Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Obama, Iran Israel

U.S., Israel Discuss Triggers for Bombing Iran’s Nuclear Infrastructure
Dec 28, 2011 4:45 AM EST
The Obama administration is trying to assure Israel privately that it would strike Iran militarily if Tehran’s nuclear program crosses certain “red lines”—while attempting to dissuade the Israelis from acting unilaterally. Eli Lake reports exclusively.

When Defense Secretary Leon Panetta opined earlier this month that an Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities could “consume the Middle East in a confrontation and a conflict that we would regret,” the Israelis went ballistic behind the scenes. Michael Oren, Israel’s ambassador to Washington, lodged a formal diplomatic protest known as a demarche. And the White House was thrust into action, reassuring the Israelis that the administration had its own “red lines” that would trigger military action against Iran, and that there is no need for Jerusalem to act unilaterally.

Panetta’s seemingly innocent remarks on Dec. 2 triggered the latest drama in the tinder-box relationship that the Obama administration is trying to navigate with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government. With Republicans lining up to court Jewish donors and voters in America in 2012, Obama faces a tricky election-year task of ensuring Iran doesn’t acquire a nuclear bomb on his watch while keeping the Israelis from launching a preemptive strike that could inflame an already teetering Middle East.

The stakes are immensely high, and the distrust that Israelis feel toward the president remains a complicating factor. Those sentiments were laid bare in a speech Netanyahu’s minister of strategic affairs, Moshe Ya’alon, gave on Christmas Eve in Jerusalem, in which he used Panetta’s remarks to cast doubt on the U.S.’s willingness to launch its own military strike.

Ya’alon told the Anglo-Likud, an organization within Netanyahu’s Likud party that caters to native English speakers, that the Western strategy to stop Iran’s drive for nuclear weapons must include four elements, with the last resort being a military strike.

“The fourth element of this combined strategy is the credible military strike,” Ya’alon said, according to a recording of the speech provided to The Daily Beast. “There is no credible military action when we hear leaders from the West, saying, ‘this is not a real option,’ saying, ‘the price of military action is too high.’”

US President Barack Obama shakes hands with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a bilateral meeting September 21, 2011 at the United Nations in New York City., Mandel Ngan, AFP / Getty Images

The lack of trust between the Israeli and American leaders on Iran has been a sub-rosa tension in the relationship since 2009. Three U.S. military officials confirm to The Daily Beast that analysts attached to the Office of the Secretary of Defense are often revising estimates trying to predict what events in Iran would trigger Prime Minister Netanyahu to authorize a military attack on the country’s nuclear infrastructure. Despite repeated requests going back to 2009, Netanyahu’s government has not agreed to ask the United States for permission or give significant advanced warning of any pending strike.

The sensitive work of trying to get both allies on the same page intensified this month. Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak visited Washington last week to go over Iran issues; and the undersecretary of state for political affairs, Wendy Sherman, and a special arms control adviser to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Robert Einhorn, were in Israel last week to discuss Iran as well. Panetta for his own part has revised his tone on the question of Iran’s nuclear program, telling CBS News last week that the United States was prepared to use force against Iran to stop the country from building a nuclear weapon.

The new diplomacy has prompted new conversations between the United States and Israel over what the triggers—called “red lines” in diplomatic parlance—would be to justify a pre-emptive attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities.

Matthew Kroenig, who served as special adviser on Iran to the Office of the Secretary of Defense between July 2010 and July 2011, offered some of the possible “red lines” for a military strike in a recent Foreign Affairs article he wrote. He argued that the U.S should attack Iran’s facilities if Iran expels international nuclear weapons inspectors, begins enriching its stockpiles of uranium to weapons-grade levels of 90 percent, or installs advanced centrifuges at its main uranium-enrichment facility in Qom.

In an interview with The Daily Beast, Kroenig also noted that Iran announced in 2009 that it was set to construct 10 new uranium enrichment sites. “I doubt they are building ten new sites, but I would be surprised if Iran was not racing to build some secret enrichment facilities,” Kroenig said. “Progress on new facilities would be a major factor in our assessment of Iran’s nuclear program and shape all aspects of our policy towards this including the decision to use force.”

The lying deceitful Palestinians

The Palestinian deception
Op-ed: Palestinians speak language of peace to West, preach hate and war in Arabic
Yochanan Visser, Sharon Shaked
Published: 12.28.11, 11:10 / Israel Opinion

Eighteen years have passed since the signing of the Oslo accords, and it seems justifiable to reach the conclusion that there will be no final-status agreement that will solve the Arab Israeli conflict in the foreseeable future.

The recent reconciliation between the Palestinian Authority and Hamas – including the announcement that Hamas will join the PLO - is further evidence that Mahmoud Abbas was never sincere in pursuing a peace agreement with Israel.

New Mideast?
Hamas is changing / Raphael Mimoun
Op-ed: Israel should consider new strategy towards increasingly pragmatic Hamas movement
Full story
Now that the chimera of a “peace process” has been exposed, the time has come to finally face the truth.

The Palestinian leadership has deceived Israel and the international community by speaking the language of “peace” to Western English-speaking audiences, while continually preaching hate and war to their own people in Arabic.

Duplicity and deceit have long concealed the true intentions of the Palestinian Authority, but its most recent actions and rhetoric have definitively revealed that it is not truly interested in peace and reconciliation with the Jewish state.

'Intelligent resistance'
A recent example of Palestinian deception is the manner in which the PA officially explains its refusal to negotiate with Israel.

The decision not to negotiate has been presented as a result of the Israeli insistence on building in the settlements while, in reality, the deadlock is the result of a revised policy that the PA adopted more than two years ago.

This revised policy was discussed by the Palestine Strategy Group and formed the basis for the 13th program of the Palestinian Authority published in 2009.

The program calls for "intelligent resistance" – meaning law fare, boycott campaigns and propaganda – as a means of continuing the struggle against Israel.

While terror has always been the main Palestinian weapon against Israel, under Abbas’ leadership the strategy changed, and political warfare has proven to be more successful in winning over the international community to the Palestinian cause.

But there is more. Other factors, which were not openly discussed by the Palestinians, contributed significantly to the failure of the peace process.

The absence of truth in Palestinian politics and society is one of those factors. Jihad or Ribat (a religious war for Allah), and Islamic anti-Semitism (including incitement against Jews and Israel) are the others.

Confusing the world
Ever since the establishment of the Palestinian Authority in 1994, deception has been a tactic to confuse Israel and the rest of the world.

Conflicting reports about the meaning of Hamas’ membership in the PLO issued recently by Fatah and Hamas leaders are the latest example of this tactic of deception, which is called al-Taqiyya and is primary based on the Koran.

According to the authoritative Arab text, Al-Taqiyya Fi Al-Islam, “Taqiyyah (deception) is of fundamental importance in Islam. Practically every Islamic sect agrees to it and practices it…Taqiyyah is very prevalent in Islamic politics, especially in the modern era.”

Muhammad first practiced Taqiyyah during the Battle of the Trench (627AD,) which pitted his army against several non-Muslim tribes known as “the Confederates.”

Arafat referred repeatedly to the use of Taqiyyah by Muhammad when he spoke about the Oslo accords to Islamic audiences.

'We will drive them out'
Fatah leader, Abbas Zaki, has repeatedly revealed the duplicity of the PA leaders.

On April 9th 2008 he told NBN TV the following: “The PLO has not changed its platform even one iota….The PLO proceeds through phases…..Allah willing we will drive them out of all of Palestine.

The same Zaki said the following this year on Lebanon TV: “When we say that the settlement should be based upon these (1967) borders, President (Abbas) understands, we understand, and everybody knows that the greater goal cannot be accomplished in one go. If Israel withdraws from Jerusalem, evacuates the 650,000 settlers and dismantles the wall – what will become of Israel? It will come to an end."

He then said: "It is not acceptable policy to say that we want to wipe Israel out. Don’t say these things to the world, keep it to yourself."

Mahmoud Abbas is less outspoken but is no less involved in deceiving the international community. Take for example an interview with European reporters about the unity agreement with Hamas two weeks ago, in which he said the following:

"We set the agreement's pillars, and Hamas agreed with us that resistance will be popular and adopt peaceful ways, rather than military resistance.” Peaceful resistance?

Well, when Hamas celebrated its 23th anniversary in Gaza the same week, Hamas PM Haniyeh called upon the Muslim Brotherhood to start a war to liberate Jerusalem He also said the following:

“We affirm that armed resistance is our strategic option and the only way to liberate our land, from the (Mediterranean) sea to the River (Jordan.) God willing, Hamas will lead the people… to the uprising until we liberate Palestine, all of Palestine”.

Water issues
Deception and incitement have also been the hallmark of the way Palestinians inform the world about the day-to-day situation in the West Bank and in Gaza.

This summer our organization, Missing Peace, revealed that the PA continually lies about water issues in the West Bank in order to advance the narrative of Israeli repression and Palestinian victimhood.

Additionally, the PA has actually failed to implement approved water projects and ignored undeniable evidence of Palestinian water theft.

Reports by individual Palestinian citizens or Palestinian NGOs often contain similar false claims.

Meanwhile, Palestinian Media Watch just published a book titled Deception, which documents the hate, incitement and promotion of violence by PA officials and media.

The book also demonstrates how the Palestinian public, and especially children, are brainwashed into believing the most outrageous lies about Palestinian history, Israel and the Jews.

The book also recounts a meeting between Mahmoud Abbas and president Obama in the White House on June 9, 2010. During that meeting Abbas said:

“And I say in front of you, Mr. President, that we have nothing to do with incitement against Israel, and we’re not doing that.”

Until now, large parts of the international community have ignored the evidence about the Palestinian deception and insist that the conflict is about territorial claims. Yet it is not. This conflict is about the existence of a Jewish state in the Dar al-Islam (territory of Islam).

The EU even raised its contribution to the PA by €100 million for 2012 and keeps admonishing Israel for building activities in the West Bank and Jerusalem.

If foreign interlocutors like the EU are serious about ending the conflict they should first insist that the PA end incitement and confront the clear pattern of deception by Palestinian leaders.

Yochanan Visser is the Director of Missing Peace Middle East News and writer of 'Israel indicted' a recently published book about the cognitive war against Israel (Dutch language)

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Don't believe lies that hamas will accept Israel

Hamas leader Haniyeh:
Goal is destruction of Israel in stages

Hamas agrees to '67 borders

by Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik

At a ceremony marking the 24th anniversary of the founding of Hamas, Hamas leader in the Gaza Strip Ismail Haniyeh said that Hamas may work for the "interim objective of liberation of Gaza, the West Bank, or Jerusalem," but that this "interim objective" and "reconciliation" with Fatah will not change Hamas' long-term "strategic" goal of eliminating all of Israel:

"The armed resistance and the armed struggle are the path and the strategic choice for liberating the Palestinian land, from the [Mediterranean] sea to the [Jordan] river, and for the expulsion of the invaders and usurpers [Israel]... We won't relinquish one inch of the land of Palestine."

Click to view

In his speech, Haniyeh also promised that Hamas will "lead Intifada after Intifada until we liberate Palestine - all of Palestine, Allah willing. Allah Akbar and praise Allah."

Two days later, contradicting Haniyeh's statements, PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas said that Hamas leader abroad Khaled Mashaal had agreed that:

- "There will be no military resistance."
- "The permanent solution is on the '67 borders."

According to Abbas, Hamas agrees to a permanent solution on the '67 borders. However, Haniyeh said that Hamas agrees to a temporary solution on the '67 borders as a first stage only.

For many years, the PLO promoted a "stages plan" that would first create a Palestinian state on the 1949 - 1967 armistice lines, and then work from that position to destroy Israel.

Senior Fatah official Abbas Zaki recently stated that this remains the goal for Fatah as well, but that "you can't say it to the world. You can say it to yourself."

Click to view

The following are longer excerpts of the statements mentioned above:

Speech by Ismail Haniyeh, head of Hamas at ceremony marking 24th anniversary of the founding of Hamas:
"We welcome you today, on this anniversary of the founding of the Islamic Resistance Movement - Hamas, as you renew the promise and oath of loyalty with Allah, with His Messenger and with His believers; you are renewing the loyalty to the blood of the Martyrs and the path of resistance and Jihad upon the blessed land of Palestine...
We say today, explicitly, so it cannot be explained otherwise, that the armed resistance and the armed struggle are the path and the strategic choice for liberating the Palestinian land, from the [Mediterranean] sea to the [Jordan] river, and for the expulsion of the invaders and usurpers [Israel] from the blessed land of Palestine. The Hamas movement will lead Intifada after Intifada until we liberate Palestine - all of Palestine, Allah willing. Allah Akbar and praise Allah. We say with transparency and in a clear manner, that Palestinian reconciliation - and all sides must know this - cannot come at the expense of [our] principles, at the expense of the resistance. These principles are absolute and cannot be disputed: Palestine - all of Palestine - is from the sea to the river. We won't relinquish one inch of the land of Palestine. The involvement of Hamas at any stage with the interim objective of liberation of [only] Gaza, the West Bank, or Jerusalem, does not replace its strategic view concerning Palestine and the land of Palestine."

Sunday, December 25, 2011

The times Vs Israel The Jewish Week

The Times vs. Israel?

Tuesday, December 20, 2011
We have a long history of defending The New York Times in the face of criticism from many in our community that the paper of record has an anti-Israel bias. We have decried boycotts against the Times as foolhardy and ineffective, and in public panels and lectures we have sought to point out the distinctions between reporting that doesn’t conform to Jerusalem’s version of events and outright bias.
But in recent months it has become difficult to ignore a disturbing pattern on the Times’ editorial and op-ed pages, one that blames Israel consistently, and sometimes exclusively, for the Mideast impasse.
Editorials on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict often call out Benjamin Netanyahu as the leader at fault. In doing so, the Times seems to dismiss the fact that the Israeli prime minister has repeatedly called for a two-state solution and the immediate resumption of peace talks, neither of which Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has agreed to.
The long-simmering concern about the Times’ tilt came to a head publicly last week when a letter surfaced that was written by Ron Dermer, a senior adviser to Netanyahu, to a New York Times op-ed page editor. In it Dermer declined a Times offer to publish an essay in the paper by the prime minister.
Dermer said the Times “failed to heed the late Senator Moynihan’s admonition that everyone is entitled to their own opinion but that no one is entitled to their own facts.”
He cited historical inaccuracies published in a Times op-ed last May by Abbas, pointing out that the Palestinian Authority president failed to note that it was the Arabs who rejected the 1947 United Nations partition plan and launched the war against the new Jewish state in 1948.
Further, Dermer charged that 19 of the 20 op-eds about Israel in the Times and International Herald Tribune in the last three months were negative, with the one exception an essay by Richard Goldstone, author of the controversial Goldstone Report for the UN, defending Israel against the charge of apartheid. (Dermer adds that the Times earlier turned down a Goldstone essay backing off of allegations that Israel committed war crimes during the fighting with Hamas in Gaza. It was published in The Washington Post.)
Perhaps most upsetting was a charge made by Times columnist Tom Friedman in his Dec. 13 column that the standing ovation Netanyahu received in Congress this year “was bought and paid for by the Israel lobby.”
Reflecting the anger of many Jewish leaders, David Harris, executive director of the American Jewish Committee, wrote in his blog that Friedman “crossed a line” with the Israel lobby statement, which he called “inaccurate and shockingly insidious,” conjuring up “the ugliest anti-Semitic stereotypes.”
In an interview with The Jewish Week on Tuesday, Friedman said: “In retrospect I probably should have used a more precise term like ‘engineered’ by the Israel lobby — a term that does not suggest grand conspiracy theories that I don’t subscribe to,” he said. “It would have helped people focus on my argument, which I stand by 100 percent.”
That argument was about the need to distinguish between American and Israeli interests at times, and to note that many American Jews “are deeply worried about where Israel is going today.” He cited a number of examples of acts and statements that suggest disturbing political and cultural shifts in Israeli society.
Friedman has often written of his support for the State of Israel, despite his sometimes sharp criticism of Jerusalem’s policies. His was a lonely voice of support for Israel in the mainstream press during the Israeli army’s military campaigns against Hamas and Hezbollah.
Many of us share at least some of the concerns Friedman and others express. But we worry that too often criticisms of Israel are leveled without an appreciation for its struggles to survive and thrive as a vibrant democracy in a sea of hostility, amid a world obsessed with the Jewish state’s every flaw and perceived flaw.
We expect no more from the Arab states and the UN; we do expect more from The New York Times.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Insanity of Israel's conversion policies

Israel says people converted by Chassidic Rabbis are not real Jews.

Published On Sunday, December 18, 2011 01:01:29 AM

Within the next few weeks Martina Ragachova could be deported from Israel — for being too frum.
Prague-born Ragachova, 37, moved to Israel a decade ago, and in 2004 converted to Judaism in the Bnei Brak rabbinic court of Nissim Karelitz, one of the world’s best-respected and most stringent Haredi rabbis. Karelitz was so moved by the genuineness of her commitment to Judaism that he knelt before her by way of congratulation.

Prior to this ultra-Orthodox conversion, Ragachova had applied to become Jewish in the modern-Orthodox state-run conversion courts. But they did not accept her application. So she took the private Haredi track.

She now has a conversion certificate that is accepted by virtually every rabbi in the world, in contrast to the state conversion she originally applied for, which is viewed with skepticism by large sections of the Orthodox community. But because she took her conversion into her own hands, Israel’s state rabbinate and Interior Ministry insist that she is not Jewish.
This means she cannot marry in Israel. When it comes to weddings performed in-country, the government recognizes only religious marriages. And for Jews, this means weddings officiated by Orthodox rabbis between individuals the government recognizes as Jews.

More immediately, it means that she could be deported because the Interior Ministry doesn’t consider her Jewish and will not grant her citizenship.

Until now, Ragachova has avoided deportation thanks to an injunction she obtained by going to court. Early next year, the Supreme Court will hear her case along with those of others in her situation.

If the court forces the state to recognize her conversion, as she is asking, the state’s monopoly on conversion will be over. If she is deported, there will be outrage in the Haredi community, which will see the ruling as an insult to one of its leading scholars.

“The conversion I passed is acceptable in every country in the world apart from Israel. It’s an absurd situation,” Ragachova told the Forward. She complained that she has been in limbo since her conversion due to her lack of citizenship. Until the court first considered her case in November, her lack of citizenship prevented her from working under the law. The temporary injunction she obtained now allows her to work during her case’s legal proceedings.

Ragachova’s case highlights a strange situation that has come about in Israel: Haredi conversion has become a relatively easy option for some who are prepared to follow an extra-stringent observant lifestyle.

Eleven years ago, the government faced resistance from within the rabbinate over its efforts to facilitate conversion for thousands of Russian immigrants and others who enjoy citizenship under Israel’s Law of Return on the basis of their Jewish family background — but who are considered non-Jews under Orthodox Judaic law. In response, the government set up a separate conversion operation under the Office of the Prime Minister to streamline their conversion.

These immigrants, for the most part, sought to become Jewish in order to become full-fledged members of Israel’s Jewish society, able to marry other Jews, be buried in Jewish cemeteries and enjoy full social acceptance. Under the plan, this new conversion body, which employed more lenient standards, was granted a monopoly over conversions for individuals living in Israel.

But this left out many individuals living legally in Israel on a long-term basis who, for one reason or another, are not citizens. These residents are barred from conversion unless they obtain special permission from an “exceptions committee” that meets rarely and gives no public account of its activities. Some people have not received a reply from the committee after a year after applying.

Having a Jewish partner makes applying via the Conversion Authority harder, not easier. The non-Jewish partner of a Jew, whether that Jew is Israeli born or an immigrant, cannot apply to the exceptions committee until he or she has been married to the Jewish partner for a year-and-a-half or in a relationship for four years. Of course, the couple cannot get married in Israel unless they are both Jewish to begin with.

“I have 10 cases of people who want to convert and start a Jewish family, but they have to wait, and some are in their 30s and say their biological clocks are ticking,” said Seth Farber, a Modern Orthodox rabbi who is director of the nonprofit organization ITIM that advocates on behalf of conversion candidates.

By contrast, the conversion process under Karelitz is straightforward, and open to anyone he deems serious about becoming Jewish. Prospective converts study, according to an aide to Karelitz, until they know more Jewish law “than even the average yeshiva or seminary student.” When Karelitz finds them ready, he converts them.

The Beth Din Tzedek religious court in Bnei Brak, which Karelitz chairs, was converting only a handful of people when Ragachova turned to it. Last year, it converted more than 250.

The trend disheartens Farber. “It is unfortunate and ironic that more and more people are coming to us to help them go through ultra-Orthodox conversions because the bureaucracy is preventing them from converting through the State of Israel,” he commented.

If the prospect of deportation is daunting for Ragachova, it is terrifying for Raisa-Haya Sonin, 74, Israel’s most Haredi gentile. Sonin dresses and practices religion the way Haredi women do, and is very much part of the Orthodox community in the Orthodox stronghold of Bnei Brak. But the state and its official rabbinate consider her non-Jewish because she converted with Karelitz after moving to Israel from the Former Soviet Union. Because of this, the state also does not recognize her marriage. “It’s hard from a spiritual point of view,” said her husband Ilya Sonin, 76, who was born Jewish. “We are old, not strong, and I worry about what will happen if I die first, about her status here.”

Sonin knows that under Israeli law, she can stay in the country living with the
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man whom the state regards as her Jewish civil partner only as long as he is alive. But she cannot apply for citizenship herself. And if he were to die, she could be deported.

Asked about its position on private conversions and the forthcoming court case, the Interior Ministry gave a brief answer: “The principal position of the State of Israel in all these cases is not to recognize any private conversion that takes place in Israel.”
The Conversion Authority did not respond to requests for information on its position.

The religious-Zionist camp is watching the Ragachova case closely. Observing the popularity of Karelitz’s court, some prominent Zionist rabbis have started converting. Yisrael Rosen, a Conversion Authority judge until his retirement in June and a founder of the state conversion courts, opened a conversion court of his own in August. The court converts an average of one person a week — unrecognized by the state.

Farber said: “It is unjust that someone can convert overseas and be recognized by the Law of Return, but if they convert in Israel, the center of Jewish world, they cannot.”

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Obama's continuing betrayal of Israel

'The Emergency Committee for Israel Will Continue to Tell it Like it Is'
Daniel Halper
December 16, 2011 6:04 PM

Barack Obama, in a speech today at the Union for Reform Judaism convention:
"I am proud to say that no U.S. administration has done more in support of Israel's security than ours. None. Don't let anybody else tell you otherwise. It is a fact." -- President Obama, Friday, Dec. 16
Bill Kristol, in his capacity as chairman of the Emergency Committee for Israel:
"President Obama protests too much. It is not a fact that his administration has been strong in support of Israel. It is a fact that in the past month alone, Obama administration officials have blamed Israel for the failure of the peace process, blamed Israel for fraying relations with the increasingly Islamist governments in Egypt and Turkey, compared Israel to Iran, and blamed Israel for Muslim anti-Semitism in Europe. The president hasn't clarified or repudiated any of these remarks. Israel's security doesn’t come from campaign-season platitudes delivered to Jewish audiences. Israel’s security depends on an American president who stands with Israel all the time, in public and private, before audiences foreign and domestic -- and whose administration's first instinct isn't to blame Israel first. The president's wishes to the contrary notwithstanding, the Emergency Committee for Israel will continue to tell it like it is." -- William Kristol, Friday, Dec. 16

Gingrich points out FALSE narrative of Palestinians

The Gingrich Syndrome

By: Yedidya Atlas

In 1949, Princeton University Press, published the Fifth Revised Printing, of the original 1943 history book “The Arabs: A Short History” by Professor Philip Khuri Hitti, Professor of Semitic Languages and Chairman of the Department of Oriental Languages at Princeton University. Credited with almost single handedly created the discipline of Arabic Studies in the United States, Hitti, born in Ottoman Syria (now modern day Lebanon), was the preeminent scholar of Islam and the Arab world of his day.
It seems that some people (including some in the media) have short memories...

A proponent of the Arab cause against the Jews and Zionism, Hitti was the first Arab to testify against the Partition Plan at the 1946 Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry, where he took Ben-Gurion to task for his testimony about “Palestine” (referring to the Jews). Hitti declared: “There is no such thing as ‘Palestine’ in history, absolutely not.” And in fact, in the aforementioned “The Arabs: A Short History” there is no mention of whatsoever of an Arab “Palestinian People” even though the particular volume in this writer’s possession was printed in 1966. Despite its numerous revisions, including after the founding the 1948 founding of the State of Israel, Professor Philip K. Hitti, a world renowned spokesman for the Arab cause for many years, made no revision to include the now oft-mentioned Arab “Palestinian People” in later editions of his book on Arab history.

In fact, the name “Palestine”, or “Palaestina” in Latin, originated in the second century C.E., after the Roman occupiers crushed the Jewish revolt of Bar Kochba. In an effort to subsequently wipe out Jewish connection to the Land, the Romans renamed the occupied Jewish Land of Israel as“Syria Palaestina” (after “Philistina” – the land where the Philistines, ancient enemies of the Jewish People, had dwelled in what is today Israel’s coastal plain and Gaza) and considered southern Syria, ruled by a Roman Governor in Damascus. Jerusalem was renamed “Aelia Capitolina”, Shechem, which had, like Jerusalem, been burnt to the ground and rebuilt by the Romans was renamed “Neapolis” (or “the New City” in Latin). Owing to the lack of the letter “P” in Arabic, “Palestine”, is today referred to by Arabs as “Filastin”, and the Arab name for Jewish Shechem, “Nablus” was another Arab mispronunciation of the Roman name Neapolis.

In brief, the name of the nationality of the so-called Arab “Palestinian People” is not even derived from their own language, Arabic. They have no distinctive national history, culture or even cuisine that distinguishes them from other Arabs in Syria, Lebanon, Jordan or Egypt. No one can name the first, last, or any Arab Palestinian king, during the long centuries they falsely claim to have existed prior to the return en masse of the Jews to the Biblical Land of Israel in the past 200 years. Hence, Arab Palestinian national existence is demonstratively a recent development at best.

So the responses to the recent remarks of former speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives and current Republican presidential candidate, Newt Gingrich, regarding the historical bona fides, or lack thereof, of the “Palestinian People” is more telling than the actual remarks.
After all, what did he say?
“Remember, there was no Palestine as a state. It was part of the Ottoman Empire until the early 20th century. I think that we've had an invented Palestinian people who are in fact Arabs, and who were historically part of the Arab community. And they had a chance to go many places, and for a variety of political reasons we have sustained this war against Israelnow since the 1940s, and it's tragic.”
Mr. Gingrich, who has a PhD. in history and taught it at the college level for a number of years prior to his decades long political career, has sufficient academic credentials for one to assume he has read at least a few serious books in his life on the subject, and can easily document the accuracy of his declaration. Moreover, as proven above, he didn’t say anything all that earth shattering per se.
The Palestinian Arab leadership, of course, challenged the veracity of the Gingrich remarks with the usual oft-repeated falsehoods:
"Our people have been here since the very beginning and are determined to stay on their land until the very end." And that Gingrich was “denying historical facts.” (Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad)
Also, of course, they labeled Mr. Gingrich, as “ignorant and racist” for challenging the politically correct albeit false Palestinian narrative.
Unsurprisingly, some media outlets attempted to undercut the historical accuracy of the Gingrich remarks. The Reuters report included the following paragraph:
“Most historians mark the start of Palestinian Arab nationalist sentiment in 1834, when Arab residents of the Palestinian region revolted against Ottoman rule.”
The key words being, of course, “most historians” in an effort to convince the reader that Gingrich’s statement was really just politically motivated and not a well documented historical fact. In reality said “most historians”is really the politically correct wishful thinking of two of Israel’s leftist “new historians” Baruch Kimerling and Joel Migdal in their book “The Palestinian People: A History” (Harvard University Press, 2003). There they write:
“The tough rule and new reforms led to the 1834 revolt’s outbreak in the heart of the country, uniting dispersed Bedouins, rural sheiks, urban notables, mountain fellaheen, and Jerusalem religious figures against a common enemy. It was these groups who would later constitute the Palestinian people.” (pp.3-20, p.7)
The “common enemy” was the Egyptian forces led by Ibrahim Pasha that had conquered much of the country in 1830 from Ottoman rule. The baseless assertion that “these groups who would later constitute the Palestinian people” is vacuous at best, if not deliberate false propaganda to lend credence to the “Palestinian People” myth propagated by Israel’s enemies in an effort to challenge the well documented Jewish connection to the Land. And although even Kimmerling and Migdal don’t buy into the official false history of today’s Palestinian Arab propaganda machine, their book nonetheless, achieved its purpose since it gives Reuters and other media outlets the “academic” basis to muddy the waters of historical accuracy and give the false impression that these issues are in dispute and Mr. Gingrich and anyone who agrees with his statement is in the minority and assumedly with a politically motivated bias against the “poor Palestinians.”
Much has been written in the past week or so in defense of Mr. Gingrich’s historically accurate assertions by top columnists in both Israel and theUnited States, but what no one discusses is the “true sin” of Mr. Gingrich. It is not merely that he has publicly noted that the “Palestinian Arab emperor” has no clothes, but that he, who may well be the next president of the United States, has, in essence, argued that documented truth, and not a politically correct false version of a so-called narrative, should be the basis of the reality upon which negotiations take place. In brief, that the so-called “Israel-Palestinian Conflict” is not a level playing field with equal moral and historical claims to a “disputed” Land.
He didn’t challenge the rights of the parties to negotiate a solution acceptable to both parties. He simply asserted that truth counts in policy making. What a remarkable idea!
The criticism leveled at Mr. Gingrich by even his fellow Republican contenders is that by speaking the truth about an important subject, it is making today’s realpolitik approach to Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, for example, more difficult – even for Israel! As if the Israeli position would not be strengthened by an American administration that would reject the false narrative of its enemies. Thus far, administrations that accept the Palestinian “Big Lie” invariably pressure Israel to make tangible and irrevocable concessions that threaten her very existence.

The logical extension of Mr. Gingrich’s “sin” is that not only should truth and morality be factors in making national policy, next he might suggest that political leaders should face reality and deal with it accordingly instead of making policy on delusional wishful thinking. Who does he think he is?
The author is a veteran journalist specializing in geo-political and geo-strategic affairs in the Middle East. His articles have appeared in such publications as The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Times, Insight Magazine, Nativ, The Jerusalem Post and Makor Rishon. His articles have been reprinted by Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and in the US Congressional Record.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Nonsense from Deborah Lipstatdt

Here is the jist of what was reported she said

"Renowned Holocaust historian Deborah Lipstadt says that American and Israeli politicians who invoke the Holocaust for contemporary political purposes are engaging in “Holocaust abuse”, which is similar to “soft-core denial” of the Holocaust.In a hard-hitting interview with Haaretz, Lipstadt also lashed out at the "over-the-top pandering" of Republican presidential candidates, describing their fawning support for Israel as "embarrassing" and "unhealthy." Of last week’s appearance of the top Republican candidates at a Washington forum organized by the Republican Jewish Committee, she said: “It was unbelievable. It made me cringe. I couldn’t watch it.”...
“You listen to Newt Gingrich talking about the Palestinians as an ‘invented people’ – it’s out-Aipacking AIPAC, it’s out-Israeling Israel,” she said. .”There’s something about it that’s so discomforting. It’s not healthy. It’s a distortion,” she said.
The New York-born Lipstadt said that President Barack Obama’s “flatfooted” handling of Israel at the beginning of his term “gave an opening to Republicans in America and to ‘Republicans’ in Israel.” She said that “more and more Jews are scared and here’s someone [the Republicans, CS] who is going to protect them. It’s so over-the-top irrational.”

I say Thank God for these Republican candidates and their concern about Israel.

Why is this nonsense?
1. Obama is one of, if not, the worst president's ever in regardf to uisrael, endangering her security in many ways, including"
a. Pressuring only Israel about failure of the Palestinians to return to the table
b. saying zero about their continuing anti_Israel and anti Jewish efforts
c. Undermining Mubarak so now Egypt will turn anti Israel and jihadist
d. humilated Netanyahu then tried to sandbag him about indefensible borders
e. sends surrogates out to attack Israel etc
f. Wasted 2 years trying to talk to Iran aboutt heir nuclear weapon dresire, then has stalled on aggresive sanctions, and allowed Iran to capture our most sophisticated drone

Many very rationale Jews understand the stakes, and how dangerous another Obama term would be, and it is NOT irrational to use Holocaust imagery when talking about Iran nuclear bombs aimed at 6 + million Jews.

As for Gingrich and Invented Palestinians, everyone else has to be PC but someone has to tel the truth. Everyone tiptoies about, afraid to speak the truth and the result? Absolutly zero evidence the Palestinians want any form of peace with a Jewish state,'
Lisptadt, for all her Holocaust knowledge, seems to have failed to learn the key lessons about paying attention when nazis say they want to kill you

Rabbi Jonathan Ginsburg

Obama pulling us out of Iraq hurts Israel

Obama pulling us out of Iraq hurts Israel

By Gabriel M. Scheinmann - JINSA Visiting Fellow

[Iran-Israel Map]On October 21, President Obama announced the impending end of U.S. military operations in Iraq, ordering the complete withdrawal of American forces by the end of 2011. Unable or unwilling to strike a deal to secure a long-term military presence, the President confidently declared that "Iraqis have taken full responsibility for their country's security" the United States is leaving Iraq behind at a precarious period when it is not yet able to defend itself.

American allies, such as Israel, are similarly nervous about the precipitous departure. A weak and America-less Iraq will have demonstrably negative consequences for Israel's security environment. First, no country with an American military presence has attacked Israel. U.S. forces stationed in Turkey, Egypt, and the Gulf States have deterred or prevented those states from embarking on military action. In fact, the presence of U.S. forces has generally signaled the strategic orientation of those countries, first as anti-Soviet and now as anti-Iranian.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

reaction to the invented palestinians

Our World: Gingrich’s fresh hope
12/12/2011 23:20

Gingrich's statement about the Palestinians was entirely accurate. That is, the Palestinian people were invented 91 years ago.

Talkbacks (100)
Last Friday, the frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination, former speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, did something revolutionary. He told the truth about the Palestinians. In an interview with The Jewish Channel, Gingrich said that the Palestinians are an “invented” people, “who are in fact Arabs.”

His statement about the Palestinians was entirely accurate. At the end of 1920, the “Palestinian people” was artificially carved out of the Arab population of “Greater Syria.” “Greater Syria” included present-day Syria, Lebanon, Israel, the Palestinian Authority and Jordan. That is, the Palestinian people were invented 91 years ago. Moreover, as Gingrich noted, the term “Palestinian people” only became widely accepted after 1977.

As Daniel Pipes chronicled in a 1989 article on the subject in The Middle East Quarterly, the local Arabs in what became Israel opted for a local nationalistic “Palestinian” identity in part due to their sense that their brethren in Syria were not sufficiently committed to the eradication of Zionism.

Since Gingrich spoke out on Friday, his factually accurate statement has been under assault from three directions. First, it has been attacked by Palestinian apologists in the postmodernist camp. Speaking to CNN, Hussein Ibish from the American Task Force on Palestine argued that Gingrich’s statement was an outrage because while he was right about the Palestinians being an artificial people, in Ibish’s view, Israelis were just as artificial. That is, he equated the Palestinians’ 91-year-old nationalism with the Jews’ 3,500-year-old nationalism.

In his words, “To call the Palestinians ‘an invented people’ in an obvious effort to undermine their national identity is outrageous, especially since there was no such thing as an ‘Israeli’ before 1948.”

Ibish’s nonsense is easily dispatched by a simple reading of the Hebrew Bible. As anyone semi-literate in Hebrew recognizes, the Israelis were not created in 1948. Three thousand years ago, the Israelis were led by a king named David. The Israelis had an independent commonwealth in the Land of Israel, and their capital city was Jerusalem.

The fact that 500 years ago King James renamed the Israelis “Israelites” is irrelevant to the basic truth that there is nothing new or artificial about the Israeli people. And Zionism, the Jewish national liberation movement, did not arise in competition with Arab nationalism. Zionism has been a central feature of Jewish identity for 3,500 years.

THE SECOND line of attack against Gingrich denies the veracity of his claim. Palestinian luminaries like the PA’s unelected Prime Minister Salam Fayyad told CNN, “The Palestinian people inhabited the land since the dawn of history.”

Fayyad’s historically unsubstantiated claim was further expounded on by Fatah Revolutionary Council member Dmitri Diliani in an interview with CNN. “The Palestinian people [are] descended from the Canaanite tribe of the Jebusites that inhabited the ancient site of Jerusalem as early as 3200 BCE,” Diliani asserted,

The Land of Israel has the greatest density of archeological sites in the world. Judea, Samaria, the Galilee, the Negev, the Golan Heights and other areas of the country are packed with archeological evidence of the Jewish commonwealths. As for Jerusalem, literally every inch of the city holds physical proof of the Jewish people’s historical claims to the city.

To date, no archeological or other evidence has been found linking the Palestinians to the city or the Jebusites.

From a US domestic political perspective, the third line of attack against Gingrich’s factual statement has been the most significant. The attacks involve conservative Washington insiders, many of whom are outspoken supporters of Gingrich’s principal rival for the Republican presidential nomination, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney.

To date, the attackers’ most outspoken representative has been Washington Post blogger Jennifer Rubin. These insiders argue that although Gingrich spoke the truth, it was irresponsible and unstatesmanlike for him to have done so.

As Rubin put it on Monday, “Do conservatives really think it is a good idea for their nominee to reverse decades of US policy and deny there is a Palestinian national identity?” In their view, Gingrich is an irresponsible flamethrower because he is turning his back on a 30- year bipartisan consensus. That consensus is based on ignoring the fact that the Palestinians are an artificial people whose identity sprang not from any shared historical experience, but from opposition to Jewish nationalism.

The policy goal of the consensus is to establish an independent Palestinian state west of the Jordan River that will live at peace with Israel.

This policy was obsessively advanced throughout the 1990s until it failed completely in 2000, when Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat rejected then-prime minister Ehud Barak’s and then US president Bill Clinton’s offer of Palestinian statehood and began the Palestinian terror war against Israel.

BUT RATHER than acknowledge that the policy – and the embrace of Palestinian national identity at its heart – had failed, and consider other options, the US policy establishment in Washington clung to it for dear life. Republicans like Rubin’s mentor, former deputy national security adviser Elliott Abrams, went on to support enthusiastically Israel’s surrender of Gaza in 2005, and to push for Hamas participation in the 2006 Palestinian elections. That withdrawal and those elections catapulted the jihadist terror group to power.

The consensus that Gingrich rejected by telling the truth about the artificial nature of Palestinian nationalism was based on an attempt to square popular support for Israel with the elite’s penchant for appeasement. On the one hand, due to overwhelming public support for a strong US alliance with Israel, most US policy-makers have not dared to abandon Israel as a US ally.

On the other hand, American policy-makers have been historically uncomfortable having to champion Israel to their anti-Israel European colleagues and to their Arab interlocutors who share the Palestinians’ rejection of Israel’s right to exist.

The policy of seeking to meld an anti-Israel Arab appeasement policy with a pro-Israel anti-appeasement policy was embraced by successive US administrations until it was summarily discarded by President Barack Obama three years ago. Obama replaced the two-headed policy with one of pure Arab appeasement.

Obama was able to justify his move because the two-pronged policy had failed. There was no peace between Israel and the Palestinians. The price of oil had skyrocketed, and US interests throughout the region were increasingly threatened.

For its part, Israel was far more vulnerable to terror and war than it had been in years. And its diplomatic isolation was acute and rising.

Unfortunately for both the US and Israel, Obama’s break with the consensus has destabilized the region, endangered Israel and imperiled US interests to a far greater degree than they had been under the failed dual-track policy of his predecessors. Throughout the Arab world, Islamist forces are on the rise.

Iran is on the verge of becoming a nuclear power.

The US is no longer seen as a credible regional power as it pulls its forces out of Iraq without victory, hamstrings its forces in Afghanistan, dooming them to attrition and defeat, and abandons its allies in country after country.

The stark contrast between Obama’s rejection of the failed consensus on the one hand and Gingrich’s rejection of the failed consensus on the other hand indicates that Gingrich may well be the perfect foil for Obama.

Gingrich’s willingness to state and defend the truth about the nature of the Palestinian conflict with Israel is the perfect response to Obama’s disastrous speech “to the Muslim world” in Cairo in June 2009. It was in that speech that Obama officially abandoned the bipartisan consensus, abandoned Israel and the truth about Zionism and Jewish national rights, and embraced completely the lie of Palestinian nationalism and national rights.

Both Rubin and Abrams, as well as Romney, justified their attacks on Gingrich and their defense of the failed consensus by noting that no Israeli leaders were saying what Gingrich said. Rubin went so far as to allege that Gingrich’s words of truth about the Palestinians hurt Israel.

This is of course absurd. What many Americans fail to recognize is that Israeli leaders are not as free to tell the truth about the nature of the conflict as the US is. Rather than look to Israel for leadership on this issue, American leaders would do well to view Israel as the equivalent of West Germany during the Cold War. With half of Berlin occupied by the Red Army and West Berlin serving as the tripwire for a Soviet invasion of Western Europe, West German leaders were not as free to tell the truth about the Soviet Union as American leaders were.

Today, with Jerusalem under constant political and terror threat, with all of Israel increasingly encircled by Islamist regimes, and with the Obama administration abandoning traditional US support for Israel, it is becoming less and less reasonable to expect Israel to take the rhetorical lead in telling important and difficult truths about the nature of its neighbors.

When Romney criticized Gingrich’s statement as unhelpful to Israel, Gingrich replied, “I feel quite confident that an amazing number of Israelis found it nice to have an American tell the truth about the war they are in the middle of, and the casualties they are taking and the people around them who say, ‘They do not have a right to exist and we want to destroy them.’” And he is absolutely right. It was more than nice.

It was heartening.

Thirty years of pre-Obama American lying about the nature of the conflict in an attempt to balance support for Israel with appeasement of the Arabs did not make the US safer or the Middle East more peaceful. A return to that policy under a new Republican president will not be sufficient to restore stability and security to the region.

And the need for such a restoration is acute. Under Obama, the last three years of US abandonment of the truth about Israel for Palestinian lies has made the region less stable, Israel more vulnerable, the US less respected and US interests more threatened.

Gingrich’s statement of truth was not an act of irresponsible flame throwing. It was the beginning of an antidote to Obama’s abandonment of truth and reason in favor of lies and appeasement. And as such, it was not a cause for anger. It was a cause for hope.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Newt being criticized because he is right

Melanie Phillips

US presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich (whose Lazarus-like trajectory to the Republican nomination I flagged up here a month ago) has recently demonstrated yet again Melanie's First Rule of Modern Political Discourse - the more obvious the truth that you utter, the more explosive and abusive the reaction.

For Gingrich said the Palestinian Arabs were 'an invented people' - and the world promptly started hurling execrations at him, as if such a statement proved beyond doubt that Gingrich was indeed a dangerously extreme individual who, when it came to political positioning, was just off the graph altogether.

So just what did he say? This:

' "Remember, there was no Palestine as a state - (it was) part of the Ottoman Empire. I think we have an invented Palestinian people who are in fact Arabs and historically part of the Arab community and they had the chance to go many places..." '

But of course, he is absolutely correct. As Elder of Ziyonpointed out, the Arabs who lived in Palestine were a disconnected bunch of tribes who had nothing in common with each other except that they were Arabs. They never were, are not and never will be a Palestinian people (the claim that they are now just because they say they are is risible and would be dismissed out of hand if applied to any other self-defined grouping). There is not and never has been any 'Palestinian' Arab culture, language, religion or national identity separate from that of the wider Arab nation.
'Palestinianism' was invented solely to destroy Israel. The one and only characteristic of this 'national' identity is the aim of destroying another -- authentic -- national identity.

The Arabs have themselves repeatedly admitted this over the years.Auni Bey Abdul-Hadi, the Syrian Arab leader told the British Peel Commission in 1937:

"There is no such country as Palestine. 'Palestine' is a term the Zionists invented. There is no Palestine in the Bible. Our country was for centuries part of Syria. 'Palestine' is alien to us. It is the Zionists who introduced it."

At the United Nations in 1956, the Saudi representative stated:

"It is common knowledge that Palestine is nothing but Southern Syria."

And after the 1967 war Zuheir Muhsin, then military commander of the PLO and member of the PLO Executive Council, said helpfully:

"There are no differences between Jordanians, Palestinians, Syrians and Lebanese. We are all part of one nation. It is only for political reasons that we carefully underline our Palestinian identity... yes, the existence of a separate Palestinian identity serves only tactical purposes. The founding of a Palestinian state is a new tool in the continuing battle against Israel."

The agenda of 'Palestinian rights' is, however, now so deeply rooted in western discourse and diplomacy - and even in Israeli leftist discourse - that Gingrich has found himself under attack for talking rubbish. But it is his attackers whose arguments are jaw-droppingly absurd.

For example, a Fatah Revolutionary Council member claimed that Gingrich was 'racist' and 'ignorant' because the Palestinians had descended from the 'Canaanite tribe of the Jebusites'. But as Elder of Ziyon comments in a further hilarious posting, there are one or two, ah, obstacles in the way of this particular claim:

'The only confirmed mention of the historic Jebusites is in the Hebrew Bible. That's the only source that says that the Jebusites lived around Jerusalem. This exact same source says that one of their leaders, Araunah, offered to give the Temple Mount to King David; David insisted that he pay for it, and he did - for the amount of fifty silver shekels. So if you believe that the Palestinian Arabs are actually Jebusites, you must believe that they sold the Temple Mount to the Jews in a legal transaction.

'... There is another problem, though. The Constitution of Palestine refers numerous times to the "Arab Palestinian people" and that "Palestine is part of the large Arab World, and the Palestinian people are part of the Arab Nation." The PLO Charter similarly states "Palestine is the homeland of the Arab Palestinian people; it is an indivisible part of the Arab homeland, and the Palestinian people are an integral part of the Arab nation."

'But Jebusites were not Arabs. They were not even Semites! No self-respecting Jebusite (if any had still existed) would identify with the Arab hordes who overran his homeland in the seventh century. He would probably want to behead the infidel invaders.

'Is the constitution and charter wrong? When they call themselves Arab, are they all lying? Perhaps "Palestine" should quit the Arab League and re-assert its nebulous Jebusite ancestry.'

Next, herewas Israeli revisionist historian Tom Segev:

'"There is no intelligent person today who argues about the existence of the Palestinian people," Segev said. "Nations are created gradually. I don't think the Palestinians are less of a nation than the Americans," he added.'

There is no intelligent person today who would compare like with unlike in this shallow way. Americans became a nation solely because they created, lived in and governed America. The Jews were the nation who created, lived in and governed Israel. The Arabs were among waves of colonisers who took their national homeland away from them. The Americans did not base their entire claim to nationhood on the big lie that they were the original inhabitants of the land. The Palestinian Arabs do just that.

Daniel Greenfield, aka Sultan Knish, rips the American analogy apart and goes on:

'Palestinian identity is just so much gibberish. The official definition of that identity encompasses only those parts of the Palestine Mandate which Israel holds today.
'The people who live on the parts of the Palestine Mandate that were turned into the Kingdom of Jordan in 1921 are not Palestinians. There is no call to incorporate them into a Palestinian state. The people who lived in the parts of Israel that were captured by Jordan and Egypt in 1948 weren't Palestinians, and there was no call to turn the land that today comprises the so-called "Occupied Territories" into a state. But in 1967 when Israel liberated those areas-- only then did they magically turn into Palestinians. How is anyone supposed to take this nonsense seriously?

'Suppose I were to tell you that there were an ancient people known as the Floridians whose land was seized from them to make resort hotels and orange groves. What would be your first clue that there was something wrong here? Florida is a Spanish name meaning flower. Palestine, which is a Latin name applied by its ancient conquerors, derived from the Greek, has the same problem.

'When the Jews rebuilt their country, they did not call it Palestine, that was the name used by European powers. They called it Israel. The local Arabs who had come with the wave of conquests that toppled Byzantine rule had no such history and no name for themselves. Instead they took the Latin name used by the European powers and began pretending that it was some ancient tribal identity, rather than a regional name that was used by the European powers to describe local Jews and Arabs.

'... This bloody circus has been going on for way too long. Enough that the Arab states and the local clan leaders have managed to turn out generations of children committed to killing in the name of a mythical identity for a state that they don't really want. The call for a Palestinian state was a cynical ploy for destroying Israel. It's why the negotiations never go anywhere, they're not meant to go anywhere.'

Exactly. Which is why Gingrich's remark goes to the very heart of the issue; and it is the fact that so many in the intellectual, political and diplomatic world - including in Israel itself - find what he said so outlandish that goes a long way to explain why there is still no peace in the Middle East.

Gosh - a presidential candidate who actually understands what's going on in the Middle East and speaks the truth about it! No wonder they're so desperate now to stop him.

How Israel's Defense Industry Can Help Save America

How Israel's Defense Industry Can Help Save America - Arthur Herman (Commentary)
Kibbutz Sasa is the home of Plasan, which makes body armor for the Israel Defense Forces and for IDF vehicles. Today 90% of the company's orders come from Europe and the U.S. Plasan specializes in a very dense plastic composite product that affords ballistic protection without significantly adding to the weight of the vehicle.
Plasan-armored mine-resistant ambush-protected vehicles (MRAPs) have been serving in Afghanistan since August 2009, and contractor Oshkosh Company has another 8,800 on order. In 2009 Plasan opened a factory in Bennington, Vt., that employs 350 American workers.
An Israeli company called Camero came up with a way to use ultra-wideband wireless transmissions to see through walls - literally - and detect armed men and explosives on the other side. In December 2010, one of Camero's top clients became the U.S. Department of Defense.
Ten years ago Israel ranked 15th in foreign defense industry sales. In 2007 it surpassed the UK to rank fourth, behind the U.S., Russia, and France. The day when it takes France's place is not far off. This is a remarkable achievement for a country of some six million people.
At the Plasan plant in Kibbutz Sasa, the hallways are covered with poster-size copies of thank-you notes from American GIs. One of them is signed by Brian, an Army sergeant serving in Afghanistan who wrote that the Plasan armor saved him from a bullet that would have blown off his head if it had gone through the door.

The writer is a visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.

Was Newt right about the "invented peole"

WAS NEWT RIGHT about the invented people?
Jewish World Review
The Year the Arabs Discovered Palestine
By Daniel Pipes
(From our Sept. 14, 2000 issue) | Today is the day when a Palestinian state was nearly declared - for the third time.
On October 1, 1948, the mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin Husseini, stood before the Palestine National Council in Gaza and declared the existence of an All-Palestine Government.
In theory, this state already ruled Gaza and would soon control all of Palestine. Accordingly, it was born with a full complement of ministers to lofty proclamations of Palestine's free, democratic, and sovereign nature. But the whole thing was a sham. Gaza was run by the Egyptian government, the ministers had nothing to oversee, and the All-Palestine Government never expanded anywhere. Instead, this fa�ade quickly withered away.
Almost exactly forty years later, on November 15, 1988, a Palestinian state was again proclaimed, again at a meeting of the Palestine National Council.
This time, Yasser Arafat called it into being. In some ways, this state was even more futile than the first, being proclaimed in Algiers, almost 3,000 kilometers and four borders away from Palestine, and controlling not a centimeter of the territory it claimed. Although the Algiers declaration received enormous attention at the time (the Washington Post's front-page story read "PLO Proclaims Palestinian State"), a dozen years later it is nearly as forgotten as the Gazan declaration that preceded it.
In other words, today's declaration of a Palestinian state would have retreaded some well-worn ground.
We do not know what today's statement would have said, but like the 1988 document it probably would have claimed that "the Palestinian Arab people forged its national identity" in distant antiquity.
In fact, the Palestinian identity goes back, not to antiquity, but precisely to 1920. No "Palestinian Arab people" existed at the start of 1920 but by December it took shape in a form recognizably similar to today's.
Until the late nineteenth century, residents living in the region between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean identified themselves primarily in terms of religion: Moslems felt far stronger bonds with remote co-religionists than with nearby Christians and Jews. Living in that area did not imply any sense of common political purpose.
Then came the ideology of nationalism from Europe; its ideal of a government that embodies the spirit of its people was alien but appealing to Middle Easterners. How to apply this ideal, though? Who constitutes a nation and where must the boundaries be? These questions stimulated huge debates.
Some said the residents of the Levant are a nation; others said Eastern Arabic speakers; or all Arabic speakers; or all Moslems.
But no one suggested "Palestinians," and for good reason. Palestine, then a secular way of saying Eretz Yisra'el or Terra Sancta, embodied a purely Jewish and Christian concept, one utterly foreign to Moslems, even repugnant to them.
This distaste was confirmed in April 1920, when the British occupying force carved out a "Palestine." Moslems reacted very suspiciously, rightly seeing this designation as a victory for Zionism. Less accurately, they worried about it signaling a revival in the Crusader impulse. No prominent Moslem voices endorsed the delineation of Palestine in 1920; all protested it.
Instead, Moslems west of the Jordan directed their allegiance to Damascus, where the great-great-uncle of Jordan's King Abdullah II was then ruling; they identified themselves as Southern Syrians.
Interestingly, no one advocated this affiliation more emphatically than a young man named Amin Husseini. In July 1920, however, the French overthrew this Hashemite king, in the process killing the notion of a Southern Syria.
Isolated by the events of April and July, the Moslems of Palestine made the best of a bad situation. One prominent Jerusalemite commented, just days following the fall of the Hashemite kingdom: "after the recent events in Damascus, we have to effect a complete change in our plans here. Southern Syria no longer exists. We must defend Palestine."
Following this advice, the leadership in December 1920 adopted the goal of establishing an independent Palestinian state. Within a few years, this effort was led by Husseini.
Other identities - Syrian, Arab, and Moslem - continued to compete for decades afterward with the Palestinian one, but the latter has by now mostly swept the others aside and reigns nearly supreme.
That said, the fact that this identity is of such recent and expedient origins suggests that the Palestinian primacy is superficially rooted and that it could eventually come to an end, perhaps as quickly as it got started.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Backing up Newt on the Invented palestinian people

Sunday, September 11, 2011What Palestine?
Is the world just plain stupid?
An interesting questionnaire for Palestinian Advocates

By Yashiko Sagamori

If you are so sure that "Palestine, the country, goes back through most of recorded history," I expect you to be able to answer a few basic questions about that country of Palestine:

1. When was it founded and by whom?

2. What were its borders?

3. What was its capital?

4. What were its major cities?

5. What constituted the basis of its economy?

6. What was its form of government?

7. Can you name at least one Palestinian leader before Arafat?

8.. Was Palestine ever recognized by a country whose existence, at that time or now, leaves no room for interpretation?

9. What was the language of the country of Palestine?

10. What was the prevalent religion of the country of Palestine?

11. What was the name of its currency? Choose any date in history and tell what was the approximate exchange rate of the Palestinian monetary unit against the US dollar, German mark, GB pound, Japanese yen, or Chinese Yuan on that date.

12. And, finally, since there is no such country today, what caused its demise and when did it occur?

You are lamenting the "low sinking" of a "once proud" nation.. Please tell me, when exactly was that "nation" proud and what was it so proud of?

And here is the least sarcastic question of all: If the people you mistakenly call "Palestinians" are anything but generic Arabs collected from all over -- or thrown out of -- the Arab world, if they really have a genuine ethnic id! entity that gives them right for self-determination, why did they never try to become independent until Arabs suffered their devastating defeat in the Six Day War?

I hope you avoid the temptation to trace the modern day "Palestinians" to the Biblical Philistines: Substituting etymology for history won't work here.

The truth should be obvious to everyone who wants to know it. Arab countries have never abandoned the dream of destroying Israel; they still cherish it today. Having time and again failed to achieve their evil goal with military means, they decided to fight Israel by proxy. For that purpose, they created a terrorist organization, cynically called it "the Palestinian people" and installed it in Gaza, Judea, and Samaria. How else can you explain the refusal by Jordan and Egypt to unconditionally accept back the "West Bank" and Gaza, respectively?

The fact is, Arabs populating Gaza, Judea, and Samaria have much less claim to nationhood than that Indian tribe that successfully emerged in Connecticut with the purpose of starting a tax-exempt casino: At least that tribe had a constructive goal that motivated them. The so-called "Palestinians" have only one motivation: the destruction of Israel, and in my book that is not sufficient to consider them a nation" -- or anything else except what they really are: A terrorist organization that will one day be dismantled.

In fact, there is only one way to achieve peace in the Middle East. Arab countries must acknowledge and accept their defeat in their war against Israel and, as the losing side should, pay Israel reparations for the more than 50 years of devastation they have visited on it. The most appropriate form of such reparations would be the removal of their terrorist organization from the land of Israel and accepting Israel's ancient sovereignty over Gaza, Judea, and Samaria.

That will mark the end of the Palestinian people. What are you saying again was its beginning?

Can this story be presented any more clearly or simply?

Friday, December 9, 2011

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Israeli population from Richard Baehr

Some very good news: The Jewish birth rate in Israel is now so high, that Jewish births as a percentage of all births in the country has risen by 7 % , from 69% to 76% in just a few years. The Arab birth rate continues to drop within Israel and the actual number of babies born to Israeli Arabs is also declining. The spurt in the Jewish birth rate is among all sectors of the population . Non-Orthodox Jews now have an average birth rate of 2.6 per woman of child bearing age, about a third higher than in any other developed nation. The overall birth rate is now just shy of 3. So much for the "demographic nightmare that Israel supposedly faces, that would force it to give up the West Bank.
The PA also grossly overstates their population in the West Bank and Gaza for political purposes. Yoram Ettinger , who knows a great deal about all of this demographic detail, will be in Chicago soon to speak on this.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Repub candidates blast Obama on Israel,0,7383740.story
By Michael A. Memoli
December 7, 2011, 8:45 a.m.
Mitt Romney on Wednesday urged Republicans to choose their nominee carefully in 2012, saying Americans will want more than just a chance to unseat President Obama.

Speaking at the Republican Jewish Coalition Forum in Washington, Romney lambasted the incumbent for adopting a foreign policy of "appeasement" that "betrays a lack of faith in America."

"Obama doesn't understand America," Romney said. "This president appears more generous to our enemies than he is to our friends. Such is the natural tendency of someone who is unsure of America's strength – or of America's rightful place in the world."

Romney did his part to accuse the administration of undermining Israel, and said he had "immeasurably set back the prospect of peace in the Middle East." But he acknowledged he would not be the only candidate making that case before the hawkish, pro-Israel crowd.

A new obama admin. low-joining UN "Human Rights Council"

Rumors of the U.N.’s Benefits Have Been Greatly Exaggerated

Anne Bayefsky

December 7, 2011 10:01 AM

Portraying President Obama’s U.N.-centered foreign policy as consistent with American values or pro-Israel has become increasingly difficult for administration officials. The result has been a steady stream of inaccurate accounts of goings-on at the organization.

On Friday, December 2, the Obama administration made another attempt to justify its decision to join the disreputable U.N. Human Rights Council. The Council had just followed a discussion on Syria with a resolution promising to appoint a human rights investigator – four months from now, in March 2012 and rejected calls to seek the involvement of the Security Council and the International Criminal Court. – U.S. ambassador to the U.N., Susan Rice tried to praise the body’s toughness: “No nation has been the subject of more than one special session, let alone three, in such a short amount of time.”

In fact, while the Council held three special sessions on Syria between April and December 2011, it has held six special sessions on Israel and three of those occurred in a shorter amount of time, namely, between July and November 2006.

Rice continued: “I applaud the Council for holding its third special session on Syria since April, with a record 29 co-sponsors.” The state department press release claimed that 29 countries was “by far the largest number of co-sponsors for any special session since the Council was created.” In fact, five other Council special sessions had more co-sponsors, including a session on Israel and the infamous Goldstone operation that had 33.

These aren’t the only factual inaccuracies being thrown around to shore upU.S. support for the Council, a body known to be no friend of Israel’s.

Esther Brimmer, assistant secretary of the bureau of international organization affairs at the State Department, is frequently trotted out to sell the Obama administration’s U.N.-bond, and to cover-up the body’s anti-Israel results. In a speech on February 1, 2011 to the Brookings Institution, Brimmer said: “Since the United States joined the Human Rights Council, it has not held a single special session on Israel.”

Except that the U.S. took its seat on the Council on September 14, 2009. The Council held its sixth special session on Israel on October 15 and 16, 2009 – an unforgettable session in which it endorsed the notorious Goldstone Report. And 8 months later, in June 2010, the Council, with slightly modified lingo, held an “urgent debate” – the first and only one of its kind – to condemn Israel’s lawful effort to stop Turkish-backed terrorists from breaking the Gaza blockade.

Slip of the tongue by Brimmer? Here she is repeating the same false claim again on September 1, 2011 at the University of Nevada: “Though the Human Rights Council held five special sessions on Israel in the three years before the United States took our seat, there have been none – none – in almost two years.”

With unnerving regularity, key members of the Obama administration misstate the facts on what happens at the U.N. and, hence, draw unsubstantiated conclusions about America’s best interests.

Speaking of the Human Rights Council, Rice told a House Appropriations Subcommittee on April 6, 2011: “The results there were worse when America sat on the sidelines…Israel was relentlessly bashed…U.S. engagement and leadership are paying dividends.” In fact, just two weeks before her statement the Council concluded its March 2011 session by adopting more resolutions bashing Israel than at any other session in its history.

Brimmer told an audience at the University of Nevada on September 1, 2011: “I am pleased to report that the Human Rights Council has fundamentally changed over the past two years as a result of U.S. engagement.…[W]e have seen a dramatic improvement in that body’s effectiveness.”

Dramatic improvement? Canada, the country with the closest voting pattern to the U.S., was on the Council prior to U.S. membership for 11 sessions. When it came time for voting, Canada lost 88 percent of the time. Since the U.S. has been a member, there have been 7 regular sessions of the Council and 50 up or down votes. The Obama administration has lost 42 of them – 84 percent of the time.

Brimmer told the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) on September 7, 2011: The Human Rights Council is a “serious human rights body.” There are no membership qualifications to serve on the U.N.’s lead human rights body, which therefore includes such human rights exemplars as Cuba, China, and Saudi Arabia. The standing agenda of the Council has one item devoted to criticism of Israel alone and another for all other 192 U.N. members. Forty-four percent of all the condemnations of specific states made by the Council have been directed to Israel.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Rice announced on March 31, 2009 that the Obama administration would seek to join the Council because it “is scheduled to undergo a formal review of its structure and procedures in 2011, which will offer a significant opportunity for Council reform.” U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Human Rights Council Eileen Donahoe said in the New York Times on September 13, 2010: “[I]f we do not sit at the table with others and do the work necessary to influence the process, U.S. values and priorities will not be reflected in the outcome.”

The Council “reform” process ended on June 17, 2011. Of the 42 proposals put forward by the American delegation, only three—all on minutiae—were accepted. The agenda item on Israel remained exactly the same. No criteria for membership on the Council were instituted and yet the sham review resolution passed the General Assembly with flying colors. After the vote the Syrian delegate summed up what really went down: “Warmest thanks…Our efforts were crowned by arriving at the document before us today…The objective of our work was not reform…”

Clinton addressed a letter on October 12, 2011 to Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs in which she said: “The United States strongly supports serious, sustained reform of the United Nations….We will…sustain our vigorous and principled push for fair treatment of Israel.”

Vigorous push? In March 2011, months before the Human Rights Council “reform” finally crashed and burned, and a year before any decision needed to be made, the administration formally announced that it would seek a second term on the Council—jettisoning the only bargaining chip for reform it might have had left either then or now.

The Obama administration’s story telling goes beyond the Human Rights Council.

Clinton told Reuters on October 11, 2011: “[W]ith respect to…UNESCO, we are legally prohibited from continuing to fund organizations that accept the Palestinians as members…I am strongly making the case to Members of Congress that at some point we need some flexibility because pretty soon, if we don’t pay into these organizations, we lose our right to participate and influence their actions.”

Failing to pay dues to U.N. bodies eventually results in the loss of voting privileges, but it does not result in the loss of a right to participate. In fact, on November 2, 2011, two days after the State Department indicated that U.S. funds to UNESCO would be stopped following the Palestinian move in accordance with U.S. law, the United States was reelected to serve on UNESCO’s executive board.

When it comes to the U.N. role on the big-ticket items that go to the heart of American national security interests, the misinformation campaign is also in full gear.

Rice told a House Appropriations Subcommittee on April 6, 2010: “[T]he U.N. helps halt the proliferation of nuclear weapons.” Brimmer similarly told the U.S.I.P on September 7, 2011: “[T]he International Atomic Energey Agency…has been invaluable in sounding the alarm on illicit nuclear activities in Iran [and] Syria…”

Actually, for twenty years under the stewardship of Egyptian Mohamed El Baradei the IAEA delayed supervision of Iranian behavior, lobbied against sanctions, and withheld damning information, drastically reducing the available strategies today for preventing an Iranian nuclear bomb. The Security Council is still twiddling its thumbs. U.N. “alarm-sounding” on Syria started 10 months after Israel destroyed its nascent nuclear reactor. North Korea, which has twice tested nuclear weapons and is developing missiles to carry them, was appointed in June to chair the U.N. Conference on Disarmament for its meetings this past summer.

Brimmer told USIP in September: “On counterterrorism, U.N. bodies are uniquely important.” And Rice told the House Committee on Foreign Affairs in April: “the U.N. helps isolate terrorists.” To this day the United Nations has no definition of terrorism because Islamic states insist on exempting preferred targets like Israeli and American “occupiers.” The Security Council has the representative of a terrorist organization as a full member, namely, Hezbollah-controlled Lebanon. The U.N.’s central Counter-Terrorism Committee has still never named a single terrorist, terrorist organization, or state sponsor of terrorism. And on November 11, 2011, for the first time in 15 years, the General Assembly decided to cancel the spring session of the committee charged with drafting the first comprehensive convention against terrorism because U.N. states are deadlocked on what they are against.

The Obama team’s erroneous and exaggerated accounts of the pluses of the United Nations are increasingly disgraceful, as they are detrimental to both Israel and the United States. Not surprisingly, they have been unable to defend the indefensible with the facts.

Obama the anti_israel president

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Obama piling on Israel through surrogates

Has Obama Destroyed the Alliance?

Jonathan S. Tobin | @tobincommentary 12.06.2011 - 12:34 PM

It’s been a difficult week for Israel. A trifecta of attacks on the foundation of the ties between the United States and the Jewish state in the past few days have exposed the ambivalent feelings of top Obama administration officials. If you add together recent statements by Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and U.S. Ambassador to Belgium Howard Gutman, it’s hard to blame Caroline Glick for claiming that “under Obama, the U.S. is no longer Israel’s ally.”
But it’s worthwhile pointing out that despite these ominous signals and the failure of the administration’s promises to stop Iran’s nuclear program, Obama is still operating under constraints that will make it difficult for him to further weaken the bonds that unite Israel and the United States. The offensive words uttered by Panetta, Clinton and Gutman, as well as previous actions by Obama, point more to their frustration with a situation in which they know they cannot teach Israel’s government the rough lesson they believe it deserves than anything else.
As Obama learned to his dismay this past spring when his intended ambush of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on a visit to Washington backfired on him, the alliance with Israel isn’t a function of the whims of an individual president. From the first day he took office, Obama has been open about his goal of creating more distance between the U.S. and Israel than existed under his predecessors. That’s been a dangerous mistake that has destroyed what was left of the peace process and encouraged Israel’s foes to think its alliance with the United States is crumbling. That’s made the Middle East an even more dangerous place than it already was. But at the same time, due to the demands of Congress and key constituencies within the Democratic Party, the president has always been forced to maintain the security alliance that exists between the two nations. And in spite of Obama’s desire to help the Palestinians and his evident distaste for Israel, the so-called “diplomatic tsunami” that a Palestinian independence push at the United Nations was supposed to cause has fizzled.
To note these facts is not to dismiss the damage the fights picked by Obama (as well as Panetta’s attempt to blame Israel for its isolation by Islamists and Clinton for her slurs on Israeli democracy) have caused. But it must be understood their bristling resentment of Israel and Netanyahu is heightened by the fact that they know if they go further, there will be a terrible political reckoning. That’s why even as he chips away at the alliance, Obama must pay it homage and even be forced to claim, as he did last week, he is a good friend to the Jewish state. Such claims may be disingenuous, but like all forms of hypocrisy, they are, as the saying goes, the tribute that vice pays to virtue.
The reason why the pro-Israel consensus in the United States is so strong is that its roots are deep in our political culture and broader than just the Jewish vote or AIPAC. That’s what drives critics of the relationship like the Israel Lobby authors Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer​ crazy. And it’s also why Obama administration officials who are for their own ideological reasons unhappy about having to help Israel despite their strong desire to smack it around, sometimes give vent to statements that would lead you to think the alliance is doomed.
It is true a second Obama administration would have considerably more freedom to apply pressure on Israel than it has had the last three years. That is something that should give Israeli leaders who are pondering their options on Iran as well as American supporters of the Jewish state something to think about. But as bad as things seem right now, it should be remembered that no matter what Obama, Panetta, Clinton and their underlings may think about Israel, they are keenly aware a full break with Israel is not something they can get away with.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

long term good news about freeing ourselves from foreign energy

Big Oil Heads Back Home

Energy companies are shifting their focus away from the Middle East and toward the West—with profound implications for the companies, global politics and consumers

For decades, its main stomping grounds were in the developing world—exotic locales like the Persian Gulf and the desert sands of North Africa, the Niger Delta and the Caspian Sea. But in recent years, that geographical focus has undergone a radical change. Western energy giants are increasingly hunting for supplies in rich, developed countries—a shift that could have profound implications for the industry, global politics and consumers.
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Driving the change is the boom in unconventionals—the tough kinds of hydrocarbons like shale gas and oil sands that were once considered too difficult and expensive to extract and are now being exploited on an unprecedented scale from Australia to Canada.
The U.S. is at the forefront of the unconventionals revolution. By 2020, shale sources will make up about a third of total U.S. oil and gas production, according to PFC Energy, a Washington-based consultancy. By that time, the U.S. will be the top global oil and gas producer, surpassing Russia and Saudi Arabia, PFC predicts.
That could have far-reaching ramifications for the politics of oil, potentially shifting power away from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries toward the Western hemisphere. With more crude being produced in North America, there's less likelihood of Middle Eastern politics causing supply shocks that drive up gasoline prices. Consumers could also benefit from lower electricity prices, as power plants switch from coal to cheap and plentiful natural gas.
And the change is reshaping the oil companies themselves, as they reallocate their vast resources to new areas and new kinds of fuel. Working in the rich world—with its more predictable taxes and investor-friendly policies—removes some of the risks about the big oil companies that worry investors, making them less vulnerable to the resource nationalism of petrostates like Russia and Venezuela.
"A company like Exxon Mobil can eliminate the technological risk" of developing unconventionals, says Amy Myers Jaffe, senior energy adviser at Rice University's Baker Institute. "But it can't eliminate the risk of a Vladimir Putin or a Hugo Chavez."
This new way of looking at risk is at the heart of the transformation. International oil companies traditionally face a choice: They can either invest in oil that is easy to produce but located in politically volatile countries. Or they can seek opportunities in stable countries where the oil is hard to extract, requiring complex and expensive production techniques.
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Bloomberg News (2); AFP/Getty Images (2)
Now, in a sense, the choice has been made for them. Big onshore fields in the world's most prolific hydrocarbon provinces are increasingly the preserve of national oil companies, state-owned behemoths like Saudi Aramco and Russia's OAO Rosneft and OAO Gazprom. For foreign majors like Royal Dutch Shell PLC and BP PLC, their former heartlands in the Gulf sands are now largely off-limits.
Shut out of the Middle East, they have responded with a huge push into new areas, both geographic and technological. Over the past few decades, they have built vast plants to produce liquefied natural gas, or LNG. They have drilled for oil in ever-deeper waters, ever farther offshore. They have worked out how to squeeze oil from the tar sands of Alberta. And they have deployed technologies like hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, and horizontal drilling to produce gas from shale rock.
Wood Mackenzie, an oil consultancy in Edinburgh, says that more than half of the international oil companies' long-term capital investments are now going into these four "resource themes"—a huge shift, considering how marginal the companies once considered them.
There are also drawbacks to the new focus on nontraditional kinds of hydrocarbons. Environmentalists strongly oppose shale-gas extraction due to fears that fracking may contaminate water supplies, the oil-sands industry because it is energy-intensive and dirty, and deep-water drilling because of the risk of oil spills like last year's Gulf of Mexico disaster.
There are financial considerations, too. While conventional assets are relatively easy to develop and historically have offered good returns, projects in some more technically difficult sectors—like deep-water and LNG—typically take longer to bring on-stream, and are higher cost, meaning returns are lower.
But there is an upside for the majors. "The silver lining is the shape of the profile of these projects, which is different than conventional ones," says Simon Flowers, head of corporate analysis at Wood Mackenzie. LNG ventures, for example, can deliver contract levels of gas at a steady rate over 20 years. "So the returns may be lower, but overall you have a more dependable cash-flow stream," he says.
By pursuing these nontraditional fuels, the oil companies are committing themselves ever more deeply to the wealthy nations of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Wood Mackenzie says $1.7 trillion of future value for all the world's oil companies—52% of the total—is in North America, Europe and Australia. The consultancy has identified a "significant westward shift" in oil-industry investment, away from traditional areas like North Africa and the Middle East "towards the Brazilian offshore, deepwater oil in the Gulf of Mexico and West Africa and unconventional oil and gas in North America." And then there's Australia, far out east, "which is in the early stages of a spectacular growth phase."
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Consider Shell. Seven years ago, the oil giant, synonymous with turbulent hot spots like Nigeria, decided to shift resources to more-developed nations that offered a friendly environment for investors and predictable tax regimes. Shell used to split spending on the upstream—the basic business of exploring for and producing oil and gas—roughly 50/50 between nations in the OECD and those outside of it. It's now 70/30 in favor of the OECD, with the bulk going to Canada, Australia and the U.S.
"The risks in OECD are technical, but they're easier to manage than political risk," says Simon Henry, Shell's chief financial officer. "In the OECD, you have more control of your operations."
With the new turf comes a new focus: Shell will soon be producing more natural gas than oil. That might have scared investors a decade or two ago. But with gas demand set to grow strongly, especially in Asia, the future for gas-focused companies is looking increasingly rosy—especially after the Fukushima disaster, which prompted a rethinking of nuclear power in Japan and elsewhere.
Entrenching Its Position

Like Shell, Exxon Mobil Corp. is entrenching its position in the Americas, home to just over half its resource base. Its unconventional resources have grown by almost 90% over the past five years to 35 billion oil-equivalent barrels—partly thanks to its 2010 acquisition of XTO Energy, a big shale-gas player. Exxon's U.S. unconventional production alone is expected to double over the next decade.
Some giants are looking further afield. Chevron Corp.'s three focus areas—the parts of the world that account for the bulk of its exploration budget—are the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, offshore West Africa and the waters off western Australia.
In particular, the company has staked out a huge position in Australian natural gas; its Gorgon LNG project in Australia is one of the world's largest. The push is based on expectations of surging demand for the fuel in Asia, largely in China, which wants to improve air quality in its heavily polluted cities by switching from coal to gas in power generation and running more commercial vehicles and buses on natural gas.
It "wasn't a conscious decision" to move into the OECD, says Jay Pryor, head of business development at Chevron. The company doesn't decide what projects to pursue based on where they are in the world, but on the quality of the resource, the commercial terms and the geopolitical risk. "The best rocks with the best terms are going to get the quickest investment," he says. Money has flowed into the U.S. and Australia because they offer the best incentives to oil companies, he says.
In recent years, Chevron has also expanded into another promising part of the OECD—Europe, which some estimates suggest has shale-gas reserves comparable to those in the U.S. Chevron has picked up millions of acres of land in Poland and Romania, where it will soon be drilling for shale gas. That's part of a wider trend: Dozens of companies are now exporting to Europe technologies used to open up shale deposits in the U.S.
Holding Back

Not all oil companies have piled into unconventionals the way Shell and Chevron have. BP, for one, has far fewer investments in tar sands and shale gas than its peers, though it has an unrivaled position in deep-water oil. That means it has less of a presence in the OECD than Shell: Its biggest projects are in poorer countries like Angola, Azerbaijan and Russia, and in recent years it has won a string of licenses and contracts in India, Iraq, Egypt and Jordan.
Yet even BP has been bolstering its position in the OECD. It said recently it was pressing ahead with a £4.5 billion ($7 billion) investment in the North Sea's Clair oil field, part of a five-year, £10 billion program.
Still, being in the OECD doesn't guarantee oil companies an easy ride. Operators in the North Sea were shocked earlier this year when the U.K. government suddenly increased taxes on oil producers. In France, authorities recently banned hydraulic fracturing. And in the U.S., the drilling moratorium in the Gulf of Mexico, imposed after the Deepwater Horizon blowout, threw many of the majors' plans into disarray.
But still, for the most part, the risks are much greater in the non-OECD. "The majors went to Venezuela and lost their property," says Ms. Myers Jaffe of the Baker Institute. "They went to Russia and had to whisk their CEO off to a safe house. They went to the Caspian and realized they couldn't get the oil out. I for one would much rather invest in a company that had 70% of its spending in the OECD