Israel facing ‘diplomatic tsunami’ with Arab neighbors

Israel facing ‘diplomatic tsunami’ with Arab neighbors

Sheera Frenkel | McClatchy Newspapers

last updated: September 11, 2011 07:50:58 PM

JERUSALEM — The attack on the Israeli embassy in Cairo has brought into sharp relief Israel’s increasing isolation in a still region grappling with the changes of the Arab Spring.

Israel was forced to evacuate its ambassador and most of its diplomatic staff from Cairo this weekend after hundreds of Egyptian protesters tore down a security wall protecting the Nile-side embassy, ransacked its files and burned an Israeli flag. It came less than a week after Turkey, Israel’s other major ally in the Muslim world, announced it was expelling the Israeli ambassador and downgrading its relationship to the lowest possible level after a deadly skirmish involving a Turkish aid vessel that was attempting to deliver supplies in defiance of Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip.

With another potential predicament brewing later this month when the Palestinians are expected to request membership and statehood at the United Nations, Israeli-Arab relations appear to be plunging to their lowest point in years.

“Within a week Israel has found itself two friends down and about to face a so-called diplomatic tsunami with the Palestinians,” said one European envoy in Jerusalem, who spoke on condition of anonymity under diplomatic protocol.

“I would be nervous if I was an Israeli diplomat today.”

The damage to relations with Egypt and Turkey has struck many Israelis. Turkey was the first Muslim-majority country to recognize Israel as a Jewish state in 1949 and Egypt was the first Arab country to sign a peace treaty with Israel in 1979.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was quick to condemn the attack on the Israeli embassy in Cairo but added that the historic peace agreement between Israel and Egypt was still intact.

“Egypt must not ignore the severe injury to the fabric of peace with Israel and such a blatant violation of international laws,” Netanyahu said Saturday.

Officials in Israel’s foreign ministry, however, said the embassy attack “could not be ignored” and marked a sharp shift in Israel’s diplomatic dealings with its neighbor since the resignation in February of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak — whose dictatorial regime had kept a lid on anti-Israeli sentiment.

“For a long time Israel has benefited from a positive relationship with Egypt that allowed Israel some sense of security. It is clear that Egypt today is not the Egypt of one year ago,” said an Israeli diplomat who also requested anonymity.

“Now Israel will have to look at its border to the south as one more to watch and guard. The burning of the Israeli flag in Cairo symbolized much more to those of us that watched from Jerusalem.”

The image of the burning flag figured prominently on Israeli television this weekend, with several commentators asking whether it would be the last time an Israeli flag flew in Egypt.

On Israel’s Channel Two news, the anchorman led the Saturday evening broadcast by asking whether Israel had found itself “alone without a friend” in the region.

Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman have been increasingly at odds over how to cope with the growing isolation.

Under the hawkish Lieberman’s directive, foreign ministry officials have begun drafting a list of “punishments” for Turkey. Meanwhile, Netanyahu’s office said it had heeded calls for restraint and a tempering of hostilities between the two nations.

 

Turkish officials have said that relations with Israel will not improve until Israel apologizes for the killing last year of nine Turkish nationals aboard a boat that aimed to breach Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip.

Israel has stood by its blockade, and its position was recently bolstered by a U.N. report that found the blockade lawful. The same report, however, said that Israel had used unnecessary and excessive force in stopping boats aiming to break the blockade, including the storming of the Turkish Mavi Marmara ship by Israeli naval commandos, who killed the Turkish nationals.

American officials have tried unsuccessfully to negotiate an apology from Israel to Turkey over the incident. Relations had already soured over Israel’s recent war in Gaza and a series of diplomatic snubs by Lieberman and his deputy.

In about 10 days, Israel likely will face another diplomatic hurdle when the Palestinians are expected to launch a bid for statehood at the U.N. General Assembly. Israel has been maneuvering to quash the bid — which the United States opposes and has threatened to veto —  but Palestinians have said they’ll go forward and attempt to win two-thirds support for an independent state that would include East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza.

Several European countries have signaled their willingness to vote in favor of the Palestinian state, putting Israel in a difficult position.

Palestinian legislator Hanan Ashrawi, who will help launch the bid at the U.N., told McClatchy that Israel had “put itself in a corner.”

“We will go forward with this despite the threats from Israel and its allies. When the vote happens Israel will see how isolated it truly is,” Ashrawi said. She added that the United States, Israel’s main ally, would also be “embarrassed.”

“I think the United States has been warned time and time again — from its own people — that its partnership with Israel might not be in its best interest right now,” she said. “But they continue to stand by Israel, and ignore the changes in the region that the Arab Spring is bringing.”

(Frenkel is a McClatchy special correspondent.)

Standing With Israel

Standing With Israel

Peggy Shapiro

“Where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall
be my people, and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be
buried.”  This famous pledge by Ruth, a young Moabite widow, to her Israelite
mother-in-law Naomi is such a moving declaration of loyalty that it is
frequently cited in marriage ceremonies.

It was also frequently repeated at the three-day (July 18-20) Christians
United for Israel (CUFI) Summit in Washington D.C. When Glenn Beck, the keynote
speaker at the culminating Summit banquet, quoted that biblical pledge of
friendship, five thousand Christians leapt to their feet in praise and
affirmation, and I, a Jew, a child of Holocaust survivors, was moved to tears by
this army of unshakeable friends.

It was my third CUFI Summit and there were many changes in an organization
which has grown to over 700,000 in its short six years of existence. In addition
to the larger halls, greater number of students (over 500), and more lobbying
appointments with Congress, there was a deepened message of commitment to
Israel, the homeland of the Jewish people. The other Summits also had biblical
themes including “And I will bless those that bless you [Israel] and curse the
one who curses you. “Book of Genesis, Chapter 12, Verse 1-3. The passage
challenges individual Christians and the nation as a whole to be a blessing to
Israel if the United States is to continue as the most blessed country for
another 200 years and warns that the day America abandons Israel, America will
begin its descent. There are clear rewards for supporting Israel.

There is no reward, in this life or the next, expected in Ruth’s pledge to
her mother-in-law. In fact, Ruth knew full well that what she was doing posed
risks, yet she was firm in her determination to follow her mother-in-law and
cling to the faith she had adopted.  The Christians who assembled at the Summit
and made their heartfelt pledge to protect and stand with Israel did so out of
unconditional love and with no expectations of rewards.

They acknowledge what so many refuse to see: Jews and Christians face the
same enemies and their destinies are bound today as never before.  What begins
with the Jews doesn’t end with the Jews. Today I read
about Yousef Nadarkhani, a 32 year-old Iranian evangelical pastor, who had been
commanded by the Iranian regime to renounce his Christian faith or face
execution. Nadarkhani’s dooming sentencing is only the latest occurrence in the
Islamic Republic’s aggressive and heightened attack on the Christian
population.  It is not just Iran.  USA
Today
reports that “The single most dangerous thing in the world to be,
right now, is a Christian in a Muslim country.”

Those who are attempting to erase Jewish history from the land of Israel are
also bent on eliminating the Christian presence.  In1995. Bethlehem, the most
identifiably Christian town, had a Christian population of 80 percent.  Today
with a population of under 30 percent Christians, Bethlehem has, for the first
time in over two thousand years, lost its Christian majority. The same changes
have taken place in two other famously Christian towns, Nazareth and
Jerusalem.

The story’s the same in Egypt, Iraq and elsewhere in the Mideast. The only
place in the region where the Christian population is growing is in
Israel
.

Just as Ruth, Christians United for Israel pledge their loyalty clear-eyed
about the realities of the hostilities they can encounter and expecti no rewards
for their act of love. However, the story of Ruth and Naomi does not end with a
declaration of loyalty. With Naomi’s guidance, Ruth remarries and has a son.
Naomi goes from feeling isolated to the joy of holding a grandchild in her arms.
And Ruth’s son Oved becomes the father of Jesse, whose youngest son is David,
the beloved king of all the Jewish people. Years later Jesus, a descendant of
David, is born in Bethlehem.

Without Ruth, Jewish history could not continue. And Christian history could
not begin.  CUFI stands with Israel in an ultimate pledge of loyalty, and
without that pledge, Jewish and Christian destinies would be more
vulnerable.

Peggy Shapiro is Chicago Community Coordinator for
StandWithUs

LOL: Despite Promises Of Cooperation, Most Of Israel Maintains That Obama Is “Still Evil”

LOL: Despite Promises Of Cooperation, Most Of Israel Maintains That Obama Is “Still Evil”

July 7th, 2010 Posted By Pat Dollard.

obama-netanyahu

Jerusalem Post:

US President Barack Obama’s attempts to portray himself as pro-Israel in his press conference with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu at the White House on Tuesday failed to persuade right-wing MKs, who warned that Obama is “still evil.”

The MKs questioned the president’s motives and suggested that he was putting on a show for American Jews ahead of the crucial November mid-term elections, in which the Democrats may lose control of Congress.

“He doesn’t sound evil now because he needs Jewish votes and money,” said Deputy Negev and Galilee Development Minister Ayoub Kara.

“But I won’t forget the pressure he put on Netanyahu and the stress I saw in the prime minister the last time he came back from Washington. He is acting the way he is for political reasons.

I hope he will stay this way but I doubt it, because he hasn’t changed.”

Likud MK Danny Danon said he believes Obama learned his lesson that pressuring Israel does not work. He said he hopes Obama will also learn that the Likud would not allow Netanyahu to continue the 10- month construction moratorium in Judea and Samaria beyond September.

“Obama restrained himself and didn’t attack our prime minister this time, but he still set unrealistic expectations for the peace process,” Danon said.

“He is wrong if he thinks the freeze must continue for direct talks to begin. He instead must pressure the Palestinians to come to the negotiating table, regardless of the freeze. He sounds nice now but after November, I am worried that he will sound different.”

National Union MK Arye Eldad, who heads the Knesset’s Land of Israel caucus, said Obama was delaying pressure on Israel for tactical reasons. He said Obama realized that Netanyahu would not agree now to extend the freeze, so the president will instead try to initiate direct talks with the Palestinians in order to put Netanyahu in a position in September where he would not be able to resume construction.

“Obama doesn’t sound wicked now, but he was merely buying time,” Eldad said.

“Obama is betting on getting the entire pot. Our job in the [caucus] will be to put pressure on Netanyahu so he won’t make concessions that threaten Israel’s future.”

Meretz leader Haim Oron said he was not impressed by the gestures made by either leader. He expressed hope that Obama would not stop pressuring Netanyahu.

“Bibi is trying to escape the peace process,” Oron said. “If he succeeds, it is bad for Israel.

I hope they put advancing peace above the goal of just getting along.”

Israel’s Actions: Entirely Lawful

Israel’s Actions: Entirely Lawful

Posted By Alan M. Dershowitz On June 2, 2010 @ 12:08 am In FrontPage | 28 Comments

While the international community has, once again, ganged up on Israel, one thing is for certain: the legality of Israel’s actions in stopping the Gaza flotilla is not open to question. What Israel did was entirely consistent with both international and domestic law. In order to understand why Israel acted within its rights, the complex events at sea must be deconstructed:

First, there is the Israeli blockade of Gaza, which included a naval blockade. Recall that when Israel ended its occupation of Gaza, it did not impose a blockade. Indeed it left behind agricultural facilities in the hope that the newly liberated Gaza Strip would become a peaceful and productive area. Instead Hamas seized control over Gaza and engaged in acts of warfare against Israel. These acts of warfare featured anti-personnel rockets, nearly 10,000 of them, directed at Israeli civilians. This was not only an act of warfare, it was a war crime. Israel responded to the rockets by declaring a blockade, the purpose of which was to assure that no rockets, or other material that could be used for making war against Israeli civilians, was permitted into Gaza. Israel allowed humanitarian aid through its checkpoints. Egypt as well participated in the blockade. There was never a humanitarian crisis in Gaza, merely a shortage of certain goods that would end if the rocket attacks ended.

The legality of blockades as a response to acts of war is not subject to serious doubt. When the United States blockaded Cuba during the missile crisis, the State Department issued an opinion declaring the blockade to be lawful. This, despite the fact that Cuba had not engaged in any act of belligerency against the United States. Other nations have similarly enforced naval blockades to assure their own security.

The second issue is whether it is lawful to enforce a legal blockade in international waters. Again, law and practice are clear. If there is no doubt that the offending ships have made a firm determination to break the blockade, then the blockade may be enforced before the offending ships cross the line into domestic waters. Again the United States and other western countries have frequently boarded ships at high sea in order to assure their security.

Third, were those on board the flotilla innocent non-combatants or did they lose that status once they agreed to engage in the military act of breaking the blockade? Let there be no mistake about the purpose of this flotilla. It was decidedly not to provide humanitarian aid to the residents of Gaza, but rather the break the entirely lawful Israeli military blockade. The proof lies in the fact that both Israel and Egypt offered to have all the food, medicine and other humanitarian goods sent to Gaza, if the boats agreed to land in an Israeli or Egyptian port. That humanitarian offer was soundly rejected by the leaders of the flotilla who publicly announced:

“This mission is not about delivering humanitarian supplies, it’s about breaking Israel’s siege on 1.5 million Palestinians.” (AFP May 27, 2010.)

The act of breaking a military siege is itself a military act, and those knowingly participating in such military action put in doubt their status as non-combatants.

It is a close question whether “civilians” who agree too participate in the breaking of a military blockade have become combatants. They are certainly something different than pure, innocent civilians, and perhaps they are also somewhat different from pure armed combatants. They fit uncomfortably onto the continuum of civilianality that has come to characterize asymmetrical warfare.

Finally, we come to the issue of the right of self defense engaged in by Israeli soldiers who were attacked by activists on the boat. There can be little doubt that the moment any person on the boat picked up a weapon and began to attack Israeli soldiers boarding the vessel, they lost their status as innocent civilians. Even if that were not the case, under ordinary civilian rules of self defense, every Israeli soldier had the right to protect himself and his colleagues from attack by knife and pipe wielding assailants. Less there be any doubt that Israeli soldiers were under attack, simply view the accompanying video and watch, as so-called peaceful “activists” repeatedly pummel Israeli soldiers with metal rods. (http://www.youtube.com/user/idfnadesk) Every individual has the right to repel such attacks by the use of lethal force, especially when the soldiers were so outnumbered on the deck of the ship. Recall that Israel’s rules of engagement required its soldiers to fire only paintballs unless their lives were in danger. Would any country in the world deny its soldiers the right of self defense under comparable circumstances?

Notwithstanding the legality of Israel’s actions, the international community has, as usual, denounced the Jewish state. In doing so, Israel’s critics have failed to pinpoint precisely what Israel did that allegedly violates international law. Some have wrongly focused on the blockade itself. Others have erroneously pointed to the location of the boarding in international waters. Most have simply pointed to the deaths of so-called peace activists, though these deaths appear to be the result of lawful acts of self-defense. None of these factors alone warrant condemnation, but the end result surely deserves scrutiny by Israeli policy makers. There can be little doubt that the mission was a failure, as judged by its results. It is important, however, to distinguish between faulty policies on the one hand, and alleged violations of international law on the other hand. Only the latter would warrant international intervention, and the case has simply not been made that Israel violated international law.

The “Humanitarian Relief” Wing of Hamas and Al-Qaeda

The “Humanitarian Relief” Wing of Hamas and Al-Qaeda

Posted By John Perazzo On June 2, 2010 @ 12:29 am In FrontPage | 11 Comments

The Foundation for Human Rights and Freedom and Humanitarian Relief (better known by its Turkish acronym, IHH) is the group that organized the six-ship flotilla which recently tried, without success, to sail all the way to Gaza. Established [1] in Turkey in 1992, the Foundation sends aid [2] to distressed areas throughout the Middle East – in the form of food, medicine, vocational education, and building supplies. A prime destination for this aid is Gaza, where – according to IHH – Palestinians are being oppressed by an unjustified Israeli naval blockade. (For the record, that blockade was put in place to prevent Hamas [3], which controls Gaza politically and has fired thousands of rockets into southern Israeli towns in recent years, from importing additional weaponry from Iran and other allies abroad.)

For several days last week, as the flotilla approached Gaza, Israel issued warnings that the ships would not be permitted to reach their destination without first submitting to an inspection of their cargoes – to ensure that no weaponry was being transported. But when the respective crews of the vessels refused to comply, Israeli commandos took action and intercepted the flotilla in the early morning hours of May 31. The IHH-affiliated activists responded with violence, instantly attacking the commandos with knives and clubs, and throwing one of them overboard. In the melee that ensued, ten activists were killed and seven Israeli soldiers were wounded. How could this be? How can we be expected to believe that a well-meaning “humanitarian relief” group would ever behave in a manner that might provoke violent reprisals from Israeli troops? A more thorough examination of IHH’s history and affiliations explains everything.

While IHH is indeed involved [4] in the aforementioned humanitarian endeavors, its overall objectives are much broader. Belying the dove of peace [2] whose image appears on its logo, IHH overtly supports Hamas [5], is sympathetic [4] to al Qaeda [6], and maintained regular contact with al Qaeda cells and the Sunni insurgency during the bloodiest stretches of the Iraq War. Moreover, IHH has supported jihadist terror networks [2]not only in Iraq, but also in Bosnia, Syria, Afghanistan, and Chechnya. According to [4] Carnegie Endowment analyst Henri Barkey, IHH is “an Islamist organization” that “has been deeply involved with Hamas for some time.” A 2006 report [7] by the Danish Institute for International Studies characterized IHH as one of many “charitable front groups that provide support to Al-Qaida” and the global jihad.

Is the IHH beginning to sound less and less like a “humanitarian relief” group? Let’s look a little deeper still.

According to a French intelligence report, in the mid-1990s [2] IHH leader Bülent Yildirim was directly involved in recruiting “veteran soldiers” to organize jihad activities, and in dispatching IHH operatives to war zones in Islamic countries to gain combat experience. The report also stated that IHH had transferred money as well as “caches of firearms, knives and pre-fabricated explosives” to Muslim fighters in those countries. Given this track record, can Israel’s concern about the contents of the IHH flotilla cargoes really be considered excessive or unwarranted?

In 1996, IHH continued to burnish its credentials as a “humanitarian relief” organization when an examination of its telephone records [2] showed that repeated calls had been made to an al Qaeda guest house in Milan and to Algerian terrorists operating in Europe. That same year, the U.S. government formally identified [1] IHH as having connections to extremist groups in Iran and Algeria.

In December 1997, Turkish authorities, acting on a tip from sources claiming that IHH leaders had purchased automatic weapons from other regional Islamic militant groups, initiated a domestic criminal investigation [8] of IHH. A thorough search of the organization’s Istanbul bureau uncovered a large assortment of firearms, explosives, bomb-making instructions, and a “jihad flag.” In addition, Turkish authorities seized a host of IHH documents whose contents ultimately led investigators to conclude that the group’s members “were going to fight in Afghanistan, Bosnia, and Chechnya.”

Near the end of 2000, IHH organized protests [2] against proposals to overthrow that humanitarian icon, Iraqi President Saddam Hussein [9]; American and Israeli flags were burned at these rallies.

During the April 2001 trial [10] of would-be “millennium bomber” Ahmed Ressam, it was revealed that IHH had played an “important role” in the plot to blow up Los Angeles International Airport on December 31, 1999. Some reasonable observers might contend that to classify such a pursuit under the heading of “humanitarian relief” would require an unduly broad definition of that term.

In 2002, investigators found [8] correspondences from IHH in the offices of the Success Foundation [11], a Muslim Brotherhood [12]-affiliated organization whose Secretary was Abdul Rahman Alamoudi [13]. For the record: The Brotherhood was the ideological forebear of Hamas and al Qaeda; it supports jihad; and it seeks to impose shari’a law on the entire civilized world. Mr. Alamoudi, for his part, is currently serving a prison term of nearly a quarter-century for his role as a funder of international terrorism. He is best known for having proudly declared himself to be a passionate supporter of Hamas and Hezbollah [14]. The connections to “humanitarian relief” seem rather tenuous here.

According to [8] a report [15] issued by a website close to Israeli military intelligence: “[S]ince Hamas took over the Gaza Strip, IHH has supported Hamas’ propaganda campaigns by organizing public support conferences in Turkey.” The report also states that IHH continues to operate widely throughout Gaza and to funnel large sums of money to support the Hamas infrastructure.

In January 2008, an IHH delegation [2] met with Ahmed Bahar, chairman of Hamas’ council in the Gaza Strip. At the meeting, the delegation not only boasted about the large amount of financial support it had given Hamas during the preceding year, but also declared its intent to double that sum in the future. Once again, we are left to wonder how any of this falls under the rubric of “humanitarian relief.”

In 2008 Israel banned [16] IHH from the country because of the organization’s membership in the “Union of Good” (UOG), a Hamas-founded umbrella coalition [17] comprised of more than 50 Islamic charities (most of which are associated with the global Muslim Brotherhood) that channel money and goods to Hamas-affiliated institutions. In December 2008, the U.S. government designated [18] UOG as a terrorist entity [8] that was guilty of “diverting” donations that were intended for “social welfare and other charitable services,” and using those funds “to strengthen Hamas’ political and military position.”

In January 2009, IHH head Bülent Yildirim met [2] with Khaled Mash’al [19], chairman of Hamas’ political bureau in Damascus, and Mash’al thanked Yildirim for the support of his organization.

In November 2009 [2] IHH activist Izzat Shahin transferred tens of thousands of American dollars from IHH to the Islamic Charitable Society (in Hebron) and Al-Tadhamun (in Nablus), two of Hamas’ most important front groups posing as “charitable societies.”

This, then, is the IHH: a pack of anti-Semitic supporters of terrorism, cloaking themselves in the vestments of victimhood, and bleating to the world about how unfairly they have been treated by the very nation whose extermination they have worked long and hard to bring about. It’s actually a story that has become quite familiar.

Turkish Jihadists Attack Israel

Turkish Jihadists Attack Israel

Posted By Phyllis Chesler On June 1, 2010 @ 12:10 am In FrontPage | 46 Comments

Visit NewsReal [1]

One may describe Hitler as a “vegetarian” (which he apparently was) but he was still a genocidally exterminationist Jew-hater whose relentless racism and imperial ambitions led to the death of more than 60 million people.

One may also describe the Turks on board the “freedom flotilla” (Orwell himself could not have suggested a better logo) as “humanitarian activists.” But they are still pro-terrorist Turkish jihadists whose mission was to kill Jews, one way or the other. This was a mission which aimed to further demonize the already shamefully tarnished reputation of the Jewish state. This mission planned to force a violent confrontation; were Israeli soldiers to dare defend themselves and if Muslims are therefore martyred—even better public relations, even better for international lawfare against the Israel.

The so-called “humanitarians,” at least on one boat, came armed with metal bars and knives. They were fighters, not pacifists, and they called out traditional Islamic battle cries: “[Remember] Khaibar, Khaibar, oh Jews! The army of Muhammad will return!” According to Palestinian Media Watch [2]:

“Khaibar is the name of the last Jewish village defeated by Muhammad’s army in 628. Many Jews were killed in that battle, which marked the end of Jewish presence in Arabia. There are Muslims who see that as a precursor for future wars against Jews. At gatherings and rallies of extremists, this chant is often heard as a threat to Jews to expect to be defeated and killed again by Muslims.”

“This video [3] shows Israeli soldiers being beaten with long and heavy metal rods on one of the Turkish boats. Jeff Dunetz (“YidWithLid [4]”) has a series of disturbing and informative videos in which we can see the planned nature and intensity of the Turkish-Palestinian violence against Israeli soldiers—an attack which involved stabbings, beatings, firebombing attempts, throwing soldiers overboard, etc.”

Earlier today, Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon [5] said that the Turkish-led flotilla was: “An armada of hate and violence in support of Hamas’ terror organization and was a premeditated and outrageous provocation. The organizers are well known for their ties with global jihad, Al-Qaeda, and Hamas. They have a history of arms smuggling and deadly terror. On board the ship we found weapons prepared in advance and used against our forces. The organizers intent was violent, their method was violent, and the results were unfortunately violent. Israel regrets any loss of life and did everything to avoid this outcome.”

Indeed, the death count currently stands at an estimated nine (mainly Turkish) dead and 34 wounded. Predictably, the Arab, European, and liberal media are viewing Israel as the vicious aggressor; as committing “obscene [6]” acts. Al-Jazeera’s website [7] calls what happened “a massacre.” They refer to the dead as “martyrs.”

Some say that the Israeli commandos could have used taser guns, rubber bullets, or simply sent far more soldiers onto each boat. But the Israelis initially boarded the boats armed with paintball guns. And one wonders: How many Israeli soldiers can fit on a boat? One Israeli now suggests that Israel should have surrounded all the boats, stopped them dead in their tracks, shot out their motors.

Said I: And then done what with them?

Said he: Negotiate.

Said I: Are you crazy? Negotiate with terrorists? And then feed them, house them, coddle them—terrorists who would not even agree to bring food and a note to Gilad Shalit? Incredibly, Israel has been doing just that, treating the wounded terrorists in Israeli hospitals [8] and preparing to intern the remaining “activists” in air-conditioned tents [9] in Ashdod.

Said he: There should have been better military planning.

I am sure that Monday morning quarterbacking is always more ingenious than what happens in the moment of battle. The problem is that, once again, the Israelis are being attacked for having defended themselves and the jihadists are still being seen as “martyrs.”

Why did Turkey attack Israel? How much Iranian support did they have? Turkey was once a haven for Jews in flight from the Christian Inquisition.

Once, long ago, Muslim Turkey gave asylum to Dona Gracia HaNasi [10], the noble and generous leader of the Jews who had fled from Christian Spain and Portugal. Dona Gracia, a widow, was the wealthiest Jew of her time and, after living in Italy, found final refuge in Constantinople in 1552. Some wealthy Jews still live in Turkey today—yes, despite the bombing [11] of two Turkish synagogues in 2003. I wonder how safe they are and for how long.

As to women? Locked up in harems—but if they were lucky/most unlucky, perhaps in the Sultan’s own harem or seraglio. For example, in 1784, a French girl, Aimee Dubucq de Rivery, [12] was kidnapped on the open seas by Algerian pirates who sold her into the Turkish Sultan’s harem. Aimee became known as “Naksh,” The Beautiful One, for her fair skin, blue eyes, and blonde hair. Improbably, incredibly, Aimee became the mother of the next Sultan, whose name was Sultan Mahmoud II, the Reformer. Some see [13] the influence of the Sultan Valideh (The Veiled Sultan) in Selim’s letter of friendship to King Louis XVI—and in other pro-European gestures and customs.

Myths [14] die hard. People still believe that Jews, Christians and other infidels lived safe and happy lives in Muslims lands. This is a Big Lie [15].

As a matter of historical fact, the Turks have a long and bloody history of cruelty and genocide. They colonized the entire Middle East, forced conversions or murdered those who resisted. Islamic gender and religious apartheid flourished.

To this day, the Turks continue to deny the Armenian genocide. And, the days of Kemal Ataturk are long gone. In the early 1920s, Ataturk imposed a secular democracy upon the Islamists and unveiled the women. Now, the Islamists are winning again: Women are veiling, honor killings are on the rise (both in Turkey and among Turks in Europe). Recently, a father and grandfather heartlessly buried [16] a 16-year-old daughter and granddaughter alive for the “crime” of presumably talking to boys. I have also written about a great Turkish feminist hero, my friend Seyran Ates [17], here; Ates was shot for her work among Turkish immigrant girls and women in Berlin. Her 15-year-old client died. Ates, a lawyer, was left for dead—but miraculously survived.

And we nearly admitted Turkey into the European Union. One wonders if they would have intensified their anti-Israel Islamism had they been accepted as “Europeans,” or whether their candidacy was merely a calculated move in tandem with pre-existing pro-Iranian plans. For years, Turkey has opposed [18] sanctioning Iran for its nuclear program. Turkey was among the first to congratulate Ahmadinejad [19] on his re-election victory. During 2009, Turkey improved its economic ties to Iran.

I am waiting for the United Nations and for the United States to condemn this unprovoked attack on a sovereign nation.

Obama and the Anti-Semites

Obama and the Anti-Semites

Ed Lasky

The most politically correct President (I still recall his using the term ‘First Americans” instead of Native Americans) in history has one big blind spot:  insults towards Jews. The latest example is an anti-Semitic joke told by his National Security Advisor, Jim Jones, in a speech. The joke was summarized by Nathan Guttman of The Forward:

A Taliban militant gets lost and is wandering around the desert looking for water. He finally arrives at a store run by a Jew and asks for water. The Jewish vendor tells him he doesn’t have any water but can gladly sell him a tie. The Taliban, the jokes goes on, begins to curse and yell at the Jewish storeowner. The Jew, unmoved, offers the rude militant an idea: Beyond the hill, there is a restaurant; they can sell you water. The Taliban keeps cursing and finally leaves toward the hill. An hour later he’s back at the tie store. He walks in and tells the merchant: “Your brother tells me I need a tie to get into the restaurant.”
You can watch the actual telling of the joke below:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PmUb_cXI5aI&feature=player_embedded

Mark Hemingway in the Washington Examiner notes that someone at the White House evidently found the joke dangerous:
However, the White House felt it was inappropriate and left it out of their transcript of the event. And obviously some of the people at the event felt that a joke about greedy Jewish merchants was not okay and told The Forward as much.
Somehow I can’t envision a scenario where the White House would make a similar joke about Islam. This is doubly true since Jones has a reputation has prominent Israel critic.
Of course, this takes place in the context of a concerted effort to sooth pro-Israel Americans regarding the shabby and geopolitically stupid way Barack Obama and his team have treated our only true ally in the Middle East. I have written about Jim Jones and his checkered relationship with Israel. 
Often one’s true feelings towards a group come about as such gaffes (a gaffe in DC-speak is when a politician tells the truth about how he feels). Recall, this is an administration that has banned the term Islam or Muslim when it is paired with violence or extremism. This is an administration that has stonewalled Senators when they have asked to see documents related to the Ft. Hood massacre. If Jones had said such a joke about any other minority group he would have been fired or been forced to step down.
Jones’s joke is part of a disturbing pattern in the Obama Administration:
An administration official accused Dennis Ross of dual loyalty;
Barack Obama linked American lives lost and money spent to  conflicts that involve Israel;
Of course, there is also his railing against Goldman  Sachs and Wall Street-traditional targets of anti-Semitic screeds;
Obama puts the onus of blame on Israel for the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, and has not held the Palestinians to  any standards regarding their efforts to make peace
Obama is preparing the groundwork for scapegoating Israel as the problem that led to Iran having a nuclear bomb since he kept repeating the fallacy that Israel’s problems with the Palestinians has made it difficult to gather an alliance to deal with Iran (an absurd and illogical position, skewered by foreign policy expert Richard Haas in today’s WSJ)
At the same time, Obama has elevated Al Sharpton (who provoked an anti-Semitic pogram Harlem a few years back; a man who used “diamond merchants” as a code word to slur Jews) to being a partner of his in urban affairs.

Ed Lasky is news editor of American Thinker.

The Anti-Israel Lobby

The Anti-Israel Lobby

Posted By Alan M. Dershowitz On April 23, 2010 @ 12:08 am In FrontPage | 68 Comments

J Street has gone over to the dark side. It claims to be “a pro-Israel, pro peace lobby.” It has now become neither. Its Executive Director, Jeremy Ben-Ami, has joined the off key chorus of those who falsely claim that Israel, by refusing to make peace with the Palestinians, is placing the lives of American soldiers at risk.

This claim was first attributed to Vice President Joe Biden and to General David Petraeus. It was quickly denied by them but continued to have a life of its own in the anti-Israel media. It was picked up by Steven Walt and John Mearsheimer, Pat Buchanan and others on the hard right and hard left who share a common disdain for the Jewish state. It is the most dangerous argument ever put forward by Israel bashers. It is also totally false.

It is dangerous for two reasons. First, it seeks to reduce support for Israel among Americans who, quite understandably and correctly, care deeply about American soldiers being killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. Israel has always understood this and that’s why it is one of the few American allies who has never asked the United States to put its troops in harm’s way in defense of Israeli citizens. If Americans were to believe the falsehood that Israel were to blame for American deaths caused by Islamic extremists in Iraq and Afghanistan, support for the Jewish state would suffer considerably.

It is also dangerous because its implication is that Israel must cease to exist: the basic complaint that Muslim extremists have against Israel is not what the Jewish state does, but what it is: a secular, non-Muslim, democracy that promotes equal rights for women, gays, Christians and others. Regardless of what Israel does or doesn’t do, its very existence will be anathema to Muslim extremists. So if Israel’s actions were in fact a cause of American deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan–which they are not–then the only logical solution would be Israel’s disappearance. This might be acceptable to the Walts, Mearsheimers and Buchanans of the world, but it is surely not acceptable to Israel or anyone who claims to be pro-Israel.

Finally, the argument is totally false as a matter of fact. At the same time that Israel was seeking to make peace in 2000-2001 by creating a Palestinian state on the West Bank and in Gaza with a capital in East Jerusalem, Al Qaeda was planning the 9/11 attack. So Israel’s “good” actions did nothing to make America safe from Islamic terrorism. On the other hand, when Israel took tough action against Gaza last year in Operation Cast Lead, Israel’s “bad” actions did not increase American casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan. In fact, there is absolutely no relationship between Israel’s actions and the extent of American casualties. It is a totally phony argument based on equal parts of surmise and bigotry.

Yet this dangerous and false argument, which is being hotly debated within the Obama Administration, has now received the imprimatur of J Street. In the letter to the New York Times on April 21, 2010, Jeremy Ben-Ami, speaking on behalf of J Street, included the following paragraph:

“An analysis of the Obama administration’s calculus on Middle East policy should reflect that many in the Jewish community recognize that resolving the conflict is not only necessary to secure Israel’s future, but also critical to regional stability and American strategic interests.”

Although Ben-Ami doesn’t explicitly make a direct connection between Israeli actions and American casualties, his use of the phrase “critical to…American strategic interests,” is a well-known code word, especially these days, for the argument that there is a connection between Israeli actions and American casualties.

In lending support to that dangerous and false argument, J Street has disqualified itself from being considered “pro-Israel.” The argument is also anything but “pro peace,” since it will actually encourage Islamic extremists to target American interests in the hope that American casualties will be blamed on Israel. It will also encourage the Palestinian leadership to harden its position, in the expectation that lack of progress toward peace will result in Israel being blamed for American casualties.

Truth in advertising requires that at the very least J Street stop proclaiming itself as pro-Israel. As long as it was limiting its lobbying activities to ending the settlements, dividing Jerusalem and pressing for negotiations, it could plausibly claim the mantle of pro-Israel, despite the reality that many of its members, supporters, speakers and invited guests are virulently anti-Israel. But now that it has crossed the line into legitimating the most dangerous and false argument ever made against Israel’s security, it must stop calling itself pro-Israel. Some of its college affiliate groups have already done that. They now describe themselves as pro peace because they don’t want to burden themselves with the pro Israel label. J Street should follow their lead and end its false advertising. Or else it should abandon its anti-Israel claim that Israel is damaging American strategic interests.

Israel’s Right to Exist as a Jewish Homeland

Israel’s Right to Exist as a Jewish Homeland

By Salomon Benzimra

The U.S. regularly reiterates its support of Israel’s security, but it says nothing about Israel’s legal rights. These legal rights originated at the San Remo Conference, and the Resolution passed on April 25, 1920 is enshrined in international law. The commemoration of the ninetieth anniversary of this event will certainly open a new vista on the Middle East conflict.

Our calendars are strewn with special dates that link us to the past. In March we celebrated the two hundredth anniversary of Chopin’s birth. Every Fourth of July, we celebrate Independence Day. Remembrance days are important, whether they pay homage to greatness or they unite people in national pride.
But there have been momentous events in recent history that remain unnoticed, if not entirely forgotten. One such event redrew the map of one of the most politically contentious regions of the planet, it shook the preexisting world order, it proclaimed the rebirth of a nation, and it marked the end of the longest foreign occupation in history. Yet few people have ever heard of it.
That event took place ninety years ago in the wake of World War One at the Italian resort town of San Remo. On April 25, 1920, after two days of intense discussions, prime ministers and high ranking diplomats of the victorious Allied powers signed the San Remo Resolution and sealed the destiny of the former Turkish possessions in the Middle East.
The Middle East has been a locus of legal misrepresentations and a cauldron of violence ever since, in part because this landmark Resolution, which initiated further agreements enshrined in international law, has seldom been publicized. An uninformed public allowed often poorly informed politicians to concoct implausible — dare I say unlawful? — peace plans, the failure of which is too obvious to ignore.
So on April 25, 2010, we should commemorate the ninetieth anniversary of the San Remo Conference and make the public aware of the crucial decisions that were made then and the effect these decisions should now have on the lands and peoples concerned.
In San Remo — and for the first time in 1,800 years, since Roman times — the geographical region known as “Palestine” acquired a legal identity. Even though the boundaries of Palestine were not precisely defined in San Remo, the prevailing idea was to draw them as close as possible to the historical boundaries of the ancient Jewish kingdoms of Israel and Judah. In that regard, the expression “from Dan to Beersheba” was introduced by Lloyd George, the British Prime Minister at the time, and it often appeared in subsequent documents.
By referring specifically to the Balfour Declaration of November 1917 — which was essentially an expression of British foreign policy — and by reproducing its wording literally, the San Remo Resolution entrenched the provisions of the Balfour Declaration in international law. Thus, the reconstitution of the Jewish National Home in Palestine received international recognition.
The legal title to Palestine was officially transferred from the League of Nations — when Turkey was dispossessed of its rights to the region at the Paris Peace Conference a year earlier — to the Jewish people, who became the national beneficiary under a mandate awarded to Britain, thereby designated as the trustee.
The transfer of title and the sovereignty of the Jewish people in Palestine remain binding in international law to this day. Similarly, equivalent national rights were conferred to the Arabs in both Syria/Lebanon and present-day Iraq under two other transitional mandates awarded to France and Britain, respectively. It should therefore be apparent that the legitimacy of the present Arab states of Syria, Lebanon, and Iraq derives from the same international law which reconstituted the Jewish nation in Palestine.
Besides fulfilling the national aspirations of the Jewish people (Zionism), the San Remo Conference also marked the end of the longest colonization in history. Whereas European powers extended their colonization in Africa, Asia, and the Americas for a period not exceeding four hundred years, Palestine has been occupied and colonized by a succession of foreign powers for about 1,900 years (Romans, Byzantines, Sassanid Persians, Arabs, Crusaders, Mameluks, and Ottoman Turks). This early episode of liberation, which preceded the global decolonization process by more than thirty years, should be welcome by all progressive minds.
The commemoration of the San Remo Conference on its ninetieth anniversary is a different kind of remembrance in that it primarily serves an educational purpose. In fact, the European Coalition for Israel, a non-Jewish European organization based in Brussels, is planning to do exactly that in San Remo on April 24-25, in a two-day official gathering at the very place where the event took place in 1920.
By bringing the San Remo Conference to the fore, the public will be better-informed, opinions will be more solidly founded, and decision-makers might revisit their geopolitical plans.

Are Jewish Students Safe on California Campuses?

Are Jewish Students Safe on California Campuses?

By Leila Beckwith and Tammi Rossman-Benjamin

On Feb. 13th, Al-Awda (The Palestine Right to Return Coalition) held its Fifth Al-Awda West Coast Regional Conference in the La Mesa Community Center in San Diego. Undercover investigative journalist Lee Kaplan attended the meeting and wrote an article that raises several issues that should be very troubling for anyone concerned about the safety of Jewish students on California campuses.
Al-Awda is an organization that, according to the Anti-Defamation League, opposes Israel’s right to exist; supports groups on the U.S. State Department’s list of foreign terrorist organizations, including Hamas and Hezb’allah; organizes numerous rallies, demonstrations, and events to demonize Israel and her supporters; and actively encourages boycott, divestment, and sanctions in order to isolate and economically strangle the Jewish state. (Two of Al-Awda’s three co-founders are leaders of major anti-Israel boycott campaigns: Mazin Qumsiyeh co-founded the Boycott Israeli Goods campaign, and Jess Ghannam co-founded the U.S. Campaign for the Academic & Cultural Boycott of Israel). Al-Awda’s annual international conventions and regional conferences feature virulently anti-Zionist and anti-Semitic speakers and films, as well as workshops which teach how to mount successful boycott and divestment campaigns against Israel. 
Unfortunately, Al-Awda has also made significant inroads on college and university campuses in North America by partnering with dozens of Muslim and pro-Palestinian/anti-Israel student groups. The first four of Al-Awda’s seven annual international conventions were held on university campuses (University of Toronto, Hunter College, University of California Los Angeles, and San Francisco State University), and all of its conventions and regional conferences have been sponsored by numerous student groups, particularly Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) and the Muslim Student Association (MSA). In California, SJP and MSA groups from more than ten California public colleges and universities — including UC Los Angeles, UC San Diego, UC Irvine, UC Riverside, San Francisco State University, San Diego State University, CSU Fullerton, and CSU San Bernadino — have collaborated with Al Awda in hosting events.
The Al-Awda regional conference in February is a case in point of how much influence Al-Awda wields over California university campuses. A major emphasis of the conference was the promotion at California universities and colleges of a campaign to divest university holdings from Israel. The featured speakers came from diverse University of California and California State University campuses, and included Dr. Jess Ghannam, Clinical Professor of Psychiatry and Global Health Sciences at UC San Francisco and Adjunct Professor of Ethnic Studies at SFSU; students from SDSU and Cal State Northridge; and Dr. Jamal Nassar, Dean of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences at Cal State San Bernadino.
The first to speak, Dr. Ghannam gloried in the success of efforts to delegitimize Israel. He singled out for praise the members of the UC Irvine MSU for their “heroic efforts” disrupting an invited lecture at UCI by Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren, and he added: “Now, every single Israeli military official and politician will be afraid to speak publicly. It’s huge!” At a special workshop promoting divestment on California public university campuses, one SJP student from SDSU explained how the UC Divestment program has developed a campus-wide network in California, tailored to each campus community. She also reported on an SJP campaign to take control of the student government at SDSU by filling ten senate seats and the senate body presidency with SJP members, who would then be able to promote their divestment campaign. The meeting concluded with Dr. Jamal Nassar, Dean of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences at Cal State San Bernadino, who promised that Al-Awda could host a conference at Cal State San Bernadino anytime, because Arabs have special connections within his campus administration.
Al-Awda is not the only off-campus organization dedicated to the elimination of the Jewish state that has insinuated itself into our universities and colleges. The influence of Al-Awda is compounded by the presence of the Muslim Students Association (MSA), or Muslim Student Union (MSU), with chapters at nearly six hundred colleges and universities in the U.S. and Canada, including on nine of the ten UC campuses and on most Cal State campuses. According to a 2008 report on the Muslim Student Association prepared by the Investigative Project on Terrorism, the MSA was founded by the Muslim Brotherhood, an Egyptian-based organization dedicated to instituting Sharia law and a Muslim empire throughout the world, in part by means of violent jihad (holy war). The tenets of the Muslim Brotherhood are the ideological source for all Sunni-based Islamic terrorist groups.
According to the IPT report, the MSA sees itself as part of the global Islamic movement and promotes the Islamist ideology derived from the Muslim Brotherhood, including support for jihad. IPT’s 2008 report states that up until 2007, the MSA-National website hosted a list of Islamic organizations, some of which have been identified by the U.S. State Department as supporting and funding terrorism. Additionally, their list of speakers on college campuses has included those who justify suicide bombers and jihad and/or have acted in support of Hamas. Furthermore, former leaders of the MSA formed the Islamic Society of North America, which was an unindicted co-conspirator of the Holy Land Foundation convicted in federal court of supporting terrorism through the funding of Hamas. Hatem Bazian, a senior lecturer at UC Berkeley who is considered a role model to students of the Berkeley MSA chapter and serves as faculty at COMPASS (MSA-National’s management training program), was a representative of KindHearts, an organization whose primary purpose was to provide financial support for Hamas and whose assets were frozen by the federal government after a two-year Senate investigation. In addition, at a 2004 antiwar rally in San Francisco, Bazian called for an “intifada” in America.
Both the MSA and the SJP have repeatedly promoted anti-Israel events that at times become openly anti-Semitic, voice support for suicide bombers, transgress their universities’ policies, and even violate California and U.S. law. At UC Irvine, for example, the MSA has been involved in acts of physical aggression, harassment, and intimidation of Jewish students; has produced posters equating the Star of David with the swastika; and hosts speakers who compare Jews to Nazis and praise terrorism. Two such speakers are Imam Mohammad al Asi and Amir Abdel Malik Ali. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, their speeches at UCI have espoused anti-Semitic conspiracy theories about 9/11, repeatedly crossed the line from criticism of Israeli policy to voicing “loathing for all Jews as a people,” and glorified violence against civilians, as in Malik Ali’s statement that “victory or martyrdom are the only two viable options acceptable in the battle against the ‘Zionist apartheid state.'” The UCI administration has asked the FBI to investigate the MSU for breaking U.S. law by deliberately fundraising for a terrorist organization, Hamas, and lying about it to the UCI administration.
Members of the UC Berkeley SJP have also harassed and committed acts of physical aggression against Jewish students and disrupted Jewish student events. SJP advocates economic sanctions against Israel, and its chapters were responsible for divestment motions at Hampshire College and the University of Rochester, as well as the most recent, widely publicized attempt at UC Berkeley.
It is indisputable that the MSA and SJP have strong ties to organizations that call for the elimination of the Jewish state and promote the murder of Jews, and that many of the activities of these groups specifically harass and intimidate Jewish students. It is not inconceivable that these groups’ anti-Semitic discourse and hostility could escalate into incidents of physical violence. Nevertheless, California administrators have been unwilling to respond to, or even acknowledge, the threats that Jewish students face on their campuses.
At the University of California, for example, all ten UC Chancellors recently signed a statement condemning “all acts of racism, intolerance and incivility,” and affirming that “[r]egardless of what free speech rights they purport to express … we have a responsibility to speak out against activities that promote intolerance or undermine civil dialogue.” Nevertheless, not one UC Chancellor has condemned the MSA/MSU or SJP groups on his or her campus for the hateful, anti-Semitic programs they mount, or the hostile and intimidating environment they create for Jewish students.
Moreover, last month at a special three-hour UC Regents meeting devoted to addressing recent acts of intolerance and bigotry on UC campuses — including a noose found at UCSD, swastikas at UC Davis, and the disruption of Ambassador’s Oren’s talk at UCI — the Regents’ discussion focused almost entirely on African-American students and other under-represented minorities. Whereas the Regents expressed intense sympathy for the emotional distress that nooses might cause African-American students, no comparable solicitude was shown for the sense of well-being of Jewish students. Indeed, Jewish students and their concerns were virtually ignored at the meeting, and the longstanding and intolerable harassment and intimidation of Jewish students by members of the Muslim and pro-Palestinian/anti-Israel student groups were not mentioned even once.
The federal government, too, has chosen to turn its back on Jewish students. The Office of Civil Rights (OCR) of the U.S. Department of Education has refused to afford Jewish students the same protections against harassment and intimidation as it grants to every African-American, Latino, and Arab student. According to Kenneth Marcus, former director of the OCR: “Assistant Secretary of Education for Civil Rights Russlynn Ali indicated that the Obama administration would not pursue cases of harassment against Jewish students.”
What California university administrators, governing boards, and the federal government are unwilling to acknowledge is this: The MSA/MSU and SJP chapters on many California campuses are unlike other official student groups. Their affiliations with organizations that support terror and seek to wage Islamic jihad make them a threat to every member of the campus community, but especially to Jewish students. The refusal of university and government officials to afford protections to Jewish students on California campuses is absolutely unconscionable and should be protested loudly and clearly by parents, donors, and taxpayers across the state and across the nation.
Leila Beckwith is Professor Emeritus at the University of California at Los Angeles; Tammi Rossman Benjamin is a Lecturer at the University of California Santa Cruz.