Friday, March 9, 2012

When the Press Incites Palestinians into War, We All Lose

by B. Davidson

In Silwan, an older balaclava-clad child with a slingshot fires off a stone at the police, as cameras in front of him captured his “heroic” pose.

Photo: B. Davidson.

A dramatic Agence France-Presse photo of a gang of Palestinian youths near Hebron smashing big rocks on the windshield of a passing Israeli motorist’s car on Feb. 21, and the driver’s reflexive head-down cringe as she gunned her SUV though the melee, has shocked readers on many news websites and blogs.

The photograph caught a flak-jacketed press videographer standing directly behind one of the stone throwers, filming as the rock exploded on her windshield. The cameraman “was seeking a better picture angle to snap away at what was about to happen.”

“On my left were at least two other photographers, waiting for the action,” driver Zahava Weiss of Carmei Tzur later told local media. Several Israelis have been killed and many hurt in the near-daily stone salvos. In the Feb. 21 incident, the immediate question for many was whether the scene a media setup, and to what degree—if any—did the cameraman actively or passively collude with the stone throwing “shabab” (“gang” in Arabic) in order to get the “money shot?”

This situation is indicative of what has become an open secret: a professionally, ethically, and morally questionable symbiotic relationship between press photographers and Palestinians. Photographers need the dramatic stills and footage for their agencies and clients, and the shabab want their deeds recorded for international posterity. But the public abroad never sees how the images were achieved, and assumes it’s all spontaneous, and that the camera just happened to be there at the right moment.

This phenomenon, since dubbed as “fauxtography,” became apparent to me in December 2010, in a story about Arab and Jewish squatters in Jerusalem’s eastern Silwan/Shiloach neighborhood. In an alleyway, I saw what seemed to encapsulate the paradigm: photographers and stone throwers—apparently—stage-managing an afternoon-long rock throwing battle with police, one of who knows how many such events that might never have happened were there no cameras present to record the events.

As I often do in such stories, I brought along my own camera in order to accurately describe details for an article afterward. At one point, my back flat against the alleyway wall with several Arab photographers, a youth ran in front of us and cocked his arm to hurl a stone at the police, some 50 yards away.

However, I was shocked to then hear one of them stage-whisper “Yal-la! Yal-la! Harb, harb! (Go! Go! War, war!),” in order to galvanize the kid into more daring action. 
Hold that image: an adult press-carded photographer was egging on children to hurl rocks and bottles at heavily armed riot police, in hopes of getting better action shots, indifferent to consequences to the child, the police, the neighbors, or local and international repercussions.

An older man behind the youths would scream “Allah Akbar!” in order to whip up the shabab. It was hard not to get the impression that the “handler,” as I’ll call him, was the backstage manager for the “spontaneous” event.

The kids would take turns running forward to throw rocks, and then rush back to take cover from the oncoming five or six police by hiding behind the press at their end of the alley. The handler would then talk to them in a huddle, while the photographers got easy action shots of onrushing police.

Standing between the photographers and the cops, he then lifted the child, who—as though on cue—waved a tiny, defiant fist, as the cameras clattered away. So the angle the viewer got was “An armed, black-uniformed Israel Police SWAT team member faces down a Palestinian toddler.”

I was professionally and personally appalled by what appeared to be active and passive cooperation between the Arabs and the press: an effective PR machine custom made for foreign media consumption.

Both disbelieving and disgusted when I realized what seemed to be taking place, more and more I started photographing the stone throwers “off-stage” as they gathered stones and conferred with the handler. Some would try to cover their unmasked faces, gesturing and shouting at me in Arabic not to photograph them.

At one point, the handler, who had been urgently waving at me not to photograph him, led a group of five or six youths who threateningly surrounded me. When I didn’t respond when one of them shoved me, the handler” then angrily got close up in my face and demanded that I stop photographing.

To calm the tension, I casually shrugged and told them in English that I was “just doing my job,” and they left me alone as I continued photographing the events. 

At one surreal moment in the fray, the photographers all took a coffee break, taking cups from a tray graciously proffered them by a man who exited the home of one of the Arab squatters in the story.

The police stood nearby, in full riot gear and breathless after charging at the stone throwers. They were not offered coffee.

B. Davidson


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From Latma, A Purim Post: Peace Now's Megillah

by Latma TV

[SZ: More than a little irreverent, but that's ok on Purim. Enjoy.]

Latma TV is a satirical web site associated with Caroline Glick.


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NY Times Stokes Palestinian Victimhood, Ignores Self-inflicted Wounds

by Leo Rennert

In its March 8 edition, the New York Times runs a front-page article about the plight of the Palestinians. Jerusalem bureau chief Ethan Bronner writes that since the onset of the Arab Spring and the world's focus on Iran's nuclear program, "the Palestinian leadership has found itself orphaned." Palestinians are politically divided between Fatah and Hamas, peace talks with Israel have collapsed and foreign support is waning. ("Mideast Din Drowns Out Palestinians" page one )

Bronner goes on to quote Salam Fayyad, the Palestinian prime minister, that Arabs elsewhere are preoccupied with their own problems, the U.S. is in an election year and has economic problems, Europe has its worries - "We're in a corner."

In sum, the Palestinian question is no longer front and center on the world's agenda.

All true. But who bears responsibility for this sad state of affairs? Bronner points to external forces and trends. But in doing so, he only helps perpetuate a familiar Palestinian sense of victimhood. It's always someone else who's to blame - whether it's Israel, the U.S., or oil-rich Arab states that don't come through with their financial pledges. In the meantime, a two-state solution recedes even farther on anyone's calendar.

In echoing these familiar complaints, Bronner does no favor to the Palestinians. If they're in a funk because the world is turning its back, it's because of self-inflicted wounds - a lack of vision and statesmanship by leaders who won't take responsibility for steering Palestinians toward any sort of realistic peace deal.

Despite all the problems that beset the Palestinians, Mahmoud Abbas still could kickstart meaningful peace talks. How? By taking Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu at his word and inviting him to Ramallah and restart negotiations toward a two-state deal. Abbas would have to drop his insistence on a construction freeze in eastern Jerusalem and the West Bank as pre-conditions for a new round of talks. But if he really wants to advance the peace process, why not plunge directly into negotiations on all outstanding issues?

The answer is that Abbas continues to run away from any realistic Palestinian overtures that could bear fruit. For that to happen, he would have to prepare his people for painful compromises on Jerusalem and the "right of return," jettison maximalist demands that would eliminate the Jewish state, and stop glorifying terrorist killers.

By now, it's clear Abbas is not apt to head in that direction. Having groomed generations of Palestinians to let the world do their bidding and pursue ways to supplant Israel rather than accepting a compromise painful to both sides, Abbas has dug himself a deep hole from which he can no longer extricate himself.

Bronner, however, avoids any critique of Abbas that would hold him responsible for the Palestinians' self-inflicted wounds. Like Abbas, he bemoans the world's growing inattentiveness to Palestinian plights, but avoids urging Palestinians to take charge of their own fate.

To be of real help to the Palestinians, Bronner could begin by putting Abbas under the same critical lens that he uses to write about Netanyahu. Coddling Abbas and the Palestinians does them no favor.

A postscript: Atop Bronner's front-page piece, the Times runs a four-column color picture of Israeli soldiers firing at stone-throwers in the West Bank town of Al Ram. Except that the picture doesn't show any stone-throwing, only the fire of Israeli weapons. With the jump on page 3, the Times runs a four-column black-and-white picture of a Palestinian protester at Al Ram throwing stones at Israeli forces/ Which, of course, is another instance of the Times' upside-down coverage of the conflict. Israeli soldiers wouldn't be firing their weapons if Palestinians didn't pelt them with stones. Since the stone-throwing initiates such incidents, it should be featured on the front page, and the return IDF fire on the inside. The Times, however, does just the opposite - again suggesting with its vivid color photo on the front page -- that Israel is the guilty party.

Leo Rennert is a former White House correspondent and Washington bureau chief of McClatchy Newspapers.


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Israel, the United States and Iran -- Locked in the Dance of Destiny

by KT McFarland

Set your clocks and start your engines.

We’re counting down for a conflict in the Middle East. It’s not clear how it will start, or what will happen once it does. But it’s likely to begin in that narrow window of time between three countdown clocks sitting on Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s desk.

The first clock counts the "zone of diplomacy" -- how much more time
Israel feels it must give President Obama to halt Iran’s nuclear programs with sanctions and diplomacy. Netanyahu has concluded that three years of sanctions and diplomatic outreach to Iran have failed; that the only thing Iran has done since Obama extended the hand of friendship is accelerate its nuclear weapons program.

Obama wants to give a new round of sanctions and diplomacy more time. The sooner Netanyahu launches his jets, the better things look for his country militarily, but the worse they look diplomatically.

And here's the truth: whatever happens once the dust settles, Israel needs America.

The second clock counts Iran’s "zone of immunity" -- that is how much time is left before Iran moves its nuclear program deep underground where it is no longer vulnerable to an Israeli attack.

The more capable US weapons systems could attack Iran’s nuclear sites even after Iran moves underground, but Israel can’t bet its very existence on Obama’s willingness to use them.

The third clock counts down to the American election -- let's call it the "campaign zone." No presidential candidate can abandon Israel and expect to win in November. On the other hand, no president wants to seek re-election with another war in the Middle East and high gasoline prices at the pump as his calling card.

Israel knows that in the second term of an Obama presidency these factors are reversed. His pledge to have Israel's back may not hold past November.

Those three clocks should all near the final count down by this summer, leaving Netanyahu to ponder whether he should put the fate of Israel’s future in Obama’s hands.

He has already made it clear that when it comes to decision time, he won’t wait for Obama to save him. His statement this week that, “My supreme responsibility as prime minister of Israel is to ensure that Israel remains the master of its fate,” made clear that if it comes down to the crunch, Netanyahu won’t hesitate to go it alone.

But Netanyahu also made it clear that while Israel might feel compelled to go it alone, Iran would retaliate against the United States as well as Israel. He told Obama at the White House Monday, “You are the big Satan and we are the little Satan....We are you and you are us.”

Israel is not the only country setting the agenda in the Middle East, however. The United States and Iran may not initiate events, but they will respond to them.

And all three countries have different objectives. Israel’s position is straightforward. A nuclear Iran is an existential threat to the State of Israel. In other words, if Iran gets nukes, Israel’s days are numbered. It wants to stop a nuclear Iran at all costs.

The Iranian regime’s objectives are two-fold and mutually reinforcing: to become a nuclear weapons state AND even more importantly, to control the world’s energy flow.

Iran envisions an empire stretching from the Persian Gulf to the Mediterranean Sea, giving them control of the vital choke point of nearly a third of the world’s oil. Nuclear weapons might allow Iran to hold Israel and the Middle East hostage, but control over a vital piece of the world’s oil supply gives them leverage over the entire planet. Iran doesn’t want a war, especially one that draws in the overwhelming military power of the United States.

America’s objectives are more complicated. A nuclear Iran isn’t an existential threat for the United States the way it is for Israel, at least not for several years until Iran has Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles capable of reaching us.

We’re more concerned about proliferation of nuclear weapons in the region as other Middle East nations race to get their own. That means the next war in the Middle East – and for three thousand years there has always been another war in the Middle East – could well go nuclear.

As a country the immediate concern for the United States is to keep the oil flowing and domestic gasoline prices low. A conflict or even a prolonged crisis in the region could send prices through the roof.

For President Obama personally, the countdown is a test of his worldview and outreach to the Muslim world; hence his continued insistence on sanctions and diplomacy even in the face of three years of failure. But he’s a practical politician facing a tough reelection campaign. He is unlikely to initiate military action against Iran, despite what he says, but wouldn’t risk abandoning Israel once war breaks out and alienating key voters in the swing states, especially Florida.

He also knows that Americans are war weary, and that any conflict in the Middle East will rattle the world’s oil markets. High gasoline prices and long lines at the pump are the last thing he wants come November, especially since he has opposed ramped up development of the US oil and natural gas industries.

A second term Obama is an unconstrained Obama. His commitment to Israel could waver, especially if the price is economic reversals and a prolonged military commitment.

Israel, the United States and Iran are locked in a dance of destiny, and time is the dancing master. When the clocks finish counting down and the music finally stops is anyone’s guess.

Kathleen Troia "K.T." McFarland is a Fox News National Security Analyst and host of's DefCon 3. She is a Distinguished Adviser to the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies and served in national security posts in the Nixon, Ford and Reagan administrations.


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Another Piece of Obama’s Radical Puzzle

by Arnold Ahlert

Much remains unknown about Barack Obama’s radical past – which the president has gone to great lengths to conceal from the American people. Obama hasn’t succeeded in covering every trail, of course, as works such as David Horowitz’s “Barack Obama’s Rules for Revolution: The Alinsky Modeland Stanley Kurtz’s “Radical-in-Chiefhave shown. Indeed, both those texts have powerfully exposed the deceptive nature of our current president and the socialist/Marxist associations he has managed to keep from the public. Yesterday, another window revealing the president’s radical past was opened. A video released by captured Obama leading a 1991 protest on behalf of Harvard Law’s Derrick Bell, described by some as the “Rev. Jeremiah Wright of the academic world.”

“Open up your hearts and your minds to the words of professor Derrick Bell,” Obama urged during the protest — which was organized because of Bell’s anger that Harvard denied tenure to a black female professor, Regina Austin, at a time when only three of the law school’s professors were black and only five were women. Bell told Harvard that “until a woman of color is offered and accepted a tenured position on this faculty,” he would take a leave of absence. He launched a hunger strike to dramatize his point. Considering Bell’s radical worldview, Obama’s enthusiastic support of this campaign and his exhortation to the crowd to embrace Bell’s philosophy is quite revealing.

Derrick Bell, who died last year at the age of 80, is credited with pioneering a concept called “critical race theory.” The theory maintains that the legal system of the United States is inherently biased against blacks and other minorities because it was built on an ingrained white point of view. Thus, it is necessary, as he argued in many books and lectures, that the life experiences of black people and other minorities be considered in hiring decisions and the application of law. For Bell, racism was both a pervasive and permanent aspect of American life. This belief led him to throw his support behind a journal entitled Race Traitor, whose editors stated that “the key to solving the social problems of our age is to abolish the white race, which means no more and no less than abolishing the privileges of white skin.”

Furthermore, Bell believed this “institutional racism” conferred upon oppressed minorities both the right and the duty to decide for themselves what laws are valid and worth observing. As for law itself, critical race theory also promotes the use of storytelling in law review articles. In many of his writings, and in defiance of accepted legal scholarship, Bell placed legal and social commentary into the mouths of invented characters to better reflect the “oral traditions” of black experience.

Yet Bell’s story-telling sometimes bordered on the repugnant. In 1992, Bell wrote a short story called “The Space Traders” about a dystopian society of depleted resources and polluted air, where most blacks are walled off from the rest of society and kept under armed guard. Aliens from outer space descend from the heavens and offer to solve all of America’s problems if the country sells all of its blacks to them. A vote is held and 70 percent of the nation agrees to hand over black Americans “in chains, half-naked, while white men with guns look on, allowing no chance of escape” to the space beings.

In the story Bell also demonstrates his disdain for American Jews, who oppose the trade and organize an Anne Frank Committee to stop it — not because Jews empathize with victimized blacks, but because, Bell writes, “in the absence of blacks, Jews could become the scapegoats.” Such a depiction, critics have noted, was a scarcely veiled disparagement of the motives of American Jews, who were highly active in the civil rights movement. Furthermore, in their book “Beyond All Reason,” liberal law professors Daniel A. Farber and Suzanna Sherry note that making Anne Frank — “as close to a saint as Jews have” — the symbol of Jewish hypocrisy is exceedingly insensitive and observed that aJewish professor who invoked the name of Rosa Parks so derisively would be bitterly condemned–and rightly so.”

In his review of that book, Ninth Circuit Court Judge Alex Kozinski reveals where the “radical multiculturalism” espoused by Bell and others leads. “When I was a law student a quarter of a century ago, we were taught that cases usually turned not on what the law is, not on what the Constitution says, but on the predilections of the judge making the decision. That view was on the fringe then but is now widely held.” He notes the consequences of that radicalism. “Traditional liberals in law schools all over the country are shaking their heads, wondering what hit them. Whereas 10 years ago one might have had a fruitful discussion with faculty members and students about justice, equality, freedom, responsibility and merit, such Enlightenment concepts are now considered a bit quaint and a bit dated–like stale granola.”

Farber and Sherry echo that contention, noting that radical multiculturalist law school students “have taken an ax to the foundations of traditional academic dialogue–things like objectivity, truth, merit, fairness and polite discourse. For the radical legal thinkers, all these are tools that straight white males use to oppress those who are not.”

Bell spent his entire academic career advancing this agenda, even going so far as to condemn black professors who took a more moderate stance on affirmative action as traitors to the black race who “look black but think white.”

All this raises the question: what does the president believe? Another piece of the puzzle reveals that Derrick Bell had a relationship with Mr. Obama’s former religious mentor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright. In 2008, despite being aware of Wright’s rants blasting America as a racist nation, Bell referred to him as “one of the foremost preachers in the country who has done great work in the Chicago area where he has built a most impressive church for a very large congregation.” Why would Bell say that? Chances are it’s because the “black liberation theology” espoused by Wright marries itself seamlessly to critical race theory in that it too centers around the black struggle for liberation from the omnipresence of white racism and oppression.

Furthermore, black liberation theology’s chief architect and Rev. Wright’s mentor, James Cone, argues that Jesus Christ himself must have been black because “either God is for black people in their fight for liberation and against the white oppressors, or he is not.” Mr. Obama spent 20 years attending Cone-protégé Wright’s church. Is it possible that one can attend a church for 20 years and not be aware of the theology that animates it? One is left to wonder if the president is aware of James Cone’s incendiary statement in which he asserts that

Black theology refuses to accept a God who is not identified totally with the goals of the black community. If God is not for us and against white people, then he is a murderer, and we had better kill him. The task of black theology is to kill Gods who do not belong to the black community.

Despite this odious ideology, Derrick Bell was critical of the president’s abandonment of Wright:

Sen. Obama, his campaign threatened by Rev. Wright’s sermons–or sermon snippets–played over and over again, has spoken out about racial difference and anger and the need to get beyond it in order to address effectively the serious problems that face us all. But like the politicians we discussed who avoid the tough issues, Obama has chosen to condemn rather than acknowledge the truth in Rev. Wright’s sermons. He does so while appropriately refusing to end his relationship with Wright who brought him to Christianity.

In other words, the most radical leftist president in the history of the republic was insufficiently radical for Bell — the man Barack Obama then referred to as the “Rosa Parks of legal education.”

Early on Wednesday, Buzzfeed’s Ben Smith announced on Twitter that video researcher Andrew Kaczynski had released “the mysterious Harvard/Obama/race video that the Breitbart folks have been talking about.” Kaczynski claims the video was “licensed from a Boston television station.” noted that the video had been “selectively edited either by the Boston television station or by Buzzfeed itself” and that it would continue releasing “additional footage that has been hidden by Obama’s allies in the mainstream media and academia.” The additional footage was featured on Fox News’ “Sean Hannity Show.”

Edited out of the original tape was Barack Obama embracing professor Bell. Furthermore, Harvard Law Professor Charles Ogletree admitted that he had a copy of the tape, but kept it under wraps during the 2008 presidential election. “Of course, we hid this throughout the 2008 campaign,” said Olgetree laughing. “I don’t care if they find it now.”

It is the contempt of people like Charles Ogletree and others for the peoples’ right to know that has been instrumental in helping this president maintain a lockdown on critical periods of his life. His above associations, as well as his ties to domestic terrorists Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn, his long relationship with ACORN, his adoration of the Alinsky method and the rest of his radical past — so amply exposed by Kurtz, Horowitz and others have all been derisively dismissed as irrelevant, right-wing hysteria, or racist. The selective editing of this tape is yet another example of the leftist media’s determination to shape the news rather than report it. Their other egregious tactic, aka calculated errors of omission, is epitomized by the Los Angeles Times’ refusal to release another video of Obama. It is a tape of the president attending a party and praising its guest of honor–Rashid Khalidi, rabid Israel-hater and former spokesman for terrorist godfather Yasser Arafat. The Times, an ostensible news organization, has been sitting on that video for nine years.

The efforts of Breitbart and the crew now carrying on his legacy, stand in stark contrast to those who would aid and abet this journalistic malfeasance. They deserve great credit for doing what media organizations are supposed to do: make news available, regardless of whose interests are undermined or enhanced in the process.

As for the president, whether or not his support of yet another America-despising radical accrues to his detriment remains to be seen. Obama acolytes will no doubt dismiss this tape as inconsequential, or possibly the politics of youthful exuberance long since abandoned. Yet at some point, the preponderance of evidence of this president’s true views and intentions for the country may reach critical mass.

Thoughtful Americans should hope it occurs before election day.

Arnold Ahlert


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Obama’s Secret Weapon on Iran: A Charm Offensive

by Joseph Klein

President Obama is leading from behind once again. He has decided to participate in a new round of unconditional negotiations with Iran. He still remains under the illusion that, under the pressure of the very late in the day sanctions, Iran just needs a little more time to come to its senses at the bargaining table.

The European Union’s foreign-policy chief, Catherine Ashton, issued a statement on behalf of China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom and the U.S. accepting Iran’s invitation to resume talks on what Iran vaguely referred to as “various nuclear issues.”

Of course, there is only one nuclear issue that matters – Iran’s abandonment of its nuclear enrichment program aimed at achieving a nuclear arms capability. Iran’s history of lies, deception, interference with the work of United Nations inspectors and stalling tactics would indicate to anyone with his eyes open that negotiations with Iran at this juncture are not only useless, they will play right into Iran’s hands by helping them to run out the clock until they reach their goal.

Recall candidate Obama’s presidential campaign promise. He vowed to engage in “unconditional” negotiations with Iran. Nearly four years later, President Obama is still wearing rose-colored glasses.

During his March 7th press conference, Obama emphasized the negotiation route:

At this stage, it is my belief that we have a window of opportunity where this can still be resolved diplomatically…And, as a consequence, we are going to continue to apply the pressure even as we provide a door for the Iranian regime to walk through where they could rejoin the community of nations by giving assurances to the international community that they’re meeting their obligations and they are not pursuing a nuclear weapon.

There is not a single shred of evidence to support Obama’s willingness to give the Iranian regime the benefit of the doubt on anything. Indeed, the results of Obama’s failed “engagement” policy towards Iran have proven precisely the opposite. Obama bent over backwards from the very beginning of his administration to enter into the “unconditional” talks with the Iranian leaders that he had promised during his campaign. Most notably, he turned his back on Iranian dissidents in June 2009 so as not to offend the thugs running the Iranian regime.

What was the answer of Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei? In 2010, Khamenei said:

The late Imam Khomeini never gave any concession and we, on behalf of the Iranian nation, will never give any concession.

Where is Iran today in its nuclear program compared with 2008? By December 2008, Iran had accumulated enough of the uranium isotope U-235, which fissions in first-generation nuclear weapons, to fuel one bomb according to a study cited by Iran Watch. Each year thereafter during Obama’s presidency, Iran added to its stockpile enough U-235 to build at least one additional bomb a year if it decided to “raise the level of U-235 in its low-enriched uranium stockpile (3.5 percent U-235) to weapon-grade (90 percent or more U-235).” By the end of November 2011, Iran is estimated to have had enough U-235 to fuel a fifth bomb if it wishes to proceed in that direction.

Obama seems to be counting on the hope that Iran will not make the leap from its increased nuclear enrichment capability to actually building bombs. He thinks that a combination of his charm offensive at the negotiating table and escalating sanctions will give Iran’s leaders pause. But the record indicates otherwise.

Iran is busy building facilities deep underground to hide what it is doing and to better protect them. It has refused unrestricted inspections by the United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), whose recent reports have raised alarming concerns about Iran’s nuclear weaponization ambitions.

“The Agency continues to have serious concerns regarding possible military dimensions to Iran’s nuclear program,” the IAEA said in its latest quarterly report about Iran’s atomic activities.

At Natanz, the IAEA report said 52 cascades – each containing around 170 centrifuges – were now operating, up from 37 in November. At Fordow, Iran’s underground facility, almost 700 centrifuges are now refining uranium to a fissile concentration of 20 percent and preparations are under way to install many more, the IAEA report concluded. Iran had now produced nearly 110 kg of uranium enriched to 20 percent since early 2010, according to the IAEA report.

Back in September 2011, the IAEA reported that it was “increasingly concerned about the possible existence in Iran of past or current undisclosed nuclear related activities involving military related organizations.” These included “activities related to the development of a nuclear payload for a missile.”

In May 2011, the IAEA said it had evidence that Tehran has conducted work on a highly sophisticated nuclear triggering technology that experts say could be used for only one purpose, namely to set off a nuclear weapon.

President Obama is obviously aware of these facts. Yet he appears to ignore them. He has not insisted on even one confidence builder from Iran first, such as allowing the UN inspectors to examine all of its enrichment sites without restriction, before agreeing to more time-consuming, fruitless negotiations.

Even the logistics of setting up the talks will eat more time, all to Iran’s advantage. First, there will have to be preliminary discussions between European and Iranian diplomats to decide on details such as the location of the talks. That could take at least two weeks to complete. Then there will not be any formal negotiations begun before the New Year holiday in Iran this month, which pushes the starting date for the formal negotiations until the beginning of April at the earliest. And it goes on from there. During all this time, Obama will be trumpeting the opening of his “window of opportunity” for diplomacy to work.

While the window remains open we can virtually hear precious time ticking away and the whirring sound of Iran’s centrifuges.

Joseph Klein


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An Anti-Israel Activist’s Epiphany

by David Meir-Levi

Dozens of leaders from the Arab and Muslim world, UN representatives, representatives from NGOs, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, a Neturei Karta rabbi, a representative of the US Department of State, and even two Israeli Arab MKs (Members of Knesset) converged on Doha, capital of Qatar, for a two-day anti-Israel hate-fest, given the auspicious title: “The International Conference on Jerusalem” ( 26-27 February 2012).

The conundrum of an orthodox rabbi and Israeli MKs at the Doha hate-fest is a topic for another essay, as is the thoroughly anti-Israel speech of an American self-proclaimed State Department representative. For now it is illuminating to focus on the broader content and outcomes of the conference itself.

The fundamental goal of the conference, as described on its website, was to legitimize the establishment of Jerusalem as the capital of the independent, sovereign Arab state of “Palestine” within Israel’s current borders. To accomplish this goal the conference sought to legitimize, by the political and moral stature of its attendees and participants, its demand at the UN Security Council for a UN resolution to form an international commission to investigate the actions taken by Israel since 1967 to erase Jerusalem’s Islamic and Arab identity.

To that end, all but one participant was focused on delegitimizing Israel, denouncing its existence within any borders and denying thousands of years of Jewish history. The speakers talked about Jerusalem as if Jewish history did not exist or was a fraud — as if all Jewish claims in the city were just a tactic to dispossess Palestinians. The conference, then, sought to lend credibility to the latest strategy in the Arab political and propaganda war against Israel: the delegitimization of Israel’s history and the creation of a fictitious “Palestinian” history to replace it, thus eviscerating any Jewish claims to an historical and religious attachment to the Land of Israel.

There were two entities that emerged victorious from the conference. Not surprisingly, one was the Palestinian Authority — but the other was Israel.

The Palestinian victory was the “Doha Declaration on the International Conference for Defense of Jerusalem” at the conclusion of the conference. The declaration called upon the UN to create the commission described above; and upon all Muslim states to contribute to a “historic global mobilization for the expression of international solidarity with the Palestinian people in Jerusalem” and for support of their legitimate rights and to identify and confront illegal Israeli efforts to “judaize” (sic) the city; and upon “the international powers who remain silent” towards Israeli violations to assume their responsibility and compel Israel to implement all UN resolutions relevant to Jerusalem; and upon the UN and other international entities to stop Israeli illegal excavations and archaeological explorations which distort the “true history” of the site; and upon UNESCO to force Israel to stop its unilateral policies for imposing a fait accompli in Jerusalem, including the immediate cessation of all settlement activities, the removal of the “apartheid wall,” the preservation of Islamic and Christian sanctities, and to halt Judaization (sic) schemes.

In short, the Doha Declaration demands that the Muslim world compel the UN to impose upon Israel the demands that the Muslim world maintains on behalf of the Palestinians but has not itself been able to impose despite 65 years of war, terrorism, black propaganda, hate education for its youth, rejectionism, and an endless, relentless diatribe of genocide and rhetoric of annihilation by nuclear or political means. Given the Arab oil sheikhdoms’ influence at the UN, such a commission as envisioned in the Doha Declaration is likely to be forthcoming in the near future.

But Israel and Zionism and Jews worldwide also won an important victory at this conference: recognition by even the most clueless of the true end-game of Arab efforts against Israel.

The speakers at the conference were so extreme and so blatant in their anti-Israel diatribe, their denial of any legitimacy of Jewish history, and their unconditional support for the invented faux-history of “Palestine” that even the Peace Now representative was “shocked and dismayed,” and forced to admit that all too much of the Arab and Muslim world does not want peace with Israel. They want, instead, Israel in pieces.

As Lara Friedman, the representative from Peace Now described it, the true nature of the event was most clearly revealed by the absence of any representation of the Israeli perspective and any interest in the two-state solution. Speakers at Sunday’s opening session, including the two Israeli Arab MKs and Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas (whom the West deems a moderate and who supposedly is Israel’s partner in peace), one after another laid out an endless litany of criticisms and condemnations against Israel — many of them marked with galactic exaggeration and outright lies. All spoke a great deal about Muslim and Christian attachments to Jerusalem (but omitted any reference to Jewish attachments) and the importance of defending against Israeli encroachment on the holy sites and communities associated with both religions. Ironically, only veteran Palestinian diplomat Afif Safieh spoke in a serious, credible way about a realistic two-state resolution involving the continued existence of Israel.

Other than Safieh, the representatives at the conference never once acknowledged the legitimacy of Jewish history and tradition regarding Jerusalem. Quite the opposite, they framed the future of Jerusalem as a zero-sum game – Israel loses, the “Palestinians” win.

In sum, Ms. Friedman concludes, “If representatives (at the conference) … cannot bring themselves to acknowledge the legitimacy of Jewish equities (sic) in Jerusalem, they should know that they discredit their own professed interest in peace.” Indeed they do.

If a leader of Peace Now, arguably the most clueless of all the NGOs agitating to force Israel to make concessions that will supposedly bring about peace, can have the scales fall from her eyes thanks to the Doha Conference, then surely the less clueless of American media, academia, religious leaders, NGOs and Congress can experience a similar epiphany.

Just as a doctor must first correctly diagnose the illness before deciding how best to cure it, so too must political and intellectual actors in the West first understand the true nature of the Arab stand vis-a-vis Israel, the bona fide dynamics of the conflict, in order to unite in an effort to curtail the violence and implement strategies that will lead to peace and cooperative co-existence between Israel and its Arab neighbors and other Muslim countries worldwide. Thanks to Doha, it is now clear, at least to some for whom it was previously not clear, that pressing Israel for concessions will not lead to peace, precisely because the Arab side does not want peace.

Ms. Friedman’s epiphany has yet to be translated into revised policy for Peace Now; and given its history of methodical and conscious regurgitation of blatant Arab anti-Israel propaganda as though it were gospel, it is reasonable to expect that Peace Now might be a little slow to implement a game-changing alteration to its ideology and political positions. But at very least Ms. Friedman’s revelation at Doha should be the first step in validating PM Netanyahu’s assertion of yesteryear:

If the Arabs were to lay down their weapons, there would be no more violence. But if Israel laid down her weapons, there would be no more Israel.

David Meir-Levi


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The Fate of Syria

by Raymond Ibrahim

Should "rebels" get their way and topple the Assad regime, the same brutal pattern experienced by Iraq's Christian minorities will come to Syria, where an anti-Assad Muslim preacher recently urged Muslims to "tear apart, chop up and feed" Christians to the dogs.

What is the alternative to Bashar al-Assad's regime in Syria? Just consider which groups in Syria are especially for or against Assad—and why.

Christian minorities, who, as 10% of the Syrian population, have the most to gain from a secular government and the most to suffer from a state run by Islamic Sharia law, have no choice but to prefer Assad. They are already seeing aspects of the alternative. A recent Barnabas Fund report, "Christians in Syria Targeted in Series of Kidnappings and Killings; 100 Dead," tells how "children were being especially targeted by the kidnappers, who, if they do not receive the ransom demanded, kill the victim." In one instance, kidnappers videotaped a Christian boy as they murdered him in an attempt to frame the government; one man "was cut into pieces and thrown in a river" and another "was found hanged with numerous injuries."

Accordingly, it is understandable that, as an earlier report put it, "Christians have mostly stayed away from the protests in Syria, having been well treated and afforded a considerable amount of religious freedom under President Assad's regime." After all, "Should Assad fall, it is feared that Syria could go the way of Iraq, post-Saddam Hussein. Saddam, like Assad, restrained the influence of militant Islamists, but after his fall they were free to wreak havoc on the Christian community; hundreds of thousands of Christians were consequently forced to flee the violence. Many of them went to Syria."

In short, should "rebels" get their way and topple the Assad regime, the same brutal pattern experienced by Iraq's Christian minorities—who have been likened to, and killed off like, dogs, to a point nearing extinction—will come to Syria, where an anti-Assad Muslim preacher recently urged Muslims to "tear apart, chop up and feed" Christians who support Assad "to the dogs." From last week alone, some 70 additional Christian homes were invaded and pillaged, and "for the first time in the history of the conflict in Syria, an armed attack has been made on a Catholic monastery," partially in search of money.

And who are these "rebels" who see and treat Christians as sub-humans to be exploited and plundered to fund the "opposition" against Assad? Unfortunately, many of them are Islamists, internal and external, and their "opposition" is really a jihad [holy war]; moreover, they are acting out anti-Christian fatwas that justify the kidnapping, ransoming, and plundering of "infidel" Christians.

As in Libya, al-Qaeda is operating among the Syrian opposition; Ayman al-Zawahiri himself "urges the Syrian people to continue their revolution until the downfall of the Assad regime, and stresses that toppling this regime is a necessary step on the way to liberating Jerusalem." Both the influential Yusif al-Qaradawi and Hamas -- the latter supported by Assad's ally, Iran— back the "rebels." This overview should place the "opposition" -- who they are, what they want — in a clearer context.

Meanwhile, U.S. President Obama, who was remarkably reticent when Iranians seeking Western-style freedom tried to revolt against the oppressive Islamist regime of Iran, made it a point during his recent State of the Union Address to single out Assad by name as needing to go (not that the Republican presidential candidates seem to know any better; see Andrew McCarthy's recent article where, drawing on America's other misadventures in Islamic nations, he shows how the U.S. has little to gain and possibly much to lose by supporting the anti-Assad opposition).

The lesson here is clear: while it is true that not all of Assad's opposition is Islamist—there are anti-Assad Muslims who do not want a state that will be run by Islamic Sharia law —the Islamists are quite confident that the overthrow of Assad will equate with their empowerment. And why shouldn't they be? Wherever Arab tyrants have been overthrow—Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Yemen, and so on —it is Islamists who are filling the power-vacuums. Just ask Syria's Christian minorities, who prefer the dictator Assad to remain in power—who prefer the devil they know to the ancient demon their forefathers knew.

Raymond Ibrahim is an Associate Fellow at the Middle East Forum and a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center.


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Bequeathers of Absolute Truth Crush Free Speech in Europe

by Guy Millière

Many of the elites seem to think of themselves as The Bequeathers of Absolute Truth -- proud, self-righteous, totalitarian antagonists to any contrarian thought or speech -- and they have seized power in universities, in the media and in nearly all political parties. A ban takes hold, then another and another and another. And nobody notices until it's too late.

"It is Seldom That Any Kind of liberty is lost all at once," wrote David Hume. To warn that the erosion of economic freedom by interventionist measures would lead to the erosion of political and intellectual freedom, Friedrich Hayek placed this quote on the front page of The Road to Serfdom. It perfectly illustrates the threat to the destruction of freedom in Europe after World War II.

Although seven decades have passed, the warning has not been heeded. Economic freedom in Europe has been largely abolished as month after month, regulations emanating from the unelected, self-appointed, technocratic Brussels Commission continue to multiply.

Political freedom has also been confiscated as key decisions between heads of state are made -- behind closed doors -- by the equally unelected, self-appointed, technocratic European Council.

It now looks as if intellectual freedom is about to be eradicated as well.

In almost all European countries, only monolithic thought is allowed to be actually spoken. Many of the elites seem to think of themselves as The Bequeathers of Absolute Truth -- proud, self-righteous, totalitarian antagonists to any contrarian thought or speech -- and they have seized power in universities, in the media and in nearly all political parties.

In Europe, defending free market ideas and Judeo-Christian values has become almost impossible. When European journalists report on the debates between Republican candidates during the primary elections in the United States, what they hear is so strange to them that they need to invent new words. "Conservatism" is not enough; they speak of "ultra conservatism," implying, of course, that anyone "ultra conservative" must be an insane extremist.

Evoking the contributions of Western civilization, or saying that these contributions are worthy, leads immediately to harsh criticism. Silvio Berlusconi, a few weeks after the September 11 attacks on the US, said, "We must be aware of the superiority of our civilization, a system that has guaranteed well-being, respect for human rights." Faced with the unanimous indignation of his peers, he had to declare a few days later that he was withdrawing his remarks.

When the French Interior Minister Claude Gueant recently declared that "not all cultures are of equal value," a socialist deputy publicly expressed outrage, and added that sentences of this kind had "paved the way for the Third Reich;" the French National Assembly has envisioned legal action against him.

Criticizing Islam is even more dangerous. This apparently marks you as an "Islamophobe" and a "racist." Complaints are filed, and courts impose heavy fines, sometimes prison sentences.

The prominent Dutch politician Geert Wilders, who expressed the opinion that Islam was "fascism," was prosecuted in the Netherlands in January 2009 for "inciting hatred against Muslims." Although he was acquitted in June 2011 by a Dutch court, those who sued him brought the case before the European Court of Human Rights. Final judgment has not yet been reached. The plaintiffs said they felt "humiliated and threatened" by Wilders who, unlike them, must live in safe houses, under police protection. The film director Theo van Gogh was murdered for having made a short film, "Obsession," about the treatment of women in Islam. The Dutch Parliamentarian, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, who had worked in women's shelters, was threatened with death for having written the script for it; she eventually fled to the United States.

An Austrian woman, Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff, gave a private lecture in Vienna in November 2009, during which she remarked that the prophet Mohammed, who married one of his wives, Aisha, when she was nine, "liked young girls," and one month later found herself charged with "denigrating the teachings of a recognized religion." In February 2011, she was sentenced to a heavy fine, which she paid; she nevertheless lives under constant threat.

Lars Hedegaard, President of the Danish Free Press Society and the International Free Press Society, affirmed in a December 2009 interview, that Islam treated women in a "degrading manner." He was immediately convicted of "inciting hatred" and of "racism." In May 2011, he too was sentenced to a heavy fine.

When two Frenchmen, Pierre Cassen and Pascal Hillout, created a secularist movement, Riposte Laïque, [Secular Reply] in 2007, and published several articles against the Islamization of France and Europe, they were charged with "inciting racial hatred" against Muslims. It should be noted that Cassen is a trade-unionist and belongs to the left, and that Hillout was born a Muslim. Complaints against them were filed by the League against Racism and Antisemitism (LICRA), the Movement against Racism and for Friendship among Peoples (MRAP), and the League of Human Rights (LDH) -- three organizations that used to fight to defend human rights but that now pursue very different goals and act only when Islam appears "threatened." On February 3, 2012, the prosecutor requested a jail sentence of two months for Hillout, a jail sentence of three months for Cassen, and a crippling fine of 150,000 euros ($200,000) for Riposte Laïque. The verdict is to be delivered in a few weeks.

For a book about Islam in 2004 (Who's Afraid of Islam?), that criticizes Islam and defends Israel, I also have been attacked by the MRAP and still receive frequent explicit death threats -- anonymous letters and e-mails, and pictures of slit throats -- and copies of The Invention of the Palestinian People, my latest book, have been destroyed by organized gangs raiding bookshops.

The list of examples could be long; all who dare to criticize Islam, defend Israel, or even speak of "Western civilization" in Europe live in a situation of provisional freedom, and face increasing risks. The situation resembles nothing so much as that of dissidents in the former Soviet Union, who risk harassment, fines and even, as we have seen, incarceration. Newspapers and magazines no longer feel free to publish their writings; large publishing companies refuse their books.

Muslim imams in mosques all over Europe feel free to preach hatred for the West and to call for "War against Christians and Jews," while mainstream politicians and journalists hear nothing, and judges see nothing.

What happened to Europe needs to be a warning to the American people; it needs to be urgently known and explained. The loss of freedom can occur gradually. It can also be brutal. A ban takes hold, then another, and another and another. And nobody pays attention until its too late.

Guy Millière


Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

The "Mother of All Letters"

by Khaled Abu Toameh

They are worried that Iran has stolen the limelight. Instead of wasting his time writing letters, Abbas should return to the negotiating table with Israel immediately and unconditionally. Gimmicks and tricks will not help advance the cause or interests of the Palestinian people.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas deserves an award for being the best master of gimmicks in the Middle East.

After his failed statehood bid at the UN Security Council and his unsuccessful attempts to end the power struggle between his Fatah faction and Hamas, the 76-year old Abbas has resorted to his old habit of issuing empty threats.

Abbas's most recent threat, his aides said this week, was to send the "mother of all letters" to the Israeli government regarding the stalled peace process.

Abbas's explosive letter will hold Israel alone responsible for the failure of the peace process, mainly because of its refusal to halt construction in the settlements and accept the pre-1967 lines as the borders of a future Palestinian state, the aides revealed.

They added that the president was busy these days writing the "mother of all letters," which will be sent to the Americans and Europeans before it is delivered to the Israeli government.

By describing the letter as the "mother of all letters," Abbas and his aides are hoping to create drama and suspension over the stalled peace talks with Israel.

The Palestinian leadership is hoping that the sensation surrounding Abbas's letter will shift worldwide attention back to the Israeli-Arab conflict.

They are worried that Iran has stolen the limelight from the Palestinian issue; they are therefore trying to win back the attention of the world.

Abbas and his representatives expressed that concern this week after hearing the speech of US President Barack Obama before AIPAC's annual gathering in Washington.

Noting that the speech had completely ignored the Palestinian issue, Palestinian officials in Ramallah voiced "deep disappointment" with Obama.

On March 7, Abbas convened yet another urgent meeting of PLO and Fatah leaders in Ramallah to discuss the content of this "mother of all letters" which he intends to send to Israel. The meeting, which came less than 48 hours after Obama's speech, reflected the increased concern of the Palestinians over the world's fading attention to their problems.

Nevertheless, no one in Ramallah is expecting Abbas's dramatic letter to contain anything new.

The most extreme scenario would be a threat by Abbas to dismantle the Palestinian Authority and submit his resignation.

It would be hard to find one Palestinian who would be surprised if Abbas's letter included such a threat, particularly in light of the fact that the Palestinian president has talked about stepping down and dissolving the Palestinian Authority on numerous occasions in the past.

Some Palestinians are already referring to the "mother of all letters" as another one of Abbas's "gimmicks". "The Israelis must be preparing the shelters because they are so scared of Abbas's letter," a Palestinian political analyst remarked sarcastically. "Many people have become used to Abbas's gimmicks and empty threats."

Instead of wasting his time on writing the "mother of all letters," Abbas should return to the negotiating table with Israel immediately and unconditionally to ensure a better future for his people. Gimmicks and tricks will not help advance the cause or interests of the Palestinians.

Khaled Abu Toameh


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Thursday, March 8, 2012

Past Plots Help Explain New Concerns Over Jewish Targets

by IPT News

Amine El-Khalifi knew he wanted to commit a terrorist act, federal agents, say, but he kept changing his mind about targets. According to an affidavit released after his arrest Feb. 17, Khalifi believed "that the 'war on terrorism' was a 'war on Muslims," and said that the group needed to be ready for war."

Before deciding to attempt a suicide bombing inside the U.S. Capitol, the Moroccan immigrant discussed targeting a series of government offices and places frequented by military officials. In December, the one time he discussed targeting something unrelated to the government or military, Khalifi talked about attacking a synagogue.

A review of court records shows that Jewish targets in America are common among would-be terrorists during the past decade. A review of 42 attempted and thwarted terror plots since 9/11 found 16, or 38 percent, included at least talk of attacking Jewish targets. Of the 16, at least seven cases included charges relating to attacks on Jewish targets.

The numbers are in line with a recent study by the New York Police Department, which finds that more than half the terror plots uncovered in New York City since 1992 have been directed at Jewish citizens or institutions.

This takes on new significance as national security officials express concern that Jewish and Israeli facilities in the United States could be top targets for attack by Iranian agents and their proxies.

The FBI recently held a classified nationwide video teleconference to discuss a retaliatory attack on U.S. soil by Iran, or its proxy Hizballah, in the event of an Israeli strike on Iranian nuclear facilities, CBS News reports. The 90-minute conference call led by Ralph Boelter, the Bureau's counterterrorism chief, included 56 FBI field offices from around the country.

Special agents in charge shared intelligence from local investigations that could be potentially valuable in thwarting future plots by Iran and Hizballah. Field offices were also advised to work with local police departments to intensify security around government landmarks, Israeli diplomatic targets and Jewish institutions.

Israeli and Jewish institutions in the United States already were placed on high alert following terror strikes last month against Israeli diplomatic targets in Thailand, India, and Georgia.

Thai authorities arrested three Iranian men in connection with the Feb. 14 bombings in Bangkok. The men are reported to be part of an assassination plot targeting Israeli diplomats, including the ambassador. A day earlier, attacks allegedly sponsored by Iran struck Israeli diplomatic targets in India and Georgia. The wife of an Israeli diplomat was seriously injured in the car bombing in New Delhi. The attempted car bombing in Tbilisi was thwarted after the vehicle's driver discovered the explosive device.

These strikes come on the heels of another foiled assassination attempt in January by Iran against the Israeli ambassador in Azerbaijan's capital city Baku.

All the attacks have "the hallmarks of a concerted campaign" that could soon reach American shores, Frank Cilluffo, director of the Homeland Security Policy Institute at George Washington University, told ABC News.

Fearing potential attacks on Israeli consulates and Jewish cultural and religious buildings, law enforcement has beefed up security in U.S. cities with high Jewish populations and Israeli facilities, including in New York, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C.

At a press briefing following the attacks, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland expressed anxiety over the rise in worldwide terror attacks perpetrated by Iran.

"We are concerned about use of international terrorism by Iran or by anybody else against Israel or against any other innocents and about a spike in the number of incidents that we've seen," Nuland said.

Although neither Iran nor its protégé Hizballah have claimed responsibility, the attacks coincide with the anniversary of the 2008 assassination of top Hizballah commander Imad Mughniyeh. Israel has not claimed credit for Mughniyeh's killing, but is believed to be responsible. Mughniyeh was behind the murderous attacks on Jewish and Israeli targets in Argentina in the 1990s and was the alleged "mastermind" of Hizballah's 2006 war against Israel. He was also implicated in the October 1993 bombing of U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut, Lebanon that killed 240 Americans.

Tehran's recent aggressive acts may also be in retribution for killings of Iranian scientists and officials connected with its controversial nuclear program over the last couple of years. An Iranian nuclear scientist, Mostafa Ahmadi-Roshan, who worked in Iran's Natanz uranium enrichment facility, was killed in a car bomb explosion in Tehran last month. The Iranian leadership blamed Israel for the killing.

"Iran is not only retaliating for the embarrassment of having its nuclear scientists killed in its own capital but it is also sending Israel a message that if Israel bombs Iran's nuclear facilities, Iran can retaliate around the world through its terrorist network," former presidential terrorism adviser Richard Clarke told ABC News.

Warnings from Israeli and top American security officials raise the specter that Iran, or its Lebanese proxy Hizballah, might target Jewish targets here. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano told a hearing last month that her department held a conference call with Jewish groups to advise them they may be targets.

"The NYPD must assume that New York City could be targeted by Iran or Hezbollah," New York Police intelligence analysis chief Mitchell Silber wrote in the Wall Street Journal Feb. 14. "On Feb. 3, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei threatened that Iran 'had its own tools' to respond to sanctions and threats of military action against it. Indeed, as the West's conflict with Iran over its nuclear program continues to heat up, New York City—especially with its large Jewish population—becomes an increasingly attractive target."

The situation is by no means limited to New York, however. Among the attacks and plots targeting Jews and Israelis in the past decade:

  • Plot to Bomb Synagogues in the Bronx: Four men were arrested in May 2009 for plotting to bomb a synagogue in the Riverdale section of the Bronx and for planning to shoot National Guard planes at a base in Newburgh, N.Y., with Stinger surface-to-air guided missiles. An FBI informant secretly recorded the men plotting to destroy the synagogue and other targets. In a recording, the group's leader James Cromitie was heard telling the informant, Shahed Hussain, "The worst brother in the whole Islamic world is better than 10 billion Yahudi [Jew]." "With no hesitation, I will kill 10 Yahudis [Jews]" "and then I will have to think 20,000 times before I kill one Muslim." Cromitie also told the informant, "I don't give a f- if a bunch of Jews are in there," "Jews are the most wickedest people that Allah has created," and "These f-ing Jews get me sick."

The men, also known as the "Bronx Four," received 25-year prison sentences after being convicted in October 2010.

  • Manhattan Terrorism Plot: Ahmed Ferhani and Mohamed Mamdouh were arrested last May for plotting to bomb synagogues and attack Jews. The arrests marked the end of a seven-month sting led by New York police officers. In one of their conversations, Ferhani raised the idea of blowing up synagogues. Mamdouh responded to Ferhani's idea, saying "Hell yeah, I would love to blow that [expletive] up." In a subsequent conversation, Ferhani suggested targeting "the biggest synagogue in Manhattan." He suggested disguising himself as a Jewish worshipper and leaving a bomb in the synagogue while pretending to pray there. In their conversations both men said they hated Jews. According to an affidavit, both men purchased weapons from undercover officers, including a hand grenade, semi-automatic handguns and bullets, to help them carry out their attacks.

  • Folsom Prison Plot: Muslim convert Kevin James pled guilty in 2007 to conspiring "to levy a war against the Government of the United States through terrorism." While incarcerated at the high security New Folsom State Prison outside Sacramento, James and several other inmates established a terror cell called Jam'iyyat Ul-Islam-is-Shaheeh ("JIS"). Members of the terror cell plotted "to target for violent attack any enemies of Islam or 'infidels,' including the United States Government and Jewish and non-Jewish supporters of Israel."

  • Jewish Federation Shooting: Naveed Haq was sentenced to life in prison for his 2006 shooting rampage at the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle that killed one woman and wounded four others. Prosecutors called the attack a "hate crime," and said "the attack on these women was an attack on the Jewish community, not only in Seattle, but throughout our nation and the world."

  • Little Rock Shootings: A Muslim convert, Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad, was sentenced to life in prison for shooting two soldiers outside an Army recruiting center in Little Rock, Ark. Court filings said Abdulhakim plotted to target "different Army recruiting centers and Jewish organizations." He said he chose those two targets "because what they're doing in Palestine or years of killing Muslims." He also attempted to fire bomb a leading Jewish rabbi's home in Tennessee with a Molotov cocktail.

  • El Al Terminal Shooting: Egyptian national Hesham Mohamed Hadayet killed two Israelis and injured four others when he started shooting at the El Al ticket counter at Los Angeles International Airport in July 2002. FBI investigators later concluded Hadayet, who was shot and killed by a security guard, committed a terrorist attack in hopes of changing U.S. policy and of dying a martyr.

In October 2010, authorities intercepted suspicious UPS packages on board Chicago-bound cargo planes following an intelligence tip. The packages were loaded with explosives and mailed from Yemen to Jewish synagogues in Chicago. The explosives were traced back to the top explosives expert belonging to al-Qaida's affiliate branch in Yemen.

U.S. intelligence officials say the October arrest of a Texas car salesman accused in an alleged Iranian plot to kill Saudi Arabia's ambassador to Washington shows a growing willingness in Iran to sponsor attacks in the United States.

Suspect Manssor Arbabsiar confessed to authorities that "he was recruited, funded and directed by men he understood to be senior officials in Iran's Qods Force."

The thwarted plot shows "that some Iranian officials—probably including Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei—have changed their calculus and are now more willing to conduct an attack in the United States in response to real or perceived US actions that threaten the regime," Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told the Senate Armed Services Committee in February. "We are also concerned about Iranian plotting against US or allied interests overseas."

IPT News


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The Real Meaning of Obama’s New Policy: War Is Inevitable

by Barry Rubin

Does President Barack Obama now love Israel? Is he lying to help his reelection bid? Precisely what is the meaning of this or that sentence in his AIPAC speech?

All of this debate misses the point. What is needed here is not a partisan view or one which focusses on Obama himself but rather a strategic analysis.

Here it is:

Whether he realizes it or not, Obama changed history with his AIPAC speech. What he did is to make a war between Israel and Iran almost inevitable, let’s say more than 90 percent probable, most likely some time in late 2013, 2014, or 2015.

What a lot of people are going to miss is not that Israel now thinks Obama is reliable — it doesn’t — but that Israeli leaders know he has now locked publicly into a major commitment. If Israel ever were to attack an Iran on the verge of getting nuclear weapons, how is Obama going to bash Israel for doing so after telling it to do so? In effect, then, Israel has traded patience for freedom of action.

Obama laid out a very clear chain of events. If and when Iran obtains a nuclear weapon, then the U.S. government will support an attack by Israel on Iranian nuclear facilities. It might even join in with such an attack.

This is a commitment that cannot be retracted. It will apply whether Obama wins or loses the election. It will apply if he changes his mind. Some will see his action as heroic; others will see it as reckless. But it makes no sense to see it as false or to nitpick about his precise definition of Iran obtaining nuclear weapons.

Here is Obama’s simple chain of argument:

–The U.S. government officially and publicly recognizes that Israel cannot and should not accept Iran having a nuclear weapon.

–Iran having a nuclear weapon is a tremendous and unacceptable danger to U.S. interests.

–If Iran obtains even one nuclear weapon, that will prove sanctions have failed.

–Consequently, at that time Israel is entitled to use force to prevent Iran from having such weapons or to destroy any that exist.

–Indeed, according to Obama, Israel must attack Iran at that point. After all, if Obama says Israel cannot live with an Iranian nuclear capability, how can Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu be less concerned about Israeli security than the president? And how can Obama then ignore what he said would be completely unacceptable for U.S. interests by not backing such an attack or even participating in it?

The phrase often quoted from Obama’s speech — that U.S. policy will not take any instrument off the table — is not important. It is the standard U.S. line we have heard for years. Obama has now gone far beyond this. The new U.S. position is that if Iran builds a single atomic bomb, that means force sufficient to destroy its nuclar capacity entirely is the only instrument on the table.

What is important is that Obama’s speech provides a green light for an Israeli attack.

The question is only one of timing. Obama asks Israel to wait in order to give sanctions a chance to work. But we know that sanctions are almost certain not to work, since work is defined as Iran giving up its drive for nuclear weapons. And there is no reason to believe that this will happen.

What might avoid this outcome? I can only think of two alternative developments. Either Iran will stop just short of actually building nuclear weapons even though it has the necessary material and knowledge, or the regime will be overthrown. Both are doubtful outcomes.

Perhaps there is a third possibility: If sabotage of various kinds can forever keep postponing the success of Iran’s program year after year into the future. Possible but not likely.

Otherwise, an armed collision is going to be inevitable. There will be an Israeli attack and thus a war.

For better or worse, Obama’s speech marks the total success of the Israeli campaign — abetted by both its friends and enemies — to heat up the situation. Believing that Israel was about to attack Iran, although I think this wasn’t true, Obama has sought to stall for time in a way that suits his own interests.

Like most politicians, Obama prefers to defer tough decisions to the future when, one can always hope, the worst won’t happen. Yet often, such a strategy makes the future outcome of the decision-making process inevitable. Of course, Obama wants Jewish support for his reelection campaign. But this isn’t all about Israel or the Jews by any means.

Obama needs to portray himself as a strong leader, one who doesn’t fear confrontation or the use of force. Moreover, a high proportion of the American public views Iran as a threat, indeed the number one foreign threat to their country. His action is going to be generally popular at home, especially because it doesn’t have any consequences between now and the November election.

Many will applaud this. I don’t. In my opinion, it would be better to set the bar at Israel’s freedom of action if it ever determined that there was a threat of nuclear attack from Iran. After all, such a framework would make war or a nuclear conflict less likely whereas the principle of attacking at the point where Iran might have weapons at all makes war and a possible nuclear conflict later on far more likely.

Yet Obama has explicitly rejected containment, which in this context makes it clear that there can be no scenario in which Iran has nuclear weapons but their use is deterred by early-warning stations, the threat of American or Israeli attack, and defensive measures.

In addition, Obama escaped past apparent commitments by invoking the national interest as making it preferable for the United States not to do something. But now he has defined destroying Iran’s nuclear capability as a basic U.S. interest. He has left himself no way out.

By the way, has Obama considered Russia’s warning that it will defend Iran in his new policy? With Vladimir Putin back in power, will this contribute to a U.S.-Russia confrontation?

And did Obama consult any U.S. allies or Congress on this policy? What happened to his much-advertised multilateralism? And this is from the man who savaged his predecessor over Iraq, when Bush did have a UN and a congressional resolution basically authorizing the use of force?

Some believe that Obama will back off this commitment. But what’s he going to do if Israel attacks in a year or two? Say that he wanted Israel to wait another week or month to make sure the United States accepted the intelligence that Iran now had nuclear weapons?

And consider this: The Iranian government would now be perfectly justified in regarding any Israeli attack as an attack also by the United States. Obama has thrown away any possibility of distancing the United States from an Israeli operation or any credible deniability of responsibility. The Tehran government would be far more likely to attack American institutions, personnel, and shipping after an Israeli attack.

We are now on the road to war. That’s what is important, not whether Obama gained votes or whether he is sincere or at precisely what second U.S. policymakers decide Iran has met the conditions for getting bombed.

This is huge and it is an unprecedented U.S. position that can be summarized as follows: Iran gets nukes. Boom!

Barry Rubin


Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

U.S. State Department Actively Promoting Islam in Europe

by Soeren Kern

The French government – which has been trying to reverse the pernicious effects of decades of state-sponsored multiculturalism – expressed dismay at what it called "meddling."

The United States ambassador to Spain recently met with a group of Muslim immigrants in one of the most Islamized neighborhoods of Barcelona to apologize for American foreign policymaking in the Middle East.

U.S. Ambassador Alan Solomont told Muslims assembled at the town hall-like meeting in the heart of Barcelona's old city that the United States is not an "enemy of Islam" and that U.S. President Barack Obama wants to improve America's image in the Middle East as quickly as possible by closing the "dark chapters" of the U.S. invasion of Iraq and the war in Afghanistan.

"There are things that the United States has done badly," Solomont said at the February 28 gathering organized by a non-profit organization called the Cultural, Educational and Social Association of Pakistani Women. "But now the Obama government wants to improve relations with Muslims," he promised.

During the one-and-a-half-hour question-and-answer session, Solomont asked those in attendance simple rhetorical questions, including: "Did you know that the United States sends a lot of money to Pakistan?" and "Did you know that the decision to destroy Osama bin Laden's house was made by the United States?"

After responding to queries about the "Talibanization of Pakistan due the war in Afghanistan" and the "demonization of Islam in the West," Solomont said Obama wants to end the long-time American practice of establishing alliances with dictators in the Middle East, a strategy which he said has failed to prevent the rise of "the bearded ones" [radical Islamists], this according to the Barcelona-based newspaper La Vanguardia, which also interviewed Solomont on the sidelines of the event.

The Barcelona meeting, which was held in a Muslim ghetto called Raval (a.k.a. Ravalistan because Muslim immigrants now make up 45% of the barrio's total population), is an example of the Obama administration's so-called Muslim Outreach.

The U.S. State Department -- working through American embassies and consulates in Europe -- has been stepping-up its efforts to establish direct contacts with largely unassimilated Muslim immigrant communities in towns and cities across Europe.

Proponents of Obama's approach to public diplomacy -- some elements of which originated with his immediate predecessor -- say it is part of a "counter-radicalization" strategy which aims to prevent radical Muslims with European passports from carrying out terrorist attacks against the United States.

A key component of the strategy is to "empower" Muslims who can help build a "counter-narrative" to that of terrorists. In practice, however, Obama ideologues are crisscrossing Europe on U.S. taxpayer funded trips to "export" failed American approaches to multiculturalism, affirmative action, cultural diversity and special rights for minorities.

Further, American diplomats are repeatedly apologizing to Muslims in Europe for a multitude of real or imagined slights against Islam, and the U.S. State Department is now spending millions of dollars each year actively promoting Islam -- including Islamic Sharia law -- on the continent.

In Ireland, for example, the U.S. Embassy in Dublin recently sponsored a seminar ostensibly designed to help Muslim immigrants increase their influence within the Irish business and financial communities.

The opening speech at the event was delivered by Imam Hussein Halawa of the Islamic Cultural Center of Ireland, despite the fact that leaked U.S. State Department cables show that the U.S. government has known for many years that Halawi is a member of the Muslim Brotherhood and serves as the right-hand man of the radical Egyptian cleric Yusuf al-Qaradawi.

Halawa, an Egyptian immigrant who has dedicated his life to the cause of introducing Islamic Sharia law in Europe, told those in attendance that the main purpose of the conference was to bring the Irish banking system into conformity with Islamic legal principles. U.S. Ambassador Dan Rooney, a lifelong Republican turned Obama acolyte, said at the same conference that the United States was a "solid partner" behind Halawa's venture.

In Austria, the U.S. Embassy in Vienna sponsored a film contest in February on the theme of "Diversity and Tolerance" aimed at teaching wayward Austrians that they should show respect for Muslim immigrants who refuse to integrate into their society.

Ambassador William Eacho, an Obama campaign fundraiser turned political appointee, awarded the first prize to a group of students in the northern Austrian town of Steyr who produced a one-minute silent film promoting tolerance for Muslim women who wear Islamic face-covering veils such as burkas in public spaces.

Obama and his team may think they know what is best for Europeans, but according to recent polls, more than 70% of Austrians are in favor of a law that would ban the burka.

In Belgium, U.S. Ambassador Howard Gutman, another Obama fundraiser turned diplomat, told lawyers attending a conference in Brussels in November 2011 that Israel is to blame for Muslim anti-Semitism in Europe.

According to the Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronot, Gutman, who is Jewish, showed conference attendees a video of himself receiving a warm welcome at a Muslim school in Brussels, which he said proved that Muslims are not anti-Semitic. Following a barrage of criticism for rationalizing the growing problem of anti-Semitism in Europe, the U.S. Embassy in Belgium removed the evidence by uploading an amended transcript of Gutman's remarks on its website.

In France, the U.S. Embassy in Paris co-sponsored a seminar to teach Muslims in France how they can politically organize themselves. Operatives from the Democratic Party coached 70 Muslim "diversity leaders" from disaffected Muslim-majority suburban slums known as banlieues on how to develop a communications strategy, raise funds and build a political base.

The French government -- which has been trying to reverse the pernicious effects of decades of state-sponsored multiculturalism -- expressed dismay at what it called "meddling."

The Obama administration's Muslim-oriented coaching sessions on community organizing come as the Persian Gulf Emirate of Qatar is busy peddling the fundamentalist teachings of Wahhabi Islam -- which not only discourages Muslim integration into the West, but actively encourages jihad [holy war] against non-Muslims -- to hundreds of thousands of disgruntled Muslim immigrants in France.

As the Obamans and the Wahhabis compete for influence among Muslim immigrants, forward-looking analysts fret that France may yet end up with politically organized jihadists turning the banlieues into Islamic emirates.

In Norway, where Muslim immigrants already have more rights than native Norwegians, the U.S. Embassy in Oslo organized a "dialogue meeting" designed to "empower" Muslim immigrant women in the country.

According to the Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten, Obama's special envoy to the Muslim world, Farah Pandith, castigated the Norwegian government's integration policies as being insufficiently fair to Muslim immigrants. She also told Norwegians that Muslims are "more free to practice Islam in the United States than in any other country in the world." Conservative Party leader Erna Solberg said Norway has much to learn from the Americans.

In Britain, U.S. embassy employees in London frequently conduct outreach to help "empower" the Muslims across the country. According to a leaked U.S. diplomatic cable, for example, Ambassador Louis Susman "engages with U.K. Muslim communities regularly…he has spoken to Muslim groups in Wales and Scotland, visited the London Central Mosque, and hosted an interfaith breakfast at his residence, among other activities."

Susman has come under fire for visiting another London mosque, namely the East London Mosque, which is one of the most extreme Islamic institutions in Britain. Built with money from Saudi Arabia to propagate Wahhabi Islam, the sprawling facility is home to the London Muslim Center, which the U.S. government has long known is a haven for Islamic extremists. During his visit, Susman spoke of his "great admiration" for the mosque and his enthusiasm for meeting its staff.

According to the leaked cable, "Having the U.S. Ambassador visit and listen respectfully to Muslim points of view has an enormous impact on groups that often feel marginalized and ignored."

Soeren Kern is Senior Fellow for European Politics at the Madrid-based Grupo de Estudios Estratégicos / Strategic Studies Group. Follow him on Facebook.


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