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Saturday, June 12, 2004

"one of the most influential Catholic thinkers and writers of our time"

compares U.S. to Nazi Germany

Chicago Sun-Times June 11, 2004

Is U.S. like Germany of the '30s?
BY ANDREW GREELEY

BERLIN -- I can understand, my German friend said, why Germans voted for Hitler in 1933 -- though he did not receive a majority of the vote. The Weimar Republic was weak and incompetent. The Great Depression had ruined the nation's war-devastated economy. People were bitter because they thought their leaders had betrayed them in the war. They wanted revenge for the humiliation of Versailles. Hitler promised strong leadership and a new beginning. But why did they continue to support that group of crazy drug addicts, thugs, killers and madmen?

The historical question remains. I leave aside the question of the guilt of the whole German people (a judgment beyond my competence because I am not God) and ask what explanations might account for what happened. Hitler turned the German economy around in short order. He was crazy, of course, a demagogic mystic sensitive to aspirations of the German spirit. He appealed skillfully to the dark side of the German heritage. Anti-Semitism was strong in Germany, as it was in most European countries, but not violent until Hitler manipulated it. He stirred up the memories of historic German military accomplishments and identified himself with Frederick the Great -- thus placating the Prussian ethos of the German army. He promised glory to a nation still smarting from the disaster of 1918. Germany was emerging from the ashes, strong and triumphant once again. He also took control of the police apparatus. The military might have been able to dump him till 1937. After that he was firmly in power. The path lay open to holocaust.

Can this model be useful to understand how contemporary America is engaged in a criminally unjust war that has turned much of the world against it, a war in which torture and murder have become routine? Has the combination of the World Trade Center attack and a president who believes his instructions come from God unleashed the dark side of the American heritage?

What is this dark side? I would suggest that it is the mix of Calvinist religious righteousness and "my-country-right-or-wrong" patriotism that dominated our treatment of blacks and American Indians for most of the country's history. It revealed itself in the American history of imperialism in Mexico and after the Spanish-American War in the Philippines. The "manifest destiny" of America was to do whatever it wanted to do, because it was strong and virtuous and chosen by God.

Today many Americans celebrate a "strong" leader who, like Woodrow Wilson, never wavers, never apologizes, never admits a mistake, never changes his mind, a leader with a firm "Christian" faith in his own righteousness. These Americans are delighted that he ignores the rest of the world and punishes the World Trade Center terrorism in Iraq. Mr. Bush is our kind of guy.

He is not another Hitler. Yet there is a certain parallelism. They have in common a demagogic appeal to the worst side of a country's heritage in a crisis. Bush is doubtless sincere in his vision of what is best for America. So too was Hitler. The crew around the president -- Donald Rumsfeld, John Ashcroft, Karl Rove, the "neo-cons" like Paul Wolfowitz -- are not as crazy perhaps as Himmler and Goering and Goebbels. Yet like them, they are practitioners of the Big Lie -- weapons of mass destruction, Iraq democracy, only a few "bad apples."

Hitler's war was quantitatively different from the Iraq war, but qualitatively both were foolish, self-destructive and criminally unjust. . . .
http://www.suntimes.com/output/greeley/cst-edt-greel11.html

Andrew Greeley
agreel@aol.com

Editor of the Sun-Times editorial page,
Steve Huntley
shuntley@suntimes.com

My thanks to T. Bevan of RealClearPolitics for bringing this to our attention.

Chrenkoff is to be commended

"most excellent Aussie blog" - "increasingly essential"

Gd bless Chrenkoff for giving us GOOD NEWS FROM IRAQ. There's an incredible amount of work here, Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3.

Friday, June 11, 2004

Okay, that does it. I'm scared.

You must see these photos taken in San Francisco, in California, in the United States of America, last weekend.

Blogger Bill Hobbs explains: "The event was meant to be a birthday celebration for the state of Israel. But the Israel-bashers were intent on spoiling the party."

UN inspectors:
Saddam shipped out WMD before war and after


WorldTribune.com: The United Nations has determined that Saddam Hussein shipped weapons of mass destruction components as well as medium-range ballistic missiles before, during and after the U.S.-led war against Iraq in 2003.

The UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission briefed the Security Council on new findings that could help trace the whereabouts of Saddam's missile and WMD program.

The briefing contained satellite photographs that demonstrated the speed with which Saddam dismantled his missile and WMD sites before and during the war. Council members were shown photographs of a ballistic missile site outside Baghdad in May 2003, and then saw a satellite image of the same location in February 2004, in which facilities had disappeared.

UNMOVIC acting executive chairman Demetrius Perricos told the council on June 9 that "the only controls at the borders are for the weight of the scrap metal, and to check whether there are any explosive or radioactive materials within the scrap," Middle East Newsline reported.
"It's being exported," Perricos said after the briefing. "It's being traded out. And there is a large variety of scrap metal from very new to very old, and slowly, it seems the country is depleted of metal."

"The removal of these materials from Iraq raises concerns with regard to proliferation risks," Perricos told the council. Perricos also reported that inspectors found Iraqi WMD and missile components shipped abroad that still contained UN inspection tags.

He said the Iraqi facilities were dismantled and sent both to Europe and around the Middle East. at the rate of about 1,000 tons of metal a month. Destionations included Jordan, the Netherlands and Turkey.

The Baghdad missile site contained a range of WMD and dual-use components, UN officials said. They included missile components, reactor vessel and fermenters – the latter required for the production of chemical and biological warheads.

"It raises the question of what happened to the dual-use equipment, where is it now and what is it being used for," Ewen Buchanan, Perricos's spokesman, said. "You can make all kinds of pharmaceutical and medicinal products with a fermenter. You can also use it to breed anthrax."

The UNMOVIC report said Iraqi missiles were dismantled and exported to such countries as Jordan, the Netherlands and Turkey. In the Dutch city of Rotterdam, an SA-2 surface-to-air missile, one of at least 12, was discovered in a junk yard, replete with UN tags. In Jordan, UN inspectors found 20 SA-2 engines as well as components for solid-fuel for missiles.

"The problem for us is that we don't know what may have passed through these yards and other yards elsewhere," Buchanan said. "We can't really assess the significance and don't know the full extent of activity that could be going on there or with others of Iraq's neighbors."

UN inspectors have assessed that the SA-2 and the short-range Al Samoud surface-to-surface missile were shipped abroad by agents of the Saddam regime. Buchanan said UNMOVIC plans to inspect other sites, including in Turkey.

In April, International Atomic Energy Agency director-general Mohammed El Baradei said material from Iraqi nuclear facilities were being smuggled out of the country.
UPDATE 06/14/04: It's been pointed out to me that the World Tribune may not be the best of sources (see this in the New Yorker).

However, since the National Review also says that Saddam's WMD made their way out of Iraq, I have no reason to think it's not true.
". . . the chief of Israeli military intelligence, in addition to David Kay of the Iraq Survey Group, CentCom itself, and at least two former Iraqi intelligence officials have now reported evidence of Saddam's late pass-off of the WMDs to Syria. These recent lines of evidence include specific locations of WMD stockpiles within Syria, and, most recently, in the Bekka Valley in Syrian-occupied Lebanon as well."
DEBKA was saying this ages ago.

Colorado State Legislature Entertains Meddling in the Middle East

I am appalled

House Joint Resolution 04-1089 -Concerning Efforts to Achieve Israeli-Palestinian Peace- was introduced in the House 4/19/2004 and assigned to the House Committee on State, Veterans & Military Affairs. It calls on "Israeli and Palestinian leaders to capitalize on the opportunity offered by the peace initiatives ["like the People's Voice Initiative, One Voice and the Geneva Accord"] and urges the Congress and the President to
"seek an immediate end to violence and terror in the Middle East by introducing an international buffer of genuinely unbiased and neutral forces to separate and provide protection for Israelis and Palestinians and to use the resources of the United States to bring about the following resolution of the conflict:

(a) The creation of an economically and politically viable, democratically governed, and human-rights respecting Palestinian state;

(b) An international fund to provide compensation for Palestinians and to assist in resettling Palestinian refugees inside the borders of the new Palestinian state and to provide compensation for Israelis who fled from persecution in Arab lands;

(c) Recognition by surrounding Arab and Islamic states of Israel and the Palestinian state and treaties assuring peaceful political relations and lasting economic cooperation;
There's more, but I can't bear to type it all out. This especially rouses my ire: the bill (g) calls for "the creation of institutions in both societies designed to eliminate the teaching of hatred . . . [blah blah blah] . . . fostering repentance for past violations of human rights . . . ."

FIY, Coloradans: This bill was introduced by Colorado State Representative TOM PLANT.

You can write to him at tom@tomplant.org

Chirac dismissive of Bush initiative

The Guardian, UK . . . . Mr Chirac was also dismissive of Mr Bush's initiative. "There is no ready-made formula for democracy readily transposable from one country to another. Democracy is not a method, it is a culture. For democracy to take root solidly and durably in the Arab world, it must be an Arab democracy before all else."
Last night on FoxNews, I heard Charles Krauthammer remark that France hadn't seemed to mind when the US arrived there some years ago and imposed democracy on Germany.

Well said.

Idiot Jews in Madison want Rafah for a Sister City


This is unbelievable.
New York Times: MADISON, Wis. - Mayor Dave Cieslewicz said he thought his job would be limited to deciding issues like whether to build a municipal pool in this city of 215,000 residents or add a light-rail system. Instead he finds himself in the middle of a debate over Middle East peace.

A proposal for Madison to form a sister-city relationship with the Palestinian city of Rafah has divided Jews and others in this college town and prompted personal attacks and accusations of anti-Semitism. The mayor and members of the Common Council, the city council, have received scores of impassioned letters, e-mail messages and phone calls from angry constituents.

While some of the city's 5,000 or so Jews say people here should reach out to the people of Rafah, in the Gaza Strip, to help send aid to the tens of thousands of refugees there, others see the city as a hotbed for Hamas and other militant groups. Any partnership with the city, opponents say, would be a condemnation of Israeli foreign policy and Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.

Madison, a left-leaning town in the middle of a swing state, has had sister cities for more than two decades. The sister-city program, meant to foster peace and understanding across the globe, is financed with $10,000 budgeted annually. Under the program, leaders from both cities often visit one another and share ideas about common problems. Madison's sisters include Ainaro, East Timor; Arcatao, El Salvador; Bac Giang, Vietnam, Camagüey, Cuba; and Managua, Nicaragua. Though some of those caused a stir, none proved as divisive as Rafah.

Jennifer Loewenstein, founder of the Madison-Rafah Sister City Project, the group that presented the idea to the Common Council, said Rafah exemplified the Palestinian struggle and deserved help.

"It's a place that desperately needs to be understood where suffering needs to stop," said Ms. Loewenstein, who is Jewish.

But she acknowledged that the enmity between Israelis and Palestinians had made her proposal a hard sell, especially in a country that generally supports Israel. "It would be easier to have a sister city with Baghdad than with Rafah," she said.

Shirin Ezekiel, a 28-year-old Israeli who has lived in Madison for two years, said the contemplation of a partnership with Rafah sent her a troubling message - that only Palestinians suffer because of the conflict.

"It hasn't been a picnic for the Israeli side either," said Ms. Ezekiel, who added that she had collected more than 500 signatures from students and visitors at the University of Wisconsin who oppose the plan. Making Rafah a sister city "doesn't acknowledge any of the suffering on the Israeli side," she said, adding, "It doesn't foster peace and understanding."

Ms. Ezekiel and other opponents say the group in Rafah, Al Mezan Center for Human Rights, that has worked with the Madison-Rafah Sister City Project is anti-Semitic, an accusation the group denies.

A number of people who support the sister-city proposal do not deny that members of Hamas and other extremist groups work in Rafah. In fact, these supporters say, this only amplifies the need for a partnership to curb the influence of extremists.

"The more we isolate ourselves, appear partisan or appear to condone violence, we serve as a recruiting method for these radicals," said George Arida, a member of the Madison-Rafah project.

In a letter to the Common Council, a local rabbi, Laurie Zimmerman, wrote that her support for the sister-city proposal did not negate her "love for Israel."

"Our hearts must be big enough to hold the tears of both peoples," Rabbi Zimmerman wrote.

Steven Morrison, executive director of the Madison Jewish Community Council, which opposes the proposal, said supporters of the sister-city project exaggerated the effect they would have on Middle East peace. "This idea that Madison could have an impact on the war and peace issues in the Middle East through a people-to-people program is fundamentally naïve and borders on being foolish," Mr. Morrison said.

That did not deter a Palestinian expatriate from arguing her point with her alderman. The expatriate, Leila Nijim, who has lived in the United States since the 1960's, grew increasingly frustrated as the alderman, Zach Brandon, refused to budge from opposing the proposal. Ms. Nijim asked why the Common Council would not embrace Rafah as it had other cities.

"In my book, this is racism," she told Mr. Brandon. "If you support one and not the other, that's racist. When we are negligent and not caring, oh man, somebody's going to have to answer to the guy upstairs."

Mr. Brandon told her that he did not support any of the other sister-city programs either and that the city should stay out of such an emotional and political debate.

When the rift became clear, the Common Council put off deciding about the sister-city ties so that discussions could continue. Members of the Common Council have been meeting with the Jewish Community Council and the Madison-Rafah project to work out a compromise, which could include adding a sister city in Israel.

The mayor has, for his part, withdrawn his support for the Rafah proposal because it became so divisive, he said.

"The council and I got elected to get the garbage picked up and get the streets plowed," Mr. Cieslewicz said. "We didn't get elected to act on matters of international policy. It's a debate that we don't have to have in the city of Madison, and it's also one that's dividing the community."


Wouldn't you like to be a fly on the wall
when the leaders of Madison and Rafah meet to "share ideas about their common problems"?


Madison



Rafah - exemplifying the "Palestinian struggle"

Sat Jun 5, Palestinian supporters of the radical Hamas
movement carry mock explosive belts during a
demonstration in Rafah refugee camp.(AFP/Said Khatib)

Palestinian gunmen threaten UN construction crews in Jenin

New houses "not big enough"
AP: JENIN REFUGEE CAMP, West Bank - The United Nations suspended a construction project in this refugee camp after Palestinian gunmen threatened crews rebuilding houses destroyed by Israeli forces, a U.N. official said Thursday.

Many residents of the Jenin camp are complaining that their new houses, replacing those destroyed in Israeli incursions, are not big enough, said Sami Mshasha of the U.N. Relief and Works Agency, which aids Palestinian refugees.

In the most recent attack, five Palestinians from one family barged into the U.N. office in Jenin on Tuesday and opened fire with M-16 and Kalashnikov assault rifles, said Fahri Turkman, a Palestinian lawmaker.

No one was hurt, but it was the third such attack on U.N. personnel in the past six months. . . .

One gunman, who identified himself as Abu Maher, said he took action because the house promised to him was only half the size of the one Israeli forces destroyed. He said dissatisfaction in the camp was widespread, with some residents saying the wait for a new home was too long. . . .

As part of the reconstruction, the U.N. agency is building 430 houses with $27 million from the United Arab Emirates, Mshasha said. Seventy apartments have been built so far, and more than 1,000 damaged houses have been repaired . . . .

Raed Karawi said the agency gave him an apartment of 600 square feet. "This is not enough for me and my wife to live. We will have children soon. This is not fair," he said, threatening to buy 20 old cars and block the new roads.

Idaho, USA
Saudi grad student acquitted on terrorism charges

BOISE (AP) — A Saudi graduate student was acquitted Thursday of charges that he used his computer expertise to foster terrorism.

The case against Sami Omar Al-Hussayen, 34, was seen as an important test of a provision of the Patriot Act that makes it a crime to provide expert advice or assistance to terrorists.

The jury reached its verdict after seven days of deliberations and a trial that lasted seven weeks.

Al-Hussayen, a computer science student at the University of Idaho, was acquitted on all three terrorism counts, as well as one count of making a false statement and two counts of visa fraud. Jurors could not reach verdicts on three more false statement counts and five additional visa fraud counts, and a mistrial was declared on those charges.

Al-Hussayen set up and ran Web sites that prosecutors say were used to recruit terrorists, raise money and disseminate inflammatory rhetoric.

His defense maintained that his association with the Web sites was as a Muslim volunteer and computer expert who simply wanted to keep the sites in operation.

Al-Hussayen's attorneys have argued that he had little to do with the creation of the material posted. And they say the material was protected by the First Amendment right to freedom of expression and was not designed to raise money or recruit militants.

But prosecutors cited religious edicts justifying suicide bombings and an invitation to financially support the militant Palestinian organization Hamas in arguing that Al-Hussayen should be convicted.

Five Palestinian brothers on trial in Texas for aiding the Hamas

DALLAS (Reuters) - Jury selection began on Monday in the trial of five Palestinian brothers in Texas who prosecutors say aided the militant Palestinian group Hamas and illegally sold low-grade computer equipment to nations the United States considers supporters of terrorism.

The Elashi brothers are charged with export violations and making false statements about computer equipment sent by their company InfoCom Corp. to Syria and Libya. They have said they are innocent of all the charges against them.

Defense attorneys have said the case, introduced with much fanfare by U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft in December 2002, was being pursued by overzealous Justice Department officials targeting Muslim men with ties to the Middle East.

Prosecutors are preparing two trials. In the first, they will bring charges of conspiracy, export violations and money laundering for sending computer parts to Syria and Libya.

In the second, they plan to allege that the brothers -- Bayan Elashi, Ghassan Elashi, Basman Elashi, Hazim Elashi and Ihsan Elashyi -- sent money to Hamas or to senior Hamas leader Musa Abu Marzook. Marzook is married to Nadia Marzook, who is a cousin of the brothers.

No date has been set for the second trial.

Opening statements are likely to be heard on Wednesday and the first case should take about two to three weeks, court sources said.

The indictment says the brothers sent technology to Libya via an intermediary in Malta, who was used to hide the transaction.

KEYBOARDS AND MODEMS

At a detention hearing in December 2002, an FBI agent said the items included keyboards, modems and processing units and said shipments had a retail value of several thousand dollars.

Defense lawyers have said that export violations are typically classified as regulatory crimes for which violators pay civil fines. They have said some large U.S. companies only paid fines -- and faced no criminal action -- for illegally shipping equipment to Libya and Syria.

U.S. attorneys have also said the brothers are linked to a Muslim charity called the Holy Land Foundation, which had an office across the street from their computer company in suburban Dallas.

About three months after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States, the U.S. government shut down the Holy Land Foundation, saying it was being used to send money to terrorists. President Bush said the charity sent money to Hamas which used it "to support schools and indoctrinate children to grow up into suicide bombers."

No criminal charges have been filed against the Holy Land Foundation.

Moses


Recently while going through an airport during one of his many trips, President Bush encountered a man with long hair, wearing a white robe and sandals, holding a staff.

President Bush approached the man and said, "Aren't you Moses?"

The man didn't answer, but just kept staring straight ahead.

Again the President said, "Moses!" in a loud voice.

The man just kept staring ahead, never answering the president.

Soon a secret service agent came along and President Bush grabbed
him and said, "Doesn't this man look like Moses to you?"

The secret service agent agreed with the President.

"Well," said the President, "Every time I say his name, he just
keeps staring ahead and refuses to speak. Watch!" Again, the President
yelled, "Moses!" and again the man stared straight ahead.

Finally, the secret service man went up to the man in the white robe
and whispered, "You look just like Moses. Are you Moses?"

The man leaned over and whispered, "Yes, I am Moses. But the last
time I talked to a bush, I spent 40 years wandering in the desert!"

Thursday, June 10, 2004

Ronald Reagan


I haven't written about the passing of Pres. Reagan because Leah Guildenstern took the words right outta my mouth:
You see, I was raised in a liberal family and grew up with liberal beliefs. . . . My memory of Ronald Reagan was . . . . a liberal point of view of how Ronald Reagan was committing illegal wars in other countries, the government was running drugs, he was just some actor being run by his wife, and he represented what was wrong with America. . . . It was only when I started exploring the blogosphere and reading others impressions of him that I realized that my view was one skewed by a media point of view. I find it amazing how much has changed merely by a change of perspective.
I post about him now only because I've seen and heard the Liberal Media segue from Bush-bashing into Reagan-bashing with barely a pause in between. My husband and I have a new game to play in the car -- before we turn on the radio (NPR), we try to guess if they will be bashing Bush, or Reagan, or covering Abu Grahib. We both lost this afternoon; Andre Codrescu was bashing Florida.

Earlier in the day, I heard NPR eulogizing Ray Charles, as well they should. I could only wonder, though, what people would think if they had bashed him instead, talked about how he wasn't so great after all, that he had made mistakes, that some of his music wasn't really so good in retrospect. Listeners would've been appalled, but no one need worry; the Left would never do such a thing to a black musician. A Republican president, however, is fair game. It will not be long before they whine that Ray Charles, a legitimate legend, is being ignored in favor of Reagan, an illegitimate one.

Many liberal commentators even insist it is their (ethical? historical? journalistic?) obligation to explore "all sides" of Reagan's legacy (see for example the NPR ombudsman column). They are so transparent in their bias, especially to those of us who used to inhabit the same constricted mindset (pardon me, worldview). I have been a recovering anthropologist for many years, but it's only recently that I have begun to recover from being a lifelong liberal.

At first, I insisted that the Left had abandoned me; then I wondered if I hadn't been the one to change, to grow old and away from the idealism of youth. Probably both are true; I'm just grateful that my husband and I were able to navigate a joint transmogrification ("the act of changing into a different shape or form, especially one that is fantastic or bizarre").

Banagor is back again and has an interesting take on Reagan and how his death accentuates the Great Cultural Divide:
Many "moderates" here in the Liberal press argue that Ronald Reagan didn't really end [the Cold War]. They say that the signs were all there anyway and Reagan was just there in the right place at the right time.

Perhaps so. But the fact remains that to many, he was not only the symbol of freedom which ended the Evil Empire, but also the catalyst. Without him, perhaps we never would have won.

Intellectuals argue all the time about all sorts of great people in history, whether they deserve credit for what they did accomplish. This usually comes from people who have accomplished nothing themselves and whose only goal is to point out the flaws in others. By their standards, Jesus was only there at the right place and the right time, since all the signs were there for a Jewish reform of sorts, from the Essenes to the Zealots. That is, of course, balderdash. They are the same people who would probably decry Einstein as not being a genius because physicists had already been working on pre-relativistic theory for some time before he showed up with his own simple and beautiful formula. They might even argue that England would have fought Nazi Germany anyway, regardless of Churchill's valiant speeches, simply because there were some in Britain who were defiant against the Nazi threat to begin with.

They are the same people who wish to give credit to nobody but the collective as embodied by the United Nations because, as we all know, they are all for the State and not the Individual.

That is why they cannot tolerate Reagan being made into the hero that he is. In their eyes, nobody is ever a hero. Only the State can be a hero. Nobody can ever be above and beyond the common man because that would show that some are better than others; some ideas worth more than others; some people with better morals than others; some visions worth fighting for and others best left ignored. To them, Reagan represented that very ideal - the very thing which they loathe so much - individuality.

As always, when it comes to Banagor, read it all, and please, try not to think less of him just because he is so shockingly young ("I am proud that I grew up with [Reagan] as my President.") Yikes.

If you aren't completely tired of the subject, then read Krauthammer: "Reagan was more than just an optimist."

Investigations continue into EU financing of Palestinian terror

EUObserver.com via BackSpin
The Bayerische Rundfunk reported that 246 million euro of EU money, granted to the Palestinian Authority by the European Commission, ended up on fully uncontrollable bank accounts.

Contrary to specific project-based EU aid, these direct money transfers to the Palestinian Authority could be spent freely, the television report said.

The Bayerische Rundfunk said, on the basis of a letter by Mr Arafat that it had obtained, that the Palestinian leader personally ordered terrorist attacks, using the accounts where the EU money ended up.

The only good infidel is a dead infidel

by Zev Chafets at Jewish World Review

"Help me. I'm a Muslim."

Those, according to the Agence France Press, were the last words Frank Gardner spoke before collapsing in the street Sunday in Riyadh, the Saudi capital.

Gardner isn't a Muslim. But, as an experienced Middle East hand, he knew the magic words. At least he thought he did.

Gardner is the Middle Eastern correspondent for the BBC who was out on a story when Saudi gunmen opened fire on him. He took a hail of bullets, then begged for his life before lapsing into a coma.

His cameraman, an Irishman named Simon Cumbers, was killed instantly.

Gardner had a Koran with him, too - part of his Islamic safety kit. He had a reason to imagine that posing as a Muslim might save him. Just a week before, another group of Saudi gunmen rampaged through a foreigners' housing compound in the eastern Saudi city of Khobar.

First, they separated their hostages by religion. Then, they freed the Muslims and murdered the infidels.

Maybe the Saudi shooters didn't believe that Gardner was a Believer. Maybe they just didn't give a damn. Either way, they left him in the street for dead and killed his cameraman.

The Saudi government is, as usual, trying to sell the shootings as an aberration (Crown Prince Abdullah has not yet blamed "Zionists" — as he did after the attack in Khobar - but give him a few days). In fact, the attack on the BBC men was — like Al Qaeda itself - simply the logical outgrowth of venerated Saudi traditions.

The Saudi royal family always has practiced strict image control by judiciously doling out press visas to "safe" correspondents. Al Qaeda's press policy is essentially no different. The jihadis, too, want to impose censorship. Since Al Qaeda has no visas to deny (and no expensive jewelry to bestow on compliant foreign correspondents), it uses bullets and bombs to create its reporter-free zones - in Iraq as well as Saudi Arabia.

Once the Western press is driven away or confined to its hotels, Middle Eastern reality becomes what Al Jazeera and other jihad-friendly Arab "news" organizations portray. That picture will be calculated to further the strategic aim of the holy war: the purification of the House of Islam by ridding it of infidels and their influence.

Since the borders of Islam's house range from Spain to Indonesia and Chechnya to Nigeria, this amounts to a declaration of permanent war.

Continued . . .

Pro-Israel Jews Losing the Media War in UK

"In the never-ending trial by media, it's a guilty charge day after day"

by David Prever, journalist and host on LBC 97.3 FM, London
There is a PR vacuum at the heart of British Jewry. It's not that sensitive issues are handled badly; they're just not handled at all.

We've been starved of anything to kvell about recently. It's there, of course, if you search it out – achievements in science, medicine, and trade. But we need to be given something.

Anything. An event that makes us proud to be Jews in a foreign and sometimes hostile land.

Most of the time, that's exactly what it feels like: confined behind enemy lines defending the seemingly indefensible. This isn't anti-Semitism, it's far worse than that. Dormant prejudices are confirmed. It's passive aggression toward a state and a people, masquerading as a liberal conscience and tolerated because of the permissive quality of the British press.

Despite recent high-profile errors, the mantra here in Britain is still "If it's in the papers, it must be true." Public broadcasters are just as bad – with a thinly veiled line between objective news coverage and highly subjective editorial. For the British Jew listening at home, the only emotion is despair.

Even ardent and long-term friends of Israel are starting to wonder if they may have been wrong all along. It's slow, it's insidious, and it eats away at years of hard work and hard-earned goodwill. To express any support for Israel is tantamount to supporting a regime as rogue as Mugabe's Zimbabwe or Kim Chong-il's North Korea. How has Israel's reputation sunk so low?

In the never-ending trial by media, it's a guilty charge day after day. It reinforces the message played out in the British House of Commons, where the arrogance of parliament is staggering when it comes to Israeli affairs.

"What is the prime minister going to do about the Middle East," MPs ask, as though Israel is no more than another devolved part of the British Isles. Can we imagine a similar discussion in the Knesset about problems of Northern Ireland?

Continued . . .

Melanie Phillips, also in the UK, describes the situation there as "a wholesale moral inversion
in which the very worst is automatically believed of people who normally tell the truth, while claims made by those who have told demonstrable lies are reported as proven fact; in which victims are treated as victimisers, and vice versa; in which respectable British people say openly that they sympathise with the mass murder of Jews by Palestinians because they are ‘fighting for their freedom’; and in which Israel is being systematically delegitimised and dehumanised.

Media coverage of Israel has become an unstoppable torrent of lies, distortions, libels, abandonment of objectivity for malice and hatred, and obsessional vilification and demonisation."


When my mother-in-law died in December, may her memory be for a blessing, I was making arrangements with the local Chevra Kadisha, and the man with whom I spoke listened to my whining about how hard all this was, then told me something very important: "You have to be strong." A simple enough statement, but I immediately understood my task in a new way. He gave me something to do and something to live up to. Even though I constantly battle the paralysis of discouragement myself, I would choose to say the same thing to David Prever. You have to be strong.

We have the blessing of thousands of years' worth of advice coming down to us from those who were Jews before us --in times such as these and much worse. What we see today is nothing new. Remember, only two of the Twelve Spies remained faithful to their leader, to the purpose of their mission and to G-d's assurance that it was a good land. The other ten spies went awry." Joshua and Caleb were "outvoted and outnumbered."

This story is retold by Rabbi Yossy Goldman
The saintly Rabbi Yisroel Meir HaKohen Kagan, better known as the "Chofetz Chaim," was once challenged by a fellow Jew who was a somewhat educated cynic. "Rabbi," he argued, "doesn't the Torah itself say that we must follow the majority? Well, the overwhelming majority of Jews today are not religious. So you religious Jews must come over to our way of thinking!"

The Chofetz Chaim replied with a story.

"Recently, I had occasion to be travelling by coach back home from an important trip. On route, the coachman distributed generous helpings of vodka to his passengers to keep them warm and content. The coachman, too, helped himself to much more vodka than he should have.

"When we came to a crossroads, there was confusion as to which way to turn. Most people argued that the left road was the correct path. I was one of the only sober passengers on board and I knew without a shadow of a doubt that we needed to take the road to the right. So I ask you, my friend, should I too have followed the majority? They were hopelessly drunk and their was judgment impaired. Thank G-d, I prevailed."
May we too be given the strength to prevail. And if not in the diaspora, there is always Israel, please Gd. We can still make aliyah.

In the meantime, there's plenty of good news at Israel 21c.

Wednesday, June 09, 2004

The Graduate


He didn't look nearly so serious
when all was said and done.
Congratulations, and Happy Birthday.
love, Mom

This could make you cry


You should read all of Rick's post about The Great American Yiddish Novelist, Isaac Bashevis Singer.

From his quote of Jonathan Rosen's essay on this American master:
When, during the First World War, an order of expulsion comes to the shtetl where the hero grew up, the pious rabbi finds himself fleeing next to the town atheist:
Reb Dan’s wagon drew up alongside the cart on which Jekuthiel the watchmaker sat, the tools of his trade piled around him. He looked at the rabbi and smiled sadly. "Nu, rabbi?" he said.

It was clear that what he meant was: Where is your Lord of the Universe now? Where are His miracles? Where is your faith in Torah and prayer?

"Nu, Jekuthiel," the rabbi answered. What he was saying was: Where are your worldly remedies? Where is your trust in the gentiles? What have you accomplished by aping Esau?

So sadly beautiful, it could make you cry.

Good thing history is not repetitive.

A Second-Hand Emotion

President Bush, whose boundless tact can only be compared to his bottomless sense of history, announced in his speech to the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee last May: “Our nation, and the nation of Israel, have much in common. We're both relatively young nations.” I voted for Dubya in 2000, am going to vote for him again in 2004, and hope you will follow my example, because, frankly, this time we simply don't have a choice. But let's be honest: when it comes to relativity, he is no Einstein. The United States has recently begun its third century, which may seem a very long time to our president, but Israel has been around almost 20 times that long. George W. Bush apparently does not consider what has happened to the Jews since the beginning of time up to 1948 a part of Israel's history. So let me correct our president: while the United States really is a relatively young country, Israel remains the oldest living nation on this planet. Nevertheless, the United States and Israel do have something fundamentally important in common.

Since September 11, 2001, the United States has become almost as universally hated as Israel. The fact that not a single country in the whole world, except for the United States and Israel, is even attempting to resist jihad, is not just a coincidence.

Manifestations of that hatred would be funny to watch if they were happening on another planet. When a bunch of fools in American military uniform stupidly, but harmlessly, made fun of a few prisoners at Abu Ghraib, the world responded with outrage, both public and official. The United States Human Rights Commissioner contemplates pursuing the matter as a war crime. Why were they not protesting while thousands of people were systematically tortured to death in that prison when it still belonged to its original owner? Why was it that the UN never attempted to interfere or even simply objected? Well, the UN was too busy skimming billions of American dollars off the oil for food program. But why was there no public outcry? Why were there no protests when a bunch of Arabs sawed off Nick Berg's head in front of the entire world? Why was there no popular outrage around the world in the aftermath of September 11, either against the mass murder, or against the open celebration of it by the Arabs? Why was there no outcry against the March 11 atrocity in Madrid? Why is nobody protesting the systematic hostage taking by the Arabs? Or their systematic murder of Westerners and mutilation of their bodies?

Why is nobody planning to prosecute those whose very way of life constitutes one ongoing crime against humanity? Why is it that the world's anger is always directed only at those who are trying to defend themselves?

I'll tell you why. We are witnessing the fulfillment of another old promise: the meek have finally inherited the earth, and now the earth is going to hell in a handbasket.

During the last hajj, a leading Saudi cleric preached to millions of pilgrims that the murder of a Westerner constitutes jihad, while the murder of a Muslim constitutes terrorism. The cleric explicitly endorsed the murder of Westerners, but cautioned against killing Muslims. There was no public outcry, no official or unofficial protests, and no accusations of racism. Instead, his sermon made headlines that read “Leading Saudi cleric condemns terrorism.” Nobody protested that outrageous lie either.

Those who committed the recent mass murder in Khobar, Saudi Arabia, followed their religious dogma to the letter. They separated Christians from Muslims and killed only the Christians. No one called it religious cleansing, although that was precisely what it was. This is not a conjecture; this is what those people said they were doing: cleansing the “sacred” Saudi soil of the vile presence of the infidel. The world took it in stride, as if this was how the majority of humans of all persuasions had envisioned our most desirable future.
Read it all


Nail bomb blast in Cologne, Germany, injures 16

NY Times: BERLIN (AP) -- An explosion ripped through a house in Cologne, injuring 16 people Wednesday, and officials said they believed the blast was caused by a bomb.

Several buildings were damaged and chunks of debris and broken glass littered the street in the Muelheim suburb after the explosion at about 4 p.m., fire department spokesman Stefan Lakenbrink told The Associated Press.

"We are treating this as a bomb explosion," police spokesman Burkhard Jahn said.

Jahn said he had no immediate information on who might have carried out an attack or why.

The blast caused the most damage to a pizzeria and a hairdresser's salon, in a part of the street where most of the injuries occured, Lakenbrink said.

Lakenbrink said 16 people were injured, including four seriously. One was in critical condition.

Local radio reports said `"thousands" of nails were lying on the street and speculated they were part of the bomb.

"Mideast leaders to join G8 Summit"

Israel Not Invited
SEA ISLAND, Georgia (CNN) -- Mideast heads of state were scheduled to meet Wednesday with leaders of the Group of Eight largest industrialized nations.

Issues critical to the Middle East were expected to dominate the three-day event, hosted by President Bush at the Sea Island resort off the coast of Georgia.

In addition to Bush, leaders of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom and the European Union are participating.

Mideast leaders invited to participate include heads of government from Jordan, Yemen, Bahrain and Algeria. The leader of Afghanistan also has been invited to the summit.

Left and Right: Anti-Israel-ism in America

from the Stephen Roth Institute's Analysis of Antisemitism Worldwide 2003/4

The excerpt pertaining to the United States is posted here in full because, well, because it is so long. That in itself should tell you something.

USA

The notion that Israel and influential Jews in America were trying to push the United States into a war in Iraq was quite often discussed in American mainstream papers. This allegation was also made in a speech of American Congressman Rep. James Moran, who accused the American Jewish community of promoting the war (see ASW 2002/3). However, in contrast to western Europe, the demonization of Israel and the depiction of American Jews as diabolic accomplices are generally not part of the mainstream. It should be noted that the Nation of Islam’s (NOI) allegations (see below) coincided with the appearance of such charges in the general media, particularly in February.

In 2003 the State of Israel was often targeted by antisemitic extremist groups in the United States. Israel was perceived as dictating American foreign policy, and in this context American Jews themselves were seen as controlling the Bush administration, leading to further antisemitic statements. One of the main voices in such allegations was Minister Louis Farrakhan, leader of the NOI. In the past year Farrakhan and activists of other radical black groups have blamed the war in Iraq on Zionists and Jewish interests, and used the issue to introduce other antisemitic beliefs about Jewish control of the media and the Jewish role in secularization of the United States.

Farrakhan’s annual NOI Saviors’ Day speech, given on 23 February 2003, included several attacks on the Jewish community and Israel. Farrakhan blamed the war in Iraq on “the warmongers in [Bush’s] administration, the poor Israeli Zionists” who “have literally gotten America’s foreign policy to protect Israel.” The Final Call, NOI’s weekly newspaper, printed articles on the USS Liberty conspiracy (alleging that during the 1967 Six Day War Israel intentionally attacked the USS Liberty, an American intelligence-gathering vessel, and that the American government concealed the truth) and the role of Jewish neo-conservatives in American foreign policy during 2003. Similar attacks on Israel and its Jewish supporters in America appeared in the speeches of Malik Shabazz, national chairman of the New Black Panther Party, a racist, antisemitic Black Nationalist group. Shabazz’s efforts focused on the Million Youth March, held in Brooklyn, New York, on 6 September 2003. During the march, Shabazz made inflammatory comments and denounced Israel: “Palestine you know originally belonged to Black people... That land has been occupied by the Zionist devils.”

Prior to the march, on 3 July, Shabazz went to Morristown, New Jersey, to voice support for Amiri Baraka, New Jersey’s poet laureate. Baraka was sharply criticized for his poem “Somebody Blew Up America,” which repeated the myth that 4,000 ”Israelis” stayed home from work at the World Trade Center on 11 September, thereby suggesting that Jews and Israel had foreknowledge of the attacks. During the news conference, Shabazz said the Panthers supported Baraka “100 percent” and welcomed proof that Jews and Israel knew about the attacks in advance. “If 3,000 people perished in the World Trade Center attacks and the Jewish population is 10 percent, you show me records of 300 Jewish people dying in the World Trade Center,” Shabazz said. “We’re daring anyone to dispute its truth. They got their people out.”

The Nation of Aztlan, is a small California-based, virulently antisemitic Latino group that, via its website and e-mailings, repeatedly attacks Israel and the Jews for being at the root of almost every evil in the world, including the Middle East conflict, and blames Zionists for the war in Iraq, 9/11, and the “heartless, wanton murder of innocent Palestinians.” In 2003 and through the beginning of 2004, Hector Carreon, editor of its publication La Voz de Aztlan, continued to hold the Jews and Israel responsible for every event that negatively affected the Mexican community in the United States. In regard to the war on terror, Carreon wrote that while the dangers the world faced appeared to come from Islamic terrorists, “our experience has been different. We fear Zionist terrorists more. They have been trying to take away our constitutional right of freedom of political expression through acts of terrorism.” On 13 November he wrote that the large Mexican-American population in Los Angeles might become the indirect victims of a justified mass biological or nuclear attack upon the city that targeted the area’s Zionists. La Voz de Aztlan claims that the Jews controlled the American government and the media. Following United States Congressman James Moran’s comment that if it had not been for “the strong support of the Jewish community for this war with Iraq, we would not be doing this,” Ernesto Cienfuegos, another editor, joined the chorus blaming the Jews for the American war in Iraq. Cienfuegos wrote, “It is the Jews, however, that are orchestrating the varied interests involved in pushing the war” so that Israel can take over the entire Middle East and have an opportunity to “implement an ‘ethnic cleansing program’ in Palestine.” La Voz de Aztlan’s website has links to a page containing a petition to stop American aid to Israel and supporting the prosecution of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon for crimes against humanity.

As in the previous two years, the divestment campaign remained the major focus of anti-Israel campus groups. By evoking the anti-South African apartheid campaign of the 1980s, the divestment movement attempts to denigrate Israel and supporters of Israel, while enlisting students conscious of human rights and the rights of indigenous people and of the effects of globalization to join the pro-Palestinian pro-intifada camp.

This campaign – widely known as the Palestinian Solidarity Movement (PSM) – was formed and is supported by a coalition of mostly far left and radical Muslim groups (student and non-student) who refute the legitimacy of the State of Israel. Any support for Israel is considered support for racism and apartheid, and all students who defend Israel are considered racist supporters of oppression. Some proponents have gone further and distributed antisemitic literature. Yet, in the 2003/4 school year there were fewer reported cases of the use of Holocaust imagery and antisemitic stereotyping at anti-Israel campus events. The organizers of these campaigns have striven to avoid controversy and accusations of antisemitism, which they believe are unfair.

However, an attempt to similarly tone down their political message, and to distance the solidarity movement from the more heinous acts of Palestinian violence against Israeli civilians, did not succeed because from the start, the movement was highly supportive of the Palestinian intifada and dismissive of Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state. Furthermore, the movement relied on its radical message to attract attention and encourage supporters to act.

Two separate divestment conferences were held in 2003. The first was on 10-12 October at Rutgers University in New Jersey, and the second on 7-9 November at Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio. The Rutgers conference, which was held off-campus, was hosted by the New Jersey (NJ) Solidarity/Activists for the Liberation of Palestine, a radical leftist group led by Charlotte Kates, a law student at Rutgers. NJ Solidarity wants the movement to continue advocating an uncompromising and unapologetic line supporting the intifada, and “an end to the Jewish state.” Groups endorsing the conference included Al-Awda, a movement that calls for the destruction of Israel (its motto is “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free”); Islamic Association for Palestine, an antisemitic organization which, according to the FBI, coordinates its activities directly with Hamas terrorists; Free Palestine Alliance (FPA); International Action Center and its affiliated ANSWER; Muslim Student Association – National; and Students for Justice in Palestine.

The conference at Ohio State University reflected the trend in the anti-Israel movement to use Jews and Israelis as speakers, in order to prove that the movement is not antisemitic. “Many of the conference organizers are Jewish, so those claims [that the PSM conference in Ohio State University promoted antisemitism] are just absurd,” said Nahla Saleh. Indeed, two prominent anti-Zionist Jewish activists are associated with the CJP (Committee for Justice in Palestine), the group that hosted the conference: Joseph Levine, faculty adviser to the CJP, and Ora Wise of Jews against the Occupation.

Groups that endorsed the Ohio conference included: Al-Awda Chicago; AWARE, a NJ-NY activist forum which claims that support for Israel is support for “racism, apartheid and terror;” and SUSTAIN (Stop US Tax-Funded Aid to Israel Now), a coalition of student and non-student activists that sees the divestment campaign as part of a ”global intifada.” Yoshie Furuhashi, a CJP activist who feels that PSM should oppose suicide bombings, stated that Israel’s Law of Return, which allows Jews to immigrate to the country, is “the practice of Jewish supremacy, much like white supremacy in US and South African histories.”

Several anti-Israel organizations have argued that “Israelization of the United States” has occurred. This new spin on the claim that America is controlled by Israel is more palatable than that of a conspiratorial cabal that directs events. According to this argument, America’s special relations with Israel have enabled Israel’s political culture and values to seep into its political system, causing America to abandon its civil rights foundation and adopt a militaristic approach in foreign policy. First, they contend, the United States neglected its own interests for the sake of those of a foreign country, Israel. Second, America abandoned its core values. The Patriot Act, enacted after 9/11, and the occupation of Iraq, are manifestations of the results of this process, which now affect the world’s entire Muslim population, rather than just the Palestinians.

On 20 February, CAIR (Council on American-Islamic Relations) spokesman Ibrahim Hooper suggested on MSNBC that US investigations of terrorism were politically driven by support for Israel. He stated: “The entire controversy began with the attack dogs of the pro-Israel lobby going after Sami Al-Arian [see below], the Holy Land Foundation [and] other groups in the United States... The [pro-Israel lobby] wanted to shut them down because they oppose the occupation in Palestine.” According to Hooper, this was part of a process of “Israelization” of “American policy and procedures.”

On 27 June, Marwan Bishara, a lecturer at the American University of Paris, published an op-ed piece in the International Herald Tribune, titled “The Israelization of American Policy: Fighting Fire with Fire,” in which he wrote: “Since the Sept. 11 attacks, Washington has internalized Israel’s claustrophobic view of a world full of hatred and terrorism.” In an article he published in the US-based Internet publication, Palestine Chronicle, Bishara asks, “Why, then, does Washington mimic worldwide the worst of Israel’s chutzpah and, for lack of a better word, plagiarize Israeli doctrine and policy?”

The US Campaign to End the Israel Occupation, an influential Palestinian support organization, uses the “Israelization” argument to protest the occupation of Iraq, which it compares to Israeli control of Palestinian areas. A flier the UCEIC put out in preparation for a large anti-war protest planned for March 2004 claims that “increasingly, the two occupations are coming to resemble each other, as the occupiers actively collaborate to put down indigenous resistance.”

Following the September 11 attacks, Muslim American organizations found themselves forced to take a stand on terrorism. Some organizations, which in the past had avoided condemning terrorist attacks, began doing so. However, many organizations differentiate between al-Qa`ida-style terrorism and the terrorist campaign waged by Palestinian organizations against Israel: organizations that condemned al-Qa`ida did not criticize Hizballah and the Palestinian terrorist organizations. Furthermore, they argued that fighting those organizations was carried out on Israel’s behalf, and was in fact counterproductive to the effort to neutralize the terrorist threat to America.

James Zogby, president of the Arab American Institute, who is considered a moderate in Washington, told The Washington Post (8 May 2003) that “by criminalizing attempts to send money to Hizballah or to support it, the FBI is confusing and alienating people here who could be allies in the war on terrorism.” The Post article also interviewed Osama Siblani, publisher of the Dearborn, Michigan paper, Arab American News, who said: “Mr. Bush believes Hizballah, Hamas and other Palestinian factions are terrorists, but we believe they are freedom fighters.”

CAIR’s Dallas-Fort Worth chapter issued a press release in December 2002 condemning the arrest of four Dallas residents who were accused by the US of dealing with Hamas terrorists, saying “One is left wondering whether these arrest orders were issued from Tel Aviv or from Washington, DC!”

In February 2003 Sami Al-Arian, a University of South Florida professor, was arrested on suspicion that he had served as a leader of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad. For supporters of Al-Arian, the arrest proved that the US was doing Israel’s bidding and was, in effect, helping it to suppress the Palestinians. The tactic of Israel’s supporters, they claimed, was to unfairly equate the intifada with al-Qa`ida’s international terrorist campaign. Anti-Israel advocacy groups sought to portray Al-Arian as a symbol of the Palestinians’ just fight against Israel, and of freedom of speech, and his arrest as irrelevant to the war on terror.

On an MSNBC program, CAIR spokesman Ibrahim Hooper suggested that the arrest of Sami Al-Arian was part of the “Israelization” of “American policy and procedures,” and argued that the Palestinian Islamic Jihad was not a terrorist organization in the way al-Qa`ida was. When asked “Are they the same?” Hooper replied: “Well, obviously, I’m not going to support some tactics of the Islamic Jihad, but they’re in a world apart from al-Qa`ida. They’ve never threatened anyone outside of Israel and the occupied territory.... they oppose the occupation in Palestine.”

Following his arrest, Sami Al-Arian compared himself to Jesus, stating that he, too, “was persecuted by his contemporaries.” Al-Arian’s teenage daughter delivered her father’s statement outside the courtroom: “I’m being crucified because of who I am, a stateless Palestinian, an Arab and a Muslim, and because I’m outspoken in defending Palestinian rights.” Al-Arian also asserted that he lives by Patrick Henry’s famous call to arms: “Give me liberty or give me death!” He also went on a prolonged hunger strike. The implication is clear and well calculated: Al-Arian embodies both the aspirations of the indigenous Palestinian people fighting for their land and the true spirit of American freedom; on the other hand, those who have betrayed these ideals are the American authorities which are crucifying another revolutionary (Al-Arian as Jesus) on behalf of the Jews.

Anti-Israel rhetoric among extreme right-wing groups in the US accelerated dramatically during 2003. Although focusing on current events such as Israel, the Middle East crisis, the war in Iraq and 9/11 conspiracy theories, across the entire spectrum of extremist groups there was an underlying continuation of classic themes of Jewish totalitarian power and of Jews striving to manipulate and control world events for their own benefit. Israel itself is seen as the exemplar of all things wrong with Jews throughout the ages.

The real problem in today’s world, they say, is Israel, Israeli omnipotence, and by implication, the Jews. In January, Free American, a right-wing anti-government publication, noted, “But what if, unknown to most people, the world’s power élite were using Israel to advance their New World Order? What if Israel’s role were to colonize the Middle East, and to become the seat of the World Religion.” Other extremists wrote that Israel was committing genocide using US weapons and supplies, that Mossad killing teams were invading the West, and that Israel was developing a “genetic bomb” targeted at Arabs. Regarding the Iraq war, a common sentiment, voiced by Tom Metzger of White Aryan Resistance, was that Israel was the problematic country in the Middle East, not Iraq. He wrote in March that many of the world’s difficulties could be solved if the “United States would only bomb Israel instead of Iraq.” Media Bypass, a right-wing publication with conspiracy overtones, wrote in April that “Israel is the only nuclear power in the Middle East, the only country in the Middle East that refuses to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, that refuses to allow international inspections of its nuclear facilities, and that stands in defiance of more than 60 United Nations resolutions.”

Israel was perceived as being the driving force behind the Iraq war, and also as being the country that truly gained from the war. American Free Press (17 Feb.) felt that “Israel is clamoring for war and is the one country that stands to gain anything from any US invasion of Iraq.” Media Bypass noted in April that “the principal beneficiary of the war against Iraq will be Israel.” The Truth at Last (no. 44, Summer) wrote that the fact that “Bush declared war on Iraq on the Jewish feast of Purim” demonstrated that the war was not for America, but for Israel. The author describes outbursts of joy in synagogues on 14 March as Bush stated he was determined to rid Iraq of Saddam Husayn.” The anti-Israel website of former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke stated, on 21 March, that “the war in Iraq is surely not a war for America, but one for Israel. It is a terrible betrayal of all our fighting men.” Criminal Politics (March 2003), a conspiracy magazine, wrote that President Bush had funded Saddam Husayn’s endeavors to kill Arabs in the Middle East in order “to solve Israel’s population imbalance.” In May, America’s Promise Newsletter, a Christian Identity publication, claimed that the main reason for the war was “because Iraq is one of the main suppliers of weapons for the Palestinian people in their war against Israeli aggression.” It also added that “this conflict is only for the purpose of creating a final resolution of the Palestinian-Jewish conflict. To do this, it will be arranged to transfer the Palestinians to a new home in Iraq.”

While one can argue that the more Israel is identified with the power of the United States, and the United States is increasingly hated worldwide, the more Israel is also abhorred and identified as powerful. Conversely right-wing extremists often believe Zionists and associated groups control the United States government and its policies. In March Media Bypass wrote: “U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East has been hijacked by some neocons who have strong allegiance to Israel’s extremists.... some reportedly having Israeli citizenship in addition to their American one.” Sometimes specific political figures are implicated, such as Assistant Attorney General in the Department of Justice Michael Chertoff, who was allegedly responsible for releasing members of an Israeli spy ring in the United States after 9/11, and prosecuted several White supremacist leaders. In May the Nationalist Times also railed against the Christian Right as a political power, dubbed the “Zionist-fundamentalist Christian coalition.” American Free Press claimed in September that “topping the fundamentalists’ Christian political wish list is the sovereignty and supremacy of Israel in the Holy Land.” Further, Chronicles, a paleo-Conservative magazine, wrote in February that, “the friends of Israel in the policymaking community in Washington... are contemplating a thorough reconstruction of the Middle Eastern political architecture.” American Free Press concluded on 1 September that there was a “broad-ranging campaign by ‘neo-conservative’ imperialist-minded elements to destabilize the entire Arab world.”

Two years after the 9/11 attacks on America, conspiracy theories claiming that the attacks were actually carried out by Israelis and Jews continue to abound, uniting American far right extremists and white supremacists and elements within the Arab and Muslim world. This theory is a modern manifestation of the antisemitic Protocols of the Elders of Zion. September 11 conspiracies have led to the proliferation of similar theories about other global disasters. For example, some conspiracy theorists claim Israel was implicated in the destruction of Space Shuttle Columbia and suggest that shuttle astronaut Col. Ilan Ramon was actually a ”spy” for Israel. September 11 conspiracies have spawned an entire industry that includes antisemitic books, pamphlets, videotapes, websites and speakers.

Speaking at the Islamic Conference Organization summit on 16 October 2003, Prime Minister Mahathir Muhammad of Malaysia told the assembly of leaders of 57 nations that Jews “rule the world by proxy” and “get others to fight and die for them.” He called for a “final victory” by the world’s 1.3 billion Muslims, whom, he said, “cannot be defeated by a few million Jews.” The response to these remarks by America’s extreme right – united in their belief that Jews exercise power by proxy – was almost immediate. On the popular extreme right website Stormfront, visitors were encouraged from the day of the speech to call the Malaysian embassy (the number was provided) and express support for Mahathir. The web forum sponsored by the hate music label Resistance Records, owned by the virulently antisemitic neo-Nazi National Alliance, also encouraged visitors to call. The National Alliance said that Mahathir’s comments “certainly sound like a good idea. Many Aryans through the National Alliance have been organizing to free our people from being the Jews’ proxies.”

Antisemitic web journalist Alex Linder said “we are going to have to kill the Jews controlling the country.”

San Francisco, USA, June 5th 6th, 2004


from Yourish.com


from IndyBay



















from Agent Zombie via LGF

















Postcards, $6.50 for a package of 8


Tuesday, June 08, 2004

NPR Ombudsman on the Liberal nature of the press

"how to keep journalists on the defensive in an election year"

Jeffrey Dvorkin examines a recent study by the Pew Center for the Public and the Press, which found that a majority of American journalists identify themselves as liberal.
This is only a small portion of the study. But it is likely to follow news organizations around for the rest of the political year like Marley's ghost. For some, Bush's rise or fall in November will be inextricably linked to this poll.

Of course, according to Dvorkin, "the poll may be a disservice" because it "never explains how or if bias has an impact on journalism."

Bias? Impact? Nah.

And btw, polls are surveys of public opinion for the acquisition of information; they are not meant to explain anything. The Ombudsman should know that.

Speaking of which, here's a good one. Explain this, if you will: "Belief that Jews were Responsible for Christ's Death Increases"
Q: Were the Jews responsible for Christ's death?

March 1997 Yes 19%

March 2004 Yes 26%
If your mind leaps to Gibson's movie, you're not the only one. Further results show that of those who have seen the movie, 36% percent "feel Jews were responsible," compared to 29% percent of those who plan to see the movie, and only 17% of those who have no plans to see it.

So there, O'Reilly.

Jihad comes to UC-Irvine

from FrontPageMagazine via Jihad Watch
At UC-Irvine, the MSU [Muslim Student Union] and SAS [Society of Arab Students] members wore green armbands to support Hamas. The leaders of Jewish campus organizations protested in vain to the politically correct administration, which is (or pretends to be) unfamiliar with Hamas' charter. Indeed, an MSU member sent an e-mail to the MSU list concerning whether graduating students should wear sashes which say "shahada" (the Arabic word for suicide bomber).

It's been quite a day. Jihad Watch notes - just so far today, in addition to this bit about UC-Irvine - that Italy and Belgium arrested 17 terrorist suspects, Turkish Muslims were abducted in Iraq by other Muslims, an American citizen was shot to death in Saudi Arabia, members from disbanding Iraqi militias will join that country's new army and police, al Qaeda is targeting Western airliners and continuing to use the humanitarian funds raised by Islamic charities for terror attacks, and the increasing pirate attacks on ships in the South Pacific may have a connection to Islamic terrorism.

Whew, it's a lot. No wonder NPR is (still) only covering Abu Grahib; it's a lot less depressing than the Big Picture.

The Good News is that an American commando operation today, south of Baghdad, bloodlessly rescued Italian and Polish hostages. Robert Spencer writes,
And let's pause a moment to remember Fabrizio Quattrocchi, the Italian hostage executed in Iraq who, moments before he was shot dead, tried to tear off his hood and shouted "Now I'll show you how an Italian dies."
G-d bless him, and let him rest in peace.

An open letter to Arik Sharon.

Dear Mr. Prime Minister,

Let's see what happens to a person's powers of judgment when he or she fails to utilize the age-old wisdom of Torah:

Akiva Eldar writes in today's Haaretz, "On September 1, 1982, Reagan published his Middle East peace plan, which proposed autonomy for the Palestinians in the West Bank, as part of a federation with Jordan. Ariel Sharon was defense minister in Menachem Begin's government, which ripped the Reagan plan to shreds because, among other reasons, of its demand to freeze settlements. Rejection of the plan led, five years later, to a parting gift from the Reagan administration - the first official dialogue between the United States and the Palestine Liberation Organization. From there, it was a short road to the Madrid Conference and the Oslo Accord, the Wye agreement and the road map."

So you see, Mr. Prime Minister, you - with your own two hands - fumbled the ball behind the PLO goal line; you put Arafat on the scoreboard!

When I read Eldar's article, my hands went clammy. On the very day when Regan announced his peace plan - Sept. 1, 1982 - a small but very special unit of the IDF identified and surrounded the villa in Beirut where arch-villian Arafat was holed up. Yassir's ugly puss was smack in the middle of their telescopic sites. The mission commander asked for an OK from HQ to pull the trigger. You, then Defense Minister Sharon, denied permission. Why? Only you know the answer, Mr. Prime Minister.

The pattern in Jewish history repeats itself. The minute one is compassionate with the cruel, one ends up being cruel with the compassionate. King Saul lost the kingdom because he took pity on the cruel and wicked king Agag of Amalek, Haman and Hitler's greatgrandfather. Ultimately, King Saul was cruel to the compassionate, by executing the Cohanim (priests) of Nob and by persecuting David.

Mr. Prime Minister, you have spared Arafat's life on more than one occasion; now, you are decreeing that 8,000 of the most beautiful families in Israel lose their homes. Be honest - you have no answers to a myriad of worst-case scenarios the day after an Israeli pullout from Gush Katif. When you're kind to the cruel you end up being cruel to the kind.

Mr. Prime Minister, you let the wolves of the antireligious parties chew away at child support, old age pensions, and Torah education. As a result, the wolves in your own den are waiting to eat you alive. Don't you realize that you've lost control? Some democracy, when you don't listen to your own party referendum and when you fire ministers to approve a decision. Yet, you're slave to a tiny but sinister political mafia the pulls your strings like a puppet on a wire. Admit that you're boxed in.

You can get out of the jam, Mr. Prime Minister. When a person loses all hope, and feels the cold edge of a sharp sword on his or her neck, all they have to do is to belay their foolish pride and cry out G-d's name. It's not too late, even for an old warhorse like you. Ask Hashem for help and guidance, he won't let you down. Call Rabbi Ovadiah Yossef, the Gerrer Rebbe, or Rav Leib Steinman and ask their advice. Better yet, call all three. Only the wisdom of Torah can get our beloved wagon out of the mud.

Most respectfully yours, Lazer Brody



San Francisco Women in Black meet Protest Warriors





You have to read this IndyBay coverage to believe it.
At the June 5th Anti-War protest in San Francisco, Women in Black had a sizable contingent. Unfortunately calls for peace were drowned out by rightwing groups waving American and Israeli flags and carrying signs denigrating Palestinians, the "Left" and even [gasp!] the United Nations.

They ask: "Does the right really believe this?
In answer (forgive the pun) to the question, Yes, I believe the Arabs and take them at their word:
Nasrallah: "If Jews all gather in Israel, it will save us the trouble of going after them worldwide."

Massawi, of HezB'Allah: “We are not fighting so that you will offer us something. We are fighting to eliminate you.”

Yassin of the Hamas: "Make no mistake, there will be no peace as long as there is a Zionist-Jewish state. Our holy goal is to liberate all of Palestine, and if the Jews do not go, they will die. All of Palestine is Islamic land – every inch."

Oy, I left a comment at that IndyBay site (which included those three quotes), and where they asked for title (just before "Name"), I posted "Ms." (as opposed to "Mr." or "Mrs.") What they were asking for, however, was a title to the post. It looks really stupid and I feel like an idiot. And I probably shouldn't have left my real name. When will I learn to stay away from those idiotic forums?

Natan Sharansky on President Reagan

"The prisoners' conscience"
Jewish World Review: In 1983, I was confined to an eight-by-ten-foot prison cell on the border of Siberia. My Soviet jailers gave me the privilege of reading the latest copy of Pravda. Splashed across the front page was a condemnation of President Ronald Reagan for having the temerity to call the Soviet Union an "evil empire." Tapping on walls and talking through toilets, word of Reagan's "provocation" quickly spread throughout the prison. We dissidents were ecstatic. Finally, the leader of the free world had spoken the truth - a truth that burned inside the heart of each and every one of us.

At the time, I never imagined that three years later, I would be in the White House telling this story to the president. When he summoned some of his staff to hear what I had said, I understood that there had been much criticism of Reagan's decision to cast the struggle between the superpowers as a battle between good and evil.

World Donations to "Palestinian Refugees" Declining


This AFP article includes some interesting facts and figures, although it never explains its source: the Largest-Ever Conference on "Palestine Refugees" which opened in Geneva yesterday, with 67 countries and 34 international organizations in attendance.

  • "Palestinian refugees" numbered -according to this account- 950,000 in 1950, and now are approximately 4 million. One third are under age 14.

  • The number of Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank who rely on the UNRWA for food aid has risen almost ten-fold since September 2000: from 130,000 to 1.1 million.

  • The UNRWA received less than half of its $196 million emergency funding last year, and also "fell short of target" on the overall budget of $438 million.

  • The USA funded 25% of the budget, about $110 million, and the EU and west European countries funded about 55%.

Different countries contribute . . . differently:
On Tuesday, the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) Fund announced a 2.5 million dollars (two million euros) contribution to some UNRWA financial programmes, and there was little sign of further funding expected from Gulf [i.e. Arab] countries.

Switzerland promised about two million Swiss francs (1.6 million dollars), Canada, Australia and New Zealand also came up with additional cash, and Japan announced that about five million extra dollars were in the pipeline.

Officials from some European countries said they were ready to grant new money, but largely declined to say how much.

The United States reiterated that it would only come up with more if it felt that "other countries are doing their share," US Assistant Secretary of State Arthur Dewey said.

Kofi Annan's message to the Conference stated
"This is far from the first time that the Palestine refugees have found themselves in adverse conditions. Hardship and uncertainty have been enduring features of their historical experience. Thankfully, they are a resourceful people, a quality that has helped them to sustain their communities in the face of persistent challenges and conflict."
He went on to enumerate the improvements in refugees' living conditions that were "realized by the end of the 1960s" -- but for some odd reason didn't speak of the amazing improvements in Palestinian health, education and economy during the time of Israeli occupation/administration of the terror-tories, 1967~1993. (For that, you have to read Karsh).

Annan fells all over himself, extolling the virtues of the refugees to potential donors at the Conference:
"The Palestine refugees have shown admirable resilience and a strong commitment to making a better life for themselves. As the overwhelming majority of the Agency’s teachers, doctors, social workers and other employees, they have also been the backbone of UNRWA’s enterprise. The dedication of the staff in the occupied Palestinian territory, who have kept operations going in the most difficult of circumstances – and nine of whom have been killed in the past three years – has been exceptional."

Funny, the AFP photo which accompanies the article is of Palestinian refugees in Iraq.

Two Palestinian children walk through the Haifa
Palestinian refugee camp in Baghdad. Four million
Palestinian refugees are at a 'crucial juncture'
following decades of dashed hopes and flagging aid
which might turn the increasingly young population
into 'gun-slinging militants', a senior UN official
warned.(AFP/Awad Awad)

Under Saddam, Palestinians in Iraq enjoyed special protection; when he was forced from power, local Iraqis drove the Palestinians from their homes.

More about Palestinian refugees in Iraq - from a PLO perspective - courtesy of McGill University Faculty of Arts.

NB: 100,000-120,000 Jews fled Iraq in 1950-51.
El-Balad, an Arab daily paper in the Jordan-held "old city" of Jerusalem, stressed the value to the Arabs of the Jews' flight from Iraq, since "roughly 120,000" Jewish refugees had fled Baghdad for Israel, leaving all of their goods and homes behind them 5 Salah Jabr, former Prime Minister of Iraq and leader of Iraq's National Socialist Party had stated that
the emigration of 120,000 Jews from Iraq to Israel is beneficial to Iraq and to the Palestinian Arabs because it makes possible the entry into Iraq of a similar number of Arab refugees and their occupation of the Jewish houses there.

UPDATE 06/09/04: "It was not a pledging conference, but several delegations pledged $10.5 million to the U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees or UNRWA. The head of UNRWA, Peter Hansen, calls the conference a great success. He says he is confident that considerable amounts of money will be forthcoming (VOA).


Israel announces closure of Gaza's Erez Industrial Zone

The Israeli factories will be relocated to Ashkelon, Sderot
JPost: The joint Israeli-Palestinian Erez industrial zone, in the northern entrance to the Gaza Strip, will be closed down and its factories relocated to several other locations in the south of the country, including in Ashkelon and Sderot, Industry, Trade and Labor Minister Ehud Olmert announced on Tuesday.

Speaking on a tour in the southern town of Sderot, Olmert said that by relocating the factories of the industrial zone, more job opportunities would be available for many unemployed Israelis in the south.

Olmert said that following the cabinet's approval of the disengagement plan from the Gaza Strip on Sunday, he decided to go ahead with the evacuation of the Israeli factories operating in the Erez industrial zone.

The instable security situation in the area, Olmert said, resulted in the past months in large financial loses for Israeli factory owners.

Half of the 201 existing factories in the industrial zone are Israeli owned. In the past, some 4,000 Palestinian workers and 350 Israeli workers were employed in the various factories.

Druze village heads called upon owners of textile industries in the Erez industrial zone to shift their enterprises back to Galilee villages. They are offering long-term tax breaks to the industrialists.

Yarka Regional Council representative Mahmoud Ramel proposed that the Ministry for Trade, Industry and Labor offer grants and benefits to those plants that relocate to Druze villages.

Haaretz Poll: Israeli Views


The Peace Index project is conducted at the Tami Steinmetz Center for Peace Research of Tel Aviv University, headed by Prof. Ephraim Yaar and Dr. Tamar Hermann. The telephone interviews were conducted by the B. I. Cohen Institute of Tel Aviv University from May 31 to June 2, with 589 interviewees representing adult Jews and Arabs of Israel (including the territories and the kibbutzim). The error for a sample of this size is around 4.5 percent in each direction.

The government's security policy is . . .
Successful 40%
Failure 21%

The IDF's military performance is . . .
Successful 64%
Failure 9%

In the past year, national security has . . .
Deteriorated 31%
Stayed similar 35%
Improved 32%

In the past year, personal security has . . .
Deteriorated 21%
Stayed similar 48%
Improved 27%

IDF force used against Palestinians in Gaza was . . .
Appropriate 51%
Insufficient 20%
Excessive 17%
Don't know 12%

Should Israel financially compensate those whose homes were destroyed?
No 70%
Yes 26%
Don't know 4%

Feelings toward Palestinians who lost their homes:
Great or considerable empathy 28.5%
Indifferent or no feelings 26%
Lack or total lack of empathy 40%

On Disengagement
"The surveys show broad public support for the disengagement plan. In your view, should Sharon change the composition of his government so that he will have a majority for the plan (for example, by adding Labor)?"
53% are sure, or think, he should
34% are sure, or think, he should not
13% did not know

Preferences for Prime Minister:
Sharon 33%
Netanyahu 17.4%
Shimon Peres 13%
Ami Ayalon 7%
Yossi Beilin 4%
Uzi Landau 3.5%
Amir Peretz 3%

Current self-definition:
Right 50%
Centrist 21%
Left 18%
Didn't Choose 11%

In a total contrast to the Israeli Jewish public, the Israeli Arab public expresses complete opposition to the Sharon government's security policy and to the measures the IDF took in Gaza. . . . It also emerges that the Arab public's assessment of national and personal security is completely different from the Jewish public's.
I haven't included in this excerpt the breakdowns along religious lines provided by Haaretz because they seem intent on portraying the religiously observant as hateful and the Left as heroic. I'm really not interested in that kind of bias, but you can go and indulge if you like: Peace Index.

If you'd like to participate in a poll, JPost is currently asking, "Should Israel apologize when innocent Palestinians are killed in IDF action?" With 2734 having voted, the results are 41% Yes, 59% No.




In Israel: MOTHERS FOR FORTITUDE AND UNITY

"And I will Pass Over You and See You Covered In Your Own Blood And I will
Say to you In Your Own Blood You Will Live"


Three horrific photographs in the last few weeks reached almost every single house in Israel and shook the very fibers of the people. Three photographs different one from the other and yet alike.

The first photograph - "The mother with her sons" ..Tali Chatuel and her daughters Z"L so brutally murdered by terrorists. "Confirmation of
killing" - that is the term for murder from close range - eye contact
venomously filled with hate.

The second photograph - The memorial for Tali and her daughters - hundreds of men, women, and children gathered to bid farewell and to weep for them. And there beyond the tears the sound of gunfire, a murderous attack on the crowd; causing a feeling of fear and disgrace. Whenever did Jews have to dig into the earth in order to protect themselves? Is this a fitting picture for a nation with so strong an army? This time we miraculously were not hurt.

The third photograph - Between Gaza and Rafiach - thirteen Israeli soldiers killed in various military operations, and yet the same situation. In each instance we heard the victorious shouts of the murderers and witnessed them stealing pieces of the remains of the bodies, and desecrating the honor of our soldiers.

Is there a connection between the three pictures? Yes, a connection of
endless deep hate and cruelty- a loathing for us that is indescribable in words. This is the reality of our situation - these are our enemies.

From the depths of the shock and pain that each of us felt following the fore mentioned situations, responses of weakness were broadcast: "We must immediately abandon Gush Katif". "The settlers are to blame for the horrible security situation, and of course for the economic and social problems we have." "Get the I.D.F. out of Gaza." Etc.

These responses to the situation caused us, a group of women and mothers, to insist upon being heard in each and every possible way. As opposed to the "Four Mothers" - who express dismal weakness of character and defeatism, we the "Mothers for Fortitude and Unity" "ACHVA", have a different message.

With all of the pain and heartache we mustn't lose our fortitude and
determination, the very basic instincts we need in order to keep on living especially now.

The purpose of the organization:

To impress an atmosphere of strength of will: personal and national
fortitude brought forth from faith and knowledge of the justification of our direction - to mothers and sons and to all of the various sectors of our nation.

To say to the beloved Israeli Defense Forces soldiers and officers:
we appreciate your courage and spirit and the hard and fatiguing work that you are doing. Don't be discouraged - go forth with the strength of the faith in what you are doing and you will succeed.

In the past we have known difficulties and simply through the
strength of our spirit and our inner faith we have always overcome. We have built a wondrous nation in spite of all. We have always prevailed not because of the tank, but because of the man that is in the tank.

The officers and soldiers of the I.D.F. deserve to be praised - to
be loved and shown the enormous appreciation that we feel and shall continueto give them without reservation.

Capitulation, withdrawal and yet another illusion of "false peace"
always weakens the nation and the military, while on the other hand it
strengthens our enemies.

Our strength as a Nation has always been in our unity - we will
work together in order to strive for national unity, clarifying our position at every possible opportunity in order to restore Jewish and National values to our people. One the one hand we shall dissipate each and every lie and distortion that we encounter, and on the other hand we invite each and every person who is willing to sit with us to hear us.

ONLY THROUGH SPIRITUAL STRENGTH AND UNITY WILL WE SUCCEED IN OVERCOMING DIFFICULTIES AND BE ABLE TO BUILD A SECURE FUTURE

Mothers for Fortitude and Unity (ACHVA)

For responses:
Shoshi Slozki
Fax: 08 684 5446
e-mail: efisloz@012.net.il