Saturday, January 19, 2013

Morsi Aide: Holocaust was US Intelligence Hoax

by name

Fathi Shihab-Eddim, a close associated to President Mohammed Morsi and the man responsible for appointing editors to all state-run newspapers: Six million Jews said killed in the Holocaust were not murdered by the Nazis at all, but were actually moved to the U.S. in an operation carried out by American intelligence.

"The myth of the Holocaust is an industry that America invented," said Fathi Shihab-Eddim.
Photo credit: AP



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Friday, January 18, 2013

The Center for American Progress and Islamist Influences over the White House

by Daniel Greenfield


To sign the FrontPageMag petition to stop the witch hunt against Rep. Michele Bachmann, click here.

Over the last four years, the United States has suffered a series of comprehensive intelligence failures. These intelligence failures ranged from a lack of preparation for the attacks of September 11, 2012, the misguided assessment that there was a moderate group of Taliban willing to form a government and the refusal to believe that the Arab Spring would lead to Islamist takeovers, rather than liberal open societies.

The Obama Administration’s foreign policy has been one disaster after another and it has been quick to blame intelligence failures for its own mistakes. When accounting for its lies about a YouTube trailer leading to the attack on the Benghazi mission, Obama blamed the intelligence. But it turned out that the intelligence had been edited and censored for political reasons. What appeared to be an intelligence failure in Benghazi was actually political manipulation. And the same may well be true of the entire Arab Spring, of Afghanistan and the entire spectrum of attacks on September 11, 2012.
As a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, Congresswoman Michele Bachmann was proven correct in all the areas where the Obama Administration and its political allies suffered from intelligence failures.

In September 2011, one year before the attacks, Michele Bachmann warned that the Arab Spring was a disaster that would lead to the rise of radical elements across the Middle East. Widely ridiculed for it at the time, she was demonstrating the insight and foresight that a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence is supposed to have.

Where Obama was proven wrong; Bachmann was proven right. When Michele Bachmann first warned about the Muslim Brotherhood, it was an obscure organization to most people in Washington D.C. After its successful seizure of power in Egypt however, Bachmann’s critics no longer have any excuse for pretending that condemning the group’s ruthless manipulations is a conspiracy theory. Not when Egyptian liberals are among the loudest voices warning about the Muslim Brotherhood threat; not just to Egypt or the Middle East, but to America as well.

A recent article in the Egyptian magazine, Rose El-Youssef listed some of the prominent and influential Muslim Brotherhood figures with access to the policymaking apparatus of the Obama Administration. Two of those figures were in the Department of Homeland Security. This article was another piece of evidence in a mountain of evidence, much of it collected by the FBI, about the conspiratorial activities of the Brotherhood and its front groups in the United States.

It wasn’t the intelligence that failed. It was the political operation that allowed Muslim Brotherhood operatives close access to the policymaking apparatus of the United States government that led to the politicized intelligence and the policy failures. Those policy failures led to the ascendance of Al Qaeda in North Africa and the Middle East, the triumph of the Taliban in Afghanistan and the attacks of September 11, 2012.
Nevertheless liberal organizations have launched a petition demanding that she be removed from the intelligence committee for spreading “conspiracy theories” and attacking “dedicated public servants”. After the complete implosion of Obama’s foreign policy, such attacks should be seen for what they are; an attempt to silence one of their critics who had been right all along while covering up their own lies.

To understand the source of the politicized environment that led to the foreign policy disasters, we need look no further than the Center for American Progress and its tentacle, Think Progress.

The Center for American Progress is a secretive think tank funded by covert donors which was described by Time Magazine as Obama’s idea factory and the single greatest influence on his administration. For all intents and purposes, CAP was the criminal brain in the Frankenstein of old Clinton staffers that would become the Obama Administration.

Faiz R. Shakir, the Editor of Think Progress and a Vice President at the Center for American Progress, led the charge against Bachmann. And the one issue that Shakir appeared obsessed with was Bachmann’s warnings about Muslim Brotherhood influence in the Obama Administration. One of Shakir’s videos, since taken down, had the revealing title, “In final debate, Bachmann stands by her Muslim Brotherhood smears.”

Under Shakir, the Center for American Progress attempted to silence terrorism investigators by issuing a report titled, “Fear Inc.” which claimed that all suspicions about Islamist activities in America were really the bigoted products of a Jewish conspiracy. Besides Shakir, the report’s authors included members of Muslim Brotherhood front groups. During his time at Harvard, Shakir had been a member of the Harvard Islamic Society and served as the co-chair for a week of events that included an attempt to raise money for a Hamas front group.

Shakir has since gone on to bigger and better things, as a senior adviser to Nancy Pelosi, moving higher in the political echelons of a Democratic Party that has refused to accept any accountability for four years of foreign policy disasters. Accepting responsibility would require accountability. It would force the political leadership to take a close look at the Center for American Progress’ influence over the policymaking apparatus of the White House and at the Muslim Brotherhood’s influence over the White House, the State Department and the Center for American Progress.

Had the Arab Spring really led to liberalization and freedom, had the Taliban proven willing to make a deal and had the accusations of Muslim Brotherhood influence proven unfounded, then the left might have some cause for criticizing Bachmann. But when Bachmann has been proven to be correct, then a petition to remove her is nothing more than a cover up by a leftist club that is desperate to conceal its complicity in the murder of Americans and the chaos and violence spreading across the Middle East.
In the 20th Century, Communist infiltrators used their positions to influence American foreign policy in the direction that Moscow wanted it to go, while the left did its best to shout down and ridicule any suggestion of espionage or infiltration.
Now in the 21st Century, the century of the Islamist infiltrator, the left is still up to its old tricks, still leading America to disaster abroad while covering up its destructive activities as intelligence failures at home.

Daniel Greenfield


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Non-Arabs Should Not Be Fooled about Al Jazeera:

by Najat Fawzy AlSaied

The Emir of Qatar, an absolute ruler, and Al Jazeera, have not covered the "Arab Spring" to advance democracy, but to support the Muslim Brotherhood, which is aligned with the Qatari regime. Al Jazeera has as its chief goal Muslim Brotherhood domination.
Many Arab liberals and reformers were shocked by the sale of former U.S. Vice-President Al Gore's Current TV to Al Jazeera, a pan-Arab broadcasting system charged with sympathy for terrorists. In 2009, even the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, which can hardly be suspected of anti-Arab attitudes, accused Al Jazeera of negative, biased, and unbalanced reporting, and closed down the Al Jazeera bureau in Ramallah.

Gore and the Democratic party have consistently called for democracy in the Middle East, and welcomed the "Arab Spring," yet Gore has now bolstered a channel sympathetic to Islamic extremism – not to democracy. Al Jazeera's saturation coverage of the "Arab Spring" demonstrations and the war in Syria should not deceive the non-Arab public. Early in the "Arab Spring," in Egypt and other countries, Al Jazeera promoted the Muslim fundamentalists. Regarding Syria, Al Jazeera publicizes the demands for power by jihadists.

The emir of Qatar -- an absolute ruler protected by a U.S. military base there -- and Al Jazeera have not covered the "Arab Spring" to advance democracy, but to support the Muslim Brotherhood, which is aligned with the Qatari regime. Al Jazeera television, with a staff mainly drawn from Muslim Brotherhood personnel, was founded by a Qatari royal decree, in an effort to legitimize the current emir's coup against his father in 1995. According to BBC News, Qatar assisted Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood government of President Muhamed Morsi, at the beginning of January 2013, with a loan of two billion U.S. dollars and a donation of nearly half a billion dollars, following an earlier financial deposit of 2.5 billion dollars and a grant of 500 million dollars from Qatar to Egypt.

Notwithstanding his professed love for democratization, Gore ignored any opportunity for the transformation of Al Jazeera from a network subject to censorship by the Qatari Ministry of Information into an independent media institution.

How could Qatar promote democracy when its authorities sentenced a Qatari poet, Mohammed Al Ajami, to life imprisonment in 2012, allegedly for praising the "Arab Spring" and suggesting that he would like to see the same thing in his country? Al Ajami was found guilty of insulting the ruler and promoting an insurrection.

But the worst is that Gore's deal lends credibility to Al Jazeera. The channel has been praised by leaders internationally for its coverage of the "Arab Spring." Hillary Clinton commended Al Jazeera for purveying "real news" and President Barack Obama described Al Jazeera's founder, Qatar's Emir, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, as "a big booster, big promoter of democracy all throughout the Middle East. Reform, reform, reform – you're seeing it on Al Jazeera." Yet Obama was compelled to admit, "Now, he himself is not reforming significantly. There is no big move towards democracy in Qatar."

Qatar has tried to avoid being seen as a country with a contradictory media policy, which monitors and controls most forms of expression, including the internet, arresting activists and bloggers, while at the same time seeking status as a regional haven of free expression through Al Jazeera. Al Jazeera is popular in the Arab world because of its willingness to criticize Arab governments, but it has been accused of avoiding sensitive issues involving Qatar.

Robert Ménard, a champion of global press freedom, served as Head of the Doha Centre for Media Freedom in Qatar, beginning in 2008. He and many of his staff, however, resigned 14 months later. "How can we have any credibility," he said, "if we keep quiet about problems in our host country?"

He later explained that the Centre was constrained by orders from Qatari officials, who did not want an independent Centre. He also protested that a committee to discuss a new law on the Qatari media never held any meetings.

Yusuf al Qaradawi, an Islamic theologian associated with the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, hosts a show on Al Jazeera's Arabic network, called "Al Sharia wal Hayat" ("Sharia and Life"). Qaradawi uses this TV platform to justify terrorism, preach hatred against other religions, and marginalize women. He has encouraged extremists to kill all Americans in Iraq, both military and civilian, because they are "invaders." He has issued fatwas that prohibit all Muslim countries from cooperating with America in the war in Afghanistan, and called Osama Bin Laden a "martyr" whom Al Qaradawi considered "innocent until proven guilty" in the terrorist attacks against America on September 11, 2001.

In 2009, Qaradawi declared that the Holocaust was "divine punishment" of the Jews. His program argues that a woman's role should be limited to the family and marriage, and he consistently depicts any liberated option for women as a Western, corrupt influence.

The Al Jazeera Arabic network's biased treatment against women was exposed in the resignation of five of its top female news hosts in 2010. The presenters had initiated an internal complaint against the sexist behaviour of deputy editor Ayman Jaballah, identified in Arab websites as an Islamist. Jaballah allegedly harassed the women for their choice of garments and supposed lack of "decency."

An original group of eight dissident Al Jazeera female employees was named by the pan-Arab daily Al-Hayat as Julnar Moussa, Jumana Nammour, Lona Ashibl, Lina Zahreddine, Nawfar Afli, Iman Bannoura, Laila Ashaikhali and Khadija Ben Guenna, an Algerian who in 2003 caused debate when she insisted on wearing a headscarf during her broadcasts. Five of them stood by their decision to quit Al Jazeera: Moussa, Nammour, and Zahreddine, who were identified by The Daily Telegraph in London as Lebanese; Ashibi, a Syrian, and Afli, a Tunisian. The Telegraph pointed out that all five had come from Arab countries where "religiously modest" dress was not required of women.

Al Jazeera's officials announced in their decision on the matter that "the on-screen style and general appearance of broadcasters and announcers are the legal right of the network to determine and develop."

Muntaha Al Ramahi, a Jordanian, was a presenter on Al Jazeera for six years and then moved to the Saudi-owned channel Al Arabiya, launched in 2003, and Al Jazeera's main competitor. Al Ramahi said she felt the work environment at Al Arabiya was less discriminatory and also provided her with more self-confidence than she was able to gain at Al Jazeera. Al Ramahi was a minor presenter on Al Jazeera; she hosted a show, "Lil Nissa Faqat" ["For Women Only"], taken off the air in 2005. Currently, she is a well-known anchor on Al Arabiya, presenting one of the channel's flagship programs, "Panorama."

Rima Salha, a Lebanese, also a minor presenter on Al Jazeera, is now a major personality on Al Arabiya, with a show combatting terrorism called "Sena'at Al Mawt" ["Industry of Death"].

There are several notable differences between Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya. Al Jazeera supports Islamism and Arab nationalism, while Al Arabiya is considered more liberal, despite the paradox that, being Saudi-controlled, Al Arabiya has less freedom to cover controversial political issues. Some have accused Al Arabiya of following American policy (and even Israeli policy) in the region, while others call Al Jazeera "Osama Bin Laden TV." Al Jazeera has also been criticized because the editorial line of its English network is much more moderate than its Arabic counterpart.

Programming by its rival, Al Arabiya, is made up of non-political news and features, such as reviews and updates in business trends. It also offers "soft" news: a morning show called "Sabah Al Arabiya" ["The Morning of Al Arabiya"], covering health, entertainment and sports. But Al Arabiya produces shows on society and development while Al Jazeera's programs are mainly political.

"Al Itajah Al Moa'akes" ["The Opposite Direction"], one of the best-known programs on Al Jazeera, is centered on political topics such as Arab nationalism, Islamism, and imperialism, but does not take up development or social change.

Although channels such as Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya claim to be private, they are not independent because of the financial support for them from the Qatari and Saudi governments. Countless academics and journalists have discussed the need for independent Arab media, free from state control. The Egyptian electronic journalist, Amin Bassiouni, has affirmed that the abolition of state Ministries of Information and their replacement with independent media would expand freedom of expression. Safwat Alam, an Egyptian professor of communications, said that if the official Ministry of Information is abolished, new policies should be developed without state supervision.

Unfortunately all of these ideas for freedom of expression and an independent media clash with the new Egyptian constitution. The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has complained that the post-Mubarak Egyptian constitution imposes several new restrictions on press freedoms, including the establishment of a new governmental regulatory agency and a new provision for the government to close any media institution. The constitution also fails to prevent imprisonment of journalists, a practice associated with the Mubarak dictatorship.

Given evidence from journalists and academics on the lack of freedom and independence in the Arab media, an American politician such as Al Gore evidently supports maintaining these conditions, on the basis of his appalling deal with Al Jazeera, best known for its promotion and accommodation of extremism.

The Arab world needs support for media that will help it promote democracy. As a matter of conscience, American politicians and officials should at least avoid giving credibility and legitimacy to a satellite channel such as Al Jazeera, which has as its chief goal Muslim Brotherhood domination. 

Najat AlSaied is a PhD researcher in media and development at University of Westminster in London. She can be reached at:


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Israel-Bashing Jews: Ignorant or Malicious?

by Isi Leibler

I must confess to a rising sense of frustration and rage when observing the increasing number of ill-informed and fallacious critiques of Israel by liberal Diaspora Jews.
I am not referring to the loathsome so-called anti-Zionist Jews who call for boycotts of Israel. Nor even to jaundiced far-left Jewish groups like J Street, which inflict considerable damage on the Jewish state by calling on the U.S. government to pressure Israel, or orchestrate petitions such as those recently circulated among liberal Jewish clergy demanding that Israel cancel plans for residential construction in Jerusalem's Jewish suburbs and the E1 area.

I refer to those Jews who, when it was fashionable, were enthusiastic supporters of Israel. But the estrangement of many of their liberal non-Jewish friends from the Jewish state encouraged them to also assume politically correct attitudes, even adopting an "anti-Zionist chic." Some were swept up in the tide of postmodernism with its oft-espoused view that Israel was born in sin and represents one of the last bastions of colonialism.

This was an evolutionary process that began with the progressive application of moral equivalence to Israelis and Arabs and climaxed with Benjamin Netanyahu's election and demonization as an extremist nationalist. At this point, these Jewish liberals began chanting the mindless mantra that Israel had become obsessed with maintaining "the occupation."

They adopted the Arab narrative that settlements represent the greatest obstacle to peace, dismissing the fact that settlements comprise only 2 percent of territory over the Green Line and that since Oslo, every territorial concession from Israel has merely emboldened Palestinian radicals and resulted in intensified terror.

As a rule, these liberal Jewish critics ignored the facts that the Palestinian Authority, no less than Hamas, consistently refused to make reciprocal compromises, and that the conflict was not over territorial compromise but over ongoing Jewish sovereignty in the region. They also played down the ongoing missile attacks and vicious incitement and anti-Semitism infusing all levels of Palestinian society.

Israel is now more isolated than it has been at any time since its creation. We are surrounded by anti-Semitic Islamic regimes bent on our destruction, and Iran is on course to becoming a nuclear power. Most European countries, whose soil was drenched in Jewish blood, are again standing on the sidelines as they did before and during the Shoah when Jews were being slaughtered. Surely, at such a time, even liberal Diaspora Jews could be expected to unite in support of the Jewish state. Alas, increasing numbers of them are distancing themselves further from Israel.
A recent example was the condemnation by the North American Board of the Union of Reform Judaism of housing construction in the exclusively Jewish suburbs of east Jerusalem and E1. This undermined a central Israeli policy, endorsed by the vast majority of Israelis.

Were the Reform Jewish leaders not aware that this area had always been designated to remain within Israel and that the Bush administration even acknowledged this in a letter to then Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in the wake of the unilateral withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and the forcible uprooting of Jewish settlements?

Were they unaware that the uproar instigated by the Palestinians over residential construction is a ploy to undermine our vital interests in areas which until now were never in dispute? That they are seeking to impose upon us, as an opening benchmark to negotiations, indefensible borders based on the 1949 armistice lines? That this formula would deem the Temple Mount and the Old City of Jerusalem occupied territories?
Or the subsequent extraordinary outburst by the progressive rabbis of Bnai Yeshurun, one of New York's most prominent temples, who proclaimed that "the vote at the United Nations was a great moment for us as citizens of the world ... an opportunity to celebrate the process that allows a nation to come forward and ask for recognition." This, in the immediate wake of the U.N. speech by PA head Mahmoud Abbas, who accused Israel of killing innocent Palestinians during the Gaza war and indulging in ethnic cleansing.

Aside from also endorsing the 1949 lines as future borders for Israel, were these rabbis not aware that Abbas was calling for reunification with Hamas, whose leader had just proclaimed that "Palestine is ours from the river to the sea and from the south to the north ... there is no legitimacy for Israel. ... We will free Jerusalem inch by inch, stone by stone. Israel has no right to be in Jerusalem."

The extent of the breakdown among Jewish liberals was highlighted when even David Breakstone, vice chairman of the World Zionist Organization and a devoted Zionist, recently provided a kosher certificate to Peter Beinart, one of Israel's most biased and hostile Jewish Diaspora critics.

Breakstone stressed that while strongly disagreeing with Beinart's call to boycott Israeli settlement products, he was attracted to him because he was a committed Jew, sent his children to Jewish day schools and provided a service to Zionism by criticizing our failure to sufficiently promote peace and uphold the ethical high ground because we maintain the "occupation."

Few would dispute our obligation to be self-critical and expose injustices in our midst. But this is not what Beinart and other liberal Jews like New York Times columnist Tom Friedman promote. They produce distorted one-sided evaluations demonizing Israel as the principal obstacle to peace. They promote anti-Israeli politicians like Chuck Hagel and accuse Jewish leaders of promoting McCarthyism. They call on the U.S. and other governments to exert pressure and force Israel to conform.

How can Breakstone possibly describe such people as "champions of good old-fashioned Zionism"?

There is also an increasing tendency among Jewish liberals to hijack the memory of assassinated Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin as a means of discrediting Netanyahu. This is outrageous. Rabin, whom I knew and admired, was a genuine patriot. His "gamble for peace" proved disastrous. But at no stage did he even come close to promoting the views attributed to him today by liberals.

He was adamantly committed to the unity of Jerusalem and initiated the E1 project. He would never have contemplated delaying its construction or freezing residential building in Jewish Jerusalem. It is unconscionable to shamelessly exploit his name to promote views he himself bitterly opposed.

The reality is that Netanyahu has made more concessions and is far more accommodating to the Palestinians than Rabin was.

One would wish to believe that much of the condemnation of Israel by liberal Jews, compounded by purportedly being grounded on Jewish values, is not malicious but based on ignorance. The blame for such behavior could then be directed solely toward Israel's failure to convey the reality of our situation.

Yet sadly, one becomes increasingly convinced that many Jewish liberals have closed minds and do not wish to be enlightened, because their principal motivation is to demonstrate to their "progressive" friends that they are more open-minded, universalist and tolerant than their "bigoted" Israeli kinsmen.

Isi Leibler’s website can be viewed at He may be contacted at


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Mali: Sometimes the Use of Force is Necessary

by Ambassador Christophe Bigot

Two long months have already passed since northern Mali, an area about the size of France, fell under the control of terrorists. This is a group of criminals, some of whom are part of al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb; they are terrifying the local population, taking hostages, defiling holy places, financing themselves through smuggling and arming themselves with heavy weapons to boot. Last week, the group planned to expand its offensive, to take control of the city of Mopti and from there, the capital, Bamako, thus completing their takeover of the entire country to establish a reign of terror.

At the initiative of French President François Hollande, and at the request of Malian President Dioncounda Traoré, France decided to provide military aid and help Mali in its struggle against fanatic terrorist groups. France sent its air force to bomb the terrorists' convoys and their bases, and also sent ground troops to reinforce the Malian army.

Why did France decide to intervene? The threat hovered over Mali's territorial integrity as well as the regional stability of North Africa, and even the entire African continent. France decided that it must prevent the construction of a forward terrorist base at the gates of North Africa on the Mediterranean basin. Europe and the rest of the world could not stand by idly. Indeed, the world did not remain indifferent. Everyone welcomed French military action, which is being carried out in the framework of international law, based on U.N. Security Council Resolution 2085, adopted unanimously. The resolution officially recognized France as the ground-force leader for U.N. assistance in Mali.

The operation that has been conducted over the last week has also enjoyed the support of Mali's neighbors. Algeria allowed French air force planes to fly over its territory and closed its borders; the African Union and the U.S. both praised the military operation; some European countries have helped with the process; and a large number of member countries in the Economic Community of West African States promised to send troops, including Nigeria, Senegal, Niger, Benin and Burkina Faso.

The operation to assist Malian forces will continue as long as necessary, but no one has any intention of turning this into a long-term operation. Sometimes the use of force turns out to be crucial, when it is done legally, legitimately and after the failure of all other possibilities. In Mali, the use of force became a necessity; however, it is not an end in itself. Once the Malian forces are able to take control and mediate the terrorist threat, it will be necessary to create conditions for political dialogue and reconciliation among all citizens. Considering the reality of northern Mali, it must not be left wrapped in terrorism. It is essential that elections for the president and parliament take place as soon as possible. Work in the long term to promote the country's development is also critical, considering it is one of the poorest countries in the world.

This is all necessary because in today's interconnected world, Mali's fate has an impact that reaches much further than Timbuktu.

Christophe Bigot is the French ambassador to Israel.


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The Qatari Challenge to U.S. Foreign Policy

by Seth Mandel

The evolution of the political power structure across the Mideast has a recent track record of disappointment and unmet expectations. As Turkey sought to take a leadership role in the Middle East, hopes were high for a technically secular, NATO-allied power. But of course Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Putinesque turn and support for terrorist organizations as part of his pan-Islamist ambitions poured cold water on those hopes.

And Egypt’s close relationship with the U.S. and formal peace with Israel didn’t stop a virulently anti-Semitic Islamist from taking power in Cairo and moving closer to his Hamas allies. But perhaps no country’s influence in the region has taken as significant a step up as that of Qatar. Colum Lynch reports that the UN has found a new way to recognize the country’s new standing:
U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is set to appoint a top former Qatari diplomat as his high representative of the U.N. Alliance of Civilizations, reinforcing the oil sheikdom’s standing as a rising diplomatic powerhouse.
Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, a former Qatari envoy to the United Nations who served as U.N. General Assembly president last year, will replace Jorge Sampaio, a former Portuguese president who currently heads the organization.
The decision places a trusted Western ally at the head of an organization that aims to bridge the cultural gap between the West and the Islamic world.
As the West fetes this “trusted Western ally,” it’s worth pointing out that Qatar’s growing influence in the Middle East has been almost completely negative and counter to American interests. Qatar funds anti-Western propaganda through Al Jazeera, which just purchased Al Gore’s television station–though the network is more benign than the other projects Qatar throws money at.

As I wrote here recently, over the last few years Qatar has stiffed the Palestinian Authority and Mahmoud Abbas on its pledges when there was concern Abbas wouldn’t share the funds with Hamas. When the Hamas-run Gaza and Fatah-run West Bank became in effect two separate and distinct political entities, Qatar solved its problem by simply giving the money–at times up to $400 million–directly to Hamas. As Abbas presses Arab states for the money they’ve pledged to his cash-strapped PA, Qatar has continued the pattern. This enables Hamas terrorism, weakens the more moderate Fatah, and decreases the chances for Israeli-Palestinian peace and reconciliation.

But Qatar’s mischievous ambitions aren’t limited to the Palestinian territories. In October, the Obama White House noticed a trend in Syria that, the New York Times reported, “casts into doubt whether the White House’s strategy of minimal and indirect intervention in the Syrian conflict is accomplishing its intended purpose of helping a democratic-minded opposition topple an oppressive government, or is instead sowing the seeds of future insurgencies hostile to the United States.” And what was this disturbing development in the struggle to help Syrians free themselves from the shackles of authoritarianism and give them a chance at liberty? The Times explained:
The United States is not sending arms directly to the Syrian opposition. Instead, it is providing intelligence and other support for shipments of secondhand light weapons like rifles and grenades into Syria, mainly orchestrated from Saudi Arabia and Qatar. The reports indicate that the shipments organized from Qatar, in particular, are largely going to hard-line Islamists.
So we relied on Qatar to distribute aid to freedom fighters and they spent the money on arming Islamist extremist groups. It should be noted that at this point those extremist groups–one of which we just designated a terrorist organization–then took the lead in the Syrian rebellion and made it nearly impossible for the West to do anything to help those we would actually want to help.

There is no question that Qatar has become a serious player in Mideast geopolitics and now worldwide with the surging popularity of Al Jazeera. But there is also no question that “trusted Western ally” is a strange moniker for a country at the forefront of efforts to undermine American foreign policy at every turn.

Seth Mandel


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The Tragic Legacy of Lethal Journalism - The Al-Dura Affair

by Richard A. Landes

The French have a saying for the idea of a public secret, un secret de Polichinelle dans le tirroir – a humiliating fact still hidden in the drawer that will eventually come out, like an unwanted pregnancy. And France has one of those secrets, but rather than a life, this particular one gives birth to hatred, vengeance, and death. The drawer rattled recently when Mohamed Merah, native-born of Algerian parents, killed seven people, including three Jewish children in cold blood (he filmed himself), to avenge the way “the same Jews” kill his “Muslim brothers and sisters in Palestine.” And many in the French Muslim community considered him a hero, imitating rather than drawing back in horror from his violence. The prognosis for a civil society with such an “enmity movement” in its midst is not encouraging.

And the secret in the drawer is the colossal failure of the French media in the case of Muhammad al-Dura from its original occurrence in 2000 to this very day. Al-Dura was the 12-year old boy whose alleged death from Israeli bullets in his father’s arms shocked the world and became the emblem of the Oslo Intifada, an image, it turns out, as false as it was powerful. So, for many good reasons, the French, indeed every civic-minded citizen of the global community, should pay attention to what is happening today in France’s Court of Appeals in Paris.

For the sixth time in as many years, the courts will hear accusations by France2 against citizen Philippe Karsenty for accusing them of having run “staged” footage as news in the case of Muhammad al-Dura. To his devotees, “le petit Mohamed,” as he’s known in France, is “martyr of the world” because, thanks to France2, “the whole world saw” him shot dead, the “target of fire from the Israeli position,” dying in his father’s arms. Except that no one saw him die on film, much less in his father’s arms. On the contrary the overwhelming evidence suggests that it was a scene staged by France2’s cameraman, Talal abu Rahmah, which Charles “Scoop” Enderlin, unknowingly or not, turned into sensational news.

Indeed, few stories better embody the lethal secret de Polichinelle that haunts France today. France2 (and everyone else, as Enderlin is quick to point out), runs staged footage – Pallywood – all the time: it’s a public secret that they openly admit in private but deny in public. “They do it all the time,” Enderlin and his bosses confided privately when confronted with the extensive evidence of staging in his cameraman’s work. But publicly Enderlin insists, especially when confronted with claims that he staged the al-Dura footage, “I have 100 percent confidence in my cameraman, so much that I wouldn’t even think of questioning him.” And yet, when the judges in the last trial saw the footage shot by the key “witness,” France2’s Palestinian cameraman, they dramatically reversed the lower court’s finding, with harsh criticism of Enderlin’s journalistic standards. “And to think I asked for that footage as a favor to France2,” one of the judges later remarked off the record.

Rather than provoke an “aha” moment among the broader profession, however, this decision inspired Enderlin’s colleagues to close ranks. The prestigious Nouvel Obs sponsored a petition in defense of both his honor, and of journalistic right to report freely, without the “chilling” criticism of lay citizens “sapping the energies of good journalists.” The reactions combined medieval honor-driven guild solidarities with medieval credulity: “I don’t care if it’s the Virgin Birth affair, I would tend to believe him. Someone like Charles [Enderlin] simply doesn’t make a story up.”

Meanwhile Charles’ employer, the state-owned media giant France2, appealed to the highest court, which, despite a strong opinion against from the “Parquet,” (which vigorously defended the value to civil society of allowing such criticisms), ruled that the appeals court had no right to demand the footage, nullified their opinion, and sent the case back to appeals court where it arrives today, same room, same “Palace of Justice” in Paris.

The story of Muhammad al-Dura and the lethal journalism it has spawned deserve the close attention of anyone who cares about press freedom and the democratic culture it serves and preserves. No single incident better illustrates why the West has so far fared so poorly in its encounter with the forces of global Jihad in the new millennium, why Western progressives have consistently lost ground to some of the most repressive forces on the planet.

The affair combines three traits in a deeply toxic stew: the absurdity of the narrative in the face of the evidence (Sherlock would not give it a second glance); the way in which some fashioned that narrative into weapons in a Jihad of vengeance against the Jews (Bin Laden and other recruiters for global Jihad); and the determined refusal of journalists, whose profession is to investigate, to re-examine the matter despite the extensive damage it occasioned. The result has been more than a decade in which credulous journalists have pumped poisonous lethal narratives about Israel into Western information systems as news, feeding the worst instincts of a radicalized minority, and crippling the ability of more sober people to understand the situation, much less resist what Bin Laden called, “the strong horse” of global Jihad.

Karsenty accused Enderlin of “being duped and in so doing duping us,” and that, claims Enderlin, is an intolerable and unacceptable blow to his honor. (He’s right about all but the “unacceptable.”) The accusation can be extended to the mainstream news media: they are duped by Jihadi cognitive warriors who manipulate them with an apparently irresistible supply of lethal narratives about Israeli malfeasance, and in so doing, blind us to the threats around the world to the very decency and humanity towards which modern, enlightened peoples everywhere strive.

In a Dreyfus Affair of global significance, will the French appeals court decide in favor of the right of their citizens to criticize their media professionals, or in favor of what Daniel Dayan has called the “new sacred institution,” the news media, and its right to use the power of the state to save its honor by silencing criticism of its prerogative? Is freedom of the press a privilege or a responsibility? And if it is a responsibility – to us! – dare we stand by silently while some with access use the levers of power to assert it as their privilege?

All the references for this piece can be found at The Augean Stables.

Richard A. Landes


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

What it Means to Be a Pro-Israel Democrat

by Jonathan S. Tobin

A lot of the drama was taken out of the battle to confirm Chuck Hagel as secretary of defense today when New York Senator Chuck Schumer endorsed the nomination. Schumer said he had made the decision after a long conversation with his former Senate colleague in which he was, he said, reassured that the new Pentagon chief had changed his mind about the relationship between Israel and the United States as well as his previous views about Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran. Schumer directly addressed the concerns that members of the pro-Israel community have expressed about Hagel’s sudden change of heart by saying this:
“I know some will question whether Senator Hagel’s assurances are merely attempts to quiet critics as he seeks confirmation to this critical post,” Mr. Schumer said. “But I don’t think so. Senator Hagel realizes the situation in the Middle East has changed, with Israel in a dramatically more endangered position than it was even five years ago.”
Such faith in Hagel’s conversion from a politician who bragged about standing up to the “Jewish lobby” and an opponent of sanctions against Iran as well as an advocate of engagement with Hamas and Hezbollah is remarkable. How is it possible that in the space of only a few months that Hagel could have had such a dramatic change of heart? Given Hagel’s disdain for the current government of Israel and the fact that only last fall he was signing letters expressing opposition to any mention of the use of force against Iran, only the most cynical of partisans could believe for a minute that the Nebraskan’s new positions are a sincere expression of his actual opinions. While Schumer, a powerful senator who has no fear about possible challenges to his seat, may think his seal of approval of Hagel will have no consequences, it is the sort of thing that, at the least, ought to raise the question of what it actually means to be a pro-Israel Democrat these days.

Let’s specify that many Democrats are sincere and ardent backers of Israel. They are a vital element in the across-the-board bipartisan coalition that has made the U.S.-Israel alliance an integral part of American foreign and defense policy. That is why the tepid response from so many Democrats to the president’s choice of Hagel is so disappointing.

It’s time for a little honesty about Hagel. Were someone with his record and history of incendiary comments about fighting the influence of the “Jewish lobby” and tender-hearted concern for radical Islamists put forward by a Republican president there’s little doubt that Democrats would be fighting each other to get face time in front of network cameras denouncing the nomination, with a publicity hound like Schumer at the front of the line.

After all, this is the same Chuck Hagel that even the National Jewish Democratic Council—a group that is generally blind to the shortcomings of anyone in their party no matter how egregious their transgressions—denounced as unsuitable for high office in 2009 when his name was put forward for a place on the Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board.

Democrats who have spent the last four years rationalizing Barack Obama’s inclination to pick fights with Israel and attempts to tilt the diplomatic playing field in the direction of the Palestinians enjoyed the election-year Jewish charm offensive in which the administration dropped its previous antagonism toward the Jewish state. But the decision to choose Hagel calls into question whether a second term will mean that the president plans to abandon his pledges on Iran or whether the 2012 cease-and-desist order about U.S. pressure on Israel will expire.

Hagel’s nomination gave politicians like Schumer a chance to show that they had no intention of allowing the president to make fools of them by policy reversals that would contradict his campaign promises on which they had staked their own good names.

But instead of showing some independence as well as common sense about the likelihood that Hagel could be trusted to do the right thing at the Pentagon, Schumer has shown that they will not stick their necks out if it means opposing the president.

As I stated earlier today, Hagel’s 180 does show that he had to disavow the views that made him the darling of the Israel-bashers if he wanted to be confirmed. Like the president’s campaign pledges, that will make it difficult, although not impossible, for the administration to abandon its stands on opposing containment of Iran or recognition of Hamas.

But the willingness of heretofore pro-Israel Democratic stalwarts to be willing accomplices to Hagel’s charade also tarnishes the reputation of their party on this issue. Whatever else this nomination has accomplished, it has made it more difficult for Democrats to assert that they are every bit as solid on Israel as their GOP foes.

That may not trouble Barack Obama or even Chuck Schumer, but it should worry rank-and-file Democrats who wonder what has happened to their party.

Jonathan S. Tobin


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Times Paints Grim Picture of Israeli Arabs

by Leo Rennert

As far as the New York Times would have you believe, the picture of Arabs in Israel is exceedingly grim. According to a lengthy article in the Jan. 17 edition, Arabs constitute a "long-marginalized minority" that is increasingly "alienated by Israel's right-wing government," and that has to endure "treatment that is discriminatory and undemocratic." ("As Israeli Vote Nears, Arab Apathy Is a Concern" by Jodi Rudoren, page A3). 

Bolstered by selective interviews with disaffected Arabs, Rudoren, the Times' Jerusalem bureau chief, tells her readers that Israel's treatment of its Arab citizens raises "real concerns over the health of Israeli democracy." 

Arab turnout in Tuesday's election may drop to 51 percent, she writes ominously. She also quotes Ahmad Tibi, an Arab lawmaker, who charges that "in Israel, there is discrimination in every part of life -- education, infrastructure, unemployment." 

But is this ultra-gloomy assessment accurate? Far from it. Arabs in Israel are on an equal plane when it comes to legal, civil and political rights. Yes, there are remaining gaps on the economic and social scene, but these gaps have steadily narrowed. In fact, Israel's Arabs enjoy far better lives and better living standards than their counterparts in neighboring countries. 

Here are a few realities Rudoren chooses to omit:
● Arab life expectancy in Israel has increased by 30 years, reaching 78.5 years in 2009.
● Arab infant mortality rates have been slashed from 56 per 1,000 live births in 1950 to 6.5 in 2008. In sharp contrast, the mortality rate of infants in Arab/Muslim countries is much higher -- 24.9 in Algeria, 30 in Egypt, 40 in Iraq, 41 in Iran.
● In 1961, fewer than half of Arab children in Israel attended school, with only 9 percent acquiring secondary or higher education. By the end of the century, four decades later, 97 percent of Arab children attended schools; 46 percent completed high school studies and 19 percent obtained university/college degrees. Since Israel's founding, while the Arab population grew tenfold, the number of Arab schoolchildren has multiplied 40-fold.
● Fifty years ago, only 4 percent of Arab teachers held academic degrees. By 1999, the figure was 47 percent. Meanwhile Arab adult illiteracy rates dropped from 57 percent to 7 percent.
● By 2006, Arab households actually surpassed their Jewish counterparts in ownership of refrigerators, deep-freezers, washing machines, televisions, and cellular phones.
In sum, is there still a need for greater private and public progress for Israel's Arab minority? Absolutely yes. But progress over the last 65 years has been remarkable -- and rebuts the grim anti-Israel caricatures perpetuated by the New York Times

As usual, in Tuesday's elections, there will be three traditional Arab parties vying for votes and together they expect to gain about a dozen seats in the Knesset. Arab lawmakers unfortunately have been on relentless campaigns to radicalize their constituents and playing Palestinian victimhood politics, instead of focusing on everyday needs and problems of Israel's Arab population. Fortunately, there reportedly will be a fourth Arab party devoted this time solely to bread-and-butter issues - a long overdue and welcome shift in Arab politics in Israel. 

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


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Time to Annex Judea and Samaria

by Steven Plaut


In a few months it will be the twentieth anniversary of the signing of the “Oslo Accord” on the White House lawn.  In that signing, Yassir Arafat, on behalf of the so-called “Palestinian Liberation Organization,” committed himself and his “people” to conduct negotiations with Israel that would lead to a peaceful resolution of the Middle East Arab-Israeli conflict. He forswore unilateral actions and decisions.

Since then, the “Palestinian Authority,” which was set up by the PLO, has violated every single clause in that and the subsequent Oslo Accords.  Twenty years hence, the “Palestinians” as represented by the “Authority” have yet to comply with a single one of their obligations.  Arafat and his gangsters simply used the Accord as a cover to gain control over part of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.  They then converted all the territory they controlled into bases for launching terrorist aggression against Israel.  The Palestinian terrorist groups have murdered at least 1700 Israeli civilians since signing that first “peace accord.”  Thousands of Palestinian rockets have been launched into Israel aimed at Israeli civilians, and not just by the Hamas.  “Palestinian leaders” repeat several times each day before breakfast that their aim is the obliteration of Israel altogether and that they will never recognize the legitimacy of Israel within any set of borders.

The media controlled by the “Authority” and the terrorist organizations have been thoroughly nazified; they broadcast anti-Semitic filth that exceeds what the German Nazis broadcast in the 1930s.  The Gaza Strip has been completely nazified. Very little distinguishes the Islamofascism of the Hamas from the Islamofascism of the PLO, and the “president” of the Palestinian Authority is a certified Holocaust Denier.

And now to top it all off, the “Palestinian Authority” has unilaterally declared itself to be a sovereign state and applied for United Nations membership as such.  This is just the latest and not even the worst violation of “Palestinian” obligations under the Oslo Accords.

There is growing debate about how Israel should respond to the behavior of the “Palestinians.”  Indeed, there have already been calls in Israel to implement part of the proposals that follow here.  This unilateral “declaration” of Palestinian statehood and bid for international recognition is not just a wholesale repudiation of the Oslo Accords by the “Palestinians.”  It is also as much a declaration of war as was the secession of South Carolina.  Any similar “secession” would be casus belli in any other country on the planet and would be suppressed with arms.  And any country endorsing or supporting such secession would be treated as an enemy belligerent.

Israel must make it crystal clear: the experimental Israeli willingness to consider acquiescing in the creation of a separate Palestinian state is over.  The “Palestinians” never had a legitimate claim to statehood in the first place, although in exchange for peace Israel was in the past willing to overlook this.  The “Palestinians” forfeited any shaky claim they might have had to statehood because of their behavior during the past two decades, indeed during the past century, their nonstop barbarism and mass atrocities.  This is much like the East Prussians and Sudeten Germans forfeiting all THEIR rights to self-determination and even to autonomy after World War II.

Israel must declare: The game of pretense and fiction is over.  Israel is no longer willing to pretend that there exists some sort of “Palestinian people” entitled to statehood.  The “Palestinians” are Arabs, and Arabs already have 22 states.  They will not get yet another inside Israeli lands.  Any Palestinian wishing to enjoy national sovereignty is free to move to one of those 22 Arab states, but no Arab sovereignty will exist in Israeli territory, meaning the lands between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea.

The “Palestinian declaration of statehood” must be dealt with by means of a unilateral Israeli settlement imposed on the West Bank and de-nazification of the local population.

The principles upon which such a unilateral Israeli concordance and resolution must be founded are these:

1.  The West Bank belongs to Israel and is Israeli in all ways.  No non-Israeli sovereignty of any form will be permitted in the territory between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea.  The West Bank is part of the Jewish national homeland, always was, and always will be.

2.  “Palestinian” Arabs living in the West Bank will not receive Israeli citizenship and will not vote in Israeli national elections.

3.  The land and resources in the West Bank will remain under Israeli supervision, control, and regulation.

4.  “Palestinians” who do not wish to live under Israeli sovereignty will be free to leave.  Israel may consider providing financial support, property compensation, or incentives for those so wishing to leave.

5.  Most “Palestinians” choosing to remain in the West Bank will live in reservations, in some ways resembling Native-American-Indian territories that function inside the United States (possibly even including casinos), although in some ways they will differ.  Reservations will be operated in those parts of the West Bank that have large concentrations of Arab population, meaning Jericho, Nablus, Ramallah, Jenin, Tul Karem, and a few other areas.  Reservations will NOT have territorial contiguity.  In each reservation, the “Palestinians” will be permitted autonomy and limited self-rule to manage their own local affairs as long as violence is completely absent from the reservation.  Where violence is present, they will be denied autonomy.  Reservations from which terrorism arises may be shut down and their populations dispersed.  Arabs engaging in or supporting terrorism in any way will be deported.

6.  “Palestinians” in the West Bank will be considered to be resident aliens within the Jewish state.  Many still have Jordanian passports and citizenship and will be considered resident Jordanians.  “Palestinians” who do not have Jordanian citizenship will be stateless unless they obtain citizenship from some other country.

7.  Jews will have the right to live anywhere they wish in the West Bank outside the reservations assigned to the “Palestinian” Arabs. The territory in the West Bank in which Arabs do not live or live sparsely, and this includes the Jordan Valley and the sparse areas in between the reservations, will be opened to unlimited Jewish settlement.

The villages and towns with the Arab reservations will be assigned to two lists, a white list and a black list.  Those in the white list will manage their own affairs without interference from the Israeli central authorities.  Residents of white-list towns may hold commuter jobs in Israeli cities and industrial parks.  The local authorities in the white areas will manage their schools and other local institutions.  They will collect their own taxes and may benefit from revenue sharing arrangements with the Israeli fiscal authorities, like other Israeli towns.  They might be allowed to operate their own local police forces.  Residents in white-listed areas will be fully and freely mobile, able to move freely within and among all white-list areas. They will be allowed to develop local industry and tourist services.  Their residents will have access to Israel universities, health facilities, and other services.

Those towns and villages in the black list will enjoy none of the above.  Their residents will be denied the opportunity to hold day jobs in Israeli cities and industrial parks.  They will have no access to Israeli services.  They will have control over nothing.  Their residents will be prevented from moving freely outside their reservation, except in cases where they wish to leave the country altogether.  They will receive no shared revenues, no fiscal incentives.

Villages and towns will be assigned to the two lists based entirely on one single factor: violence.  Areas in which violence occurs, and this includes rock throwing, will be assigned to the black list.  Areas in which violence is absent will be assigned to the white list.  Towns and villages will be reassigned to the black list from the white list when terrorism, sniping, mortars, rockets, or other forms of violence occur there.  Towns and villages in the black list will be assigned to the white list only when the local population cooperates fully with Israel in apprehending and arresting the terrorists and those engaged in violence, and takes other effective actions to end the violence.  Otherwise they will remain on the black list indefinitely.  Entry into black list areas will be denied to foreigners, journalists, and especially to the “International Solidarity” anarchists and their ilk. Any such anarchist infiltrating the areas of the black list will be denied permission to leave them and will remain there indefinitely, or else will be imprisoned by Israel.

This of course leaves the dilemma of the Gaza Strip.  As noted, because of the Israeli folly of withdrawing from and abandoning its control over the Gaza Strip, the area is now nothing more than a large rocket-launching terrorist base.  I happen to believe that, in the long run, Israel will have no choice but to re-impose its complete control over the Gaza Strip.

But for the immediate future, an Israeli unilateral set of moves will be necessary here as well.  Basically these must consist of a three-pronged assault against Gaza the very first time that a rocket is launched into Israel from that territory.  In this assault, Israel will seize a strip of land several kilometers wide that will divide the Gaza Strip from Egypt and this will end the massive smuggling of weapons, explosives, drugs and other materials into Gaza.  The other two prongs will split Gaza into three smaller segments.  Israel will control movement of people and materials among these segments.  It will arrest and shoot terrorists on the spot.  And eventually it may impose the system of reservations and the white-black lists upon Gaza as well.

This is how Israel should respond to the declaration of war by the “Palestinians” in their unilateral declaration of statehood.

Steven Plaut


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Jews must oppose Hagel

by Shoula Romano Horing

Op-ed: President Obama chose to betray US Jews at earliest opportunity after his reelection

Despite the fact that 69% of American Jews voted for Obama, donated and campaigned passionately for him, he has chosen to betray them at the earliest opportunity after his reelection. Even though there were other capable mainstream candidates, he has picked Chuck Hagel for the important position of defense secretary, a fringe candidate who has been one of the few vocal anti- Israeli senators.

Almost every major pro-Israeli Jewish organization and many individual Jewish leaders had strongly opposed Hagel's impeding appointment, but after the president publicly announced his selection, they backed down and have made clear they will not lobby against or fight Hagel's confirmation in the Senate, despite their concerns with the choice. Sadly, this reluctance to challenge Obama on this nomination will weaken the pro-Israeli community and render it obsolete, which in turn will weaken Israel.

But much more, the Jewish leadership’s tolerance of a nominee whose comments Anti-Defamation League National Director Abe Foxman characterized as "borders on anti –Semitism" is a betrayal of their supposed role of safeguarding the community against those who spread false stereotypes and prejudices against Jews. 

Hagel's past words and actions reveal that he has a "Jewish" problem. First, Hagel has made clear in Aaron David Miller’s 2008 book "The Too Much Promised Land" that he believes in the existence of a "Jewish lobby" and that "the Jewish lobby intimidates a lot of people in Congress." Moreover, Hagel is quoted as saying that "Most of the times members of Congress play it safe and adopt an 'I'll support Israel' attitude. AIPAC comes knocking with a pro- Israel letter and then you'll get 80 to 90 senators on it. I don't think I've signed one of the letters," adding, "I’m not an Israeli senator. I'm a United States senator." 

First, there is no such thing as a "Jewish" lobby but a pro-Israeli lobby which includes many Christians and is not supported by all Jews. Such a lobby operates in the best tradition of democracy like the NCAAP and AARP do and singling the Jews out implies dual loyalty. Second, the word "intimidates" suggest that Congress is friendly to Israel, not from political conviction but out of personal fear. But reality shows that Israel is widely supported by the American people. A Gallup poll taken last year showed 71% of the Americans view Israel favorably.

Dangerous agenda

Moreover, his view is a repeat of the age old anti-Semitic libel that Jews secretly work together to gain control of the world. It is disconcerting that Senator Hagel would concern himself with "the Jews," when in reality he could not have endured any political pressures from his own state's Jewish community. In Nebraska there are only 6100 Jews in a state with a population of 1.8 million.

Moreover, many in the Nebraska Jewish community that knows him best recalled that Hagel, as a Nebraska senator, was hostile to Israel and to the Jewish community. The former editor of the Omaha Jewish Press newspaper Carol Katzman, recalled that Hagel "was the only one we have had in Nebraska, who basically showed the Jewish community that he didn’t give a damn about the Jewish community or any of our concerns.” When Hagel served as a president of USO he expressed intense opposition to keeping the USO Haifa port open to US troops abroad. During a 1989 meeting with Jewish leaders of the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA), Marsha Halteman, a JINSA representative recalled that he told them that if the Jews wanted to keep the USO in Haifa open "Let the Jews pay for it.”
However, Hagel’s obvious Jewish problem would have been inconsequential if he was not appointed to be secretary of defense, who is one of the officials responsible for implementing the close cooperation between the US and Israel. The concern is that Hagel’s record proves that he has a problem appreciating the Jewish state as a true US ally and has a moral inclination for appeasing Israel’s most vicious enemies.

The record shows that Hagel voted against imposing sanctions on Iran, which regularly calls for the extermination of Israel and has explicitly ruled out the military option against Iran’s nuclear weapons. He called for talks with Hamas, whose charter calls for the murder of all Jews - not just Israelis - and he has refused to support a Senate letter and resolution branding Hezbollah and the Iranian Revolutionary Guards as terrorist organizations.
It is remarkable how much political capital Obama is willing to spend to make Hagel, an ex -Republican senator, with a dubious administrative and executive record, his defense minister, unless Hagel represents everything Obama believes in but was afraid to say during his first term - including his underlying hostility to Israel. 

Jews must fight this nomination even if they lose, because Obama chose this fight in order to intimidate the pro-Israeli lobby and undermine and weaken the Congress’ and US Jews’ support for Israel. If not, they will give a message to Obama that he has a free hand to shove his dangerous agenda down Israel’s throat. Jews must now call their US senators to voice opposition to the nomination and Israelis must choose a government which will be willing to say no to Obama.

Shoula Romano Horing is an attorney in Kansas City. Her blog:


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Thursday, January 17, 2013

Abbas Is Part of the Problem, Not the Solution

by Prof. Efraim Inbar

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Though much of the international community sees Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas as a serious partner for peace, Abbas’ words and actions prove that he is interested in nothing less than the ruin of the State of Israel. Instead of preparing his people for painful concessions and peaceful coexistence with Israel, Abbas glorifies armed struggle, insists on Palestinian refugees’ “right of return” to Israel, and acts to criminalize and demonize Israel.

A version of this Perspectives Paper appears in today's Jerusalem Post (January 16, 2013).

A little-noticed Reuters story on January 10, 2013, reports that Mahmoud Abbas, the leader of the Palestinian Authority (PA), rejected a conditional Israeli offer to let Palestinian refugees in war-torn Syria resettle in the West Bank and Gaza. Abbas rejected Israel’s offer because he thought it would compromise the claims of these refugees to return to their homes in Israel lost during the 1948 war. According to this report, Israel agreed to the resettlement on the condition the refugees sign a statement relinquishing claims of return to Israel. Yet Abbas rejected this condition and said “it is better they die in Syria than give up their right of  return.”

Instead of helping his people in distress, Abbas prefers to cling to “the right of return” – a demand that no Israeli government will ever accept. Palestinian leaders have for years rejected attempts to alleviate the condition of their refugees by resettling them in proper housing in Gaza and the West Bank, instead preferring to keep the refugees and millions of their descendants in shanty towns and camps, as political pawns in the struggle against Israel. These refugees constitute an important element in the Palestinian self-image of victimhood and martyrdom.

Most of the international community rejects this Palestinian demand, understanding that a mass influx of Palestinians could destroy Israel’s Jewish character, and that this is a deal-breaker issue. No Israeli-Palestinian peace can develop if the PA insists on the “right” of return. Yet nobody in the international community spoke out against Abbas’ obstinate and radical refusal to take up Israel’s offer to resettle Syrian refugees in the West Bank and Gaza.

The Palestinian leadership missed another opportunity to demonstrate that it can behave in a constructive fashion and be of help to its people. Instead of pragmatic politics, we once again see Palestinian adherence to radical goals that prolongs Palestinian suffering and produces obstacles to peace.

Another recent display of this typical Palestinian preference for intransigence was provided by the so-called “moderate” Abbas when he addressed his countrymen on a Fatah movement anniversary on January 4, 2013. Abbas avoided mentioning the land-for-peace formula or the establishment of a Palestinian state beside Israel that could bring an end to the conflict and the suffering of his people. He did not prepare his people for the need to make concessions for the sake of peace. Instead, Abbas stressed the perennial need to adhere to the path of armed struggle in order to realize “the dream of return” of the Palestinian refugees and their descendants.

The only explanation for this behavior is that the Palestinian national movement is very serious about the “right of return.” Despite attempts of pundits who suggest that goodwill and Israeli territorial concessions can bring about a Palestinian flexibility on this issue, there is no evidence that the PA is ready to put aside its long-term goal of “return.”

Dismissing Palestinian behavior and rhetoric, or belittling its importance with regard to the refugees, amounts to ostrich-type behavior of sticking one’s head in the sand. The international community, either due to na?vet? or wishful thinking, has never recognized that so long as Palestinians insist that refugees have a right to settle in Israel, they are not prepared for meaningful negotiations nor will Israelis believe that they are. People do not easily give up their dreams, and over the past twenty years since the Oslo accords were signed, the PA has not moderated its demands one bit.

The insistence on a “right of return” complements Abbas’ refusal to acknowledge that Israel is a Jewish state and his denial of any links of the Jews to their ancestral homeland. Moreover, Abbas is conducting a campaign at home and abroad to demonize Israel and to portray Israelis as colonialists and war criminals. These acts do not indicate moderation or a quest for coexistence with Israel.

Abbas is also taking measures to encourage armed struggle against Israel, even if these measures undermine the state-building efforts of the PA. He supported several December 2012 parades of armed members of the al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, the militia of Fatah, in honor of the anniversary of the founding of the Fatah movement. Tolerant attitudes toward Palestinian militias run counter to the main litmus test of a state, which is the monopoly over the use of force. Turning a blind eye to the reemergence of armed groups in Palestinian society erodes the main achievement of the PA in recent years – the restoration of law and order, following the formal dismantlement of militias.

The Palestinian armed groups may be tempted to engage in violent clashes with Israel, which will turn out to be disastrous for Palestinian self-determination and peaceful coexistence. While declaring his preference for non-violence, Israeli leaders suspect that Abbas is hoping that a third Intifada will bring better results than the second.

Abbas promised negotiations and moderation after the winning by “Palestine” of an upgraded status at the UN as an “observer state.” However, since that November 2012 vote, Abbas has only ramped up his inflammatory rhetoric and irresponsible policies. The Palestinians continue to be in urgent need of better political leadership to extricate themselves from pathological patterns of self-destructive behavior. ================

Prof. Efraim Inbar is a professor of political studies at Bar-Ilan University, director of the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies, and a fellow at the Middle East Forum.


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