Saturday, May 4, 2013

An Illusion Called Territory

by Dror Eydar

1. The conflict is not about territory. The Arab nations have territory in abundance. The Palestinians have quite a bit as well: there are no Jews in the Gaza Strip, and Jordan has a Palestinian majority. The Arabs of Palestine could have established a state of their own long ago, but they chose not to do so.

For a century, and even more since 1967, we have tried to ignore the true nature of the conflict between ourselves and the nations of the region. We have talked about partitioning the land, territory, interests, security arrangements and such. But every time we thought we were about to sign an agreement, something came up. According to the Arab-Palestinian narrative, which many people among us and in the West happily adopted, the blame for the absence of peace was laid at our doorstep. Even the fair-minded people on the Israeli left, who do not accept the guilt narrative, act as if it were true. They think: If we give up a bit more, if we take advantage of the “window of opportunity,” then maybe our neighbors will agree to sign a peace treaty. Now, once again, they’re trying to sell us the Arab League’s proposal — worn-out merchandise that feeds the orthodox left wing’s illusion industry until the talks blow up. And then the cycle starts again.

What makes the Arab League’s proposal any better than the others? Nothing. The devotees of peace at any price among us need to justify their existence, so they keep mumbling their credo, which lacks any realistic grasp of the situation.

2. It’s only logical to think that the conflict is just about land. Blood-drenched conflicts took place in Europe for centuries until the voice of reason and interests finally prevailed, the conflicts were resolved and peace reigned. “Two people take hold of a cloak. One says: It is all mine, and the other says: It is all mine. In such a case, they should split it.” So said our sages almost two thousand years ago. The average Israeli diplomat and his counterpart in the political echelon follow that logic. They are convinced that the key to solving the conflict is rational negotiations, at the end of which we will reach the longed-for partition of the land and with it, finally, peace. But unfortunately, the West does not see things in this region as they really are. Time after time, this Western logic comes up against an impassable wall. Read the Hamas Covenant (an excellent translation is available on the Internet). Read the Palestinian National Charter by the PLO and Fatah, both secular movements. Visit websites, such as MEMRI and Palestinian Media Watch, that translate the Arab world around us. Read the language honestly and realistically, and you won’t hear the voice of logic. Hatred has logic too, and many conflicts can be analyzed. But not in this case. The countries of this region do not accept Israel as a Jewish state, an independent entity. Israel’s very existence poses a heretical, defiant challenge to the Muslim world, its beliefs and values. Israel is a wedge stuck between their eyes, an extension of the West in the heart of sacred Muslim soil. Keep reading the text and sources mentioned above and you’ll see that these voices go beyond mere religious conflict. The region we live in is the cradle of human civilization. The voices we will hear are those of its ancient myths.

3. Logos versus mythos — the word versus myth. Here, myth does not mean fiction or fabrication, but rather the founding narrative of peoples and nations. Islam is only about 1400 years old, but this region has been speaking in mythic language for millennia. Myth encompasses religion and goes beyond it.

The still-current custom of stoning, blood-feuds, beheadings, murders to protect or avenge family honor, the perception of space, inheritance and land, relations between tribes in the region, tribal loyalty versus loyalty to the kingdom and other such concepts that are so much a part of life in this region are in an existential conflict with the way the West sees those same concepts. Let us imagine a meeting between an Israeli diplomat and his Palestinian counterpart. Both speak in an international language (in this case, English), and both use the term “territory.” That’s not complicated. A territory is in dispute, and with good will on both sides, once we have had our fill of bloodshed, we can solve the “problem” by splitting the land so we can live normal lives as neighbors. But it doesn’t happen. Occasionally there’s a lull, after the Israeli makes “gestures.” Then they pick up where the last round left off, before the next outbreak of violence (for which Israel, of course, is blamed).

4. Here is a key to a behind-the-scenes understanding of the conversation. The Israeli diplomat was brought up in the 2,500-year-old Western tradition of thought, which puts logic above emotion or myth. Territory can be cut in half and shared. The border can be drawn wherever we wish. The Palestinian also talks about territory. But for him, the words are only signifiers, the tip of the iceberg, the tiniest glimpse into other worlds entirely different from ours. For him, it’s not about territory, but about the very soil — adama in Hebrew, from which the word for human being, adam, is taken. A human being without land is not a human being. His very existence is called into question. And this is where 'dam' — blood, which is also part of the word adama — comes in. Dam, adama, adam: if these concepts are what define your very existence, then you have no recourse other than to shed blood for the sake of the soil that defines you as a human being. I’m not referring merely to wordplay in Hebrew, but to the idea behind the words. The biblical perception that crystallized in this region thousands of years ago runs congruent to the region’s myths. No diplomat involved in the negotiations ever talks about these things — and this missing piece casts a giant shadow that goes unnoticed. This is the political unconscious that affects our lives much more strongly than our conscious will does.

5. Consider the refugee problem. Tens of millions of refugees were expelled and wandered throughout Europe in the 20th century alone, but were finally resettled. Why aren’t there any refugee camps in Europe? After all, millions of people were uprooted from their homes. Why didn’t they remain refugees until their demand to return to their homes was resolved? Because logic prevailed. It wasn’t necessarily the logic of the refugees, but at least it was the logic of the countries of Europe: to bind their wounds quickly and let the body politic heal. It wasn’t just in Europe. It happened here, too. For more than a decade, thousands of Jewish refugees lived in transit camps in the young State of Israel. They lived in tents, in tin shacks, in huts. I know. My parents were there. These were refugee camps in every sense of the term. The refugee camps became neighborhoods, towns and cities that our country could take pride in. We didn’t stop to wallow in self-pity. We came to terms with the loss of our property and our former lives and started building a new society.

So what’s unique about the Arab refugees of 1948? What stopped them from leaving the camps, turning them into neighborhoods they could be proud of? Why didn’t they establish a state before 1967 or even earlier, in 1947?

What we face is no conflict over territory. That sort of conflict does not enslave millions to an eternal war against us. There will be no peace here until the nations of the region recognize Israel as the Jewish people’s national home. All the other issues stem from that. Such recognition is not given in words only. We have had enough of words. It involves education, textbooks, the media, the streets and the political and religious discourse. Do you understand that a task like this takes a hundred years at least? What we need is patience. And faith.

Dror Eydar


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

Dangerous Times: Europe's New Crypto Cults Don't Hate Islam

by James Lewis and Justine Aristea

There is something strange about the fast-rising European "crypto fascist" movements. They are peas in a pod -- with similar political programs, and similar nationalist and anti-capitalist rhetoric. They all hate the two Satans of Iranian propaganda, Israel and America. Yes, the Persian Gulf supplies 40% of Europe's oil and therefore has vast political power in all the countries where the cryptos operate. But they are really monomaniacal about Israel, which has nothing like the power of the oil states. Most peculiarly, all those anti-foreigner movements don't have a bad word to say about 50 million Muslims who now populate the capital cities of Europe. Not one bad word. 

All the cryptos use the web to recruit and direct their followers. Just as the invention of radio led to Mussolini's and Hitler's mass appeal, the web is doing so for Giuseppe Grillo and all the others. Some of the cryptos therefore want the voting age to be lowered to 16, so they can catch 'em while they're young.

These movements recruit many thousands of grossly ignorant teens, surfing the web. They use mystery names -- Golden Dawn, Red and Black, Five Stars -- as if they came from a single cookie cutter. They all try to absolve the faded Nazi and fascist parties of the 30s and 40s.

But most important, while the crypto cults rage against foreigners, none of them criticize mass immigration of Muslims. They treat Muslim immigration the way the U.S. media treat Obama.

This is too much of a coincidence. Human beings are not all alike. When we act like carbon copies, something else is going on. The Communist International (Comintern) has run look-alike parties in Europe since 1900. Local communist parties never criticized Comrade Lenin or smiling Uncle Joe. You could tell their loyalties by their blind spots.

It's seems likely that the crypto cults are recruited, paid, trained, advised and controlled by some Muslim power center, like Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), which the Pentagon recently estimated to have 30,000 agents around the world.

Our bet is that the Iranians are running a new Comintern. With the global web all it takes is money, time, a huge expatriate population to hide in, and a ruthless network of controllers. Tehran runs a ruinous domestic economy for ordinary people, but it does those things very well.

Take our favorite crypto cult leader, Giuseppe (Beppe) Grillo, who imitates Mussolini every chance he gets. A few months ago Grillo's party got only one percent less than Il Duce did in 1922. Mussolini parlayed those first election results into 65% only three years later, using bullying, threats and intimidation. Italy's political center collapse under his assault, and Duce ran the place until Italy itself collapsed at the end of the war.

Following in Duce's footsteps Beppe Grillo tried his own "march on Rome" a couple of weeks ago, but was stopped by the cops and military. Opposition parties finally united in a grand coalition against his movement. But Grillo isn't giving up.

Iranian links to Grillo are too obvious to ignore.

Go back 20 years.

In 1992 Grillo was a minor comedian. That year he meets his internet guru, Gianroberto Casaleggio. Today they are the two commanders of the Five Star Movement, which is run like an army, from the top. Twenty years ago nobody had heard of them.

Four years after Grilo and Guru meet, in 1996, Grillo marries the very wealthy daughter of a multimillionaire Iranian highway builder, NosratollahTajik, who indoctrinates him in Middle Eastern politics. "Everything I know about the Middle East I learned from my father in law" is Beppe's way of saying it. That is why he consistently kisses Iran's tail on his blog -- one of the 10 most visited blogs in the world. On the Satan side of things he smears the Jews, Israel, and America, which are all the same, because the Jews run Israel and America. Got it? Poiltics for morons.

All this good fortune comes to Grillo from Parvin Tajik and his Iranian daughter, who make Grillo a wealthy man, with two Ferraris, several villas, and a big motor yacht. What a lucky guy.

In 1998 Grillo's blog presents his Message to Humanity (Messagio a l'Umanita). You can read it there today. Grillo's Messagio rambles through a lot of disconnected phrases and paranoid ideas. But his full-fledged program is there already in 1998, fourteen years ago. With the help of his web guru, Grillo's blog is popularized under Italy's political radar. Nobody in politics takes him seriously, but millions of kids are becoming Grillinis. Today they vote for Grillo. They are a cult, with primitive and indefensible beliefs, a shared monomania, a split vision of the world into Good and Evil. In terms of real politics, economics, and history they are militantly ignorant.

All that started in the mid-90s as a full-blown play script. The good guys, the evil guys, the fantasy of World War III followed by pure internet democracy, the glorification of Beppe Grillo and his web guru.

Nobody knows how the Movement is funded. It's run by only two people, both of them oddballs. But -- Beppe is a comedian! No political party took him seriously. If he wants to imitate Mussolini, maybe it's just a parody. Parody is free speech. He operates under light cover until early this year.

There is now a whole fantasy universe of Grilloid beliefs about the international bankers, the real history of the Jews (who come from Kazakhstan, not that other place), the way chemotherapy is made to kill you, vaccines make you homosexual, aerial contrails are spreading poison in the skies, on and on. This is a real fascist cult, and many thousands of followers live in that universe. It's all they know.

This year Grillo's Five Star Movement comes out of nowhere and gets 24 percent of the vote -- not much by American standards, but neck and neck with Mussolini's first election. If Grillo plays tough he can block the formation of a government, like Duce did in the 20s, and threaten and intimidate his way to a majority. Mussolini got 65% in his second (and lastl) election. Grillo says he wants 100%.

Today Beppe Grillo is forging an alliance with the far left. As a bloc the radical left owns 18% of the vote. Grillo can take their 18% to get 42% of the Parliament. Some Grillo appointee can then become Prime Minister of Italy.

Remember the Hitler-Stalin Pact of 1938? By looking for allies on the far left Beppe is trying to recreate the Red-Black alliance of the 30s.

Ole' Beppe is also reaching out to other nativist parties, like France's National Front. In Hungary Viktor Orban's crypto party has just taken power. In Greece, Albania, Spain, look-alike parties are making gains. Ordinary people are desperately unhappy because of the bad economy. They have been lied to by the ruling classes. They were promised peace and prosperity forever, and now they want a scapegoat. In the East some yearn for the Soviet years, when they had work and bread to eat.

Some of these countries have rarely seen a centrist government. Democratic conservatism exists, but less widely than in the U.S., the UK, Australia, and even India, where Prime Minister Singh is a free market economist. When Europeans think "left wing" they think communist. "Right wing" is fascist. The democratic center is always under attack.

If you think the United States is in trouble today from a radicalized left, imagine if both wings were extremists, European style.

Last week the Iranian propaganda agency PressTV published an opinion column denouncing Beppe Grillo as a tool of Goldman-Sachs and the State Department. The Iranian regime is all out to put the blame for Grillo on somebody else.

We wonder why. 

James Lewis and Justine Aristea


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

Kerry’s Push for Israeli ‘Auschwitz Borders’

by P. David Hornik


This week Secretary of State John Kerry enthusiastically welcomed a proposal by the Arab League, led by Qatar’s prime minister Sheik Hamad bin Jassem al-Thani, to revive Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.

The proposal calls for Israeli withdrawal to the 1967 borders, which were characterized as indefensible by two major American military studies and dubbed the “Auschwitz borders” by former dovish Israeli foreign minister Abba Eban. It was widely reported that Al-Thani “cited the possibility of ‘comparable,’ mutually agreed and ‘minor’ land swaps between the Israelis and the Palestinians.”

Al-Thani thereby took an even less forthcoming position than the one taken by President Obama in a speech on May 19, 2011, when he stated: “The borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps….” That speech aroused such protest and fears for Israel’s security and survival that three days later on May 22, in a speech to AIPAC, Obama appeared to somewhat amend his words:
the parties themselves—Israelis and Palestinians—will negotiate a border that is different than the one that existed on June 4, 1967. That’s what mutually agreed-upon swaps means. It is a well-known formula to all who have worked on this issue for a generation. It allows the parties themselves to account for the changes that have taken place over the last 44 years. It allows the parties themselves to take account of those changes, including the new demographic realities on the ground, and the needs of both sides. 
This was taken to mean that, if such a deal were reached, Obama would support Israel retaining somewhat more substantial territory, including settlement blocs.

Yet, with Kerry’s endorsement of Al-Thani’s proposal, the administration takes a stance even less favorable to Israel than Obama’s original, May 19 position, which Middle East analyst Robert Satloff called at the time “a major departure from long-standing U.S. policy.”

Qatar—a backer of radical Sunni movements—is of course a strange champion of “peace.” Last October the Emir of Qatar visited Gaza and promised major financial aid to Hamas—committed by its charter to Israel’s destruction and officially designated a terrorist organization by the United States. This week the Wall Street Journal reported on Qatar’s active support for a Muslim Brotherhood takeover of Syria.

As an Israeli diplomatic source told Haaretz:
The prime minister’s advisers are not keen about the Arab League’s announcement. Netanyahu and his advisers believe it would have been better had this announcement not been made…. The fact that Kerry stood beside Qatar’s prime minister while he was reading the announcement increased Netanyahu’s aides’ suspicions toward Kerry.
Is this new push to pressure Israel into perilous withdrawals coming from Kerry himself, or from Obama? According to veteran Israeli journalist Shimon Shiffer:
the Israeli side sees some tension between the White House and the State Department. In other words, they understand that Obama has expressed no interest in resuming the negotiations. The American president, my sources tell me, does not believe—as opposed to Kerry—that solving the conflict will solve all of the region’s troubles.
That account is consistent with a statement quoted earlier this week from a “senior Israeli diplomatic source” that “Obama understands today that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is not interested in reaching an agreement with Israel.”

But even if Kerry is freelancing, it is little short of grotesque that the administration—or whatever part of it—is orchestrating another pressure campaign on Israel, against the will of its elected leaders, precisely as threats are mounting on its northern and southern borders and from Iran.

The ultimate responsibility, of course, is Obama’s—not least for letting his May 22, 2011 words to AIPAC be exposed as so much smoke and mirrors.

P. David Hornik


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

The New York Times Erases Islam from Existence

by Daniel Greenfield


The media coverage of Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has one theme and one tack. Like 30 of the 31 men on the FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorists list, they were terrorists who just happened to be Muslim.

While the New York Times dispatched its best and brightest lackeys to Boston to write sensitive pieces on how hard it was for the two Tsarnaevs to fit in, it fell to a UK tabloids like The Sun to conduct an interview with the ex-girlfriend of the lead terrorist and learn that he wanted her to hate America and beat her because she wouldn’t wear a Hijab.

There are all sorts of jobs that Americans won’t do. Like pick lettuce, bomb the Boston Marathon and report honestly on the motives of the bombers. The only news network that operates outside the media consensus is owned by an Australian mogul who also owns The Sun.

Americans like to think of their press as freer, but it’s only free in the sense that it voluntarily puts on its own muzzle. European tabloids get into bloody brawls with regulators. American newspapers have nothing to brawl about. They will gleefully report anything that undermines national security at the drop of a hat, knowing that they won’t be touched, but there is a long list of subjects that they won’t touch with a million-mile pole.

In Europe, editors risked their lives to publish the Mohammed cartoons. In America, on the rare occasion that they were depicted, they were usually censored. CNN, which could show Kathy Griffin trying to molest Anderson Cooper, without the benefit of pixelation or a suicide button, blurred out Mohammed’s face; assuming that Muslims would appreciate the sensitivity of treating their prophet’s face like an obscene object.

The American media does not need to be censored. It censors itself.

Did the New York Times really fail to come across Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s ex-girlfriend while they were busily interviewing every single person in Boston who ever ran into the future terrorists? The New York Times may be incompetent, but it isn’t that incompetent. If it could track down Tamerlan’s old coach, it could track down his old girlfriend. It chose not to.

So did every other paper.

Either The Sun is staffed with crack journalists who could do what no American newspaper, news channel and network news program could, or The Sun got the scoop on Nadine Ascencao because no newspaper on this side of the ocean wanted to touch it. And it’s easy to see why.

Nadine talks about being beaten in the name of Islam, forced to memorize Koran verses and being taught to hate America. Most journalists on this side of the ocean want quotes on what nice boys the two Tsarnaevs were and how, in true liberal fashion, no one could have expected them to do something like this.

Every background story on them is filled with the same pabulum, because the endless march of “We couldn’t have known” quotes provides the government-media complex with the plausible deniability it needs to continue doing the same thing all over again. If the people couldn’t have known, then it stands to reason that their government or their media couldn’t have known either.

The only newspaper besides The Sun to do an interview with Nadine Ascencao was the Wall Street Journal; which just happens to be owned by the same tabloid mogul. But there is an interesting difference between The Sun and the Wall Street Journal. The WSJ piece doesn’t mention Hijabs, Koran verses or hating America. It doesn’t mention Islam at all.

Co-written by a Pakistani journalist, it emphasizes only that Tamerlan was a bully of no particular religion. That reporter’s twitter feed features a retweet from another Muslim WSJ reporter who broadcasts that the plans of Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev to head to Times Square amounted to nothing. Nothing to see here. Move along.

Instead of wasting time on a dead end like Islam, the media has spent its time chasing down every other possible angle.

Did Tamerlan turn terrorist because he took too many blows to the head while boxing? Could the Boston Marathon bombing have been prevented if only we had let him win?

The New York Times assembled a touching story of an aspiring immigrant boxer radicalized by the petty restrictions of a government that wouldn’t let him apply for citizenship because of his history of domestic violence and appearance on a terrorist watch list. But how does that jibe with the Tamerlan from five years earlier who beat up a boy that his sister was dating because he wasn’t Muslim?

When the media must deal with Tamerlan’s theology, it keeps him in the category of the troubled man who turned to some wacky extremist version of Islam propounded by a YouTube convert. The man who beat his sister’s boyfriend because he wasn’t a Muslim and beat his ex-girlfriend because she wouldn’t wear a Hijab wasn’t some brainwashed drone who had his mind stolen by YouTube videos. He was a Muslim.

That angle is the most terrifying one that the media can think of. If they have to mention the “I” word, they will sandwich it between “extremist” and “radicalization.” But it’s not Tamerlan who was the radical extremist. Among Muslims, his views were mainstream. The Wahhabis are in ascendance in most parts of the world, including the United States. Islamist parties roundly won the Arab Spring.

What was the difference between Tamerlan Tsarnaev and any of the Syrian Jihadists held up by the media as the epitome of courage and bravery? What is the difference between Tamerlan Tsarnaev and the Hamas and Fatah terrorists that the media peevishly contends Israel must make peace with? What is the difference between Tamerlan Tsarnaev and any of the tens of thousands of Muslim terrorists fighting in conflicts around the world?

While the European media, for all its faults, occasionally grapples with the incompatibility of liberal values and Muslim values; on this side of the ocean the topic is all but untouchable.

A story about a future Muslim terrorist beating his girlfriend because she wouldn’t wear a Hijab creates a sneaking suspicion that Muslim multiculturalism is incompatible with liberal values. The incompatible Muslims, like Mohammed’s face, have been pixelated out of existence in the reports on terrorist attacks by disgruntled boxers, doctors and perfume salesmen who just happen to be Muslim.

These are the Muslims that the media doesn’t see. And it is doing everything possible to make sure that we don’t see them either.

Daniel Greenfield


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

Report: IAF Strike in Syria Targeted Arms Coming from Iran

by Reuters, Staff

'New York Times' reports surface-to-surface Fateh-110 missiles came from Iran and were likely meant for Hezbollah militia in Lebanon; Defense Ministry official denies Israeli confirmation of attack.

Fateh-110 missiles [file].
Fateh-110 missiles [file]. Photo: Reuters/Stringer
Israel has carried out an air strike into Syria, targeting a shipment of missiles bound for Hezbollah guerrillas in neighboring Lebanon, an Israeli official told Reuters on Saturday.

Senior Defense Ministry official Amos Gilad, however, denied that any Israeli official confirmed such an attack occurred in a cultural event in Beersheba, Army Radio reported.
Reports indicate the strike targeted surface-to-surface Fateh-110 missiles that were stored at a warehouse in the Damascus airport. The New York Times quoted American officials as saying the missile shipment came from Iran.

It is unclear whether the Fateh-110 missiles were intended for Hezbollah, who are said to already have a small supply of them, or to Assad forces, who are running low on Fateh-110 missiles that were used on opposition forces, the American official told the Times.

The American official, however, said the warehouse targeted was under the control of Hezbollah and Iran's paramilitary Quds Forces.

The Fateh-110 missiles could extend Hezbollah's ability to hit targets deep inside Israel. American officials told the Times the missiles have the range to strike Tel Aviv and much of Israel from southern Lebanon.

Israel has made clear it is prepared to resort to force to prevent advanced Syrian weapons, including President Bashar Assad's reputed chemical arsenal, reaching his Hezbollah allies or Islamist rebels taking part in a more than two-year-old uprising against his government.

The attack took place after Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's security cabinet approved it in a secret meeting on Thursday night, the security source said.

CNN quoted unnamed US officials as saying Israel most likely conducted the strike "in the Thursday-Friday time frame" and its jets did not enter Syrian air space.

The Israeli Air Force has so-called "standoff" bombs that coast dozens of kilometers (miles) across ground to their targets once fired. That could, in theory, allow Israel to attack Syria from its own turf or from adjacent Lebanon.

Lebanese authorities reported unusual intensive Israeli air force activity over their territory on Thursday and Friday.

A Lebanese security source said his initial impression was that Israeli overflights were monitoring potential arms shipments between Syria and Lebanon, potentially to Hezbollah, a militant Shi'ite Muslim ally of Iran and Assad.

Syrian government sources denied having information of a strike. Bashar Ja'afari, the Syrian ambassador to the United Nations, told Reuters: "I'm not aware of any attack right now."
But Qassim Saadedine, a commander and spokesman for the rebel Free Syrian Army, said: "Our information indicates there was an Israeli strike on a convoy that was transferring missiles to Hezbollah. We have still not confirmed the location."

In January this year, Israel bombed a convoy in Syria, apparently hitting weapons destined for Hezbollah, according to diplomats, Syrian rebels and security sources in the region. Israel has not formally confirmed carrying out that strike.

Reuters, Staff


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

The Complete Benghazi Timeline in Spreadsheet Format

by Thomas Lifson

The evidence of a cover-up is becoming clear, thanks to information recently released about what happened at Benghazi. Doug Ross of Director Blue has pulled together information from  Stephen Hayes and the House Oversight Committee that leads to, in his words, "four inescapable conclusions":

a) Hillary Clinton lied under oath to Congress.
b) Barack Obama went to sleep knowing that a U.S. Ambassador and other Americans were under terrorist attack.
c) Barack Obama awoke refreshed the next day to begin fundraising.
d) The entire Executive Branch lied repeatedly to the American people to save Obama's chances for reelection.

Here's the spreadsheet:

Hat tip: Clarice Feldman

Thomas Lifson


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

Dershowitz and Tragedy

by Caroline Glick

jpost nyc 2013 panel 1-15.JPG

There are two main reasons that many leftists who are viscerally supportive of Israel have difficulty understanding and defending the Jewish state today. First, the storyline about Israel is deeply distorted.

For instance, this week, Freedom House released its annual report on press freedom around the world. Israel's ranking was reduced from "free" to "partly free."

Freedom House gave three reasons for downgrading Israel's status: the prosecution of Haaretz reporter Uri Blau for holding stolen top-secret documents; Channel 10's difficulties getting its broadcast license renewed; and the success of the Israel Hayom newspaper. As Jonathan Tobin at Commentary noted Wednesday, all of these reasons are fraudulent.

Uri Blau received thousands of top secret documents from Anat Kamm, who stole them from the office of OC Central Command at the end of her military service. The documents were not mere intelligence analyses. They were operational plans, unit information and other highly sensitive information.

Blau lied to investigators who asked him about the documents. He fled to London for months rather than speak to investigators or return the documents.

Yet because Israel prosecuted Blau for these acts - which are felonies - Freedom House decided that Israel constrains press freedom.

Then there is Channel 10. Channel 10 is a poorly managed, unsuccessful company that has gone broke. It owes NIS 110 million which it cannot pay back, including NIS 60m. to the state.

Due to its nonpayment of its debt to the state, the Knesset was set to vote down the renewal of its broadcast license - again, in accordance with the law. To protect themselves from market forces - Channel 10's failed management and staff used their bully pulpit to deflect attention away from their failure and incompetence. They accused the Knesset of trying to silence free speech. Channel 10's allies in the media and the political Left joined their anti-government bandwagon. The Knesset folded.

Channel 10's license was renewed. And its debt to taxpayers remains unpaid.

As for Israel Hayom, Freedom House alleged that the free paper's success in gaining market shares at the expense of other tabloids is part of a nefarious plot by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and his friend and Israel Hayom owner Sheldon Adelson to establish a quasi-state-controlled media. Israel Hayom is the first mass circulation Israeli newspaper not aligned with the political Left.

Freedom House's allegations against Adelson and Netanyahu and its championing of bankrupt Channel 10 are based on two guiding notions. First, non-leftist entities - the Knesset, Israel Hayom's editorial board - are inherently opposed to press freedom while the motives of leftist institutions like Haaretz and Channel 10 are as pure as the driven snow.

Second, they imply that media in Israel can only be free if not subjected to market forces or the rule of law.

Clearly both of these underlying assumptions are absurd. Yet they form the basis of Freedom House's damaging allegations against the government.

And that's the thing of it.

Over the past generation, we have been inundated by disinformation from an unlimited number of seemingly credible organizations whose aim is to discredit any development related to Israel that does not advance the positions of the Left. And due to the ubiquity of this disinformation, among wider and wider circles today the belief has taken hold that there is something fundamentally illegitimate about non-leftist Israelis and non-leftist supporters of Israel.

Since most Israelis are not leftist, and since the most outspoken supporters of Israel are not leftists, there is a widening belief - particularly among liberals - that Israelis, Israeli institutions and Israel's supporters are illegitimate.

This brings us to the second reason that it has become so difficult for Americans - and particularly liberal American Jews - who viscerally support Israel, to defend or even understand the Jewish state today.

There is a Western tendency, most pronounced on the anti-colonialist Left, to ignore the nature of the Islamic world generally and the Palestinians in particular, and concentrate their attention on Israel alone.

Case in point is Harvard Law Prof. Alan Dershowitz.

Dershowitz is rightly considered one of Israel's most outspoken defenders in the US. But like his fellow leftist ideologues, Dershowitz apparently does not think that it is important to focus on the nature of things in the Islamic world. Rather than notice current realities, he places his faith in his power to shape the future through his intellect and his willingness to compromise.

In an interview with New York Jewish Week following his participation at Sunday's Jerusalem Post's conference in New York, Dershowitz said he was astonished by both my remarks on Iran and the audience's response to my remarks.

He told the paper, "She said, 'Bombs away,' and they gave her a standing ovation."

One of the things that distinguish the Post's readers from most other news consumers is that our readers have educated themselves in the realities of Israel and the region and pay attention to those realities.

As a consequence, they are less affected by anti-Israel propaganda presented as human rights reports than the vast majority of news consumers in the US.

When I addressed the conference, I said I would limit my discussion of Iran to two words, "Bombs away." I said that because like the Post's readers, I base my analysis of Iran's nuclear weapons program on the nature of the Iranian regime.

The Iranian regime is a totalitarian regime. It has an uninterrupted record of torturing and massacring its citizens. It has threatened to annihilate Israel. It is the largest state sponsor of terrorism in the world.

Economic sanctions are only viable against regimes that care about serving their citizenry. A regime that represses its citizens is not going to be moved from its strategic course by international sanctions that embitter the lives of its citizens. Since the Iranian regime does not care about its citizens, it cannot be diverted from its plans to acquire nuclear weapons through economic sanctions, no matter how harsh.

As for reaching an agreement with the Iranian regime that would induce it to end its nuclear weapons program, this aspiration is similarly based on a denial of the nature of the regime. The first act of the regime was to reject the foundations of the international system. The Iranian takeover of the US Embassy in 1979 was not merely an act of war against America. It was a declaration of war against the international legal system. Since then, nothing the Iranian regime has done, including emerging as the largest state sponsor of terrorism in the world, has brought it closer to accepting the norms of behavior expected from a member of the family of nations. As a consequence, the notion that this regime would honor any nuclear agreement it may sign with the US or any other international party is ridiculous.

Since traditional forms of statecraft that do not involve the use of force are not viable options for statecraft involving Iran, the only viable option for preventing Iran - particularly at this late stage - from becoming a nuclear power is force. If Israel is serious when it says that a nuclear-armed Iran is an existential threat to the Jewish state then Israel must attack Iran's nuclear installations.

Because the Post's readers are informed about the nature of the Iranian regime, they appreciated the message I telegraphed in saying "Bombs away." 

But Dershowitz was astonished.

Jewish Week asked Dershowitz about the Jerusalem Post conference because during a panel discussion he and I participated in about the Palestinian conflict with Israel, he angrily attacked the audience for laughing at his plan for renewing negotiations between Israel and the PLO and I angrily rebuked him for doing so.

Dershowitz told the audience that he had presented a plan to Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas that involved Israel abrogating Jewish property rights in select areas of Judea and Samaria through a so-called settlement freeze. In exchange, the Palestinians would agree to suspend their efforts to delegitimize and criminalize Israel at the UN and the International Criminal Court.

In other words, Dershowitz put forth a plan - which he said Abbas responded positively to - that would require Israel to take a step not required by the agreements it already negotiated with the PLO. And in exchange, the Palestinians would temporarily suspend actions they are taking in material breach of the agreements they signed with Israel.

By advocating this "bargain," Dershowitz revealed that his conception of the Palestinians is based on willful blindness to their nature that equals his apparent blindness to the nature of the Iranian regime.

Last Saturday, Abbas gave a speech in which he said that Israel's commitment to the peace process will be measured by its willingness to release Palestinian terrorists from its jails. Last month, Abbas sent his representative to visit the families of jailed Palestinian mass murderers to express his solidarity with them and his admiration for their sons' crimes.

As Aaron Lerner from IMRA pointed out earlier this week, by insisting that all Palestinian terrorists be freed from Israeli prisons, Abbas is saying that there is nothing criminal or wrong about murdering or attempting to murder Israelis. This position alone discredits him as a peace partner.

Abbas's steadfast refusal to recognize Israel's right to exist, and his unceasing political warfare against Israel - in breach of signed agreements between Israel and the PLO - are just further proof that he is not a credible partner for peace.

Then there is the nature of the Palestinian people themselves. Unlike the Iranians, who desperately wish to overthrow their regime, according the results of a new Pew survey of the Arab world, Palestinians want more tyranny.

To the extent they oppose their regime, they do so because it is too open. Among other things, 87 percent of Palestinians say a wife must always obey her husband; 89% want to be ruled by Islamic law, and 62% support the death penalty for leaving Islam.

More Palestinians support terrorism against civilians than do citizens in any other Muslim society polled.

Post readers are apparently as familiar with the nature of Palestinians society as they are with the nature of the Iranian regime. And this is why they laughed at Dershowitz's plan for restarting negotiations.

Angered at the audience's response, Dershowitz lashed out against it. He said the thousand people in the hall were irrelevant, that no one listens to them, and that it is good that no one listens to them.

Dershowitz is rightly respected by Zionists across the political spectrum for his willingness to defend Israel against its detractors. And this makes his contemptuous treatment of an audience of its supporters at the conference more tragic than infuriating.

It is the tragedy of our times that basically decent liberals like Dershowitz dismiss as marginal those who base their assessments of Israel and the Middle East on reality, rather than on policy paradigms that are the stuff of negotiations textbooks at Harvard.

It is the tragedy of our times because the people he holds in greatest contempt are the people who have been right about Israel, and about Iran and the Palestinians, time after time after time.

Originally published in the Jerusalem Post. 

Caroline Glick


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

Unravelling the Boston Terror Plot

by Arnold Ahlert


On Wednesday, criminal complaints were filed against three college friends of alleged Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. Two Kazakh nationals, Azamat Tazhayakov and Dias Kadyrbayev, were charged with conspiring to obstruct justice, and U.S. citizen Robel Phillipos was charged with making false statements. Tazhayakov and Kadyrbayev declined to seek bail and will remain in custody until a hearing on May 14. Phillipos will be held until a detention hearing next Monday. The trio claim at the moment that they abetted Tsarnaev’s jihadist attack only to help him evade capture, however, their account of events raises questions about their level of involvement and knowledge of Tsarnaev’s radicalism. Meanwhile, the left’s fervent hope that the attack was the product of “self-radicalized” terrorists becomes more tenuous by the day as such details emerge.

So far there is limited background information on the three men, and some of the information available is contradictory. Along with Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, all them began their college careers at University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth in 2011. Kadyrbayev and Tazhayakov have been identified as Muslims, and, like the Boston Marathon bombers, Kadyrbayev at least described his “worldview” as “Islam” on social media sites.

CNN reports that Tazhayakov came to the U.S. from Kazakhstan courtesy of a student visa. According to the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth, he is currently enrolled but has been suspended pending the outcome of this case. However, CBS News reports that Tazhayakov’s student visa was invalid, and that U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) was unaware that the student was no longer in school when he was let back into the United States, according to a federal law enforcement official speaking on condition of anonymity. Tazhayakov left the U.S. in December and returned on January 20. According to the same official, his student-visa status was terminated in the interim because he had been academically dismissed from the university. The official further noted that Tazhayakov’s information was contained in the Homeland Security Department’s Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS), when Tazhayakov returned to the country.

In another example of the brokenness of the DHS monitoring system in relation to the Boston Marathon bombing, department spokesman Peter Boogaard admitted that when Tazhayakov returned, CBP was unaware his visa had expired. Boogaard claimed DHS had recently reformed the system to ensure CBP would have all relevant information, before amending that statement, saying reform was “ongoing.” When questions about his immigration status came up in the hearing on Wednesday, Tazhayakov’s lawyer, Harlan Protass, said he had reenrolled at the college with a different major. Students have 30 days to repair their enrollment status–but only if they are already in the U.S. Thus, it appears there has been another security lapse in this case.

Dias Kadyrbayev, who shares an apartment with Tazhayakov, is also a Kazakh national and was taken into custody April 20 on the suspicion he had likewise violated the terms of his student visa, according to his lawyer, Robert Stahl. Stahl said that Kadyrbayev had been accused of a “technical” visa violation for not attending classes on a regular basis and that he is not currently enrolled in college. Kadyrbayev’s father, Murat, told a TV news station in Kazakhstan that his son ”missed a couple, or maybe several classes,” but that he finished school “with excellent grades.” Meanwhile, Robel Phillipos, the third arrestee in relation to the jihad attack, is not currently enrolled at the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth. Like Tsarnaev, he attended the Cambridge Rindge and Latin School in Cambridge, Massachusetts during his high school years.

The three arrestees’ story of how they came to the decision to destroy evidence of the plot and help Tsarnaev evade authorities is full of curiosities. According to court papers recounting the men’s claims, the beginning of this saga occurred a month ago when Dzhokhar Tsarnaev told Tazhayakov and Kadyrbayev he “knew how to make a bomb.” Kadyrbayev last saw Tsarnaev two days after the bombing and noticed the alleged terrorist has cut his hair short. They had a brief conversation outside the dorm. When the FBI released pictures of the suspects 24 hours later, two of the three men thought one of the men looked like Dzhokhar. Kadyrbayev texted Dzhokhar saying so, and received several texts in return, including, “lol,” “you better not text me” and “come to my room and take whatever you want,” according to court papers.

The three men then met at Tsarnaev’s dorm room where they learned Dzhokhar was not around. They were let in by his roommate and claimed they watched a movie. After the movie, they said they found Dzhokhar’s backpack which was full of empty fireworks and decided to take it, along with a laptop computer so as not to arouse the roommate’s suspicions about the backpack. According to Phillipos, they began to “freak out” when they realized Tsarnaev was one of the bombing suspects. Kadyrbayev claimed they then ” collectively decided to throw the backpack and fireworks into the trash because they did not want Tsarnaev to get in trouble,” according to the complaint. Kadyrbayeva allegedly put the items in a garbage bag and tossed it in a dumpster near his apartment.

There is a key discrepancy in the defendants’ statements regarding the time they dumped the evidence. It either happened the night of April 18, before Tsarnaev was formally identified as a suspect, or the morning after, which would poke a serious hole in their claims that they didn’t know the backpack and fireworks could be used as evidence in the case. Adding to the intrigue, Reuters is reporting that the trio “may have thrown away a knapsack at Tsarnaev’s request, a law enforcement source said.” These details, along with the men’s swift assumptions and actions immediately following the bombing, raise questions about their prior knowledge of the attack and familiarity with Tsarnaev’s jihadist proclivities. Were the men privy to discussions of a plot and anticipated the terrorist attack? Were they sympathetic to Tsarnaev’s jihadist turn and abetted his crime for this reason? Were they concerned they could be linked to the bombing by the computer that they disposed of (allegedly to “save their friend”)? Did they in fact play a greater role in the atrocity than they claim?

The lawyers for the two Kazakh nationals insist their clients are innocent. Protass insisted that Tazhayakov “has cooperated fully with the authorities and looks forward to the truth coming out in this case.” Stahl insisted that Kadyrbayev ”absolutely denies” allegations of a coverup, was “shocked and horrified” by the bombing, and, incredibly, that he told investigators about getting rid of the items from the dorm room but “did not know those items were involved in a bombing.”

The garbage bag was recovered by law enforcement on April 26. It contained the backpack and fireworks, along with a jar of Vaseline, and some of Tsarnaev’s college homework. On Thursday, it was reported by CBS News that the computer had been recovered as well. It may turn out to be the most critical piece of evidence in the case, according to experts, who note that it may contain more evidence than Tsarnaev himself is capable of giving them. Digital forensics expert Jared Stern was brimming with confidence. ”From the radicalization point to the operational inception to its execution–anyone that contributed in any way may as well call the FBI now because they’re on their way,” he said.

The arrest of Tsarnaev’s cohorts, along with their suspicious behavior following the marathon bombing, throws yet another wrench in the left’s narrative that the Chechen jihadists acted alone. Numerous other revelations have emerged that raise more questions about the scope on this atrocity. A few days ago, FBI agents visited the Rhode Island home of Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s in-laws, where his widow, Katherine Russell, and her 3-year-old daughter are staying. They emerged carrying several bags. The same day, female DNA and fingerprints were found on the components of the bombs used in the attack. The FBI took a sample of Katherine Russell’s DNA, even as they later revealed that they want to find out what Tamerlan discussed with his wife in a phone call that occurred a few hours after the agency released photos of him and his brother as suspects in the attack.

Russell’s attorney, Amato DeLuca, released a written statement Wednesday saying his client “will continue to meet with law enforcement, as she has done for many hours over the past week, and provide as much assistance to the investigation as she can.” Yet according to a report released by the New York Times late yesterday afternoon, Russell has stopped cooperating with authorities. Furthermore, her DNA and fingerprints do not match those found on the bomb, indicating still another individual is possibly connected to the attack. It has now come to light that the bombers’ mother, Zubeidat Tsarnaeva, was also on a terrorist watch list and was recorded discussing jihad with the plot mastermind, Tamerlan. She is a known Islamic extremist and appears to have helped radicalize her sons. Her stunning cries of “Allahu Akbar” during a recent CNN interview and tearless media tirades upbraiding America leave little wonder as to why she is now considered a person of interest in the case by the FBI.

The parameters of the Russian connections to this case are expanding as well. Tamerlan was put under surveillance by the Russians during his six-month trip to Dagestan last year because of his possible connection to a Canadian jihadist named William Plotnikov, who was killed in a shootout with Russia’s counterterrorism forces in the region while Tamerlan was there. After Plotnikov’s death, Tamerlan was apparently in such a hurry to leave he never bothered to get his Russian passport — which is why his parents claim he made the trip. And while there is currently no evidence showing the two men met, independent Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta claims Russia’s FSB security service was interested in Tsarnaev because of his connection to Plotnikov. Citing Russian security forces, the paper also reported that Tsarnaev met several times with suspected Islamist Mahmud Mansur Nidal, an 18-year-old who was also killed in a shootout with Russian police two months before Tsarnaev returned to Boston. Those meetings reportedly prompted FSB to request further communications with U.S. law enforcement officials.

That was Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s second visit to the region. Two years ago, he drew the attention of Russian security forces for attending a Salaafist mosque that has been a den for terror suspects killed in shootouts with Russian counterterrorism officials. Tsarnaev’s frequents visits to the mosque elicited the FSB’s 2011 warning to the FBI about Tamerlan’s potential radicalization. The Russians also provided the FBI with the wiretapped conversations between Tamerlan and his mother, whom Russia was monitoring. The Russians also provided the FBI with a conversation between Tsarnaeva and an unnamed man in the Russian Caucasus under FBI investigation in an unrelated case.

Also late yesterday afternoon, in another of the many revelations the administration has been releasing in a seemingly calculated manner, it was reported that the brothers had considered striking on the Fourth of July, but finished building their bombs faster than expected. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev also revealed that he and his brother had watched Internet sermons made by Anwar al-Awlaki, the radical America cleric killed by a drone strike in Yemen in 2012.

What makes the aforementioned release seem calculated is that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev gave the FBI this information back on April 21, before he was Mirandized. Given the Obama administration’s penchant for “shaping a narrative,” much like what occurred when they attempted to blame Benghazi on an Internet video, it is quite possible this represents an attempt to convince a largely inattentive public that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s cooperation is ongoing. That is simply not the case. Nor does it seem to be the case that Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev are the “self-radicalized” terrorists the president wishes they were, even as he has yet to mention the Islamic jihadist motivation that drove them to commit their atrocity. At the very least it seems that Tamerlan’s pipeline to the Chechen Islamist terrorist movement influenced his actions and, possibly, materially supported the attack. The elaborateness of the plot, potentially involving the bombers’ arrested Muslim friends, we will know soon enough.

Arnold Ahlert


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

Boston jihadi murderer's wife had al-Qaeda magazine and other jihad material on her computer

by Robert Spencer

They built the bomb largely according to the specifications in the al-Qaeda magazine. "Investigators sharpen focus on Boston bombing suspect’s widow," by Sari Horwitz for the Washington Post, May 3 (thanks to Axel):
Federal law enforcement officials are sharpening their focus on the widow of the dead suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings after finding al-Qaeda’s Inspire magazine and other radical Islamist material on her computer, according to law enforcement officials. The probe of the computer belonging to Katherine Russell, 24, the widow of Tamerlan Tsarnaev, is part of the effort by investigators to determine whether Russell knew anything about the April 15 bombing plot or helped the Tsarnaev brothers hide from authorities, according to the officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the ongoing investigation.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, the surviving suspect, has told investigators that he and his brother learned to build the pressure-cooker bombs from English-language Inspire magazine, and that they were partly influenced by the online sermons of Anwar al-Awlaki, the al-Qaeda propagandist who was killed in a drone strike in Yemen in 2011.
According to officials, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev also told investigators that he and his brother built the bombs in Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s Cambridge apartment, where the elder brother lived with Russell and their daughter. Officials said that Russell called her husband when she saw his photograph on television — following the FBI’s release of the pictures of the suspects — but did not notify authorities.
One of the key questions for investigators is whether the radical Islamist materials on Russell’s computer belonged to her or were downloaded by her husband or someone else....
In another development, federal agents, state troopers and local law enforcement officers scoured a wooded area near Dartmouth, Mass., where Dzhokhar Tsarnaev attended college. Investigators are looking for possible evidence that might indicate the brothers tested explosives there, according to a law enforcement official. Residents in the vicinity had reported hearing loud noises coming from the woods on March 30....
On Monday, FBI special agents spent about 90 minutes inside the North Kingstown, R.I., home of Russell’s parents. The agents left with bags of material and a sample of Russell’s DNA.
Two law enforcement officials said that investigators found fingerprints and female DNA on fragments of the pressure-cooker bombs that exploded at the marathon. The DNA could have come from a woman who helped the suspects make the bombs or from a person who handled the materials at a store where the suspects bought them, said the officials. The DNA may have also come from someone in the crowd at the marathon, one of the officials said.
Law enforcement officials said several “persons of interest” in the United States and Russia are being investigated in connection with the brothers. One of the primary focuses remains the seven months that Tamerlan Tsarnaev spent in strife-torn regions of southern Russia in 2012.
During 16 hours of questioning in the hospital by the FBI, the younger Tsarnaev told agents that he and his brother initially considered carrying out suicide bombings and executing their plot on the Fourth of July at Boston’s large celebration along the Charles River, two law enforcement officials said.
But Tsarnaev said that he and his brother decided to launch their attack earlier because they were able to assemble the bombs in three or four days, more quickly than they had expected, according to two law enforcement officials.
Officials have expressed some skepticism about Tsarnaev’s account, saying that the complexity of the bombs makes it unlikely that the brothers could have completed assembling them as fast as he claimed.
According to a government document obtained by NBC News, a detailed analysis of the bombs used at the Boston Marathon — and the pipe bombs allegedly thrown at police from the Tsarnaevs’ car during a gunfight four days later — show striking similarities to instructions from Inspire magazine.
The report from the Terrorist Explosive Device Analytical Center (TEDAC) said that the design of the pressure cooker bombs and the pipe bombs resembled the instructions provided in an article in the first issue of Inspire headlined “Make a Bomb in the Kitchen of Your Mom.”...

Robert Spencer


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