Saturday, October 2, 2010

J-Street unmasked

by Isi Leibler

Two years ago, when I first condemned J Street’s anti-Israeli agenda, I tagged George Soros, the billionaire Hungarian born currency speculator, as one of its major sponsors. Yet J-Street founder and executive director Jeremy Ben Ami, on repeated occasions, adamantly denied this. He even said that he wished that Soros was a funder adding that “we got tagged as having his support without the benefit of actually getting funded.”

It has now been disclosed that some $750,000, amounting to almost a third of J-Street’s 2008-2009 US revenue, was provided by Soros.

After being exposed as an outright serial liar, Ben-Ami tried to weasel his way out of his shameful behavior by “accepting responsibility for being less than clear” about J-Street funding.

In fact Soros and J-Street make a perfect match. Soros has proudly proclaimed “I am not a Zionist, nor am I a practicing Jew.” He believes that Israel is largely responsible for anti-Semitism. Much of his venom is concentrated on AIPAC, and he has consistently been attacking all-pro Israeli institutions. He also calls for the recognition of Hamas. His “Open Society Institute” pours vast funds into organizations whose prime objective is to undermine elected governments of Israel. Only last month ago, he contributed a record $100 million towards Human Rights Watch, the purportedly human rights watchdog, which no longer bothers to disguise its blatant bias and hostility towards Israel.

For its part, J-Street condemned Israel for its Gaza offensive against Hamas, describing it as “a disproportionate response.” It refused to identify “who was right and who was wrong” proclaiming that “we recognize that neither Israelis nor Palestinians have a monopoly of right and wrong.” It not only refused to condemn the Goldstone Report, but facilitated meetings between members of Congress and Judge Goldstone. It even resurrected the anti-Semitic charge of dual loyalties, warning Jews that by “one sided support of Israel,” they “risked alienating the American public and would be condemned for displaying greater loyalties towards Israel than the US.” It repeatedly slandered AIPAC depicting it as an extremist right-wing body ignoring the fact that it had backed the policies of all Israeli governments, including dovish administrations preceding Netanyahu.

More recently, J-Street called on its supporters to bombard the IRS with complaints that contributions promoting social welfare causes over the green line, including the major settlement blocs and Jerusalem, represented a breach of US law and should be investigated.
There are left wing groups like Meretz and Peace Now who oppose Israeli settlement policies with no less vigor than J-Street. But what primarily differentiate them from J-Street are not its views but its actions. J-Street insists that it knows better than Israelis what is good for them, and employs the obscene analogy of parents required to impose “tough love” on drug addicted children, to justify lobbying the Obama Administration to force Israel to make unilateral concessions to the Palestinians which undermine its security. It also funds Congressional candidates with track records of hostility to Israel policies. It is surely classic Orwellian double-talk for an organization which lobbies foreign legislators to oppose Israel policies, to define itself as “pro-Israel.”

To top it off, J-Street was also exposed for having received donations and support from Arab and pro-Arab individuals and organizations.The donors include Genevieve Lynch a former participant of the US Iranian National Council who also serves on the J-Street finance committee; Judith Barnett a former registered agent for Saudi Arabia who also serves on the J-Street Advisory Council; and Nancy Dutton a former attorney for the Saudi Arabian embassy who donates to J-Street’s political action committee which finances anti-Israeli congressional candidates.

It was also disclosed that a mysterious Hong Kong donor, “Consolacion Esdicul,” whose identity was concealed, provided $800,000 (about half the total annual J-Street income). When Ben Ami was asked to identify the Hong Kong contributor, he declined saying “Bill Bester solicited her.” Bester is apparently not Jewish, and in view of Ben-Ami’s reluctance to elaborate, there is odium about this contribution. Unconfirmed rumors suggest that it is either clandestine Saudi money or a back channel concealing additional Soros funding. If one combines this extraordinarily contribution from a shadowy Chinese source with that of Soros it is difficult for J-Street to deny that the bulk of their budget emanates from either anti-Israeli or other tainted sources.

How will the lack of transparency, shameless lies and the disclosure that J-Street was clandestinely being funded by a pathologically anti-Israeli Jew like Soros impact on the organization?

It is likely to suffer, but its core support will probably continue supporting it. The real test will be whether the American Jewish establishment will wake up and marginalize this organization from the mainstream instead of bringing it into “the tent.”

The core support of J-Street today is based on two groups. The most reliable are the hard line anti-Israeli elements who cynically promote the “pro-Israel” tag in order to maximize their campaign against the Israeli government. They include a strong element of virulent anti-Zionists willing to collaborate with any groups including Arabs and extreme anti-Zionist leftists in order to undermine the Jewish state. They usually come out of the closet and are identified at J-Street conferences. For obvious reasons the leaders seek to divert media attention from these elements who demonize and seek to delegitimize the Jewish state.

The other group represents the bulk of rank and file followers. Many are confused liberals with little Jewish background who Ben Ami once described to the New York Times as being primarily intermarried youngsters who attend “Buddhist Seders.” Some are genuinely angered when accused of providing support to those seeking to destroy the Jewish state and maintain that they are partaking in constructive dissident activity which they believe remains within the framework of pro-Israel activity. They are in many respects, reminiscent of the Jewish fellow travelers during the Cold War. They too, were muddled liberals being manipulated by hard core communists into supporting bogus peace festivals and indulging in pro Soviet activities which unquestionably furthered the interests of the “Evil Empire.”

For a time, these groups were also tolerated by the Jewish establishment. But when the evidence of Soviet duplicity and anti-Semitism became overwhelming, they were isolated from the mainstream.

Today it is utterly preposterous to define a group like J-Street which describes itself as Obama’s “blocking back” in Congress and seeks to undermine support for the government of Israel as being “pro-Israel.” Nobody seeks to deny J-Street its right of freedom of expression. The left-liberal media will undoubtedly continue promoting the organization which seeks to provide a pseudo Jewish seal of approval on the Obama administration’s one sided pressures against Israel.

However with these recent revelations, American Jewish leaders will hopefully expose them as a marginal anti-Israeli group artificially created by the largesse of Soros and dissociate them from the mainstream of the committed Jewish community which remains strongly supportive of the Jewish State.

Isi Leibler

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

80% of participants in latest UN rights council vote against Israel ranked “Not Free” or only “Partly Free” by Freedom House

by Robin Shepherd

In the latest display of sickening hypocrisy at the United Nations, the Human Rights Council yesterday endorsed by 30 votes to one this month’s report by three anti-Israeli lawyers which charged Israel with “wilful killing”, “torture” and “inhuman treatment” over the Mavi Marmara Gaza-flotilla incident earlier this year.

The United States was the only country to oppose the report, while France and Britain were among 15 others abstaining. What really strikes one, however, are the liberal-democratic credentials of those who backed the motion. To think! Being judged on a human rights issue by China, Libya, or Saudi Arabia? Actually this is no laughing matter. It is a depraved and disgusting statement on what the United Nations has become. It is, therefore, worth looking at the backers of this motion in a little more detail.

I have used the Freedom House Freedom in the World 2010 index — which ranks countries as either Free (F), Partly Free (PF) or Not Free (NF) — as my point of reference. Here are the countries which voted in favour of the report with their Freedom House designation in brackets:

Angola (NF), Argentina (F), Bahrain (NF), Bangladesh (PF), Brazil (F), Burkina Faso (PF), Chile (F), China (NF), Cuba (NF), Djibouti (PF), Ecuador (PF), Gabon (NF), Guatemala (PF), Jordan (NF), Kyrgyzstan (NF), Libyan Arab Jamahiriya (NF), Malaysia (PF), Maldives (PF), Mauritania (NF), Mauritius (F), Mexico (F), Nigeria (PF), Pakistan (PF), Qatar(NF), Russian Federation (NF), Saudi Arabia (NF), Senegal (PF), Thailand (PF), Uganda (PF), and Uruguay (F).

With only six countries in the group ranked as free, no less than 80 percent are either only partly free — meaning they are grubby, corrupt and often murderous pseudo-democracies — or are not free — meaning in most cases they are outright tyrannies.

The resolution was tabled by the Organisation of the Islamic Conference, almost all of whose members are dictatorships or tyrannies of one form or another. On their behalf, it was introduced in the Rights Council by Pakistan.

Mindful of the truly stomach turning hypocrisy in all of this, as well as the searing contempt for the victims of oppression in most of the countries which voted in favour of the motion, it is also worth noting the attitude of the European Union. How about this for an illustration of an institution completely unable to stand up for truth and justice (or even say anything meaningful) when faced with demands emanating from the Muslim world. What follows is taken directly from the text of yesterday’s proceedings:

“ALEX VAN MEEUWEN (Belgium), speaking in a general comment on behalf of the European Union, deeply regretted the events that had led to the unnecessary loss of life. The Council had the duty to address all human rights violations wherever they occurred, including by fighting impunity. The European Union welcomed the efforts of the Fact-Finding Mission to make an objective assessment of the organization and interception of the flotilla by the Israeli navy. However, the European Union found it important that the work of the Human Rights Council complemented and fed into the work done by the wider United Nations system. The European Union regretted that the work of the panel of inquiry created by the United Nations Secretary-General had not been taken into account more strongly. Also, the European Union regretted the absence of sincere negotiations. For these reasons, the members of the European Union would abstain during the vote.”

I beg to differ. Let me suggest a few other reasons why the EU “would abstain during the vote”: cowardice in the face of Muslim minorities at home; appeasement of the OIC and its oil and gas producing members at the UN; a spineless political correctness in not wanting to rock the boat inside a UN institution which has as much respect for human rights as a paedophile ring does for the rights of children; etc; etc; etc.

Say what you want about Barack Obama, but America even under his watch was the only country in the world to say no to this revolting spectacle. As for the rest of the world’s governments, it’s a bleak, bleak picture.

Robin Shepherd

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

Clinton’s KuBa Conceit

by Sarah Honig

Rare is the American president with true strategic comprehension of the convoluted intricacies of the Mideast’s assorted disputes, especially the one arising from the implacable Arab refusal to accept a sovereign Jewish state in what they consider their lebensraum (one of Hitler’s favorite terms claiming entitlement to “living space” for his superior race)

The wisdom or imbecility of any given US president is inevitably as good as that of the aides who whisper in his ear. But some have unquestionably displayed greater capacity for preposterousness than others. It may be a mere accident of history or the result of left-wing proclivities, but the greatest inanities have of late emanated from Democrats – the present White House resident and his two living Democratic predecessors, Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton.

Barack Obama’s grasp of the Mideast is so skewed and so predisposed to support the Arab/Muslim narrative that he liberally subscribes to its copious falsehoods as part of his multicultural, moral-relativist, postmodern aggrandizement of the Third World. His fawning Cairo address in 2009 was just the preview of coming attractions.

THE LESS said about Carter the better. Suffice it just to note that yesteryear’s self-professed honest broker, who had subsequently slandered Israel as an apartheid state, happens to be the closest ideologically to Obama and most like him in terms of abysmal failure as the leader of the free world.

Then comes affable Clinton, who manages to endear himself to all and sundry as a more pragmatic product of the Democratic Party machine and even a good friend of Israel. For all we know he may have convinced himself that he’s indeed the Jewish state’s outstanding chum. His utter immodesty surely leaves little doubt in his mind that he knows better than us what’s best for us. But does arrogance endow him with exceptional insight?

Hardly. His colossal pretentiousness is only matched by his cluelessness.

Hence he maintains that the greatest obstacle to Mideast peace are Israel’s Russian immigrants. Arab potentates probably agree and would like to be rid of “Israel’s Russians” as much as of any trace of Jewish presence in this land. Yet their genocidal hate and terror-mongering aren’t named by Clinton as obstacles to peace.

His problem is the makeup of Israel’s population. It’s who we are that gets his goat.

According to Slick Willy’s astute analysis, Russian immigrants constitute “the hardest-core people against a division of the land. This presents a staggering problem. It’s a different Israel. Sixteen percent of Israelis speak Russian.”

Clinton frets about who’ll confront the settlers as, heaven forefend, “an increasing number of the young people in the IDF are the children of Russians and settlers.”

It’s not that the former American commander- in-chief is satisfied with other components of Israeli society either.

“Moroccans,” for example, are too “right-of-center,” though they aren’t quite as disruptive an element as Russians. The Moroccans’ desire for “normal lives” (presumably as distinct from Russians) can turn them into “swing voters,” who might support the Israeli party of Clinton’s choice.

Clinton’s unconcealed officious intrusion into a fellow democracy’s internal processes is of course nothing new. He was always unabashedly partial to Israel’s Labor Party – the only tolerable Israeli voice, to judge by Clinton’s non-too-objective past rhetoric and record. Ehud Barak was his outright darling and Clinton spared no effort to help him defeat Binyamin Netanyahu in 1999. Indeed Clinton did for Barak what few American presidents ever dared openly do even for their most promising foreign protégés.

Clinton pulled out all stops in his bald-faced intervention in Israel’s domestic politics, boosting Barak in a fashion unseen since the CIA’s blatant interference in Italy’s post-World War II election. Brashly, Clinton didn’t even bother to cover up his tracks but dispatched his own spin doctors, private pollsters and campaign strategists to get Barak elected.

After Barak’s 1999 win, Clinton could hardly contain his glee. On the eve of Barak’s first Washington visit as prime minister, the eager American host quipped that he’s “as excited as a kid awaiting a new toy.” It was pretty demeaning to look upon the leader of an allied independent state as a plaything, but Clinton greeted with pomp and circumstance a guest whose success constituted the American president’s own personal triumph. With incomparable hutzpa and outrageous meddling, Clinton made Barak’s battle his own.

Now Clinton echoes assorted self-promoted experts (generally with an ax to grind) who rationalize that it’s not Labor’s policies which were its downfall, but the composition of the electorate. Clinton blames Israel’s objectionable voters for frustrating his wishes. It may be childish, churlish and petulant, but it’s essentially the familiar psychological phenomenon of transference.

Had he not been raised high on the pedestal of statesmanship and omniscience, Clinton’s bizarre gibberish might all be chalked up to his personal hang-ups.

However, as in Carter’s case, asinine humbug gains inordinate currency when spouted by exalted, supposedly super-savvy senior luminaries. It therefore sways more impressionable minds and is exploited to greater effect by unscrupulous propagandists than would otherwise be the case.

THE DANGER is that Clinton’s careless prattle would delegitimize aliya just as much as Jewish settlement has already been delegitimized. Since the advent of Zionism, the Arab subtext had been that whatever betokens Jewish life and vitality in this land perforce undermines harmony and bliss. Bottom-line priority – weaken Jewish interests in the Jewish homeland.

Clinton could, albeit unintentionally, reinforce that. Disapproving of Israel’s newcomers, he appears to furnish new impetus with a new twist to the old Arab agenda – the need to keep immigrants from altering Israel’s landscape.

Clinton’s displeasure with the preferences of Israel’s electorate is reminiscent of Kurt “KuBa” Barthel, secretary-general of East Germany’s Writers Union and the DDR’s propaganda ace during 1953’s popular proletariat uprising. It was the first such mutiny inside any USSR satellite. What rankled most was that many of the protesters were communists and the very blue-collar laborers whom the party purported to represent.

KuBa was especially cross with construction workers who marched down Berlin’s Stalinallee. “You should be ashamed of yourselves,” he chastised them. “You’ll have to behave very well in future before your shame is forgotten… The people,” he judged, “had forfeited the confidence of their government.”

With paternalistic condescension he advised them to “go to sleep at 9 p.m. like good children. The Soviet army and comrades of the German People’s Police are standing on guard for you and for world peace.”

Communist KuBa despaired of the proletarians. Democratic Clinton despairs of participants in Israel’s democracy.

Bertolt Brecht’s reply to KuBa, in a short poem entitled “Solution,” could well apply also to Clinton’s father-knows-best airs:

“…Wouldn’t it be simpler,
In that case, for the government
To dissolve the people
And elect another?”

Wouldn’t it be simpler for Clinton to dissolve the Israeli people and elect another population (more to his liking) in its stead?

Sarah Honig

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

Israel Stragetically Requires More Territory Not Less

by Caroline Glick

There’s a new cyber-weapon on the block. And it’s a doozy. Stuxnet, a malicious software, or malware, program was apparently first discovered in June.

Although it has appeared in India, Pakistan and Indonesia, Iran’s industrial complexes – including its nuclear installations – are its main victims.

Stuxnet operates as a computer worm. It is inserted into a computer system through a USB port rather than over the Internet, and is therefore capable of infiltrating networks that are not connected to the Internet.

Hamid Alipour, deputy head of Iran’s Information Technology Company, told reporters Monday that the malware operated undetected in the country’s computer systems for about a year.

After it enters a network, this super-intelligent program figures out what it has penetrated and then decides whether or not to attack. The sorts of computer systems it enters are those that control critical infrastructures like power plants, refineries and other industrial targets.

Ralph Langner, a German computer security researcher who was among the first people to study Stuxnet, told various media outlets that after Stuxnet recognizes its specific target, it does something no other malware program has ever done. It takes control of the facility’s SCADA (supervisory control and data acquisition system) and through it, is able to destroy the facility.

No other malware program has ever managed to move from cyberspace to the real world. And this is what makes Stuxnet so revolutionary. It is not a tool of industrial espionage. It is a weapon of war.

From what researchers have exposed so far, Stuxnet was designed to control computer systems produced by the German engineering giant Siemens. Over the past generation, Siemens engineering tools, including its industrial software, have been the backbone of Iran’s industrial and military infrastructure. Siemens computer software products are widely used in Iranian electricity plants, communication systems and military bases, and in the country’s Russian-built nuclear power plant at Bushehr.

The Iranian government has acknowledged a breach of the computer system at Bushehr. The plant was set to begin operating next month, but Iranian officials announced the opening would be pushed back several months due to the damage wrought by Stuxnet. On Monday, Channel 2 reported that Iran’s Natanz uranium enrichment facility was also infected by Stuxnet.

On Tuesday, Alipour acknowledged that Stuxnet’s discovery has not mitigated its destructive power.

As he put it, “We had anticipated that we could root out the virus within one to two months. But the virus is not stable and since we started the cleanup process, three new versions of it have been spreading.”

While so far no one has either taken responsibility for Stuxnet or been exposed as its developer, experts who have studied the program agree that its sophistication is so vast that it is highly unlikely a group of privately financed hackers developed it. Only a nation-state would have the financial, manpower and other resources necessary to develop and deploy Stuxnet, the experts argue.

Iran has pointed an accusatory finger at the US, Israel and India. So far, most analysts are pointing their fingers at Israel. Israeli officials, like their US counterparts, are remaining silent on the subject.

While news of a debilitating attack on Iran’s nuclear installations is a cause for celebration, at this point, we simply do not know enough about what has happened and what is continuing to happen at Iran’s nuclear installations to make any reasoned evaluation about Stuxnet’s success or failure. Indeed, The New York Times has argued that since Stuxnet worms were found in Siemens software in India, Pakistan and Indonesia as well as Iran, reporting, “The most striking aspect of the fast-spreading malicious computer program… may not have been how sophisticated it was, but rather how sloppy its creators were in letting a specifically aimed attack scatter randomly around the globe.”

ALL THAT we know for certain is that Stuxnet is a weapon and it is currently being used to wage a battle. We don’t know if Israel is involved in the battle or not. And if Israel is a side in the battle, we don’t know if we’re winning or not.

But still, even in our ignorance about the details of this battle, we still know enough to draw a number of lessons from what is happening.

Stuxnet’s first lesson is that it is essential to be a leader rather than a follower in technology development. The first to deploy new technologies on a battlefield has an enormous advantage over his rivals. Indeed, that advantage may be enough to win a war.

But from the first lesson, a second immediately follows. A monopoly in a new weapon system is always fleeting. The US nuclear monopoly at the end of World War II allowed it to defeat Imperial Japan and bring the war to an end in allied victory.

Once the US exposed its nuclear arsenal, however, the Soviet Union’s race to acquire nuclear weapons of its own began. Just four years after the US used its nuclear weapons, it found itself in a nuclear arms race with the Soviets. America’s possession of nuclear weapons did not shield it from the threat of their destructive power.

The risks of proliferation are the flipside to the advantage of deploying new technology. Warning of the new risks presented by Stuxnet, Melissa Hathaway, a former US national cybersecurity coordinator, told the Times, “Proliferation is a real problem, and no country is prepared to deal with it. All of these [computer security] guys are scared to death. We have about 90 days to fix this [new vulnerability] before some hacker begins using it.”

Then there is the asymmetry of vulnerability to cyberweapons. A cyberweapon like Stuxnet threatens nation-states much more than it threatens a non-state actor that could deploy it in the future. For instance, a cyber-attack of the level of Stuxnet against the likes of Hizbullah or al-Qaida by a state like Israel or the US would cause these groups far less damage than a Hizbullah or al-Qaida cyber-attack of the quality of Stuxnet launched against a developed country like Israel or the US.

In short, like every other major new weapons system introduced since the slingshot, Stuxnet creates new strengths as well as new vulnerabilities for the states that may wield it.

As to the battle raging today in Iran’s nuclear facilities, even if the most optimistic scenario is true, and Stuxnet has crippled Iran’s nuclear installations, we must recognize that while a critical battle was won, the war is far from over.

A war ends when one side permanently breaks its enemy’s ability and will to fight it. This has clearly not happened in Iran.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad made it manifestly clear during his visit to the US last week that he is intensifying, not moderating, his offensive stance towards the US, Israel and the rest of the free world. Indeed, as IDF Deputy Chief of Staff Maj.-Gen. Benny Ganz noted last week, “Iran is involved up to its neck in every terrorist activity in the Middle East.”

So even in the rosiest scenario, Israel or some other government has just neutralized one threat – albeit an enormous threat – among a panoply of threats that Iran poses. And we can be absolutely certain that Iran will take whatever steps are necessary to develop new ways to threaten Israel and its other foes as quickly as possible.

What this tells us is that if Stuxnet is an Israeli weapon, while a great achievement, it is not a revolutionary weapon. While the tendency to believe that we have found a silver bullet is great, the fact is that fielding a weapon like Stuxnet does not fundamentally change Israel’s strategic position. And consequently, it should have no impact on Israel’s strategic doctrine.

In all likelihood, assuming that Stuxnet has significantly debilitated Iran’s nuclear installations, this achievement will be a one-off. Just as the Arabs learned the lessons of their defeat in 1967 and implemented those lessons to great effect in the war in 1973, so the Iranians – and the rest of Israel’s enemies – will learn the lessons of Stuxnet.

SO IF we assume that Stuxnet is an Israeli weapon, what does it show us about Israel’s position vis-à-vis its enemies? What Stuxnet shows is that Israel has managed to maintain its technological advantage over its enemies. And this is a great relief. Israel has survived since 1948 despite our enemies’ unmitigated desire to destroy us because we have continuously adapted our tactical advantages to stay one step ahead of them. It is this adaptive capability that has allowed Israel to win a series of one-off battles that have allowed it to survive.

But again, none of these one-off battles were strategic game-changers. None of them have fundamentally changed the strategic realities of the region. This is the case because they have neither impacted our enemies’ strategic aspiration to destroy us, nor have they mitigated Israel’s strategic vulnerabilities. It is the unchanging nature of these vulnerabilities since the dawn of modern Zionism that gives hope to our foes that they may one day win and should therefore keep fighting.

Israel has two basic strategic vulnerabilities.

The first is Israel’s geographic minuteness, which attracts invaders. The second vulnerability is Israel’s political weakness both at home and abroad, which make it impossible to fight long wars.

Attentive to these vulnerabilities, David Ben- Gurion asserted that Israel’s military doctrine is the twofold goal to fight wars on our enemies’ territory and to end them as swiftly and as decisively as possible. This doctrine remains the only realistic option today, even if Stuxnet is in our arsenal.

It is important to point this plain truth out today as the excitement builds about Stuxnet, because Israel’s leaders have a history of mistaking tactical innovation and advantage with strategic transformation. It was our leaders’ failure to properly recognize what happened in 1967 for the momentary tactical advantage it was that led us to near disaster in 1973.

Since 1993, our leaders have consistently mistaken their adoption of the West’s land-forpeace paradigm as a strategic response to Israel’s political vulnerability. The fact that the international assault on Israel’s right to exist has only escalated since Israel embraced the landfor- peace paradigm is proof that our leaders were wrong. Adopting the political narrative of our enemies did not increase Israel’s political fortunes in Europe, the US or the UN.

So, too, our leaders have mistaken Israel’s air superiority for a strategic answer to its geographical vulnerability. The missile campaigns the Palestinians and Lebanese have waged against the home front in the aftermath of Israel’s withdrawals from Gaza and south Lebanon show clearly that air supremacy does not make up for geographic vulnerability. It certainly does not support a view that strategic depth is less important than it once was.

We may never know if Stuxnet was successful or if Stuxnet is Israeli. But what we do know is that we cannot afford to learn the wrong lessons from its achievements.

Caroline Glick

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

OIC and the Modern Caliphate

by Bat Ye'or

The Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) is a religious and political organization. Close to the Muslim World League of the Muslim Brotherhood, it shares the Brotherhood's strategic and cultural vision: that of a universal religious community, the Ummah, based upon the Koran, the Sunna, and the canonical orthodoxy of shari'a. The OIC represents 56 countries and the Palestinian Authority (considered a state), the whole constituting the universal Ummah with a community of more than one billion three to six hundred million Muslims.

The OIC has a unique structure among nations and human societies. The Vatican and the various churches are de facto devoid of political power, even if they take part in politics, because in Christianity, as in Judaism, the religious and political functions have to be separated. Asian religions, too, do not represent systems that bring together religion, strategy, politics, and law within a single organizational structure.

Not only does the OIC enjoy unlimited power through the union and cohesion of all its bodies, but also to this it adds the infallibility conferred by religion. Bringing together 56 countries, including some of the richest in the world, it controls the lion's share of global energy resources. The European Union (EU), far from anticipating the problems caused by such a concentration of power and investing in the diversification and autonomy of energy sources since 1973, acted to weaken America internationally in order to substitute for it the U.N., the OIC's docile agent. In the hope of garnering a few crumbs of influence, the EU privileged a massive Muslim immigration into Europe, paid billions to the Mediterranean Union and Palestinian Authority, weakened the European states, undermined their unity, and wrapped itself in the flag of Palestinian justice, as though this would supply some protective system against the global jihad, which it endeavored to focus on Israel.

Religion as the main aspect of the OIC emerges from its language and its targets. It seems that the OIC is restoring in the 21st century the Caliphate, the supreme controlling body for all Muslims. In their Charter (2008), Member States confirm that their union and solidarity are inspired by Islamic values. They affirm their aim to reinforce within the international arena their shared interests and the promotion of Islamic values. They commit themselves to revitalizing the pioneering role of Islam in the world, increasing the prosperity of the member states, and -- in contrast to to the European states -- to ensure the defense of their national sovereignty and territorial integrity. They proclaim their support for Palestine with al-Quds Al Sharif, the Arabized name for Jerusalem, as its capital, and exhort each other to promote human rights, basic freedoms, the state of law (shari'a), and democracy according to their constitutional and legal system -- in other words, compliance with shari'a.

They also undertake to stimulate noble Muslim values, to preserve their symbols and their shared heritage, and to defend the universality of the Islamic religion -- simply put, the universal propagation of Islam (da'wa). They state that they are promoting women's rights and encourage their active participation in all walks of life, in accordance with the laws of the Member States. They agree to inculcate Muslim children with Islamic values and to support Muslim minorities and communities outside the Member States in order to preserve their dignity and their cultural and religious identity.

The Charter's strategic targets seek "[t]o ensure active participation of the Member States [of the OIC] in the global political, economic and social decision-making processes to secure their common interests" (I-5) and "[t]o promote and defend unified position on issues of common interest in international forums" (1-17).

Among its targets, the OIC Charter specifies the propagation, promotion, and preservation of Islamic teachings and values, the spread of Islamic culture, and the preservation of the Islamic heritage (I-11). Article I-12 promotes the protection and defense of the true image of Islam, the fight against its defamation, and the encouragement of dialogue between civilizations and religions. The other objectives deal with protecting inherent Islamic family values (I-14) and the preservation of rights, dignity, and religious and cultural identity of the Muslim communities and minorities in non-Member States (I-16). This issue points to the OIC authority over immigrants abroad and its pressure on the governments of the non-Muslim host countries through the channel of dialogue, including the Alliance of Civilizations, whose Report backs OIC programs, and interfaith and immigration networks.

The OIC supports all the jihadist movements considered to be resisting "foreign occupation," including those in "occupied" Indian Kashmir, and condemns the "humiliation and oppression" of Muslims in India.

The Charter stipulates that the International Islamic Court of Justice shall become the Organization's main legal body (Chap. X, Art. 14) and that "[t]he Independent Permanent Commission on Human Rights shall promote the civil, political, social and economic rights enshrined in the organization's [OIC] covenants and declarations and in universally agreed human rights instruments, in conformity with Islamic values" (Art. 15). It implies that the covenants which do not conform with Islamic values will not be followed.

One can note that Sudanese President Omar al Bashir, accused (according to Western criteria of justice) of genocide committed in southern Sudan and Darfur, has not been troubled by the Islamic Court of Justice. His colleagues at the OIC do not consider him in any way a criminal and receive him with great respect, as does Turkish PM Erdogan.

The Islamic Court of Justice has an international mandate and could try foreigners, both Muslims and non-Muslims (blasphemers, apostates, resisters to jihad) who have broken the laws of shari'a anywhere. Moreover, the claim by the OIC to be the guardian and protector of Muslim immigrants living in all countries that are not members of the OIC implies an extension of its jurisdiction and political influence over all the Muslims of Europe, North and South America, and the other non-Member States. This situation exacerbates the danger incurred by non-religious European Muslims, whether atheists, apostates, or free thinkers.

Within its organization, the Charter presents characteristics similar to those of the EU; however, in terms of its spirit, functions, principles, and objectives, it is the EU's very antithesis. Even if it employs the language of international organizations, the meaning of the words is different by their being rooted in the conceptual world of the Koran, which contradicts the basis of secular Western thought. Thus, Article 32-2 states, "The Council of Foreign Ministers [of OIC countries] shall recommend the rules of procedures of the Islamic Summit." This implies an Islamic view and understanding on policy.

Such a combined political and religious institution is at the very outer rim of Western thinking, anchored as it is in the separation between politics and religion. Even if interference between the two fields has persisted, the principle of such separation has facilitated emancipation in the intellectual and political arenas from religious authority and the development of critical thought.

Present-day aspiration of the Ummah to submit to a caliphate which embodies a combined political-religious institution can only surprise the Westerner and highlight the gap that separates the two. Rooted in individualism, Europeans cultivate the search for happiness and cherish freedom of thought and of rational, scientific exploration, which are perceived as a human being's greatest privilege and finest adventure.

Conversely, aspiring to the Caliphate indicates the longing for a supreme authority owing its infallibility to Allah and his human intermediary, Mohammed. According to Ibn Khaldoun, this institution placing politics at the service of worldwide, religious expansionism was created as instrument for the mandatory Islamization of mankind. Faced today with this political archaism, a divided and broken West seeks refuge in denial and grasps at the demise of tiny Israel as though at a lifebelt. Taking in water from every side, this West that abandons its own identity for multilateralism and multiculturalism and ruins its citizenry by buying security has little chance of survival.

Bat Ye'or

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

Gissin talks [of] Sharon's Temple Mount visit 10 years later

by Gil Hoffman

Former PM's spokesman tells ‘Post’: Sharon knew Palestinians were planning violence, but wanted to show he wouldn’t compromise on J’lem.

Future prime minister Ariel Sharon was told by his spokesman Ra’anan Gissin that visiting the Temple Mount could be used by Palestinians as an excuse for violence, Gissin said Tuesday on the 10th anniversary of Sharon’s controversial visit.

Palestinians began throwing rocks immediately after Sharon left the compound. The Palestinians called the uprising that began the “Al-Aksa intifada,” even though an IDF sergeant critically wounded in a bomb attack the day before Sharon’s visit is considered the first victim of the wave of violence, and Palestinian officials have admitted that then- Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat had planned the intifada months before.

“It was a sensitive time during the High Holy Days and at the end of Ramadan,” Gissin said. “I told him the situation was tense in the West Bank and that [Palestinian general Tawfik] Tirawi’s people were planning to do something on the Temple Mount, whether the trigger would be Sharon or something else. Sharon knew he was playing into their hands, but he went in a clear-headed manner to prove that he wouldn’t compromise on Jerusalem and that Israel would stand up for its rights.”

The initiator of the wave of violence, Marwan Barghouti, later told the Al-Hayat newspaper that he had decided that Sharon’s visit would be the most appropriate moment for the outbreak of the intifada.

“The night prior to Sharon’s visit, I participated in a panel on a local television station and I seized the opportunity to call on the public to go to the Aksa Mosque in the morning, for it was not possible that Sharon would reach al-Haram al- Sharif [the Temple Mount area] just so, and walk away peacefully,” Barghouti said.

“I finished and went to al-Aksa in the morning. We tried to create clashes without success because of the differences of opinion that emerged with others in the Aksa compound at the time,” he continued.

“After Sharon left, I stayed for two hours with other people and discussed the manner of response and how it was possible to react in all the cities and not just Jerusalem.”

Sharon visited the Temple Mount on the advice of his strategic adviser at the time, David Spector, in order to boost his effort to remain Likud leader ahead of an expected challenge from then-former prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu. Highlighting the Jerusalem issue, which was a matter of consensus, helped Sharon unify the Right behind him and prove his leadership.

“The visit was the turning point in his fledgling career,” Gissin said. “He was considered a caretaker party leader in the Likud at the time. He looked for something to posture him as a real leader, and Jerusalem was close to his heart.”

The Likud leader ascended the mountain with his son Gilad and MKs Moshe Arens, Reuven Rivlin, and Yehoshua Matza. Sharon, who owns an apartment in Jerusalem’s Muslim quarter, later used keeping the capital united as a key issue in his campaign against then-prime minister Ehud Barak.

“It was the definitive move to capture the premiership,” Gissin said. “It emphasized his attachment to Jerusalem and helped him position himself as the leading candidate for prime minister. He also wanted to show that we have a right to be there, because Jews were afraid to go up there and police were saying that it wasn’t safe.”

Asked whether Sharon ever regretted ascending the Mount, Gissin said, “No, he said it was the right time to tell the Palestinians that Jerusalem was not for sale.”

Gil Hoffman

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

Will Abbas, Too, Order Hamas to Carry Out Terror Strikes?

by Khaled Abu Toameh

Former Palestinian President, Yasser Arafat, who won the Nobel Peace prize, fooled all of the people all of the time.

Mahmoud Zahar, a prominent Hamas leader, has just revealed that Yasser Arafat, when he failed to get what he wanted at the negotiating table, instructed Hamas to launch terror attacks in the heart of Israel. Hamas obviously took Arafat's orders seriously, waging an unprecedented campaign of suicide booming and terror attacks that killed and injured thousands of Jews and Arabs.

When Arafat reportedly unleashed Hamas's terrorists against Israel, both he and the Palestinian Authority were still on the payroll of the international community, first and foremost the Americans and Europeans.

Arafat pretended back then that he was doing his utmost to stop the terror attacks that were launched not only by Hamas, but also by members of his own ruling Fatah faction. It now appears - from what Zahar has to say - that Arafat was bluntly lying to Israel and the Western donors.

What is interesting is that Zahar's revelations about Arafat's role in the terror campaign come at a time when the Palestinian and Hamas have resumed efforts to end their differences and achieve "national unity."

Does this rapprochement mean that Arafat's successor, Mahmoud Abbas, is planning to use Hamas again against Israel if the Palestinians don't get all what they want through direct and indirect talks? Some of the Palestinians who are negotiating with Israel these days were very close to Arafat back then; it is highly likely that they knew about his instructions to Hamas. Nabil Sha'ath, Saeb Erekat and Yasser Abed Rabbo were among Arafat's inner circle of advisors and confidants.

Zahar made this revelation during a lecture at the Islamic University in Gaza City marking the 10th anniversary of the second intifada, which erupted in September 2000, a few weeks after the failure of the Camp David summit.

This is the first time that a Hamas leader openly admits that his movement carried out terror attacks against Israel on instructions from the Palestinian Authority leader. Arafat is believed to have issued the orders to Hamas after the botched Camp David summit, which was hosted by President Bill Clinton.

Sadly, some Israelis, Americans and Europeans refused back then to open their eyes to the reality - that Arafat was fooling them. They even turned a blind eye when it was revealed back then that Arafat was funding the armed wing of Fatah, the Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, whose members carried out dozens of terror attacks in the past 10 years.

Arafat was a leader who led his people from one disaster to another. Because of him, thousands of Palestinians were massacred by the Jordanians in the early 1970s. He also played a role in the Lebanon Civil War that claimed the lives of tens of thousands of people.

By ordering Hamas to carry out "military operations" against Israel after the failure of the Camp David summit, Arafat brought disaster not only on Israel, but on his own people. More than 5,500 Palestinians and 1,000 Israelis were killed in the attacks which Zahar says were ordered by Arafat.

Finally, it remains to be seen what the Noble [sic] Prize Committee has to say about the Hamas leader's confession. In addition, those who back then staunchly defended Arafat as a "peace partner" owe the victims of the terror attacks and their families an apology.

Khaled Abu Toameh

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

Dangerous Delusions

by Tony Badran

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Mouallem speaks at the UN General Assembly on September 28, a day after a rare meeting with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. (AFP photo/ Don Emmert)

Syria’s foreign minister, Walid Mouallem, followed his rare meeting with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Monday with a typically brazen interview in which he denied that his government was illegally transferring advanced weapons to Hezbollah. However, Mouallem’s denial is hardly credible, as the Syrian media has already exposed the Syrian regime’s intention to transfer Russian-made anti-ship missiles to the Shia militia in Lebanon.

Ten days prior to the Clinton-Mouallem meeting, Russia’s defense minister announced that Moscow would fulfill a 2007 contract to supply P-800 (Yakhont) anti-ship cruise missiles to Damascus.

The announcement set off a storm of criticisms and objections in Israel, with officials there labeling the Russian decision irresponsible. The Pentagon also shared Israel’s concerns, although the Obama administration has not forcefully commented on the issue. Meanwhile, some officials in Israel have threatened to sell arms to Russia’s enemies, while one defense official said that Russia’s decision puts future cooperation with Israel in doubt, namely the deal to purchase advanced unmanned aerial vehicles from Israel.

Israel’s concern is directly linked to the probability that Syria will pass these missiles on to Hezbollah, as it has been doing with other advanced weaponry. A look back at a number of reports and statements from April and May offers evidence that this is precisely, and explicitly, what the Syrians have in mind.

The first report came out in the Kuwaiti al-Rai in April, around the time when the story of Syria’s smuggling of Scuds to Hezbollah was still raging, along with assessments of growing military integration between Syria and Hezbollah in preparation for the next war with Israel.

The authors of the al-Rai report, known for their access to Hezbollah sources, quoted Syrian sources in laying out the shape of the military response to any Israeli attack against Syria. One element in this so-called “Syrian scenario” described in the report is of relevance here. It claimed that “Syria has prepared plans to hit the entire Israeli coast in case of a war against Lebanon and Syria, and Syria will use ground-to-sea missiles as well as imposing a blockade against Israeli naval targets, military and non-military, in order to shut down all Israeli ports.”

The report concluded with the Syrian sources warning Israel about the potency of the “unified military efforts” of the Syrian leadership and Hezbollah.

The theme of naval targets surfaced again about a month later in Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah’s “Liberation Day” speech. Nasrallah essentially echoed verbatim the Syrian claim reported in al-Rai, contending that his group possessed the capability to hit “all military, civilian and commercial ships” heading to “any port on the Palestinian coast from north to the south,” even threatening to target the port of Eilat on the Red Sea.

Then came the clincher. Immediately after Nasrallah’s speech, it was none other than the Syrian daily al-Watan, owned by Bashar al-Assad’s cousin, Rami Makhlouf, which offered the exclusive and detailed interpretation of what Nasrallah was referring to in his speech.

The paper’s report, headlined “Hezbollah possesses ground-to-sea missiles with a 300 km range,” described that the new missile was not the C-802, which Hezbollah had used to hit the Israeli Sa’ar warship, the Hanit, during the 2006 war. Rather, the new missile, according to “impeccable information” obtained by al-Watan, had a range of 300 kilometers, and covers the entire Israeli coastline.

Of course, it is precisely the Yakhont missile that has that range, as well as the capacity to carry a 200 kg warhead. In other words, the Syrians, by putting out an exclusive report, in their own media (and not through a leak to a Gulf newspaper, as is often the case), ahead of everyone else, were sending an unambiguous message regarding their intentions.

Moreover, the Yakhont could be vertically launched from inland sites in Lebanon (using a modified “Scud B” Transporter-Erector-Launcher vehicle), specifically in the Bekaa, behind the eastern Mount Lebanon ridge, in order to further avoid detection from the sea and to minimize early warning for the targets. The missile’s range also jeopardizes the port of Haifa.

All of the above, not to mention the recent reports of intercepted weapons shipments to Syria – including seven tons of military-grade explosives from Iran and a suspected vessel from North Korea – which framed the Clinton-Mouallem meeting, puts the lie to Mouallem’s denial. More worrying, however, is the lack of an appropriate American response.

Back in April, during the Scud fiasco, Assistant Secretary of State Jeffrey Feltman told a House hearing that, should the reports of advanced missile transfers pan out, the administration was “going to have to review the full range of tools that are available for us in order to make Syria reverse what would be an incendiary, provocative action,” adding that “all options are going to be on the table looking at this.”

However, this potentially substantive message was undercut by the administration’s priorities, verbalized by Secretary Clinton at the same time in April. Clinton instead focused on the need to express US concerns directly to the Syrians through the reinstatement of an ambassador to Damascus.

But US concerns were indeed expressed directly to the Syrians, to little apparent effect. And so, Mouallem felt confident enough to openly declare that his country would not cooperate with the IAEA investigation of Syria’s clandestine nuclear program, even when the US is raising the possibility of pursuing a special investigation, which could lead to a referral to the Security Council. In fact, Mouallem’s interview included, aside from the typical Assad regime obfuscation and propaganda, an open rejection of every single item of concern for the US, and Mouallem did so without any fear of consequences, diplomatic or otherwise. After all, he had just obtained the highest-level meeting to date, without the slightest change in Syrian destabilizing behavior.

In the run-up to the Clinton-Mouallem meeting, a US official told As-Sharq al-Awsat that the meeting would discuss “the essential role that Syria could potentially play in regional stability.” That’s all very nice diplo-speak. More likely, in the continued absence of a clear and resolute enforcement of US red lines, Syria will simply keep on doing what it has been doing for years. For the US to substitute such resolution with platitudes about “comprehensive peace” is to engage in dangerous delusion.

Tony Badran is a research fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies

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

Friday, October 1, 2010

Is stuxnet the new Ultra?

by Mladen Andrijasevic

Few people realize the importance of Marian Rejewski, Jerzy Rozycki and Henryk Zygalski. These three Polish mathematicians and cryptologists solved the Enigma machine in 1932, the main cipher used by the Germans, and in 1939 transferred their knowledge to the British who under the leadership of Alan Turing at Bletchley Park continued to penetrate most of the German communication during WWII.

The history of WWII would have been quite different if it had not been for Ultra as the intelligence obtained through breaking Enigma was called. The anti submarine warfare in the Battle of the Atlantic was won almost entirely thanks to Ultra. Many of the major battles of the Second World War, The Battle of Britain, El Alamein, Stalingrad, Kursk, D-Day were won at least partly because Ultra had broken the German code.

But all this was unknown until 30 years after the end of the Second Word War.

So what is one to make of the articles like this one in Computerworld Is Stuxnet the 'best' malware ever?

The Stuxnet worm is a "groundbreaking" piece of malware so devious in its use of unpatched vulnerabilities, so sophisticated in its multipronged approach, that the security researchers who tore it apart believe it may be the work of state-backed professionals.

"It's amazing, really, the resources that went into this worm," said Liam O Murchu, manager of operations with Symantec's security response team.

"I'd call it groundbreaking," said Roel Schouwenberg, a senior antivirus researcher at Kaspersky Lab. In comparison, other notable attacks, like the one dubbed Aurora that hacked Google's network and those of dozens of other major companies, were child's play.

The malware, which weighed in a nearly half a megabyte -- an astounding size, said Schouwenberg -- was written in multiple languages, including C, C++ and other object-oriented languages, O Murchu added.

Or this one in The Economist A cyber-missile aimed at Iran?

But the possibility that it might have been aimed at one set of industrial-control systems in particular—those inside Iranian nuclear facilities—has prompted one security expert to describe Stuxnet as a "cyber-missile", designed to seek out and destroy a particular target. Its unusual sophistication, meanwhile, has prompted speculation that it is the work of a well-financed team working for a nation state, rather than a group of rogue hackers trying to steal industrial secrets or cause trouble. This, in turn, has led to suggestions that Israel, known for its high-tech prowess and (ahem) deep suspicion of Iran's nuclear programme, might be behind it. But it is difficult to say how much truth there is in this juicy theory.

Are we witnessing the first visible stages of the war against the Iranian nuclear sites? Although the worm can apparently be patched I can imagine the level of concern that is spreading among the Iranians is significant. Will it take 30 years to find out what has happened?

Is Israel involved? Should we be surprised if it were? Not really. One just needs to read the book Start-Up Nation by Dan Senor and Saul Singer to get the magnitude of Israel’s achievement in computer technology in the last 30 years. The 8088 chip used in the original IBM PC was designed in Haifa, the 386 in Jerusalem. Centrino and Core 2 Duo, and most of the Intel’s forty new processors over a one-hundred-day period were based on Intel’s Israeli team’s design.

Is stuxnet just the tip of the iceberg? Will computer know-how play the same role Ultra played in the Second World War? Let’s hope so. Is the ingenuity, innovation and chutzpah that made the Israeli computer revolution possible now being utilized to counter the Iranian threat? Apparently.

There is a difference. The scientific and technological achievement of both sides during Word War II was comparable. Britain had the radar and Alan Turing, the Americans the Manhattan project. The Germans had Karl Zuse, who invented the first electro-mechanical computer and Wernher von Braun. Today the difference is between a country (or countries) that virtually invented the technology and one that is still leaning how to use it. Let’s hope that this difference will prove crucial.

Mladen Andrijasevic

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

Kenny Gamble Nets Another $500K from Taxpayers

by David J. Rusin

This year's winners of the U.S. Department of Education's $500,000 Promise Neighborhoods planning grants — used by recipients to "create plans to provide cradle-to-career services that improve the educational achievement and healthy development of children" — include Philadelphia-based Universal Community Homes, under the direction of a man quite familiar to Islamist Watch: Kenny Gamble, a.k.a. Luqman Abdul Haqq. Naturally the above announcement, the summary of Universal's proposal, Congressman Chaka Fattah's press release, and local news stories all ignore Gamble's associates and dubious agenda, but IW is pleased to fill in a few gaps.

Gamble sits on the governing board of the Muslim Alliance in North America (MANA), a mostly black Muslim group brimming with radicals. The formation of MANA was driven by Jamil al-Amin, now a convicted cop killer; MANA embraces him to this day. Its leader is Siraj Wahhaj, who was fingered as a potential unindicted co-conspirator in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and has advocated replacing the Constitution with Shari'a law. Among the board members listed alongside Gamble are Johari Abdul-Malik, outreach coordinator of the terror-tied Dar al-Hijrah mosque, and the late Luqman Ameen Abdullah, a Detroit imam who preached war against the U.S. and was killed in a 2009 shootout with FBI agents.

Gamble's Universal Companies oversees a South Philly real estate empire viewed by many as a burgeoning "black Muslim enclave." Such fears are bolstered by Gamble's United Muslim Movement having a mission of "establishing the religion of Islam," even as its separation from Universal is murky at best. He also has expressed desire to "create a model so that, in the coming years, Muslims would be able to live close to each other, that they would live closer to the masjid, that they would eventually be able to open up businesses so that they would be able to employ each other and develop community life." Confronted about worries that he is building the latest Muslim enclave on U.S. soil, Gamble offered a bizarre endorsement of segregation.

Finally, a recent article exposing the Jawala Scouts, an entity linked to radicals and affiliated with his United Muslim Movement, has opened eyes regarding Gamble's work with children. As described by Joe Kaufman and Beila Rabinowitz, this is an "Islamic paramilitary boys group" whose activities include "hand-to-hand combat, firearms training, and survival tactics."

Imagine the outrage if government funded an organization — regardless of whatever services it provides — headed by a man whose labors suggest an effort to build a "white Christian enclave" and who sits on the board of a Christian group steeped in violent radicalism. Yet Universal has a long history of happily feeding at the public trough. Paul Williams vastly overestimates the total dollar amount in a May 2010 piece, but the real data are bad enough: Philadelphia selling properties, some seized through eminent domain, to Universal for trifling sums; millions of dollars from the city's Neighborhood Transformation Initiative; and on and on.

Universal could receive millions more from D.C. to implement the plan that it now is being paid to conjure up. For readers who believe that $500,000 already is too much for an enterprise led by Gamble, the Department of Ed awaits your feedback (contact info here,

David J. Rusin

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

Are the territories disputed or not?

by Ted Belman

With all the talk about the freeze, announced or de facto, I decided to write an article on the genesis of the freeze thinking it began with the Mitchell Report in the early nineties. Prof Barry Rubin set me straight and advised that in 1993 Israel agreed or at least announced, a freeze. She would not build new settlements but would do infilling of existing settlements.

My research led me to this very important resource, Statements on American Policy toward Settlements by U.S. Government Officials – 1968-2009


    The policy of all Israeli governments since 1967 of settling Israeli citizens in the territories Israel occupied in the 1967 war is regarded by most governments as a violation of international law defined by the “Fourth Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War.” In 2004, the International Court of Justice confirmed this in an advisory opinion. The United States supported the applicability of the Geneva Convention and the unlawful character of settlements until February 1981 when President Ronald Reagan disavowed this policy by asserting that settlements are “not illegal.

    President Reagan’s policy has been sustained, implicitly, by subsequent U.S. administrations, all of whom have declined to address the legal issue, although they have all opposed, with varying emphasis, settlements or settlement expansion. However, on April 14, 2004, President George W. Bush, in a further retreat from past policy, told Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon that, “In light of new realities on the ground, including already existing major Israeli populations centers, it is unrealistic to expect that the outcome of final status negotiations will be a full and complete return to the armistice lines of 1949…”

I presented the truth about the occupation and the settlementsin an article in which I concluded that the FGC does not apply and even if it did, there was nothing to prevent Jews from voluntarily settling in the “occupied territories”.

The first statement of the US government on the matter came in April 8, 1968

    The Johnson Administration

    “Although we have expressed our views to the Foreign Ministry and are confident there can be little doubt among GOI leaders as to our continuing opposition to any Israeli settlements in the occupied areas, we believe it would be timely and useful for the Embassy to restate in strongest terms the US position on this question.

    You should refer to Prime Minister Eshkol’s Knesset statement and our awareness of internal Israeli pressures for settling civilians in occupied areas. The GOI is aware of our continuing concern that nothing be done in the occupied areas which might prejudice the search for a peace settlement. By setting up civilian or quasi-civilian outposts in the occupied areas the GOI adds serious complications to the eventual task of drawing up a peace settlement. Further, the transfer of civilians to occupied areas, whether or not in settlements which are under military control, is contrary to Article 49 of the Geneva Convention, which states “The Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.”

    September 10, 1968

    “Arab governments must convince Israel and the world community that they have abandoned the idea of destroying Israel. But equally, Israel must persuade its Arab neighbors and the world community that Israel has no expansionist designs on their territory.”

Already the US government took the position that the FGC applied and that the West Bank was Arab territory; both dubious propositions.

    The Nixon Administration, July 1, 1969

    The expropriation or confiscation of land, the construction of housing on such land, the demolition or confiscation of buildings, including those having historic or religious significance, and the application of Israeli law to occupied portions of the city are detrimental to our common interests in [Jerusalem]. The United States considers that the part of Jerusalem that came under the control of Israel in the June war, like other areas occupied by Israel, is governing the rights and obligations of an occupying Power. Among the provisions of international law which bind Israel, as they would bind any occupier, are the provisions that the occupier has no right to make changes in laws or in administration other than those which are temporarily necessitated by his security interests, and that an occupier may not confiscate or destroy private property. The pattern of behavior authorized under the Geneva Convention and international law is clear: the occupier must maintain the occupied area as intact and unaltered as possible, without interfering with the customary life of the area, and any changes must be necessitated by the immediate needs of the occupation. I regret to say that the actions of Israel in the occupied portion of Jerusalem present a different picture, one which gives rise to understandable concern that the eventual disposition of East Jerusalem may be prejudiced, and that the private rights and activities of the population are already being affected and altered.

    “My Government regrets and deplores this pattern of activity, and it has so informed the Government of Israel on numerous occasions since June 1967. We have consistently refused to recognize those measures as having anything but a provisional character and do not accept them as affecting the ultimate status of Jerusalem. . . .”

Thus the US has consistently refused to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

This position with the exception of the Reagan recalibration and the Bush ’04 letter continued until today.

What drove the US policy from the beginning was the desire to prevent anything which would “prejudice the search for peace”. This search for peace started with the assumption that the territories were Arab lands and not disputed lands as Israel from time to time asserted.

This is the reason that Israel never asserts her rights to the land. She doesn’t have any in the eyes of the world. She is left to only claim concessions in the name of security. Throughout most of time since the ’67 war, Israel has accepted the American limitations on settlements and simply looked for wiggle room.

Israel has always taken the position that the FGC does not apply and that she would voluntarily be ruled by its humanitarian provisions. Were Israel to have accepted that it applied, she would in effect have accepted that the territories were lands of another party. This she wouldn’t do. Nevertheless she never asserts her rights to them.

Ted Belman

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

Diabolically Audacious: Design, Jizya, and Sharia Financing The Ground Zero Mega Mosque

by Pam Geller

Audacious: Design, Jizya, and Sharia Financing
The Ground Zero Mega Mosque

Gzm star

The Islamic supremacists get more bold and naked in their motive. They have released the architectural renderings of the tumbling Star of Davids here. But back in May, it was reported that the morphing mosque had a different architectural plan.

The plan calls for a 15-story building, including two levels below ground. There is no architect. Instead, the builders plan to hold a "world-class design competition."

What happened to the worldwide competition and how did we get the crashing Stars of David?

The Cordoba Park51 announced a new series of renderings of the Cordoba Park51 Community Center, "as prepared by our Architectural Design consultants SOMA Architects."


soma architects is a multi-diciplinary [sic] office for architecture, design, film and art. based in new york city, it was founded by Michel Abboud (here)

I guess Abboud trumped the world. Let's hope Mr. Abboud's architectural skill surpasses his spelling ability. GZM rendering

Wait, it gets better, I mean worse. Just as it is an Islamic pattern to build triumphal mosques on the cherished sites of conquered lands, it is an Islamic mandate for non-Muslims to pay the jizya, an exorbitant tax on non-Muslims living in Muslim lands. Islam requires people of other faiths to pay money to support the Muslim religion. And here it is no different.

Non-Muslims will pay the exorbitant jizya of $2,700 for the privilege of membership in the Cordoba house, while Muslims will pay the nominal fee of $375 per year.

The NY Times has this:

Mr. Gamal is counting on the center’s eventually having about 4,330 paying members, about half of them paying $2,700 a year for the most expensive family plan, which would include use of a planned fitness center and pool.

Most of that core group, Mr. Gamal expects, would be non-Muslim neighborhood residents and commuters.

Muslims from around the region would make up a larger but less frequently visiting group — what he calls the “dinner and a date” crowd — many of them choosing the cheapest $375 family membership for cultural programs.

But that's not all. Financing to build this mega mosque will come from the sharia -- Islamic bonds, aka sukuk, and the American taxpayer (more jizya):

Most of the financing, Mr. Gamal said on Wednesday, would come through religiously sanctioned bondlike investments known as sukuk, devised in Muslim nations to allow religious Muslims to take part in the global economy and increasingly explored by American banks. Sukuk and other Islamic banking instruments are tracked on the Dow Jones Islamic Market Index.

In sukuk construction projects, the investors own the real estate asset, and the developers lease it back; the investors’ profit on the rent is analogous to the yield on a bond. Some Islamic scholars do not accept the system, but it is widely used in places like Malaysia and Dubai.

Mr. Gamal, a broker and property manager with Soho Properties, uses conventional mortgages on other deals, but said using sukuk would attract a broader range of Muslim investors.

He expects to fund this triumphal mosque with taxpayer dollars.

He restated his hope of getting the bonds issued tax-free through a public development authority, but said he would do so privately — which would require higher payments to investors — if that was not possible. Besides individual investors, Mr. Gamal said he would court corporations interested in tapping Muslim-American markets, foundations that finance international development, and Jewish, Christian and Muslim philanthropists.

Diabolically audacious.

Fight the this monster. Join Robert Spencer and me at Temple University October 7th here and advance the opposition. And don't forget to protest thug developer Sharif El-Gamal's appearance at the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas-linked hatefest on October 9th in Arlington, Virginia.

Doing nothing is not an option.

UPDATE: Soma architects shares the same address as the recently evicted thug Gamal's Soho properties.

UPDATE: Something needs pointing out here. Now the Gamal cabal is saying that most of the people in the area of the center will be non-muslim? Wait a minute. We were told that the Muslim community in lower Manhattan was bursting at the seams and had to have this huge place, right? But according Anne Barnard in today's NY Times piece, most of the people living or working near the center and wanting to use the facilities are not Muslim.

Morphing mosque morphs, yet again.

Pam Geller

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

Mr. Abbas, Tear Down This Wall!

by Sol Stern

While the world's headlines focus with exaggerated alarm on Israel's lifting of its ten-month building freeze within Jewish West Bank settlements, an issue of far greater moment for the prospects of peace in the Middle East goes determinedly unaddressed. This is the matter of the "right of return" of Palestinian refugees—a subject on which the Obama administration, a fierce promoter of the building freeze, has been strikingly silent.

In Cairo a little over a year ago, President Obama proclaimed "a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world." After reminding his Arab audience that "six million Jews were killed" by the Nazis, he added immediately that, for their part, the Palestinians too "have endured the pain of dislocation" and many still "wait in refugee camps . . . for a life of peace and security that they have never been able to lead." At the time, a number of commentators objected to the President's seeming equation of the abundantly funded refugee camps run by the United Nations with Nazi death camps. Few, however, pointed out that his explanation of the plight of the Palestinian refugees was false, confusing historical cause and effect.

For it is not the absence of peace that keeps Palestinians "waiting" in refugee camps. Rather, most Arab leaders since 1948, including the current Palestinian leadership itself, insist that the refugees—originally numbering between 500,000 and 750,000 but now swollen through natural increase to over four million—must remain in those camps until allowed to return en masse to Israel. This insistence in turn makes it impossible to achieve any resolution of the Israel-Palestinian conflict, let alone a "new beginning" in the Middle East.

A few years ago I briefly visited the Balata refugee camp with its 20,000 residents. The camp is inside the West Bank city of Nablus—that is, within the jurisdiction of the Palestinian Authority (PA). It is where many of the Arabs of Jaffa settled when they fled the armed conflict that flared up immediately after the November 1947 UN partition resolution dividing Palestine into separate Jewish and Arab states. Most of Balata's current residents are the children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren of the original refugees. Thus, a new baby born in Balata today is still designated by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) as a refugee dislocated by the 1948 Arab-Israeli war and hence entitled to substantial material benefits for life, or at least until the conflict is settled. That infant will grow up and attend a segregated school run by UNRWA. In UN schools and cultural clubs financed by American tax dollars, Balata's children, like the children in similar camps in Gaza and neighboring Arab countries, are nurtured on the myth that someday soon they will return in triumph to their ancestors' homes by the Mediterranean Sea.

While awaiting redemption, Balata's Palestinian residents are prohibited, by the Palestinian Authority, from building homes outside the camp's official boundaries. They do not vote on municipal issues and receive no PA funding for roads or sanitation. As part of Prime Minister Salam Fayyad's "economic renaissance" and state-building project, a brand new Palestinian city named Rawabi is planned for the West Bank near Bethlehem. But there will be no room at the inn for the Balata refugees. Sixty years after the first Arab-Israeli war, Balata might accurately be defined as a UN-administered, quasi-apartheid, welfare ghetto.

This historical and political absurdity—unique in the experience of the world's tens of millions of refugees displaced by modern war and political conflict—helps explain why Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas walked away from the best deal his people have ever been offered. It happened in November 2008, when Ehud Olmert, then the prime minister of Israel, presented him with a detailed map of a future Palestinian state that, with land swaps, would constitute close to 100 percent of the territory of the West Bank and Gaza prior to the June 1967 war. Olmert also offered to divide Jerusalem, enabling the Palestinians to locate their capital in the eastern half of the city. The only thing he would not agree to was a right of return for Palestinian refugees—for the obvious reason that this would mean the end of the Jewish state.

As I have reported elsewhere, Abbas, promising to come back for further discussions, took the map to his Ramallah office for his aides to study. But he never returned with the map, and this was the last time the Israeli and Palestinian leaders met. The reason, I believe, is clear: if Olmert's offer had ever become the basis of serious negotiations, Abbas would have had to admit to the residents of Balata and the other refugee camps on the West Bank that their leaders had lied to them for 60 years and that they were not returning to Jaffa. Among those leaders was Abbas himself, who in his 2005 campaign for the PA presidency declared repeatedly that he would never bargain away the Palestinian refugees' right of return.

Today, two years later, face-to-face meetings, brokered by the Obama administration, are again being held between Abbas and an Israeli prime minister. But just like the Abbas-Olmert meetings, the current talks will go nowhere until Washington recognizes that the official Palestinian stance on the refugees presents a far more serious obstacle to Middle East peace than the issue of construction within Jewish West Bank settlements. The latter is no more than a complication, while Palestinian insistence on the right of return is a deal breaker.

Why not, at long last, break up the awful refugee camps and encourage their residents to integrate themselves into West Bank civil society? The rationale for doing so is not merely political expediency. There is an overwhelming human-rights imperative to deal with the issue now. For the past decade, an array of peace and human-rights groups has been protesting Israel's "brutal" West Bank occupation and the military checkpoints restricting the movement of innocent Palestinians. Now, many of the checkpoints have been closed, and Palestinians are building their economy and policing their own cities. In these circumstances, where are the human-rights advocates demanding that the Palestinian refugees be freed from their crowded camps, allowed to build their own homes anywhere on the West Bank, and permitted to send their children to regular Palestinian schools? Why aren't peace demonstrators marshaling outside the Balata refugee camp with signs saying, "Mr. Abbas, tear down this wall"?

Somehow one doubts that the Palestine Human Rights Campaign or other like-minded groups will undertake such protests. But what does that say about their bona fides as advocates of peace? Does it not powerfully suggest that for them, as for Arab leaders throughout the Middle East, the welfare of suffering Palestinians has been of far lesser import than the demonization, if not the weakening and destruction, of the state of Israel?

Sol Stern is a contributing editor of City Journal, published by the Manhattan Institute.

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