee.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Catholic Church betrayal

number of shocking statements that appear to set back Jewish-Catholic relations to pre-Vatican II days, a Vatican synod denied the Jewish connection to the Land of Israel.

“The Holy Scriptures cannot be used to justify the return of Jews to Israel and the displacement of the Palestinians, to justify the occupation by Israel of Palestinian lands,” Monsignor Cyril Salim Bustros, Greek Melkite archbishop of Our Lady of the Annunciation in Boston, Massachusetts, said at a Vatican press conference on Saturday.

“We Christians cannot speak of the "promised land" as an exclusive right for a privileged Jewish people. This promise was nullified by Christ. There is no longer a chosen people—all men and women of all countries have become the chosen people. "

The archbishop, speaking at a conference of Middle East Catholic clergy convened by the pope, also called for the return of Palestinian refugees and the nullification of Israel's Jewish character.

Mordechay Lewy, Israel’s ambassador to the Holy See, described Bustros remarks as “returning to successionist theology, contradicting Second Vatican Council teaching and Pope Benedict himself—who has welcomed the return of Jews to their ancient homeland.”

Butros' statements concluded a two-week meeting called by the Pope to address the plight of Christians who are fleeing the Middle East.

Although much of the criticism at the conference focused on Israel, Israel Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor pointed out that Christian flight from the Middle East is actually occurring in countries where there are no Jews.

"Israel is the only country in the Middle East where the number of Christians has increased over the years," he said.

He also remarked that theological disputes over the interpretation of the Holy Scriptures were a phenomenon of the Middle Ages. "It doesn't seem like a wise move to revive them," he said.

Talks folly and Obama

•The Palestinian Tragedy - Martin Peretz
Palestine was one of Obama's spiritual obsessions, firing his delusions of making harmony with Islam, which cares little about his delusions. One has to be fair, however: the president has finally admitted that the land the Romans called Palestine is the "historical homeland of the Jewish people."
The Palestinians are going to the Security Council to get it to arrange a state for them. Of course, they can't. But they can go through the motions. This would not be the first time that the Palestinians have announced a state. They now have embassies in 100 world capitals and they sit in the General Assembly behind a desk labeled "Palestine." It is all a joke, save for the six real Palestinian battalions in the West Bank, thanks to the State of Israel.
The failure of the peace talks was easily foreseen. Obama encumbered them with his ingenious prerequisite: that Israel stop building in the settlements. Never before had such a condition been put forth. (New Republic)

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Israel Jewish state

Jeff Jacoby
The Boston Globe
The undeniable Jewish state
By Jeff Jacoby
Globe Columnist / October 17, 2010
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IS ISRAEL a Jewish state?

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Is the pope Catholic?

Nothing about Israel could be more self-evident than its Jewishness. As Poland is the national state of the Polish people and Japan is the national state of the Japanese people, so Israel is the national state of the Jewish people. The UN’s 1947 resolution on partitioning Palestine contains no fewer than 30 references to the “Jewish state’’ whose creation it was authorizing; 25 years earlier, the League of Nations had been similarly straightforward in mandating “the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people.’’ When Israel came into existence on May 15, 1948, its Jewish identity was the first detail reported. The New York Times’s front-page story began: “The Jewish state, the world’s newest sovereignty, to be known as the State of Israel, came into being in Palestine at midnight upon termination of the British mandate.’’

Today, half the planet’s Jews live in that state, many of them refugees from anti-Semitic repression and violence elsewhere. In a world with more than 20 Arab states and 55 Muslim countries, the existence of a single small Jewish state should be unobjectionable. “Israel is a sovereign state, and the historic homeland of the Jewish people,’’ President Barack Obama told the UN General Assembly last month. By now that should be a truism, no more controversial than calling Italy the sovereign homeland of the Italian people.

And yet to Israel’s enemies, Jewish sovereignty is as intolerable today as it was in 1948, when five Arab armies invaded the newborn Jewish state, vowing “a war of extermination and a momentous massacre.’’ Endless rounds of talks and countless invocations of the “peace process’’ have not changed the underlying reality of the Arab-Israeli conflict, which is not about settlements or borders or Jerusalem or the rights of Palestinians.

The root of the hostility is the refusal to recognize the immutable right of the Jewish people to a sovereign state in its historic homeland. Until that changes, no lasting peace is possible.

That is why the Israeli government is correct to insist that the Palestinian Authority publicly recognize Israel as the Jewish state. It is the critical litmus test. “Palestinian nationalism was based on driving all Israelis out,’’ Edward Said told an interviewer in 1999, and the best evidence that most Palestinians are still intent on eliminating Israel is the vehemence with which even supposed “moderates’’ like Mahmoud Abbas will not — or dare not — acknowledge Israel’s Jewishness as a legitimate fact of life. “What is a ‘Jewish state?’ ’’ Abbas ranted on Palestinian TV. “You can call yourselves whatever you want, but I will not accept it . . . You can call yourselves the Zionist Republic, the Hebrew, the National, the Socialist [Republic]. Call it whatever you like. I don’t care.’’

There are those who argue that Israel cannot be both a Jewish state and a democracy. When Israel’s parliament decided last week to require new non-Jewish citizens to take an oath of allegiance to Israel as a “Jewish and democratic’’ state, some people bristled. “The phrase itself is an oxymoron,’’ one reader wrote to the Boston Globe. “How can a state openly favor one ethnic group over all others and declare itself to be democratic?’’

But there is no conflict at all between Israel’s Jewish identity and its democratic values. Indeed, the UN’s 1947 partition resolution not only called for subdividing Palestine into “independent Arab and Jewish states,’’ it explicitly required each of them to “draft a democratic constitution’’ and to elect a government “by universal suffrage and by secret ballot.’’ The Jews complied. The Arabs launched a war.

Many of the world’s democracies have official state religions. Think of Britain, whose monarch is the supreme governor of the Church of England; or of Greece, whose constitution singles out the Eastern Orthodox Church as the country’s “prevailing religion.’’ The linking of national character with religion is a commonplace. Israel stands out only because its religion is Judaism, not Christianity, Islam, or Hinduism.

Nor is democracy incompatible with ethnic distinctiveness. Ireland waives its usual citizenship requirements for applicants of Irish descent. Bulgaria’s constitution grants the right to “acquire Bulgarian citizenship through a facilitated procedure’’ to any “person of Bulgarian origin.’’ It is not oxymoronic to describe Ireland as “Irish and democratic’’ or Bulgaria as “Bulgarian and democratic.’’ Israel’s flourishing little Jewish democracy is no oxymoron either.

It is something different: a beacon of decency in a dangerous, hate-filled neighborhood. If only its enemies could shed their malice, what an Eden that neighborhood could become.

Jeff Jacoby can be reached at

Arabist CBS 60 minutes lies about Jews and Jerusalem

One of the main obstacles in previous peace-making efforts has been Arab unwillingness to accept Israel as a Jewish state and Muslim denial of Judaism's historical and religious ties to Jerusalem. U.S. negotiator Dennis Ross complained that during the July 2000 negotiations at Camp David, Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat's only contribution was his refusal to acknowledge Jewish ties to Jerusalem, claiming the Jewish Temple never existed there. When talks resumed in Taba later that year, the Israelis agreed to full Palestinian sovereignty on the Temple Mount, but requested Palestinians acknowledge the sacredness of the place to Judaism. They refused. (See "The Battle Over Jerusalem and the Temple Mount ") Moreover, Palestinian leaders not only deny the existence of Jewish holy sites in Jerusalem, they falsely allege that Jews are trying to takeover or destroy Muslim holy sites there. In that way, they follow the lead of Jerusalem Mufti and Nazi sympathizer Haj al Amin Husseini who so successfully incited anti-Jewish rioting in the1920's by making his battle cry "Defend Muslim Holy Sites."

But this is not the story 60 Minutes wanted to tell. Instead host Lesley Stahl promoted Arab delegitimization of Jewish roots and rights in Jerusalem as follows:

1) Characterize as "controversial" Israel's publicizing ofarcheological findings of Israelite history in Jerusalem, discredit the field of biblical archeology and dismiss archeological excavations as something run by a "settler organization."

According to Ms. Stahl:

It's controversial that the City of David uses discoveries to try to confirm what's in the Bible, particularly from the time of David, the king who made Jerusalem his capital...


...But for all the talk of King David, one thing is glaringly missing here at the City of David. There`s actually no evidence of David, right?

Ms. Stahl dismisses the field of biblical archeology,especially the City of David enterprise, by throwing outa red herring — that there is no archeological proof of a King David himself.But, while it is impossible to uncover archeological evidence of any single individual, there is strong archeological evidence for the existence of a Davidic Kingdom. Stahl omits mention, for instance, that in 2005, archeologist Eilat Mazar uncovered remnants of amassive palacein the City of David dating to the 10th century BCE which is believed to be King David's palace.

It is unlikely that Ms. Stahl would ever challengePalestinians about the existence of Mohammed, or whether shewould questionChristians about the existence of Jesus, based on lack of direct archeological proof of those individuals. Her approach, of course, supports attempts by Arab and Muslim leaders to erase any evidence of Jewish history in Jerusalem, whether through the Waqf's unsupervised construction and dumping of artifacts, or whether through the riots that are incited whenever Israel excavates, builds or discovers evidence of its Jewish roots in Jerusalem's holy basin.

Ms. Stahl studiously avoided mention of this issue. She also did not bother to note that City of David archeologists, who are respected internationally for their scholarly contributions to the field, carry out their work under the auspices of the well-regarded Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA). Nor did she elaborate on the strict protocols which govern their work.

Excavations must be supervised by scholars associated with recognized institutes of archaeology, where there is an infrastructure for research, laboratory treatment, and processing. These scholars publish all of their finds (both Israelite and others) according to accepted scientific standards, and they conserve each uncovered layer of the excavated area as required by the Conservation Department of the IAA. But Ms. Stahl chose tosmear the excavations as governed by a "settler organization." According to the CBS reporter:

While a government agency oversees the excavations, the dig and the site are largely funded and run by something called El`Ad...which claims they`re not a settlers` organization, though, people we spoke to say they are.

2) Call it political "indoctrination" to teach Jews about their historical roots in Jerusalem.

According to Ms. Stahl:

Half a million tourists visit the site every year, with guides who try to bring King David to life. There's an implicit message: that because David conquered the city for the Jews back then, Jerusalem belongs to the Jews today....


...So archeology is being used as a political tool. I mean, I hate to use the word, but indoctrination...

Would Ms. Stahl similarly suggest that archeologists should avoid telling Arabs about their own history in the area? Should Americans not send their children to Washington to visit the Lincoln Memorial? By conveying the attitude that it is somehow sinister to strengthen Jewish knowledge about and connection to Jerusalem, Ms. Stahl reflects the Arab perspective where Muslim rights and connection to the Holy Basin are a given, while Jewish rights and connection to the area are considered dubious and an obstacle to peace.

Needless to say, Ms. Stahl does not mention anything about indoctrination by Arab leaders who deny that Jews have any history in the area.

3) Portray Silwan as an area that does or should belong to Arabs. Describe Jews as interlopers with no right to live or carry out excavations there and ignore "inconvenient" history – both of Jewish habitation there as well as Jordan's illegal and racist occupation that ended it.

According to Ms. Stahl:

Another problem is an inconvenient truth that biblical Jerusalem is not located in the western half of the city. It`s right under the densely-populated Arab neighborhood of Silwan. And according to the Clinton parameters, Silwan should be part of a Palestinian state...


...organizations that move Jewish settlers into Arab areas have infiltrated Silwan...


...El Ad has raised tens of millions of dollars, half from the United States, and buys these homes on land the Palestinians claim for a future state......

What Ms. Stahl fails to report is that there was a community of Yemenite Jewish families in Silwan as early as 1882 in the neighborhood known as Kfar HaShiloach, and additional Jewish families from various countries joined them in the following years. In the early 1900's Baron de Rothschild bought several acres of land there for the Jewish community. Silwan's Jewish residents lived in the area until they were forced out by Arab attacks in the late 1920s. The City of David, situated in the Silwan valley, is still 60 percent Jewish-owned, including the area bought by Baron de Rothschild. And it is perfectly legal to continue to buy homes there.

The notion that this area must nowbe renderedJudenrein — free of Jewish habitation,with Jews prohibited from purchasing homes there — echoes the racist policies of Jordan's 19-year illegal occupation of the area, something that Ms. Stahl assiduously avoids mentioning.

4) Gloss over, minimize or ignore "inconvenient truths" that show Arabs as interlopers in the area.

Ms. Stahl discusses the plans to create a tourist park in King's Garden near the City of David, noting that this "requires demolishing twenty-two Arab homes in Silwan," something she suggests would be an "explosive" action.

Ms. Stahl attributes to the mayor the argument that the "Arab houses were built illegally," and that he plans to relocate them, but viewers are never informed that the land had been set aside as conservation parklandwith residential buildingprohibited long before the Arab homes in question were illegally erected. Instead she concludes, "but the locals want to stay in their homes," as if describing them as "locals" is reason enough for them to be allowed to defy the law governing this archeologically-rich area.

The missing "inconvenient truth" can be found in an article by Ha'aretz journalist Nadav Shragai:

Progress has brought troubles along with it to the King's Valley. For hundreds of years floodwaters drained into the garden of the kings of Judea, east of the Shiloah Pool in Jerusalem. In winter it was a swamp, but in summer it became a blooming garden.

With a bit of imagination and with the help of varied historical sources it is possible to imagine King David strolling in the royal garden with its abundant greenery and water among the olive, fig, pomegranate and almond trees, singing Psalms.

According to one tradition, this is where the Book of Ecclesiastes was composed.

About 20 years ago, the Jerusalem municipality shored up the water runoff there, and in the open green area (al Bustan, in Arabic), which the Turks and the British took care to preserve for hundreds of years as a public area intended for preservation and development of parks and tourism, an illegal Palestinian outpost arose.

Within 18 years 88 buildings went up there, under the noses of mayors Teddy Kollek and now outgoing Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. Under former mayor Uri Lupolianski, the construction was halted, after the municipality confiscated tractors and heavy machinery from the lawbreakers.

Last summer the director general of the Antiquities Authority, Shuka Dorfman, noted in a kind of "post mortem" that the construction in the King's Garden caused significant and irreversible damage to antiquities.

Representatives of the municipality and Dorfman admitted that they had no good explanation for what has happened in this lovely garden, which is described in the Books of Nechemiah and Ecclesiastes, in midrashim (rabbinic Biblical homiletics) and in many historical sources. Dorfman stressed that together with Tel David, the garden constitutes the only complete archaeological garden of first-rate importance.

5) Challenge Israeli statements with Palestinian accusations.

Ms. Stahl gave up all pretense of journalistic objectivity when she took on the role of court prosecutor with Israeli interviewees. She challenged them by echoing Palestinian allegations:

LESLEY STAHL: So El Ad is doing archaeology and settlements?

DORON SPIELMAN: We are doing archaeology, and we are buying homes and buying land.

LESLEY STAHL: But is it El Ad`s goal to ease the Arabs away from right where we are right now?

DORON SPIELMAN: Put it this way, if there`s a home that an Arab wants to sell and I have the money to buy it and I can move, enable a Jewish family to live there, and I can dig archaeologically underneath it, then I think that`s a wonderful thing to do.

LESLEY STAHL (voiceover): The Arabs say it`s a provocative thing to do.


LESLEY STAHL: I heard you wanted to evict people. Where are-- where are those houses?

NIR BARKAT: That`s-- that`s just not true. To accept--

LESLEY STAHL (overlapping): Well, wait, but if you make a park, then those houses can`t be there anymore.

NIR BARKAT: They mustn`t have been there in the first place.

LESLEY STAHL: Yeah, but so-- so you will evict. You will evict.

NIR BARKAT: Not evict. When you improve their quality of life, the right word to say is that you`re dealing with improvement of quality of life.

LESLEY STAHL (voiceover): His park, he says, will upgrade the area, and he`ll allow the people who`ll be evicted to build new houses nearby. But locals tell us the only way to do that would be to build on top of other homes in Silwan...

...The European Union, the United Nations has criticized this plan to get rid of these twenty-two homes. Public opinion, especially while the peace talks are under way, is-- is looking at this and saying you`re trying to get rid- - move Arabs out of Jerusalem.

NIR BARKAT (overlapping): That`s not true.

LESLEY STAHL: But that`s the way it looks......

6) Do not challenge or fact-check any Palestinian statements. Instead accept, repeat and endorse them.

In sharp contrastto her prosecutorial attitude toward Israeli interviewees, Stahl accepts Palestinianstatements without challenge.

LESLEY STAHL (voiceover): Palestinian Jawad Siyam was born in [Silwan] and says he can trace his roots here back nine hundred thirty years. He`s pessimistic about the Palestinians ever having their own state....

LESLEY STAHL (voiceover): Jawad says that El`Ad uses the dig`s archeological prestige to hide its aim of moving the locals out. And he believes that the tunneling is a way for El`Ad to extend its reach deeper into Silwan...

LESLEY STAHL (voiceover): There`s a feeling of encroachment. The Arabs feel it...

LESLEY STAHL (voiceover): But as with the dig, the local Arabs see this as another attempt to gobble up their side of Jerusalem...

7) Avoid mention of anything that might portray Palestinians and Arab leaders in a poor light, or as an obstacle to peace.

There was no mention of Jordan's ethnic cleansing of Jews from the region or their Judenrein policy during their illegal occupation, no mention of attempts by Palestinian and Muslim leaders to erase – both mentally (with denials) and physically (by destroying archeological remnants) Jewish history here. There is no mention of the deadly attacks by eastern Jerusalem Arabs against Jews both in eastern and western Jerusalem — a contributing factor to why Israel does not want Jerusalem divided.

Whileshe mentions "escalating confrontations" near Silwan, Ms. Stahlfocuses on one incident which she says "became violent" when a car driven by an Israeli whoturned out to be "of all people, the head of Elad," struck twomaskedPalestinianyouths who had been throwing stones.Of course, the incident was violentfrom the start,asmasked Palestinian youths and adults surrounded the car, hurling stones at it. Three people, two of them minors and one adult, were subsequently arrested for thowing stones and smashing the window of a car.There were also many questions about the incident itself, particularly, why so many photographers had converged at the site well before the Israeli driver had entered the scene. Had they beenalerted in advance? Had they been told that there would be dramatic distubances or confrontations they might want to photograph? (See: "Silwan Distortions in the Israeli Press") Needless to say, Ms. Stahl did not explore any of this, as it did not support the story she was telling.

8) Suggest instead that it is Israeli actions – whether archeological excavations, purchasing of homes, or enforcing municipal laws – that obstruct the possibility of peace.

According to Ms. Stahl:

Settlements have been a stumbling block in peace negotiations of the past. And ...could become the stumbling block again.

A decade ago, Chairman President Mahmoud Abbas went on record challenging Jerusalem's Jewish heritage and the existence of a Jewish Temple, adding that even if there were one, "we do not accept it, because it is not logical for someone who wants a practical peace." (Kul Al-Arab, August 25, 2000; Translation: MEMRI) Today, he refuses to accept Israel as a Jewish state.

But to Ms. Stahl and CBS, thePalestinians' refusal to recognize Israel andthe attempt to erase Jerusalem's Jewish heritageare not the story she wants to tell. To her, the only obstacle to peace is Israel's commitment to its Jewish roots in Jerusalem.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

How the State department changes speeches about Israel

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

time to take away Friedman's pulitzer

Rick Richman - 10.20.2010 - 8:56 AM

Thomas Friedman unloads on Israel, asserting that it is “behaving like a spoiled child” because Netanyahu will not agree to a new settlement-construction moratorium without additional assurances:

Just one time you would like Israel to say, “You know, Mr. President, we’re dubious that a continued settlement freeze will have an impact. But you think it will, so, let’s test it. This one’s for you.”

I think he means that just two times he would like Israel to say it.

Last year, Obama demanded a settlement freeze — after reneging on agreements about such a freeze that had governed the peace process for the prior six years and refusing to endorse the presidential letter given to Israel in exchange for the dismantlement of every settlement in Gaza. The proposed deal was a construction freeze in exchange for small steps toward normalization with Israel that the U.S. would obtain from Arab states. Obama failed to get anything from the Arab states, but Israel announced a 10-month moratorium anyway. It had no impact at all.

Friedman writes that he has “no idea whether the Palestinian Authority president, Mahmoud Abbas, has the will and the guts to make peace with Israel” but thinks Abbas should be tested with another moratorium. No idea?

He knows that Abbas’s term of office expired nearly two years ago and that Abbas is “President Abbas” only in the sense that George Mitchell is “Senator Mitchell.” He knows Abbas declined an offer of a state on 100 percent of the West Bank (after land swaps) with a shared Jerusalem. He knows Abbas has stated he will “never” recognize Israel as a Jewish state nor negotiate any land swap. He knows Abbas cannot make peace even with Hamas, which controls half the putative Palestinian state. He knows Abbas has repeatedly canceled elections and that the idea of the Palestinian Authority as a stable democratic entity is a joke. He knows Abbas has declared he will never waive the “right of return,” which makes a peace agreement impossible even if every other issue could be resolved. He knows Abbas has taken no steps to prepare his public for any of the compromises that would be necessary for a peace agreement. How many tests does Abbas have to fail before Thomas Friedman has an idea?

Would it be too much to ask that Abbas first give his Bir Zeit speech? Or that Obama commit to veto any Palestinian state that does not result from direct negotiations that provide Israel with defensible borders? Or would that be acting like a spoiled child?

Jewish Voice for Peace ANTI-iSRAEL

ADL List Fuels Debate Over What’s Anti-Israel

Inclusion of Jewish Voice for Peace comes amid rising delegitimization fears.
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
James D. Besser
Washington Correspondent

The Anti-Defamation League’s new list of “The Top 10 Anti-Israel Groups” — which includes a left-of-center Jewish organization that claims to be tapping a growing body of disaffiliated younger Jews — could intensify the debate over exactly what it means to be an enemy of the Jewish state.

“We’re growing, we’re very organized and we’re effective,” said Rebecca Vilkomerson, executive director of the Berkeley-Calif.-based Jewish Voice for Peace, which claims a mailing list of 100,000 and more than 20 local chapters across the country, including a new chapter at Brandeis. “There was something perversely pleasing about being included on the ADL list.”

Some leading Jewish activists argue that JVP has crossed critical lines by supporting an aggressive boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement singling out Israel as the primary villain in the Middle East drama and by legitimizing anti-Zionist views.

But what really may be at work here is something else: JVP, while generally under the radar within the Jewish community, has positioned itself as the favorite Jewish interlocutor of outside Israel critics and outright anti-Israel organizations that need some Jewish cover to avoid charges of anti-Semitism.
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While J Street and Americans for Peace Now play in the national Jewish arena, JVP operates effectively under the communal radar, focusing on campus activism and alliances with non-Jewish groups.

The ADL’s national director, Abraham Foxman, admitted JVP’s platform doesn’t differ substantially from those of other groups on the Jewish far left, but he said it is more dangerous because it has “more of an audience” than those groups.

“The fact they speak in the name of Jews to groups that are hostile to Israel, and in some cases to Jews, makes them more of a problem,” he said.

The latest ADL list comes as Jewish leaders worry about what they say is an accelerating worldwide effort to delegitimize the idea of a Jewish state and at a time of deep anxiety about the growing disaffiliation among young Jews and rising anti-Israel activism on campus.

Among the other groups on the list are the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a group that the ADL said has “a long record of anti-Israel rhetoric, which has, at times, crossed the line into anti-Semitism”; and Friends of Sabeel-North America, the Protestant group that has played a major role in church divestment efforts.

The list focuses heavily on groups active on college campuses, including Students for Justice in Palestine, If America Knew and the International ANSWER, an anti-war group that continues to emphasize vituperative anti-Israel activism.

“These groups demonize Israel through various public campaigns,” said Foxman in last week’s statement announcing the list. “Their messages are one-sided and fail to take the complexity of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict into account. They unfairly attack Israel while ignoring Palestinian terrorism and incitement. They apply a different standard to Israel than other countries.”

But are unbalanced and unfair the same as anti-Israel? Exactly what lines does a group — especially a Jewish group — have to cross to be considered anti-Israel?

Those questions loom largest in the case of Jewish Voice for Peace.

The JVP website depicts a group that clearly puts most of the onus for the ongoing conflict on Israel and conspicuously refrains from calling itself “Zionist” even as it claims its positions are based on Jewish values.

“We do not take a position on Zionism,” said JVP’s Vilkomerson, who is married to an Israeli and has lived in the Jewish state. “That’s not a useful conversation; we have Zionists, anti-Zionists and post-Zionists.”

In another departure from the pro-Israel canon, JVP does not specifically endorse a two-state solution.

“We don’t take a position on one state versus two states. We believe that’s something Israel and the Palestinians have to figure out themselves,” she said.

What they do talk about is the U.S. role in the peace process, arguing that “U.S. military aid to Israel must be suspended until the occupation ends.” JVP’s “Muzzlewatch” website describes itself as a monitor of “efforts to stifle open debate about US-Israeli foreign policy.”

But the position that may earn JVP the greatest ire is its overt but targeted support for the BDS movement.

“We definitely consider ourselves part of the BDS movement,” Vilkomerson said.

While her group does not support economic penalties on Israel itself, it supports boycotts, divestment and sanctions on businesses that “profit from Israel’s occupation of the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem.” And according to the JVP website it “defends activists’ right to use the full range of BDS tactics without being persecuted or demonized.”

JVP also leads a high-profile effort to get big-name entertainers to boycott a new theater in the West Bank settlement of Ariel, enlisting names like Theodore Bikel, Tony Kushner, Mandy Patinkin, Ed Asner and Stephen Sondheim.

Just as significant but less visible is JVP’s effort to position itself as the Jewish face of the BDS movement before Christian groups that have been leading advocates of economic penalties against Israel.

JVP “plays a role in inoculating anti-Zionists and often anti-Jewish organizations and activists by offering a convenient Jewish voice that agrees with what they’re saying — as if that voice is not coming from a radical fringe,” said Ethan Felson, assistant executive director of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA) and the group’s point person in the fight against church divestment proposals.

Having groups like JVP speak at their events — and claiming that demonstrates their willingness to listen to Jewish perspectives — makes it easier for these groups to “deny the Jewish narrative,” Felson said. “So they can say, look, we have all these Jews who support divestment and say Israel is guilty.”

That, he said, “is where JVP comes in, and it does it in the most raw terms imaginable. The speakers they put up are hardcore radicals who speak in Orwellian terms. They don’t have the gene for nuance.”

Despite its relatively low profile, JVP is able to mobilize abundant resources in the BDS fight, he said.

“They have a half-dozen people at the various church conventions,” Felson said. “It takes a lot of resources to be involved in those settings.”


Does all of that make JVP anti-Israel and a genuine threat to the Jewish state? A lot of mainstream Jewish leaders agree with ADL’s Foxman that it has crossed too many red lines to be seen as anything else.

But others say the case isn’t a slam dunk, although they are reluctant to come to JVP’s defense.

Jerome Chanes, a writer and scholar who has written extensively on anti-Semitism (and has written for The Jewish Week), said the hit on JVP may reflect a lowered tolerance for dissent within the Jewish community when it comes to an embattled Israel.

“Obviously, this is a very subjective question,” he said. “I have a relatively high threshold; even the harshest criticism of the government of Israel is legitimate. Where it crosses the line is when the legitimacy of the Zionist enterprise itself is questioned. At that point, you are questioning Jewish peoplehood. That is, tautologically, anti-Semitism.”

Support for the BDS movement, Chanes said, does not automatically make a group anti-Israel or anti-Semitic.

“My feeling is that it is an abominable position, but it is a legitimate part of the debate,” he said.

But he said the Jewish community is “lowering the standard for what constitutes anti-Israel feeling,” the result of the growing polarization on all questions relating to Israel and “the way so many public affairs issues have been hijacked by the right.”

Chanes said he doesn’t know enough about Jewish Voice for Peace to pass judgment, but said that the expanding use of the term “anti-Israel” is “troubling.”

Another reason Jewish leaders are worried about JVP: the group claims an expanding presence on campuses across the country and growing appeal to a young Jewish demographic segment that, almost all Jewish leaders agree, is losing its connection to the Jewish state and the pro-Israel establishment.

Their un-nuanced message and anger focusing on human rights, broadly defined, are especially appealing to that segment, said JCPA’s Felson.

“The pro-Israel community would be wise to keep in mind that we need to provide multiple points of entry for young Jews, including those who are authentically pro-Israel and are not silent to concerns for Palestinians,” he said.

That, he said, is the hole JVP is effectively exploiting.

That, combined with its ability to “give a patina of legitimacy to an anti-Israel approach” in the BDS movement, makes JVP a “particularly invidious group,” Felson said.

But a prominent Jewish left winger said the JVP may be the wave of the future — which is why groups like ADL are reacting so strongly against it.

“Unlike J Street, [JVP] is non-Zionist, which used to mean utterly irrelevant within the Jewish community,” said M.J. Rosenberg, a longtime pro-Israel activist and liberal blogger. “No more. J Street is cornering the two-state youth market while JVP is appealing to the post-national trend in the very post-national younger generation. And they are PR savvy, not to mention unafraid to promote out-and-out boycotts of the occupation.”

PAC endores Pollak over Schakowsky




On Sunday, October 17th, To Protect Our Heritage (TPOH) PAC, along with thirty co-sponsoring organizations, held a Candidates' Forum, giving 900 guests the opportunity to listen to Representative Jan Schakowsky (D-9th) and her opponent Joel Pollak answer in-depth questions about their stances and proposed Congressional actions involving Israel, its neighbors and the U.S. relationship. To Protect Our Heritage, the Midwest's oldest and largest bi-partisan, pro-Israel PAC, recognizes and welcomes that both candidates define themselves as strongly pro-Israel.

The PAC has endorsed and contributed to Rep. Schakowsky in the past because of her excellent voting record on Israel-related issues. We appreciate Rep. Schakowsky's stance, stated at the Forum, that an undivided city of Jerusalem is and will remain the capital of the Jewish State of Israel and that our country should promptly move our embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. We also appreciate her statement that Mohammad Abbas should immediately recognize Israel as a Jewish state in return for a two-month continuation of Israel's moratorium on additional building of homes in the West Bank, as offered by Benjamin Netanyahu.

However, following the forum, the TPOH candidate selection committee conferred and chose to endorse Joel Pollak for the 9th District U.S. Congressional seat because his responses to the questions showed him to be an articulate and unwavering LEADER for the U.S.-Israel relationship. While we appreciate Rep. Schakowsky's history of affirmative votes on legislation introduced by others, we are convinced that Joel Pollak will be a stronger advocate for the critical relationship between our country and Israel. In seeking out ways to strengthen the ties and protect Israel, he will be helping both nations.

In response to the question "What two pieces of Israel-related legislation will you propose if you are in the House of Representatives next February?" Pollak advocated (1) ceasing U.S. funding of the U.N. Human Rights Council, whose leadership has included many of the world's most sadistic tyrants and whose primary function and accomplishment for years has been to condemn Israel - while ignoring real human rights violations throughout the rest of the world, and (2) making a clear statement to Iran that the U.S. considers Israel an ally like NATO allies and thus "a strike against Israel would be a strike against the U.S." Although Rep. Schakowsky mentioned reaffirming the U.S. commitment to Israel, she offered no specifics. We note that in her twelve years in Congress she has not authored any legislation on Israel.

Problematic are Rep. Schakowsky's strong ties with individuals and groups such as J Street, whose members came as a group to cheer her at the forum. J Street has labeled itself as pro-Israel; however, its underlying mission has been revealed to be the weakening of bi-partisan Congressional support for Israel by, among other tactics, drawing away Democratic support for that relationship. J Street leadership has come out not only against AIPAC (American Public Affairs Committee) on various congressional initiatives but has ridiculed and attacked some of Israel's strongest defenders, such as Elie Wiesel, Alan Dershowitz, and Joe Lieberman. Israel's Ambassador Michael Oren characterized J Street as "a unique problem in that it not only opposes one policy of one Israeli government, it opposes all policies of all Israeli governments...This is not a matter of settlements here [or] there. We understand there are differences of opinion, but when it comes to the survival of the Jewish state, there should be no differences of opinion." J Street has recently been exposed as deceiving the public by presenting its funders as pro-Israel, when in fact they include major contributions from a mysterious Hong Kong donor and George Soros, whose antipathy towards Israel is well documented. Rep. Schakowsky, by her staunch support of J Street since its inception - and she has been a main if not the main beneficiary of J Street fundraising efforts - likely unwittingly threatens to make Israel a partisan issue between the two political parties.

The answers to the question "Why is Israel important to the U.S?" highlighted the core difference between the candidates. Rep. Schakowsky listed Israel's important technological and medical achievements which benefit the U.S. On the other hand, Pollak underscored the deeper philosophical and cultural connection between the two nations. He noted that America and Israel represent the values of opportunity, liberty, and respect for the individual human being. Moreover he stated, "America and Israel were founded on the same idea that oppressed and persecuted people could build something new through nothing more than hard work and faith... A world that is not safe for Israel and the idea of Israel is not safe for the United States and the idea of the United States."

Joel Pollak, who brilliantly articulates his pro-Israel message whether his audience is in a synagogue, church or mosque, understands the importance of the U.S.-Israel relationship and is unafraid to declare a clear and compelling case for that relationship. Therefore, To Protect Our Heritage PAC, whose sole mission is strengthening the bonds between Israel and the U.S., endorses Joel Pollak. By serving as a leader on the issue, Joel Pollak will strengthen both nations.

NOTE: The endorsement is by To Protect Our Heritage PAC and not event co-sponsors, most of whom do not endorse or contribute to political candidates.


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Are Dems becoming the anti-Israel party?

Congress: The pattern of weak Democratic support began just a week after Inauguration Day 2009, right after the Israel-Hamas war, when 60 House Democrats (including such left-wingers as Dennis Kucinich, Barbara Lee, and Maxine Waters) and not a single Republican wrote the secretary of state to "respectfully request that the State Department release emergency funds to [the anti-Israel organization] UNRWA for reconstruction and humanitarian assistance" in Gaza.

In the same spirit, 54 House Democrats and not a single Republican signed a letter to Barack Obama a year later, in January 2010, asking him to "advocate for immediate improvements for Gaza in the following areas" and then listed ten ways to help Hamas, the Palestinian terrorist organization.

In dramatic contrast, 78 House Republicans wrote a "Dear Prime Minister Netanyahu" letter a few months later to express their "steadfast support" for him and Israel. The signatories were not just Republicans but members of the House Republican Study Committee, a conservative caucus.

So, count 54 Democrats for Hamas and 78 Republicans for Israel.

In the aftermath of the March 2010 crisis when Joe Biden went to Jerusalem, 333 members of the House of Representatives signed a letter to the secretary of state reaffirming the U.S.-Israel alliance. The 102 members who did not sign included 94 Democrats (including Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi) and 8 Republicans, a 12-to-1 ratio. Seventy-six senators signed a similar letter; the 24 who did not sign included 20 Democrats and 4 Republicans, a 5-to-1 ratio.

Voters: Public opinion explains these differences on Capitol Hill.

An April 2009 poll by Zogby International asked about U.S. policy: Ten percent of Obama voters and 60 percent of voters for Republican John McCain wanted the president to support Israel. Get tough with Israel? Eighty percent of Obama voters said yes and 73 percent of McCain voters said no. Conversely, 67 percent of Obama voters said yes and 79 percent of McCain voters said no to Washington engaging with Hamas. And 61 percent of Obama voters endorsed a Palestinian "right of return," while only 21 percent of McCain voters concurred.

Almost a year later, the same pollster asked American adults how best to deal with the Arab-Israeli conflict and found "a strong divide" on this question. Seventy-three percent of Democrats wanted the president to end the historic bond with Israel but treat Arabs and Israelis alike; only 24 percent of Republicans endorsed this shift.

Gallup on "Sympathy for Israelis vs. Palestinians in Mideast Situation, by Party ID."

A survey this month asked if a likely voter is "more likely or less likely to vote for a candidate whom you perceive as pro-Israel." Thirty-nine percent of Democrats and 69 percent of Republicans prefer the pro-Israel candidate. Turned around, 33 percent of Democrats and 14 percent of Republicans would be less likely to support a candidate because he is pro-Israel. Democrats are somewhat evenly split on Israel but Republicans favor it by a 5-to-1 ratio.

A consensus exists that the two parties are growing further apart over time. Pro-Israel, conservative Jeff Jacoby of the Boston Globe finds that "the old political consensus that brought Republicans and Democrats together in support of the Middle East's only flourishing democracy is breaking down." Anti-Israel, left-wing James Zogby of the Arab American Institute agrees, writing that "traditional U.S. policy toward the Israeli-Palestinian conflict does not have bipartisan backing." Thanks to changes in the Democratic party, Israel has become a partisan issue in American politics, an unwelcome development for it.

In late March 2010, during a nadir of U.S.-Israel relations, Janine Zacharia wrote in the Washington Post that some Israelis expect their prime minister to "search for ways to buy time until the midterm U.S. elections [of November 2010] in hopes that Obama would lose support and that more pro-Israel Republicans would be elected." That an Israeli leader is thought to stall for fewer Congressional Democrats confirms the changes outlined here. It also provides guidance for voters.

Mr. Pipes is director of the Middle East Forum and Taube distinguished visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution of Stanford University.

Friday, October 15, 2010

they don't recognize jewish state, there should be no 23rd Arab Muslim state

Your Support

In-Depth Issues:

PA Rejects Inferred Recognition of Jewish State - Kevin Flower (CNN)
Top PA negotiator Nabil Sha'ath, an advisor to Mahmoud Abbas, distanced the PA government from comments by PLO official Yasser Abed Rabbo inferring that Palestinians might recognize Israel as a Jewish state in exchange for a future Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders.
"We are not going to do it - forget it," Sha'ath told CNN, adding that Abed Rabbo's comments did not represent the position of the PLO or the Fatah faction which dominates the Palestinian Authority.

Shame on Jan Schakowski Illinois 9 Congresswoman

J Street PAC has teamed up with Jan Schakowsky to attack our campaign’s pro-America, pro-Israel event this evening: “The U.S. & Israel: Winning the Media War.”
In an email to supporters (below), J Street PAC--which has given tens of thousands of dollars to Schakowsky--attacks pro-Israel speakers Jennifer Rubin and Daniel Pipes, both of whom are going to be speaking at our event this evening (7016 Carpenter, Skokie IL, 7:00-9:00 p.m.).
J Street’s email also includes a message from Schakowsky:
“I reject calls by my GOP opponent to return campaign contributions from JStreetPAC and his cynical attempt to turn Israel into a partisan wedge issue at this delicate and potentially historic moment. I stand behind President Obama's efforts to provide Israel with the lasting peace and security that only a two-state solution can achieve. And I commend JStreetPAC for its ongoing efforts to encourage debate and broaden the pro-Israel tent.”
It is radical groups like J Street--sponsored by George Soros and foreign donors--that have made Israel into a political football. Today, while 85% of Republicans support Israel, only 48% of Democrats do. That is the direct result of pressure groups like J Street, together with the Obama administration’s ill treatment of Israel, and the weakness of Democratic leaders in confronting the anti-Israel radicals in their midst.
Jan Schakowsky has decided where she stands: with J Street and against Israel’s strongest defenders--not just Rubin and Pipes, but Elie Wiesel, Alan Dershowitz, Joe Lieberman, and Malcolm Hoenlein, each of whom has been attacked by J Street in recent months.
A true leader on Israel would not stand with a group that lies about taking foreign money and trashes America’s best ally. Schakowsky has to go!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Iran taking over Lebanon too

Israel's Border with Iran - Tim Marshall
Israel has known for years that it has a de facto border with Iran - to the north in Lebanon. The President of Iran is heading there this week where he will be close enough to see Israeli houses and border guards. The route from Beirut to the south will be lined with Iranian flags, huge billboards bearing the beaming image of the President, and thousands of Lebanon's Shia Muslims responding to a call out from Hizbullah. The images this will produce could be construed as proof that southern Lebanon is a client "state" of Iran and the border is Iran's border, and front line, with Israel. (Sky News-UK)

Of course Flotilla were liars

Turkish Journalist on the Flotilla Ship: "IDF Soldiers Did Not Open Fire Until Their Lives Were in Danger"
On Sept. 24, in an interview with Israel Channel 1 TV, Turkish journalist Azefik Dinc, who was on the Mavi Marmara flotilla ship and wrote a book about it, said that no shots were fired from the Israeli helicopters and that IDF soldiers did not open fire until their lives were in danger. According to Dinc, it wasn't until the soldiers realized that some of their friends' lives were in danger that they began using live ammunition.

Monday, October 11, 2010

pro and con on loyalty oath

Cabinet Approves Citizenship Oath Change for New Citizens - Attila Somfalvi
The Israeli Cabinet Sunday voted 22-8 in favor of a draft amendment to the Citizenship Act which will obligate new non-Jewish citizens of Israel to pledge allegiance to a "Jewish, democratic state." (Ynet News)
See also Behind the Cabinet Decision
Prime Minister Netanyahu told the Cabinet Sunday: "Our Declaration of Independence says: 'We hereby declare the establishment of a Jewish state in the Land of Israel, to be known as the State of Israel.'...The State of Israel is the national state of the Jewish People and is a democratic state in which all its citizens - Jewish and non-Jewish - enjoy fully equal rights."
"To my regret, today, there are those who are trying to blur not only the unique connection between the Jewish People and its homeland, but also the connection between the Jewish People and its state. Democracy is the soul of Israel and we cannot do without it. No one can preach democracy or enlightenment to us. Zionism established an exemplary national state, a state that balances between the national needs of our people and the individual rights of every citizen in the country."
"There is no other democracy in the Middle East. There is no other Jewish state in the world. The combination of these two lofty values expresses the foundation of our national life and anyone who would like to join us needs to recognize this." (Prime Minister's Office)

one writer
The bill passed in the Cabinet - it has a ways to go to be passed in the Knesset and if we're fortunate it won't be - is a stupid measure that serves only to stir passions unnecessarily and to make us look racist. We don't need this now. Israel is a Jewish State - we all know that - the UN voted for the establishment of a Jewish State - but what does it mean? A state with a majority of Jews? A state favoring Jews? A state based on Jewish law? And what does it mean to say we are a democratic state? By the way, why exempt Jews from the oath? Do you think that all Jews making aliyah or already here really believe in democracy? There are a lot of people in Meah Shearim who would have a problem with that. What happens if a person takes that oath but doesn't really believe in it? How will you prove it? The whole thing is nonsense - but dangerous nonsense because it will now lead to a whole batch of bills seeking to go further in that direction - loyalty oaths for this and that, deprivation of citizenship for this and that. This is Lieberman's agenda and it's a nasty one. Thank God Benny Begin and Meridor had the courage to oppose it and they are hardly leftists.

Palestinians want their kids run over


The Jerusalem Car Accident Video - Lenny Ben-David (Jerusalem Post)

•A YouTube film clip spreading around the world showing an Israeli car hitting two Arab children in the Silwan neighborhood of Jerusalem on Friday was horrifying. Thank God the children were not seriously injured.
•Then came the subtext: The children were part of a gang attacking the driver with rocks. The boys, emboldened by some militant organizer, covered their faces to avoid identification. There's no doubt of their intention and premeditation. The driver was David Be'eri, a leader of the Jewish residents in Silwan. Be'eri's son was in the car.
•Arab witnesses charged that the "settler" deliberately ran down the children. But I've now watched the clip scene-by-scene and in some parts frame-by-frame, and there's a deeper, even sinister, subtext.
•There were as many photographers as rock-throwers. There were at least seven still photographers in addition to the video cameraman. There could have been more. Most filmed the scene from the same vantage point. Who invited them and coordinated the time and place? Who recruited the boys? Did they particularly plan to ambush David Be'eri's car?
•Watch the clip and see how the photographers buzzed around the boy taking pictures while he was on the ground. Only one photographer went through the motion of extending a hand. Also watch as the wounded boy is manhandled and forcibly stuffed into a car against his will. That was no way to evacuate a casualty.
•Every photographer at the scene bears responsibility for the children's injuries. They were tools in the hands of a dangerous propagandist, and their presence incited the kids. Then the cameramen stood by as a child laid injured. Until the photographers fess up as to who dispatched them, they should be treated as accomplices to the crime of endangering the children.
The writer served as a senior Israeli diplomat in Washington.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Mn. Muslim Congressman Ellsion gos on Hajj by Moslerm brotherhood

Congressman Keith Ellison (D-Muslim Brotherhood) likens resistance to Islamic
supremacism to racism
$13,350 from the group that wants to destroy the West from within

In December 2008, when it was first revealed that Ellison's Hajj was paid for
with $13,350 from the Muslim American Society:
The Muslim Brotherhood "must understand that their work in America is a kind of
grand Jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within
and "sabotaging" its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the
believers so that it is eliminated and God's religion is made victorious over
all other religions." -- "An Explanatory Memorandum on the General Strategic
Goal for the Brotherhood in North America," by Mohamed Akram, May 19, 1991.
What does that have to do with Congressman Ellison? Everything. The Muslim
American Society paid for his Hajj. And what is the Muslim American Society? The
Muslim Brotherhood.
"In recent years, the U.S. Brotherhood operated under the name Muslim American
Society, according to documents and interviews. One of the nation's major
Islamic groups, it was incorporated in Illinois in 1993 after a contentious
debate among Brotherhood members." -- Chicago Tribune, 2004.
Imagine if a conservative Congressman had taken a trip that had been paid for by
a Christian group that was, according to one of its own documents, dedicated to
"eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and
'sabotaging' its miserable house" so that Christian law would replace
the U.S. Constitution. I expect we would hear more of an outcry than we ever
heard about Ellison's Brotherhood-funded hajj.
Yet I am pretty much the only one calling attention to Ellison's having taken
money from the Brotherhood. But also remember that the Muslim Brotherhood is a
pro-Sharia group -- i.e., it opposes the freedom of speech, the freedom of
conscience, and the equality of rights before the law of women with men and
non-Muslims with Muslims. I, am fighting to defend those rights against Islamic
supremacists who would chip away at them. So who is really fronting for "hate,"
Congressman -- you or I? I'd say you.
An aside: several people have written to me asking why I was so quiet during the
ABC "This Week" panel hosted by nakedly biased pseudo-journalist Christiane
Amanpour. In fact, I wasn't: they taped two hours and only broadcast one,
cutting out much of what I said. I also learned later that my microphone was
off, such that I could be heard commenting in the background, being picked up
faintly on other people's mics, but what I said was consequently too faint to be
heard on the show itself. Par for the course for the mainstream media.
Oddly enough, Ellison is unhappy about the ABC show, even though it was a patent
whitewash of the jihad and Islamic supremacism. "Should we fear Islam?," by
Congressman Keith Ellison in the Washington Post, October 7:
At a time when our nation is seeing a rise in intolerant behavior, crossing
every cultural line, whether based on race, religion or sexual orientation, we
seem simultaneously stuck with a national news media that is preoccupied with
conflict and controversy when we desperately need one that weighs facts and
reports fairly. A recent national news program reinforced these concerns. Let me
explain what I mean.
>Imagine a respected TV show or news magazine article with the title, "Should
>Americans Fear Black People?"..

Friday, October 8, 2010

Voters to Obama: Thumbs Down on Your Israel Policy


Voters to Obama: Thumbs Down on Your Israel Policy

Jennifer Rubin - 10.08.2010 - 11:33 AM
Bill Kristol highlights a new poll concerning voters’ attitudes toward Israel. As he explains:
The American people strongly support the state of Israel, and want their elected representatives to do so as well. An astounding 93 percent of those polled say the United States should be concerned about the security of the state of Israel. A majority—54 percent—say the U.S. should be “very concerned” about Israel’s security.
But once again, there is a sharp divide between the right and left:
Among those intending to vote Republican this fall, 69 percent would be more likely to vote for a candidate who was pro-Israel, 15 percent would be less likely—a margin of 54 percent. On the other hand, among Democratic voters, the pro-Israel margin is only 7 percent—40 percent of Democratic voters are more likely to vote for a pro-Israel candidate, 33 percent are less likely. Conservatives (and Tea Party sympathizers) mirror Republicans; their pro-Israel margins are also over 50 percent. The margin among self-described liberals is only 5 percent. And while Fox News fans are very pro-Israel, by 73 percent to 16 percent, devotees of the New York Times are actually negative on Israel, by 30 percent to 35 percent.
The bottom line: The public is strongly pro-Israel. But the public consists basically of two groups. The GOP/conservative/Fox News-viewing part of the public is overwhelmingly pro-Israel. The Democratic/liberal/New York Times-reading part of America is … comme-ci, comme-ca.
The full poll results are here. The poll and the accompanying cross tabs, while lengthy, are worth delving into. There are many nuggets to keep political junkies busy for some time. I’ll highlight a few items (rounding up the percentages for ease of reading) and will discuss more in future posts.
First, the sample seems to be tilted in the Democrats’ favor. There is a four-point generic lead for the GOP (compared with 5.7 points in the RealClearPolitics average). That seems to be the result of a healthy sampling of Democrats (40 percent of those surveyed). Still, the numbers for the president are quite poor: 55 percent would consider voting for someone else, and 52 percent disapprove of his overall performance. While a majority approve of his handling of foreign policy (51 to 45 percent), opinion on his handling of Israel is negative (44 percent disapprove, 43 percent approve).
The public gives thumbs down on Obama’s approach to Israel. A large plurality (43 to 30 percent) think Obama is harming Israel’s security, and by a 52 to 30 percent margin, voters think Obama is less friendly than past presidents. By a 54 to 27 percent margin, voters disapprove of Obama’s public criticism of Israel but not the Palestinians.
The poll also tests some J Streetisms. Guess what? Americans aren’t buying what Soros Street is peddling. Do Israel’s policies force Palestinians to become terrorists? By a 59 to 27 percent margin, voters say no. Are they “strongly opposed to an attack by the U.S. or Israel on Iran”? Only 35 percent say they are; 53 percent seem to think it might be a good idea. Only 12 percent hold Israel and its West Bank policies responsible for the conflict; 57 percent say it is the Palestinians’ fault. Nor do they sign on to the notion that a peace deal will diminish Arab hostility toward the U.S. Eighty-two percent say Arabs will find other excuses.
And it seems that Israel matters, at least according to this poll, in deciding between candidates. Fifty-four percent say they couldn’t vote for a candidate with whom they agreed on other policies if he were anti-Israel.
Finally, voters are extremely hawkish on Iran and skeptical of Obama’s handling of the regime. Seventy-eight percent don’t think Obama’s policies will prevent Iran from going nuclear. Fifty-nine percent would support an Israeli attack on Iran if sanctions don’t work. Sixty-three percent would consider this an act of self-defense.
So far, Obama’s Israel and Iran policies are ineffective and politically unpopular. Maybe with new advisers and an eye on 2012, he can be persuaded to adjust his policies to get in line with the pro-Zionist nation he leads.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

How make peace with them?

PA Continues to Teach Denial of Israel's Existence - Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik
The PA continues to educate its people to envision a world without Israel, presenting Israeli cities and regions as "Palestinian." Last week, PA TV rebroadcast an educational documentary that describes the Israeli cities of Haifa, Acre, Ashkelon, Jaffa and the Sea of Galilee as Palestinian. PA TV is under the direct control of the office of PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas. (Palestinian Media Watch)
Do Palestinians Want a State Alongside Israel? - Jonathan Chait
A 2009 poll shows that 71% of Palestinians deem it essential that their state comprise all of Israel and the territories. (Only 17% of Israelis deem it essentially that their state control all that land.) From the Palestinian perspective, Israel is a colonial state that was suddenly dropped on their head as a result of European crimes. Most Palestinians seem to think, like Helen Thomas said, that the fair solution is for the Jews to go back to Europe.
From this perspective, Palestinian political tactics are not an endless series of blunders but a perfectly rational strategy of alternating guerrilla or terrorist attacks on Israel with ceaseless political pressure designed to make Israelis, like the Crusaders, unwilling to pay the price of defending their state over however many decades or centuries it takes.
If it became clear that the Palestinians' primary goal was to create a homeland living peacefully next to a Jewish state, the Israeli political spectrum would shift back toward a more dovish government. (New Republic)

J Street anti-Israel

You Can’t Get Much More Anti-Israel Than This

Jennifer Rubin - 10.05.2010 - 12:30 PM

From the inception of J Street, I and other conservatives have argued that its “pro-Israel” label was false. Both in actions and in words it has revealed itself to be in league with Israel’s foes. It has fanned the flames of delegitimization efforts. It has incorporated Hamas’s talking points as its own. It has supported candidates most hostile to Israel and to a robust U.S.-Israel relationship.

In case you had any doubt (but really, who but Ron Kampeas does?), this report should clear things up. “J Street co-founder, advisory board member, and international socialite Daniel Levy” helped escort Richard Goldstone around Capitol Hill, and it was his “ New America Foundation that hosted a high-caliber lunch for Goldstone.”

According to the report, Levy was on an all-star panel of Israel-haters last May (”with Abdel al-Bari Atwan, the editor in chief of al-Quds al-Arabi, NAF Strategic Program Director Steve Clemons, surreal Hamas apologist and one-stater Allister Sparks, and accused terrorist Basheer Nafi”) when he shared this:

One can be a utilitarian two-stater, in other words think that the practical pragmatic way forward is two states. This is my understanding of the current Hamas position. One can be an ideological two-stater, someone who believes in exclusively the Palestinian self-determination and in Zionism; I don’t believe that it’s impossible to have a progressive Zionism. Or one can be a one-stater. But in either of those outcomes we’re going to live next door to each other or in a one state disposition. And that means wrapping one’s head around the humanity of both sides. I believe the way Jewish history was in 1948 excused — for me, it was good enough for me — an act that was wrong. I don’t expect Palestinians to think that. I have no reason — there’s no reason a Palestinian should think there was justice in the creation of Israel.

His remarks also apparently included the assertion that it was ”‘natural’ for Gazans to want to attack Israelis.” I await the denial by Soros Street, the production of the complete transcript, and then the emergence of the pro-J Street spin squad to explain that Levy didn’t really mean what he said. Or J Street doesn’t believe this. Or whatever. But I think those who have given money to J Street or accepted endorsements or cash from it under the pretense that it was a pro-Israel group were defrauded. And I think J Street is kaput.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

UN United Nuts

UN Poisons Its Human Rights Mission - Irwin Cotler
The UN Human Rights Council is the mandated UN body responsible for the promotion and protection of international human rights. But the council has turned its mandate on its head. It has turned a blind eye to the world's most serious human rights violators, failing to adopt any resolution or investigative mandate for such human rights violator countries as China, Cuba, Libya, North Korea, Russia or Iran, to name but a few - all being listed on Freedom House's list of the 20 worst human rights abusers. While the UN General Assembly calls for countries to be elected to the council based on their human rights records, 24 out of 47 present members (51%) fail to meet fundamental standards of democracy and human rights.
Since its 2006 creation, 80% of the council's resolutions have singled out one member state - Israel - for differential and discriminatory treatment, thereby breaching the UN charter's foundational principle of "equality for all nations, large and small." The tragedy in all this is that a UN body, established for the protection of human rights, has become a human rights violator. In particular, these violations now take place under the protective cover of the UN, invoking the imprimatur of international law and marching under the banner of human rights. The writer is a former minister of justice and attorney-general of Canada. (The Australian)

Monday, October 4, 2010

lessons of the worm

October 1, 2010, 11:25 AM
Comments (8) | Bookmark and Share | Print

There's a new cyber-weapon on the block. And it's a doozy. Stuxnet, a malicious software, or malware, program was apparently first discovered in June.

Although it has appeared in India, Pakistan and Indonesia, Iran's industrial complexes - including its nuclear installations - are its main victims.

Stuxnet operates as a computer worm. It is inserted into a computer system through a USB port rather than over the Internet, and is therefore capable of infiltrating networks that are not connected to the Internet.

Hamid Alipour, deputy head of Iran's Information Technology Company, told reporters Monday that the malware operated undetected in the country's computer systems for about a year.

After it enters a network, this super-intelligent program figures out what it has penetrated and then decides whether or not to attack. The sorts of computer systems it enters are those that control critical infrastructures like power plants, refineries and other industrial targets.

Ralph Langner, a German computer security researcher who was among the first people to study Stuxnet, told various media outlets that after Stuxnet recognizes its specific target, it does something no other malware program has ever done. It takes control of the facility's SCADA (supervisory control and data acquisition system) and through it, is able to destroy the facility.

No other malware program has ever managed to move from cyberspace to the real world. And this is what makes Stuxnet so revolutionary. It is not a tool of industrial espionage. It is a weapon of war.

From what researchers have exposed so far, Stuxnet was designed to control computer systems produced by the German engineering giant Siemens. Over the past generation, Siemens engineering tools, including its industrial software, have been the backbone of Iran's industrial and military infrastructure. Siemens computer software products are widely used in Iranian electricity plants, communication systems and military bases, and in the country's Russian-built nuclear power plant at Bushehr.

The Iranian government has acknowledged a breach of the computer system at Bushehr. The plant was set to begin operating next month, but Iranian officials announced the opening would be pushed back several months due to the damage wrought by Stuxnet. On Monday, Channel 2 reported that Iran's Natanz uranium enrichment facility was also infected by Stuxnet.

On Tuesday, Alipour acknowledged that Stuxnet's discovery has not mitigated its destructive power.

As he put it, "We had anticipated that we could root out the virus within one to two months. But the virus is not stable and since we started the cleanup process, three new versions of it have been spreading."

While so far no one has either taken responsibility for Stuxnet or been exposed as its developer, experts who have studied the program agree that its sophistication is so vast that it is highly unlikely a group of privately financed hackers developed it. Only a nation-state would have the financial, manpower and other resources necessary to develop and deploy Stuxnet, the experts argue.

Iran has pointed an accusatory finger at the US, Israel and India. So far, most analysts are pointing their fingers at Israel. Israeli officials, like their US counterparts, are remaining silent on the subject.

While news of a debilitating attack on Iran's nuclear installations is a cause for celebration, at this point, we simply do not know enough about what has happened and what is continuing to happen at Iran's nuclear installations to make any reasoned evaluation about Stuxnet's success or failure. Indeed, The New York Times has argued that since Stuxnet worms were found in Siemens software in India, Pakistan and Indonesia as well as Iran, reporting, "The most striking aspect of the fast-spreading malicious computer program... may not have been how sophisticated it was, but rather how sloppy its creators were in letting a specifically aimed attack scatter randomly around the globe."

ALL THAT we know for certain is that Stuxnet is a weapon and it is currently being used to wage a battle. We don't know if Israel is involved in the battle or not. And if Israel is a side in the battle, we don't know if we're winning or not.

But still, even in our ignorance about the details of this battle, we still know enough to draw a number of lessons from what is happening.

Stuxnet's first lesson is that it is essential to be a leader rather than a follower in technology development. The first to deploy new technologies on a battlefield has an enormous advantage over his rivals. Indeed, that advantage may be enough to win a war.

But from the first lesson, a second immediately follows. A monopoly in a new weapon system is always fleeting. The US nuclear monopoly at the end of World War II allowed it to defeat Imperial Japan and bring the war to an end in allied victory.

Once the US exposed its nuclear arsenal, however, the Soviet Union's race to acquire nuclear weapons of its own began. Just four years after the US used its nuclear weapons, it found itself in a nuclear arms race with the Soviets. America's possession of nuclear weapons did not shield it from the threat of their destructive power.

The risks of proliferation are the flipside to the advantage of deploying new technology. Warning of the new risks presented by Stuxnet, Melissa Hathaway, a former US national cybersecurity coordinator, told the Times, "Proliferation is a real problem, and no country is prepared to deal with it. All of these [computer security] guys are scared to death. We have about 90 days to fix this [new vulnerability] before some hacker begins using it."

Then there is the asymmetry of vulnerability to cyberweapons. A cyberweapon like Stuxnet threatens nation-states much more than it threatens a non-state actor that could deploy it in the future. For instance, a cyber-attack of the level of Stuxnet against the likes of Hizbullah or al-Qaida by a state like Israel or the US would cause these groups far less damage than a Hizbullah or al-Qaida cyber-attack of the quality of Stuxnet launched against a developed country like Israel or the US.

In short, like every other major new weapons system introduced since the slingshot, Stuxnet creates new strengths as well as new vulnerabilities for the states that may wield it.

As to the battle raging today in Iran's nuclear facilities, even if the most optimistic scenario is true, and Stuxnet has crippled Iran's nuclear installations, we must recognize that while a critical battle was won, the war is far from over.

A war ends when one side permanently breaks its enemy's ability and will to fight it. This has clearly not happened in Iran.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad made it manifestly clear during his visit to the US last week that he is intensifying, not moderating, his offensive stance towards the US, Israel and the rest of the free world. Indeed, as IDF Deputy Chief of Staff Maj.-Gen. Benny Ganz noted last week, "Iran is involved up to its neck in every terrorist activity in the Middle East."

So even in the rosiest scenario, Israel or some other government has just neutralized one threat - albeit an enormous threat - among a panoply of threats that Iran poses. And we can be absolutely certain that Iran will take whatever steps are necessary to develop new ways to threaten Israel and its other foes as quickly as possible.

What this tells us is that if Stuxnet is an Israeli weapon, while a great achievement, it is not a revolutionary weapon. While the tendency to believe that we have found a silver bullet is great, the fact is that fielding a weapon like Stuxnet does not fundamentally change Israel's strategic position. And consequently, it should have no impact on Israel's strategic doctrine.

In all likelihood, assuming that Stuxnet has significantly debilitated Iran's nuclear installations, this achievement will be a one-off. Just as the Arabs learned the lessons of their defeat in 1967 and implemented those lessons to great effect in the war in 1973, so the Iranians - and the rest of Israel's enemies - will learn the lessons of Stuxnet.

SO IF we assume that Stuxnet is an Israeli weapon, what does it show us about Israel's position vis-à-vis its enemies? What Stuxnet shows is that Israel has managed to maintain its technological advantage over its enemies. And this is a great relief. Israel has survived since 1948 despite our enemies' unmitigated desire to destroy us because we have continuously adapted our tactical advantages to stay one step ahead of them. It is this adaptive capability that has allowed Israel to win a series of one-off battles that have allowed it to survive.

But again, none of these one-off battles were strategic game-changers. None of them have fundamentally changed the strategic realities of the region. This is the case because they have neither impacted our enemies' strategic aspiration to destroy us, nor have they mitigated Israel's strategic vulnerabilities. It is the unchanging nature of these vulnerabilities since the dawn of modern Zionism that gives hope to our foes that they may one day win and should therefore keep fighting.

Israel has two basic strategic vulnerabilities.

The first is Israel's geographic minuteness, which attracts invaders. The second vulnerability is Israel's political weakness both at home and abroad, which make it impossible to fight long wars.

Attentive to these vulnerabilities, David Ben- Gurion asserted that Israel's military doctrine is the twofold goal to fight wars on our enemies' territory and to end them as swiftly and as decisively as possible. This doctrine remains the only realistic option today, even if Stuxnet is in our arsenal.

It is important to point this plain truth out today as the excitement builds about Stuxnet, because Israel's leaders have a history of mistaking tactical innovation and advantage with strategic transformation. It was our leaders' failure to properly recognize what happened in 1967 for the momentary tactical advantage it was that led us to near disaster in 1973.

Since 1993, our leaders have consistently mistaken their adoption of the West's land-forpeace paradigm as a strategic response to Israel's political vulnerability. The fact that the international assault on Israel's right to exist has only escalated since Israel embraced the landfor- peace paradigm is proof that our leaders were wrong. Adopting the political narrative of our enemies did not increase Israel's political fortunes in Europe, the US or the UN.

So, too, our leaders have mistaken Israel's air superiority for a strategic answer to its geographical vulnerability. The missile campaigns the Palestinians and Lebanese have waged against the home front in the aftermath of Israel's withdrawals from Gaza and south Lebanon show clearly that air supremacy does not make up for geographic vulnerability. It certainly does not support a view that strategic depth is less important than it once was.

We may never know if Stuxnet was successful or if Stuxnet is Israeli. But what we do know is that we cannot afford to learn the wrong lessons from its achievements.

Originally published in The Jerusalem Post.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Boycott these Jewish personalities boycotting Ariel

Drafted by US group Jewish Voice for Peace, the statement has already been signed by "over 200 theater and film professionals representing some of the most respected and renowned artists in theater and film -- including Oscar, Tony, Grammy and Pulitzer prize-winner Stephen Sondheim, Julianne Moore, film director Mira Nair, Sex and the City's Cynthia Nixon, Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Tony Kushner, 21-time Tony winner Harold Prince, star of the film Yentl, Mandy Patinkin, Fiddler on the Roof star and Cameri co-founder Theodore Bikel, Jennifer Tilly, Harry Potter's Miriam Margolyes, Ed Asner, Wallace Shawn and Focus Films' James Schamus among many others," JVP stated in a press release ("Breaking: Architect Frank Gehry supports Israeli settlement boycott," Jewish Voice for Peace press release, 20 September 2010).

worm attack Iran nuks


The Stuxnet outbreak
A worm in the centrifuge
An unusually sophisticated cyber-weapon is mysterious but important

Sep 30th 2010 | From The Economist print edition

IT SOUNDS like the plot of an airport thriller or a James Bond film. A crack team of experts, assembled by a shadowy government agency, develops a cyber-weapon designed to shut down a rogue country’s nuclear programme. The software uses previously unknown tricks to worm its way into industrial control systems undetected, searching for a particular configuration that matches its target—at which point it wreaks havoc by reprogramming the system, closing valves and shutting down pipelines.

This is not fiction, but fact. A new software “worm” called Stuxnet (its name is derived from keywords buried in the code) seems to have been developed to attack a specific nuclear facility in Iran. Its sophistication suggests that it is the work of a well-financed team working for a government, rather than a group of rogue hackers trying to steal secrets or cause trouble. America and Israel are the obvious suspects. But Stuxnet’s origins and effects are unknown.

Stuxnet first came to light in June, when it was identified by VirusBlokAda, a security firm in Belarus. The next month Siemens, a German industrial giant, warned customers that their “supervisory control and data acquisition” (SCADA) management systems, which control valves, pipelines and industrial equipment, were vulnerable to the worm. It targets a piece of Siemens software, called WinCC, which runs on Microsoft Windows.

For security reasons SCADA systems are not usually connected to the internet. But Stuxnet can spread via infected memory sticks plugged into a computer’s USB port. Stuxnet checks to see if WinCC is running. If it is, it tries to log in, to install a clandestine “back door” to the internet, and then to contact a server in Denmark or Malaysia for instructions. (Analysis of traffic to these servers is continuing, and may offer the best chance of casting light on Stuxnet’s purpose and origins.) If it cannot find WinCC, it tries to copy itself on to other USB devices. It can also spread across local networks via shared folders and print spoolers.

Initially, Stuxnet seemed to be designed for industrial espionage or to allow hackers to blackmail companies by threatening to shut down vital systems. But its unusual characteristics suggest another explanation. WinCC is a rather obscure SCADA system. Hackers hoping to target as many companies as possible would have focused on more popular systems. And Stuxnet searches for a particular configuration of industrial equipment as it spreads. It launches an attack only when it finds a match. “The bad news is that the virus is targeting a specific process or plant,” says Wieland Simon of Siemens. “The good news is that most industrial processes are not the target of the virus.” (Siemens says it knows of 15 plants around the world that were infected by Stuxnet, but their operations were unaffected as they were not the intended target.)

Another odd feature is that Stuxnet uses two compromised security certificates (stolen from firms in Taiwan) and a previously unknown security hole in Windows to launch itself automatically from a memory stick. The use of such “zero-day vulnerabilities” by viruses is not unusual. But Stuxnet can exploit four entirely different ones in order to worm its way into a system. These holes are so valuable that hackers would not normally use four of them in a single attack. Whoever created Stuxnet did just that to boost its chances. They also had detailed knowledge of Siemens’s industrial-production processes and control systems, and access to the target plant’s blueprints. In short, Stuxnet was the work neither of amateur hackers nor of cybercriminals, but of a well- financed team. “Behind this virus there are experts,” says Mr Simon. “They need money and know-how.”

So what was the target? Microsoft said in August that Stuxnet had infected more than 45,000 computers. Symantec, a computer-security firm, found that 60% of the infected machines were in Iran, 18% in Indonesia and 8% in India. That could be a coincidence. But if Stuxnet was aimed at Iran, one possible target is the Bushehr nuclear reactor. This week Iranian officials confirmed that Stuxnet had infected computers at Bushehr, but said that no damage to major systems had been done. Bushehr has been dogged by problems for years and its opening was recently delayed once again. Given that history, the latest hitch may not have been Stuxnet’s work.

A more plausible target is Iran’s uranium-enrichment plant at Natanz. Inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency, the UN’s watchdog, have found that about half Iran’s centrifuges are idle and those that work are yielding little. Some say a fall in the number of working centrifuges at Natanz in early 2009 is evidence of a successful Stuxnet attack.

Last year Scott Borg of the United States Cyber-Consequences Unit, a think-tank, said that Israel might prefer to mount a cyber-attack rather than a military strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities. That could involve disrupting sensitive equipment such as centrifuges, he said, using malware introduced via infected memory sticks.

His observation now looks astonishingly prescient. “Since the autumn of 2002, I have regularly predicted that this sort of cyber-attack tool would eventually be developed,” he says. Israel certainly has the ability to create Stuxnet, he adds, and there is little downside to such an attack, because it would be virtually impossible to prove who did it. So a tool like Stuxnet is “Israel’s obvious weapon of choice”. Some have even noted keywords in Stuxnet’s code drawn from the Bible’s Book of Esther—in which the Jews fight back to foil a plot to exterminate them.