Thursday, February 28, 2013

Why did Aipac keep its mouth shut?

This is what i wrote about here a few days. Aipac lost big . Im going Sunday to the conference but sure wondering

How AIPAC Is Losing
Chuck Hagel will be secretary of Defense, and Iran will go nuclear. So much for an all-powerful Israel Lobby.
By Lee Smith|February 27, 2013 12:00 AM

This weekend, more than 10,000 pro-Israel activists, Jews and non-Jews alike, will gather at the Washington convention center for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s annual policy conference [1]. These friends and supporters of the U.S.-Israel bilateral relationship will hear from members of Congress and the executive branch who will all testify to the singular influence that AIPAC, as the pillar of the pro-Israel community, wields in the capital of the free world.
But just how powerful is AIPAC if a man who refers to it as the “Jewish lobby” and has defiantly claimed that he is not an “Israeli senator” is slated to be our next secretary of Defense? And, most significantly, how much influence does the lobbying organization actually exercise if it can’t carry the day on the single issue that’s been at the very top of its agenda for over a decade: stopping Iran from getting nuclear weapons.
Despite an operating budget [2] of more than $60 million, on the most crucial issue facing Israel’s security, AIPAC has lost the policy debate. The winners include those who believe you can’t stop a nation from getting the bomb if it’s determined to do so, those who think the Iranians have a right to nuclear weapons, and those who argue the Iranians can be contained—among them, our new Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel.
For the past two months, those invested in the Israel-U.S. relationship have been fixated on whether or not Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel would fundamentally alter U.S. policy toward Israel. In addition to his revealing statements about Jews, the former senator from Nebraska voted against sanctioning Iran and against designating the Revolutionary Guards Corps a terrorist organization.
Yet AIPAC has remained totally mum. The group says [3] it focuses its energies on matters of policy rather than personnel. If it campaigned against Hagel, where would it stop? The organization would potentially have to take a position on every Cabinet nominee. Meantime, in the absence of AIPAC, other pro-Israel organizations have come out publicly against Hagel, like the Emergency Committee for Israel. For taking the lead on this issue [4], they have been labeled partisans, while AIPAC has preserved its bipartisan status.
But it’s not clear how much that label matters when a very influential segment of the Democratic party has made it plain that supporting Israel isn’t a top priority. I’m not just referring to the delegates who booed pro-Israel changes to the party platform on the floor of the convention in San Antonio last summer. I’m talking about the White House.
Pro-Israel Obama supporters on the Hill and in the press keep trying to make the case that in spite of how it might look on the surface, the administration cares deeply about the U.S.-Israel relationship. They point to the success [5] of Israel’s Iron Dome anti-missile defense batteries as evidence that the security and military cooperation between the United States and Israel has reached unprecedented highs under Obama’s stewardship. But politics is mostly about how things look. And if the administration really cared that much about Israel, it wouldn’t nominate a secretary of defense who referred to defenders of the U.S.-Israel relationship as “the Jewish lobby.”
The paradox is that by giving personnel a pass, AIPAC has lost the policy debate. Policy is made by people who believe in certain ideas, principles, and even fantasies. What Hagel seems to have learned from his tours of combat in Vietnam is that it is a fantasy to imagine that you can bomb a country into submitting to the will of the United States. Presumably, this is why he also opposed the war in Iraq. The problem is that deconstructing such a fantasy does not necessarily leave you with reality. In Hagel’s case it has left him only with an equally dangerous fantasy: that instead of waging war, it is possible to reach an accommodation, if not an amicable understanding, with nations that have clearly identified themselves as adversaries.
This fantasy is shared by much of the U.S. policymaking elite, including Obama. Indeed, since the 1979 Islamic Revolution every White House has sought comity with the Iranians. The fact that all, including Obama, have failed, is proof that the endeavor is not possible. From this perspective, it is also clear that Western sanctions against Iran and the secret war conducted against Iranian scientists and installations are intended less to destroy the nuclear program than to prolong the fantasy that at some point the Iranians will come to their senses and abandon their search for a bomb. It is noteworthy that the majority of the American electorate does not share this fantasy, with a Pew poll last year showing that 58 percent support [6] U.S. military action against the Iranian nuclear weapons program.
But AIPAC—and this 58 percent majority—lost the debate to a host of adversaries. Some on the winning side argued for engagement. Among these were the stars of the policy pantheon, like former Secretary of State Jim Baker [7], and former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, who argued [7] that a combination of incentives and pressures might get the Iranians to the table.
And if Iran didn’t want to negotiate, some claimed that wasn’t such a big deal anyway. As Jimmy Carter’s National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski has said [8], it’s no problem containing Iran. Journalists like Fareed Zakaria agreed [9]. Some went even further, arguing [10] that Iran was in fact a natural American ally. More extreme yet in their efforts were the single-minded obsessives, the creeps, like Flynt and Hillary Mann Leverett, and Trita Parsi, who argued [11] that in fact the problem was not with Iran but with the United States.
If, as Hagel has said, the Jewish lobby truly intimidated “a lot of people up here,” you’d expect to see Washington all humming the same tune on Iran. Instead, it’s the Iranians calling the shots. “You must raise the level of your tolerance,” the head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization recently told the West. “Try to find ways for cooperation with a country that is moving towards technological progress.”
The Iranian negotiating team meeting [12] with its Western counterparts in Kazakhstan this week has earned the right to its smugness. The Iranians are installing equipment that will allow it to accelerate the production of nuclear fuel. And then there was North Korea’s nuclear test two weeks ago. At the very least, it signaled to the Iranians that in the end, despite all of the tough talk coming from the White House, the Americans are not going to stop the Iranians from acquiring the bomb.
Tehran has the upper hand in negotiations because it recognizes that all the White House wants is some sort of deal it can sell as a victory. And the all-powerful pro-Israel lobby has no choice but to swallow it and smile.

UN vs Israel

U.N. Bias against Israel
U.N. institutional structures consistently are used to isolate and vilify Israel.
  • Israel is the only country in the world that is not eligible to sit on the Security Council, the principal policymaking body of the U.N. This situation violates the principle of the "sovereign equality of all member states" of the U.N. under Article 2 of the U.N. Charter. 
  • Seven of the 140 items submitted for a vote in the U.N. General Assembly (UNGA) in 2002 were anti-Israel. Last year, the UNGA adopted 19 anti-Israel resolutions. 
  • Israel is the object of more investigative committees, special representatives and rapporteurs than any other state in the U.N. system. For example, a special representative of the Director-General of UNESCO visited Israel 51 times during 27 years of activity. The Director-General of the International Labour Organization has sent a "Special Mission" to Israel and the territories every year for the past 17 years. 
  • The "Special Committees" and "Palestinian Units" of the U.N. spend more than $3 million a year, essentially to spread anti-Israel propaganda. These bodies—the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, the Division on Palestinian Rights and the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs—are the focus of the worst anti-Israel activity under the aegis of the U.N. They organize, inter alia, the annual "Palestine Day" events at the U.N., as well as symposia and other events. 
  • The U.N. has repeatedly held "Emergency Special Sessions" focusing solely on Israel. Originally conceived in 1950 for emergencies like the Korean War, Emergency Special Sessions over the past 15 years have only focused on Israel. No Emergency Special Sessions were convened to examine the genocide in Rwanda, ethnic cleansing in the former Yugoslavia or other major world conflicts. 
  • The U.N. routinely attempts to circumvent the founding principle of direct negotiations. The UNGA passes annual resolutions that undermine the principles of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, based on direct negotiations between the two parties. By proposing specific solutions to issues such as Jerusalem, the Golan Heights and settlements, the U.N. pre-judges the outcome of negotiations. Ironically, it was the U.N. Security Council that proposed bilateral negotiations through Resolution 242 (1967) and 338 (1973).
The U.N. has failed to investigate Palestinian actions supporting terrorism.
  • The U.N. has never initiated any inquiry into Yasir Arafat and the Palestinian Authority's role in aiding and abetting terrorists, or passed one resolution condemning any terrorist organization operating against Israel. 
  • One glaring example of the U.N.'s biased policy against Israel is the concealment and vehement denial of the existence of a videotape of Hezbollah's abduction of three Israeli soldiers made by U.N. peacekeeping forces in Lebanon. For 11 months, the U.N. lied to the world and denied the existence of any evidence related to the abduction. When the cover-up was exposed, revealing the existence of the videotape, the U.N. eventually showed Israel a heavily edited videotape with the faces of the terrorists blurred. When asked the reason behind this, U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan stated it was due to the U.N.'s standing as a neutral organization.
The U.N. has tolerated and fostered anti-Semitism and anti-Israel propaganda.
  • The U.N. has condemned virtually every conceivable form of racism. It has established programs to combat racism and its multiple facets — including xenophobia — but has consistently refused to condemn anti-Semitism. It only was on November 24, 1998, more than 50 years after the U.N.'s founding, that the word anti-Semitism was first mentioned in a U.N. resolution (GA Res. A/53/623).
  • "The Talmud says that if a Jew does not drink every year the blood of a non-Jewish man, he will be damned for eternity." —Saudi Arabian delegate Marouf al-Dawalibi before the 1984 U.N. Human Rights Commission conference on religious tolerance. A similar remark was made by Farouk al?Chareh, the Syrian Ambassador to the U.N., at a 1991 meeting, who insisted Jews killed Christian children to use their blood to make matzos, a charge recently recycled in a Saudi government sponsored newspaper. 
  • On March 11, 1997, the Palestinian representative to the U.N. Human Rights Commission falsely charged Israel with injecting 300 Palestinian children with the HIV virus.
The U.N. Human Rights Commission promotes anti-Israel, anti-Semitic resolutions.
  • The Commission on Human Rights routinely adopts totally disproportionate resolutions concerning Israel. Of all condemnations of this agency, 26 percent refer to Israel alone, while rogue states such as Syria and Libya are never criticized.
  • Last summer's conference on Human Rights in Durban, South Africa, was devoted almost entirely to condemning Israel. The conference was boycotted by the United States and Britain. 
  • The United States was kicked off the U.N. Commission for Human Rights in May 2001, despite being one of the most outspoken advocates for human rights and a founding member of the Commission. It was replaced by Sierra Leone and the Sudan, both of which have records of abuses of human rights, including slavery and the forced use of children as soldiers. The United States recently regained its seat after a yearlong absence.

Source: AIPAC

Sunday, February 24, 2013


This is not Purim Torah. What is the difference between what Haman and Hagel said?
Both vicious anti semites. ObamaBiden want Hagel/Haman to run our Dept Defense.
Esther chap 3
5 Haman saw that Mordechai would not kneel and bow to him, and he grew angry.
6 He was disdainful of killing only Mordechai, once they told him Mordechai's nationality, so he resolved to destroy all the Jews, Mordechai's nation, throughout Achashvairosh's entire empire.
7 In the first month, Nisan, in the twelfth year of King Achashvairosh's reign, Haman drew a pur, a lottery, which chose a day in the twelfth month, Adar.
8.Haman said to King Achashvairosh, "There is a nation scattered and separated among the nations throughout your empire. Their laws are different than everyone else's, they do not obey the king's laws, and it does not pay for the king to tolerate their existence.
FEBRUARY 22, 2013 12:00 A.M.
Hagel’s Anti-Semitism 
Beneath his anti-Israelism is a broader anti-Jewish bias, ofte

Chuck Hagel

Comments 22 
Deroy Murdock 
‘Let the Jews pay for it.”

Are these words anti-Semitic?

The U.S. Senate should consider this and many other disturbing statements by Chuck Hagel, President Obama’s nominee for defense secretary. Nebraska’s former Republican senator has said and done truly troubling things regarding Jews and Israel.

Hagel tried to close USO’s Haifa retreat when he ran the United Service Organizations from 1987 to 1990. The facility was highly popular among U.S. sailors, 45,000 of whom visited the Israeli port in 1990, the Associated Press reports

“Chuck Hagel said the Haifa port is costing the U.S. too much [and] that if the Jews wanted one, the Jews should do the fundraising,” an unnamed supporter of the outpost told the Washington Free Beacon.
“He said to me, ‘Let the Jews pay for it.’” recalled Marsha Halteman, of the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs, which backed USO Haifa. “I told him at the time that I found his comments to be anti-Semitic,” Halteman said. “He was playing into that dual loyalty thing.”

Hagel alone among U.S. senators abandoned Russia’s Jews. As David Harris, executive director of the American Jewish Committee, told the Washington Post’s Jennifer Rubin: “The first AJC encounter with Senator Hagel I recall was when we sought his support, in 1999, for a Senate letter to then–Russian president Boris Yeltsin urging action against rising anti-Semitism. We were unsuccessful. On June 20, 1999, we published the letter as a full-page ad in The New York Times with 99 Senate signatories. Only Senator Hagel’s name was absent.”

Hagel was one of only four senators who refused to sign a Senate letter supporting Israel during Yasser Arafat’s terrorist Intifada in 2000.

“The State Department has become adjunct to the Israeli foreign minister’s office,” Hagel reportedly remarked in a speech at Rutgers University in March 2007.

“Like many other data points emerging since Hagel’s nomination,” John Podhoretz observed in February 15’s New York Post, “this one emits a faint but distinct odor of a classic anti-Semitic stereotype — Jews as secret marionetteers, pulling the strings of unsuspecting Gentiles.

“The Jewish lobby intimidates a lot of people up here” on Capitol Hill, Hagel told Aaron David Miller in 2008.

That year, Hagel praised Miller’s book about the Middle East.

“If you want to read something that is very, very enlightening, this guy he’s getting tremendous reviews on it,” Hagel said. “He’s Jewish. He worked in the State Department, worked for Baker, worked for Albright, I think he’s worked for four secretaries of state, different Democrats, Republicans.”

“‘He’s Jewish,’” wrote Bill Kristol of the Weekly Standard. “Isn’t there something creepy and disquieting about that interjection? . . . Why does Hagel call attention to the religion of the American diplomat whose book he’s praising? . . . Wouldn’t it be good to have a secretary of defense whose first thought isn’t the religious affiliation of Americans who participate in foreign policy debates?”

“I’m a United States senator,” Hagel declared in 2008. “I’m not an Israeli senator.”

“We believe that when Senator Hagel said that he was not an ‘Israeli Senator,’ that he was a U.S. Senator, he strongly implied that some of his colleagues have a greater loyalty to Israel than to the United States,” stated Rabbi Marvin Hier, founder of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, named after the late and legendary Nazi hunter. “That crosses the line.”

• Prominent Jewish Nebraskans have felt Hagel’s cold shoulder.

“During his last year in office, we knew he was not going to run again, he never returned any of our calls,” Jewish activist Gary Javitch told the Algemeiner website on December 21. “I have always gotten callbacks, even as a turn-down.”

“He was not the most responsive politician in Nebraska to me personally at the Jewish Press and to the Jewish community as a whole,” said Carol Katzman, the former editor of the Omaha Jewish Press. Nebraska’s representatives otherwise “were all very responsive,” she said. “It didn’t really matter what their party affiliation was, if we were soliciting them for an interview or a greeting ad for Rosh Hashanah or Passover.” However, “Hagel’s office never even responded. . . . We would make repeated calls” that went unanswered, she added. “It was pretty obvious that he and his staff were dismissive.” Katzman concluded: “Hagel was the only one we have had in Nebraska who basically showed the Jewish community that he didn’t give a damn about the Jewish community or any of our concerns.”

Are Hagel’s words anti-Semitic? Call your senators at 202-224-3121 and tell them what you think.

— Deroy Murdock is a Fox News contributor, a nationally syndicated columnist with the Scripps Howard News Service, and a media fellow with the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution, and Peace at Stanford Universit

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

aliyah racism for converts?

aliyah racism for converts

Peruvian converts denied permission to immigrate to Israel 

Jewish Agency and Conservative movement leaders decry the Ministry of Interior's continuing refusal to allow 'the Jews of the Amazon' to join relatives in Israel.

By Judy Maltz Feb.19, 2013 | 4:31 PM
Several hundred mixed-race Peruvian converts, also known as the “Jews of the Amazon,” are not being granted permission to immigrate to Israel under the Law of Return, despite meeting all the requirements for eligibility, Jewish Agency and Conservative Movement leaders charge.
Jack Corcos, director of the Jewish Agency unit that approves eligibility for immigration, told a gathering in Jerusalem today that he did not understand the Ministry of Interior’s ongoing refusal to approve the requests by the converts to move to Israel. “There is no reason they should be waiting any longer,” he said during a session held by the Jewish Agency Board of Governors. “The whole story is very odd.”
Asked why the Ministry of Interior was holding up approval of these immigration requests, spokeswoman Sabine Haddad responded: “A discussion on the issue was held last week with the Jewish Agency and relevant parties from the Population and Immigration Authority. The issue awaits a decision of the senior echelon.”
The group of 284 Peruvians, who come from Iquitos, the largest city in the Peruvian rainforest, were converted to Judaism by a Conservative rabbinical court in August 2011 after they had engaged in Jewish studies for five years. They are the descendants of Moroccan Jews who arrived in the Amazon in the 19th century seeking employment in the rubber industry, and who married and had children with local women.
If the Ministry of Interior ultimately decides to reject their citizenship applications, senior officials in the Jewish organizational world warn it could seriously undermine relations between the government of Israel and the world Conservative Movement.  “I can tell you that the Conservative movement leadership will not take this in stride,” said one such official. “As far as they see it, it’s an act of contempt – a total disregard for the validity of their conversions.”
Yizhar Hess, the director of the Conservative movement in Israel, who participated in this morning’s session, told Haaretz: “Hundreds of Jews are waiting today in Peru to immigrate to Israel, and their only sin is that they are Conservative.”
Most, though not all, of the Peruvian converts have declared their intention to move to Israel. The plan was for them to come gradually in several separate groups.
Hundreds of members of the Iquitos community have already immigrated to Israel in two separate waves -- one in 2001 and the other in 2005. Unlike the current group, many of whose members are their relatives, they encountered no problems whatsoever in the process. Most of them live today in the city of Ramle, which is prepared to absorb the remaining members of the community. The Ministry of Interior spokeswoman did not respond to a question about why the applications of the current group were being held up, while those of the previous groups were approved promptly.
Under current immigration procedures, individuals who are not born Jewish are expected to spend nine months as active members of their local Jewish communities after they have completed the conversion process – regardless of what type of conversion they have undergone -- before moving to Israel. During this time, their applications are reviewed by the Ministry of Interior. The Ministry of Interior, which does not have its own emissaries abroad, typically relies on recommendations from the Jewish Agency about the validity of conversions performed abroad.
The Jewish Agency last year notified the Ministry of Interior that it had determined the conversions performed on this group of 284 Peruvians fulfilled all the necessary criteria to make them eligible for immigrating to Israel under the Law of Return.
Based on this recommendation, they should have been able to immigrate to Israel in May 2012.
But, as Corcos reported to the Jewish Agency gathering this morning, Interior Ministry officials suddenly informed him that bringing this large a group to Israel required a special cabinet decision. When Jewish Agency officials consulted with their legal advisers, they were told that a cabinet decision is only required when the group members have not yet been converted, but rather, plan to convert in Israel, as in the case of the Falashmura from Ethiopia.
Haddad did not respond to a question about why Ministry of Interior officials insist that a cabinet decision is required for the Peruvian group to come to Israel, when Jewish Agency legal advisers have determined otherwise.
Rabbi Andrew Sacks, director of the Conservative movement’s Rabbinical Assembly in Israel, was invited by Jewish Agency officials to participate in last week’s meeting with Ministry of Interior representatives because of his connections to the rabbis who performed the conversions in Peru. But as he sat down, he was asked by the Interior Ministry officials to leave the room, prompting an angry response from the Jewish Agency officials present. As Sacks stormed out of the room, he charged that the case of the Peruvians was “another example of racism in the Interior Ministry.”
Following the meeting, Sacks told Haaretz that based on his experience with converts, “when they are people of color, they are guaranteed to run into a roadblock and obfuscation in their attempts to make aliyah.” The ministry spokeswoman also declined to respond to this accusation. 

Friday, February 15, 2013

How Hollywood attacks Israel -2 "Israel" docs up for Oscars

How Hollywood attacks Israel -2 "Israel" docs up for Oscars
The dishonesty of ‘The Gatekeepers' By ROZ ROTHSTEIN, ROBERTA SEID02/13/2013 22:03

  The film sends a 'simplistic political message,' implying that Israel's occupation of the West Bank stands between terrorism and peace.
Yaakov Perry Photo: Reuters Dror Moreh’s documentary, The Gatekeepers, could have been a profound film.

Instead, Moreh uses his interviews with six former directors of Israel’s top security services to send a simplistic and deeply partisan political message: If Israel withdraws from the West Bank, terrorism will subside and peace will break out.

To promote this message, the documentary engages in intellectual dishonesty and omits critical context. While most Israelis know the wider context, the average viewer probably does not, and therefore is vulnerable to the filmmaker’s biased version of the facts.

Though the film tries to portray Israel’s antiterrorism policies as counterproductive and cruel, the interviews inadvertently tell a different story. The six directors are well-spoken, deeply thoughtful, and genuinely self-critical.

They exude gravitas as they describe wrestling with the moral quandaries they regularly faced.

They are not cruel men. They sincerely grappled with how to protect Israelis and Palestinian civilians alike. Their descriptions of the Shin Bet’s legal and ethical constraints are a testament to Israel’s high moral standards. Their comfort in speaking freely is a testament to Israel’s robust democracy.

However, the film repeatedly ignores history and context. It blames Israel for the Palestinian hostility and violence that occurred after 1967, when Israel began administering the West Bank.

The viewer never learns from the film that terrorism against Jews and Israelis was not a result of Israel’s administration but rather has been a regular feature of life since pre-state days.

Palestinian Arabs murdered over 1,000 Jews between 1920 and 1967, and they ethnically cleansed all Jewish communities from the areas they captured during the 1948 war, including the West Bank, Gaza and eastern Jerusalem. The pattern of terrorism simply continued after Israel’s victory in its 1967 defensive war. Yasser Arafat organized 61 Fatah military operations from the West Bank in the few months after the war, and 162 Israelis were killed by terrorists between 1968 and 1970.

Visually and verbally, the film portrays Israel as a heartless occupier. Audiences get no information about how harsh life was for Palestinians under Egyptian and Jordanian rule between 1948 and 1967, with rampant childhood diseases, economic stagnation and restricted civil and political rights. In addition, the documentary completely overlooks the big picture of positive Israeli-Palestinian relations after 1967.

Even as Israel sought to stop terrorists, it also instituted Palestinian municipal self-government and administration, introduced freedom of speech and association, and vastly modernized the Palestinian economy as well as Palestinian health, welfare and education, turning the West Bank and Gaza into the world’s fourth fastestgrowing economy in the 1970s and 1980s.

In line with his political agenda, Moreh tries to paint all religious Israelis, settlers and rightof- center parties as extremist and intransigent.

The film insinuates that just as many Palestinians are terrorists and incite hatred, so do many Jews. For proof, Moreh magnifies selected incidents, particularly the case of Jewish settlers from Hebron who formed the “Jewish Underground” in 1980.

The film would have audiences believe the Jewish Underground, which wounded two Palestinian mayors, murdered three Palestinians, and plotted to blow up four Palestinian buses and the Dome of the Rock, is fairly representative of most settlers. It is not. Save for the handful of members of the Jewish Underground, Israel does not have Jewish terrorist organizations.

While extremists exist in Israel as in any society, the overwhelming majority of settlers, both religious and secular, are law-abiding citizens.

The country as a whole condemns and marginalizes such extremism. The Shin Bet arrested the Jewish Underground leaders in 1984, and the Israeli government and the vast majority of Israelis, including other settlers, denounced the group, though some Israeli leaders at the time continued to express concerns about the lack of government protection for Hebron’s Jews.

Similarly, because the sentences meted out to the Jewish Underground’s leaders were commuted, the film implies that the Israeli government has been “soft” on Jewish extremists and uses double standards, treating Palestinian terrorists far more leniently than Jewish terrorists.

But these members were freed only after serving almost seven years, not because Israel was “soft” on Jewish terrorists but because Israel had released the very Palestinian prisoners who had perpetrated the attacks that drove the Jewish Underground to organize.

SUCH OMISSIONS of fact and context continue throughout the film. Moreh makes the Shin Bet’s actions seem immoral or counterproductive by minimizing the context of terrorism.

Moreh glosses over the impact of the second intifada (2000-2005), yet the horrors of its terrorism and the fanatical hatred that motivated suicide bombers decimated Israel’s peace camp, a critical fact that the film simply overlooks. The audience does not learn that almost 1,100 Israelis were murdered and thousands more maimed by terrorists during the second intifada.

More disappointingly, the film never alludes to the daunting challenge these Shin Bet directors faced. Israel is fighting terrorists who routinely hide among Palestinian civilians precisely to shield themselves from IDF attacks because they know the IDF tries to avoid harming innocent bystanders. Pressed by the interviewer to admit that the Shin Bet’s actions were immoral during his tenure (1981-1986), Avraham Shalom finally snaps back: “This isn’t about morality.... When the terrorists become moral, we’ll be moral.”

Nor does the film depict the nature of the enemy Israel faces. Hamas’ genocidal ideology never comes up in the interviews. Yet the goals of Hamas, clearly expressed in its charter and its leaders’ statements, call for the murder of Jews and the “obliteration” of Israel, and are suffused with anti-Semitism. The film ignores the relentless incitement to hate and kill Jews that pervades Palestinian society officially and unofficially.

The film never explores the significance of what one Shin Bet director heard from a PLO terrorist he interrogated: terrorists consider it a victory when they make Jews suffer.

More disturbingly, the viewer never learns that Israel has repeatedly tried to do precisely what Moreh advocates. The film never mentions Israel’s offers to trade land for peace in 1967, 1979, 2000 and 2008, or that Palestinian leaders systematically rejected these offers.

Moreh wants audiences to share his wishful thinking, that Israel can end the conflict simply by withdrawing from the West Bank. But recent history, omitted from the film, contradicts this expectation. Israel pulled out of its security zone in Lebanon in 2000 and removed every settlement and over 8,000 Israelis from Gaza in 2005. The results were escalating threats and terrorism from Iranian proxy Hezbollah in Lebanon and from Iranian client Hamas in Gaza, which fired over 13,000 rockets and mortars into Israel’s southern communities between 2005 and 2012.

The documentary should be credited for revealing how much Israelis have retained their humanity and their hopes for peaceful coexistence, as exemplified by the Shin Bet directors.

This is a tribute to the Israeli spirit and to Israel’s enduring search for peace, but it also underscores Israel’s tragic dilemma: Israelis want peace, but they cannot find partners for peace unless, like Moreh, they turn a blind eye to the ongoing hostility and threats against them.

Moreh’s effort to blame Israel and the Shin Bet’s actions for the ongoing hostility to the Jewish state is like blaming the victim who is defending himself instead of blaming the perpetrator.

The Gatekeepers‘ material could have produced a profound film if it had not been sacrificed for a political message and if the film had been more intellectually honest and included the historical pattern of genocidal ideology, the ongoing violence, and the existential strategic challenges that Israel faces every day. It is these hard realities and that make the Shin Bet’s work so crucial and so heroic.

Roz Rothstein is the CEO and co-founder of Stand- WithUs. Roberta Seid, PhD, is the research and education director of StandWithUs.


 Five Broken Cameras
Fairy tales won’t bring peace: A tale of ‘Five Broken Cameras’

By Roz Rothstein and Yael Mazar
The Jewish Journal
February 12, 2013

Five Broken Cameras (2011), a documentary currently up for a 2013 Oscar and co-directed by the film’s narrator and videographer, Palestinian Emad Burnat, and Israeli filmmaker Guy Davidi, attempts to erase the complexity of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The film unfolds as a Palestinian fairy tale, narrated in a soothing, storytelling voice:

Once upon a time, a poor Palestinian farmer lived in a West Bank village called Bil’in. He had four sons, a doting wife, and many friends.  A few of the men worked, while the women spent their days cooking, cleaning, raising children and otherwise being invisible. The men smoked, danced, watched soccer games and occasionally picked olives. Life seemed perfect.  One day, big bad Israelis erected a “barrier” through Bil’in, seemingly for the sole purpose of irritating the villagers. For the next five years, chronicled through the life of the farmer’s youngest son, the farmer and his friends nonviolently protested this fence. Some got hurt and some even died because of Israeli soldiers’ unprovoked and excessive use of force. Then, because of the villagers of Bil’in, the fence came down. Moral of the fairy tale: Israelis are bad; Palestinians are good; the farmer’s son is very cute and has tragically suffered his loss of innocence because of Israel. An intelligent viewer walks away feeling highly manipulated without knowing why.

The film portrays reality through a broken lens. Its manipulative narration and visual editing craft a seemingly simple story of Palestinian nonviolent resistance to Israel’s security fence, but its covert intent is to denigrate Israel. The film is part of an aggressive industry whose sole aim is to delegitimize and blame only Israel with predictable key techniques, all of which the film utilizes.
First, the film provides absolutely no context. Why is there a security fence? Emad alludes to a “barrier” being erected to “secure and separate the settlers.” Wrong. Israel temporarily built a security fence in response to the second intifada (2000-2005). The fence literally prevents Palestinian terrorists from walking from their villages, like Bil’in, into Israeli cities, like nearby Modi’in, and blowing themselves up. While it must be frustrating for a Palestinian farmer to walk through a gate to get to his field (as seen in the movie), it is surely more inconvenient for an Israeli girl to lose her parents and three siblings to a suicide bomber (as happened during the Jerusalem Sbarro restaurant suicide bombing on August 9, 2001). It seems that the fence is so troublesome that it has erased all of Emad’s memory as to why it is there in the first place.
Second, the film ignores Palestinian terrorism against Israel. It is as if terrorism simply does not exist. An hour into the film, Emad mentions that “Israel is beginning its massive attack on Gaza” and shows images of infuriated villagers. He does not say why Israel is in Gaza. In fact, Israel began its operation to stop the over 7,000 rockets that had been fired from Gaza into southern Israel and to stop weapons smuggling into Gaza by internationally recognized terrorists. On March 1, 2008, alone, 56 rockets struck Israel from Gaza. Several landed on Ahskelon’s Barzilai Hospital, which at the time was treating, in addition to Israeli citizens, premature Palestinian babies in its neonatal unit. Not surprisingly, Emad forgot to mention this.
Third, the film paints Palestinians as the sole victims and Israel as the sole aggressor. There are no discussions of morality, only Emad’s views of good and evil. To show this, all Palestinian demonstrations in the film are peaceful (boys marching and banging with toy instruments, men singing songs and waving flags), and all Israeli soldiers are heavily armored, trigger-happy men with guns. For another picture that shows the manipulative use of "nonviolent demonstrations," see   Or, read the Feb. 2010 Haaretz article that discusses the 110 Israeli security personnel who had been injured in Bil'in protests, including one soldier who lost an eye.  Or watch a scene in the film in which Emad’s son  asks, “Daddy, why don’t you kill the soldiers with a knife?” Emad responds, “Because they’d shoot me.” No, Daddy, that is the wrong answer. Son, the answer is because it is morally wrong to kill. Sadly, the distortion of values and lack of clear morality pervades the film.
Fourth, the film downplays the harsh realities of life under Palestinian Authority (PA) rule. That definitely would not paint a pretty picture for this fairy tale, so it had to be left out. When Emad is injured in a tractor accident, he states without any elaboration that he probably would have died had he been treated in a Palestinian hospital instead of an Israeli hospital. He is right. But this should not be the case. There is no excuse for poor Palestinian health care. The Palestinians are one of the largest recipients of international assistance per capita in the world. Donors gave roughly $30 billion in international aid to Palestinians between 1993 and 2012. Where has that money gone? According to U.S. Congressional testimony in 2012, current PA President Mahmoud Abbas has deposited almost $13 million in U.S. taxpayer dollars into a secret bank account, just as Yassir Arafat did when he was president of the PLO. According to former U.S. national security advisor Elliot Abrams, Arab leaders are reluctant to give aid to the PA because PA "officials will just steal it.” Or it will be used to fund terrorism.  It truly is appalling that Emad can neither rely on a Palestinian hospital to save his life nor on his elected Palestinian Authority government to cover his health costs.
This film is not about the fence.  It is actually part of an ongoing effort to deny Israel's right to defend its citizens with non-violent security measures  like the fence.   The film also underscores the difficulty Israel has in finding a true partner for peace. If Israel cannot find peace seekers among those who profess to be the ordinary people of Palestine, like Emad, then who will meet Israel at a negotiating table already forsaken by Palestinian terrorists ruling Gaza and the self-proclaimed “moderates” ruling the West Bank?
The reality is that Israelis and Palestinians are caught up in a tragic conflict. Both sides, Palestinians and Israelis, suffer as a consequence. The more tragic reality is that fairy tales like Five Broken Cameras do nothing to advance mutual understanding, recognition, or peaceful coexistence.
Roz Rothstein is the CEO and co-founder of StandWithUs and Yael Mazar is a research analyst for StandWithUs.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Abram's new book and Obama's visit to Israel

Posted: 08 Feb 2013 05:08 AM PST
(Scott Johnson)
 Elliott Abrams is the Senior Fellow for Middle Eastern Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations. His CFR blog is Pressure Points. He served, most recently, on the staff of the National Security Council staff during the Bush administration commencing in June 2001, first as a deputy assistant to the president and later as deputy national security adviser for global democracy strategy.
He is also the author of Tested By Zion: The Bush Administration and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, a definitive insider’s account of the subject. “In Mr. Abrams’s telling,” Lee Smith writes in his excellent Wall Street Journal review, the book is “also a story about character. Do the actors tell beautiful lies about peace for their own self-glorification, or do they tell the truth—about Israel, about the Palestinians and about themselves?”
We invited Mr. Abrams to write something touching on the book that would let us bring it to the attention of our readers. He has graciously responded with this timely column:
One day in January 2006, I was on a visit to Jerusalem as the National Security Council official handling the Middle East for President Bush. It had been a long day, starting early, full of difficult meetings and a trip to Ramallah, and culminating in another meeting at the Consul General’s house.
When that meeting ended I told the Consul General that I was dead tired and needed a nap before the dinner that was next on the schedule and would keep us going to midnight. Hold on, he said; stick around; this new senator from Illinois is coming to see me in 15 minutes; why don’t you join the meeting? Naaah, I said, yawning; who, this guy Obama? Not much interested. I’ll skip it.
Thus did I miss my chance to meet the young senator and find out, face to face, what he was thinking back then about his visit to Jerusalem. So, he is not a character in my new book, Tested By Zion: The Bush Administration and the Israeli-Palestinan Conflict. The account has to make do with dramatis personae who include Bush, Cheney, Condi Rice, Ariel Sharon, Yasser Arafat, Colin Powell, and the kings of Jordan, Bahrain, and Saudi Arabia.
Now five years later, Obama is traveling to Jerusalem again—only this time we know a bit more about what he thinks. Judging by the last four years, he buys into the following views, all of which are just plain wrong:
–Jewish history starts in around 1933, and Zionism is the product of the Holocaust.
–The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the central issue in the Middle East.
–Israeli settlements are the central problem to overcome in resolving the conflict.
–Prime Minister Netanyahu is a bad guy and largely responsible for the lack of progress toward peace.
–The best way to make progress is to forget pragmatic, incremental steps and try for a comprehensive final status agreement.
–To get Israel to take difficult steps, the United States should criticize it publicly, create distance between our two countries, and make Israelis feel less and less secure.
But he’s a good politician, and he must have realized by now that something has gone wrong. His four years as president have been the first in decades when there were no Israeli-Palestinian negotiations at all, and he has managed to lose credibility in Jerusalem and in Ramallah simultaneously. That would be hard to achieve if it were the actual goal, but turns out to be easy if your policy simply bears little relationship to reality.
The reality is this: Israelis want peace but do not believe the current Palestinian leadership is capable of delivering it. Gaza has seared into their minds the dangers of trading “land for peace” and getting instead more terrorism. They read nice speeches by the PLO leadership about peace and compromise, and then see the same leaders embracing Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and negotiating with Hamas for a “government of national unity.” They also know that peace will require compromises that create risks for Israeli security, so they look around. How safe and stable is Egypt, or Jordan, Syria or Lebanon? How firmly can they rely on the United States and its president? How certain can they be that President Obama means it when he says “I am not bluffing” and “my policy is prevention” of an Iranian bomb?
Among the lessons Bush learned, as Clinton had learned before him, is that a secure Israel will take risks that an insecure, worried Israel wll not. I tell the story of the Bush-Sharon relationship in Tested By Zion, and it’s clear that Sharon felt we really had his back—not because the president told Jewish audiences “I have their back” but because we backed him, in crisis after crisis. When he killed a terrorist we said “Israel has the right to defend itself.” When an anti-Israel resolution was brought to the UN we quickly vetoed it—and avoided many others by letting it be known right at the start of negotiations that we were happily waiting for the opportunity to cast another veto. Netanyahu, and Israel in the Obama years, have clearly never felt this level of American support.
Now the president is returning to Jerusalem, approximately four years too late to do very much good. Still, he has a chance to say some useful things. The new list would be a bit different from the one above:
–He understands the ancient tie of the Jewish people to Israel as the Jewish homeland, and the pain caused by the very idea of giving up any piece of it.
–Seeing the “Arab Spring,” he understands that Israeli-Palestinian issues are peripheral to the main developments in the Arab world.
–Palestinians should come to the negotiating table now, without any preconditions—including Israeli settlement activity and construction in Jerusalem.
–Israel and the United States are close allies and always will be, and visible distance between us damages the interests of both countries.
–He looks forward to working closely with Israel’s new government and hopes that practical steps can be taken that advance toward what some day may be a comprehensive settlement.
It’s hard to believe he will persuade very many Israelis, because opinions have hardened in the past four years, but they will appreciate the effort. I was with President Bush when he spoke to the Knesset in 2008. Obama and his speechwriters should read that speech, and see if they can understand why Israelis thought it a historic contribution to our bilateral relations and indeed to the history of Zionism. Here is some of what Bush said:
Sixty years ago in Tel Aviv, David Ben-Gurion proclaimed Israel’s independence, founded on the “natural right of the Jewish people to be masters of their own fate.” What followed was more than the establishment of a new country. It was the redemption of an ancient promise given to Abraham, Moses, and David – a homeland for the chosen people in Eretz Yisrael. Eleven minutes later, on the orders of President Harry Truman, the United States was proud to be the first nation to recognize Israel’s independence. And on this landmark anniversary, America is proud to be Israel’s closest ally and best friend in the world.
The alliance between our governments is unbreakable, yet the source of our friendship runs deeper than any treaty. It is grounded in the shared spirit of our people, the bonds of the Book, the ties of the soul.
Some people suggest that if the United States would just break ties with Israel, all our problems in the Middle East would go away. This is a tired argument that buys into the propaganda of our enemies, and America rejects it utterly. Israel’s population may be just over 7 million. But when you confront terror and evil, you are 307 million strong, because America stands with you.
I have been fortunate to see the character of Israel up close. I have touched the Western Wall, seen the sun reflected in the Sea of Galilee, and prayed at Yad Vashem. Earlier today, I visited Masada, an inspiring monument to courage and sacrifice. At this historic site, Israeli soldiers swear an oath: “Masada shall never fall again.” Citizens of Israel: Masada shall never fall again, and America will always stand with you.
Sixty years ago, on the eve of Israel’s independence, the last British soldiers departing Jerusalem stopped at a building in the Jewish quarter of the Old City. An officer knocked on the door and met a senior rabbi. The officer presented him with a short iron bar – the key to Zion Gate – and said it was the first time in 18 centuries that a key to the gates of Jerusalem had belonged to a Jew. His hands trembling, the rabbi offered a prayer of thanksgiving to God, “Who had granted us life and permitted us to reach this day.” Then he turned to the officer, and uttered the words Jews had awaited for so long: “I accept this key in the name of my people.”
Over the past six decades, the Jewish people have established a state that would make that humble rabbi proud. You have raised a modern society in the Promised Land, a light unto the nations that preserves the legacy of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. And you have built a mighty democracy that will endure forever and can always count on America to stand at its side. May God bless Israel.
ELLIOTT ABRAMS adds: I was wrong about the date of Obama’s trip to Israel. This event must have been during his January 2006 visit to Israel. The text has been revised to incorporate this correction.

fracking boon for Israel

Fracking to upend oil game


Last Updated: 11:19 PM, January 27, 2013

Imagine a future meeting of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, where the agenda is set not by Iran or Saudi Arabia, but by the United States. Oh, and the meeting takes place in Tel Aviv — because the other big power in OPEC is Israel.

That’s where the world is headed, thanks to the miraculous new technology known as fracking.
Hydraulic fracking uses water, sand and trace chemicals under high pressure to crack open deep deposits of shale oil and natural gas. Here in the United States it’s pushed domestic output of both to the point that, according to the International Energy Agency, we’ll be the world’s largest oil producer by 2020.

But fracking is also about to turn the Middle East upside down: Israel is poised to become the region’s new energy Mecca. Indeed, the Land of David just might be the energy-richest spot on earth.
How rich? By one estimate, Israel’s total oil-shale reserves come to 250 billion barrels. Mind you, Saudi Arabia’s total oil reserves are 260 billion.

A single shale oil field in the Elah Valley near Jerusalem, for example, is estimated to hold some 500 million barrels — enough to satisfy Israel’s energy needs for five years.

Israeli fracking production is still tiny, and costs are still higher than drilling in the Saudis’ Ghawar field or Kuwait. But as fracking technology continues to advance, and Israel opens up both its shale oil reserves and some 16 trillion cubic feet of offshore natural-gas deposits, the Jewish state could soon move far beyond energy independence and become a major oil and gas exporter.

In a world where oil and gas demand is expected to rise 35 percent in the next quarter century, the implications could be staggering.

It’s bound to have a decisive impact on Israel’s relations with oil-starved Western Europe. It already has impressed Russia, whose Vladimir Putin has brought his country’s energy giant Gazprom into partnership with Israel to open up those offshore reserves.

It could even change Israel’s relations with its Arab neighbors.

Egypt, Syria, Lebanon and Jordan are relatively oil-poor compared to Arabs in the Gulf. An Israel that can meet their energy needs could enjoy a whole new regional clout. (In fact, two top Muslim powers, Egypt and Turkey, have their own frackable oil and gas deposits — and may want Israel’s help to exploit them.)

Governments and political parties that used to plot Israel’s destruction could end up currying Tel Aviv’s favor the way the United States and Europe curried OPEC’s favor in the 1970s and ’80s.

That includes the Palestinians. Fracking could open the way for Israelis and Palestinians to find a mutual stake in a booming energy sector — a stake on which a lasting peace could be founded.

Of course, nothing comes easy. Lebanon (under the influence of the terror group Hezbollah) is disputing Israel’s access to those enormous offshore gas deposits. Meanwhile, left-wing groups like the Green Zionist Alliance and Jews Against Hydrofracking denounce fracking a threat to the environment and “not aligned with our Jewish values.”
But their efforts to shut down fracking in the oil-rich Elah Valley and elsewhere got no help from Tuesday’s election in Israel — where the new No. 2 party rose in part from its push for more good jobs, exactly what fracking will bring.
The fact is, the anti-frackers are running against the tide of technology, not to mention history. According to the Bible, the Elah Valley was where the Israelites camped when David slew Goliath. Now that valley is about to give David a new weapon against his enemies — one that could fuel hopes for a whole new direction for the Middle East.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Worse and worse for Hagel for sec defense

On Thursday, Senate sources told Breitbart News exclusively that they have been informed that one of the reasons that President Barack Obama’s nominee for Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel, has not turned over requested documents on his sources of foreign funding is that one of the names listed is a group purportedly called “Friends of Hamas.”

Senate Committee Postpones Hagel Confirmation Vote

The Senate Armed Services Committee has postponed a panel vote that was expected to take place Thursday on the nomination of Chuck Hagel.
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By Rachel Hirshfeld
First Publish: 2/7/2013, 4:53 PM

former senator Chuck Hagel
former senator Chuck Hagel
The Senate Armed Services Committee has postponed a panel vote that was expected to take place Thursday on the nomination of Chuck Hagel to be the next United States secretary of defense.

Chairman of the committee, Carl Levin (D-MI), announced the delay after Republicans demanded that the former GOP senator from Nebraska release additional financial information, including details regarding compensation for speeches he delivered since leaving Capitol Hill.

"The committee's review of the nomination is not yet complete," Levin said in a statement. "I intend to schedule a vote on the nomination as soon as possible."

While Hagel has provided some information on his personal finances, he said he could not provide all of what has been requested because it was the property of private organizations that he was not authorized to disclose.

On Wednesday 26 Republican senators sent a letter to the controversial nominee, asserting their opposition to the vote until he provided the requested information.

"This committee, and the American people, have a right to know if a nominee for secretary of defense has received compensation, directly or indirectly, from foreign sources," the letter said. "Until the committee receives full and complete answers, it cannot in good faith determine whether you should be confirmed as secretary of defense."

Hagel, the two-term senator chosen by President Barack Obama to replace current secretary of defense Leon Panetta, has come under intense fire for his record on Israel, Iran, Hamas, as well as his comments about “the Jewish lobby,” homosexuals and a myriad of other issues.

"I look for people to slow this train down and let's get everything we need. That's what I want to do," said James Inhofe of Oklahoma, the top Republican on the Armed Services Committee.

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), who grilled Hagel in the hearings late last month, told reporters he would prefer not to vote on the nomination "until I feel like we have the information we need to make an informed decision."

Graham pressed Hagel about his 2006 interview with Middle East analyst Aaron David Miller in which he said, “the Jewish lobby intimidates a lot of people” in Congress into doing “dumb things.”
“Name one dumb thing we’ve been goaded into doing by the Israeli, Jewish lobby,” Graham demanded.
“I don’t know,” Hagel said, unable to provide names.
He expressed regret for the comments, saying, “I’ve already said I regret referencing the Jewish lobby. I should have said pro-Israel lobby. I think it’s the only time on the record I’ve ever said that.”
He added that he should have said “influence,” not “intimidate.”
“I should not have said ‘dumb’ or ‘stupid’ because I understand, appreciate there are different views in these things,” he maintained.
“Then why did you say it?” Graham asked. “I can’t think of a more provocative thing to say.”
“The statements you made about Palestinians and about ‘the Jewish lobby,’ all that together” sends “the worst possible message to our enemies and friends,” Graham added.

Investigation May Delay Hagel Vote

Former Hagel chief of staff claims Hagel never knew, questions victim’s credibility

Former Nebraska Sen. Chuck Hagel faces another obstacle in his already contentious fight for confirmation as the Obama administration’s next secretary of defense.
According to Foreign Policy, the Senate Armed Services Committee is investigating a sexual harassment allegation by a former Hagel staffer. The unnamed staffer has been interviewed by the committee about an incident that took place in 2007.
The staffer, whose allegation was found credible by committee staff, does not involve Hagel directly. Instead, the investigation appears to center on whether Hagel knew of the incident and whether it was handled appropriately.
Hagel’s former chief of staff Lou Ann Linehan, who oversaw the disciplinary process now being reviewed, dismissed the allegation and denied that the misconduct was “actually sexual harassment”:
“I remember handling it, I thought it was handled. I did not bring it to the senator. I would not have taken it to the senator unless it required a termination and that wasn’t the case,” she said. “The term sexual harassment shocks me a little bit. I wouldn’t have put up with anything that was actually sexual harassment.”
Sexual harassment has been a major problem in the military and hearings were held on Capitol Hill just two weeks ago in relation to a rash of sexual assaults at Lackland Air Force Base. The Air Force Academy has struggled with its own scandals surrounding inappropriate treatment of female cadets that went well beyond harassment.
A 2005 report by the Pentagon found that sexual harassment and sexual assault at US military academies were flourishing under a leadership culture that turned a blind eye to the problem.
“Harassment is the more prevalent and corrosive problem, creating an environment in which sexual assault is more likely to occur… the obligation not to engage in or tolerate sexually harassing behavior is a values and leadership issue,” the report stated. “Sexual harassment and assault are fundamentally at odds with the obligation of men and women in uniform to treat all with dignity and respect. Those who seek to be future leaders in the Armed Services are obligated to uphold standards—not only in their own conduct but also in their response to the conduct of others.”