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News and views on Israel, Zionism and the war on terrorism.

February 15, 2003

Smash the boycott with the enemy's weapons!

Grasshoppa reports today on an intensification of the anti-Israel boycott. He also reports a related site, organized by the heirs to Oswald Mosley, Ernest Bevin and Lord Ho Ho. But this very site is an excellent weapon to smash the boycott: all we have to do is use the list provided by the enemy to seek out the products listed. The site is very detailed and provides illustrations. In some cases the site provides e-mail addresses of British companies that use Israeli products - addresses we can use to encourage these companies.

In the struggle to support Israel, fun comes very rarely, but this is one instance when the fun is guarantied. Would that the site itself had provided an e-mail address!

Contributed by Joseph Alexander Norland. This piece is cross-posted on IsraPundit and Dawson Speaks.

An editorial in the Detroit Free Press by Hady Amr selectively quotes a particularly meaningless poll made in the Middle East, where we find out that, for instance

...a remarkable 72 percent of Palestinians are willing to embrace nonviolent resistance to the Israeli occupation as part of a process that leads to the establishment of a Palestinian state.
Note that nothing in that statement says that the Palestinians are willing to use nonviolent resistance exclusively; there is no repudiation of violence there.

In fact, if you look at the full poll results [PDF, 68 KB], you find out in no uncertain terms that "[a] majority of Palestinians does not show a willingness to reduce violence" (page 5, section 6, emphasis mine). The numbers also show that 57% believe that using armed force against Israelis makes the Israelis more willing to make compromises; only 36% think that it makes them less willing or has no effect (page 6, chart). If that's not an endorsement of violence by the majority, then I don't know what is. (By the way, I wonder what gave them the idea that violence leads to concessions?)

Amr also writes:

An identical proportion, 72 percent of Israeli Jews, would accept a Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders if Palestinians would stop using violence.
Frankly, I have no idea where in the poll Amr got this number. I searched the entire document for occurrences of 72 and seventy-two, and got no results. No such result appears in the charts, either. In fact, only one occurrence of 1967 can be found in the entire 11 pages of this document, and it talks about Palestinian views. Maybe someone can spot it for me?

At any rate, this is a completely vacuous finding, since its if clause is an impossibility. If the Arabs were not violent, just about anyone could support a Palestinian state "based on" the 1967 "borders." ("Borders" is in scare quotes because the 1967 line of demarcation between Israel and Jordan was never officially a border -- because Jordan opposed its recognition as such.) Hell, if that were the case, you could support an unarmed border, with free passage between the two countries. Of course, the Arabs are using violence, and have been since Israel's inception, so what we're citing is nothing more than a fun fantasy. Whatever compromises or borders are agreed on, it will have to be with the understanding that the Palestinians are a people hostile to the Israelis, and will so remain for the foreseeable future.

Amr is out to deliver the standard cycle-of-violence rhetoric, and he doesn't disappoint. Some of the rhetorical questions he asks are particularly absurd:

Why have Israelis failed to see that Palestinians, on a routine basis, are loudly engaging in nonviolent protests against the Israeli military occupation?
Perhaps they are too busy burying the dead victims of those Palestinians who engage in very violent protests against the "Israeli military occupation." Seriously, Amr seems to forget that a nonviolent protest is only relevant if it's the only form of protest used. Any violence -- particularly on the scale of Palestinian terror -- nullifies any effect of the legitimate protests, not to mention gives the attacked license to take measures to prevent such attacks in the future. (That's how that "military occupation" happened in the first place.) In other words, until all violent protest -- i.e. terrorism -- stops, the Israelis are entirely right to ignore the nonviolent tactics. That Palestinians use nonviolent protest as just another tactic alongside terrorism isn't an indicator of any moral code -- it just shows that they are willing to do anything to get their way.

Nelson looked outside his window in Paris, and took some pictures:






















Arab Chutzpah knows no limits

On February 12, 2003, the Ottawa Citizen published the following news story:

Canada urged to criminalize funding of Israeli settlements

BY James Baxter


The Chretien government should treat people who fund Israeli settlements as criminals, just as they do Arabs who support Palestinian causes, the head of the National Council on Canada-Arab Relations said yesterday.

"If Canada is to improve relations with the Arab world, it must approach the Middle East from a position of fairness and evenhandedness in applying international standards," council president Hussein Amery told the council's annual dinner.

He called on the federal government to "apply the full measure of Canadian law and stop those Canadians who are donating and supporting the illegal (Israeli) settlements and the occupation... We believe that these settlements constitute a war crime and those who are supporting and abetting financially or otherwise are subject to prosecution under Canadian law."

Mr. Amery was referring to Canada's decision to mirror U.S. anti-terrorism measures outlawing donations to a large number of Arab charities and causes.

He also chided the government for calling on Iraq to follow United Nations Security Council resolutions to disarm while turning a blind eye to Israel's refusal to comply with similar resolutions to end "its illegal occupation of the West bank and Gaza".

In his remarks to the council, Foreign Affairs Minister Bill Graham reiterated the Chretien government's policy calling for a two-state resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, "with Israel and Palestine living side by side in security and peace."

He said Palestinian suicide bombings and other acts of terrorism "undermine the very goals of the Palestinian people ... Such actions are inimical to Canadian values and everything Canada stands for."

The number of points which require rebuttal is quite incredible, but for a letter to the editor to have a chance of being printed, one has to be very selective as to which points to stress. In my letter to the Citizen I selected a couple of points that seemed to me to be important, and learning from the Arabs themselves, I made demands of my own. My letter, published today [February 15, 2003] on p. B5 reads:

Canada shouldn't be so tight-fisted toward Israeli victims

Re: Canada urged to criminalize funding of Israeli settlements, Feb. 12.

Far from caving in to the absurd demand of the Council on Canada-Arab Relations (CCAR), Canada's government should extend a financial helping hand to the Israeli victims of terrorism. Canada provides financial aid to many a dictatorship in Africa as well as to the corrupt regime of Yasser Arafat. Yet when it comes to our sister democracy, Israel, Canada becomes tight-fisted even when humanitarian aid is considered.

The demand made by the CCAR was accompanied by a diatribe based on standard Arab propaganda. To the Arabs, Judea, Samaria and Gaza may constitute "illegal occupation," but to U.S. Secretary of Defence Donald Rumsfeld, they are "so-called occupied territories," and to an objective Middle East researcher, they are merely disputed lands; Lebanon and Tibet, on the other hand, are indeed occupied territories.

Contrary to Arab claims, the Jewish communities that have sprung up in Judea, Samaria and Gaza violate no article of international law, and therefore, no "war crime" is possible, even in theory. Anyone who reads the 1949 Geneva Convention (it can be read at the Web site: www.icrc.org/web/Eng/siteengo.nsf/htmlall/party_gc) can attest that the Convention prohibits forceful transfers, but none of the Jews who now live in these Communities was ever "transferred," and anyone is free to get up and leave. Repeating Arab propaganda lines does not Create a fact out of a myth.

Joseph Alexander Norland,
Ottawa
I would urge you to write to the Citizen too, as I have left many points without a response (e.g., the moral equivalence between Islamist terrorist groups and the Israeli communities). The e-mail address of the Ottawa Citizen is:

letters@thecitizen.southam.ca

When writing, please add name, full address and phone number, in addition to e-mail address. The paper does publish letters from people who write from outside of Canada.

Contributed by Joseph Alexander Norland. This piece is cross-posted on IsraPundit and Dawson Speaks.

Grassroots Support For Israel - And Against "Road Map

Reaching out in friendship. Would there were many more nations that cared

The U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed a resolution this week congratulating Israel on its "free and fair elections" of last month. Virginia Congressman Eric Cantor, the bill's original sponsor, said, "I congratulate our only true democratic ally in the Middle East - Israel - a country that stands with the United States on the key principles of human rights, freedom, peace and democracy; a country like no other in its region." Speaking on behalf of the bill, which passed by a 411-2 vote, Cantor said,
"Israel is currently fighting a war on terrorism against people dedicated to hate and destruction; dedicated to ending freedom and democracy; dedicated to suppressing the basic rights of life and liberty. For the past two and a half years, Israel has faced an unrelenting campaign of violence and terror against her citizens. Yet, during all of this unrest and violence, the Israeli people engaged in the most basic and most important feature of democracy: They held free, open and, competitive elections -an act in stark contrast to their enemies."

Other U.S. support for a secure Israel was expressed this week by six prominent Christian leaders at a press briefing at the National Religious Broadcasters Convention this week in Nashville. The briefing, given by Prime Minister Sharon's spokesman Raanan Gissin, was sponsored by the National Unity Coalition for Israel (NUC), an alliance of more than 200 Jewish and Christian organizations representing more than 40 million Americans. The NUC announced afterwards that contrary to public perception conveyed by the State Department and the media, "it is apparent that the vast majority of informed Americans oppose the Quartet Road Map calling for Palestinian statehood." Opposition to the plan was expressed as based on various perspectives, including, religious, legal, historical, military defense, security and terrorism issues.



OK, problem solved:

It turns out Belgium is a hoax! Thanks, Leo.


Iran Hard-Liners: Death to Rushdie, Again

Thought these imbeciles had let this issue go away? Not so.
TEHRAN, Iran - Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards have renewed a call to kill Salman Rushdie, whom Iran condemned to death 14 years ago for allegedly insulting Islam in a prize-winning novel.

The hard-line Guards, Iran's main fighting force, said in a statement that the fatwa - or Islamic edict - issued by the late revolutionary leader, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, was "irrevocable," the official Islamic Republic News Agency reported late Friday.

Khomeini issued the fatwa against Rushdie on Feb. 14, 1989, ordering Muslims to kill the novelist because he had allegedly insulted Islam in his best-selling novel, "The Satanic Verses."

In 1998, the Iranian government declared it would not support the fatwa, but at the same time the government said it could not rescind the edict as, under Islamic law, that could be done only by the person who issued it. Khomeini died in June 1989.

The news agency quoted the Guards as saying "Khomeini's historical edict on Salman Rushdie is irrevocable and nothing can change it." The Revolutionary Guards are seen to be loyal to hard-liners inside Iran's Islamic government.

Reformist and independent newspapers ignored the 14th anniversary of the death sentence this week, while few extremist hard-line papers gave it prominent coverage.[more]

Myths and Facts: A Guide to the Arab-Israeli Conflict; Mitchell Bard



  • Executive Director of the America-Israeli Cooperative Enterprise (AICE)
  • A foreign policy analyst who lectures frequently on US - Middle Eastern policy.
  • The webmaster for the Jewish Virtual Library, the most comprehensive online encyclopedia of Jewish history and culture
  • Served as the editor of the Near East report for 3 years.
  • Co-authored Myths and Facts: a guide to the Arab-Israeli Conflict.


  • Don't miss Mitchell Bard when he speaks at Wayne state University!

    Wednesday, February 19, 12 pm, Bemath Auditorium WSU, Undergraduate Library



    Questions? Contact Miriam Gormezano, Hillel's Grinspoon Israel Advocacy Intern, at (313) 577-3459 or e-mail hillelpd@wayne.edu

    101,000 Historic Figures Hit the Campuses in Support of Israel



    The "Israel 101" campaign is kicking off with 101,000 postcards featuring quotes from famous personalities showing their support for Israel. The campaign is designed to create wide-reaching events to promote Israel's image on campus.

    The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt and former Egyptian President Anwar Sadat are featured on an attractive series of postcards from Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life. Quotes from King, Roosevelt, and Sadat, complement the words of former President John F. Kennedy and former Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir. The quotes, which stress peace and democracy, were selected for their edgy appeal to a student audience. The Israel postcards are available for dowload as PDF's.

    Israel Awareness Month, February 2003



    The Hillel at WAYNE STATE UNIVERSITY, HMD, is hosting several Pro-Israel events this month.

    Israel Activism

    Help promote Pro-Israel ideals at WSU.
    Help with planning Israel programs and Israel Awareness month.
    For more information, e-mail Miriam Gormezano, Hillel's Grinspoon Israel Advocacy Intern, or call (313) 577-3459.
    Israel Awareness Month, February 2003

    Hear great speakers and show your support for Israel at WSU. Speakers include:

    Meir Litvak: Islamic Fundamentalism, Israel, and the US -- February 3

    Francis Bok: Escaped Sudanese Slave -- February 13

    Mitchell Bard: Author of Myths and Facts, A Guide to the Arab - Israeli Conflict -- February 19

    Harell Stanton: A Cultural View of Israel Through a Muti-media Presentation

    For more information on Israel Awareness Month, please call Hillel at (313) 577-3459.

    Against the Israeli Academic Boycott
    An interesting article by Neve Gordon, professor of politics at Ben Gurion University. He is more often than not highly critical of Israel, and this piece appears in The Nation, also highly critical of Israel. And yet, the writer argues, Israel is a democracy where he can write critically of his country, and therefore boycotts of intellectuals is counter-productive
    [...]During a casual encounter with a university official, I learned that the administration has been receiving incensed letters from abroad by people who have read newspaper articles in which I criticize Israel's neoliberal monetary policies, the ongoing discrimination of its Palestinian citizenry and, most important, the government's draconian policies in the occupied territories. Some of the letter writers were unhappy with the fact that an Israeli academic institute continues to employ me, and they are even considering stopping their annual donations to the university.

    Ironically, intolerant reactions of this kind--whether articulated within Israel or abroad--are a reminder that in Israel, academic freedom still exists, much more so than in many other countries. They also suggest, however, that this freedom should never be taken for granted and that it is currently being challenged.

    Unwittingly, American and European supporters of the academic boycott against Israeli universities are aiding this attack. They certainly have not taken into account some of the realities inside Israel, particularly the internal offensive against the universities as well as the anti-intellectual atmosphere that has colonized the Israeli public sphere.[moire]

    Urge The Europeans to Investigate thier Funding of Arab Terrorism



    "Despite serious charges that substantial EU funds have been misused to underwrite a 'culture of death' and to abet terrorist attacks against innocent men, women, and children in Israel, just yesterday the European Parliament rejected an effort backed by 170 Euro-deputies calling for full accountability of the end use of all its funds spent in the Middle East."

    Click here to sign the petition.


    The sum of all fears


    This article in Jewsweek states that "Increased chatter has indicated that Al Qaeda may be preparing to attack Jewish targets and possibly assassinate Jewish leaders. Are we just sitting ducks?"
    [...]A few hours after the Justice Department press conference, Newsweek Magazine reported on its Web site that the threat alert was raised after new intelligence reports pointed to the possibility of multiple, imminent attacks by Al Qaeda against Jewish groups and Jewish-owned businesses in the United States. There was no information on specific targets, but officials said the volume of threats relating to Jewish interests was worrying.

    Indeed, U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge confirmed the rumors. "It's appropriate to draw the conclusion that Jewish groups are a target," he said.

    According to Newsweek, the FBI sent word late Friday afternoon to synagogues to up security measures throughout the Sabbath. Most synagogues did little more than alert the same local beat cop who has been sitting at their entranceway since 9/11.

    Assassination attempt possible
    While researching this story, sources inside the Justice Department told Jewsweek that the fact Jewish groups were being targeted was not the headline and that there is a new front on Al Qaeda's war against America. Rather than go after symbolic targets such as the Pentagon or the Golden Gate Bridge which are becoming increasingly more protected, Al Qaeda operatives are targeting what are called "softer targets". The increased chatter and phone intercepts have indicated that these soft targets could well include synagogues, as well as assassination attempts on well-known civic and religious leaders. [more]
    Kazakhstan FM: If Iraq doesn't disarm, U.S. can use our airports

    A place where Muslim moderation works and many faiths seem to live in peace. This friendship is vital, for these "-istan" countries sit close to huge energy and mineral reserves, including of course the Caspian Sea.

    ALMATY, KHAZAKHSTAN - Kazakhstan believes that Iraq should be given a last chance to divest itself of its weapons of mass destruction; but if it spurns that chance this Central Asian republic will be ready to provide its air space and its airports to support a military operation against Baghdad.

    This was made clear here Thursday night by the Kazhak foreign minister, Kasimjomart Tokaev in a conversation with Haaretz. The minister was guest of honor earlier at a dinner given by the visiting Conference of Presidents of American Jewish Organizations and the local Euro-Asian Jewish Congress, at the close of an inter-faith 'Conference on Peace and Accord'.

    Tokaev said the U.S. had been "very persuasive" in adducing evidence against Saddam Hussein. "If it is indeed proven that they have WMD, there is no justification for the existence of this regime."

    Kazakhstan opened its air space and provided ground services for allied air forces during the campaign against Al-Qaida in Afghanistan last year.

    Kazakhstan's successful divestment of its own nuclear capability, the foreign minister said, could serve as a guide to the Iraqi people after the confrontation ends and a new government takes over in Baghdad. "It is very important for the leadership to explain to the people that the state can not only survive but prosper and succeed, after it has voluntarily disarmed."

    It was important, too, he said, for the disarming state to receive international guarantees. Kazakhstan had received such guarantees, a year after its own disarmament, from all five permanent members of the Security Council. [more]


    Sermons that resound with the clash of civilisations : Muslims, gathered in Mecca for the haj pilgrimage, are told to confront the enemy

    After you read this article and what has been preaced at Mecca you may have to re-think any distinctions between the militants and moderates of Islam
    [...]Even at the paler end of the Islamic spectrum, hostility to American policy is fierce. At a seminar sponsored by the website IslamOnLine, a group of greying Egyptian Islamist intellectuals disputed whether America is actually warring against Islam, but agreed that jihad against military forces invading or occupying any Muslim country, including Iraq, is legitimate. The website's on-line fatwa service asserts that it is a sin for the Iraqi opposition to collaborate with infidels in order to overthrow their government.

    The dissenting voice in Muslim opinion comes from that opposition. Albeit with reluctance, the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution, the leading Iraqi Shia opposition group, has accepted the need for American help in toppling the regime. And when Shia authorities in Iraq issued a fatwa last year urging Muslims to defend the country against aggressors, scholars in exile were quick to dismiss the ruling as having been forced under duress.

    Like most people, whatever their faith, Muslims do not generally acquire their political opinions from clerics. Mostly, they do not care much for politics, and do not identify personally with a vast Muslim ummah all that much more than most Christians identify with Christendom. But with religious sensibilities heightened, and with mild-mannered preachers regularly blasting American policy, the voice of Osama bin Laden, heard again this week as he called on Muslims to fight “allies of the devil”, sounds less far-fetched. Muslims hate his methods, but they agree with the message: Yankee go home.[more]
    This march is about Iraq, not Palestine

    This article like the one posted just below it separates issues
    [...]
    We march, anyway, whether we are making sense of it or not. By "we" I mean humanity, since nearly all of it, we're promised, will be on the move this weekend. I won't be marching. Call me fastidious, but I've never liked the intellectual chaos of protest culture – marching to stop one war while your neighbour is marching to stop another, confusing foxes with persons, assuming that there is a daisy chain of ideologically sound causes, all with the same cast of heroes and villains. Today, for example, if I march to stop a war against Iraq, I will also be censuring Israel, and though I think there is much to censure Israel for, I think there is much to censure other parties to that conflict for as well. Too vexed for banners, the question of Palestine – as are most questions. Nor do I think the one issue has anything, except in the matter of manipulated perception, to do with the other.

    Which is precisely, Andrew Murray, the chair of the Stop the War Coalition, is going to tell me, where I am mistaken. Though he calls "Justice for Palestine" a "secondary slogan" to "Don't Attack Iraq", the two issues, he says, "are inextricably linked".

    Inextricably? As in incapable of being disentangled? As in too elaborate ever to untie? As in so intricate and labyrinthine that no exit can be discovered? We cannot under any circumstances understand or avoid war with Iraq unless we take what the Stop the War Coalition considers to be the right side in the Israeli/Palestinian conflict – is that what Andrew Murray means?

    Here is rigorousness of historical thinking indeed! Here is effect in the most pitiless pursuit of cause. But shouldn't we equally insist, so as not to lose any of this ratiocinative momentum, that some among the Stop the War Coalition also carry banners remembering the Marsh Arabs and the Kurds, chant slogans against the evils of dictatorship, call for the resumption of parliamentary democracy, and otherwise draw attention to human rights abuses in Iraq? Rail against Israel if you must, but aren't Saddam's links to the fate of Iraq a little closer – let alone a little more inextricable – than Sharon's?[more]

    February 14, 2003

    Marching for Terror

    Mark Steyn's latest essay, addressed directly to the anti-war crowd, is fantastic. You should read the whole thing and then forward it to all your friends. Steyn saves a key section to explain how war protests only hurt the Palestinians:
    But perhaps, as is the case with many marchers, your priority isn't the Iraqi people living in bondage under an Iraqi dictator, but the Palestinian people living in bondage under a Zionist dictator: fine, whatever, you're entitled to your point of view. But you ought to know that, as long as Saddam sits in Baghdad, there will never be a Palestinian state. Never. Chance of the "Palestinian Authority" becoming a fully fledged People's Republic: zero.

    Saddam serves as principal sugar daddy to the relicts of suicide bombers and neither Israel nor America is going to agree to a Palestinian state where the prime business opportunity is strapping on the old explosives belt and telling Baghdad where to mail the cheque. We're talking cold political reality here: keeping Saddam in power may stymie the crazy Texans, but also those downtrodden Palestinians. If you're serious about them, you might want to think that one through.
    ...although, with this in mind, those who are against a Palestinian state might want to join ranks with the protestors.

    Nah, that'd just be nutty.

    Iraqi Official Snubs Israeli Journalist

    this article by way of Instapundit indicative of the stupidity and instransigence of Iraq, as though Aziz is in a postion to be picky

    Touching off hoots and boos, a top Iraqi official snubbed an Israeli journalist Friday, refusing to answer the correspondent's question about whether Baghdad might attack Israel in a case of a U.S. military strike on Iraq.

    Correspondent Menachem Gantz, based in Rome for the Israeli newspaper Maariv, asked Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz at a news conference in the Italian capital: "Are you considering any kind of attack as a possibility against Israel in case of an American attack?"

    Aziz, invited by the Foreign Press Association to give the news conference, responded: "When I came to this press conference it was not in my agenda to answer questions by the Israeli media. Sorry."

    Some journalists in the packed room of the association's headquarters whistled and booed at that reply.[more]


    No little squabble

    Don't miss the latest Steyn article about the French v. American rivalry. Its too good to abbreviate.

    Feb 24th - Minnesotans Against Terrorism Special Guest Speaker Series



    Due to popular demand we are happy to announce that Captain Elliot Chodoff from Israel is coming to the Twin Cities.
    This time he will talk about new issues that were not discussed in his previous presentation.

    The topic for this presentation is: Defending a Country’s Citizens from Worldwide Terrorism and War.
    Captain Chodoff is the Civil Defense Coordinator for Northern Israel.
    Due to increased worldwide terrorism and the possible war in Iraq Mr. Chodoff will talk about his plans to protect Israelis in Northern Israel from terror and war
    (including preparing for bio/chemical attacks).

    The presentation will take place on Monday February 24, 2003 at the evening.
    Please mark your calendar.
    The specific location and registration information will be announced in the next few days.


    Sincerely,

    Ilan Sharon, Executive Director

    Minnesotans Against Terrorism

    Belgium: THE HOME TO SOME 600,000 PALESTINIANS .......Home to Arab appeasement

    A sharp look at Belgium and its history at goldwater.mideastreality It is not pretty. That country is hardly in a position to ignore Arafat, et al and pick on Israel. Might think they would be smart enough to bury their heads, if not from shame at least from the spotlight
    The small Belgian Jewish population of 40,000 has relatively little political clout; the number of those calling themselves Palestinians in Belgium is 600,000.

    Yoel Rubenfeld, the director of the Belgium-based Belgium-Israel friendship association, said this morning, "This unfortunately shows that there's no justice when it comes to Israel".

    There's Arafat, and Saddam, and Pinochet, and many others who could be tried under the special Belgian law - yet they're only going after Sharon.

    "The thought that a nation that stood by and watched when Jewish blood was spilt like water and ignored victims' cries, is now elevating itself to the position of world policeman - is outrageous in the extreme."

    Belgium the BULLY and advocate of SLAVERY in their darkest past, has missed that their judgment isn't that of a nation, that can possibly rightfully judge others. [more]
    Friedman is at it again.

    Tom Friedman continues to hold America back with unfounded assumptions and wishful thinking.
    Yes, we can (defeat Iraq and not destroy the UN)— if we, the Russians, the Chinese and the French all take a deep breath, understand our common interests and pursue them with a little more common sense and a little less bluster.
    If we had common interests we would be in full agreement. It is the divergence or perhaps incompatibility of our interests that lead to the disagreements. On the one hand, France, Germany and Russia have strong economic interests in maintaining Iraq whereas, because of the sanctions, the US has none. Furthermore all three probably have egregiously violated those sanctions which the US has not and therefor are desperate to avoid being exposed. Finally they all need the UN to maintain its credibility because they leverage it to gain influence over the US. The US on the other hand is sick and tired of the UN.
    That means the Bush hawks need to realize they cannot achieve their ultimate aim of disarming and transforming Iraq without maximum international legitimacy. And the Euro-doves need to realize they cannot achieve their aims of a peaceful solution in Iraq and preserving the U.N. and the whole multilateral order without a credible threat of force against Saddam Hussein.
    Saying it doesn't make it so. Legitimacy comes with success. Reconstruction can proceed without the war having had the stamp of approval from the UN and the EU and without the assistance of the three. If they decline to get on board afterward, which is highly unlikely, they do so at own peril both in economic terms and world stature.

    As for the latter, we all know that the US has been bristling at the "multilateral order" that the EU is trying to impose on the US.
    But it is worth doing only if we can do it right. And the only way we can do it right is if we can see it through, which will take years.
    He's got that right.
    And the only way we can see it through is if we have the maximum allies and U.N. legitimacy.
    For a smart man he says incredibly stupid things. We can see it through with the allies we have, thank you very much, and UN legitimacy is sullied merchandise.
    We need a compromise. We need to say to the French, Russians and Chinese that we'll stand down for a few more weeks and give Saddam one last chance to comply with the U.N. disarmament demands — provided they agree now that if Saddam does not fully comply they will have the U.N. authorize the use of force.

    What, again? Why?

    If war proves inevitable, it must be seen as the product of an international decision, not an American whim.

    On the contrary. The US should demonstrate that their actions are not dependant on an international decision but the interests of the American people. It should not in anyway give credence to the idea that it is not an independent nation or that the international community has a veto over its decisions. That would be a catastrophe. As for "whim", what an insult. The US has gone to great lengths to debate this in Congress, the Senate and the UN. They have made great attempts to garner the support Friedman thinks so necessary and have had a major debate within the Administration. Whim, indeed.

    Friedman is quite content to postulate the negative consequences of the US going it alone, but doesn't at all consider the negative consequences of the US crumbling to the demands of France, Germany and Russia et al.

    If the US does not now, stick to its guns, literally and figuratively, in this matter, when will it ever. To succumb to the blandishment of the EU and others, will do irreparable harm to the credibility of the US in the future. In the face of such American weakness, the ME will be totally unmanageable and the US will have many more challenges to its will and authority from all sectors of the world.

    FYI

    I am under the impression that many in the blogosphere and the larger media are missing an important point, so I'd like to make sure it is clarified. The latest decision of the Belgian court is not only about Sharon. In fact, Sharon is off the hook now, since he enjoys diplomatic immunity. The truly problematic part of that decision is about Amos Yaron, who commanded the IDF forces in Beirut at the time of the Sabra and Chattila massacre, and who is now facing the possibility of being prosecuted. He does not enjoy diplomatic immunity, as do not any IDF soldiers who may become targets of similar prosecutions in the future. And I have no doubt that the Belgians would not miss an opportunity to apply this to American soldiers as well, should it arise.

    The Likudnik Factor

    This an issue often raised in Leftist commentary in opposing a war with Iraq. It is helpful I believe to get it out in the open for discussion. Sure. there are a number of top hawks that are Jewish, and the implication then is that they are hawkish because of a love of Israel. In other words, those duplicitous Jews are a part of the Israeli/Jewish lobbly. On the other hand, the article does not note that Saddam sends 25 thousand dollars to each family of a suicide bomber. Most suicide bombers are from Hamas. Hamas is an American -listed terror organization. Thus, Saddam supports terrorism.
    Don't Rush Me, II: "The Likudniks are really in charge now." WaPo's Robert Kaiser has tried to raise an issue that Slate's Michael Kinsley attempted to raise a few months ago, namely the influence, among the administration's hawks, of what Kaiser carefully calls people with "loyalty to strong positions in support of Israel and Likud." Kinsley wrote that "the role of Israel in the thinking of [President Bush] is the "proverbial elephant in the room: Everybody sees it, no one mentions it."

    Like the New Yorker's Nicholas Lemann, Kaiser notes without much comment that three top Bush hawks (Richard Perle, Douglas Feith, David Wurmser) were on an 8-person committee that in 1996 proposed to incoming Likud Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that he abandon the Oslo peace accords negotiated in 1993 and reject the basis for them -- the idea of trading "land for peace." Israel should insist on Arab recognition of its claim to the biblical land of Israel, the 1996 report suggested, and should "focus on removing Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq." [Emphasis added]

    As someone trying to make up his mind about the war, am I troubled by the unspoken, widely-acknowledged influence of the Likudniks? Yes! I'm not a Mideast expert. I'm an ordinary citizen with inherently limited and imperfect information. How close is Saddam really to having a bomb? How long would neighboring Arab states tolerate a massive U.S. troop presence to back up inspections? Even "senior government officials" don't know the answers to these questions, but I will never know as much as they do. To some extent, they are asking me – us -- to trust them. Which means it's very relevant to us ordinary citizens what conscious or subconscious motives might be skewing their decision in favor of war.

    In other respects, the risks to Israel may be greater than the risks to America. But the point is that the interests, even of two such close allies, can and almost certainly do diverge. [more]
    For more on this contentious issue: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A45652-2003Feb8.html. I have found this at Instapundit. And he also notes the Gary Hart speech (and do see comments after) at Gary Hart speech posted at Talk Left.com

    The Axis of Weasels to hear new Iraq evidence.


    "Weasel so-called allies France and Germany will hear fresh evidence today of Iraqi stonewalling, at an 11th-hour showdown with the United States in the U.N. Security Council."
    Nelson writes:

    Hello.

    A friend of mine who happens to be an excellent poet and an excellent person sent me a text against the war written by Senator Robert Byrd of Virginia, and asked me to move it further if I agreed with it. After following closely all the posturing of so many of my most mediocre colleagues in the Anglo-Saxon world and elsewhere, I have to confess that his mail, by an admirable poet, left me pretty saddened. I deplore the standpoint taken by almost all poets I admire, but I will continue to admire their work as far as it continues to deserve literary, poetic and esthetic admiration. I'm under no illusion, however, that the professional differentiation I will go on making between the other poets' works and their politics will be neither reciprocated nor extended to poets like me who, because they see the political landscape of the world in other terms, are, I'm in no doubt about it, in the absolute minority in the literary community. On the other hand, it is also true that I couldn't care less about it. Here is the answer I sent him today.

    All best
    Nelson Ascher
    Paris


    " Having lived in a military dictatorship myself and knowing through my parents about their experience with much worse dictatorships (fascist and communist Hungary, Nazi Germany), having seen innocent people murdered by religious fanatics in NY, Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Haifa, Indonesia etc., having visited synagogues burned down recently in Europe, and after having seen below my own Parisian window people marching with openly anti-Semitic slogans, I think you'll understand me if I'll ask you a small favor. It is the following: please direct me to sites where I can find poets fighting against tyranny, dictatorship, Muslim fundamentalism, fascistic Arab nationalism, against people who praise and/or promote the intentional murder of civilians because, for instance, they are Americans, Australians, Brits, Jews. I'd like to know if there is any site with poets fighting for justice for the Kurds and the punishment of those guilty for their massacre. I'd also like to know if there's any site where poets write and fight against the bizarre and sadistic North Korean dictatorship. Once I had dinner with script writer Jean Claude Carriere and a friend of his, an exiled Iranian writer with whom he translated medieval Persian poetry into French. They both explained to me that the only way to imagine the Iranian parliament would be to think of an European one where there'd be places only for bishops and cardinals. Surely, thus, in the US there must also be sites with poets fighting against such a regime. Am I wrong? I'd also like to know if there's any site with poets writing about the crimes of the Belgians, older ones like Congo, more recent ones, like the murder of Patrice Lumumba, and pretty new ones, like their guilt in the genocide in Rwanda. By the way, any chance of finding a web site with poets protesting against Russian crimes in Chechnya, Chinese ones in Tibet, French ones all over Africa, the French backing of military dictatorship in Algeria, the Rwandan genocide, and their military intervention in the Ivory Coast? A country with so many excellent poets like the US surely has poets worrying about all these things, doesn't it? Humbly, I myself, in Brazil, had time to write in my newspaper against so many tyrants, from Pinochet to Castro, I had also time to write about all the massacres perpetrated in the Arab world besides Sabra and Chattila. So, I believe, there must be lots of poets writing and protesting against all of this. I cannot imagine that thousands of poets are obsessed only with writing about Bush or trying to save one more tyrant's skin. Coming to think of it, I can remember many great poets who wrote in praise of Stalin, Lenin, Hitler, Franco, Mussolini, Mao, for god's sake, even Enver Hodja. But I find it not only hard to remember any who wrote against any of the above without in the same breath praising some of the others, but I don't remember any great poet who wrote consistently good odes in praise of good old bourgeois democracy. But maybe I'll find the site for which they've been writing. As a Trotskyite since my teens I cannot but fight fascism, be it black, red or green. Oh yes, I do know about things that are worse than war: my two grandfathers and my paternal grandmother, I'm sure, would have loved the chance to die fighting in a war instead of being killed in the way they were. "

    Winning the hearts and minds of the Muslim community

    And in Singapore too we find that "if only we are nicer" attitude toward solving the problem of radical Islam. Gosh, what have we done wrong that they do not like us?
    [...] In fact, in recent weeks, several commentators have wondered whether local factors exist that could lead to the germination of terrorist tendencies among Malay/Muslims here sometime in the future.

    Mr Low, for instance, suggested that policies that lead Muslims to feel discriminated against should be identified and examined. This would help prevent the disgruntled from being recruited into the fold of terrorism, he said.

    This is similar to how, in earlier decades in Singapore and Malaysia, a sense of discrimination was a major reason why many Chinese entered the fold of the Communist Party of Malaya.

    For Mr Shanmugam, a factor that would determine the shape of the ideological battle is the state of inter-racial ties. Central to this, he said, is the battle for the minds of the Muslim community. To win that battle, the grievances of the community needed to be addressed, he said, 'to cut terrorism from its base'.

    In that context, he called for a rethink in the way society views and treats local Muslims and the way the government relates to them. He proposed that a way be found - without sacrificing the principle of meritocracy - to 'catalyse the progress' of the community. [more]
    Muslim pilgrims celebrate bin Laden

    Nothing like a pilgrimage to renew your faith in bin Ladin
    [...] With the bulk of the two million worshippers spending their time in holy shrines and away from the media, many pilgrims said they had not heard the audio recording he reportedly made which Qatar's al Jazeera television broadcast on Tuesday.

    Nonetheless, some pilgrims urged the fugitive al Qaeda leader to maintain his armed struggle against what they called infidel nations such as the United States.

    "I am very happy he is alive because he has made a lot of sacrifices for God and Muslims," said Abdulrahman, a young Egyptian, as he angrily threw stones at a pillar representing the devil -- one of the rituals of the pilgrimage.

    "May God help him in his struggle against the infidels until total victory."

    Practically all pilgrims approached by Reuters supported bin Laden. [more]
    Old Europe

    With friends like these, who needs enemies.

    Carolyn Glick argues that America and Israel should move on from Europe considering how anti-American and anti-semeitic they are.
    Today the Americans see that their firm commitment to destroying threats to international security has caused an earthquake in Europe....The myth of European unity has been rent.

    First she acknowledges that some opinion in the US is calling for appeasement with Israel as coinage.
    ...in an opinion piece in Thursday's Wall Street Journal, (anyone got a link) former National Security Advisors and Zbigniew Brzezinski and Brent Snowcroft urged the Bush administration to put forward a US plan for the swift establishment of a Palestinian state.

    In their view, "Arab countries and much of the Muslim world, as well as most European countries, see a direct link between their ability to be more forthcoming in supporting US goals in Iraq and our commitment to working for a fair settlement of the Israel-Palestinian conflict."
    But she argues for a different course of action. In forthright language, she calls it like it is.
    Rather than condemn the Palestinians as war criminals for conducting massacres against Israeli civilians, the Europeans saved their condemnations and war crimes tribunals for us. Rather than boycott the terrorist Palestinian Authority, the Europeans continue financing Arafat and his henchmen and launched a boycott against Israel.

    At the same time, we must not lose sight of the fact that the world does not begin and end in Europe. A reminder of this truth came last week from New Delhi. There, the Washington-based Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs held a trilateral conference where former Israeli, American and Indian security and diplomatic elites met to discuss the formation of a strategic alliance between the three democracies. Today, Israel is the second largest supplier of military goods to India behind the US. India's middle class is 100 million people strong and is capable of generating economic demand for Israeli products that could eventually replace European markets.

    Far from boycotting Israel for fighting the terrorist war launched against it, India has over the past two and a half years been expanding its military and economic cooperation with Israel. An Indian diplomat told me last year that perhaps even more than the US, Israel is capable of deep economic cooperation with India because Israeli economic strengths are better attuned to the needs of the Third World. "The burgeoning alliance with India provides an answer to European rejection of Israel and the US," says Martin Sherman of the Interdisciplinary Center at Herzliya who participated in last week's conference.
    There are many other countries that can be added to the list including the eighteen countries of Europe and the Former Soviet Republics lying to the south of Russia such as Kazakastan.

    The sooner Israel makes the break from being dependant on the EU dominated by France and Germany, they will no longer be pressured to making concessions to the Arabs. America, too must make the same break and align with their friends rather than their "friends".

    After Iraq defeat, Palestinian issue will rear its head

    Cal Thomas here notes that the State Department in the U.S., always siding with the Arabists, will try to convince the administration to compel Israel to come to terms with the Palestinians, despite what the terrorists are doing.
    When Iraq is liberated from Saddam Hussein, watch for the U.S. State Department to begin another diplomatic offensive against Israel in an effort to mollify Arab states angered by the war. One does not need to be on the receiving end of leaks to know — based on past behavior — that the pro-Arab diplomats are promising to ‘‘do something” about Israel, which to them means the immediate creation of a Palestinian state from which Israel’s enemies can gobble up the rest of that tiny country.

    Based on President Bush’s June 24, 2002, speech in which he outlined specific conditions that must be fulfilled by Palestinian Arabs before the United States supports creation of a Palestinian state, there is not a single indication that the Palestinian leadership is moving toward compliance with the those conditions.
    The president said the Palestinians ‘‘must dismantle the terrorist infrastructure,” ‘‘end incitement” and ‘‘elect new leaders not compromised by terror.” They have refused.

    Training of Palestinian Authority (PA) police and security forces began last September under the supervision of U.S., Egyptian and Jordanian officials. But Israel has protested that at least 100 of the 150 Palestinian security officers in the course ‘‘were involved in attacks on Israeli civilians” (Middle East Newsline, Sept. 17, 2002).
    In the nearly eight months since the president’s speech, there have been no reports of arrested or extradited terrorists, including those suspected of killing Americans. Israel has requested 45 suspected terrorists be extradited.
    Nor has the PA seized any terrorist weapons. But in a search of the Taibeh mosque on Feb. 6, Israeli forces uncovered an explosive belt being prepared for use by a suicide-homicide bomber. Bomb factories, which exist in several locations throughout the West Bank and other areas, have not been closed. There are no reports of the PA leadership punishing their various factions that are engaged in terrorism.
    During the week of Feb. 4-10, there were at least 38 terrorist attacks, or attempted attacks, in which two people were killed and eight wounded.

    The PA has done nothing to ‘‘end the incitement to violence in official media and publicly denounce homicide bombings,” as required by the president before there can be American support for a Palestinian state. The PA’s official newspapers, television and radio continue to disseminate a steady stream of anti-Israel, anti-American invective that promotes violence. Various PA officials issue statements inciting their followers to violence. One of many examples is a 25-minute sermon broadcast live on the Voice of Palestine from the Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem on Feb. 7, 2002, in which Sheikh Ikrimah Sabri, the PA-appointed Mufti of Jerusalem, said: ‘‘While Muslims slaughter sheep in Id Al-Adha, the United States will slay Muslims in Iraq in order to carry out its aggressive, criminal, terrorist and inhuman designs .... Allah, deter the aggressors and conspirators. O Allah, destroy them all. O Allah, protect Iraq and its people.”

    President Bush called for ‘‘fair, multi-party elections by the end of the year, with national elections to follow” to select ‘‘new leaders ... not compromised by terror.” After previously announcing it would hold elections for PA chairman and members of the Palestinian Legislative Council on Jan. 20, 2003, the PA postponed them indefinitely. The excuse was that Israel continues to pursue terrorists in ‘‘their” territory. But based on the last election in 1996, when ballot-stuffing and voter intimidation were widely reported, it is doubtful that even if elections were held they would be ‘‘free and fair.”

    That leaves the president’s other requirement for the PA to ‘‘build democracy based on tolerance and liberty” and ‘‘confront corruption,” but corruption remains the norm. According to the Jerusalem Post (Jan. 2, 2003): ‘‘Palestinian Authority officials and institutions in the Gaza Strip are involved in stealing basic food supplies and medicine provided by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA).” Captured documents show that PA officials have been selling the food and medicine on the black market since 1996.
    None of this will matter to Arabists in the State Department, who have blind faith that the cause of Middle East turmoil is Israel alone and only what Israel does determines whether there will be peace or unrest in the region. President Bush’s conditions are minimums before any realistic peace might be attained. But the PA is not even meeting those minimal conditions. Based on past and present performance, it is safe to say that the intentions of the PA remain total annihilation of Israel by diplomatic hook or by terrorist crook.
    Belgian Lawlessness

    Nice piece in NRO that tells the Belgium "justice" system what is what.
    [...] Well, if Belgium is to be a "judge of history," let it begin at home. While it is unlikely that anyone who was involved in the genocidal exploitation of the Congo Free State by the Belgian monarch is still alive, the fact is that the Congo remained an oppressed Belgian colony until 1960. In another Belgian colony, Rwanda, Hutu resistance in the first half of the 1900s was brutally suppressed by the ruling Tutsis, under the watchful eye of the Belgian authorities. Then, in the 1950s, when a rebellion of Hutu agricultural laborers broke out, the Belgian colonialists encouraged a new campaign of incitement against the Tutsis, to divert attention from themselves. Meanwhile, back home, during World War II, Belgian collaborationist authorities deported 35,000 Jews — fully half of the Belgian Jewish population at the time — to German gas chambers.

    Is it really any surprise that Belgium had no qualms about helping France and Germany block plans for NATO to protect member-state Turkey from Saddam Hussein's Iraq?

    While Belgium may see itself as the "judge of history," history won't likely be kind to Belgium — even if there is no court to which Belgium's victims can appeal. [more]
    Guilt By Association
    The anti-American sentiment in Germany, Belgium and France is driven by anti-Semitism. Robert Sobhani, Georgetown University, tells how the images broadcast to the people in France are overwhelmingly pro-Palestinian. The French hatred for Jews is well documented (and Germany is, well, German.)

    The anti-semitism in France and the opposition to America also serves the purposes of the government in keeping the huge Muslim comminity in that country happy and quiet.

    Just why it is that the French and other Western Europeans hate the Jews is a matter for deeper investigation. But the practical result of that bigotry is that we are then guilty by association - American solidarity with Israel fuels the opposition to what America does in its own self-defense, in both the Arab worlds and in Western Europe (and among many, mostly liberals, in our own country).

    From the Tocquevillian.


    FRENCH ANTISEMITISM
    Gleeful Extremist points out that the French are extremely antisemitic as well as weak, arrogant, gutless, ungrateful and unreliable. France was after all the land of the Dreyfus case just a little over 100 years ago. Even when the true culprit for the crime attributed to Dreyfus had been found, half of France still wanted the Jewish Captain Dreyfus to stay in prison!

    From Wicked Thoughts

    Email the Belguim Ambassador to the United States your Outrage


    Israel enraged at Belgium for planned trial of Sharon.

    The Belgian Supreme Court of Appeals ruled yesterday that Belgium could investigate war crimes charges against Prime
    Minister Ariel in connection with a series of massacres perpetrated by Israeli-backed Christian militiamen at the Sabra and Shatilla Palestinian
    refugee camps near Beirut, Lebanon, in 1982, but only after he is no longer prime minister, and thus stripped of diplomatic immunity. (Jerusalem Post, February 12th, 2003)

    Email the Belgian Ambassador to the United States, Mr. Frans van Daele:

    frans.vandaele@diplobel.be

    RE: Belguim Supreme Court Decision
    Arafat agrees to share power

    Seeing what this hypocrite does is more important than another Arafat press release.
    Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat has agreed to appoint a prime minister - a key demand by the US and international mediators for progress on a political settlement.

    Most Palestinians have never known another leader

    However Mr Arafat did not name a prime minister, set a date for the appointment or say how much power he would share.

    The BBC's Barbara Plett says the US, Israel and the European Union, have been insisting that Yasser Arafat hand most of his powers over to another leader.

    His announcement came after talks with envoys from the European Union, the UN and Russia at his headquarters in the West Bank town of Ramallah.

    Mr Arafat said he would convene the Palestinian legislature and central council "to get their consent to name a prime minister. [more]

    February 13, 2003

    Iran and Iraq differ

    Fouad Ajami writing in the WSJ thinks American policy is just right and that there is a potentially good outcome for Israel. He sees the possibility that Iran will choose to go with America and Israel. Let's hope.
    Patience, deadly and dangerous, in dealing with Iraq (in my view), could work in Iran's case. In this regard, the policy of the Bush administration has been on the mark. There has been no urge to court Iran. The zeal with which the Clinton administration pursued an accommodation with Iran's rulers has been cast aside. This has been one of the lessons of Sept. 11: Why court hated rulers if this only gets you the enmity of their resentful populations? It was in this vein that President Bush pitched his policy on Iran in his State of the Union address. A distinction was made between the Iranian theocracy and Iraq: "Different threats require different strategies." The regime in Iran was put on notice for its support of terror and its pursuit of weapons of destruction. But the people of Iran and their "aspirations to live in freedom" were embraced.

    In one vision of things, Tehran would barter the influence it has in Lebanon, through its sponsorship of Hezbollah, for a deal with Israel and a return to that covert understanding that once bound the Jewish state to Iran. In this vision, there would be a gradual accommodation with the U.S., an acceptance of America's primacy in the Persian Gulf. In the rival vision, Iran would continue to muddle through, alternating terror and diplomacy, hinting at moderation and then pulling back, offering its betrayed people more sterility, and a diet of anti-Americanism at odds with the fixation of young Iranians.
    AFTER IRAQ

    A probing article that appears in this week's The New Yorker magazine. It cites the various reasons given for attacking Saddam's Iraq and then suggests that such an attack might well have a larger, regional view, in mind, the beginning of which is the assault upon Iraq. What, we are asked, will take place in the region after Saddam's removal? How will change have a major impact on Israel, Iran, Syria (and its client Lebanon), and the various terror organizations?
    [...] One can easily derive from Wurmser's book [Wurmer, his book, and his perspective can be found within the text of the link given] a crisp series of post-Saddam moves across the chessboard of the Middle East. The regime in Iran would either fall or be eased out of power by an alliance of the radical students and the more moderate mullahs, with the United States doing what it could to encourage the process. After regime change, the United States would persuade Iran to end its nuclear-weapons program and its support for terrorists elsewhere in the Middle East, especially Hezbollah. Syria, now surrounded by the pro-American powers of Turkey, the reconfigured Iraq, Jordan, and Israel, and no longer dependent on Saddam for oil, could be pressured to coöperate with efforts to clean out Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and Hezbollah. As Syria moved to a more pro-American stand, so would its client state, Lebanon. That would leave Hezbollah, which has its headquarters in Lebanon, without state support. The Palestinian Authority, with most of its regional allies stripped away, would have no choice but to renounce terrorism categorically. Saudi Arabia would have much less sway over the United States because it would no longer be America's only major source of oil and base of military operations in the region, and so it might finally be persuaded to stop funding Hamas and Al Qaeda through Islamic charities.

    A few things should be said about this vision of the near-term future in the Middle East. It is breathtakingly ambitious and optimistic. It might plausibly be described as a spreading of democracy but, perhaps more important, it would also involve, as the "Clean Break" paper said, forcefully altering the regional balance of power. And it differs greatly from the vision of the future of the Middle East that will prevail among liberals, both here and abroad, after the war in Iraq. It treats Pan-Arab nationalism as illegitimate. It does not accept the widespread assumption that no regional good can follow the fall of Saddam unless peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority begin immediately. And it sees the fall of Saddam Hussein less as the end of a great diplomatic and military effort than as a step in an ongoing process. [more]
    How America influences Israel

    Robert Kaiser's "Bush and Sharon Nearly Identical On Mideast Policy" has been discussed on IsraPundit. I've found another article documenting the ties between the current governments in Israel and the US. AFTER IRAQ by Nicholas Lemann is free from a lot of the sneaky terms that Kaiser uses. I get the feeling that Lemann is not comfortable with the likes of Richard Perle and Douglas Feith. But it's also clear from the article that he feels that it's more a matter of Americans in a position to influence having a similar worldview to people in the Israeli government. If anything he suggests that it may that it's a case Americans affecting Israel's direction rather than the other way around. Check it out while you can.

    Cross Posted to David's Israel Blog.

    Belgian court decision.

    Some deservedly strong reactions in Israel to the Belgium court ruling. BTW, I am afraid that the AP reading of this is a bit too optimistic. IBA radio says that the owner of the Princess hotel in Eilat has informed the Belgian ambassador in Israel that Belgian citizens are not welcome in his hotel, as long as that court decision remains in force. I like the spirit of it, although I seriously doubt that many are coming as it is. Imshin has some thoughts of her own on Belgium.

    The courage to lead

    Glick's article about IAF Colonel Ilan Ramon and his six American crewmembers is a useful reminder of the close connection between Israel and the U.S. and recent history. A fine read
    [...] In 1981, Israel risked and absorbed international and local opprobrium to safeguard its national interest. That interest: preventing a hostile rogue regime from acquiring the means to destroy the State of Israel, clearly outweighed any diplomatic advantage that may have been gained by standing on the sidelines and accepting the unacceptable.

    Years went by and as a decade closed, American opprobrium turned to admiration and gratitude. In 1991, then US Defense Secretary Richard Cheney remarked that it would have been virtually impossible for the US to have led a coalition to eject Saddam Hussein's army from Kuwait if Saddam had been in possession of nuclear weapons.

    It is fair to say that while the first Bush administration understood the operational importance of the 1981 strike as it amassed its international coalition to fight the 1991 Gulf War, it still refused to understand its true message. In

    Another ten years, and the September 11 attacks finally made clear that far from simply manifesting a threat to Israel, a nuclear-armed Iraq constitutes a threat to freedom itself. That is, in threatening Israel, a country based completely on the notions of liberty, freedom and their natural consequence, liberal democracy, Saddam threatens more than a place, he threatens a way of life. [more]
    Report: Iraq wanted to reach peace agreement with Israel

    This is a rather odd piece given the fact that Saddam funds families of suicide bombers!
    Contacts between the two countries broke off due to Israeli skepticism of Iraq's sincerity to reach a peace agreement and American objections.

    Representatives of the Iraqi government under Saddam Hussein sent messages to Israeli officials on their willingness to establish diplomatic relations between Iraq and Israel, Maariv reported today. Contacts between the two countries broke off due to Israeli skepticism of Iraq's sincerity to reach a peace agreement and emphatic objections of the U.S. government, the paper said.

    According to the exclusive Maariv report, due to be published in its weekend edition tomorrow, contacts between Israeli and Iraqi officials began in the summer of 1987. Gil Glazer, an established and influential Jew in the American government, relayed a message from Iraq's Ambassador to the United States Nizar Hamdoon to then-energy minister Moshe Shahal. In the message Hamdoon expressed his willingness to meet with Shahal.

    Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir expressed his support for the meeting, the paper said, and sent Shahal on a speaking tour of the United States. During the tour, arrangements were made for a secret meeting between Hamdoon and Shahal.

    Days before the planned meeting, Hamdoon asked Glazer to relay to Israel a request that it publicly announce support for Iraq's stance in its ongoing conflict with Iran. In exchange for this announcement, Hamdoon guaranteed that Iraq would state openly that it had no territorial conflicts with Israel. [more]
    US: 'Unacceptable' for Iraq to Chair UN Arms Body

    Now some nations discovering what Israel has long known about the sham that is the UN
    Reuters) - A senior United States arms control official declared on Thursday that it was "unacceptable" for Iraq to take its turn in presiding over the main United Nations disarmament negotiating forum.

    Stephen Rademaker, the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Arms Control, told the conference Iraq remained in breach of Security Council resolutions ordering it to disclose its weapons of mass destruction and cooperate with U.N. arms inspectors.

    Iraq is due to become president of the Conference on Disarmament on March 17, which could coincide with a possible U.S.-led invasion. The post rotates monthly in alphabetical order among its 66 members, who take decisions by consensus.

    "Iraq's assuming the presidency of the CD is unacceptable to the United States. It should be unacceptable to all supporters of the CD, as it threatens to discredit this institution..." Rademaker said in a speech to the conference. [more]
    Israel recalls ambassador from Brussels following Belgian court ruling

    And now we learn that it is not the government but merely their Supreme Court that says this and thus Israel is "overreacting."
    Israel's Ambassador to Belgium Yehuda Kenar was recalled for consultations with Foreign Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in protest over yesterday's ruling by the Belgian Supreme Court that Prime Minister Ariel Sharon can be prosecuted in Belgium for alleged war crimes once he no longer has diplomatic immunity. The court ruling, which threatens other Israeli officials with immediate prosecution, exasperated Israeli-Belgian relations.

    Some sources in the Foreign Ministry said the decision to recall the ambassador was an over-reaction. "Recalling an ambassador is a very serious step," former Foreign Ministry director-general Alon Liel told Army Radio. "We have to remember that we are talking about a decision from a court, not from the Belgian government."

    The Belgian Supreme Court was reviewing a decision made by a lower appeals court last June that said Sharon could not be tried in Belgium for alleged war crimes relating to his involvement in the 1982 Sabra and Shatilla refugee camp massacres in Lebanon because he was not physically present in the country. Yesterday's ruling affirmed Belgium's right, under its 1993 "universal jurisdiction" law, to try war crimes cases, even if the crimes were not committed in Belgium and the accused were not present at the trial.

    Based on the ruling, Belgian prosecutors could now open proceedings against other Israelis allegedly involved in the 1982 massacres, including former IDF chief of staff Rafael Eitan, and Defense Ministry director-general Amos Yaron (IDF commander in Beirut at the time). Israeli officials are reportedly worried that Belgium could use extradition treaties, to which Israel is signed, and issue a pan-European warrant for Yaron's arrest. [more]
    Government divided on Hezbollah, report shows

    O, Canada: OUTRAGEOUS
    Foreign Affairs officials were still in contact with Hezbollah and treating it as a "political party" just weeks before Ottawa placed the radical Islamic group on Canada's list of illegal terrorist entities, newly released documents show.

    "Hezbollah is an important political party to the Lebanese parliament," Department of Foreign Affairs officials wrote in October. "We have vigorous contacts and exchanges with them on the questions that separate us."

    The report, released to the National Post, hints at the division within the federal government over how to deal with terrorist groups: While Foreign Affairs officials were treating Hezbollah as a legitimate parliamentary block, Canadian security agencies were preparing the paperwork to ban the radical Islamic group.

    The Foreign Affairs depiction of Hezbollah as an "important political party" contrasts sharply with the description of the group released by the Solicitor-General of Canada less than two months later that said: "Hezbollah, meaning Party of God, is an Islamist terrorist organization." [more]
    Cycle of violence.

    For a while Daniel Pipes has been predicting that if Israel held firm it would eventually win the war against the PA. Maybe this is overly optimistic but according to "Analysis / IDF reverses suicide bombers' success-failure ratio" by Amos Harel in Ha'aretz, there is evidence that that Israel's refusal to give in is starting to make a difference. In addition the PA is starting to realize that it has something to lose:
    Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz made one recent comment which attracted little attention in Israel but the Palestinians noted it very carefully. He said in interview with Israel Radio that if the Kassam rocket fire from Gaza continued, Israel would consider reoccupying the Gaza Strip. Although an invasion is far from happening - and the wisdom of it is hotly disputed within the IDF - yet this was no slip of the tongue.

    "The Palestinians are developing a real fear of losing the Strip," a senior General Staff officer told Haaretz. "Mofaz made them made them worry that what has already happened in the West Bank will happen in Gaza as well. So far the PA has succeeded in retaining relative control in Gaza. Its senior officials have much to lose if their reign there collapses."

    The Palestinians are very aware of something that most Israelis have barely noticed - before the outbreak of the Intifada in September 2000, Gaza was a Palestinian "sea" with a few "islands" of settlements, but is now a collection of isolated Palestinian enclaves surrounded by wide "corridors" controlled by the IDF. They also understand that IDF operations to stop the rocket fire, such as those now being conducted around Beit Hanun, could easily be transformed into a permanent IDF presence in these areas.
    Is this a decisive reversal? Maybe, maybe not. But it has brought about some change in the rhetoric of the leaders of the PA. According to MEMRI "Palestinian Leaders: Our Strategy Brought Sharon Victory." Granted many of the comments are self serving and they show little remorse except to the degree that the violence against Israel hurt the Palestinian cause. But a lot of the bluster is gone. (Though perhaps it persists in other comments.) Here too we have a leader of the PA saying that he rejects suicide bombings. Of course the interview is self serving and not a single tough question is asked. I particularly liked this:
    Doesn’t it make you laugh when the side that loses 4,000 is [said to be] the aggressor and the one that did the killing is not responsible? The Palestinians didn’t choose armed struggle. During the first month after Sharon went to al-Aqsa [a visit to a holy Muslim site in Jerusalem that is widely blamed for restarting the intifada] Israel killed 107 and two Israelis died. Yet there were no suicide attacks....I believe the Israeli army killed [Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak] Rabin because they were against a peace treaty; they want a security treaty, not a peace treaty. Mofaz wants to stay in the West Bank while the Palestinian security should work under Israeli domination. That’s why [the Israelis] escalated [the conflict.]
    Of course no one (in the West) argues that NATO was the aggressor against Serbia just because Serbia suffered more losses than NATO. Also, the notes here show a bias. Why doesn't the editor acknowledge that there was evidence that the PA was planning the renewed violence for months? Finally, the conspiracy theory here is incredible and the interviewer doesn't follow it up with, "What's your evidence?" Still, at least the PA is acknowledging that they have to take action to prevent violence against Israel. Even if they're insincere about it. If they take action and fewer innocents are killed that is a start.
    Cross Posted to David's Israel Blog.

    February 12, 2003

    Good old Reuters...

    A nice job by USS Clueless of using this story about Sharon and the Belgium courts to point out how Reuters slants its presentation.
    [...] It's interesting that the AP is actually reporting what happened. Reuters, on the other hand, is piping the Palestinian line; it's acting as a strait propaganda conduit and reporting the Palestinian's lawyer's spin as if it were straight news. [more]

    What's With the French?


    We saved them from two world wars and protected them all throughout the cold war.

    Now they are as ungrateful as overpaid actors and have obstructed the liberation of Iraq by thwarting us in the UN and in NATO.

    So what will become of the French?

    A new realignment of true allies will be formed of those who are aligned with us unlike the Old European French and Germans.

    The French and Germans will be removed from alliances with the USA at their personal and long-term detriment.
    Humour that unfortunately is true

    In the late 1970s President Jimmy Carter, Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin decided to shuck their multiple layers of security guards and take a walk together through the lush woodlands around Camp David. As the three were walking together through the forest they heard the Voice of the Lord Himself booming down upon them. They fell instantly to their knees. The Heavenly Voice from above said, "Arise, my sons. You need not be on your knees. You are doing my work. You are making peace. "In reward for your efforts, you may have the answer to any one question that may reside in your hearts."

    President Jimmy Carter went first.
    "Dear God," he asked, "when will we have a nuclear-free world?"

    "In the year 2048," God replied.
    And President Carter began to cry.
    "Why do you cry?" asked God.

    "Not in my administration," sobbed President Carter.

    Then it was Sadat's turn.
    "Dear God," asked the Egyptian president, "when will my Arab brothers finally be united?"

    "In the year 4004," God replied.
    And then Sadat began to cry.

    "Why do you cry?" asked God.
    "Not in my administration," wailed Sadat.

    Then it was Prime Minister Menachem Begin's turn.
    "Dear God," he asked. "When will Israel finally begin to get fair treatment in the world media?"

    And then God began to cry.

    "Dear God, why do You cry?" asked all three of them.

    And in one heartful cry the Lord replied, "NOT IN MY ADMINISTRATION!"

    U.S., Israel deal would oust Arafat, paper says

    This piece reported here will not be confirmed or denied by Sharon or the American Embassy, so it is to be taken with a grain of salt
    JERUSALEM - Israel and Washington have reached a secret agreement on conditions for ousting Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat after the U.S. topples Saddam Hussein in Iraq, a leading Israeli newspaper reported Sunday.


    Reached by Knight Ridder Newspapers, spokesmen for both Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv declined to either confirm or deny the report carried in the tabloid Yediot Aharanot under the headline, "After Saddam: It is Going to be Arafat's Turn."

    But Palestinian Authority regime change has been a long-standing goal of Sharon, whose Likud Party recently swept national elections and who has rejected Arafat as a suitable negotiating partner for plans for an independent state of Palestine.

    Sharon has dispatched trusted aide Dov Weisglass to Washington several times in recent months and, according to the newspaper report, the U.S. and Israel now have a secret agreement in writing.

    Weisglass told state-run Israel Radio over the weekend that, rather than exile the Palestinian leader, or kill him, Israel wants the Palestinians to create the position of a powerful prime minister, which would leave Arafat in a more ceremonial role as president.

    If Arafat refuses the transfer of power, "we'll kick him out of here with American authorization," according to an unidentified "high-ranking Israeli official" quoted in the article.

    note: the report carried in the tabloid Yediot Aharanot under the headline, "After Saddam: It is Going to be Arafat's Turn."
    The Antiwar Anti-Semites

    Welcome to reality, Michael Lerner who has this to say (see also previous post on this issue)
    Imagine my surprise when I found out that I am banned from speaking at a peace rally here this Sunday. As editor of Tikkun, the largest-circulation liberal Jewish magazine in the world, I have been an outspoken critic of the proposed war in Iraq. I have also unequivocally condemned Saddam Hussein's brutality and called for the world community to bring him to justice for crimes against humanity. But we at Tikkun do not believe that this war--in which thousands of Iraqi civilians are likely to die--will bring democracy to the Middle East. Instead, it is bound to increase the threat of terrorism to American citizens and provoke more violence. It will also fuel American fantasies of world economic and political domination.

    So why was I being blackballed over the peace rally?

    My sin was publicly criticizing the way that A.N.S.W.E.R., one of the four groups sponsoring the San Francisco demonstration, has used the antiwar demonstrations to put forward anti-Israel propaganda. An A.N.S.W.E.R. spokesperson, speaking on the Brian Lehrer show on WNYC, said that they didn't want a "pro-Israel" speaker at their rally. [more]
    Old Europe v. US (Ted Belman)

    Good or bad for the Jews

    Herb Keinon analyses this issue in The US-European chasm and the Jews. He presents two scenarios,
    the Americans and the French and Germans will not want to see their spat over Iraq continue forever and color everything. Such a situation serves nobody's interest. Both sides realize the demands of the world, and will want to renew cooperation once the Iraqi situation is resolved.

    And where better to mend things than in dealing with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict?

    versus
    France and Germany's unhelpful stance regarding the Iraqi threat and the attempt to reshape the Middle East will reflect on the possible role they could play in the Israel-Palestinian diplomatic process.

    France's and Germany's obstinacy regarding Iraq will likely give the Americans the feeling they will not have to involve them in the process. The US will feel little obligation to allies who let them down.

    I considered this issue in my article Wither the Road Map and concluded,

    There is no way that after taking a lot of trouble to defeat one terrorist state, Iraq, is America going to create another. Mark my words.”

    After Powell and the US have laboured so hard with the EU and the UN to get consensus and action on Iraq, I doubt that they are anxious to repeat the process on the Israel/Palestinian conflict. These parties, the US has learnt if they didn’t always know, are more of a hindrance then a help.

    Secondly, it is one thing to negotiate a Road Map with the EU and the Arabs when they are feeling strong and we need their support in Iraq, it is an entirely different matter when Iraq has been defeated without France’s help and the Arabs are worried about their own regimes. Finally, the US has its hands full with the impending war on Iraq and the brewing problem with N. Korea.

    This plan can take its place in the dustbin with Oslo, Mitchell and Tenent.
    In other words, "Its good for the Jews."

    Ze'ev Schiff in an article today in Ha'aretz U.S.-EU crisis is death blow to 'road map' seems to agree wiith me.
    The crisis between the U.S. and Europe will have profound implications for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, undermining the Quartet's effort to impose a solution to the conflict on Israel, and strengthening the Sharon government's opposition to the Quartet "road map" and the prime minister's view that the "Bush framework" is the only relevant diplomatic arena for a political peace process.
    In any event it will all await the war with Iraq.

    The Radical Muslim Cleric Importation Plan

    I had known nothing of the "R Visa" plan, created by Cngress. But from this piece that appears in Somewhre on A1A blog, it is a special program that provides easy access to the U.S. for terrorists
    The R visa program, created by Congress in 1990, gives visas to thousands of foreigners to fill alleged domestic shortages among ministries, nunneries, and other religious professionals. In 1998, some 11,000 foreigners received such visas. According to a 1999 General Accounting Office report, federal investigators have discovered R visa fraud rings involving churches and other religious institutions based in Colombia, Fiji, and Russia.

    The mastermind of the 1993 WorldTradeCenter bombing, Sheik Omar Abdul Rahman, had an R visa. So did four Palestinian men who worked for the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development and the Islamic Association for Palestine-both Muslim charities that the State Department has linked to the terrorist organization Hamas.

    Michelle Malkin reports on at least 2000 individuals with R Visas, who have been admitted to the country fraudulently and with minimal, if any, security. Where are they? No one knows... Is anyone doing anything about it? Is this part of the reason we are in an elevated terror alert status?

    It makes me want to scream.
    Guest pilgrims thank Fahd

    Such good friends! Saudis invite relatives of "martyrs" for visit as part of Mecca pilgrimage, according to this article, found through opinion journal.
    JEDDAH, 11 February 2003 — Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Fahd is hosting a large number of pilgrims from different parts of the world, including 1,000 relatives of Palestinian martyrs, to perform Haj this year.

    The Ministry of Islamic Affairs takes care of 1,400 royal guests from 28 countries while the Muslim World League (MWL) looks after 300 guest pilgrims. The World Assembly of Muslim Youth is in charge of 320 guests from 32 countries in Europe and the Americas.

    Palestinian Ambassador Mustafa Deeb said King Fahd had ordered special Saudi Arabian Airlines flights to carry the Palestinian pilgrims from the airports in Amman, Areesh and Cairo to Jeddah.

    Ambassador Deeb thanked King King Fahd on behalf of President Yasser Arafat and the Palestinian Authority for the noble gesture. [more]
    Saidiana.

    Edward Said upended, at last, according to article posted by Martin Kramer
    Here is interesting news about Edward Said, Columbia University's celebrity professor of English literature, Palestine, Islam, and what-have-you. Said has a long-standing connection to King's College, Cambridge. He has the status of a member, and has been an occasional visitor there, most recently this past fall. The College is a redoubt of the left. Its provost, Patrick Bateson, signed a letter to The Guardian last April, calling for an academic moratorium on contacts with Israel. That unleashed a tidal wave of publicity and criticism that shook the Provost's Lodge and the College.

    So it was particularly unwise for Edward Said's friends to choose this moment to nominate their hero for an honorary fellowship of the College. The inner deliberations of the College congregation are not public, but The Guardian picked up enough gossip to make a story. Details are murky, but the bottom line is that two fellows who had criticized Bateson also spoke persuasively against Said's nomination, and apparently succeeded in nixing it.

    It's not often that Edward Said gets turned down for honors these days, and I find it refreshing. No one has done more than Said to confuse scholarship and advocacy, and it frankly looks pathetic when his partisans rush to his defense by declaiming his scholarly virtues. Edward Said is a package deal. At King's College there are people who rightly understood that honoring Said would be interpreted as honoring his politics. I don't know exactly how it happened, or what the arguments were, but King's College has kept its honor.

    Of course, in America it's another story. Berkeley is about to enjoy a visit by Said, hosted by its (federally-funded) Center for Middle Eastern Studies, and paid for in part by the Chancellor's fund. The Daily Californian carries a strange quote from the vice-chair of the Center: "We're inviting him in his capacity as a university professor. Edward Said is an important advocate of Palestinians but also a professor of English." You would think that Said had been invited to lecture on Austen or Conrad. But I doubt there will be much literature in a lecture with this title: "The U.S., the Islamic World and the Question of Palestine." My prediction: the lecture's only relationship to English will be that it is delivered in English. You can judge for yourself from the webcast, which is supposed to become available on February 20. [more]