Washington Jewish Week
SECOND UPDATE: NJDC’s David Harris calls me back to rescind his words about J Street’s bipartisan nature. See bottom of post.
UPDATED with response from J Street at bottom.
The controversial new pro-Israel outfit, Emergency Committee for Israel “is playing with fire,” says David Harris, president and CEO of the National Jewish Democratic Council, which recently released a “fact sheet” aimed at exposing what it says are ECI’s “dangerous” smear tactics.
ECI – founded earlier this month by neoconservatives and evangelical Christians – has been warring with J Street over the Pennsylvania Senate race, and both groups have sought to gain the upper hand by placing Israel front and center.
Compliments of Anglo Raannana Real Estate
Quote for the Week
“It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity.”
(Albert Einstein 1879-1955. [Perhaps Israel is the exception to this rule. Read any issue of GN and form your own opinion])
· There aren’t that many ladies around who have had heart transplants, still fewer have had transplants and then had babies and even fewer, five worldwide to be exact, have had twins. Well, we have a proud new mother and her two daughters, one weighing in at 1.5 and the other at 2 kilos [3.3 and 4.4lbs respectively] right here in Israel and mother and babies are doing well. Of the four previous instances two were in the US, one was in France and another in Italy. The major problem facing the doctors is determining the balance of immune-suppressant drugs taken by the mother – enough to protect her heart from rejection but not enough to harm the babies. The doctors did what they had to, the mother did what she had to and the babies are doing what they have to. What a team! The result? Mazel Tov, Mazel Tov, yet another medical miracle performed here and that’s GN.
Arizonans will be grateful for some extra help from the National Guard, starting Sunday, in protecting the border and fighting drug violence — especially now that a federal judge has blocked key parts of their recent illegal-immigration law. But there’s a more pressing border issue that goes beyond Arizona: the alliance between drug cartels and groups that aim to smuggle terrorists into our country through the Mexican border.
Last week’s detonation along the Texas-Mexico border of an Improvised Explosive Device similar to those used in Iraq and Afghanistan strongly suggests that Hezbollah is working with the drug cartels — and that America is unsafe. Law-enforcement officials and intelligence analysts believe that terrorist groups like al Qaeda have been working with such gangs as the ruthless MS-13 to smuggle terrorists into America.
This is great. Gingrich spells it out. Now others will have the courage to say it.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich on Thursday said the greatest threat to national security is radical Islam, but the greatest battlefront for that threat is at home.
“This is not a war on terrorism … this is a struggle with radical Islamists,” Mr. Gingrich told a group of about 200 people at the American Enterprise Institute.
In his “America at Risk” speech, he drew comparisons to the U.S.’ situation in World War II and the Cold War, calling for today’s leaders to use some of the same strategies from those earlier conflicts.
The problem is that many leaders are “sleepwalking” and don’t face the Islamic threat, said Mr. Gingrich, who is widely thought to be a possible contender for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination.
He did not limit the war to the fighting in the Middle East, saying there are two additional, more important fronts: the United States and Europe. He noted that 54 jihadists have been arrested in the U.S. on terrorism charges since President Obama took office.
“Every one of these instances constitutes a breakdown in national security,” Mr. Gingrich said.
He emphasized that such talk does not demonize all Muslims.
“Let me draw a sharp distinction between those Muslims who live in the modern world and those Muslims who would radically change the modern world,” he said. “The people who want to worship God in their own way and live under American law – we’re not in the fight with them,” Mr. Gingrich said in an interview after the speech.
By Ted Belman
I am part of a list serve dedicated at first to fighting the Goldstone Report. It has now morphed into a group of bloggers, government reps and journalists who exchange ideas and information with each other.
Yesterday we held a meeting in Jerusalem to discuss strategy for making a difference.
In attendence were Melanie Phillips, Lori Lowenthal Marcus, founder of Z Street, Michael Totten who writes for Commentary among others, Jan Jacobson who focuses on lawfare and Gerald Adler from the UK, all of who were visiting.
The locals included Richard Landes from Second Draft and Augean Stables, Barry Rubin from RubinReports, Jonathan Spyer from GLORIA, Aliza Landes who is head of New Media at the IDF, Carl from Israel Matzav, Yisrael Medad from My Right Word, Aussie Dave from IsreallyCool, Elliot from The Elder of Ziyon, David Frankfurther from Letter from Israel and Anne Hertzberg of NGO Monitor.
I don’t know if we accomplished anything but it was nice getting together. Regular meetings are planned.
Stern points out thsat after WWII Russia force marched 12 million Germans back to Germany from neighboring countries. Russia did not want either a fifth column in these countries and didn’t want Germany to have a reason to once again attack them. The flight from Palestine by Arabs must be seen in this context. Only 2 years separated these events. Israel has every reason to deny the return of Arabs to the lands it keeps.
The Palestinian national narrative is the biggest obstacle to peace in the Middle East.
A specter is haunting the prospective Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations—the specter of the Nakba. The literal meaning of the Arabic word is “disaster”; but in its current, expansive usage, it connotes a historical catastrophe inflicted on an innocent and blameless people (in this case, the Palestinians) by an overpowering outside force (international Zionism). The Nakba is the heart of the Palestinians’ backward-looking national narrative, which depicts the creation of the State of Israel in 1948 as the original sin that dispossessed the land’s native people. Every year, on the anniversary of Israel’s independence, more and more Palestinians (including Arab citizens of Israel) commemorate the Nakba with pageants that express longing for a lost paradise. Every year, the legend grows of the crimes committed against the Palestinians in 1948, crimes now routinely equated with the Holocaust. Echoing the Nakba narrative is an international coalition of leftists that celebrates the Palestinians as the quintessential Other, the last victims of Western racism and colonialism.
by Steve Kramer
Druze Lebanese leader, Walid Jumblatt, recently created an uproar over the 400,00 Palestinian refugees in Lebanon. Jumblatt’s father, who once led the Druze, was assassinated in 1977. The Druze are a group of non-Arab Muslims, whose sect is considered heretical by many other Muslims. Their origins date back to the 10th century and they comprise about 10% of the Lebanese population. The remainder of the Lebanese population is mostly Arab Muslim or Arab Christian. (Lebanon was once predominantly Christian. Many Christian Lebanese do not identify themselves as Arab, but prefer to be known as descendants of the ancient Canaanites and call themselves “Phoenicians”.)
John Thompson is a military expert and a good buddy of mine from Toronto. He heads the Mackenzie Institute. His latest efforts bears reading.
Abbas seeks Arab backing to nix talks
By HERB KEINON AND KHALED ABU TOAMEH
In a final thrust to persuade reluctant Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to enter direct talks with Israel, the EU coupled strong exhortations on Wednesday to Abbas to immediately begin them, with statements designed to give him confidence that once at the negotiating table, he will have strong support for a number of his key positions. CONTINUE
We all know that Netanyahu has been pushing for direct negotions but we are not sure why. On the one had he doesn’t want to be labled as anti-peace. On the otherhand, if negotiations ever start, he will come under great pressure to make concessions he doesn’t want to make. Is he prepared to make them? Does he feel that Abbas will compromise? Can’t imagine it.
Why does he continue the freeze. It served no purpose. It was unilateral so why stick to it. Why not remove the defacto freeze. It really upsets me that he grandstanded that he wouldn’t extend the freeze to Jerusalem and then did so unofficially.
Will he extend the freeze in whole or in part? How much of a freeze will his coalition tolerate? If he doesn’t extend it, will Labor leave the government?
Conservatives who read the polls are already anticipating Republican gains in this November’s Congressional elections, hoping for an anti-Obama tidal wave. They should temper their enthusiasm. Statistically, the opposition party almost always gains seats in midterm elections. But let us for the sake of the argument suppose that a repeat of the 1994 midterm elections is in the offing and that Republicans exceed their wildest expectations, and gain control of both houses.
I posted your worthwhile piece but wished you went further.
Let us assume that Palestine to the ’67 borders is declared and that many countries including the US recognize it. I do not believe there is legal significance to the UN recognizing it.
Now I believe there are distinctions with Kosovo. it controlled the territory over which it declared statehood, the borders were known, it was independent of Serbia and there were no security issues.
Be that as it may, in response Israel could extend Israeli law to the settlements, declare unilaterally a new border to her liking or could annex the whole of J and S.
I would be very interested in how you see such a scenario playing out.
A fluttering Palestinian flag in Washington may help convince some that direct talks will lead to peace.
Will Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas finally agree to direct peace talks with Israel? Judging by the recent US enticement – and the reported Israeli concession – of an upgraded PLO mission – now called a “general delegation”– in Washington that will be entitled to fly the Palestinian flag, signaling an American acceptance of near sovereignty, Abbas will be hard-pressed to turn down President Barack Obama’s offer.
The White House has expressed confidence that the latest symbolic US gesture is meant to jump-start successful bilateral talks and bring about an eventual “independent, viable Palestine living side by side with Israel.” White House spokesman Thomas Vietor noted that “we should begin preparing for that outcome now.”
By Sultan Knish
It is in keeping with that conspiracy of silence, that Cameron made no mention of the thousands of political prisoners in Turkish jails, there often for merely expressing an opinion at odds with the state, for singing a folk song, or delivering an official speech in Kurdish. Naturally Cameron did not think to raise the issue of Leyla Zana, the first Kurdish woman elected to the Turkish parliament and a winner of the Sakharov Prize, who is still in jail today. Cameron could have at least raised the subject of Aysel Tu?luk, a member of the Turkish Human Rights Association, who was illegally stripped of her parliamentary immunity and sent to jail for handing out leaflets in the Kurdish language, and is now due to be sent to jail yet again.
By DANNY AYALON, WSJ
A couple of years ago, a Palestinian refugee camp was encircled and laid siege to by an army of tanks and Armored Personnel Carriers. Attacks initiated by Palestinian militants triggered an overwhelming response from the army that took the life of almost 500 people, including many civilians. International organizations struggled to send aid to the refugee camps, where the inhabitants were left without basic amenities like electricity and running water. During the conflict, six U.N. personnel were killed when their car was bombed.
Government ministers and spokesmen tried to explain to the international community that the Palestinian militants were backed by Syria and global jihadist elements. Al Qaeda condemned the government and the army, declaring that the attack was part of a “crusade” against their Palestinian brothers.
James Kirchik, World Affairs Journal, under the title The Broken Link: What Peace Won’t Fix is right on all counts.
[..] To judge by the obsession of so many Western leaders with the “peace process,” there is little reason to hope that they will renounce the seductive illogic of linking every problem plaguing our relationship with the Muslim world to ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. But if morality is to play a prominent role in American foreign policy, as most Americans believe it should, then that policy should not be held hostage to the cynical and historically illiterate arguments offered by Arab regimes and their apologists. Let the Israeli-Palestinian conflict resolve itself on its own terms, if it is ever to be resolved, and let us not force upon the parties a solution that neither of them are willing to accept and that will only prove to be a prelude to the next phase of the Islamist struggle.
Prof. J.P. Golbert
Part of the explanation for Israel’s hesitation in taking out the Iranian nuclear threat seems to be the fear that Israel will not be able to survive the diplomatic fall-out from it. The world will immediately condemn Israel for its “aggression” and even states that fear a nuclear Iran will join in. Sanctions may well be imposed, both diplomatic and economic, and Israel will be utterly isolated. A universal boycott might be imposed. Even collective military action such as was turned against Serbia cannot be ruled out. So goes the fear.
The alternative, however, as Caroline Glick correctly and incisively outlined (“Column One: Keeping Zionism’s promise,” Jerusalem Post, Friday, January 29, 2010) is a slow death imposed incrementally by means of what is called, in Orwellian deceit, the “peace process.” The idea of reliance on the “enlightened nations of the world” to extricate Israel, and indeed the world, from another descent into barbarism and brutality is a vain hope. Europe has decided to surrender and anyway is quite comfortable with the notion that the world is better off without Israel and the Jews. America is currently being led resolutely in the same direction, which anyway was always the orientation of the State Department. Nor is Israel the only country to feel exposed and abandoned by the withdrawal of America power. (See, e.g., Peter Lee, South Korea reels as US backpedals, http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Korea/LG24Dg01.html).
British PM makes speech in Ankara attacking EU partners for expecting Turkey to guard Europe’s borders as a Nato member while closing the door to EU membership
Weep for Britain: 1940 this is not
By Melanie Phillips
When David Cameron became Britain’s Prime Minister, I warned that he would turn out to be even worse than Labour on the related issues of Israel and the global threat from Islamism to Britain and the west. This was because Cameron had no knowledge of or interest in foreign affairs, and so was always likely merely to reflect the most politically expedient views he encountered – which, given the current poisonous attitude within the British establishment and intelligentsia, were likely to push him into appeasing Britain’s mortal enemies in the Islamic world and dumping on Israel, Britain’s strategic ally in that great struggle.
But even I did not foresee just how cynical Cameron would turn out to be — and how dangerous therefore to the British national interest. Today’s truly shocking and quite astoundingly stupid speech in Turkey has now laid bare the fathomless shallowness and frightening ignorance and idiocy of Britain’s new Prime Minister. continue
A secret 36-page memo based on Obama administration statements indicates that the president warned Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas to start direct talks with Israel or risk losing American support for the recognition of the PA as a country.
The Associated Press reported it has possession of the document, under the letterhead of the Palestinian Negotiations Department and which indicates the warning came from President Barack Obama via U.S. Middle East envoy George Mitchell.
ALON BEN-MEIR of NYU beleives Israel needs a Palestinian state and that without direct talks, the Palestinians will declare statehood unilaterally.
[..] Against this backdrop, the right-of-center government appears to be committed to disfranchise Palestinians, suppress opposition, undermine democratic values and forsake the moral tenants on which the state was created.
IN THIS regard, the introduction of two abominable measures in the Knesset speak volumes about how far this government will go to advance the right-wing “Greater Israel” agenda, however perilous this prospect may be. The first bill requires every individual seeking Israeli citizenship to declare his loyalty to a “Jewish democratic state,” specifically designed to discriminate against Palestinian citizens.
The second bill would punish anyone calling for a boycott of any Israeli individual or institution, whether in Israel or in the territories, with a fine of NIS 30,000 plus any proven damages.