Saturday, April 30, 2011

More Reasons to Love Israel

There are always good reasons to love Israel. Here are 63+1 more. My favorite is #54. 

Friday, April 29, 2011

Ill Winds Blowing from Egypt

Looks like the media honeymoon with the "soon-to-be-democratic" Egypt may be over. Even the New York Times has it: "Egypt warms to Iran and Hamas". 

The Guy With the Bandage

Read about Bernard Bar-Natan and how his bandage may have saved Rep. Gabrielle Gifford's life. 

Thursday, April 28, 2011

A Very Good Question

The Wall Street Journal asks today: "Why Is Obama Protecting Assad". Indeed, an excellent question. 

Even the Guardian Has Given Up on Assad

When the Guardian has a headline like this: "Bashar al-Assad's crackdown kills UK hopes of a new dawn", with a sub-head: "Britain's decade-long optimism that Syria's autocratic regime in Damascus would relax has turned to dust" - you know that Assad has lost all support in the West. 

That'll Teach 'Em!

Britain has withdrawn the invite to the Syrian ambassador to tomorrow's royal wedding between Bill and Kate! If that doesn't stop Assad's slaughtering of his own people, then nothing will! 

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Words Will Never Hurt Me

Assad has learned his lessons well from Ahmadinejad: sticks and stones may break some bones, but words - which is all the EU and US have - will never hurt him. He can go on killing with impunity: who is going to stop him? 

Batten Down the Hatches

If the news about a PA-Hamas rapprochement is true, Bibi's planned speech to a joint session of Congress is pretty much rendered mute. Given what's going on in the region and the apparent agreement between PA and Hamas, we can pretty much batten down the hatches and forget for the time being about 2-state, land-for-peace, or anything else as non-sensical. 

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Syrians Shot Down While Chanting "We Are Peaceful"

From Commentary's Contentions: "A friend sent me a link to this  clip on YouTube, which apparently shows Syrian security forces shooting down peaceful demonstrators. It takes a strong stomach to watch this—it is not for the faint of heart. The sights of protesters, some of them little more than children, awash in blood is beyond revolting. I admit that I stopped watching about halfway through when I saw images of a man with the lower half of his face shot away. Yes, this is horrible stuff: be warned. There is a big difference between seeing Hollywood special effects and seeing the real thing."

Abbas Sets the Record Straight - Again

Not news - but Abbas has reiterated once again what we already know: President Obama drove Abbas up a tree that he couldn't come down and set back the peace process by 20 years.

ABAB - "Anything Better than Bashar Assad"

Here's an incredible statement from an AP article quoting a resident of Daraa in Syria, where thousands of Assad's tanks and troops are indiscriminately killing civilians and going from house to house rounding up suspected protesters: ""Let Obama come and take Syria. Let Israel come and take Syria. Let the Jews come," shouted one Daraa resident over the phone. "Anything is better than Bashar Assad," he said, playing on Syria's hatred for Israel to highlight how much town residents despise their leader."

The Ultimate Ally

Israel's ambassador to the United States, Michael Oren, lays out in Foreign Policy a most convincing case for Israel as the United State's ultimate ally. 

Sunday, April 24, 2011

10,000 Important Words

An incredible Passover interview with IDF ethicist Asa Kasher. There is a reason why Israel is considered "the most moral army in the world". No other army, anywhere, thinks about and acts on these issues as Israel does. 

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Obama's Silence on Syria: Making Absolutely No Sense

Assad looks like a goner. However much he may want, he can't mow down 20-40,000 Syrian citizens as his father did in Hama in 1982. What makes no sense is Obama's silence on Syria. Is it because his policy of "engagement" has been a total embarrassment? American interest at this point would seem to be blatantly obvious. 

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Why Are Those Israelis So Damn Happy?

We may be "officially" number 8, but "Spengler" at Asia Times Online, one of the world's most prescient columnists, makes a case that Israelis are the happiest people in the world. 

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Saudis Giving Up On Obama

According to this piece, the Saudis have given up on the US (and Israel) stopping Iran from developing nuclear weapons. 

Telling It Like It Is

Vittorio Arrigoni, the "peace activitst" from the extreme anti-Israel International Solidarity Movement who was killed by yet even more extreme Muslims, has been glorified by Western media, including the New York Times, of course, for his "humanitarian" activities designed to assist Hamas in any way possible in its goal of killing Jews and destroying Israel. Here are a couple of other perspectives - including on Arrigoni's "death wish" and lust for his own self-extinction. 

Sunday, April 17, 2011

What's All This Noise About Soviet Jewelry?

Whoops. Tom Friedman seems to be eating his words. He was very critical - obnoxiously so - of Israel's wariness towards Egypt's "revolution" a couple of months ago. Seems to changed his tune a bit. Here's Jonathan Chait's parody of Friedman as well.

"Interestingly enough, I found a similar reaction on my most recent trip to neighboring Libya. I took the TNR helicopter downtown into Misrata to be close to the center of the protest movements. Looking through the tinted windows of my car as I sped through town, I spotted a well-maintained villa that seemed like an appropriate reporting base, and asked the driver to pull over. Walking briskly past the outreached hands of the crowds seeking to touch the hem of my pants leg, my translator approached the owner of the home and began negotiating an acceptable purchase price."

"
When I handed him the check, he said, "Jonathan Chait? Author of TRB and the eponymous blog?" I nodded my head kindly. He suddenly started burbling up with questions. Is Nato's intervention a game-changer? Would Qaddafi have an Anwar Sadat Moment? And why was this Paul Ryan claiming to solve our fiscal problems when clearly his budget did not solve our fiscal problems?"

"
I wanted to put his fears to rest, but at the same time, I did not want to give away the material for the lecture that several thousand people had paid good money to see me deliver later that night in Monaco. So I simply placed my hand on his shoulder, and smiled warmly."

Rabbi Perlo and The Big Lie - My Personal Saga

If you haven't heard, there is a major battle brewing and it has nothing to do with Libya, Tunisia, Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Bahrain, Saudia Arabia, Oman, Qatar or even Gaza. Rabbi Daniel Gordis, in his column, "Of sermons and strategies", fired the opening salvo:

"This battleground, strange though it may sound, is the world of rabbinic training in America. Now, if you’re tempted to say, “Are you kidding? With everything going on in the world, in Japan, the Middle East, Israel and more, you’re worried about a few dozen students studying Talmud? Well, yes, I am. Why? Because the impact of these people – most of them bright, decent, thoughtful and deeply Jewishly committed – is exponential. Each one of them influences hundreds of others, and the best and the brightest ultimately have enormous national influence."

And Gordis goes on to give just one of several examples: "Consider the following item: Not long ago, a student at one of America’s recognized rabbinic schools sent a note to the school’s e-mail list saying that it was time to buy a new tallit. Seeking advice about what to buy and where to get it, the student noted that there was only one stipulation, the tallit could not be made in Israel."...

I don't know Rabbi Scott Perlo: I'm sure he's a lovely young man doing fine work for his congregation, Adat Shalom, in West L.A. But in his feeble attempt to rebut Gordis, he uses the Big Lie technique to demonize Israel - and prove Gordis's point while he's at it. He writes (and I'm not making this up) in his criticism of Israel: "My favorite book store in the genteel German colony displays Meir Kahane’s writings as a featured purchase, not to be missed. A nine-year-old Chabad kid called me a coward when I told him that burning furniture on street corners was a bad way to protest the disengagement. Posters on the streets of Jerusalem celebrate Baruch Goldstein as a hero."

OK, I'm not a total idiot. I live in the "genteel German colony" and I know the book stores in the neighborhood: Tamir, Steimatzki's and "Olom Katan" - where the most radical book is the writings of Shlomo Carlebach; the only burning of furniture that I have ever seen is around Lag B'omer; and I have never once seen a celebratory poster for Baruch Goldstein.

Just to confirm, I race outside to Emek Refaim and walk from Rechov Graetz to Yochanan Ben Zakai (there's a little history for you!) and verify that in my 31 years in Israel there was not some bookstore that I perchance missed. Just to make sure, I find Rabbi Perlo on Facebook (where else?) and send him a note asking him where this bookstore might be - you know, the genteel German colony one that displays Meir Kahane's writings as a featured purchase.

L
o and behold, his answer gets to me as I am on my evening walk between Rechov Hamagid and Gan Sachar. He writes: "The place is called חברותא (Hevruta: TW) - it's just below HaPalmach on a street parallel, and is a lovely Torah bookstore in the Colony. It, like many of the seforim shops, has a Kahane section. The Goldstein posters show up around Purim every year (usually on King George) as that's the date of the massacre/his death. They invite people to an evening of prayer on behalf of this "humble, goodhearted, saintly man." As you might imagine, the more towards Kikar Shabbat you get, the more there are." 

I
n fact, when his message gets to me I am one block from the "Hevruta" book store (which, by the way, is on Rechov Halamed Hey Street [does he have any idea by the way, who the "lamed hey" are?] - which is most definitely NOT in the German Colony; it's in Old Katamon; and never mind for a moment his ridiculous claim that most "seforim shops" - or "s'farim", if you're speaking Israeli Hebrew - carry "Kahane sections; or, his demonization of Haredim who live near Kikar Shabbat in Mea She'arim). I walk in, of course, look around: I see Steinsaltz, Soloveitchik, Haggadot of all kinds, religious books of every shape and size, but no "writings of Meir Kahane as a featured purchase", or in fact anything related to Kahane in any shape or form. Finally, I give up and go to the manager of the store and sheepishly explain my story. Guess what: she hasn't a clue as to what I am talking about.

So this is how too many American rabbis, as Gordis suggests, want to play their ugly game. This is just the beginning in a long battle that we must win - for them and for us. Chag sameach! 

Friday, April 15, 2011

No Good News Coming From Egypt

The hopes of those who were proclaiming a new dawn for democracy in Egypt are being dampened day by day. There is no good news coming out of Egypt with regards to Israel. It's not even clear that the peace treaty between the two countries, cold but effective as it was, will survive. 

Can't Be Radical Enough

Even this long-time Italian radical from the debased International Solidarity Movement wasn't good enough for these guys. This website has a video of the kidnapping (not for the faint of heart). 

Preferring the Devil He Knows

Like in Iran, President Obama and his administration doesn't want to give up on his dream of "engagement" and prefers the devil he knows. “President Obama has not personally condemned the regime. The White House has not yet issued sanctions against officials who ordered soldiers to fire on peaceful demonstrators. The White House will not say whether they will pursue a Syria specific resolution at the U.N. Human Rights Council,” said an opposition representative. 

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Ha'aretz and Lieberman on the Same Page

As I mentioned a couple of days ago, Lieberman got it right on this one. Ha'aretz's military correspondent Israel Harel totally agrees. Israel should not have agreed to the ceasefire in Gaza - all we did was give Hamas time to regroup and try to smuggle in more weapons. A mistake that may come back to haunt us. 

Preventing Collateral Damage

The most moral army in the world gets even more moral

US Says Iran Helping Put Down Syrian Demonstrations

According to the Wall Street Journal:

Iran is secretly helping Syrian President Bashar al-Assad put down pro-democracy demonstrations, according to U.S. officials, who say Tehran is providing gear to suppress crowds and assistance blocking and monitoring protesters' use of the Internet, cellphones and text-messaging.
At the same time, communications intercepted by U.S. spy agencies show Tehran is actively exploring ways to aid some Shiite hardliners in Bahrain and Yemen and destabilize longstanding U.S. allies there, say U.S. officials familiar with the intelligence. Such moves could challenge interests of the U.S. and Saudi Arabia and inflame sectarian tensions across the Middle East, they say.
"We believe that Iran is materially assisting the Syrian government in its efforts to suppress their own people," said an Obama administration official.
This all begs the question, of course: Why does the Obama administration continue their two-track "engagement" policy with Tehran and Damascus? 

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Baby Butcher of Damascus

Former US ambassador to Morroco, Marc Ginsburg, tells Obama and his administration to stop the dual-track engagement nonsense with Assad. In the meantime, more than 200 Syrian protesters have been killed and demonstrations have now spread to campuses, where a student for the first time has been killed as well. No chance for Assad to survive all of this. Meanwhile, Max Boot wonders why the US isn't doing more to topple the Assad regime. "Having thrown our weight behind the protesters in Egypt and Libya, it is hard to see why we are not doing more to help topple Bashar al Assad—one of the linchpins of the Iranian strategy to dominate the region."

Google Exodus

The Passover story told through social networking.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Iron Dome in Action

Israel's newly deployed Iron Dome system intercepted at least 8 Grad missiles headed for Israeli centers of population in the south. You can watch it here and below in Hebrew.

Hypocrisy to the Jth Degree

Hypocrisy with a BIG capital H, and that rhymes with J and that spells J Street. The faux pro-Israel group lauded South African judge Richard Goldstone of "Goldstone Report" fame for retracting claims of Israel's Gaza war crimes. This is the same J Street that helped arranged visits for Goldstone to Capitol Hill. 

Have to Say It

I have to say it: Lieberman's not wrong on this one. A situation where Hamas decides when Gaza heats up and when there's a lull, which they use to smuggle even more arms in, is untenable. 

No-fly Zone Over Gaza?

You just knew this was coming. Israel vs NATO warplanes? What will they think of next? And where's Obama and his administration going to be on this one? I'm not taking any bets. 

Friday, April 8, 2011

Long Arm of the IDF Reaches Sudan?

Could this have been an IDF attack? Could be also that Israel has something else in mind: "Washington this year initiated the process to remove Sudan from its list of state sponsors of terror after a peaceful January referendum in which the country's south voted to secede".

To "Rogercohenize"

Roger Cohen has a new verb - "to Goldstone". Well, I got a new verb, too: to "rogercohenize". Definition: to villify the Jewish nation any time you see fit, singling out Israel for opprobrium against rhyme or reason, facts or figures. Come to think of it, that's the same definition I would give to the word "Antisemitism", which makes "rogercohenize" and "Antisemite" synonyms and terms that are virtually interchangeable. 

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Indictment Filed Against Rocket Godfather

This story has been under official wraps (gag order) for awhile. Dirar Abu Sisi, a Palestinian engineer from Gaza, was apparently abducted while in the Ukraine and brought to Israel under a heavy cloud of secrecy. The release of the indictment yesterday lifts at least a bit of the veil off of this unfolding and very interesting story. 

Goldstone to Actively Work to Nullify UN Report

He's going to wait "for the dust to settle" - not necessarily a bad idea - but he says he wants to come to Israel and to also work to nullify the report. This will pit him against his former allies and supporters. Dicey stuff. 

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Best Responses to Goldstone Recantation

Here are some of the better responses to Goldstone's renouncement of the UN report that carries his name: David Horovitz in the Jerusalem Post; Melanie Phillips in the Spectator; Ron Radosh in Pajamas Media; Jonathan Tobin in Commentary; even Jeffrey Goldberg in The Atlantic (and here as well).

John Podhoretz perhaps expresses it best: "...The simple fact is this: That Richard Goldstone did not know in 2009 that Hamas is a terrorist monstrosity which functions parasitically off civilian populaces while Israel is a beacon of war-fighting restraint in a manner practically unknown in the course of human history suggests even more plainly than the report itself that he is a dupe, a fool, a clown, and a worldwide embarrassment. Not to mention a special kind of reprehensible and appalling figure of inglorious, hideous shame to his own people through the delivery and promulgation of a false document that helped anti-Semites everywhere feel themselves justified".

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Bernard Lewis: The Tyrannies Are Doomed

A fascinating interview by Bari Weiss in the Wall Street Journal with the West's leading scholar on the Middle East, Bernard Lewis, still going strong at 95. 

Goldstone Reconsiders - Sort Of...

Richard Goldstone, the notorious Apartheid-era judge who sent tens of South African blacks to death sentences, beatings and enforced racial laws, and who led the anti-Israel UN Human Rights Council's "fact-finding" mission to investigate "international human rights and humanitarian law violations" following the 2008 Gaza War, apparently has had enough of being ostracized by the worldwide Jewish community for being, well, let's say it like it is, a traitor to his people. Thus, he has tried today to "reconsider" his infamous "Goldstone Report" in an article released today in the Washington Post. Of course, he can't really look in the mirror, so "if only Israel wold have cooperated", naturally, the heinous report that carries his name and imprimatur, did singular damage to Israel and contributed profoundly to the campaign of delegitimization against Israel, would have been vastly different. Too little, too late. Let him tell it to a different judge. 

Friday, April 1, 2011

They Tried to Kill Us, We Won - Now We're Changing the World

In a wide-ranging interview in with the Jerusalem Post's David Horovitz, "Start-up Nation" co-author Saul Singer talks about his book as well as changing the Israeli narrative from, "They Tried to Kill Us, We Won, Let's Eat" to "They Tried to Kill Us, We Won - Now We're Changing the World". And in between a nice corned beef on rye would be nice as well. 

Moral Bankruptcy and Strategic Incomprehensibility

In an administration with a foreign policy that can only be described as unfathomable and obtuse, nothing perhaps tops Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's comments indicating that Bashar al-Assad is likely to be a "reformer". The scornful Hebrew phrase, "ein l'hem musag" ("they don't have a clue" - "אין להם מושג"), used in loud arguments (and Israelis generally don't have any other kind) when you want to tell someone that they are basically full of it, sounds entirely appropriate. Charles Krauthammer befittingly skewers Hillary and the Obama administration for their moral bankruptcy and strategic incomprehensibility.