January 30, 2009

Chief Rabbinate of Israel cuts ties with Vatican over pardon of Holocaust denier until apology is made

Vatican's position clarified. Survivor Eli Wiesel also comes out against pontiff's pardon of known Holocaust denying bishop, says slight may even have been 'intentional.' Pope reaffirms 'solidarity' with Jewish people

The chief Rabbinate of Israel sent a letter to the Vatican saying that dialogue with Catholics could not continue as before "without a public apology from Bishop Williamson and recanting his deplorable statements".

The Rabbinate said it would not attend a meeting scheduled for March "until this matter is clarified".

Chief Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said he hoped the pope's words at the audience would be "sufficient to respond to the doubts expressed about the position of the pope and the Catholic Church" on the Holocaust.

Lombardi said he hoped the Israeli Rabbinate would now rethink its position and continue "fruitful and serene dialogue".

British-born Richard Williamson, one of four traditionalist bishops whose excommunications were lifted on Saturday, has made several statements denying the full extent of the Holocaust of European Jews, as accepted by mainstream historians.

Williamson told Swedish television: "I believe there were no gas chambers" and only up to 300,000 Jews perished in Nazi concentration camps, instead of 6 million. His comments caused an uproar among Jewish leaders and progressive Catholics, many of whom said it had cast a dark shadow over 50 years of Christian-Jewish dialogue.

Pope Benedict has given credence to "the most vulgar aspect of anti-Semitism" by rehabilitating a Holocaust-denying bishop, said Elie Wiesel, the death camp survivor, author and Nobel Peace Prize winner.

In an exclusive interview with Reuters, Wiesel also said there was no way the Vatican could have not known about the bishop's past and it may have been done "intentionally".

"What does the pope think we feel when he did that? That a man who is a bishop and Holocaust denier - and today of course the most vulgar aspect of anti-Semitism is Holocaust denial - and for the pope to go that far and do what he did, knowing what he knows, is disturbing," Wiesel said by phone from New York.

"The result of this move is very simple: to give credence to a man who is a Holocaust denier, which means that the sensitivity to us as Jews is not what it should be," he said late on Tuesday.

"It's a pity because Jewish-Catholic relations, thanks to John XXIII and John Paul II, had never been as good, never in history," Wiesel said, referring to the popes who revolutionized relations with Jews after 2,000 years of persecution and mistrust.

Vatican 'had to know'

Asked if he believed it was possible that the Vatican did not know that Williamson was a Holocaust denier, Wiesel, who won the Nobel in 1986 and survived Auschwitz and Buchenwald, said, "Oh no! The Church knows what it does, especially on that level for the pope to readmit this man, they know what they are doing. They know what they are doing and they did it intentionally. What the intention was, I don't know."

Since the fury over the pope's decision to lift the excommunication, the Vatican has condemned Williamson's comments as "grave, upsetting (and) unacceptable", restating the Church's -- and Benedict's -- teachings against anti-Semitism.

Wiesel said he could not offer the Vatican any advice on how to put things right with Jews but something had to be done.

On Tuesday, Williamson's superior in the traditionalist movement publicly apologised to the pope and said William had been disciplined and ordered to remain silent on political or historical issues.

Pope Benedict on Wednesday reaffirmed his "full and unquestionable solidarity with Jews" in an attempt to relieve tensions with Jews after a Catholic bishop denied the Holocaust.

Speaking at his Wednesday audience, the pope said the attempt to exterminate the Jews in the Holocaust should remain a warning for all people

2009 - Floriano Abrahamowicz ( A Schmuck) Gas chambers were for disinfection

Proof that Insane "people" still roam this Earth!!!

Conservative Italian priest compares Holocaust to other genocides like 'that committed in Gaza' - YnetNews

Conservative Catholic priest Floriano Abrahamowicz said Thursday that "the only thing certain" about the gas chambers "was that they were used for disinfection."
Another priest who denied the Holocaust altogether was rehabilitated by the pope.

Abrahamowicz, of Treviso in northern Italy, was quoted by the Tribuna di Treviso on Thursday in a report that received worldwide coverage due to the pope's recent rehabilitation of a bishop who denied the Holocaust, sparking a battle between the Vatican and the Chief Rabbinate of Israel.

Abrahamowicz is a traditionalist like British-born Richard Williamson, whose excommunication was lifted by Pope Benedict on Saturday along with three other bishops after 20 years of exile.

The Treviso priest said he could not say for sure that people were murdered in the gas chambers because he had not investigated the claim.

He said he did not doubt six million Jews were killed in the Holocaust, but compared the Nazi murder of the Jews to "other genocides" that did not receive similar publicity, including Israel's military offensive in the Gaza Strip and the allies' bombing of German cities during WWII.

"The Israelis cannot say that the genocide they suffered at the hands of the Nazis was graver than that occurring in Gaza just because they killed several thousand people while the Nazis killed six million,"

Abrahamowicz was quoted as saying.

He denied that he and other conservatives were anti-Semites, and stressed that his father was a Jew. However he described the Jewish people as slayers of God, and called on the Jews to "adopt our lord Jesus".

I am a Zionist

By Yair Lapid - Ynet / Israel Opinion

I am a Zionist.

I believe that the Jewish people established itself in the Land of Israel, albeit somewhat late. Had it listened to the alarm clock, there would have been no Holocaust, and my dead grandfather – the one I was named after – would have been able to dance a last waltz with grandma on the shores of the Yarkon River.

I am a Zionist.

Hebrew is the language I use to thank the Creator, and also to swear on the road. The Bible does not only contain my history, but also my geography. King Saul went to look for mules on what is today Highway 443, Jonah the Prophet boarded his ship not too far from what is today a Jaffa restaurant, and the balcony where David peeped on Bathsheba must have been bought by some oligarch by now.

I am a Zionist.

The first time I saw my son wearing an IDF uniform I burst into tears, I haven't missed the Independence Day torch-lighting ceremony for 20 years now, and my television was made in Korea, but I taught it to cheer for our national soccer team.

I am a Zionist.

I believe in our right for this land. The people who were persecuted for no reason throughout history have a right to a state of their own plus a free F-16 from the manufacturer. Every display of anti-Semitism from London to Mumbai hurts me, yet deep inside I'm thinking that Jews who choose to live abroad fail to understand something very basic about this world. The State of Israel was not established so that the anti-Semites will disappear, but rather, so we can tell them to get lost.

I am a Zionist.

I was fired at in Lebanon, a Katyusha rockets missed me by a few feet in Kiryat Shmona, missiles landed near my home during the first Gulf War, I was in Sderot when the Color Red anti-rocket alert system was activated, terrorists blew themselves up not too far from my parents' house, and my children stayed in a bomb shelter before they even knew how to pronounce their own name, clinging to a grandmother who arrived here from Poland to escape death. Yet nonetheless, I always felt fortunate to be living here, and I don't really feel good anywhere else.

I am a Zionist.

I think that anyone who lives here should serve in the army, pay taxes, vote in the elections, and be familiar with the lyrics of at least one Shalom Hanoch song. I think that the State of Israel is not only a place, it is also an idea, and I wholeheartedly believe in the three extra commandments engraved on the wall of the Holocaust museum in Washington: "Thou shalt not be a victim, thou shalt not be a perpetrator, but above all, thou shalt not be a bystander."

I am a Zionist.

I already laid down on my back to admire the Sistine Chapel, I bought a postcard at the Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris, and I was deeply impressed by the emerald Buddha at the king's palace in Bangkok. Yet I still believe that Tel Aviv is more entertaining, the Red Sea is greener, and the Western Wall Tunnels provide for a much more powerful spiritual experience. It is true that I'm not objective, but I'm also not objective in respect to my wife and children.

I am a Zionist.

I am a man of tomorrow but I also live my past. My dynasty includes Moses, Jesus, Maimonides, Sigmund Freud, Karl Marx, Albert Einstein, Woody Allen, Bobby Fischer, Bob Dylan, Franz Kafka, Herzl, and Ben-Gurion. I am part of a tiny persecuted minority that influenced the world more than any other nation. While others invested their energies in war, we had the sense to invest in our minds.

I am a Zionist.

I sometimes look around me and become filled with pride, because I live better than a billion Indians, 1.3 billion Chinese, the entire African continent, more than 250 million Indonesians, and also better than the Thais, the Filipinos, the Russians, the Ukrainians, and the entire Muslim world, with the exception of the Sultan of Brunei. I live in a country under siege that has no natural resources, yet nonetheless the traffic lights always work and we have high-speed connection to the Internet.

I am a Zionist.

My Zionism is natural, just like it is natural for me to be a father, a husband, and a son. People who claim that they, and only they, represent the "real Zionism" are ridiculous in my view. My Zionism is not measured by the size of my kippa, by the neighborhood where I live, or by the party I will be voting for. It was born a long time before me, on a snowy street in the ghetto in Budapest where my father stood and attempted, in vain, to understand why the entire world is trying to kill him.

I am a Zionist.

Every time an innocent victim dies, I bow my head because once upon a time I was an innocent victim. I have no desire or intention to adopt the moral standards of my enemies. I do not want to be like them. I do not live on my sword; I merely keep it under my pillow.

I am a Zionist.

I do not only hold on to the rights of our forefathers, but also to the duty of the sons. The people who established this state lived and worked under much worse conditions than I have to face, yet nonetheless they did not make do with mere survival. They also attempted to establish a better, wiser, more humane, and more moral state here. They were willing to die for this cause, and I try to live for its sake.

Why Vote Likud?

It is entirely possible that the two National Religious parties – the rejuvenated NRP and the rejuvenated National Union – will not garner enough votes to get into the next Knesset. That eventuality will be the best thing that has happened to Religious Zionism in the past years.

Allow me to explain. When I found out that I had been elected to the 20th place on the Likud list, I was a bit disappointed. All the polls and the positive feedback pointed to a much higher placement. But it turned out that the technical obstacles intentionally wrought upon the voting stations in which I had strong backing together with the healthily funded campaign claiming that "Feiglin will cost the Likud six mandates" took their toll. The very fact that we overcame all the attempts to block me and that I nevertheless was elected to a realistic place on the Likud list created a genuine revolution of consciousness in the faith based public. When I heard "hilltop youth" who would never have considered voting in the elections saying that they would of course vote Likud, I understood the depth of our achievement.

"On that night, I felt that this country also belongs to me," a resident of Kedumim told me. The self-imposed wall that had separated the public that is first to fight for this country from the political and sociological tools with which it could direct it had been broken on the night of the primaries. The result: the faith based public streamed to the Likud. Instead of losing six mandates as the campaign against me had threatened, the Likud steadily climbed in the polls, reaching 40 mandates.

The political significance of the new consciousness was tremendous. At that point, when the faith based public felt that the Likud was its ideological home, it was clear that it would register for the Likud and vote Likud and that no Likud MK would even dream of betraying the values of the national camp. We can even say that on the night of the primaries, the Oslo concept was buried and Israel started out on the long road to national recovery. And it was all because a substantial part of the national camp had dared to abandon its sector-consciousness and join up with the rest of the nation in the Likud.

Afterwards, Netanyahu managed to bump me down to 36th place and in doing so, re-erected the consciousness wall. "Don't let Netanyahu force you back into the sector," I begged the newly liberated faith based voters. "Stay in the Likud." But it didn't help. The new consciousness of belonging created on the night of the primaries evaporated into nothingness. The Likud took a plunge in the polls and the public that is the only hope for the State of Israel once again returned to its sector-shtetl.

"How do you expect me to vote for Bibi?" the faith based people ask me. They don't understand that a vote for the Likud is not a vote for Bibi. A vote for the Likud means that the voter has joined the earthly arena on which the fate of the State of Israel is determined. If you register and vote for the Likud, you have bought a ticket to participate in the game and not just to watch it. "It's your fault," I always tell the people who ask how they can vote for Bibi. "You are not even in the party. So what do you want from Bibi?"

After I was bumped down to thirty sixth place on the Likud list, Professor Aryeh Eldad took advantage of a media interview to offer me the top position in his party. It was a most generous political proposal. The National Union party under the leadership of Ketzaleh had not yet re-formed, the Jewish Home party had crumbled and the chance to gather the majority of nationalist voters plus Russian speakers plus the general hard core Right into a new "Faith Revival Party" looked good. In my estimation, it could have won eight Knesset mandates.

But if I would have accepted Eldad's generous offer, I would have effectively betrayed all the people to whom I have turned for support since I established Zo Artzeinu. Because accepting this proposal would mean extracting every last drop of potential out of our sector – and closing the door on the rest of Israel's voters. Avigdor Lieberman, the head of the Yisrael Beiteinu party will likely never be prime minister because that is precisely what he does. He capitalizes on the sector-based power of the Russian voters – plus a bit more. Effie Eitam attempted to do the same thing and we see where he is today. So I declined Eldad's offer. It may mean that I will remain outside the Knesset in this round. But the track steering the faith based public to leadership of this country will remain wide open.

It will be best for the faith based public if the two national religious parties do not get into the Knesset. In that case, the public on the front lines in battle will have no political choice. It will simply have to join the Likud and save Israel.

Muslim Autonomous Zones in the West?

by Daniel Pipes

In "Europe's Stark Options," I considered the future of the Muslim-European encounter and conclude there are three possible futures, "harmonious integration, the expulsion of Muslims, or an Islamic takeover." I then dismissed the first as unrealistic and stated that it is too early to predict which of the latter two unattractive possibilities will come to pass.

A reader, Chris Slater of Upper Hutt, New Zealand, writes me to predict a fourth outcome as most likely: "larger existing Muslim areas will re-create themselves into independent national entities" and "by the middle of the twenty-first century nearly all western European countries will be riven by the creation of Islamic city states within their borders. For the sake of brevity they will be referred to as ‘microstates,' that is, autonomous conurbations defined by the Islamic beliefs of their citizens."

Slater foresees boundaries being formed "around existing Muslim centres of population, initially in France, Netherlands, Sweden and Denmark, followed rapidly by Britain, Norway, Austria, Germany, Switzerland and Spain. Dates for eastern European states, particularly Orthodox, may be more difficult to predict, although Russia, with 15 percent of its 143 million people professing Islam, may well lead many western European countries in having an independent Islamic state. By the end of this century this process will affect every non-Islamic state throughout the world."

These microstates will enjoy a "monopoly on legitimate violence," impose their own autonomous legal order, and form alliances among themselves. They will feature such Shar‘i customs as polygyny, no-interest finance, huddud punishments, Islamic ways of dress, family "honor" codes, bans on criticism of Islam, and so on. Arabic and the dominant immigrant vernacular will enjoy more currency than the host country's language. Street names will be changed, statues removed, churches and synagogues converted to mosques.

Slater sees this outcome this as "the only way to avoid the destruction of both the national cultures and, indeed, European civilization from total domination by the cultures of Muslim immigrants."

Comments: (1) I prefer "Muslim autonomous zones" to "Muslim microstates."

(2) It's a plausible vision but I think the tensions between these microstates and the larger, Christian-origin polities will lead to the same two outcomes I have predicted, the expulsion of Muslims or a Muslim takeover. The microstate option implies a certain statis and stability but I expect things to remain dynamic: the Islamic polities will either grow and dominate or they will shrink and disappear. Perhaps some will dominate and others disappear. I cannot envisage a stable order along the lines Slater sketches out. Indeed, Slater's point about this arrangement providing the only way to avoid the destruction of European civilization tacitly acknowledges the inherent tensions: either old-stock Europeans will manage to hold their own or they will succumb. A compromise, middle way strikes me as highly unlikely.

(3) That said, this scenario of Muslim autonomous zones has no less likelihood than that of harmonious integration, so if that is listed, so should this one. (January 12, 2009)

The double standard against Israel.

by Alan M. Dershowitz

Every time Israel seeks to defend its civilians against terrorist attacks, it is accused of war crimes by various United Nations agencies, hard left academics and some in the media. It is a totally phony charge concocted as part of Hamas' strategy -- supported by many on the hard left -- to delegitimate and demonize the Jewish state. Israel is the only democracy in the world ever accused of war crimes when it fights a defensive war to protect its civilians.

This is remarkable, especially in light of the fact that Israel has killed far fewer civilians than any other country in the world that has faced comparable threats. In the most recent war in Gaza fewer than a thousand civilians -- even by Hamas' skewed count -- have been killed. This, despite the fact that no one can now deny that Hamas had employed a deliberate policy of using children, schools, mosques, apartment buildings and other civilian areas as shields from behind which to launch its deadly anti-personnel rockets. The Israeli Air Force has produced unchallengeable video evidence of this Hamas war crime.

Just to take one comparison, consider the recent wars waged by Russia against Chechnya. In these wars Russian troops have killed tens of thousands of Chechnyan civilians, some of them willfully, at close range and in cold blood. Yet those radical academics who scream bloody murder against Israel (particularly in England) have never called for war crime tribunals to be convened against Russia. Nor have they called for war crime charges to be filed against any other of the many countries that routinely kill civilians, not in an effort to stop enemy terrorists, but just because it is part of their policy.

Nor did we see the Nuremburg-type rallies that were directed against Israel when hundreds of thousands of civilians were being murdered in Rwanda, in Darfur and in other parts of the world. These bigoted hate-fests are reserved for Israel.

The accusation of war crimes is nothing more than a tactic selectively invoked by Israel's enemies. Those who cry "war crime" against Israel don't generally care about war crimes, as such, indeed they often support them when engaged in by countries they like. What these people care about, and all they seem to care about, is Israel. Whatever Israel does is wrong regardless of the fact that so many other countries do worse.

When I raised this concern in a recent debate, my opponent accused me of changing the subject. He said we are talking about Israel now, not Chechnya or Darfur. This reminded me of a famous exchange between Harvard's racist president, Abbott Lawrence Lowell, and the great American judge Leonard Hand. Lowell announced that he wanted to reduce the number of Jews at Harvard, because, "Jews cheat." Judge Hand replied that "Christians also cheat." Lowell responded, "You're changing the subject. We are talking about Jews."

Well, you can't just talk about Jews. Nor can you just talk about the Jewish state. Any discussion of war crimes must be comparative and contextual. If Russia did not commit war crimes when its soldiers massacred tens of thousands of Chechnyans (not even in a defensive war) then on what basis could Israel be accused of accidentally killing a far fewer number of human shields in an effort to protect its civilians? What are the standards? Why are they not being applied equally or selectively? Can human rights endure in the face of such unequal and selective application? These are the questions the international community should be debating, not whether Israel, and Israel alone, violated the norms of that vaguest of notions called "international law" or the "law of war."

If Israel, and Israel alone among democracies fighting defensive wars, were ever to be charged with "war crimes," that would mark the end of international human rights law as a neutral arbitrator of conduct. Any international tribunal that were to charge Israel, having not charged the many nations that have done far worse, will lose any remaining legitimacy among fair-minded people of good will,

If the laws of war in particular, and international human rights in general, are to endure, they must be applied to nations in order of the seriousness of the violations, not in order of the political unpopularity of the nations. If the law of war were applied in this manner, Israel would be among the last, and certainly not the first, charged.

This article originally appeared on the Huffington Post

This article can also be read at: "http://www.aish.com/jewishissues/middleeast/The_Phony_War_Crimes_Accusation.asp"

January 29, 2009

The Handwriting on the Wall

By Brigitte Gabriel

During this first month of the New Year 2009, we have seen some stunning developments that, considered together, should leave absolutely no doubt about the rising radical Islamic threat on our doorsteps in America.

I have been warning Americans since 2002 about this threat, and that the threat is not just confined to terrorism. This is not a "war on terror." Terror is a tactic, one of many in the arsenal of radical Islamists.

I have been declaring, to anyone who would listen, that Islamists are well on their way to subverting and transforming Europe, and they are riding that wave here to America.

I have told my personal story, of how Islamists, step by step, took over my country of Lebanon. How they used our freedoms and commitment to tolerance and multiculturalism against us to further their ultimate ends. And how they are using the same strategies and tactics against us in the West.

In just the past three weeks we have seen:
• A violent Islamic protest in Britain, where an angry mob shouting "Allahu Akbar" chased ­ yes, chased ­ dozens of British policemen for blocks. You must see this video to believe it! (Please be warned ­ there is offensive language and profanity). Click here < http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=97hyDRjdXCE> to see this shocking video.
• Pro-Hamas, anti-Israel Muslims conducting demonstrations here in America, shouting praises to Hitler for what he did to the Jews, yelling "go back to the ovens," and at times physically attacking counter-protestors.
• The Amsterdam Court of Appeals ordering the prosecution of Dutch parliamentarian Geert Wilders because he has made statements deemed "insulting" and harmful to "the religious esteem" of Muslims.
• Austrian parliamentarian Susanne Winter convicted of "incitement,"
because of public statements she has made, including the claim that the prophet Mohammed was a pedophile.
• Muslim protest marches in Italy that ended with the protestors, in an obvious act of intimidation, conducting mass prayer vigils directly in front of Catholic places of worship.
• The release of an official U.S. government report < http://thebulletin.us/articles/2009/01/23/top_stories/doc49781a64e0d2b38198
4861.txt> stating that Hezbollah is forming terrorist cells here in the U.S. that could become operational.
• The UN continuing to move ahead with the "Durban II" conference and its document that is little more than an anti-Israel rant that calls for suppressing public "defamation" of religion ­ notably Islam. This has run parallel to an effort by the Organization of the Islamic Conference to get the UN Human Rights Commission to pass a resolution condemning public "defamation" of Islam.

My friends, the handwriting is clearly on the wall. Radical Islam is on the march, and it is growing stronger and bolder with every passing day.

What elected official in Europe or the UK will now have the courage to speak out against this threat? Certainly the actions against parliamentarians Wilders and Winter will ultimately have a chilling effect on American elected officials as well.

How many more "no-go zones," Muslim enclaves where non-Muslims and even police officers fear to go, will appear in Europe? We're already seeing such enclaves develop here in America right now. There's a reason why Dearborn, Michigan, is frequently referred to as "Dearbornistan."

What will happen in America when 50,000 ranting, chanting Islamist demonstrators attempt to aggressively back down and chase police officers trying to maintain order? Will the police use the force necessary? If
they do, we can expect howls from groups like CAIR (the Council on American-Islamic Relations). How will government officials respond?

And if the police back down and run, as they recently did in Britain, what message is being sent to radical Islamists?

With the recent announcements by the Obama administration regarding ending the use of certain coercive interrogation practices, will this administration have the courage and use the tools necessary to protect us
from Hezbollah, Hamas and al Qaeda terrorist cells in our midst?

It is becoming crystal clear that 2009 is going to be a critical year in our effort to roll back the rising tide of Islamofascism. Over the next several weeks we will be announcing various projects and programs designed so that we can more aggressively and effectively go on the offense against this threat.

I am asking you to pay close attention to these announcements when they occur and to participate in every way you can. We must all come together and ACT! this year, before the worldwide momentum building behind radical Islam becomes too powerful to stop.

Always devoted,

Brigitte Gabriel

January 28, 2009

Spare the Pieties on Gaza

by Jack Engelhard - January 7, 2009

Israel is a Jewish State. Is that your problem?

Frankly, given a choice, I prefer the skinheads and other brutes who express their Anti-Semitism openly. In such places, we know the enemy.

But please spare me the pieties and the righteous indignation of those "good people" protesting throughout Europe against Israel's defensive operation in Gaza. True, thousands have taken up banners in support of Israel. At the same time, however, the streets of Europe (and even some in America) are in an uproar. These are the "humanitarians" - the good, the noble, the refined, who chant "peace."

Now you're up and about? Now you speak? Where were you when, throughout the years, thousands of jihadist bombs fell on Israel? The streets of Europe were empty. There were no pictures in the newspapers of grieving Jewish mothers and fathers. You called it "peace" as long as the Arabs were doing the killing and the Jews were doing the dying. All was well with the world.

Suddenly, as Israel answered back, you found your Cause; and how self-righteous you are in your Cause.

You are the best and the brightest of Europe. You are educated. You attended the finest schools. You care for the birds, the bees, the bears, the trees. You favor free speech and freedom of religion. Strange it is that the one and only place in the Middle East that shares your world-view is Israel, and it is Israel that you slander.

Israel is a Jewish State. Is that your problem? At the first hint of Jewish self-defense, how quickly you show your true colors.

I've seen the photos of your candlelight vigils along the streets and boulevards of Europe, all of it; all these tears in the service of those terrorists whom you call your brothers. Indeed you are related to Hamas (and Fatah) as once before, a mere generation ago, you were related to Hitler's storm. Your angelic faces are touching - and disgusting. Your hypocrisy is transparent and nauseating.

You speak of disproportion. You want proportion? Give Israel a population of 300 million residing in 22 countries, similar to the Arab Muslims who surround and ambush Israel - instead of five and a half million Jews in one single country. There's plenty of "proportion" coming from your BBC, which delights in presenting one side of the story and picks up where Der Sturmer (weekly Nazi newspaper published by Julius Streicher)left off. Now, with this type of "news", we know how Europe was conditioned for a Holocaust.

Already we see Nights of Broken Glass. Thank you, Europe, for reminding us why America was discovered just in time (and why Israel was redeemed many generations too late). You dare judge Israel? In your deportations, your expulsions, your forced conversions, your inquisitions, your pogroms, you have no moral authority over Israel or even within your own borders. You gave all that up from 1492 to 1942.

To those on the Left who sought peace, well, dear peace-lovers, peace brought this on. "Land for Peace" made this happen, as Land for Peace became Land for Jihad. "Painful Concessions" caused this war. "Goodwill Gestures" backfired. Want more "peace"? Give up the Golan Heights. Give up the entire West Bank. Give up Jerusalem. Imagine the "peace." As for those "innocent civilians" in Gaza, they were given a choice and they chose Hamas. They chose this pestilence.

As for those "refugee camps" - why are they "refugee camps" when Israel handed over all that territory for a nation to be built in peace and security alongside Israel? Why are all Palestinians automatically refugees even after they've been given a home? The only true refugees are the thousands of Israelis who were driven from Gaza and still live in trailer parks. No tears for them in this world that still dreams of Auschwitz.

On this day, in response to a column I wrote about Theresienstadt (concentration camp), someone responded that I was incorrect; that Theresienstadt was not a prelude to Auschwitz, but rather "a vacation resort." I wrote back wishing this person a lifetime in such vacation resorts. I wish the same lifetime vacation resorts to all those parading throughout the streets of Europe with banners crying, "Death to Israel."

God bless the IDF! Go Israel!

Jack Engelhard is the author of "The Bathsheba Deadline" and "Indecent Proposal", as well as the award-winning memoir of his experiences as a Jewish refugee from Europe, "Escape From Mount Moriah".

Explaining Israel's Strategic Mistakes

by Daniel Pipes - FrontPageMagazine.com - January 28, 2009

In an article earlier this month, "Israel's Strategic Incompetence in Gaza," I made three points: that the Israeli leadership unilaterally created its current problems in Gaza, that the war against Hamas meant ignoring the much larger threat of Iranian nuclear weapons, and that the goal of empowering Al-Fatah makes no sense.

These arguments prompted an earful from readers, who made interesting points that deserve answers. Slightly editing the questions for clarity, I reply to some of them here:

"Your article was a real downer. Do you have any uppers?"

The Middle East is a source of nearly unmitigated bad news these days. Two rare positive developments concern economics: Israel has finally, thanks for the reforms carried out by Binyamin Netanyahu, weaned itself from the debilitating socialism of its earlier years; and the price of energy has gone down by over two-thirds.

"Accepting that your opinions are true, the title and tone of the article can only encourage Israel's enemies. More careful language would have been more to Israel's advantage."

I try to offer constructive criticism. Even if Israel's enemies do find encouragement in my less-than-boosterish analysis, I expect this is more than offset by my helping Israelis realize their errors.

"The enemy of Israel is its traitorous leadership that is intentionally working to destroy the Jewish state and bring upon world Jewry another Holocaust. To refuse to make this clear and to continue to suggest incompetence is the problem, is to enable the leadership and, thus, become a traitor oneself."

If one is a traitor to Israel by not seeing its leadership as "intentionally working to destroy the Jewish state, and bring upon world Jewry another Holocaust," then color me guilty. I see the leadership as incompetent but not malign, much less suicidal.

"Here's an exit strategy from Gaza: Israel should lease a strip of land from Egypt to be used as a buffer zone."

Great idea – except there is zero chance of Cairo agreeing to it.

"Your analysis wrongly deals with Israel as an independent actor when the U.S. government has a major role limiting Israeli actions."

I addressed and rejected this point with regard to the Gaza withdrawal at "Sharon's Gaza Withdrawal – Made in Washington?" but your assertion is broader than Gaza and deserves a full-scale analysis.

My brief reply: The idea that Washington forces bad ideas on an unwilling Jerusalem offers solace, implying as it does that the Israeli leadership knows what to do but cannot do it; unfortunately, it is out of date.

Yes, from 1973 to 1993, that was indeed the pattern. Since the Oslo accords, however, the Israel leadership has not just been a willing accomplice of its U.S. counterpart but has often taken the lead - e.g., Oslo itself in 1993, the withdrawal from Lebanon in 2000, the Camp David II meetings in 2000, the Taba negotiations of 2001, and the Gaza withdrawal of 2005.

Aaron Lerner sums up this point in "American pressure is not the problem," arguing that "Israeli diplomatic initiatives have been almost without exception carried out with American approval only ex-post," then providing examples.

"What if the most efficient elements of Israeli society, the military, were in charge in Israel?"

But the Israeli military has been largely in charge since the fundamental reorientation from deterrence to appeasement that took place in 1993 – Rabin, Barak, and Sharon dominated the past 16 years, along with many other ex-generals in the country's public life. In Israel, as around the world, the military tends to absorb the warmed-over leftisms produced by civil society.

"This is not the time to look backwards and place blame; rather it is time to move on and fix the problem."

Assigning responsibility for mistakes is not just a matter of finger-pointing but crucial if one is not to repeat them.

"What must Israel do now?

In another column this month, "Solving the ‘Palestinian Problem'," I endorsed the Jordan-Egypt option, whereby the one former takes over the West Bank and the latter Gaza.

"You ask, ‘Why did Olmert squander this opportunity to confront the relatively trivial danger Hamas presents rather than the existential threat of Iran's nuclear program?' The answer lies in the New York Times article on Jan. 11, ‘U.S. rejected aid for Israeli raid on Iranian nuclear site,' which explains that the U.S. government prevented Israeli efforts to destroy the facilities at Natanz."

The analysis at "Israeli Jets vs. Iranian Nukes" suggests that the Israel Defense Forces does not require U.S. approval to cross Iraq or additional U.S. ordnance to strike Iranian targets.

"It is so easy to criticize; do you really think you could do better? If so, why not go to Israel and enter the political life there?"

A sports writer need not star on the field before he critique players – and neither must a Middle East analyst climb the slippery pole of Israeli politics before offering strategic analysis. As for the legitimacy of my offering views while living in the United States, see "May an American Comment on Israel?"

"What do you think of other alternative plans making the rounds, both of which call for no Palestinian state to be established and for Palestinian Arabs to be paid to leave and resettle in the country of their choosing, other than Israel. The "Israeli Initiative" is by Knesset member Benny Elon and the other is from the Jerusalem Summit, authored by Martin Sherman, a professor at Tel Aviv University."

I applaud these efforts at creative thinking. The Elon plan resembles my Jordan-Egypt idea, except it focuses exclusively on Jordan "as the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinians" and involves Israeli sovereignty on the West Bank, something I do not call for. The Jerusalem Summit plans calls for a "generous relocation and resettlement package" for Palestinians to leave the Israeli-controlled areas; I expect this will find few takers.

"There are real leaders in Israel. To mention just one – Moshe Feiglin. What about him?"

He brings important ideas to the Israeli debate but he is not "at the upper echelons of Israel's political life," as I put it in my article, and so I did not include him in my generalization.

"Where is Likud leader Binyamin Netanyahu in all this? Is he not a hawk who is repelled by the thought of giving away Israeli land for ANY reason?"

If I voted in Israeli elections, I would vote for him next month. That said, we saw him in action as prime minister between 1996 and 1999 and I judge his tenure a failure (in contrast to his subsequent stint at the finance ministry, which was a success). In particular, I recall his poor performance vis-à-vis Syria (which I uncovered in a 1999 article, "The Road to Damascus: What Netanyahu almost gave away"). Perhaps Netanyahu has matured as a leader but, the old adage, "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me," implies Likud might have recruited a fresh face.

"Now that General (Ret.) Moshe "Bogie" Ya'alon has entered politics, I believe there is hope for Israel's future."

I admire Ya'alon and hope he will have an important post in the next government. He comes as close as any Israeli leader to understanding the country's strategic imperatives. For example, when asked for his definition of victory, Ya'alon replied that it consists of "the very deep internalization by the Palestinians that terrorism and violence will not defeat us, will not make us fold."

But, when one looks closely at his main analysis, "Israel and the Palestinians: A New Strategy," Ya'alon does not work to gain such a victory over the Palestinians. Rather, he wants to reform the Palestinian Authority so that it can better control territory, effect law enforcement, strengthen its judicial authority, acquire a democratic spirit, and improve the quality of life of its population.

"Economic convalescence, an effective rule of law, and democratization are essential conditions," he writes, "for the rehabilitation of Palestinian society." He concludes that a reorganization of Palestinian society in accordance with his ideas "could feasibly serve as the foundation for a future settlement that would realize some of the hopes that were pinned on the Oslo process." I conclude, therefore, that Ya'alon's goal is not victory but another attempt at Oslo-style compromise and resolution.

"What has happened to the Israelis that they no longer fight smart?"

Good question. I offered one reply a half-year ago: "The strategically brilliant but economically deficient early state has been replaced by the reverse. Yesteryear's spy masterminds, military geniuses, and political heavyweights have seemingly gone into high tech, leaving the state in the hands of corrupt, short-sighted mental midgets."

But this does not explain the whole situation, which results from a deep mix of fatigue and arrogance. The best analyses of this problem are by Yoram Hazony, The Jewish State: The Struggle for Israel's Soul and Kenneth Levin, The Oslo Syndrome: Delusions of a People Under Siege.

"Daniel Pipes should try to defuse tensions between Israel and the Arab neighbors."

Attempts at defusing tensions have been a central focus since the Kilometer 101 agreement of 1973. They have failed because they try to finesse a decisive conclusion to the Arab-Israeli conflict. I favor a decisive conclusion, for it alone will end the conflict.

The Gaza War's Impact on Israeli Electoral Politics

by Daniel Pipes - Tue, 20 Jan 2009

Ehud Olmert launched the Gaza attack on December 27 and Israel goes to the polls on February 10, so the fighting's electoral impact has been closely watched. At first, Ehud Barak being minister of defense and head of the Labor Party translated into gains for Labor. But as the fighting wore on, a surprise development took place, one that has potential significance for the future of the Arab-Israeli conflict.

"Lieberman gained most from war, surveys say," writes Gil Hoffman in the Jerusalem Post, referring to Avigdor Lieberman of the Israel Beiteinu Party. Five recent polls (by Panels for the Knesset Channel 99, the Kadima Party, Israel Beiteinu, Dialog, Ma'agar Mohot) found Israel Beiteinu winning, respectively, 15, 15, 15, 14, and 13 seats, in some cases even with or leading Labor.

Why this surge in support? Israel Beiteinu officials explain that

the party's rise in support actually began before the war began on December 27, but it intensified as a result of anti-Israel demonstrations during the operation in universities and Arab towns. There were calls of "death to Israel" at the protests and the mayor of Sakhnin, who receives an NIS 27,000 [US$7,000] monthly salary from the state, said he would be "honored to be a shahid in Jerusalem."

"Such vocal protests supporting Hamas while our soldiers were in Gaza made people realize that it's stupid to give benefits to people who support terrorist groups that are trying to kill our soldiers," an Israel Beiteinu official said. "People said, ‘Enough is enough,' and only Lieberman was addressing that issue. While other leaders were out of touch on this issue, Lieberman captured the people's voice."

To capitalize on the anti-Arab sentiment, Israel Beiteinu's television, radio and Internet ads will highlight anti-Israel quotes from Arab MKs. Israel Beiteinu has also led the effort to ban Balad from running for Knesset.

The quote refers to the fact that Lieberman has made his name urging a tougher policy toward disloyalty among Israeli Arabs. For one example, note this report in The New York Sun on a talk he gave, when deputy prime minister in late 2006, to the Middle East Forum:

"The conflict includes not only the Arabs in Judea, Samaria, and the Gaza Strip, but Israeli Arabs also," Mr. Lieberman said. "The linkage between the Palestinian Authority and the Israeli Arab population — it will destroy us, it is impossible. What is the logic of creating one and a half country for one people and a half country for the Jewish people?"

Mr. Lieberman spoke of requiring Israelis to sign a commitment to loyalty to the Israeli flag and to its national anthem, and of requiring service in the army or alternative national service. Citizens who refuse to sign the declaration, he said, could continue as permanent residents of Israel, working, studying, and receiving health care benefits, but they could not vote in national elections or be elected to national office. … He said he would also deny Israeli citizenship to extreme anti-Zionist Orthodox Jewish groups, such as the Neturei Karta, which sent representatives to this week's Holocaust denial conference in Tehran.

Mr. Lieberman said the "close linkage" between Israeli Arabs and the Arabs of the Palestinian Authority is a result of Israeli "weakness." "If we will be more strong, more tough, they will be more loyal," he said. "They are really afraid about their future."

He defended his statement that Israeli Arab parliamentarians who went to Damascus and met with Hamas should be shot, and he said Americans would understand that position. He asked whether one could imagine an American congressman or senator going to Tora Bora during the war in Afghanistan and meeting with Osama bin Laden, then returning to a seat in Congress.

Comment: If, as seems to be the case, Lieberman's views are getting traction in Israel, this is a major development. Israeli Arabs have recently shown signs of becoming overt enemies of the Jewish state and have been recognized as such by Shin Bet (which calls Israel's Arab population a "genuine long-range danger to the Jewish character and very existence of the State of Israel."); these polls may signify that the electorate has begun to focus on this, the ultimate Arab-Israeli battleground. (January 20, 2009)

George Mitchell's Return to Middle East Diplomacy

by Daniel Pipes - Thu, 22 Jan 2009

Obama's appointment of the former U.S. Senate leader as "Special Envoy for the Middle East" has met with good reviews from most concerned. Sallai Meridor, Israel's ambassador to the United States, said his government "holds Senator Mitchell in high regard and looks forward to working with him on taking the next steps towards realizing a future of peace and security for Israel and her neighbors." J Street, Israel Policy Forum, and Americans for Peace Now all lauded his appointment.

But not me.

First, how can one hold in high regard someone who came out with the wretched Sharm El-Sheikh Fact-Finding Committee Report also known as the "Mitchell Report," of April 2001? I did an analysis of it when it appeared at "Mitchell report missed it." I called it "a great disappointment." A couple of excerpts:


it reveals the would-be peacemaker´s typical unwillingness to judge right and wrong.… Not wanting to offend, in other words, creates an illusionary balance of blame ("Fear, hate, anger, and frustration have risen on both sides," says the report) that makes it impossible to distinguish between aggressor and victim, between right and wrong.

the Mitchell report suggests that Israel "should freeze all settlement activity" to mollify the Palestinians. This is a step the Israelis never agreed to, even when negotiations were under way. To do so now rewards the Palestinians for engaging in violence, something objectionable in principle and ineffectual in practice.

the report emphasizes getting the two parties back to the negotiating table, as though this were an end in itself. It seems oblivious to the important fact that negotiations over the past eight years did not bring the parties closer to a settlement but, to the contrary, exacerbated differences and had a role in the outbreak of violence.

I found that Mitchell and his committee were "myopically unaware of the real issue at hand, which is not violence, or Jewish settlements, or Jerusalem. It is, rather, the enduring Arab reluctance to accept the existence of a sovereign Jewish state." I suggested that, the real solution "lies not in getting the parties back as fast as possible to diplomacy, but in instilling in the Palestinians an awareness of the futility of their use of violence against the Jewish state."

Second, how can one take seriously yet another diplomatic initiative? Here is a partial listing of diplomatic initiatives undertaken since 2001:

* George W. Bush's June 2002 speech.
* The Geneva Accords.
* The Quartet.
* The Roadmap.
* The Mitchell Report
* The Tenet Understandings
* The Abdullah Plan.
* The "Benchmarks" for peace.
* The Zinni mission.
* The Wolfensohn mission
* The Ward mission.
* The Dayton mission.
* The Annapolis Foundation, headed by James L. Jones.
* The Fraser mission.

Albert Einstein defined insanity as "doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." Could someone explain to me how that definition does not apply to this fifteenth effort? Does anyone wish to wager on its chances for success? (January 22, 2009)

Listen World, Listen Jew: Rabbi Meir Kahane H'Y'D

Listen world, listen very carefully. I am a Jew, a Zionist. And it is time you understood. Clearly, what the State of Israel is and the meaning of the era in which we live.

  Jewish tradition sees the redemption of the Jew as coming in one of two ways. If the Jew merits his redemption through his return to G-d and a yearning to fulfill his role as a holy people, the Chosen of the L-rd, then the redemption can come at any moment. But even if there is no repentance and even if the Jew remains estranged from his Father in Heaven, the redemption will come; it must come, such are the mercies of a Father for a son, though he angers Him and corrupts himself.

  Out of the ashes of a Holocaust that seared the flesh of the nation and burned out of its midst one in every three, from the trash heap of history, arose the Third Jewish Commonwealth. Even as the gas chambers still gave off their terrible odors and the ovens were yet warm and the living skeletons with the numbers tattooed on their arms gazed numbly about them, the redemption was beginning: "Comfort ye, comfort ye, my people," says the prophet, and the rabbis place the word in the mouth of the Almighty and have Him say: "Comfort Me, comfort Me, My people. . ." Comfort Me for having to watch as the stubbornness and rebellion of My children must be punished but comfort Me because from the whip of chastisement will come the redemption. And so it has. We live in momentous times, in an historical point that reaches out to us and offers us greatness. We no longer stand on the threshold of the Messianic era, we have taken our first steps into it. Those who disagree are not skeptics, they are blind; they are not scoffers, but foolishly ignorant people.

  The end of the great era of man's wandering and stumbling through life in search of meaning and truth is drawing to a close and the drama of Jewish history with its crescendos of persecution and heroism, its drama and pathos, its kaleidoscopic wandering and journeying, is coming to an end. How can one not see that which confronts his very senses, which seizes him and demands to be heard and understood?

  The massive Holocaust that thundered down upon the Jewish people and which, within the briefest of moments, undid the work and creation of centuries - carrying away the best and the finest of our people - is hardly an accident of history.

  The inexplicable return of a people from 2,000 years and a hundred nations of wandering and bitter persecution; the revival of a language dead for longer than others, where revival has been attempted and succeeded so that today children play in it and physicists create upon it, is not really inexplicable.

  The majestic and soaring rise of Jewish resistance and force of arms; the explosion of the Jewish National Liberation Movement in the form of the Irgun Zvai Leumi, the Fighters for the Freedom of lsrael and the Haganah; the shattering of the myth of the Jew as one whose blood is cheap and whose life is the gentile's for the taking; the creation, from the ash heap of history, of the Third Jewish Commonwealth, the State of Israel, is surely not a natural occurrence.

The astounding and massive ingathering of the exiles from the North, South, East, and West; the return of the Children of Israel from the far reaches of Yemen and the laboratories of London; the Second Exodus of the people of Israel from the Land of Muskovy - all part of the Redemption that is ordained and in full force today.

  The hysterical and historical, wildly wonderful and dreamy victory of six days in June; the flight of the enemies of the Jew before the legions of the Hebrew people; the affirmation of the biblical trumpet: "And thou shalt pursue thine enemy and they shall fall before your sword. And five of you shall pursue one hundred and a hundred of you ten thousand shall pursue, and thine enemies shall fall before your sword..."; the return to ancient Eretz Israel, the paratroopers who clutched with their fingernails, deeply, into the Wall and the others who ran past the evil seventh barrier step into the Cave of Machpela and those who prostrated themselves upon the grave of Rachel, our mother; the echo of the One who pledged: "Every place that your heel shall tread I will give to you...

  Israel is not a state; it is a Decree. Israel is not a land; it is a concept. We have returned not because of Socialism or pioneers or the army -though all these will gain their place in the history of the people for their self-sacrifice and readiness to do what others were not prepared to do. We have returned because the Almighty peered at the clock of history that was being wound by the suffering of His children and decided: It is time.

  It is time because the rise of the State of Israel - the rebirth of Zion - is the Sanctification of the Name of the L-rd, G-d of lsrael.

January 27, 2009

Our World: Defending freedom's defenders

Jan. 26, 2009 - Caroline Glick , THE JERUSALEM POST

Last week, the IDF issued an unprecedented directive. All Israeli media outlets must obscure the faces of soldiers and commanders who fought in Operation Cast Lead. Henceforth, the identities of all IDF soldiers and officers who participated in the operation against the Hamas terror regime in Gaza are classified information.

The IDF acted as it did in an effort to protect Israeli soldiers and officers from possible prosecutions for alleged war crimes in Europe. The army's chief concern is England. In England, private citizens are allowed to file complaints against foreigners whom they claim committed war crimes.

Based on these complaints, British courts can issue arrest warrants against such foreigners if they are found on British territory and force them to stand trial. Over the past few years, a number of active duty and retired IDF senior officers were forced to cancel visits to Britain after such complaints were filed against them in sympathetic local courts.

Following the IDF's move, on Sunday the government announced that Israel will provide legal assistance to any IDF veteran prosecuted abroad for actions he performed during his service in Gaza. The legal assistance will include representation, investigation of the allegations made against veterans, attempts to have the charges against them dismissed and defense at trials.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak, who brought the decision before the full cabinet, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and their colleagues all asserted that by committing the state to defending its warriors, they were fulfilling their sacred duty to protect Israel's protectors.

Unfortunately, both the cabinet decision itself and our leaders' statements missed the point.

LAST WEDNESDAY, an appellate court in Amsterdam ruled that the Dutch lawmaker and leader of the anti-jihadist Dutch Freedom Party Geert Wilders must stand trial for the alleged "crime" of inciting hatred against Muslims with his short film "Fitna," released last year.

In "Fitna," Wilders juxtaposes verses from the Koran with Islamic terror attacks, mosque sermons inciting believers to murder non-Muslims, and proclamations by Islamic clerics that Muslims must kill all the Jews, conquer the world and subjugate non-believers.

The second half of the 15-minute film is devoted to Holland. It highlights the massive immigration of Muslims to the country over the past 15 years, and calls by Islamic leaders in Holland to kill homosexuals, subjugate women, stone adulteresses, and take over the country. "Fitna" ends with a call for Muslims to expunge Koranic verses commanding them to conduct jihad from their belief system, and with a call for Dutchmen to defend their country, their culture and their civilization from the rising current of Islam in Europe.

All the material presented in "Fitna" is accurate. And it is also explosive. But it is hard to see how it could be illegal. By presenting the material in the way that he does, Wilders is not demonizing Muslims, he is challenging - indeed he is practically begging - his countrymen to engage in a debate about whether or not his dim assessment of Islam is correct.

Wilders has been living under 24-hour police protection since a Dutch jihadist murdered filmmaker Theo Van Gogh in 2004. Van Gogh was murdered after he released his short film "Submission," which described the misogyny of the Islamic world and the systematic terrorization of women in Islamic societies. Since then numerous Muslim clerics have issued religious judgments, or fatwas, calling for Wilders to be murdered.

Last month Wilders visited Israel and was the keynote speaker at a counter-jihad conference at the Menachem Begin Heritage Center in Jerusalem sponsored by MK Dr. Aryeh Eldad. Speaking to a standing-room only crowd, and under heavy guard, Wilders argued that Israel is a frontline state in the global jihad. The war against Israel, he claimed has nothing to do with territory, and everything to do with ideology. Israel, as the forward outpost of Western civilization in the Islamic world, stands in the way of Islamic expansion. Consequently, he claimed, when Israel defends itself by fighting its enemies, it is also protecting Europe and the rest of the free world.

As he put it, "Thanks to Israeli parents who see their children go off to join the army and lie awake at night, parents in Europe and America can sleep well and have pleasant dreams, unaware of the dangers looming."

Unfortunately, the Dutch court's decision to prosecute Wilders for calling attention to the threat of jihad in Europe demonstrates that the Europeans aren't particularly grateful to their defenders. Indeed, they despise them. Films like "Fitna," and Israel's use of its military to defend its citizens from Islamic supremacists, serve to remind them of the growing threat they desperately seek to ignore. Consequently, Europeans embrace every opportunity to blame any messenger.

THE RIPPLE effects of Wilder's' indictment were immediately evident. In England, the British Muslim community mobilized to prevent his film from being screened in public. "Fitna" was scheduled to be shown at the House of Lords on January 29. But last Friday, with the threat of mass Muslim riots hanging thickly in the air, the House of Lords announced that it was canceling the event.

British Lord Nazir Ahmed called the decision to prevent the thought-provoking, factually accurate film from being shown, "a victory for the Muslim community."

WILDERS' INDICTMENT is a textbook example of blaming the victim. Wilders has been forced to live a miserable life for the past four years. He has no home. Security forces move him from place to place every single day. Since Van Gogh's murder, Wilders' entire life has become one long attempt to dodge the bullet permanently pointed at his head by radicalized Muslims in Holland and throughout the world. These would-be killers wish to see him dead not to avenge any violence Wilders committed, but rather, they believe he must die for doing nothing more than talking about Islam and how he interprets its message and meaning.

Needless to say, the Dutch Muslims Wilders caught on tape in Fitna calling for an overthrow of the Dutch constitutional order and threatening homosexuals have not been arrested for inciting hatred. Likewise, Lord Ahmed, who blocked "Fitna's" screening in the British Parliament was made a British peer after supporting the late Ayatollah Khomeini's 1989 death sentence against British novelist Salman Rushdie.

AND THAT'S the thing of it. Increasingly, throughout Europe, those who point out the dangers of radical Islam are hounded - first by Muslims - and then by legal authorities. In contrast, those who seek to intimidate and physically silence them are embraced by the states of Europe as legitimate leaders of their Muslim communities.

This dismal state of affairs, where jihadists are supported and their victims are oppressed, is true not only of people like Wilders who actively fight radical Islam's encroachment on European freedom. It is also the case for people who are victimized solely on the basis of their ethnic identity.

At the same time Wilders and people like him are forced into hiding, Jews throughout Europe find themselves assaulted and under siege not because of anything they have done, but because they are Jews.

Incidents of anti-Semitic violence in Europe reached post-Holocaust record highs over the past month. Jewish children have been violently attacked in France, barred from schools in Denmark, and harassed in England, Sweden, Switzerland, Holland and Germany just for being Jews.

In Britain, Muslims have now taken to entering into Jewish-owned businesses and kosher restaurants to threaten the owners and patrons - just because they are Jewish. Synagogues have been firebombed and defaced. Calls have been issued in the US Muslim community on the Internet for Muslims in America to similarly intimidate Jews by entering into synagogues during prayer services and condemn worshippers for supporting Israel.

Jewish men have been brutalized by Muslim gangs in Britain and viciously stabbed in France, just because they are Jewish. In Sweden, pro-Israel demonstrators were attacked with stones by Muslims this week. Even in the US, anti-Semitic violence and intimidation has reached levels never seen before. And in almost all cases of anti-Semitic violence throughout what is commonly referred to as the free world, the perpetrators of the violence and intimidation are Muslims. They attack with the full backing of non-Muslim multiculturalists as well as neo-Nazis. The two groups, which are usually assumed to be at loggerheads, apparently have no problem converging on the issue of hating Jews.

And in almost all cases of anti-Semitic violence, the Islamic identity of the attackers has been de-emphasized or obscured by the media and by politicians, or used as justification for their crimes. In France, for instance, from the way government officials talk it, would be reasonable to assume that a dozen Muslim teenagers were provoked to viciously beat a ten-year-old Jewish girl by the IDF's operation against Hamas in Gaza.

HERE THEN, we arrive at the point that the cabinet missed on Sunday when it passed its decision to commit the government to providing legal assistance to any IDF veteran who runs afoul of European legal authorities during vacations in London and Brussels and Oslo and Stockholm. The point that was missed is that in the event that IDF veterans are charged with war crimes, even the best attorneys will be of little use. These veterans will not be defendants at legitimate trials. They will be the victims of politically motivated show-trials.

In an interview with *Ha'aretz* on Friday, Wilders claimed rightly that the Dutch court's decision to prosecute him was not a legal decision but a political one. And if he is convicted, his conviction won't be based on evidence. It will be based on the desire of the Dutch multiculturalists to make an example of him to appease the radical Muslims who seek his death, and intimidate any would-be disciples into keeping their mouths shut.

So too, if IDF veterans are indicted for war crimes, they won't be prosecuted based on facts. They will be persecuted to advance the prosecutors' and judges' goal of appeasing their homegrown radical Muslims who seek the destruction of Israel and who violently attack anyone perceived as supporting Israel.

Given this bleak reality, the steps that Israel must take to defend its citizens are not legal but diplomatic. Israel should announce travel advisories against all states that enable the conduct of show trials against its citizens. And it should threaten to cut off diplomatic ties with any country that seeks to persecute Israeli soldiers. Only by recognizing and pointing out what is really going on will Israel have any chance of protecting those who defend our freedom from Europeans who have decided to surrender to Islamic intimidation rather than protect their own liberty.


January 26, 2009


Now that the Main Stream Media has treated the world to a picture of Israel as out-of-control, inhumane, and indifferent to civilian casualties ...they'll be gearing up to cover the visit of President Obama's envoy to the area ...and the search for "peace". A good reason to revisit the Naive Newsman and his attempt to be accepted as a professional journalist.
-Dry Bones- Israel's Political Comic Strip Since 1973

How the Jews can win when we can't win.

by Sara Yoheved Rigler

Had the graphic artist at TIME magazine had as his goal to upset the Jews by his cover for the January 19 issue, he couldn't have done a better job. A blue star of David hiding behind a cinderblock wall topped with barbed wire is so evocative of the Holocaust and the old canard that the Palestinians are the "victims of the victims" that it has stirred up the Jewish world and elicited accusations that TIME is (and has always been) anti-Semitic.

The bold title across the cover, "Why Israel Can't Win" has further riled a Jewish world intent on doing exactly that in Gaza. But the cover article by Tim McGirk, TIME's Jerusalem bureau chief, has more truth in it than those of us who love Israel would care to admit. I'll spare you my list of examples of Mr. McGirk's pro-Arab bias. The essence of the article is the contention that there is no solution to the conflict that will allow Israel to exist as a Democratic Jewish state—or even to exist at all.

The article is peppered with expressions of despair: "...the many interlocking challenges facing Israel, some of which cast dark shadows over the long-term viability of a democratic Jewish state;" "...will require Israel and its defenders to confront excruciating dilemmas: How do you make peace with those who don't seem to want it?" "There's something tragic, too, in Israel's predicament: in any confrontation with its enemies, it is damned if does and doomed if it doesn't."

Mr. McGirk's pessimism is based on a political reality and a demographic one. The political reality is that Israel has no way to get rid of Hamas, the overwhelming democratic choice of the civilians of Gaza, no matter how much it beats Hamas down militarily. In this, TIME is echoing a recent Wall Street Journal article by Max Boot, who contended that the only way Israel could eradicate Hamas is by fighting an all-out war like the U.S. fought against Germany and Japan. Since neither Israel's own moral scruples nor the international community would permit such combat, Israel can temporarily weaken Hamas, but can never defeat it.

The demographic reality is that there are nearly as many Arabs as Jews living in the total area between the Jordan River and the sea (which TIME readers may be surprised to learn is barely a distance of 40 miles). As TIME's handy chart points out, by 2020, the Arabs, due to their higher birthrate, will outnumber Jews at 8.5 million to 6.4 million.

In short, Israel cannot exist with hostile Arab states as close to it as the Bronx is to Manhattan. Nor can it reclaim those thickly Arab-populated territories and administer them without relinquishing its democratic ideals.

In this sense, Israel's victory in Gaza leaves us in a more desperate situation than our 2006 defeat in Lebanon. Then we could say that we lost due to poor performance by our governmental and military leaders. This time, both the government and the military have performed splendidly. Yet real victory -- the permanent cessation of attacks into our borders -- eludes us.

Israel is backed into a corner, with no exit. If I didn't believe in an almighty God who intervenes in history, I would give up all hope. But instead of groping around the floor for a trapdoor that isn't there, I look up and see a ladder. The only way out is up.


Here is where TIME magazine is wrong. They fail to take into account what I call "the God factor." Jewish history has always been a long shot. The most dramatic proof of that is that I, a Jew, am sitting here in my home in Jerusalem, 2,595 years after my ancestors were banished from here by the Babylonian Empire, 1,939 years after my ancestors were again banished from here by the mighty Roman Empire, after 1,930 years of my ancestors wandering among hostile and often murderous European hosts, 60 years after five well-armed, well-trained Arab armies attacked the nascent Jewish state, and 41 years after Nassar, backed by superior Soviet weaponry, vowed to "drive the Jews into the sea."

The eternal survival of the Jewish people, which was promised by God through the Biblical prophets, is as unlikely as a cluster of grapes, thrown into an erupting volcano then being swept up into a tornado and pounded by a tsunami, surviving intact -- and returning to its original vineyard.

Just think how TIME magazine would have reported on some of the significant events of Jewish history:

Issue of 1737 B.C.E.:
Why Abraham Can't Win

Abraham ben Terach, the famous revolutionary preacher of the exclusionary divinity, has been promised by his God that his offspring will inherit the land of Canaan. This pledge is politically untenable, as the native Canaanites have no intention of ceding land to this recent immigrant from Ur Kasdim in Mesopotamia. Moreover, the promise is ludicrous, as the 75-year-old Abraham has no children, and, even more to the point, his wife Sarah is 65 years old and suffers from incurable fertility problems.

Issue of 1312 B.C.E.:
Why Moses Can't Win

Our Midian bureau chief has discovered that the former Egyptian prince Moses, for the last 40 years a fugitive in Midian, claims to have had a vision of God. The Divinity reportedly promised that He would rescue the Israelites from slavery in Egypt and would "bring them to... a land flowing with milk and honey, to the place of the Canaanite, the Hittite, the Amorite, the Perizzite, the Hivvite, and the Jebusite." Egyptology experts agree that the powerful Egyptian Empire, led by Rameses II, would never agree to release their formidable slave population. Nor has any slave ever succeeded in escaping Egypt. Even if such an unfeasible escape were ever to occur, the seven aforementioned nations, well fortified in walled cities such as Jericho, could certainly hold their own against an untrained, ill-equipped army of ex-slaves.

Issue of 701 B.C.E.:
Why Judea Can't Win

The army of Assyria, led by the invincible Sennacherib, has laid siege to Jerusalem. This is the same superpower that vanquished the Northern Kingdom of Israel and exiled its ten tribes 19 years ago. The siege of Jerusalem was preceded by the Assyrian army's total destruction of the Judean city of Lachish. Experts agree that Judea's King Hezekiah, a weak monarch ruling over a tiny kingdom, has no possibility of lifting the siege by the Assyrian forces, who number 180,000 strong. The many interlocking challenges facing Judea, some of which cast dark shadows over the long-term viability of a Jewish state in the region, lead us to predict a crushing defeat for Jerusalem.

{Note: A few days after this issue was published, the Assyrian camp was decimated by a strange plague. The few survivors, led by Sennacherib, fled in panic. Jerusalem was saved.}

* * *

I do not know how or when God will deliver the Jewish People and the Jewish state from our present predicament. But I do know that hordes of Islamic terrorists and their anti-Semitic allies will never succeed in their ambitions to wipe out the Jewish People, because God has guaranteed our eternal survival: "And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you, throughout the generations, an eternal covenant to be your God and the God of your descendants after you." [Gen. 17:7]

And I also know that when God does decide what will happen to us, He will not consult TIME magazine.

Sara Yoheved Rigler is planning a U.S. speaking tour in May. To bring her to your community, please write to srigler@aish.com.

January 25, 2009

George Mitchell - M.E. Envoy With A Tendentious Legacy

David Bedein, Middle East Correspondent

Jerusalem - Following President Obama's appointment of former U.S. Sen. George Mitchell of Maine as his Middle East envoy, it may be instructive to remember the tendentiousness of George Mitchell's 2001 report titled "The Mitchell Report on the al-Aqsa Intifadah"

This genesis of this report stemmed from President Bill Clinton's Oct. 2000 appointment of an international investigation commission to determine the causes of the Palestinian insurrection, which was deemed the Second Intifada - the Arabic term for "shaking off" - in this instance, shaking off Israel. To this commission, President Clinton named Sen. Mitchell, who is of Arab descent through his mother, as its chairman, along with a Jewish-American, former U.S. Sen. Warren Rudman, to the panel, in addition to three prominent European diplomats.

The initial Israeli response to the publication of the Mitchell Commission report in May 2001 was a sigh of relief when the Mitchell Commission did not blame Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon for instigating the riots in Sept. 2000 when he visited the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, which some said had sparked the Arab rioting.

However, even with the Sharon Temple Mount accusation out of the way, the Mitchell Commission report accepted every Palestinian premise for the violence at the time.

The Mitchell Commission accepted as a given that the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO)-led riots were based on a movement for "independence and genuine self-determination," without giving any credence to the PLO goal, stated in all PLO publications, maps and media outlets, even during the current Oslo process, which consistently and clearly states that "liberation" of Palestine, all of Palestine - in stages - remained the goal.

For some reason, the Mitchell Commission characterized the rioters armed with Molotov cocktails as "unarmed Palestinian demonstrators," a term that they apparently borrowed from PLO information reports that were published at the time.

The Mitchell Commission took the position that Israel's security forces did not face a clear and present danger when faced with a mob trying to kill them with rocks and firebombs.

It made no mention that the Palestinian Authority (PA) has amassed 50,000 more weapons than they were supposed to have, in clear violation of the written Oslo accords.

The Mitchell Commission surprisingly accepted the notion that the PA security officials are simply "not in control" of their own tightly controlled security services.

The Mitchell Commission would not consider reliable intelligence reports that documented the PA had planned the uprising. It also failed to relate documentation showing the PA had spent past seven years preparing its media, school system and security services for a violent confrontation with Israel.

Indeed, in late May 2000, a senior official of Israeli intelligence conducted a press briefing where he revealed intelligence information that the PLO was planning riots for late Sept. 2000.

It said the notion the PA leadership had failed to prevent terrorist attacks against Israel as only an Israeli "view," ignoring consistent incitement that Arafat had conveyed to his own media for the previous seven years.

The Mitchell Commission also rejected Israel's characterization of the conflict, as "armed conflict short of war"; (How else would you describe an army that fires mortar rounds into Israeli cities?)

The Mitchell Commission also condemned the Israel Defense Force's killing of PLO combat officers during a time of war, without giving an alternative.

Instead of issuing a clear call to the PLO to stop sniper attacks on Israel's roads and highways, the Mitchell Commission simply "condemned the positioning of gunmen within or near civilian dwellings," leaving the observer to assume that PLO attacks from empty embankments would be acceptable.

The Mitchell Commission suggested that "the IDF should consider withdrawing to positions held before Sept. 28, 2000, . to reduce the number of friction points," ignoring the fact that this would leave entry points to many Israeli cities without appropriate protection during a time of war.

The Mitchell Commission also demanded that Israel should transfer to the PA all tax revenues owed, and permit Palestinians who had been employed in Israel to return to their jobs, strangely recommending that Israel once again pay salaries of armed PLO personnel who were at war with Israel.

Meanwhile, the Mitchell Commission took a page out of Arab propaganda when it called on Israeli "security forces and settlers to refrain from the destruction of homes and roads, as well as trees and other agricultural property in Palestinian areas," and would not relate to the possibility that some of the trees and agricultural land had been razed may have been provided cover to PA security forces during combat.

The Mitchell Commission also accepted the notion that "settlers and settlements in their midst" remains a cause of the Palestinian uprising, because these Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria violate "the spirit of the Oslo process," even though not one word appears in the actual Oslo accords would require the dismemberment of a single Israeli settlement.

In conclusion, the Mitchell Commission drew a strange comparison between "settlement activities" and the Palestinian inability to resume negotiations, so long as "settlement activities" continue, providing an excuse for the PLO to continue its armed conflict.

In short, the Mitchell Commission Report drove a nail into the coffin of any credibility that George Mitchell could ever have to serve as a potential Middle East envoy.

January 24, 2009

Obama Envoy Mitchell Arriving Wednesday; NU Calls it Chutzpah

by Gil Ronen

(IsraelNN.com) U.S. President Barack Obama's special envoy to the Middle East will come to Israel on Wednesday for talks on strengthening the Gaza ceasefire and reviving Mideast negotiations, an Israeli foreign ministry official said Saturday.

The official said George J. Mitchell would meet with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and senior Israeli officials, according to the Associated Press.

Mitchell will also visit Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad at their headquarters in Ramallah, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because Washington has not officially announced the trip.

The official said that Mitchell would discuss restarting Israel-PA peace talks after Israel's counterterror operation in Gaza, and ways to impose an effective arms blockade against Hamas which rules Gaza.

In Washington, the White House and State Department declined to comment, but diplomats familiar with Mitchell's travel plans said he would visit Israel and the PA with possible stops in Egypt and Jordan. Mitchell's Middle East tour, undertaken as Israeli elections near, could last eight to 10 days.

'We are not a U.S. colony'

Experience teaches us that Binyamin Netanyahu will not be able to withstand the pressure exerted upon him by the Obama administration, National Union leader Ya'akov “Ketzale” Katz warned Saturday. “Unless Bibi is strengthened from the Right, he will fall into the arms of the Left again,” he added.

Ketzale said that Obama needed to be reminded that Israel is not an American colony or the 51st state. “I think it is great arrogance and even chutzpah on the part of the U.S. administration that it does not respect the Israeli public,” he said in an interview. “Although Olmert is ending his role, the administration is trying to 'close' things that it could not close over the past years. We hope that the Prime Minister and his ministers will explain to him that he should go home,” he added.

Yesha Council head Danny Dayan said Saturday evening that Mitchell's appointment is a “disturbing” one. He cited a report prepared by Mitchell during President Bill Clinton's term, in which he called for an end to all settlement activity “including natural growth.”

"Soon we will have to ask Obama for permission to have babies,” he told Ynet.

Death to Free Speech in the Netherlands

by Brooke M. Goldstein and Aaron Meyer
American Spectator January 22, 2009

On Wednesday, freedom of speech in Europe took a new and devastating turn, as a Dutch appellate court ordered the prosecution of Geert Wilders, parliamentarian and filmmaker, charging him with "inciting hatred and discrimination" against Muslims for his film exposing the threat of radical Islam.

This ruling comes a mere six months after the public prosecutor's office found Wilders' dialogue contributed to the debate on Islam and that he had not committed any criminal offense. Now, curiously, the court has done an about-face and decreed that charges may be brought against the politician, and that prosecuting him is somehow in "the public interest."

After releasing a ten-minute self-produced film entitled "Fitna," Wilders found himself wound up in a litany of "hate speech" litigation, one such suit filed by a radical Imam asking for 55,000 Euros in compensation for his hurt feelings.

Ironically, the film's narrative is primarily comprised of quotes from the Koran which incite violence and death to "infidels" as well as scenes of an Imam preaching death to the Jews. Akin to something out of the Twilight Zone, the Imams who routinely spout hate speech from the pulpit and who are instigating these suits are never themselves charged with incitement to immediate violence. Moreover if the film "Fitna," which merely quotes the Koran and depicts angry Imams, is "hate speech" then what is the Koran itself?

Suspiciously, the wording of the appellate court's ruling strongly echoes public criticism made by the 57-nation Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) when the earlier prosecution was dropped, where the OIC censured prosecutors for ignoring the "thin line separating freedom of speech and the instigation of hatred, animosity and discrimination."

Even more disturbing is that the State of Jordan, most likely acting as a stalking horse for the OIC, has issued a request for Wilders' extradition to stand trial in Jordan for blasphemy of Islam, a crime for which Shari'a law declares the penalty to be death. The Dutch parliament has taken the extradition request very seriously, and has shut out Wilders from all multi-lateral negotiations. As a precaution, Wilders no longer travels abroad unless he can obtain a diplomatic letter from the destination state promising he won't be extradited. For years now, Wilders has lived under looming death threats complemented by the threat that any day, Interpol might issue a warrant for his arrest at Jordan's behest.

Mistakenly, Wilders had thought that his own country remained true to democratic ideals, despite cases such as that of the cartoonist Gregorious Nekschot, who was arrested on May 13, 2008, by Dutch police for the criminal offense of "publishing cartoons which are discriminating for Muslims and people with dark skin."

The very notion that a judge could weigh a man's freedom of speech against what the court construed as "one-sided generalizations" is an absurd and dangerous misrepresentation of the very concept of free speech. However, that pales in comparison to the fact that a democratically elected and sitting member of government is going to be prosecuted for a thought crime for speaking to his constituents about matters of national security. In Iran dissdents are routinely arrested for holding opposing political views. Now we are seeing the same tactics being employed in Europe, but this time, enacted by Western governments at the behest of Islamist groups and against their own citizens.

WIlders' "crime" is what the OIC has been working to criminalize on a global level through the United Nations, while advocating the punishment of Westerners who speak out against radical Islam, terrorism, and its sources of financing. It is clear that the OIC's successes in the United Nations -- where the General Assembly passed its "Combating Defamation of Religions" resolution last year -- are already resulting in direct action.

This is no victory for the Netherlands, or for anyone -- save the OIC and Islamo-fascists. The damage being done to free speech, however, is a defeat that will be felt everywhere. When members of a democratic country's legislature can be arrested and tried for expressing ideas that some find objectionable, that country's status as a free and fair democracy is in serious doubt. But while the Dutch will have to come to grips with their government's abject failure to uphold basic principles of human rights, the leaders of other nations must take notice as well.

The OIC has power and influence, and "hate speech" laws provide an extremely malleable tool to silence critics of radical Islam -- even if you are a member of a parliament, or indeed, perhaps, eventually, a member of Congress. Whatever pressure may be brought on the Netherlands to counteract the OIC's influence must be brought to bear. For if Geert Wilders is tried and sentenced, it will establish the precedent Islamists have been striving for -- and one day, none of us will be free to speak out against them.

Brooke M. Goldstein is a practicing attorney, the director of the Legal Project at the Middle East Forum and the director of the Children's Rights Institute. She is also an award-winning film producer of The Making of a Martyr, an adjuct fellow at the Hudson Institute, and the 2007 recipient of the E. Nathaniel Gates Award for Outstanding Public Advocacy. Aaron Meyer is the assistant director of The Legal Project at the Middle East Forum and legal correspondent at the Terror Finance Blog.

Keep an eye on Lieberman

Rightist leader enjoys growing support, appeals to disillusioned voters

Attila Somfalvi - Ynet News

This is no longer merely a question of polls: Avigdor Lieberman and his party, Israel Beiteinu, are on the rise. Lieberman is the bon-ton; he is the new trend. More and more centrist voters despaired with security realities are looking his way.

We can hear it almost everywhere: At coffee shops, during living room conversations, at bars, and during lively discussions around tables packed with red wine.

In respect to the upcoming elections, Lieberman has turned into the last resort; the safe haven. Those who do not want Tzipi Livni or cannot stand Benjamin Netanyahu, and are sick and tired of debating, are shifting over to Lieberman.

The man who only a few years ago was largely ostracized has become the leader of those who lost any hope or faith in the possibility of securing peace or engaging in talks with the Arabs. The war in Gaza indeed restored the public’s sense of security and lowered the anxiety level, yet Lieberman is perceived as the man who will know how to do what needs to be done so that no more missiles land around here.

Excellent coalition partner

Both Livni and Barak, by the way, view Lieberman as an excellent option for coalition partnerships. They see him as a serious man and find him to display pragmatism, even if it is hidden behind the veil of curses he hurls at the Arabs.

The feelings regarding Lieberman’s rise are also supported by in depth research undertaken by the various parties. In Kadima, for example, officials identified 15 Knesset seats that freely move along the center-Left to center-Right axis. These are traditional voters for Likud, Labor, and Kadima – yet all of a sudden, quite a few of them are doing away with their dilemmas and ending up endorsing Lieberman.

Members of the political establishment estimate that Lieberman will be the surprise of the upcoming elections. They say that the polls, as flattering as they may be, are still underestimating his future success.

January 23, 2009

Ex-Detainee Becomes a Qaeda Chief

1/23/2009 NY Times

BEIRUT, Lebanon — The emergence of a former Guantánamo Bay detainee as the deputy
leader of Al Qaeda’s Yemeni branch has underscored the potential complications in carrying out the executive order President Obama signed Thursday ordering the detention center shut down within a year.

The militant, Said Ali al-Shihri, is suspected of involvement in a deadly bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Yemen’s capital, Sana, in September. He was released to Saudi Arabia in 2007 and passed through a Saudi rehabilitation program for former jihadists before resurfacing with Al Qaeda in Yemen.

His status was announced in an Internet statement by the militant
group and was confirmed by a U.S. counter terrorism official.

The development came as Republican legislators criticized the plan to close the Guantánamo Bay detention camp in the absence of any measures for dealing
with current detainees. But it also helps explain why the new administration wants to move cautiously, taking time to work out a plan to cope with the complications.

Almost half the camp’s remaining detainees are Yemenis, and efforts to repatriate them depend in part on the creation of a Yemeni rehabilitation program similar to the Saudi one. The Saudi government has claimed that no graduate of its program has returned to terrorism.

“The lesson here is, whoever receives former Guantánamo detainees
needs to keep a close eye on them,” the U.S. official said.

Long considered a haven for jihadists, Yemen has witnessed a rising number of attacks over the past year. U.S. officials say they suspect that Shihri may have been involved in the car bombings outside the U.S. Embassy in Sana last September that killed 16 people, including six attackers.

Abdulela Shaya, a Yemeni journalist who interviewed Al Qaeda’s leaders in Yemen last year, confirmed Thursday that the deputy leader was indeed Shihri. Shaya said Shihri had supplied his Guantánamo detention number, 372. That is the correct number, Pentagon documents show.

Shihri, 35, trained in urban warfare tactics at a camp north of Kabul, Afghanistan, according to documents released by the Pentagon as part of his Guantánamo dossier. Two weeks after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, he traveled to Afghanistan via Bahrain and Pakistan, and he later told U.S. investigators that his intention
was to do relief work, the documents say. He was wounded in an airstrike and spent a month and a half recovering in a hospital in Pakistan.

The documents state that Shihri met with a group of “extremists” in Iran and helped them get into Afghanistan. They also say he was accused of trying to arrange the assassination of a writer, in accordance with a fatwa, or religious order.

However, under a heading describing reasons for Shihri’s possible
release from Guantánamo, the documents say he claimed that he traveled to Iran “to purchase carpets for his store” in Saudi Arabia.


January 22, 2009

ZOA: Israelis & US Supporters Of 2005 GAZA Withdrawal Should Apologize To Israeli Public, World Jewry & GAZA Jews

The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has called upon Members of the Knesset (MKs) and other Israeli officials, journalists and Jewish leaders who gave their support to the 2005 Gaza/northern Samaria unilateral withdrawal to apologize to the Israeli electorate, which had voted overwhelmingly against that proposal in the January 2003 elections (when then-Labor leader, Amram Mitzna, lost decisively to Likud after campaigning strongly on a platform of unilateral withdrawal), as well as to the Jewish people and the uprooted Jews of Gaza and northern Samaria, whose lives have been turned upside down.

Since the unilateral retreat from Gaza, the terror groups have enjoyed a massive boost in morale and Palestinian support, Gaza has been given over to terror groups who have smuggled in huge amounts of offensive weaponry and launched thousands of rockets upon Israel, while Al Qaeda affiliates have established themselves in the territory which Hamas seized by force from Mahmoud Abbas' Fateh in 2007. Such an apology should include a public recognition that one-sided concessions and withdrawals to an unreconstructed Palestinian Authority (PA) can only lead to more violence, not peace.

In a meeting with American Jewish leaders at Blair House in Washington D. C., on April 13, 2005, before the implementation of the unilateral withdrawal, then-Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon told ZOA's President, Morton Klein , in front of 30 other American Jewish leaders, that the withdrawal would "reduce terror and give Israeli citizens the maximum level of security. It will increase security for the residents of Israel and relieve the pressure on the IDF and security forces." He also said to Klein that once Israel removes the Gaza Jewish communities and leaves Gaza, any military need to intervene in Gaza would be acted upon immediately and with overwhelming force and because of Israel's withdrawal, the whole world would then support anything we need to do. It is now clear that the very opposite has come to pass. Israel waited three years after the Gaza withdrawal and 7,000 missiles later before responding to protect its citizens, and yet the world and the United Nations, from day one, has condemned Israel repeatedly and continuously for her actions and pressured her to stop.

The following is a sampling of comments by Israeli officials who supported unilateral withdrawal, saying it would boost Israeli security and reduce terrorism:

· Then-Defense Minister, current Kadima MK Shaul Mofaz: "I anticipate that the level of terrorism will drop after the disengagement and after pragmatic Arab forces take control." (Israel National News , July 2, 2004); "I'm convinced that the process is necessary and correct. It will give more security to the citizens of Israel , and will reduce the burden carried by the security forces. It will extract the situation out of stagnation and will open the door to another reality, which will allow talks towards co-existence. (Speech to the Knesset, October 2004).

· Current Likud leader, Binyamin Netanyahu: "Let there be no mistake. On the Referendum, I will support the plan." (Speech to the Knesset, October 2004).

· Likud MK Yuval Steinitz: "I think the plan, with these restrictions, is trustworthy. It's not an easy plan, but it has a good chance of improving our geo-strategic situation." (Speech to the Knesset, October 2004).

· Then Likud MK, now Kadima MK Meir Shitreet: "Some argue that there will be a threat, threat of escaping, threat to the Negev communities. I have never heard such a ridiculous claim. (Speech to the Knesset, October 2004).

· Labor MK Dani Yatom: "Before the withdrawal from Lebanon , the Intelligence Directorate also threatened us with Katyushas reaching Hadera and we see what actually happened. I estimate, and my estimate is just as valid as those that threaten us with horrors, that after we leave the Gaza Strip, terrorism will decrease, not increase." (Maariv , February 5, 2004).

· Labor MK Orit Noked: "I want to believe that as a result of the eviction from Gaza , moderate Palestinian factions will grow stronger, terrorism will be reduced." (Speech to the Knesset, October 2004).

· Labor MK Ofer Pines: "I want to thanks [then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon for the unilateral withdrawal policy] for he gives me and my wife hope that my son, when recruited, won't have to serve in Gaza Strip." (Speech to the Knesset, October 2004).
· Meretz MK Ran Cohen: "The Disengagement is good for security. Right wing representatives spoke of Qassem rockets flying here or there. I'm telling you, if you want to spare both Sderot and Ashkelon, we have to understand that if we won't get out of Gaza Strip, in two-three years, or even a year, the range will extend to Ashkelon ." (Speech to the Knesset, October 2004).

Other Likud MKs, including current Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, current foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, Silvan Shalom and Limor Livnat also voted in favor of the unilateral withdrawal policy.

ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, "These statements which have been proved so disastrously mistaken, should not be forgotten as we contemplate the past three years of rapid security deterioration in the southern part of Israel . Whole cities like Sderot have seen a third of their population move away despairing of their safety and a normal life amid constant rockets, sirens, and life beneath ground in bunkers. Ashkelon with its vital national infrastructures has been struck repeatedly with missiles. Israel 's second largest port, Ashdod , is being hit. A missile has now reached the outskirts of Tel Aviv. About a million Israelis now lives in daily fear and insecurity from the rocket attacks that increased exponentially since the unilateral withdrawal from Gaza, did not end with the so-called ceasefire of last year, and were resumed with renewed intensity prior to Israel's launching of Operation Cast Lead on December 27.

"In these circumstances, it is high time for all MKs, journalists and others, regardless of party affiliation, who supported the process of unilateral withdrawal to apologize to the Israeli electorate. They should explain that they now understand the disastrous consequences of unilateral concessions to an unreconstructed Palestinian terror regime. They should acknowledge and apologize for the fact that implementing the unilateral withdrawal from Gaza and northern Samaria deeply harmed the lives of the 10,000 Jewish men, women and children who were forcibly uprooted from their homes, synagogues, schools and businesses in Gaza for no gain at all and that, as a result, peace is further away than ever.

"Doing so would help restore public trust in the Knesset and the political system and be the best demonstration of honesty and the willingness of political figures to stand accountable to the electorate for mistaken and failed policies which they advocated. We fully endorse the sentiments expressed today by the distinguished veteran journalist, Nadav Shragai in Haaretz, (the New York Times of Israel) in his piece 'Just say you're sorry' which we reproduce below:

Now, after the war and just before the election whirlwind sucks in our politicians once again, it would be appropriate for many of them to go out of their way and visit the mobile-home sites where those uprooted from Gush Katif live. This way they can tell them one small thing: I'm sorry.

Tzipi Livni, Ehud Olmert, Shaul Mofaz and Benjamin Netanyahu , the Israel Defense Forces and the police should do this - they, their agents and everyone else who initiated, implemented and aided in using force to uproot 10,000 people from their homes in Gush Katif and Northern Samaria , maliciously and without any real purpose. Everyone who saw some good in the evil of the disengagement and evil in the good of Gush Katif has turned light into darkness and darkness into light. At the very least, they are obligated to make this small apology.

This includes the judges of the High Court of Justice who did not even bother to visit Gush Katif and made do with defense experts acting on behalf of the state 'because that is the position of the court since it was founded.' The justices who ruled as they did because they automatically assumed that such a plan 'improves the security situation' because 'the evacuation reduces the desire of the Palestinians to harm the Israeli population.' It would be appropriate for the honorable justices to take a vacation day as an act of forgiveness and go down south for a close-up look at the results of their decisions.

This also includes the media, which provided a challenge for Ariel Sharon and allowed him to turn a prosperous agricultural land, a world full of communities, synagogues, yeshivas and magnificent educational institutions into piles of rubble. Also the heads of the IDF and Shin Bet security service who never spoke in public what they whispered in the backrooms, and the soldiers and policemen who dragged the pioneers of Kfar Darom and Neveh Dekalim from their houses while raining blows on the demonstrators who understood what would come.

The apology must also include everyone who painted those who warned that the rockets from Gaza would reach Sderot, Ashdod and Be'er Sheva as delusional and opponents of peace. Everyone who promised that they would 'give it to them' after the first Qassam, but in the end cried about the moral and international constraints that prevented them from doing so, and for years abandoned the south. It must include those who took the name of democracy in vain and aided Sharon in deceiving Likud members and breaking his promises to honor Likud's decisions once it became clear to Sharon that the party's members did not agree with him.

You, too, who paid almost no attention to the hundreds of thousands who tried to stop the evil, who paid no attention to those who internalized the lessons of Oslo and warned that we should not give them land and guns again. You who paid no attention to those who warned of the Hamastan state, foresaw exactly the trajectories of the rockets, and understood that this was something we gave away for free, a further disintegration of our power of deterrence and an adrenaline shot for terror.

Now rise and ask for forgiveness from those who paid the highest price, with their bodies, souls and property for your close-mindedness, arrogance and wickedness. Ask for forgiveness from the Gush Katif expellees, the noble souls who did not steal land from anyone, who made the empty dunes bloom as ambassadors of the State of Israel and who turned into the south's security buffer and absorbed over 6,000 Qassams and mortar shells with their bodies and belongings in the last years of Gush Katif.

Ask for forgiveness from those who swore to "win with love" - who believed and sowed until the very last minute; from those who did not raise a hand against the soldiers. Apologize to those who continued to enlist in the IDF and pay the ultimate price even after they were expelled from their houses, because they understood that the state - the national homeland of the Jewish people, even within limited borders - is still bigger than any mistaken and confused government.

There is no way to know if they will forgive you, but you at least need to ask."