Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Preemptive strike on Iran? Rabbi Jonathan Ginsburg

Israeli minister says pre-emptive strike could be necessary to avert Iranian nuclear threat
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By Associated Press, Published: May 30
MOSCOW — An Israeli Cabinet minister said the civilized world must take joint action to avert the Iranian nuclear threat, including a pre-emptive strike if necessary.

Moshe Yaalon — the minister for strategic affairs — made the statement in an interview with Russia’s Interfax news agency released Monday ahead of a visit to Moscow.

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“We strongly hope that the entire civilized world will come to realize what threat this regime is posing and take joint action to avert the nuclear threat posed by Iran, even if it would be necessary to conduct a pre-emptive strike,” Yaalon was quoted by Interfax as saying.

Yaalon wouldn’t discuss who might deal the strike, saying the entire world, not just Israel, must be concerned about the danger posed by a nuclear-armed Iran.

“An Iran possessing nuclear weapons would be a threat to the entire civilized world,” he was reported as saying.

Yaalon’s spokesman Ofer Harel told The Associated Press later Monday that the minister was repeating Israel’s position that all options are on the table and not calling for anybody to attack Iran.

Iran has insisted its nuclear program is peaceful, but the U.S., Israel and many others believe it is cover for developing atomic weapons.

Palestinians deny Israel has rights Rabbi Jonathan Ginsburg

PA continues to deny Israel's right to exist
Both modern Israel and ancient Judea/Israel are "crude colonialism"

by Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik

The Palestinian Authority's ideology is to refuse to recognize Israel's right to exist. The media it owns and controls regularly publish articles that demonize the modern State of Israel and its establishment as a "colonialist plan".

Recently, the official PA daily went even further, not just maligning the modern State of Israel but also labeling the Jewish/Israelite presence in the land of Judea/Israel 2000 years ago as a "crude form of colonialism".

Whereas Hamas openly denies Israel's right to exist in both English and Arabic, the PA professes in English before the international community to have recognized Israel's right to exist. As documented by Palestinian Media Watch, when addressing its own people in Arabic, the PA - like Hamas - completely denies Israel's right to exist.

The following is the PA daily's defining ancient Judea/Israel as "colonialism":
"The Zionists must acknowledge publicly, in front of the world, that the Jews have no connection to the Palestinian Arab land, upon whose ruins arose the colonialist settler Zionist plan that settles and expels, represented by the Israeli apartheid state. That which occurred two thousand years ago (i.e., the Jewish/Israeli presence in the land), assuming that it is true, represents in the book of history nothing more than invention and falsification and a coarse and crude form of colonialism."
[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, May 27, 2011]

At times, the PA's denial of Israel's right to exist serves as the justification for its claim that Israelis should all leave their homes in Israel.

PA TV narrator addresses the Jews of Israel, asking them to leave, because Israel has no right to exist:
"Where are you [Israelis] from? Where are you from? Where are you from? Of course, you're from Ukraine; of course, you're from Germany, from Poland, from Russia, from Ethiopia, the Falasha (pejorative for Ethiopian Jews). Why have you stolen my homeland and taken my place? Please, I ask of you, return to your original homeland, so that I can return to my original homeland. This is my homeland; go back to your homeland!"
[PA TV (Fatah), May 4 and 7, 2010]

The following are other examples of denial of Israel's right to exist from the official education and PA media:

In a 12th-Grade schoolbook published by the PA Ministry of Education, and in use today:
"Palestine's war ended with a catastrophe that is unprecedented in history, when the Zionist gangs stole Palestine and expelled its people from their cities, their villages, their lands and their houses, and established the State of Israel."
[Arabic Language, Analysis, Literature and Criticism, Grade 12, p. 104]

Mahmoud Abbas, (in speech delivered by his representative, Abdallah Al-Ifranji):
"We say to him [Netanyahu], when he claims - that they [Jews] have a historical right dating back to 3000 years BCE - we say that the nation of Palestine upon the land of Canaan had a 7000 year history BCE. This is the truth, which must be understood and we have to note it, in order to say: 'Netanyahu, you are incidental in history. We are the people of history. We are the owners of history.'"
[PA TV (Fatah), May 14, 2011]

Abd Al-Rahman, columnist for the official PA daily, on the anniversary of the Balfour Declaration:
"Today is a painful anniversary for the Palestinian people, the 93rd anniversary of the Balfour Declaration, in which those who had no ownership of the Palestinian soil and homeland - the British colonialists - gave to those who had no connection to the land, neither near nor distant - the Zionists, in order to realize a colonialist aim, in the service of the objectives of the colonialist West in the Arab region."
[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Nov. 2, 2010]

Adel Abd Al-Rahman, columnist in the official PA daily:
"The history and heritage of Jericho confirm the Arab-Palestinian-Canaanite narrative concerning the entire Palestinian land, from the [Mediterranean] sea to the [Jordan] river, negating anything else, especially the false Zionist narrative."
[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Oct. 21, 2010]

PA TV documentary program on the UN Partition Plan features Jordanian academic Muhammad Dohal:
"The Jews are hated in every society in which they have lived, because of their behavior relating to their great love of money. ... This was the source of their harm to the societies around them, including Palestinian society, Arab-Palestinian society. We all know that the Jews lived in Palestine and the Palestinian people adopted them, so to say, and they lived in dignity. But they contrived schemes by means of their secret organizations, which gave rise to the idea of the need to purchase tracts of land and to seize control of them, and then to claim that they were the owners of a great area of the land, and that they were the original inhabitants of this land, and that the people which had adopted them was simply accidental in this land... Their behavior led to [Shakespeare's] famous story, the story of Shylock about money lending, which clings to the Jews. This is how they harmed the societies that embraced them."
[PA TV (Fatah), Oct. 10 and 17, 2010]

Adel Abd Al-Rahman, columnist in the official PA daily:
"The false story of the Zionists, according to which Palestine is 'the promised land,' is simply a lie without any basis. No person of the Jewish faith who was born in any country of the world has the right to return to Palestine, other than Jews who were born in Palestine."
[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, May 16, 2010]

Adli Sadeq, columnist for the official PA daily:
"The very least [we can do] is to declare explicitly that recognition of Israel's right to be a state in this region represents an environmental and security hazard; it creates the basis for acute internal and regional tensions, and distorts history, just as it poisons the future."
[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, March 18, 2010]

PA Minister of Religious Affairs Mahmoud Al-Habbash:
"History proves the Arab, Islamic and Palestinian right to this land and disproves all the Israeli claims that they have religious and historical rights in this land."

Sunday, May 29, 2011

obama ties to radical islam

Stanley Kurtz provides a detailed history on Barack Obama's connections with radical Palestinians- Edward Said, Rashid Khalidi, Alu Abunimah, and other Israel haters- Reverend Wright, and Bill Ayers, in the years before he ran for the U.S. Senate, and started needing Jewish money and votes, and the credibility that would come within broader liberal circles from acceptance by the Jewish community. So he began to tell the gullible liberal Jews that he really loved Israel. Some of us knew his pro-Israel rhetoric was a sham, and that he would never be a friend- that his sympathies were with the Palestinians, the Muslim victims of imperialism, colonialism and the West. Yes, this is how Obama thought until he cleaned up his act in 2004. In 2007, Ali Abunimah wrote an article that Obama's pro-Israel messaging was cynical. But hey, liberal Jews want nothing more than to bond with an articulate young black politician, maybe on his way to the White House. If he tells us he loves Israel, that must mean he does. So leaders in our community carried water for Obama- raising lots of money, making videos and speeches, sending out emails on his solid support for Israel. I will skip the Aggie jokes. If Obama is re-elected in 2013, do you think he will be pro-Israel in the next 4 years? On the contrary, I think Obama will then be free to be Obama.
Kurtz: http://tinyurl.com/3dsvnc8
Abunimah: http://tinyurl.com/3fuupon

checking media inaccuracies

Greetings Friends of CAMERA:

Below is a sample of recent articles and postings on CAMERA's Web site and Snapshots blog. Don't forget to check both often for the latest.

CAMERA/Luntz Poll: American Jewish Support for Israel is Strong

Some news media accounts have tended to amplify a vocal fringe in the American Jewish community that espouses extreme views and policies far out of the mainstream. This poll clarifies what American Jews actually feel and believe.

AP "Fact Check" Conveys Anti-Israel Spin

The Associated Press quickly responded to Benjamin Netanyahu's address to a joint session of Congress by relaying partisan spin to "counter" the Israeli prime minister's assertions. AP's Josef Federman, apparently in no mood to allow an Israeli politician to present Jerusalem's view of the Middle East, penned an unprecedented "Fact Check" article seeking to impugn Netanyahu's speech.


Bibi's Speech to Congress and Media Reaction

Benjamin Netanyahu received a very warm reception in Congress during his forceful, forthright speech, which laid out just what Israel is prepared to do -- make painful concessions -- and not prepared to do -- put itself at risk of annihilation -- to achieve a lasting peace with the Palestinians. The reaction in the press was, not unexpectedly, negative.

NYT's Wishful Thinking Vs. Ha'aretz Poll

As we blogged on Wednesday, The New York Times headline "Israelis see Netanyahu Trip as Diplomatic Failure" was contradicted by a Dialog poll covered in Ha'aretz showing "47 percent of the Israeli public believes the U.S. trip was a success, while only 10 percent viewed it as a failure." New York Times editors are likely wincing as they look at Ha'aretz's front-page today.

Abbas Declares Netanyahu's Congress Speech "Full of Lies and Distortions"

Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas has taken a page from AP correspondent Josef Federman's book and is declaring Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu's well-received speech to Congress to be "full of lies and distortions."


President Obama's Speech and the Arab-Israeli Conflict: A Fact-Based Analysis

President Obama's speech at the State Department on May 19 outlined his administration's policy in the Middle East and North Africa, making some clean breaks with what had been key elements of US policy in the region for decades.

CAMERA's Safian on Fox and Friends re: Obama's Speech

CAMERA Associate Director Alex Safian was interviewed on Fox and Friends on May 21 to discuss President Obama's speech about the Middle East and North Africa, and what will be the likely impact on the region of apparently major changes in American foreign policy.


Dore Gold Explains '67 Lines

Writing in the Wall Street Journal, the president of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs and former UN ambassador explains the 1967 lines and Resolution 242.


CNN Article Maps Out '67 Lines Issues

A CNN article by Tim Lister does a commendable job explaining the status of the 1967 armistice line, an issue which is repeatedly misreported in the mainstream media.

Ha'aretz Lost in Translation, VI

Ha'aretz's chronic lost-in-translation affliction rears its head again, albeit in a slightly more complex strain. A news analysis by Aluf Benn in the May 20 English edition states, "Netanyahu will have to reply to Obama by accepting the principle of '1967 borders with agreed land swaps.'" Except that's not what President Obama actually said.

New York Times Conceals Partisanship of "Nonpartisan" Source

A May 23 New York Times article, "Obama Presses Israel to Make 'Hard Choices,'" demonstrates how bias can seeps into what is ostensibly objective news reporting.


Finally, NY Times Clearly Tells Readers Who Refuses Negotiations

In a rare moment of precision and clarity, The New York Times finally reminded readers of the immediate reason for a lack of negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians.
USA Today Hits Rare Media Bull's-Eye
USA Today's detailed feature article, “Israelis ambivalent about Arab world's uprising; Some see opportunity for peace, prosperity; others fear onset of aggression” does what much coverage of Arab-Israeli developments does not: It treats Israelis as human beings with newsworthy concerns. In doing so, it also sheds light on what too many reports have misleadingly termed “Arab democracy movements.”

LA Times Letter: Jewish Newspaper for Christian Sharia

A letter published in the Los Angeles Times argued that “It is strange that the conservative forces behind the drive to make us fear Sharia are the same ones that are trying to impose their Christian version here.”

LA Times Corrects Letter

The Los Angeles Times corrected the May 20 letter-to-the-editor which falsely stated a conservative Israeli newspaper removed Hillary Clinton from an official White House photograph. The paper was American.

Friday, May 27, 2011

isrel in gaza most ethical war ever

UN Report Proves IDF's Record in Preventing Civilian Deaths in Gaza - Jonathan Hoffman
Col. Richard Kemp's speech to the "We Believe in Israel" Conference in London, 15 May: No other army in history has ever done more to avoid civilian deaths in a combat zone than the Israel Defense Forces. A UN study shows that the ratio of civilian to combatant deaths in Gaza in 2009 was by far the lowest in any assymetric conflict in the history of warfare. The UN estimates that there has been an average three-to-one ratio of civilian to combatant deaths in such conflicts worldwide. Three civilians for every combatant killed. That is the estimated ratio in Afghanistan: three-to-one. In Iraq, and in Kosovo, it was worse: the ratio is believed to be four-to-one. Anecdotal evidence suggests the ratios were very much higher in Chechnya and Serbia. In Gaza, it was less than one-to-one. Col. Richard Kemp commanded British forces in Afghanistan. (Jewish Chronicle-UK)

unilateral Palestinian staehood illegal

Lawyers to UN: Halt Unilateral Palestinian Statehood - Tovah Lazaroff
An international group of some 60 lawyers, including former Foreign Ministry legal adviser Alan Baker, has appealed to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to prevent a General Assembly resolution on unilateral Palestinian statehood, based on the pre-1967 lines. The attorneys noted that such a resolution would be a violation of all past agreements between Israel and the Palestinians, and would also contravene UN Resolutions 242 and 338.
They noted that "the legal basis for the establishment of the State of Israel was the resolution unanimously adopted by the League of Nations in 1922, affirming the establishment of a national home for the Jewish People in the historical area of the Land of Israel. This included the areas of Judea and Samaria and Jerusalem, and close Jewish settlement throughout." As a result, the "650,000 Jews [who] presently reside in the areas of Judea and Samaria and eastern Jerusalem, reside there legitimately."
Additionally, attempts to unilaterally change the status of the territory would be a breach of the 1995 Israeli-Palestinian agreement. The Olso Accords did not limit settlement activity, they added. (Jerusalem Post

obama most anti Israel prez

Anne Bayefsky: Obama Is the Most Hostile Sitting President In the History of Israel
For Immediate Release:
May 24, 2011

Contact: Anne Bayefsky
(917) 488-1558

Obama Is the Most Hostile Sitting President
In the History of Israel

This article by Anne Bayefsky appears today on Fox News.

There is some logic in the fact that President Obama has fled the country while Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu addresses Congress. With Obama’s comments this past week on Israel, the president now appears to many as the most hostile sitting president in the history of the Jewish state.

A key casualty of the assault Obama launched this past week on Israel and its Prime Minister, is the prospect of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. When Palestinians move to declare statehood unilaterally in the fall with U.N. support, it will be President Obama himself who will have laid the groundwork.

Two years ago President Obama prompted Palestinians to withdraw from negotiations after he attempted to dictate to Israel the terms of a deal on the settlements issue. Now that the president has similarly projected what the territorial outcome “should be,” Palestinians will abjure negotiations into the foreseeable future.

The mere lip service that the president paid to negotiations was heard around the world, especially in Palestinian circles. “While the core issues of the conflict must be negotiated…” Obama began, followed by a series of “should be” pronouncements.

The president’s Sunday speech to the pro-Israel group AIPAC did not fundamentally change his earlier effort on Thursday as territorial fiat.

According to the president, the baseline of a final settlement “should be” the 1967 lines and any different outcome would be subject to “mutually agreed swaps.” But “mutually agreed” entails a Palestinian veto, and the potential for their insisting on the indefensible 1967 lines within the Obama formula.

President Obama's 1967 baseline comment was no accident; it was a deliberate provocation. As he unabashedly told the AIPAC audience: “I know that stating these principles -- on the issues of territory and security -- generated some controversy…I wasn’t surprised.”

Mr. Obama has also sabotaged negotiations by refusing to assign responsibility for the current absence of negotiations where it belongs. As far as Obama is concerned, the fact that Hamas“is unwilling to recognize Israel’s right to exist” simply “raises questions.”

The President even professed ignorance about the path of Hamas, despite the group’s Charter which calls for “Jihad” until Israel is “obliterated.” In the president’s words: “Palestinian leaders will not achieve peace or prosperity if Hamas insists on a path of terror and rejection.” If!

Those pushing a U.N.-backed unilateral declaration of statehood or independence (UDI), in lieu of negotiations, will also have taken sustenance from the President’s remarks. He suggested such sentiments are eminently understandable:

"There’s a reason why the Palestinians are pursuing their interests at the United Nations. They recognize that there is an impatience with the peace process, or the absence of one…And that impatience is growing.”

President Obama neglected to mention that statehood would come a lot faster if Palestinians didn’t support leaders who are bent on genocide or refuse to talk.

Moreover, if Mr. Obama was in fact serious about stopping a U.N.-backed Palestinian UDI, he could do a lot more than simply chide them for making what he called a “symbolic” move. He could, for instance, lay out some unambiguous consequences for the day after, such as: terminating U.S. taxpayer dollars for UNRWA, the Palestinian “refugee” agency, since refugee status will be voided and all Palestinians rendered citizens of their declared state; moving the U.S. embassy to Israel’s capital city Jerusalem, since delays awaiting a negotiated settlement will be groundless; stopping payment to the U.N.’s regular budget, since the UN will have gravely abrogated its legal obligations under the UN Charter, and pulling the U.S. out of the Middle East Quartet – the European Union’s coveted entre into Arab-Israeli politics – since the Quartet’s central “Roadmap” will have been negated.

He said none of the above. Having made the U.N. a centerpiece of his foreign policy, including championing the obsessively anti-Israel Human Rights Council, his speechifying about sidelining the organization wasn’t very convincing.

The AIPAC speech was pure sophistry. The president promised “unshakeable opposition” to “efforts to chip away at Israel’s legitimacy” and attempted to take credit for not attending one of the UN’s racist “anti-racism” conferences back in 2009.

But he only pulled out of so-called “Durban II” after intense public pressure, just 48 hours before the meeting, ruining the prospect of coalition-building. And he refused to tell AIPAC whether he plans to go to “Durban III” – the first-ever world summit to be held in New York this coming September and intended as a vehicle for charging Israel with racism. Canada and Israel pulled out long ago. Where is America’s unshakeable opposition?

President Obama’s fawning remarks about Arab self-determination contrasted sharply with his treatment of Jewish self-determination. He taunted Israelis about not being able to protect themselves: “Technology will make it harder for Israel to defend itself.” “Delay will undermine Israel’s security…” He threatened Israelis with the specter of isolation and demanded they answer to every busybody in sight: “The international community is tired of an endless process…” “Going forward, millions of Arab citizens have to see that peace is possible for that peace to be sustained…[T]he march to isolate Israel internationally…will continue to gain momentum…and it’s already manifesting itself in capitals around the world.”

Negotiations require mutual recognition of legitimacy and therefore offer the only path to ensuring a Palestinian commitment to coexistence with a Jewish state. By bullying Israel, a negotiated peace agreement between Arabs and Israelis is now all but impossible during Obama’s tenure. 2012 cannot come soon enough.

J Street dangers

In the Tent, or Out: That is Still the J-Street Question
Posted by Daniel Gordis in Featured Articles, Uncategorized on May 27, 2011 | 38 responses
[Note: On May 3rd, Daniel Gordis addressed the “J-Street Leadership Mission to Israel and Palestine.” The following column is based on his remarks that day.]

Good morning and welcome to Jerusalem. It’s a pleasure to meet with this Leadership Mission; I understand that there are some first time visitors to Israel among you, so a particular welcome to those of you who’ve never been here before.

Before we got seated, one member of your group conveyed a message from the Israeli Consul General in his home community. The message was that I shouldn’t speak to you. As you can imagine, I received similar advice from a wide array of people after I received your invitation; but I’ve chosen to ignore it. As most of you know, I disagree strongly with much of what you do. But I think that we have an obligation to meet with people with whom we disagree. Given the extent of the forces aligned against Israel, seeking to delegitimize the very idea of a Jewish State, the pro-Israel camp needs a big tent. Neither Israel nor the Jewish People will survive if we work only with those with whom we agree. A big tent, by definition, means including people whom we disagree passionately, but who still share our basic goals.

Even a big tent, though, has its limits. There are things that one can say, or do, that place a person or an organization outside that tent. You know very well that there are many people who believe that J-Street is outside the tent, not in it. I’m not yet certain. That’s why I’m here.

Let me begin with a basic assumption: I assume that we want the same thing. We seek two states in this region, one a thriving, Jewish, democratic Israel, and the other a thriving, non-Jewish, democratic Palestine. Of course, there are Israelis on both ends of the political spectrum who do not wish this. Some Israelis no longer believe in the importance of a Jewish State and would prefer a State “of all its citizens” between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. But as that would make Jews a minority in this country and thus end the Zionist project, I’m utterly opposed to that. There are also Israelis who still resist the idea of a Palestinian State and who would prefer to either exile millions of Palestinians or forever keep them under our thumb as non-citizens, either of which is morally obtuse. But the vast majority of Israelis, if presented with a genuine opportunity to live side by side a democratic, transparent, peaceful, de-militarized Palestine, would accept it.

So, assuming that that’s what you also seek, I assume that our disagreement is about how to get there. You believe that people who are not willing to make major territorial concessions to the Palestinians right now are not serious about a two-state solution. You think that those of us who claim that we favor a two-state solution but who are not willing to give up the store at this moment are bluffing. Or we’re liars. Or, at best, we’re well-intentioned but misguided. But bottom line, if we’re not willing now to make the concessions that you think are called for, then we’re not really pursuing peace.

But that is arrogance of the worst sort. Does your distance from the conflict give you some moral clarity that we don’t have? Are you smarter than we are? Are you less racist? Why do you assume with such certainty that you have a monopoly on the wisdom needed to get to the goal we both seek?

In preparing for this morning’s session, I did a bit of reading of statements that you’ve issued on a whole array issues. One, just released, is a perfect example of the certainty and arrogance of which I’m speaking. Reacting to the most recent Fatah-Hamas agreement, this is what J-Street had to say:

“In fact, many who oppose a two-state deal have, in recent years, done so by arguing that divisions among the Palestinians make peace impossible. Obviously, reconciliation [between Fatah and Hamas] reduces that obstacle – but now skeptics of a two-state agreement have immediately stepped forward to say that a deal is impossible with a Palestinian unity government that includes Hamas.”

“Obviously,” you say, “reconciliation reduces the obstacle [to a peace treaty].” But I would caution you against ever using the word “obviously” when it comes to the Middle East. Nothing here is obvious. If you think that something is obvious, then you simply haven’t thought enough. Why is it obvious that Fatah’s signing a deal with Hamas, which rejects Israel’s very right to exist, reduces obstacles to peace? Isn’t it just as plausible that it makes peace impossible, or that signing a deal and returning large swathes of land to a group still sworn on our destruction would be suicidal? I suppose that reasonable minds could debate this matter, but how is it “obvious” that this is good news for peace?

And then you go on to say that “skeptics of a two-state agreement have immediately stepped forward to say that a deal is impossible with a Palestinian unity government that includes Hamas.” There you go again, telling us that if we don’t agree with you, then we’re not serious or honest. If we think that the Fatah-Hamas deal is terrible news for peace, then we’re just “skeptics of a two-state agreement.” In your worldview, there’s no possibility that we’re just a bit more nervous than you are, that we do not want to make a mistake that will turn our own homes into Sederot, that we are frightened of restoring the horror of 2000-2004 to our streets, buses and restaurants. No, that possibility doesn’t exist, because anyone who doesn’t agree with you is by definition a “skeptic of the two-state agreement.” I’d suggest that if you want to convince those of us still deciding whether you’re part of the big tent that you are “in,” that you drop this sort of condescension. It’s arrogant and intellectually shallow; it doesn’t serve you well.

And if you want those of us who are still unsure to become convinced that you are part of the Big Tent, then I have another piece of advice for you – recognize that not everyone can be part of the tent. There are groups who are clearly opposed to Israel’s existence as a Jewish state; they are our enemies. It doesn’t matter if they are in Israel or outside, or if they are Jewish or not. If they are working to end Israel, or to end it as a Jewish and democratic state, then they are our enemies, plain and simple. There are enemies who cannot be loved or compromised into submission, and you need to recognize that. The BDS [Boycott, Divest and Sanction] movement is a case in point. No one in their right mind doubts that BDS is opposed to Israel’s continued existence as a Jewish State. So why were they invited to your annual conference? There need to be limits to those whom you’d welcome into your tent. You need to show us that you care about Israel more than you care about dialogue with Israel’s enemies.

I still remember the first time I was struck by this tendency of yours to assail Israel when you’d been silent about what Israel’s enemies were doing. It was the first day of the Gaza War at the end of 2008. Sederot had been shelled intermittently for eight years, and relentlessly in the days prior to the beginning of the war. It was obvious that this couldn’t go on, for the first obligation of states to their citizens is to protect them. For years, Israel had been failing the citizens of Sederot. But when Israel finally decided to do what any legitimate state would do, J-Street immediately called for a cessation of hostilities. The war was only hours old, nothing had been accomplished and the citizens of Sederot were still no safer than they had been. But J-Street had had enough. Why? Why had you said almost nothing for all the years that Sederot was being shelled, but within hours of the war’s beginning were calling for it to end? What matters more to you – the safety of Israel’s citizens, or advancing your own moral agenda in our region of the world?

If you want us to be convinced that you’re in the Big Tent, show us. Show us that there are times that you will stand up for Israel, not her enemies. Explain why you lobbied Congress against a resolution condemning incitement in Palestinian schools. Explain why, when Israel is marginalized as never before (a recent poll showed that Europeans rank Israel and North Korea as the greatest threats to world peace!), you pressured the US not to veto a UN resolution on settlements, which the mainstream of American Jewry all thought need to be vetoed.

And ask yourselves this: if you were to take all the money you’re spending in the United States and do your work here in Israel, trying to strengthen the political parties who are more inclined to do what you seek, how much traction would you get? We all know that you would get a pretty chilly reception. Ask yourself why that is. Is it that we Israelis really don’t want to end this conflict? We enjoy sending our children off to war? We look forward to the next funeral at Mount Herzl? We’re not aware that time is not on our side?

Or is it that we live here, and that even rank and file Israelis know a bit more about the complexity of this conflict than you give us credit for? Why would you assume that we’re stupid, or immoral, or addicted to the conflict? Why do you insist that the Fatah-Hamas agreement is a good thing, or that it’s best for Israel if the United States twists its arm even harder? At a time when Israel is so alone, can you see why it’s hard for many of us to buy the argument that you’re genuinely pro-Israel, or that you should be part of the Big Tent?

It’s time for you to show us. Show us that you seek peace, that you care about the Palestinians, but that even more (yes, more, because that’s what the particularism of peoplehood requires), that you care about us. It’s one thing to put “pro-Israel” in your tag line, and another to be “pro-Israel.” You certainly don’t need to be a rubber stamp for Israeli policy – that’s not what’s at issue. Israel desperately needs critique, and Israelis issue it all the time. So, too, should Diaspora Jews.

No, what’s at issue is for us to see you pressure someone, anytime, to be in Israel’s camp on something. That’s what we want to see. When we see that, more of us will believe that you’re part of our tent, and then, even with all our disagreements, we’ll be convinced that we could work together for a better future for all the peoples of this region.

Postscript: in the Q&A session that followed, J-Street Founder Jeremy Ben Ami asked the first question. He said that he found it “astounding” that I had given an entire presentation “without mentioning the occupation of another people.” But interestingly, in the May 12th issue of Globes, Vered Kellner, who traveled with the group and went with them from my session to their meeting with Salaam Fayyad, noted that Fayyad didn’t mention the occupation either. “Is it possible that the occupation conversation simply doesn’t interest anyone anymore?” she asked.

“True,” Ben Ami answered, “neither Gordis nor Fayyad raised the occupation, but we’re here to remind Israelis that you can’t pretend that the occupation isn’t part of reality.”

So here’s my final suggestion – if the way that you’re framing the issues is no longer the way that Israelis and Palestinians are discussing them, is it possible that you are not even addressing the core issues that matter to the people actually in the conflict? Perhaps the time has come to ask yourselves what matters to you more: actually moving the policy needle, or assuaging your own discomfort with the undeniably painful complexities of this conflict. If what you want to do is to affect policy, how effective would you say you’ve been thus far?

why Israel can't go back to 67 lines

The dangers of relinquishing military control of the West Bank are as follows:

An Arab army will attempt to sever Israel at its narrow waist along the coastal plain.

Palestinian forces - regular or irregular - will infiltrate along the line, and given the tiny distances they'll be able to reach Israel's main cities within minutes and wreak havoc.

Palestinians will be able to shoot directly at numerous targets in Israel's populous heartland.

Palestinians will be able to shoot mortars and short-range rockets at numerous targets in Israel's populous heartland.

Israel will lose its ability to collect human intelligence about terror cells in the West Bank.

Rather than controlling the West Bank, Israel will have to defend itself along a long and twisted border much of it in hilly terrain.

Israel will lose most of its control over the aquifer that supplies much of the water to the coastal wells.
The Palestinians will have the legal right to demand some of the water of the Jordan Basin.

These threats are of varying quality. The first, regarding an Arab army, can be fended off through two measures. First, the Palestinians will not be allowed to have a full-fledged army. If they ask the Europeans, this will be a blessing for them, since armies are extremely expensive things to have, but if they insist having an army is essential to sovereignty they should be reminded that Germany (both of it) was allowed only a limited military between 1945 and 1991, and got along quite well, and Japan's military was also limited post 1945. So no, having an army is not an essential prerequisite for sovereignty.

Second, Israel demands a military presence along the Jordan River, to the east of the West Bank. This presence is directed at anyone to the east of Palestine who might be tempted to use it as a launching pad for an invasion of Israel. There is total unanimity among all Israel's security types that this presence is essential, though Netanyahu has recently been hinting it need not require Israeli sovereignty. Perhaps the Jordan Valley will be sovereign Palestinian territory in which Israel has contractual rights to a military presence. I admit I'm personally skeptical. Modern armies being the cumbersome things they are, I don't see how one could arrive on the West Bank suddenly, unannounced, and launch an attack on Israel. Not to mention that no Arab army has tried the full-fronted assault method since 1973, probably for the good reason that it's a harmful exercise. In any scenario Israel will need a powerful and threatening military for the first three or five generations after making peace with all its neighbors, but I don't see why a few thousand troops along the Jordan make much difference. There's a major road down there from Jerusalem, and another can be built from the north, and if there's to be a war IDF forces will be there long before Iraqi or Iranian or Emirati divisions arrive.

Water: this is a serious matter, but ever less so. At the moment we're preparing to lay the fifth major pipeline from the coast up to Jerusalem (if I'm not mistaken), which will be unusual in that for the first time it will draw its water not from coastal springs but from desalination stations. There isn't enough natural water in Israel/Palestine for the 12 million people who already live here, and there's not going to be any more, either. Israel already operates major desalination plants, while holding the world record for recycling water; this trend will have to continue no matter what. I don't have the exact numbers at hand, but Israel already supplies some of the water the Palestinians use, and will probably supply more as their numbers grow, no matter who controls them politically. This means water will be a Palestinian weakness, not a threat against Israel. Anyway, the entire subject is one that can be resolved with money, and need not cost human lives.

Which leaves us with the various threats of low-level Palestinian violence. These are serious. In 2002-2004 Israel needed to reoccupy the entire West Bank, re-build its intelligence sources and networks, and also construct the security barrier; only then was the bloody 2nd Intifada defeated. Its ongoing control is the reason no kassam rockets or mortars are shot from the West Bank, while many thousands have been shot from Gaza. Moreover, only a fool, or perhaps a Swedish foreign minister, would believe that by signing a peace agreement with some Palestinians, there will remain no Palestinian individuals or groups willing to shoot at Israeli civilians from the shelter of civilians towns and villages; those Swedes and other EU fellows will conspicuously not fly into Ben Gurion airport if they ever remotely fear that their plane could be shot down as it comes in to land at the airport which is within range of Palestinian gunmen with easily portable shoulder missiles. Until someone comes up with a way to assure Israel this danger is not acute, I don't see how it will relinquish military control of some sort over the West Bank. Which is not to say that Israel might not move all its civilians back to a line, say that of the barrier. Which brings us to the matter of the settlers.

The real reason Israel insists it cannot go back to the Green line is a combination of security to the east of the airport, and the existence of large settlements, most of them quite close to the Green Line. No official maps have ever been made public, obviously, since the negotiations have never reached completion,

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Why is Obama pro Palestinian?


Obama’s hard-Left tilt is real.

It’s time to revisit the issue of President Obama’s Palestinian ties. During his time in the Illinois state senate, Obama forged close alliances with the most prominent Palestinian political leaders in America. Substantial evidence also indicates that during his pre-Washington years, Obama was both supportive of the Palestinian cause and critical of America’s stance toward Israel. Although Obama began to voice undifferentiated support for Israel around 2004 (as he ran for U.S. Senate and his national visibility rose), critics and even some backers have long suspected that his pro-Palestinian inclinations survive.

The continuing influence of Obama’s pro-Palestinian sentiments is the best way to make sense of the president’s recent tilt away from Israel. This is why supporters of Israel should fear Obama’s reelection. In 2013, with his political vulnerability a thing of the past, Obama’s pro-Palestinian sympathies would be released from hibernation, leaving Israel without support from its indispensable American defender.

To see this, we need to reconstruct Obama’s pro-Palestinian past and assess its influence on the present. Taken in context, and followed through the years, the evidence strongly suggests that Obama’s long-held pro-Palestinian sentiments were sincere, while his post-2004 pro-Israel stance has been dictated by political necessity.

Let’s begin at the beginning — with the controversial question of whether Obama’s cultural heritage through his nominally Muslim Kenyan father and his Muslim Indonesian stepfather, along with his having been raised for a time in predominantly Muslim Indonesia, might have had some effect on the president’s mature foreign-policy views. Obama supporters often mock this idea, but we have it on high authority that Obama’s unusual heritage and upbringing have had an effect on his adult views.

Top presidential aide and longtime Obama family friend Valerie Jarrett was born and raised in Iran for the first five years of her life. In explaining how she first grew close to Obama, Jarrett says they traded stories of their youthful travels. As Jarrett told Obama biographer David Remnick: “He and I shared a view of where the United States fit in the world, which is often different from the view people have who have not traveled outside the United States as young children.” Remnick continues: “Through her travels, Jarrett felt that she had come to see the United States with a greater objectivity as one country among many, rather than as the center of all wisdom and experience.” Speaking with the authority of a close personal friend and top political adviser, then, Jarrett affirms that she and Obama reject traditional American exceptionalism. One hallmark of America’s exceptionalist perspective, of course, is our unique alliance with a democratic Israel, even in the face of intense criticism of that alliance from much of the rest of the world.

Obama’s close friend and longtime ally, Rashid Khalidi, Edward Said’s successor as the most prominent American advocate for the Palestinians, goes further. Khalidi told the Los Angeles Times that as president, Obama, “because of his unusual background, with family ties in Kenya and Indonesia, would be more understanding of the Palestinian experience than typical American politicians.” Khalidi’s testimony is important, since he speaks on the basis of years of friendship with Obama.

Those who know Obama best, then, affirm that his foreign-policy views are atypical for an American politician, and are grounded in his unique international heritage and upbringing. That is important, because our core task is to decide whether Obama’s pro-Palestinian past was a stance rooted in sincere sympathy, or nothing but a convenient sop to his leftist Hyde Park supporters. Jarrett and Khalidi give us reason to believe that Obama’s decidedly pro-Palestinian inclinations are rooted in his core conception of who he is.

Obama came to political consciousness at college, and prior to his discovery of community organizing late in his senior year, his focus was on international issues. Obama’s memoir, Dreams from My Father, highlights his anti-apartheid activism during his sophomore year at California’s Occidental College. Obama’s anti-apartheid stance, however, was part of a far broader and more radical rejection of the West’s alleged imperialism. Obama himself tells us, in a famous passage in Dreams, that he was taken with criticism of “neocolonialism” and “Eurocentrism” during these early college years.

What Obama doesn’t tell us, but what I reveal in Radical-in-Chief , my political biography of the president, is that he was a convinced Marxist during his college years. More important, once Obama graduated and entered the world of community organizing, he absorbed the sophisticated and intentionally stealthy socialism of his mentors. Obama’s socialist mentors strongly supported what they saw as the “liberation struggles” carried on by rebels against American “oppression” throughout the world. So Obama’s continuous radical political history strongly suggests that his early support for Palestine’s “liberation struggle” grew out of authentic political conviction, not pandering.
Although Obama has long withheld his college transcripts from the public, the Los Angeles Times reported in 2008 that Obama took a course from Edward Said sometime during his final two undergraduate years at Columbia University. This was just around the time Obama’s ties to organized socialism were deepening, and certainly suggests a sincere interest in Said’s radical views. As Martin Kramer points out, in his superb 2008 review of Obama’s Palestinian ties, Said had just then published his book The Question of Palestine, definitively setting the terms of the academic Left’s stance on the issue for decades to come.

After Obama finished his initial community-organizing stint in Chicago and graduated from Harvard Law School, he settled down to a teaching job at the University of Chicago around 1992, and went about laying the foundations of a political career. Sometime not long after his arrival at the University of Chicago, Obama connected with Rashid Khalidi.

To say the least, Rashid Khalidi is a controversial fellow. To begin with, although Khalidi denies it, Martin Kramer has unearthed powerful evidence suggesting that Khalidi was at one time an official spokesman for the Palestine Liberation Organization. Also, in the years immediately prior to his friendship with Obama, Khalidi was a leading opponent of the first Gulf War, which successfully reversed Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait. According to Kramer, Khalidi condemned that action as an American “colonial war,” insisting that before we could end Saddam’s occupation of Kuwait, we would first have to end Israel’s supposedly equivalent occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. As Kramer puts it, Khalidi’s influence helped turn the University of Chicago of the Nineties into “the hot place to be for . . . trendy postcolonialist, blame-America, trash-Israel” scholarship.

While we don’t know exactly when their friendship began, Khalidi was reportedly present at the famous 1995 kickoff reception for Obama’s first political campaign, held at the home of Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn. That is no minor point. We’ll see that as Khalidi’s close friend and political ally, Ayers played an integral role in the story of Obama’s relationship with Khalidi.
In May 1998, Edward Said traveled from Columbia to Chicago to present the keynote address at a dinner organized by the Arab American Action Network, a group founded by Rashid and Mona Khalidi. We’ve known for some time that Barack and Michelle Obama sat next to Edward and Mariam Said at that event. (Pictures are available.) It has not been noticed, however, that a detailed report on Said’s address exists, along with an article by Said published just days before the event (Arab American News, May 22, June 12, 1998). Between those two reports, we can reconstruct at least an approximate picture of what Obama might have heard from his former professor that day.
For the most part, Said focused his article (and likely his talk as well) on harsh criticisms of Israel, which he equated with both South Africa’s apartheid state and Nazi Germany. Said’s criticisms of the Palestinian Authority also were harsh. Why, he wondered, weren’t the 50,000 security people employed by the Palestinian Authority heading up resistance to Israel’s settlement building? In his talk, Said called for large-scale marches and civilian blockades of Israeli settlement building. To prevent Palestinian workers from participating in any Israeli construction, Said also proposed the establishment of a fund that would pay these laborers not to work for Israel. Presciently, Said’s talk also called on Palestinians to orchestrate an international campaign to stigmatize Israel as an illegitimate apartheid state.

So broadly speaking, this is what Obama would have heard from his former teacher at that May 1998 encounter. Yet Obama was clearly comfortable enough with Said’s take on Israel to deepen his relationship with Khalidi and his Arab American Action Network (AAAN). We know this, because Ali Abunimah, longtime vice president of the AAAN, has told us so.
In many ways, Abunimah is the neglected key to reconstructing the story of Obama’s alliance with Khalidi and AAAN. While Abunimah’s accounts of Obama’s alliance with AAAN have long been public, they are not widely known. Nor have Abunimah’s writings been pieced together with Obama’s history of support for AAAN. Doing so creates a disturbing picture of Obama’s political convictions on the Palestinian question.

In late summer 1998, for example, a few months after Obama’s encounter with Edward Said, Abunimah and AAAN were caught up in a national controversy over the alleged blacklisting of respected terrorism expert Steve Emerson by National Public Radio. In August of that year, NPR had interviewed Emerson on air about Osama bin Laden’s terror network. According to columnist Jeff Jacoby , however, Abunimah managed to obtain a promise from NPR to ban Emerson from its airwaves, on the grounds that Emerson was an anti-Arab bigot. It took Jacoby’s research and public objections to lift the ban.

Attempting to bar an expert on Osama bin Laden’s terror network from the airwaves is not exactly a feather in AAAN’s cap. Yet Obama continued his relationship with AAAN. Abunimah himself introduced Obama at a major fundraiser for a West Bank Palestinian community center a short time later in 1999. And that, says Abunimah, was “just one example of how Barack Obama used to be very comfortable speaking up for and being associated with Palestinian rights and opposing the Israeli occupation.”
The year 2000 saw yet another public clash between Ali Abunimah and Jeff Jacoby over terrorism, along with a deepening alliance between Obama, Khalidi, Abunimah, and AAAN. In May 2000, Abunimah published a New York Times op-ed taking issue with a State Department report on the rising threat of terrorism from the Middle East and South Asia. The report focused on al-Qaeda, in particular. This was one of the most timely and accurate warnings we received in the run-up to 9/11. Yet Abunimah trashed the report. In a longer study released around the time of his op-ed, Abunimah went further, questioning Hezbollah’s designation as a terrorist organization, and suggesting that we ought to be, at the very least, “deeply skeptical” of the State Department’s warnings about Osama bin Laden.

As Abunimah continued to downplay the threat from bin Laden, his ties to Obama deepened. In 2000, AAAN founder Rashid Khalidi held a fundraiser for Obama’s ultimately unsuccessful congressional campaign. Abunimah remembers that Obama “came with his wife. That’s where I had a chance to really talk to him. It was an intimate setting. He convinced me he was very aware of the issues [and] critical of U.S. bias toward Israel and lack of sensitivity to Arabs. . . . He was very supportive of U.S. pressure on Israel.” Obama’s numerous statements over the years criticizing American policy for leaning too much toward Israel were vivid in Abunimah’s memory, he says, because “these were the kind of statements I’d never heard from a U.S. politician who seemed like he was going somewhere rather than at the end of his career.” Obama’s criticism of America’s Middle East policy was sufficient to inspire Abunimah to pull out his checkbook and, for the first time, contribute to an American political campaign.

Within a year, Obama did Khalidi and Abunimah a good turn as well. From his position on the board of Chicago’s Woods Fund, Obama, along with Ayers and the other five members of the board, began to channel funds to AAAN, totaling $75,000 in grants during 2001 and 2002. Now Obama and Ayers were effectively supporting the pro-Palestinian activism of AAAN’s vice-president, Abunimah, and funding an organization founded by their mutual friends, the Khalidis, in the process.
In the first year of the Woods Fund grant, Abunimah was the focus of a critical Chicago Tribune op-ed by Gidon Remba, a former translator in the Israeli prime minister’s office. Pointing to Abunimah, among others, Remba decried attempts by “Yasser Arafat’s Arab-American cheerleaders” to “vindicate the resurgence of attacks on Israeli civilians by Palestinian gunmen and Islamic suicide bombers.” Yet Obama and Ayers re-upped AAAN’s money in 2002.

An August 2002 profile of Abunimah in the Chicago Tribune quotes a supporter of Israel noting that, while he has heard Abunimah deplore terrorism, he has never heard Abunimah affirm that he “supports the continued right of Israel to exist alongside a future Palestine.” That is because Abunimah does not appear to recognize such a right. Instead, Abunimah favors a “one-state solution,” in which Israel’s identity as a Jewish state would be drowned out by an influx of Palestinian immigrants seeking the “right of return.” Abunimah’s book, One Country , which spells out his one-state solution, features an extended comparison between Israel and South African apartheid.

For Bill Ayers, Abunimah’s claims that Israel is an apartheid state, along with his arguments that international law at times licences violent resistance against Israel, surely resonate. As I show in Radical-in-Chief, Ayers has never abandoned his Weatherman ideology. The reason Ayers refuses to repudiate the Weathermen’s terrorist past is that he sees the group’s violent actions as justified resistance to the “internal colonialism” and apartheid of a racist American society. That likely explains why Ayers happily channeled grant money to AAAN, which makes a Weatherman-style argument against Israel.

In the acknowledgments of Resurrecting Empire , a monograph he worked on toward the end of his time in Chicago, Khalidi credits Ayers with persuading him to write it. A core theme of Resurrecting Empire is that the problems of the Middle East largely turn on America’s failure to force Israel to resolve the Palestinian question. This claim that Israel is the true root of the Middle East’s problems is what Martin Kramer identifies, correctly, I think, as the key lesson imparted to Obama by Khalidi.

Khalidi left Chicago in 2003, after the now-famous farewell dinner at which Obama thanked Khalidi for years of beneficial intellectual exchange. The article in which the Los Angeles Times reports on that dinner adds that many of Obama’s Palestinian allies and associates are convinced that, despite his public statements in support of Israel, Obama remains far more sympathetic to the Palestinian cause then he has publicly let on.

Specifically, Abunimah has said that, in the winter of 2004, Obama commended an op-ed Abunimah had just published in the Chicago Tribune, saying, “Keep up the good work!” (This is likely the op-ed in question.) According to Abunimah, Obama then apologized for not having said more publicly about Palestine, but also said he hoped that after his race for the U.S. Senate was over he could be “more up front” about his actual views.

It didn’t turn out that way. Once Obama’s new-found stardom gave him national political prospects, he swiftly shifted into the pro-Israeli camp, to Abunimah’s great frustration. Would a reelected Obama finally be able to be “more up front” about his pro-Palestinian views, belatedly fulfilling his promise to Abunimah? In short, was Obama’s pro-Palestinian past nothing but a way of placating a hard-Left constituency whose views he never truly shared? Or is Obama’s post-2004 tilt toward Israel the real charade?

The record is clear. Obama’s heritage, his largely hidden history of leftist radicalism, and his close friendship with Rashid Khalidi, all bespeak sincerity, as Obama’s other Palestinian associates agree. This is not to mention Reverend Wright — whose rabidly anti-Israel sentiments, I show in Radical-in-Chief, Obama had to know about — or Obama’s longtime foreign-policy adviser Samantha Power, who once apparently recommended imposing a two-state solution on Israel through American military action. Decades of intimate alliances in a hard-Left world are a great deal harder to fake than a few years of speeches at AIPAC conferences.

The real Obama is the first Obama, and depending on how the next presidential election turns out, we’re going to meet him again in 2013.


President Obama's formulation requires Israel to give up its "card" and dismantle most of the communities in Judea and Samaria. But it does not require the Palestinians to give up their "card" and to compromise on the right of return. That issue is to be left to further negotiations only after the borders have been agreed to. Requiring Israel to give up the "territorial" card before the Palestinians even have to negotiate about the "return" card — is a non-starter for Israel and it is more than the Palestinians have privately asked for!

This was NOT Bush's policy or any other US policy, and it only making negotiations impossible. And he is sticking to this mantra throughout his European trip.

How on earth is this a pro-Israel position?

Obama explains — and makes it worse
By Alan M. Dershowitz
The American president 's statement at a UK press conference reveals the underlying flaw in Obama's thinking about the conflict. Giving the Palestinians more than they asked for has made it impossible for the Palestinians to compromise

In his press conference with British Prime Minister David Cameron in London on Wednesday, US President Barack Obama explained his thinking as to why he insisted that the first step in seeking a peaceful two-state solution between Israel and the Palestinians must be an agreement by Israel to accept the 1967 borders with mutually agreed-upon land swaps.

Here is what the president said: "It is going to require wrenching compromise from both sides. In the last decade, when negotiators have talked about how to achieve that outcome, there have been typically four issues that have been raised. One is the issue of what would the territorial boundaries of a new Palestinian state look like. Number two: how could Israel feel confident that its security needs would be met? Number three: how would the issue of Palestinian refugees be resolved; and number four, the issue of Jerusalem. The last two questions are extraordinarily emotional. They go deep into how the Palestinians and the Jewish people think about their own identities. Ultimately they are going to be resolved by the two parties. I believe that those two issues can be resolved if there is the prospect and the promise that we can actually get to a Palestinian state and a secure Jewish state of Israel."

This recent statement clearly reveals the underlying flaw in Obama's thinking about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. There is no way that Israel can agree to borders without the Palestinians also agreeing to give up any claim to a "right of return." As Palestinian Prime Minister Fayyad Salaam once told me: each side has a major card to play and a major compromise to make; for Israel, that card is the West Bank, and the compromise is returning to the 1967 lines with agreed-upon adjustments and land swaps; for the Palestinians, that card is "the right of return," and the compromise is an agreement that the Palestinian refugees will be settled in Palestine and not in Israel; in other words, that there will be no right to "return" to Israel.


President Obama's formulation requires Israel to give up its card and to make a "wrenching compromise" by dismantling most of the West Bank settlements and ending its occupation of the West Bank. But it does not require the Palestinians to give up their card and to compromise on the right of return. That "extraordinarily emotional" issue is to be left to further negotiations only after the borders have been agreed to.

This temporal ordering — requiring Israel to give up the "territorial" card before the Palestinians even have to negotiate about the "return" card — is a non-starter for Israel and it is more than the Palestinians have privately asked for. Once again, President Obama, by giving the Palestinians more than they asked for, has made it difficult, if not impossible, for the Palestinians to compromise. Earlier in his administration, Obama insisted that Israel freeze all settlement building, despite the fact that the Palestinians had not demanded such action as a precondition to negotiating. He forced the Palestinians to impose that as a precondition, because no Palestinian leader could be seen as less pro-Palestinian than the American President. Now he's done it again, by not demanding that the Palestinians give up their right of return as a quid for Israel's quo of returning to the 1967 borders with agreed-upon land swaps.

So it's not so much what President Obama said; it's what he didn't say. It would have been so easy for the President to have made the following statement:

"I am asking each side to make a wrenching compromise that will be extraordinarily emotional and difficult. For Israel, this compromise must take the form of abandonment of its historic and Biblical claims to what it calls Judea and Samaria. This territorial compromise will require secure boundaries somewhat different than the 1967 lines that led to war. Resolution 242 of the Security Council recognized the need for changes in the 1967 lines that will assure Israel's security. Since 1967, demographic changes have occurred that will also require agreed-upon land swaps between Israel and the new Palestinian state. This territorial compromise will be difficult for Israel, but in the end it will be worthwhile, because it will assure that Israel will remain both a Jewish and a fully democratic state in which every resident is equal under the law.

"For the Palestinians, this compromise must take the form of a recognition that for Israel to continue to be the democratic state of the Jewish people, the Palestinian refugees and their descendants will have to be settled in Palestine. In other words, they will have a right to return, but to Palestine and not to Israel. This will be good both for Palestine and for Israel. For Palestine, it will assure that the new state will have the benefit of a large and productive influx of Palestinians from around the world. This Palestinian diaspora should want to help build an economically and politically viable Palestinian state. The Palestinian leadership must recognize, as I believe they do, that there will be no "right of return" of millions of Palestinian refugees and their descendants to Israel. Compensation can be negotiated both for those Palestinians who left Israel as a result of the 1948 wars and for those Jews who left Arab countries during and after that same period."

It's not too late for President Obama to "explain" that that is what he really meant when he declared that Israel must remain a Jewish state and that any Palestinian government that expects compromises from Israel must recognize that reality. Central to Israel's continued existence as the nation-state of the Jewish people is the Palestinian recognition that there can be no so-called "right of return" to Israel, and that the Palestinian leadership and people must acknowledge that Israel will continue to exist as the nation-state of the Jewish people within secure and recognized boundaries. Unless President Obama sends that clear message, not only to the Israelis but to the Palestinians as well, he will not move the peace process forward. He will move it backward.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Obama not doing enough to stop Iran Rabbi Jonathan Ginsburg

n Times: U.S. penalizes 7 foreign firms for helping Tehran import gas


Goldberg, Richard (Kirk)
show details 7:42 AM (7 hours ago)

U.S. penalizes 7 foreign firms for helping Tehran import gas
By Eli Lake-The Washington Times
7:27 p.m., Tuesday, May 24, 2011
The Obama administration on Tuesday imposed new economic sanctions on seven companies that helped Iran import gasoline, but a senator said the action did not go far enough.
The State Department announced the sanctions imposed under a law passed last year called the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability and Divestment Act (CISADA).
The companies include Venezuela's state-owned oil concern, a small Israeli company, two companies based in the United Arab Emirates and one Iranian firm.
The energy-related sanctions followed the imposition of weapons transfer-related sanctions on Monday against 16 companies and people under the Iran, North Korea and Syria Nonproliferation Act. The entities include three Chinese companies and a Chinese national.
It was the first time CISADA sanctions were imposed on companies for aiding Iran's import of gasoline. They are part of efforts to pressure Tehran over its refusal to abide by international controls on its nuclear program.
"All of these companies have engaged in activities related to the supply of refined petroleum products to Iran, including the direct supply of gasoline and related products," said Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg.
Iran is a leading exporter of crude oil, but lacks the refining capacity for its domestic gasoline needs.
The sanctions place the companies on a financial blacklist, which affects their ability to use the global banking system by threatening to block any bank that works with the companies from access to the U.S. banking system.
The action did little to assuage concerns of some in Congress who said President Obama is not doing enough to pressure Iran.
Sen. Mark Kirk, Illinois Republican, said in an interview that he placed a Senate hold on the administration's nomination of David Cohen to be Treasury undersecretary for terrorism and financial crimes. The office is the key unit behind the U.S.-led financial war against Iran's nuclear program and terrorist funding.
"He seems to be a dedicated servant and one who has qualifications," Mr. Kirk said of Mr. Cohen. "The only question I have: Does he have a mandate to do anything, or is this a mandate to look like he is doing something without accomplishing much?"
Mr. Kirk said the nomination hold is aimed at pressuring the Obama administration into penalizing Iran's central bank, a move that would effectively shut out international financial institutions from the U.S. banking systems if they do business with Iran.
An administration official said in March that punishing the Iranian central bank could have the unintended effect of spiking oil prices.
Mr. Kirk, however, said that concern was misplaced, and he predicted Saudi Arabia would increase its output to stabilize oil prices. "It may be possible. It's clear that the Saudi leadership is extremely willing to do almost anything to hurt Iran, but only if this is part of a coordinated plan where they can see the desired outcomes," he said.
The Venezuelan state-owned petroleum giant PDVSA was penalized for shipping a chemical used to refine petroleum to Iran. PDVSA is the parent company of Citgo, which owns gas stations throughout the United States. Citgo was exempted from the sanctions.
The new sanctions also target an Israeli concern, the Ofer Brothers Group, for providing an oil tanker valued at $8.65 million to an Iranian shipping company, according to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.
Mr. Kirk said he has met with senior Obama administration officials in recent weeks to press his case for tougher sanctions against Iran. In these meetings, Mr. Kirk said, he asks three questions: "Is the Iranian economy growing faster or slower than America's? Is the uranium-enrichment facility at Natanz producing more or less enriched uranium? Is Iran importing more or less gasoline

Netanyahu/Obama and the week Rabbi Jonathan Ginsburg

Hear PM Netanyahu's speech to congress

TA News Alert
May 24, 2011
Bibi to Congress: No compromise on Jerusalem, refugees or Jordan River presence

WASHINGTON (JTA) – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that any peace deal with the Palestinians must grant Israel a military presence along the Jordan River, exclude repatriation of Palestinian refugees to Israel and leave Jerusalem as Israel's united capital.

However, the Israeli leader said Tuesday in his address to a joint meeting of Congress, some Jewish settlements in the West Bank would fall outside Israel’s borders in a final peace deal.

“Israel needs unique security arrangements because of its unique size,” Netanyahu said, adding that the Palestinian state must be demilitarized.

Netanyahu received a warm reception from Congress, including more than two dozen standing ovations.
However, the Israeli prime minister did not appear to offer anything new by way of substance for his vision of peace with the Palestinians, saying Israel “would be very generous” about the size of the Palestinian state but providing few details.

From Richard Baehr on Obama and Netanyahu this week
think home runs are too commonplace to give Bibi credit for hitting one with yesterday's speech to Congress. It was beyond that.
Here is the speech, if you missed it: http://tinyurl.com/3scqht3
I wrote a short blog for American Thinker yesterday on why Congress loved Bib. The comments are worth reading. . AT readers are conservatove, and overwhelmingly not Jewish.

The Associated Press ties to deconstruct Bibi's speech and gets taken apart by Daled Amos: http://tinyurl.com/3bv6v6u

Elder of Ziyon, one of the best pro-Israel bloggers in the wold, takes part the lame arguments of the liberal peace processor camp, exemplified by Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen:

There is genuine bipartisan support for Israel in Congress, a very good thing, and Democratic leaders Steny Hoyer, and Harry Reid were very good at AIPAC, creating space between themselves and the President's pro-Palestinian policies. When you adopt the PA position on borders , word for word, and three times start unnecessary fights with Israel to ostensibly advance a peace process going nowhere due to Palestinian obstructionism and disinterest, then yes, it is the pro-Palestinian position. Democratic Congressman Robert Andrews of New Jersey said yesterday that the President was leaning towards Hamas! There are some Democrats in Congress who are not part of this solid bipartisan coalition. Republicans think it is fair game to run against those Democrats on their weak support for Israel, especially since three of them, Chris Murphy in Connecticut, Tammy Baldwin in Wisconsin, and Mark Heinrich in New Mexico, are running for open Senate seats. One Democratic Congresswoman, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, tries to pre-emept using Israel as an issue in their races. That makes as much sense as not considering Barack Obama's record on Israel when he is up for re-election in 2012. If you are a pro-Israel liberal Democrat, that is fine. Three are many worthy candidates to support, including Shelley Berkley, running for Senate in Nevada.
This brings me to one other point, - the leaders of the Jewish community who choose to carry water for Obama in the community this time around , and argue for his pro-Israel bonafides, deserve to be called out and shamed for it. . If Obama is reelected, this much is a certainty- he is a Chicago pol at heart, who carries grudges. His sympathies are all on the other side. He dislikes israel, and despises its Prime Minister, who upstaged him this week- not hard to do when you are much smarter, can speak intelligently without a teleprompter, and actually know some basic history. Obama will screw Israel in his second term. It is a certainty. Do you think he will veto Security Council resolutions aimed at Israel when he no longer needs Jewish cash or votes? Barack Obama was schooled on the Middle East by Rashid Khalidi, Edward Said, Ali Abunimah and Reverend Wright. His "Jewish protectors" in 2008 had a different role- hide the truth about his sentiments on Israel, and scoop up cash from the community.

Jewish Democrats, angered and concerned over President Obama's direction on Mideast affairs, are pulling their support from the president as the 2012 general election approaches.

The Los Angeles Times reports that many Democratic Jews remain concerned over Obama's call for a return to the 1967 lines as a starting point for peace negotiations, even with the caveat of "land swaps" he offered during his recent AIPAC speech.

Describing the reaction of prospective donors, [one Philadelphia fundraiser] said: "There are those who have already served notice that they’re just not going to participate. Then there are those who are saying, 'We want to see how this plays out over the next week or so.’

Tom Knox, a businessman who is also helping to raise money for the Philadelphia event, said: "I wish I could tell you there wouldn't be" repercussions from Obama’s remarks. "There's going to be some backlash on it. I don't know why he said it. I think he's just trying to get the talks going again."

In what could be the biggest blow of all to the Democratic fundraising machine, billionaire media executive Haim Saban strongly suggested he will pull his funding over Obama's policy decisions on the Mideast, Ynet reports.

"The US and Israel need to address the points of difference between them in private and not in front of the cameras," he said, heaping criticism on both leaders.

But his critique was mostly aimed at Obama. "I am perplexed as to why the president has been to Cairo, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey but has not stopped in Israel and spoken to the Israeli people," the billionaire said. "I believe the president can clarify to the Israeli people what his positions are on Israel and calm them down, because they are not calm right now."

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Abbas' lies Rabbi Jonathan Ginsburg

Abbas to Netanyahu:
"You are incidental in history"

by Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik

The PA held official events in Ramallah and in Gaza to mark the day the Palestinian Authority mourns the creation of the State of Israel, called "nakba" - "catastrophe" day. Mahmoud Abbas's speech in Gaza was delivered in his name by his advisor and representative. In the speech Abbas denied that Jews have a history in the Land of Israel and claimed a fictitious 9000 year-old Palestinian history dating back to 7000 BCE, which he said made Palestinians "the owners of history."

Abbas's words taunted PM Benjamin Netanyahu, as the representative of Israel:
"Oh, Netanyahu, you are incidental in history; we are the people of history. We are the owners of history."

It should be noted that Abbas's taunting Netanyahu about history is a brazen distortion of known facts. Judean/Israeli history in the Land of Israel dates back thousands of years, and is documented by ancient Jewish and non-Jewish sources, and corroborated by numerous archeological finds, from Hebrew coins to Jewish ritual baths. The Kurkh Monolith, for example, an Assyrian document from the reign of King Shalmaneser III (859-824 BCE), includes the words: "King Ahab of Israel sent 2,000 chariots and 10,000 soldiers."

On the other hand, only recently have Arabs in the region identified as "Palestinians". No historian other than Palestinians have claimed that there was an ancient Palestinian history, and there isn't any reference to a Palestinian-Arab nation in antiquity, as Abbas claims. This is true of Islamic sources as well. The Quran refers to the people of Israel and even the destruction of the Temple [Sura17], but not to Palestinians.

The following is the part of Abbas's speech that was directed to Israel and Netanyahu:

Click here to view

PA moderator of PA Gaza event:
"The speech of President Mahmoud Abbas, Chairman of the PLO Executive Committee and President of the Palestinian Authority, will be delivered by the comrade, the great fighter, Abdallah Al-Ifranji, representative and advisor of the President."

Mahmoud Abbas, (delivered by his representative, Abdallah Al-Ifranji):
"National reconciliation [between Hamas and Fatah] is required in order to face Israel and Netanyahu. We say to him [Netanyahu], when he claims - that they [Jews] have a historical right dating back to 3000 years BCE - we say that the nation of Palestine upon the land of Canaan had a 7000 year history BCE. This is the truth, which must be understood and we have to note it, in order to say: 'Netanyahu, you are incidental in history. We are the people of history. We are the owners of history.'"
[PA TV (Fatah), May 14, 2011]

Jackie Mason as Obama Rabbi Jonathan Ginsburg

No Holds Barred: Obama’s Jackie Mason moment By SHMULEY BOTEACH
05/23/2011 23:50

The president’s speech at AIPAC on Sunday could have almost been part of the famed Jewish comedian’s standup.

Talkbacks (3)
President Barack Obama’s speech at AIPAC on Sunday could almost have been a Jackie Mason standup.

It turns out that when the president said last Thursday that Israel should return to its 1967 borders, it wasn’t exactly what he meant.

“Who said I was referring to 1967 borders? I meant 1867.... And even 1867, I didn’t mean CE, I meant BCE! And why did you assume I was talking about Israel’s borders? I was talking about French Guyana!” This was the first time I ever felt sorry for Obama – an incongruous sentiment for a man so talented and who also just happens to be the most powerful man in the world. You could see in both his body language and his utter absence of passion that he had been defeated. The president bobbed and weaved. He came into a room filled with 10,000 pro-Israel activists knowing he had blown it, not just with the American Jewish community, but with history itself.

For months, revolutions have has been breaking out all over the Arab world.

Obama had yet to give a single major policy speech on these unprecedented uprisings.

Yet when he finally chose to try and recapture the US presidential title of “Leader of the Free World,” he apparently couldn’t help but insert a highly inflammatory line about Israel that was immediately seized upon by the world’s media, which ignored the speech’s other content. And even on the Israel front, he was then forced to so dilute the ’67 border statement that it became utterly meaningless. Want proof? “It was my reference to the 1967 lines – with mutually agreed swaps – that received the lion’s share of the attention...

and since my position has been misrepresented several times, let me reaffirm what ‘1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps’ means. By definition, it means that the parties themselves – Israelis and Palestinians – will negotiate a border that is different than the one that existed on June 4, 1967... It allows the parties themselves to account for the changes that have taken place over the last 44 years. It allows the parties themselves to take account of those changes, including the new demographic realities on the ground, and the needs of both sides.”

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu could not have expressed it better.

So why did Obama destroy his Arab democracy speech, not to mention further erode his already tenuous Jewish support, with a reference to the ’67 borders from which he has since stumbled back? Here we have a president with the eloquence of Martin Luther King, Jr. but who has yet to make a single memorable speech aside from the moving and dignified words he offered the night Osama bin Laden was assassinated. Last Thursday was his chance. Why did he blow it? The president’s claim at AIPAC was that he had no idea the ’67 borders line was going to be so inflammatory. “My position has been misrepresented... If there is a controversy, then, it’s not based in substance...

What I did on Thursday was to say publicly what has long been acknowledged privately.”

But the president’s claims of naiveté are ridiculous. Obama is many things, but he’s no fool. He knew full well that being the first American president to call publicly for a return to the ’67 lines was a very bad idea. As The New York Times reported, Netanyahu had already had a “furious” phone call with Hillary Clinton the morning of the speech, when the secretary of state informed him that the line would be included at the president’s insistence. Obama knew darn well that any perceived demand to return to the pre-Six Day War borders spoke directly to the Palestinian narrative of an expansionist, imperialist Israel suddenly swallowing up the land of a harmless, defenseless people peacefully growing olives and herding sheep.

SO WHY did Obama say it? Why did he insist on including it? I believe the answer speaks directly to the growing mistrust that American Jewry (which gave the president 78% of its vote in 2008) now feels for Obama, and why Democratic Jewish donor purses are closing.

Stated simply, this president has an obsession with Israel. Even when he’s supposedly talking about the breakout of democracy throughout oppressive Arab regimes, he still has to connect it to Israel. He could easily have given a stand-alone speech about Israel and mentioned the ’67 lines there. But he apparently believes to his core the oft-repeated falsehood that the secret to wide-ranging Middle East peace is a solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict, and that Israeli intransigence is largely responsible for Middle East strife. Even as history proves him wrong, and the Arabs start directing their anger against their real oppressors, like Ben Ali of Tunisia, Mubarak of Egypt, Gaddafi of Libya and Assad of Syria, Obama still thinks the protests are against Israel.

He has seemingly decided that a solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict will define his presidency. If he pressures Israel to remove any military presence from the Jordan valley and return for the most part to its ’67 borders, he will achieve what no president has before him.

Sadly he has forgotten that Jimmy Carter pulled off just such a “breakthrough” – brokering peace between Israel and Egypt – yet is still remembered as a failed president because he lost the larger battle of bringing freedom to Iran, whose Islamists initiated a war against the West which we are still fighting.

The writer is the international best-selling author of 25 books, including his recent work Renewal: A Guide to the Values-Filled Life, and broadcasts widely on television and radio.

Obama's diverting attention away from Palestinian terror

caroline@carolineglick.comThe question is why would Obama act as he did? What did he wish to accomplish by purposely starting such an ugly fight with Netanyahu?

Probably the best way to figure out what Obama wished to accomplish is to consider what he did accomplish, because the two are undoubtedly related.

ON MAY 4, two weeks before Obama gave his speech, Fatah and Hamas signed a unity agreement. Hamas is the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood. Like its fellow Brotherhood satellite al-Qaida, Hamas shares the Brotherhood’s ideology of global jihad, the destruction of Western civilization and the establishment of a global caliphate. Also like al-Qaida, it is a terrorist organization which, since its establishment in 1987 has murdered more than a thousand Israelis.

In 2005, Hamas subcontracted itself out to the Iranian regime. Since then, its men have been trained by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps and by Hezbollah. Hamas maintains operational ties with both outfits and receives most of its weapons and significant funding from Iran.

The agreement between Fatah and Hamas makes Hamas a partner in the leadership of the Palestinian Authority. It also paves the way for Hamas to win the planned Palestinian legislative and presidential elections that are scheduled for September just after the UN General Assembly is scheduled to endorse Palestinian statehood. It also sets the conditions for Hamas to integrate its forces and eventually take over the UStrained Palestinian army in Judea and Samaria and to join the PLO.

The Hamas-Fatah unity deal constitutes a complete repudiation of the assumptions informing Obama’s policies towards the Palestinians and Israel. Obama perceives the conflict as a direct consequence of two things: prior US administrations’ refusal to “put light” between the US and Israel, and Israel’s unwillingness to surrender all of the territory it took during the course of the 1967 Six Day War.

The Hamas-Fatah unity deal is indisputable proof that contrary to what Obama believes, the conflict has nothing to do with previous administrations’ support for Israel or with Israel’s size. It is instead entirely the consequence of the Palestinians’ rejection of Israel’s right to exist and their commitment to bringing about Israel’s destruction.

Forcing Israel into indefensible boundaries, (which as Netanyahu explained to Obama at the White House on Friday, “were not the boundaries of peace, they were the boundaries of repeated wars because the attack on Israel was so attractive for them,”), will not advance the cause of peace. It will advance the Palestinians’ goal of destroying Israel.

Obama had two options for contending with the Palestinian unity deal. He could pay attention to it or he could create a distraction in order to ignore it. If he paid attention to it, he would have been forced to disavow his policy of blaming his predecessors in the White House and Israel for the absence of peace. By creating a distraction he would be able to change the subject in a manner that would enable him to maintain those policies.

And so he picked a fight with Netanyahu. And by picking the fight, he created a distraction that has, in fact, changed the subject and enabled Obama to maintain his policies that have been wholly repudiated by the reality of the Palestinian unity deal.

By inserting the citation of the 1949 armistice lines into his speech, Obama made Israel’s size again the issue.

The Hamas-Fatah unity deal actually demonstrates that not only is Israel’s size not the cause of the conflict, it is the main reason that Israelis and Palestinians live in relative peace.

Israel’s control over Judea and Samaria and east Jerusalem, and with them, its ability to ward off invasion and attacks on its major cities is what has prevented wars. If Israel were more vulnerable, the de facto Palestinian terror state would not be weighing whether or not to begin a new terror war as its leaders from Fatah and Hamas are doing today. It would be waging a continuous campaign of terror whose clear aim is Israel’s destruction for again, as Netanyahu said the 1949 armistice lines make war an attractive option for Israel’s enemies.

BY PICKING a fight with Netanyahu, since Thursday, no one could have possibly noted this basic truth because the false issue of Israel’s control over these areas – that is, Israel’s size – has dominated the global discourse on the Middle East.

Obama would never have been able to create his diversion from the unwelcome fact of Palestinian duplicity and rejectionism, to imaginary problem with the size of Israel without the enthusiastic support given to him by the Israeli Left.

Led by opposition leader Tzipi Livni, the Israeli Left responded to Obama’s full-scale assault on Israel’s legitimacy by launching a full-scale partisan assault on Netanyahu. Rather than back Netanyahu as he fights for the country’s future, Livni called for him to resign and said that he was wrecking Israel’s ties with the US. In so doing, the Left provided crucial support for Obama’s move to maintain his phony anti- Israel paradigm for Middle East policymaking in the face of the Palestinian unity deal’s repudiation of that model.

The Left’s assault on Netanyahu is not the only way it has enabled Obama to maintain his pro-Palestinian policies in the face of the Palestinians’ embrace of terror and war. In his speech to AIPAC, Obama argued that Israel needs to surrender its defensible boundaries because the Palestinians are about to demographically challenge Israel’s Jewish majority.

As Obama put it, “The number of Palestinians living west of the Jordan River is growing rapidly and fundamentally reshaping the demographic realities of both Israel and the Palestinian territories. This will make it harder and harder – without a peace deal – to maintain Israel as both a Jewish state and a democratic state.”

The demographic time bomb story is a Palestinian fabrication. In 1997, the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics published a falsified Palestinian census that inflated Palestinian population data by 50 percent. The Israeli Left adopted this fake report as its own when Palestinian terrorism and political warfare convinced the majority of Israelis that it was unwise to give them any more land and that the peace process was a lie.

Since 2004, repeated, in-depth studies of Jewish and Arab birthrates and immigration/ emigration statistics west of the Jordan River undertaken by independent researchers have shown that the demographic time bomb is a dud. In January, the respected demographer Yaakov Faitelson published a study for the Institute of Zionist Strategies in which he definitively put to rest the tale of pending Jewish demographic doom.

As Faitelson demonstrated, Jewish and Arab birthrates are already converging west of the Jordan River at around three children per woman. And whereas the fertility rates of Israeli Arabs, Gazans and residents of Judea and Samaria are all trending downward, Jewish fertility is consistently rising. Moreover, whereas the Arabs are experiencing consistently negative net immigration rates, Jewish net immigration rates are positive and high.

Faitelson based his multiyear projections on current population numbers in which Jews comprise 58.6 percent of the population west of the Jordan River and Muslims constitute 38.7% of the overall population. Non-Jewish, non-Muslim minorities comprise the other 2.7%. Using assessment baselines for Jewish net immigration well below current averages, Faitelson showed that in the years to come, not only will Jews not lose our demographic majority. We will increase it.

Faitelson’s study, like the studies published since 2004 by the American-Israeli Demographic Research Group show that from a demographic perspective, Israel is in the same situation as many Western states today. Namely, it has to develop policies for dealing with an irredentist minority population.

There are many reasonable, liberal policies that Israel can adopt. These include applying the liberal Israeli legal code to Judea and Samaria and enforcing the laws of treason. It is hard to see why the best policy for Israel is to take some of that irredentist population off its books by establishing a terror state ruled by what Netanyahu rightly referred to as “the Israeli equivalent of al-Qaida” on its border.

ALL OF this brings us back to Hamas, terrorism, the Palestinian rejection of Israel’s right to exist, and Obama’s diversionary moves to facilitate his preservation of a Middle East policy based on a wholly false and discredited assessment of reality and the Israeli Left’s facilitation of Obama’s efforts.

When we realize what Obama is up to, we recognize as well what Netanyahu must do in response.

In his address before Congress on Tuesday and in all of his appearances in the coming weeks and months, Netanyahu should have one goal: to bring the focus of debate back where it belongs – on the Palestinians.

At every opportunity, Netanyahu needs to pound the message that the Palestinians’ commitment to Israel’s destruction is the sole reason that there is no peace.

As for the Israeli Left, it is high time that Netanyahu place the likes of Livni on the defensive. This involves two things. First, Netanyahu must attack the Left’s doomsday demographic projections that are without factual basis and are indeed antithetical to reality. As long as the demographic lie goes unchallenged by Netanyahu, the Left will continue to argue that by refusing to build a terror state on the outskirts of Tel Aviv, Netanyahu is endangering Israel.

Netanyahu deserves a lot of credit for standing up to Obama on Friday. He showed enormous courage in doing so. It was his finest hour to date and polls over the weekend show that the public appreciates and supports him for it. He must build on that success by putting the focus on the truth.


Monday, May 23, 2011

american Jews get it

Poll Affirms Strong American Jewish Support for Israel (CAMERA-IMRA)
A poll of more than 1,000 American Jews, conducted by Luntz Global on behalf of the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA) on May 16-17, found that 85% say Israel "is right to take threats to its existence seriously," that Israel's concerns are neither "irrational" nor "overstated."
84% say the Israeli government is committed to establishing genuine peace between Israel and the Palestinian people, while 77% consider Palestinian incitement against Israel - its "culture of hatred" - to be a major obstacle to peace.
68% say a Palestinian state created in the West Bank would attack Israel within a short time.

even the Wash. Post knows Obama blew it

The Blowup with Israel - Editorial (Washington Post)
President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu have a powerful and urgent common interest. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has turned his back on both Israel and the United States; he is seeking accommodation with the extremist Hamas movement and has announced that he will seek a declaration of Palestinian statehood from the UN General Assembly in September.
Now, of all times, the Israeli and U.S. governments ought to be working closely together; they should be trying to defuse the UN threat and induce Mr. Abbas to change course. Instead, Friday found Mr. Obama and Mr. Netanyahu once again publicly and poisonously at odds with each other, thanks to a handful of lines added by Mr. Obama to his Middle East speech on Thursday. The president's decision to publicly endorse terms for a peace settlement seemingly calculated to appeal to Mr. Abbas, over the strong objections of Mr. Netanyahu, has had the effect of distracting attention from the new U.S. agenda for the region.
Mr. Obama's intention is to persuade Mr. Abbas to give up his UN bid and return to negotiations with Israel. To do so, he endorsed one of the conditions Palestinians have tried to set for talks: that they be based on Israel's 1967 border lines. But Mr. Netanyahu has not yet signed on, and so Mr. Obama's decision to confront him with a formal U.S. embrace of the idea, with only a few hours' warning, ensured a blowup.
Mr. Obama should have learned from his past diplomatic failures - including his attempt to force a freeze on Jewish settlements in the West Bank - that initiating a conflict with Israel will thwart rather than advance peace negotiations. He may also be giving short shrift to what Mr. Netanyahu called "some basic realities." The president appears to assume that Mr. Abbas is open to a peace deal despite growing evidence to the contrary.
This president likes to portray himself as a pragmatist in foreign policy. In this case, pragmatism would suggest that restoring trust with Israel, rather than courting a feckless Palestinian leader, would