Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Rafiah Tunnel Vision



By Elliot Chodoff

The vehemence of the worldwide condemnation of Israel for the IDF operation into Rafiah this week surprised even some veteran Israeli commentators. The UN Security Council resolution, the US abstention, President Bush’s statement that the operation did not serve Israel’s security interests, along with condemnations from European and other world leaders, fueled a media-led debate over the wisdom of the scope of Operation Rainbow, as the Rafiah incursion has been dubbed by the IDF.

It is telling that the cries of “unacceptable,” to quote Peter Hansen, Commissioner-General of UNRWA, are applied to IDF operations in Rafiah, but the terrorist murders of a Jewish family in the same area are greeted with a thundering silence. The one-sidedness of the world response is matched only by the feigned or actual ignorance of the many commentators who describe the operation as a pretext to invade Rafiah, kill innocent civilians and wantonly demolish homes.

To begin to set the record straight, we must go back some 10 years when the IDF, following the dictates of the Oslo Accords, withdrew from the Palestinian population centers in Gaza including Rafiah, and handed over control to the Palestinian Authority of Yasir Arafat. According to the terms of the agreement, Israel would remain in control of the international border with Egypt, and transit of people and goods were subject to Israel border oversight. Almost immediately, tunnels were begun to be dug under the 50 meter wide patrol strip separating Rafiah under Palestinian Authority control and that part of the city found on the Egyptian side of the border.

During the optimistic years of the Peace Process, Israeli security experts looked on with concern as a network of tunnels were dug under their noses, with the support of local PA warlords and under the direction of powerful family heads in Rafiah. These tunnels provided an open route to smuggle goods, drugs, weapons, ammunition and terrorists across the border, avoiding Israeli border control. Over the years, these tunnels provided hundreds of thousands of dollars in illegal income to the local families and a concomitant amount in kickbacks to the local strongmen. Simultaneously, the underground arsenals of the terrorist organizations grew to frightening proportions.

With the outbreak of the fighting in September 2000, the IDF command in Gaza was faced with a difficult dilemma: how to reduce the flow of weapons and ammunition to the terrorist organizations that were now engaged in a shooting war with Israel? The obvious solution, an incursion into Rafiah to locate and destroy the tunnels, was rejected for fear of inflicting civilian casualties. Instead, a “tunnel unit” was established made up of engineering corps officers and NCO’s in an attempt to find creative solutions to the tunnel problem. After two years of research and analysis, they came up empty handed.

In the aftermath of Operation Defensive Wall in April 2002, a series of incursions into Rafiah located a number of tunnels. Their destruction marked a limited success for the IDF, but the victory was short lived. Given the fact that an operating tunnel can net some $50,000 a day for the family head who commissions and owns it, the incentive to dig more and deeper tunnels far overshadowed the cost of losing them. Tunnels were dug deeper, some reaching depths of 10 meters and more (over 30 feet), children were employed to dig around the clock, and when poor conditions led to tunnel collapse and the death of a child, there were plenty more to take his place.

Under these circumstances, and with clear evidence of massive quantities of munitions crossing the border through the tunnels, the decision was made to launch Operation Rainbow. Its objective, the elimination of the tunnels and the cessation of the weapons smuggling that has been the lifeblood of the Palestinian terrorist organizations, is not punitive but military and preventive.

There is no question that the Palestinian civilian population in Rafiah is suffering during the IDF operation, as any civilian population would when it finds itself in a war zone. The fact remains that the IDF has done much to attempt to alleviate the civilian suffering as best it can during battle, including assisting residents in acquiring food and water (an act that cost two IDF soldiers their lives last week) as well as attempting to keep noncombatants out of the line of fire (two were shot and killed by terrorists as they attempted to leave the combat zone according to IDF instructions).

Paradoxically, the scale of forces used in the operation, over two infantry battalions supported by an armored battalion, was necessitated by the fact that the terrorists in Rafiah are so heavily armed thanks to the tunnel smuggling network. To use less force in Rafiah would be tactical folly for the IDF, which would probably suit the UN and other critics just fine. After all, Israeli casualties, civilian and military, are perfectly acceptable to them.

Friday, May 21, 2004

STATEMENT BY AMBASSADOR DAN GILLERMAN,
PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE OF ISRAEL TO THE UNITED NATIONS


United Nations Security Council, May 19, 2004



We convene here as usual, at the urgent behest of the Palestinian
Observer, under a barrage of information, misinformation and disinformation.
I wish to state emphatically and officially that the numbers distributed by
the Palestinians about the events in Rafah today are exaggerated and totally
false. I can only express my disappointment that some members of the
international community, including sadly in the statement attributed to the
Secretary-General, have been misled by the Palestinian propaganda machine to
false conclusions which do not reflect the facts on the ground. We have
unfortunately not heard such strong sentiments expressed when innocent
Israelis were slain.

So first, let us get the facts straight: During a large procession of
several thousand demonstrators, which included many gunmen, seven
Palestinians were killed, of which four to five were armed terrorists. The
incident occurred as the crowd left central Rafah along the main road
towards IDF forces in Tel-Sultan. The demonstration was organized by none
other than the [PA], in violation of the established curfew.

While Israel regrets any loss of civilian life, these numbers put into
proportion today's incident which itself took place under conditions of
heavy fighting by Palestinian terrorists. Under the incredibly difficult
circumstances in which Israel has taken action against the terrorist
infrastructure in the Gaza Strip, terrorists operate amongst civilians and
tragedy can strike. Israel has done and will continue to do everything it
can to prevent harm to innocent civilians.

The Palestinian Observer has described the litany of Palestinian
suffering without pointing a finger at those responsible for this
suffering-his own corrupt and evil leadership who, while rejecting offers of
peace by Israel and the international community, have resorted to terror and
violence-dragging Israel, the whole region, and the Palestinians down a road
of horror, bloodshed and destruction. The Palestinian leadership has brought
on itself the reality described, albeit blatantly and biased, by the
Palestinian Observer. We find it regrettable that certain members of the
Council are galvanized to condemn Israel's response to the ongoing
Palestinian terrorist campaign, and not those actions that have brought the
region to despair and compelled Israel to take defensive measures.

Once again the members of the Council are forced to convene to debate a
draft text that should absolve any careful observer of the illusion that the
intent of its drafters is the improvement of the situation in the region and
the encouragement of a fair, lasting and comprehensive peace settlement. The
one-sided text before us this afternoon rebukes Israel but fails to
expressly condemn-by name and not ambiguous terminology-the Palestinian
terrorism that necessitated Israeli action. The Palestinian delegation has
once again rejected any language that seeks to recognize any consideration
for the legitimate aims of Israel's defensive counter-terrorist operation.
To be frank, this blatant and one-sided posture is more a blemish on the
record of those who presented this draft resolution to the Council, much
more a transparent exercise in double standards, than it is an admonition of
Israeli conduct.

The Security Council has never dealt with the dangers to peace and
security of smuggling arms through the tunnels of Rafah from Egypt. It did
not meet to condemn the horrendous desecration of the bodies of Israeli
soldiers, young men who were killed during a defensive operation to
dismantle these tunnels. It did not come together following the hijacking of
an UNRWA ambulance by armed elements in Gaza last week. It did not stand up
against the murder of a mother and her four daughters in the Gaza Strip or
the continuing cultivation of a culture of hate and destruction by the
Palestinian leadership. The Council will not serve the cause of peace in the
Middle East by condemning Israeli actions and ignoring the violence,
terrorism, and incitement that continues to emanate from the Palestinian
leadership. Such repeated rituals embolden terrorism and not those that seek
to dismantle it.

Today Israel stands at the gates of hell in the Gaza Strip. The southern
city of Rafah serves as the "Arms Smuggling Gateway" of the [PA] and the
main pipeline for transporting weapons and ammunition into Gaza. Since
September 2000, subterranean tunnels constructed underneath the "Philadelphi
Route" have been used by Iran and Hizbullah, as well as by Palestinian
terrorist organizations like Hamas and the PFLP for turning the Gaza Strip
into a base for missile and rocket attacks against Israeli targets. These
tunnels of terror provide the conduit for the smuggling of large amounts of
diverse weapons.which are entirely incompatible with signed agreements and
any plan for a return to non-violent negotiations.

Israel views the illicit trade and trafficking in small arms and light
weapons as a humanitarian issue, as well as a security one. We cannot forget
for a moment that the terrorists seek not only to harm civilians in the
locations they target, but also in the locations in which they seek shelter
and from where they launch their attack. The Rafah tunnels are typically dug
inside residential homes to evade discovery by Israeli security personnel,
in blatant disregard for the safety and well-being of Palestinian civilians.
They are concealed under bathrooms, living rooms and kitchens. They are
intentionally hidden under the beds of children and little babies, concealed
by loose planks and rags.

The smuggling of massive arsenals and weapons at epidemic proportions,
and the cynical use of civilian areas to launch terrorist attacks,
invariably leads to the loss of innocent life and affects the basic right of
people to lead their lives peacefully. Last year numerous demonstrations by
local residents were staged.to protest the ongoing "policy of apathy" among
the leadership of the PA.

Unfortunately, Israel does not have the luxury of pursuing this policy of
apathy and inaction. Faced with the failure of the Palestinian leadership to
comply with its obligations to fight terrorism, stop incitement and prevent
the smuggling of weapons, Israel remains obligated to act in self-defense
against a threat that poses a clear and present danger to innocent lives
while upholding its obligations under international law. Palestinian
terrorist organizations operating in Gaza have commenced in executing a
systematic plan to turn Gaza into a platform for launching rockets and
missiles capable of reaching the entire aerial territory of Israel. In fact,
the whole of Gaza, and Rafah in particular, is on the verge of becoming a
missile base aimed at Israel's cities and civilian population. What would
the international community have Israel do? Just sit back and wait for this
horrific scenario to materialize?.
The purpose of the current IDF action in Gaza is to terminate the
transfer of all illegal weapons by underground tunnels to Gaza. And just
this week, the IDF discovered a new tunnel in Rafah already activated for
use in smuggling arms into Gaza. The tunnel was 150 meters long, 5 meters
deep and had 4 openings that led directly into Palestinian homes in the
area.

IDF actions in Gaza have been criticized as collective punishment. Let me
be clear: These tunnels are collective in their harm to all peoples in the
area but require a response that is precise and decisive in its effect.
While certain security measures taken in self-defense and necessitated by
terrorist threats do unfortunately cause hardships to sectors of the
Palestinian population, this is categorically not their intent. The IDF does
not demolish structures indiscriminately. Only those involved in terror and
violence against Israeli civilians hold no immunity. Under international
law, these structures are considered legitimate military targets. This is
common knowledge-and yet it is too often that.this Council is called upon to
apply a different standard to Israel.

While operating against the terrorist infrastructure, Israel is doing its
utmost to minimize the humanitarian impact on the civilian population.
Israel refrains whenever possible from attacking terrorist targets from the
air or with artillery, in order to minimize collateral damage. In so doing,
Israel risks greater danger to the lives of its soldiers in order to lessen
the risk to local residents. The death of 13 soldiers in ground operations
in the Gaza Strip earlier this month is an example of the heavy price Israel
pays for its commitment to minimize Palestinian civilian casualties. This
was not the first time that the strict employment of such standards has
resulted in the death of Israelis.

Israel's action in Gaza is all the more critical in the face of the
failure of the Palestinian leadership to act determinedly against this
threat. Today, weapons smuggling is run and managed by terrorist
organizations with the approval and active participation of the [PA].
Amazingly enough, the PA has actually encouraged residents to conceal
tunnels in their residences, which results in the demolition of their home.
Despite all of this, Israel's [PM] remains committed to promoting his plan
for disengagement from Gaza. Earlier this month, leaders from the
international community met.to discuss ideas for implementing this Israeli
initiative. There was a general agreement that the plan would improve the
situation in Gaza... However, the Palestinian response has been to increase
violence and to renew its commitment to terror. Just two days ago, Yasser
Arafat addressed his people calling on them to "terrorize the enemy." .The
complete and utter refusal of the [PA] to prevent these actions violates the
most basic norms of human rights, morality, signed agreements and peace
plans such as the Road Map. If the [PA] had acted to fulfill its
responsibilities. there would be no need for the current IDF activity.

It should be emphasized: it is the Palestinians, not Israel, that have
turned civilian homes into military targets. Rather than criticizing Israel
for damaging private property, those truly concerned for Palestinian welfare
including humanitarian organizations in the area should instead demand that
the terrorists stop using homes to shield their illegal operations.

Israel has no war with the Palestinian people. The Prime Minister has
stated clearly that Israel believes in the vision of two states, side by
side, in peace and security. We have a war with terror, and with those who
are determined not to create the Palestinian state, but to destroy the
Jewish one. For nearly four years, Israelis have been the victims of a
relentless and ongoing campaign by Palestinian terrorists to spread death
and destruction. A genuine and responsible Palestinian leadership must be
called finally and in clear terms-not in the faltering language of this
typically one-sided resolution-to fight a war with terror too. It is time
that we should ask the Palestinian leadership whether inciting terror,
smuggling weapons and celebrating by dancing with the limbs of the dead are
helping the cause of their people.

Achieving peace is simply not possible in an atmosphere of violence and
terrorism. This draft resolution regrettably does nothing to further peace
in the Middle East. Sadly, until the Palestinian people produce a credible
and sane leadership that truly wants peace, is willing to dismantle the
infrastructure of terror, and negotiate in good faith, no resolution will.

Thursday, May 20, 2004

Remarks by Sen. Joe Lieberman

To the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee Policy Conference

May 16, 2004

"Baruchim Habaim"

Blessed be you who have come to Washington in the name of the Lord. Now let
me tell you why I offer that special greeting.

AIPAC -- the American Israel Public Affairs Committee -- is 50 years old this
year, but it really began more than 4,000 years ago with the first words God
spoke to Abraham in Genesis, Chapter 12:

"Now get thee unto the land that I will show thee, and I will make thee a
great nation."

That was the covenantal promise repeated to Isaac and Jacob and then to
Moses, who, with God's help, brought the children of Israel out of bondage to Mount
Sinai to receive the Ten Commandments "their statement of national purpose
and values" and then, 40 years later, brought them to the land that was
promised, to the land of Israel.

There, more than 3,000 years ago, King David entered Jerusalem and declared
it to be the capital of Israel. He brought the Ark of the Covenant and the Ten
Commandments to the City where his son, Solomon, built the Holy Temple to
house them and to honor God's creation and God's law. Thus, in one place was
created the political capital of a people and the religious center of that people's
faith.

Almost 2,600 years ago, on a dark day, the Temple was destroyed by
Nebuchadnezzar. The Jewish people went into a brief exile, returning 48 years later to
rebuild it. But the Temple was to be destroyed once more, 1,934 years ago, by
Titus. And again, most "though not all" Jews were forced to flee Jerusalem
and Israel.

For nearly 1,900 years, Jews in the Diaspora prayed every day that they be
allowed to rejoin those who had stayed in the Promised Land and to reestablish a
Jewish nation there.

That collective yearning gave rise to a new political movement at the end of
the 19th century "the modern Zionist movement." Theodor Herzl and a growing
band of allies throughout the world, fearing the course of pervasive
anti-Semitism in Europe, began their work to reestablish a Jewish homeland in Israel.

They were called naive dreamers, but as Herzl said, "If you will it, it is no
dream." And will it they did. And work for it they did. Fifty six years
ago, their dream was realized with the birth of the modern State of Israel,
rising out of the ashes of the Holocaust and its previously unimaginable acts of
anti-Semitism.

It was May 14, 1948, when Prime Minister Ben-Gurion declared the
establishment of the State of Israel, from its capital in Jerusalem. And just seven
minutes later, Harry S Truman, President of the United States of America,
recognized Israel, the first head of state to do so. From that day on, America has
remained Israel's most steadfast ally in the world. Israel, in turn, has become
America's most steadfast ally in the Middle East. Since AIPAC was founded in
1954, it has embraced, expanded and strengthened the U.S.-Israel relationship
to the great and enduring benefit of both countries.

I have retold this history to say thank you to AIPAC and to each of you. In
deciding to become part of this organization and come to this great capital
city for this extraordinary meeting, each of you has entered history and taken
up the torch that was lit in God's promise to Abraham 4,000 years ago, and each
of you has committed to carry that torch of light forward. I believe that
Israel's birth in 1948 was inspired by God, but I know that it was realized by
the men and women here on earth who worked so hard to make it happen. And I
know that you "Jews and Christians and people of all faiths" continue to do that
hard work that allows us today, and with God's help, forever to say:

"Am Yisrael Chai. The Nation of Israel Lives."

I have also retold the epic journey from biblical Genesis to modern Jerusalem
and Washington because it is the basis of the closeness between the United
States and Israel. The faith that history is a meaningful, spiritual narrative
filled with struggle but ultimately with progress was a unique insight and
contribution of the Torah. The revolutionary idea that history is not an endless
cycle, but a progression, was, as Thomas Cahill put it, "the gift of the Jews"
to the world.

It was a gift warmly accepted and eagerly advanced by those Christians that
founded the United States of America. They knew the Bible, and took from it
their belief that history had a beginning and was guided by God for a purpose --
the unfolding of liberty. And so they created American democracy to secure
the blessings of life, liberty and happiness which they saw as the endowments
of our Creator.

This shared faith in progress and common commitment to the values of freedom
and equality are the basis of the solidarity between Israel and the United
States. And both nations are dedicated by their founding documents to secure
those values not just for their people, but for all peoples.

We, the people "of the United States and Israel" are committed to forming a
more perfect union, between our two nations and with all nations who share the
dream of democracy.

Now fate has drawn Israel and America yet closer together as targets of
terrorism. September 11th opened our American hearts and heads to a reality Israel
has faced each day for too many years - there are those who are so filled with
hatred that they will take innocent lives as well as their own to express it.
They hate us more than they love life. These terrorists cannot be negotiated
with.

Whether in New York, or Netanya, or Najaf, or Gaza, the terrorists must be
captured or killed. In the war, America stands side-by-side with Israel and the
rest of the civilized world, because it is the test of our generation, a war
for our values, for our lives, and for our future.

The bonds of security and freedom that bind these two democracies today are
so strong that their unity transcends both the people or parties in power at a
given moment and the politics of a given day.

In Congress, there has been and continues to be "thanks in large measure to
AIPAC" the broadest bipartisan support for Israel. In this year's national
political campaign, President Bush and Senator Kerry are locked in a fierce
battle, but each has expressed equally fierce support for Israel. In so many ways,
our country is divided on partisan grounds, but on the question of Israel's
future, and America's commitment to help secure it, we Americans stand united
behind the State of Israel.

President Bush has built on the legacy of his predecessors and strongly
supported Israel. Senator Kerry has shown by his long record of public service
that he would carry this legacy forward. His AIPAC voting record is 100%. His
support of Israel is personal and it is deep.

I know there are many issues that will be on people's minds when they go to
vote this year. But, whatever the outcome of the election in November, Israel
will have a friend in the Oval Office on Jan. 20, 2005.

It will take that kind of solidarity and more to achieve the security of
peace Israelis and Americans and so many others so desire in the Middle East. The
status quo is dangerous and unacceptable. Terrorism against Israelis
continues, and so does the incitement of young Palestinians which leads to such
terrorism.

While the lives of most Palestinians grow more impoverished and desperate,
their leaders do not lead in a way that will begin negotiations that can provide
their people with better lives, that can give them hope instead of hatred.

It is against this backdrop that Prime Minister Sharon has made his bold
proposal to withdraw from Gaza and parts of the West Bank, to build a temporary
security fence between Israelis and Palestinians, to make clear that in the
peace of the brave and the wise, Israel cannot and will not return to its pre-1967
borders, and that Palestinian refugees will have the right to return not to
Israel, but to their own new state of Palestine.

Sharon's proposal is called disengagement plan but it is really a
reengagement plan. It is the best hope we have today of breaking out of the status quo
and getting back to the negotiations that can lead to security, progress, and
peace for Israelis and Palestinians.

That is why the Sharon Plan has been endorsed by President Bush, Senator
Kerry, and the overwhelming majority of members of both parties in Congress. In
your visits to Capitol Hill this week, you can deepen and broaden that support.

For Israelis, the Sharon Plan requires some painful steps. That, of course,
is why it was rejected in the recent Likud referendum. But it retains the
support of most Israelis because they know it is their best hope today for a
safer and better life tomorrow.

For Palestinians, the Sharon Plan creates a moment of decision and
opportunity. It is also their best hope today for a safer better life tomorrow. But to
seize the opportunity, Palestinian leaders must decide to lead. They must
begin by doing what the United States, the EU, Russia, and the United Nations
have asked of them in the Road Map:

--An immediate cessation of armed activity and all acts of violence against
Israelis.

--The end of all incitement by Palestinian institutions against Israel.

--The Palestinian leadership must initiate sustained operations to stop
terrorism and dismantle the terrorist infrastructure.

--And they must undertake political reform that includes a strong Palestinian
parliamentary democracy and an independent and empowered prime minister.

Yesterday, Secretary Powell met in Jordan with the Palestinian Prime Minister
Ahmed Qurei. Tomorrow, the Palestinian leader meets in Berlin with Dr.
Condoleeza Rice. We pray for positive results from those meetings.

A wall is being built by the Israelis between them and the Palestinians. It
is a security barrier - not a political barrier. As soon as there is peace, it
will be removed.

And so I say today: Prime Minister Qurei, show the peace will come you are
capable on behalf of your people, and peace will come and that wall will be torn
down.

Now, a final word. Israelis and Palestinians are not the only ones with work
to do. As close as the United States and Israel are, there is unfinished
business between us.

My friends, do you agree with me that it is time "long past due" for America
to move our embassy in Israel to Jerusalem? In every other country in the world
so many of which are not America's friends the American embassy is in the
city designated by those countries as their capitol. But not in Israel, not in
Jerusalem, which for 3,000 years has been Israel's capital.

I know there are people who will say now what they have always said: "It is
not the right time." But it is only really the wrong time for those enemies
of Israel who believe that Jerusalem will cease to be the capital of a Jewish
state. Moving our embassy will make clear to Israelis and their enemies at
this moment of decision and opportunity that the U.S. can and will never accept
that dark enemy vision, that the ties between the U.S. and Israel are as
eternal as the city of Jerusalem itself.

And then together, Americans, Israelis, and Palestinians, Christians,
Muslims, and Jews can together make Jerusalem into what its name means, a city of
peace, and fulfill the prophetic vision of Jerusalem as a unified city in which
all are welcome, a holy city, where men and women of the three great
monotheistic faiths, all children of the same God, all descendants of the same father
Abraham, will live and learn and pray and prosper side by side in peace.

On that day, the sounds of joy will be heard in Jerusalem, peace will be
within her walls, and the heavens will declare the glory of God.

Thank you, and God bless you in your work.

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Moral equivalence will not fly, here.



Dear Sir/madam:

At 6:00 a.m. this morning, Bob Oakes of your Boston affiliate WBUR gave a
news report of events in Gaza was as remarkable for what it didn't say as
for what it implied. Mr. Oakes told us that IDF missiles targeted "a
building" in Gaza today, killing an undisclosed number of people. The only
context given was that yesterday 6 Israeli soldiers were killed in Gaza
along with a like number of Palestinian casualties.

This report made it sound like Israeli troops indiscriminately fired at "a
building", causing who knows how many civilian casualties, simply engaging
in what Mr. Oakes presented as another hum-drum instance of 'tit-for-tat'
Mid-East violence. Nonsense. Israeli troops did not target some nondescript
building. The IDF fired specifically at armed militants who were targeting
them, while they searched for bodies of fallen comrades. Israeli ground
forces were in the Zeitun neighborhood yesterday -destroying missile
workshops- because Palestinians have been rocketing settlements with
impunity and murdering civilians in their cars. That is the general context.
The most immediate context, of course, is that Palestinian "militants",
including Fatah's Al-Aqsa Brigades, have been specifically attacking
soldiers trying to retrieve the remains of comrades who were blown up while
pulling out of Gaza yesterday.

Here is what was conspicuously absent from Bob Oakes' report: Not a single
word about the immediate context.

As usual it is ignored that Israel values human life as the ultimate
priority and goes out of its way to prevent innocent civilians from being
harmed while waging a war against terror. In so doing, Israel pays with the
blood of its own soldiers.

Ground forces, and not air forces, were initially deployed to demolish the
metal works in Gaza City because of the risk of collateral damage in the
populated Palestinian civilian areas where terrorists manufacture the Kassam
rockets and mortar shells they use to attack Israel.

Ha'aretz reported the scenario that makes for the IDF's attack on "a
building": "An armed Hamas member stood in an alleyway in the Zeitoun
neighborhood of Gaza City on Tuesday, holding a bag that he said contained
human remains from the armored personnel carrier blown up on Tuesday.

Shockingly, he proceeded to pull a finger out of the bag and shouted: "This
is for Sheikh Yassin, and for the rest you'll pay in liberated prisoners."

After that he turned to deal with tripods that held improvised antitank
missiles pointing toward the main road where Israel Defense Forces soldiers
were situated. The armed man, hiding in a stairwell, held an electronic
cable attached to the missile's firing apparatus, and a radio, waiting for a
lookout to tell him when to shoot the missile at the road. His friends were
also waiting, peeking out from time to time to check if the army had changed
its position."

The IDF is not simply firing on buildings in a peaceful downtown suburb;
reporting as though it were is nothing short of misleading.

Now let's go slightly deeper: Today's New York Times notes that: "The
fighting flared on and off throughout the day as Israeli soldiers searched
through Zeitun, a warren of cinder-block homes. A block or two from the
fighting, hundreds of boys and young men milled about in an almost carnival
atmosphere, sucking at lemon ices and startling like birds as explosions and
gunshots rang out nearby."

The "carnival atmosphere" should not be simply ignored, here. These
elements are the proximate cause for much of the "collateral damage" that
occurs when IDF troops have to enter Palestinian areas to pursue militants.

"Don't be scared, don't be scared,'' called Aiman al-Ghazali, 20, who had
closed his shop and wheeled a cart to the scene to sell his golden sticks of
fried dough in brown syrup. "They come to watch,'' he said, when asked what
the children were doing there. Then he added sarcastically, "They want to
die for Jerusalem.'' That brought snickering from the boys clustered around
his caldron of bubbling oil."

Here is where Mr. Oake's presentation becomes less about reporting relevant
facts and more about preserving the image of some "cycle of violence" where
Israeli troops target "buildings" in "civilian areas" and regularly
demonized for subjecting a peaceful, cowering population to untold horrors.

Let's look again at the what Israel has been up against foe the past 72
hours and examine whether Mr. Oakes' report serves to present relevant news,
or instead to promote some preconceived notion of the conflict's true
nature.

Al Jazeera, the Arabic-language television channel, broadcast what it said
was two Islamic Jihad militants displaying what they called the head of an
Israeli soldier, resting on a table in front of them.

The Telegraph, published in the UK noted: "Witnesses said the heads of at
least two soldiers, as well as several legs, arms and ears were taken from
the dismembered bodies."

"Ahmed Bustam, a 13-year-old schoolboy from Zeitoun, gleefully recalled how
he had approached the destroyed vehicle and removed the head of an Israeli
soldier. "People were running after me and we were kicking the head," he
said. "We were spitting on it. When we heard a helicopter we started
running. I carried the head of the Jew and ran away from the area and I took
it to the people in the resistance."

The New York Times article quoted above reported that Palestinian officials
and journalists said the [Palestinian] Authority was trying to suppress
television pictures of the soldiers' remains, out of concern that it would
further inflame the confrontation and harm Palestinians' image.

But NPR and WBUR are not Palestinian public relations firms - they are news
organizations. I found it misleading and offensive that the relevant context
of this morning's events was simply sanitized from Mr. Oakes' report. It is
vital that 'news reports' contain the relevant context about whom the
Israeli Defense Forces is fighting against, how they are doing it and why.

Sincerely,


Elihu D. Stone
Sharon, MA

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

From Daniel Pipes:

Constructing a Counterfeit History of Jerusalem In "
The Muslim Claim to Jerusalem," I
focused on the intermittent and mostly instrumental Muslim interest in
Jerusalem ("Politics, not religious sensibility, has fueled the Muslim
attachment to Jerusalem for nearly fourteen centuries") and at the end of
the long article included a section titled "Dubious claims" where I listed
four historically doubtful claims promoting the Islamic claim to Jerusalem
(the Islamic connection to Jerusalem is older than the Jewish; the Qur'an
mentions Jerusalem; Muhammad actually visited Jerusalem; and Jerusalem has
no importance to Jews).

In a stunning update and extension, Yitzhak Reiter has written a study of
the first and last of these dubious claims for the
Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies, a summary
of which by Nadav Shragai is
published today in
Ha'aretz. He traces the development of a new Palestinian argument about
Jerusalem, the main themes of which are that "the Arabs ruled Jerusalem
thousands of years before the children of Israel" and "a denial and negation
of the Jewish-Zionist narrative." The audacity of this specious presentation
make the head spin. Here are a few, taken from the Shragai account:

* The Muslims are slowly dropping use of the name given to the Temple
Mount complex - Haram al-Sharif, which gave it its status as the third
holiest site in Islam and reverting to exclusive use of the earlier name,
Al-Aqsa, which appears in the Koran.

* Contrary to the standard history whereby the Al-Aqsa mosque was
built in the seventh century, in recent years an ancient tradition from the
beginning of Islam has been gaining ground. According to it, the Al-Aqsa
mosque was built 40 years after the construction of the mosque in Mecca by
Adam (i.e., close to the seven days of creation). Other traditions that
appear in the Waqf administration offices in Jerusalem attribute the
building of the mosque to Abraham and Solomon.

* The surroundings of Al-Aqsa mosque are not narrowly defined, as was
the case in the past, and they are now providing an opening for the
interpretation that Al-Aqsa refers to all of Jerusalem, and most recently,
it refers to all of Palestine.

* The fact that Israel's official policy - as embodied in the
decisions of the Chief Rabbinate Council, the government and the High Court
of Justice - leaves the administration of the Temple Mount in the hands of
the Muslim Waqf is not recognized in the contemporary Muslim world. On the
contrary, "the activities of extremist Jewish entities, some of them
minuscule, to revive the [First] Temple ritual, is perceived and
disseminated by Palestinian sources as if it is a reflection of official
policy," says Reiter

Comment Permalink : It is dismaying to
watch the construction of a counterfeit history as it happens. Not until the
Palestinians are prepared to deal with reality millennia ago will they be
ready to deal with reality today. (May 10, 2004)

Elihu D. Stone
Sharon, MA

Monday, May 17, 2004

THE AGENDA OF ISLAM - A WAR BETWEEN CIVILIZATIONS


by Professor Moshe Sharon


Sharon received his Doctorate in Medieval Islamic History from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. He has served as an Advisor on Arab Affairs to former Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin as well as the Ministry of Defence. Prof. Sharon is a former director of the World Zionist Organisation branch in Johannesburg, South Africa and currently lectures as professor of Islamic History at the Hebrew University.
“There is no Fundamental Islam! "Fundamentalism" is a word that came from the heart of the Christian religion. It means faith that goes by the word of the Bible. Fundamental Christianity, or going with the Bible, does not mean going around and killing people. There is no fundamental Islam. There is only Islam full stop. The question is how the Koran is interpreted.
All of a sudden we see that the greatest interpreters of Islam are politicians in the western world. They know better than all the speakers in the mosques, all those who deliver terrible sermons against anything that is either Christian or Jewish. These western politicians know that there is good Islam and bad Islam. They know even how to differentiate between the two, except that none of them know how to read a word of Arabic.
The Language of Islam: You see, so much is covered by politically correct language that, in fact, the truth has been lost. For example, when we speak about Islam in the west, we try to use our own language and terminology. We speak about Islam in terms of democracy and fundamentalism, in terms of parliamentarianism and all kinds of terms, which we take from our own dictionary. One of my professors and one of the greatest orientalists in the world says that doing this is like a cricket reporter describing a cricket game in baseball terms. We cannot use for one culture or civilization the language of another. For Islam, you've got to use the language of Islam.
Driving Principles of Islam: Let me explain the principles that are driving the religion of Islam. Of course, every Moslem has to acknowledge the fact that there is only one God. But it's not enough to say that there is only one God. A Moslem has to acknowledge the fact that there is one God and Mohammed is his prophet. These are the fundamentals of the religion that without them, one cannot be a Moslem. But beyond that, Islam is a civilization. It is a religion that gave first and foremost a wide and unique legal system that engulfs the individual, society and nations with rules of behavior. If you are Moslem, you have to behave according to the rules of Islam which are set down in the Koran and which are very different than the teachings of the Bible.
The Bible: Let me explain the difference. The Bible is the creation of the spirit of a nation over a very, very long period, if we talk from the point of view of the scholar, and let me remain scholarly. But there is one thing that is important in the Bible. It leads to salvation. It leads to salvation in two ways.
In Judaism, it leads to national salvation - not just a nation that wants to have a state, but a nation that wants to serve God. That's the idea behind the Hebrew text of the Bible.
The New Testament that took the Hebrew Bible moves us toward personal salvation. So we have got these two kinds of salvation, which, from time to time, meet each other.
But the key word is salvation. Personal salvation means that each individual is looked after by God, Himself, who leads a person through His word to salvation. This is the idea in the Bible, whether we are talking about the Old or the New Testament. All of the laws in the Bible, even to the minutest ones, are, in fact directed toward this fact of salvation.
Secondly, there is another point in the Bible, which is highly important. This is the idea that man was created in the image of God. Therefore, you don't just walk around and obliterate the image of God. Many people, of course, used Biblical rules and turned them upside down. History has seen a lot of massacres in the name of God and in the name of Jesus. But as religions, both Judaism and Christianity in their fundamentals speak about honoring the image of God and the hope of salvation. These are the two basic fundamentals.
The Essence of Islam : Now let's move to the essence of Islam. Islam was born with the idea that it should rule the world. Let's look, then, at the difference between these three religions. Judaism speaks about national salvation - namely that at the end of the story, when the world becomes a better place, Israel will be in its own land, ruled by its own king and serving God. Christianity speaks about the idea that every single person in the world can be saved from his sins, while Islam speaks about ruling the world. I can quote here in Arabic, but there is no point in quoting Arabic, so let me quote a verse in English. "Allah sent Mohammed with the true religion so that it should rule over all the religions."
The idea, then, is not that the whole world would become a Moslem world at this time, but that the whole world would be subdued under the rule of Islam.
When the Islamic empire was established in 634 AD, within seven years - 640 - the core of the empire was created. The rules that were taken from the Koran and from the tradition that was ascribed to the prophet Mohammed, were translated into a real legal system. Jews and Christians could live under Islam provided they paid poll tax and accepted Islamic superiority. Of course, they had to be humiliated. And Jews and Christians living under Islam are humiliated to this very day. MOHAMMED HELD THAT ALL THE BIBLICAL PROPHETS WERE MOSLEMS!
Mohammed did accept the existence of all the Biblical prophets before him. However he also said that all these prophets were Moslems. Abraham was a Moslem. In fact, Adam himself was the first Moslem. Isaac and Jacob and David and Solomon and Moses and Jesus were all Moslems, and all of them had writings similar to the Koran. Therefore, world history is Islamic history because all the heroes of history were Moslems.
Furthermore, Moslems accept the fact that each of these prophets brought with him some kind of a revelation. Moses, brought the Taurat, which is the Torah, and Jesus brought the Ingeel, which is the Evangelion or Gospel - namely the New Testament.
The Bible versus the Koran: Why then is the Bible not similar to the Koran? Mohammed explains that the Jews and Christians forged their books. Had they not been changed and forged, they would have been identical to the Koran. But because Christians and Jews do have some truth, Islam concedes that they cannot be completely destroyed by war [for now]. Nevertheless, the laws are very clear - Jews and Christians have no rights whatsoever to independent existence. They can live under Islamic rule provided they keep to the rules that Islam promulgates for them.
Islamic Rule and Jihad: What happens if Jews and Christians don't want to live under the rules of Islam? Then Islam has to fight them and this fighting is called Jihad. Jihad means war against those people who don't want to accept the Islamic superior rule. That's jihad. They may be Jews; they may be Christians; they may be Polytheists. But since we don't have too many Polytheists left, at least not in the Middle East - their war is against the Jews and Christians.
A few days ago, I received a pamphlet that was distributed in the world by bin Laden. He calls for jihad against America as the leader of the Christian world, not because America is the supporter of Israel, but because Americans are desecrating Arabia with their filthy feet. There are Americans in Arabia where no Christians should be. In this pamphlet there is not a single word about Israel. Only that Americans are desecrating the home of the prophet.
Two Houses: The Koran sees the world as divided into two - one part that has come under Islamic rule and one part that is supposed to come under Islamic rule in the future. There is a division of the world, which is very clear. Every single person who starts studying Islam knows it. The world is described as Dar al-Islam (the house of Islam) - that's the place where Islam rules - and the other part, which is called Dar al-Harb - the house of war. Not the "house of non-Muslims," but the "house of war." It is this house of war, which has to be, at the end of time, conquered. The world will continue to be in the house of war until it comes under Islamic rule. This is the norm. Why? Because Allah says it's so in the Koran. God has sent Mohammed with the true religion in order that the truth will overcome all other religions.
Islamic Law: Within the Islamic vision of this world, there are rules that govern the lives of the Moslems themselves, and these rules are very strict. In fundamentals, there are no differences between schools of law.
However, there are four streams of factions within Islam with differences between them concerning the minutiae of the laws. All over the Islamic world, countries have favored one or another of these schools of laws. The strictest school of law is called Hanbali, mainly coming out of Saudi Arabia. There are no games there, no playing around with the meanings of words. If the Koran speaks about war, then it's war.
There are various perspectives in Islam with different interpretations over the centuries. There were good people that were very enlightened in Islam that tried to understand things differently. They even brought traditions from the mouth of the prophet that women and children should not be killed in war.
These more liberal streams do exist, but there is one thing that is very important for us to remember. The Hanbali school of law is extremely strict, and today this is the school that is behind most of the terrorist powers. Even if we talk about the existence of other schools of Islamic law, when we're talking about fighting against the Jews, or fighting against the Christian world led by America, it is the Hanbali school of law that is being followed.
Islam and Territory: This civilization created one very important, fundamental rule about territory. Any territory that comes under Islamic rule cannot be de-Islamized. Even if at one time or another, the [non-Moslem] enemy takes over the territory that was under Islamic rule, it is considered to be perpetually Islamic.
This is why whenever you hear about the Arab/Israeli conflict, you hear - territory, territory, territory. There are other aspects to the conflict, but territory is highly important.
The Christian civilization has not only been seen as a religious opponent, but as a dam stopping Islam from achieving its final goal for which it was created.
Islam was created to be the army of God, the army of Allah. Every single Moslem is a soldier in this army. Every single Moslem that dies in fighting for the spread of Islam is a shaheed (martyr) no matter how he dies, because - and this is very important - this is an eternal war between the two civilizations. It's not a war that stops. This war is there because it was created by Allah. Islam must be the ruler. This is a war that will not end.
Islam and Peace: Peace in Islam can exist only within the Islamic world; peace can only be between Moslem and Moslem. With the non-Moslem world or non-Moslem opponents, there can be only one solution - a cease fire until Moslems can gain more power. It is an eternal war until the end of days. Peace can only come if the Islamic side wins. The two civilizations can only have periods of cease-fires. And this idea of cease-fire is based on a very important historical precedent, which, incidentally, Yasser Arafat referred to when he spoke in Johannesburg after he signed the Oslo agreement with Israel.
Let me remind you that the document speaks of peace - you wouldn't believe that you are reading! You would think that you were reading some science fiction piece. I mean when you read it, you can't believe that this was signed by Israelis who are actually acquainted with Islamic policies and civilization.
A few weeks after the Oslo agreement was signed, Arafat went to Johannesburg, and in a mosque there he made a speech in which he apologized, saying, "Do you think I signed something with the Jews which is contrary to the rules of Islam?" (I have obtained a copy of Arafat's recorded speech so I heard it from his own mouth.) Arafat continued, "That's not so. I'm doing exactly what the prophet Mohammed did."
Whatever the prophet is supposed have done becomes a precedent. What Arafat was saying was, "Remember the story of Hodaybiya." The prophet had made an agreement there with the tribe of Kuraish for 10 years. But then he trained 10,000 soldiers and within two years marched on their city of Mecca. He, of course, found some kind of pretext.
Thus, in Islamic jurisdiction, it became a legal precedent, which states that you are only allowed to make peace for a maximum of 10 years. Secondly, at the first instance that you are able, you must renew the jihad [thus breaking the "peace" agreement].
In Israel, it has taken over 50 years in this country for our people to understand that they cannot speak about [permanent] peace with Moslems. It will take another 50 years for the western world to understand that they have got a state of war with the Islamic civilization that is virile and strong. This should be understood: When we talk about war and peace, we are not talking in Belgium, French, English, or German terms. We are talking about war and peace in Islamic terms.
Cease-fire as a Tactical Choice: What makes Islam accept cease-fire? Only one thing - when the enemy is too strong. It is a tactical choice.
Sometimes, he may have to agree to a cease-fire in the most humiliating conditions. It's allowed because Mohammed accepted a cease-fire under humiliating conditions. That's what Arafat said to them in Johannesburg. When western policy makers hear these things, they answer, "What are you talking about? You are in the Middle Ages. You don't understand the mechanisms of politics."
Which mechanisms of politics? There are no mechanisms of politics where power is. And I want to tell you one thing - we haven't seen the end of it, because the minute a radical Moslem power has atomic, chemical or biological weapons, they will use it. I have no doubt about that.
Now, since we face war and we know that we cannot get more than an impermanent cease-fire, one has to ask himself what is the major component of an Israeli/Arab cease-fire. It is that the Islamic side is weak and your side is strong. The relations between Israel and the Arab world in the last 50 years since the establishment of our State has been based only on this idea, the deterrent power.
Wherever You Have Islam, You Will Have War The reason that we have what we have in Yugoslavia and other places is because Islam succeeded into entering these countries. Wherever you have Islam, you will have war. It grows out of the attitude of Islamic civilization.
What are the poor people in the Philippines being killed for? What's happening between Pakistan and India?
Islamic Infiltration: Furthermore, there is another fact that must be remembered. The Islamic world has not only the attitude of open war, but there's also war by infiltration. One of the things which the western world is not paying enough attention to is the tremendous growth of Islamic power in the western world. What happened in America and the Twin Towers is not something that came from the outside. And if America doesn't wake up, one day the Americans will find themselves in a chemical war and most likely in an atomic war - inside the U.S.
End of Days: It is highly important to understand how a civilization sees the end of days. In Christianity and in Judaism, we know exactly what is the vision of the end of days.
In Judaism, it is going to be as in Isaiah - peace between nations, not just one nation, but between all nations. People will not have any more need for weapons and nature will be changed - a beautiful end of days and the kingdom of God on earth.
Christianity goes as far as Revelation to see a day that Satan himself is obliterated. There are no more powers of evil. That's the vision.
I'm speaking now as a historian. I try to understand how Islam sees the end of days. In the end of days, Islam sees a world that is totally Moslem, completely Moslem under the rule of Islam. Complete and final victory.
Christians will not exist, because according to many Islamic traditions, the Moslems who are in hell will have to be replaced by somebody and they'll be replaced by the Christians.
The Jews will no longer exist, because before the coming of the end of days, there is going to be a war against the Jews where all Jews should be killed. I'm quoting now from the heart of Islamic tradition, from the books that are read by every child in school. The Jews will all be killed. They'll be running away and they'll be hiding behind trees and rocks, and on that day Allah will give mouths to the rocks and trees and they will say, "Oh Moslem come here, there is a Jew behind me, kill him." Without this, the end of days cannot come. This is a fundamental of Islam.
Is There a Possibility to End This Dance of War? The question which we in Israel are asking ourselves is what will happen to our country? Is there a possibility to end this dance of war?
The answer is, "No. Not in the foreseeable future." What we can do is reach a situation where for a few years we may have relative quiet.
But for Islam, the establishment of the state of Israel was a reverse of Islamic history. First, Islamic territory was taken away from Islam by Jews. You know by now that this can never be accepted, not even one meter. So everyone who thinks Tel Aviv is safe is making a grave mistake. Territory, which at one time was dominated by Islamic rule, now has become non-Moslem. Non-Moslems are independent of Islamic rule; Jews have created their own independent state. It is anathema.
And (this is the worst) Israel, a non-Moslem state, is ruling over Moslems. It is unthinkable that non-Moslems should rule over Moslems.
I believe that Western civilization should hold together and support each other. Whether this will happen or not, I don't know. Israel finds itself on the front lines of this war. It needs the help of its sister civilization. It needs the help of America and Europe. It needs the help of the Christian world. One thing I am sure about, this help can be given by individual Christians who see this as the road to salvation.

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Modern Reporting



A guy saw a pit bull attacking a toddler. He killed the pit bull and saved
the toddler's life.

The reporters swarmed the guy. "Tell us! What's your name? All Paris will
love you! Tomorrow's headline: "Hero Saves Girl from Vicious Dog!"

The guy says, "but I'm not from Paris."

Reporters: "That's OK. All France will love you. Tomorrow's Headline:
"Hero Saves Girl from Vicious Dog!"

The guy says, "I'm not from France, either."

Reporters: "That's OK. All Europe will love you. Tomorrow's Headline:
"Hero Saves Girl from Vicious Dog!"

The guy says, "I'm not from Europe, either."
Reporters: "So, where ARE you from?

The guy says, "I'm from Israel."

Reporters: "OK. Tomorrow's headline:
"Vicious Israeli Kills Girl's Defenseless Dog!"

Monday, May 10, 2004

Middle Israel: Our finest hour

Amotz Asa-El May. 6, 2004

If anyone had suggested in May 1964, when students from Columbia University held the first demonstration for Soviet Jewry, that a mere 25 years later the Iron Curtain would rise, the governments beyond it fall, and the Soviet Union itself vanish, he would be considered mad. In fact, the struggle ignited then was so successful that four decades later Jews must wonder what made it a success, and whether they are following in the footsteps of those who stood up for oppressed Jews, or of those who had previously failed to act when Jews were being killed for being Jews. The success of the struggle had many technical causes, including the shrewd use of limited resources, smart sloganeering - most memorably "let my people go" - and a very efficient harmonizing of Jewish and non-Jewish leadership, most notably in the form of the Jackson-Vanick Amendment that linked America's commercial relations with the USSR to the latter's treatment of its Jews. Still, the Soviet Jewry struggle's deepest source of power was a simple, ancient, and little appreciated weapon: Jewish solidarity. ON THE face of it, Jews had always stood by each other in moments of distress. Since antiquity Jews were redeeming Jewish hostages they had never met, often ones whose language they could not even speak. Yet that was always local, involving one community's lobbying on behalf of, say, several dozen Jewish passengers on one seajacked vessel. When it came to treating an entire country's Jewish catastrophe, the weapon of Jewish solidarity was about as relevant as a Beretta pistol in the face of an armored brigade's attack. When Spain expelled its Jews, for instance, it was inconceivable that the secure Jews of the Ottoman Empire would pressure the Sultan to come to their brethren's rescue. When Cossacks massacred thousands of Jews in the Ukraine, the well-off Jews of Holland watched helplessly from afar. And when Maimonides received news of forced conversions in Yemen he focused on advising the local community on how to maintain its faith, rather than on confronting its tormentors. In fact, it wasn't until the modern era that it even occurred to powerful Jews that it was within their ability - not to mention their duty - to fight the persecution of any Jew, at any time, in any place. Scholars cite 1840 as the turning point when European Jewish notables, led by Sir Moses Montefiore, mobilized various governments to challenge the Damascus blood libel. In 1878, thanks to such newly confident Jews' pressure, the Berlin Congress delayed anti-Semitic Romania's independence. And during the Russo-Japanese War, American Jewish banker Jacob Schiff punished the Czar for his anti-Semitism by raising $200 million for Japan on Wall Street. Still, all this effective Jewish solidarity collapsed abruptly a mere century after its emergence, when a fragmented and low self-esteemed American Jewry and a pathetically powerless Zionist Organization failed to even dent, let alone offset, the catastrophe of European Jewry. It was this trauma and the guilt trip that came with it that more than anything else fueled Jewish solidarity's finest hour. TODAY, the struggle's main accomplishment is seen, fairly enough, in its astonishing result, namely the complete unshackling not only of Soviet Jewry but even of Syria's and Ethiopia's, clearly an extension of that same accomplishment. Yet the Soviet Jewry struggle also had another accomplishment - its diverse participation. Never before had Jews from Australia and France, Argentina and Britain, Israel and Canada, Mexico, the US, and wherenot rallied so unanimously, durably, and efficiently around one mutual cause. Israel's clandestine agency for contact with Soviet Jewry - Lishkat Hakesher - routinely deployed hundreds of Diaspora youngsters who would enter the USSR and secretly meet with refuseniks and try to keep them spiritually and materially afloat, by handing them a siddur, a matza pack or a pair of jeans that could be sold on the black market. At the same time, thousands showed up repeatedly to mass rallies across the free world, routinely picketed Soviet embassies and consulates, habitually harassed visiting Soviet officials, and generally inspired the media to perceive the Soviet Union's anti-Semitism as a major news topic. NOW, with the incredible success of that struggle behind us, it is tempting to sit back, relax and nostalgically recall Jewish solidarity's finest hour, as if there were not only no longer an oppressed Jewish community (except Iran's) but also no anti-Jewish evil empire. If only it were so. The sad fact is that the Jews are again facing an evil empire, one that whether through microphones, keyboards, or gun barrels targets Jews daily. Today's Jewish world knows where this empire lies, and knows who leads and inspires it. It also knows that its anti-Semitic audacity rivals not the Soviet Union's, but Nazi Germany's. Only it doesn't do anything about it. The sad fact today is that while we in Israel fight the bullets of anti-Jewish terror, our brethren abroad have yet to join their part of the battle, which would focus on the Arab governments that at best tolerate, at worst fuel current-day anti-Semitism. This week, a Jewish woman - Tali Hatuel - and her four daughters, Hila (11), Hadar (9), Roni (7), and two-year-old Merav were slain at short range with submachine guns, instantaneously robbing David Hatuel of his entire family, including what was to be his first son. Call me hysterical, but to the best of my knowledge such Jew-targeting - which has become routine here in recent years - has not happened anywhere in the world since the Holocaust. The Soviet Union, let's remember, merely caged the Jews. It did not kill them: Not at short range. Not in cold blood. Not entire families. As of this writing, Diaspora Jewry has yet to picket one Arab League embassy, PLO office, Syrian consulate or Saudi Arabian Airlines storefront demanding an end to the Arab media's demonization of the Jews and glorification of their killers. Who is the Diaspora waiting for?

Scoop Jackson

This article can also be read at here

Friday, May 07, 2004

Morning Edition 5/3 - NPR's McCarthy'ism?



To: NPR Management, WBUR Management

Fr: Andrew Warren
Sharon, Ma
(781)784-0241
AndrewJWarren@yahoo.com

Re: Morning Edition 5/3 - NPR's McCarthy'ism?


As a past supporter of WBUR and one that appreciates non-commercial radio in an age of an increasingly large corporate consolidation of the public air-waves, I am just dumbfounded as to how to re-engage as an NPR supporter/listener.

There is the rare glimmer of balance, for example in WBUR's Dick Gordon
Connection of 4/19 on the targeted killing of new Hamas head Rantisi. Still it seems all too often NPR reporters legitimize terror attacks by Palestinians by generally referring to the muderers of Israeli (Jewish and Arab) civilians as "militants" or "extremists". The deliberate targeting of civilians - be they drive-by
shootings, homicidal bombings, stabbings, lynchings are nothing short of the textbook definiton of Terrorism. Given the evidence of the Palestinian Authority's
complicity and even active support for such murders (Arafat's own signed pay-off's), these likely rise (descend) to the level of state-like War Crimes.

But what I heard Monday morning was certainly a new low for NPR and its affiliates like WBUR. A mother Tali Hatuel and her four daughters while driving in Gaza
were brutally murdered on Sunday. Two Palestinian terrorist fired at them, forcing them off the road, and then at point-blank range executed each with a bullet
to the head. (I read the Israeli news accounts). There was a female reporter named McCarthy whose warped spin on this heneious crime was to blame this poor destroyed family -- stating that their "continued [settler] presence in Gaza is provoking bloodshed". Hearing that I almost drove my car off the road. "Provocative?" This sounds like the "enlightened" defense of a rapist where his victim was guilty of wearing the wrong clothing at the wrong time and place. Thank you but most in our society no longer succumb to that twisted logic.

Without even unraveling the logical and moral fallacies of that "analysis" -- what in the heck is that kind of editorialization doing in a news report? Journalistic standards mandate that a simple accounting of the facts is all that is required. No need to re-order event sequences (e.g. story leading with Israeli response); no need to genericize terrorists into "gunmen"; no need to spin a sickening and savage execution of a mother and her children by terrorists into some acceptable response to "provocation."

But if indeed your reporters are also going to engage in a cause and effect analyses of the conflict, let them at least do so in a balanced manner. Let them
consider and report on the endless cycle of incitement, hatred and provocation spewed out by the the Palestian Authority (PA) through its newspapers, schools, clerics and TV. Let them report that in PA history books there is no mention of Jewish/Judean/Israelite history in the region. Maps in PA classrooms show no two-state solution with Israel, but rather a "final solution" of Palestinian-Arab only Palestine. Let them report the endemic corruption of the PA, its looting of funds intended for the impoverished, and through its own failures the strengthening of Hamas.

Our country went through a very troubling period when Americans of different political beliefs real or imagined were hunted, demonized and destroyed when a Senator McCarthy viewed their beliefs as "un-American" and individual liberties with contempt.

Before NPR reporters indict Jewish families living in the disputed territories as "un-politically" correct and therefore guilty and deserving of Palestinian attack, perhaps these reporters should re-assess how their own politics colors their reporting in a not too dissimilar fashion from that infamous Senator. If Palestinians
realize that terrorists will no longer be given a free ride from NPR and other media, if they realize that such actions not only hurt them politically but are
completely immoral and bankrupt their own future, perhaps moderate Palestinians will gain strength, and there will be a partner for peace across the table for Israel.

Andrew Warren
Sharon, Ma

Wednesday, May 05, 2004

The Arabists and the Anti-"Zionist"


By Joel Mowbray
FrontPageMagazine.com | May 5, 2004

Reflecting the perverse logic that has guided the U.S. State Department for decades, sixty former diplomats have written an open letter to President Bush denouncing the currentadministration’s “unabashed support” for the sole democracy in the Middle East: Israel.

The hyperbolic screed, released this week, is chock-full of gross overstatements and pure myth.

Yet far more important – and what the media will almost surely overlook – is the stench of bias emanating from almost all of the signers, particularly from the man who organized the effort, former Ambassador Andrew Killgore, who served in Qatar from 1977-1980.

The two-page letter follows the same basic script that has been used by the U.S. Foreign Service more or less since Israel achieved its independence in 1948: “the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is at the core of the problems in the Middle East.”

Blame for the trouble in the entire region – of which Israel holds less than one percent of the territory and less than two percent of the population – is pinned on “Sharon’s extra-judicial assassinations, Israel’s Berlin Wall-like barrier, (and) its harsh military measures in occupied territories.”

Never mind that the “extra-judicial assassinations” are of terrorist masterminds responsible for the mass slaughter of both innocent Israelis and brainwashed young Palestinians. Or that Israel’s security fence is the furthest thing from a “Berlin Wall-like barrier.”

The letter also dabbles in fiction, stating, “By closing the door to negotiations with Palestinians and the possibility of a Palestinian state, you have proved that the U.S. is not an evenhanded peace partner.”

George W. Bush was the first U.S. president to endorse formally the goal of a Palestinian state, albeit one with leaders free from terrorist ties. Standing firm with Sharon’s plan to combat terrorist leaders in no way conflicts with his explicit desire for a Palestinian state.

Israel is obviously imperfect and hardly beyond reproach, but the moral compass of these statesmen is seriously skewed.

Almost none has ever given more than lip service to the idea of condemning suicide bombings, and many of them have made their golden years truly “golden” indeed, courtesy of the deep pockets of the Arab nations in which they formerly were stationed.

As noxious as the track records of many of the former diplomats may be, perhaps none is as toxic as that of the man who spearheaded the whole effort, former Ambassador Andrew Killgore. A quick inspection of his history shows that he should be the last person giving lessons on “evenhandedness.”

Killgore may or may not be an anti-Semite, but he certainly could be mistaken for one. That is a strong statement, to be sure, but it seems a fair assessment after spending some time at the website for the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, of which he is the co-founder and publisher.

The site’s front page keeps a counter only of foreign aid money given to Israel. It calls for ending all military aid to Israel, though there is no similar call for ending the exact same level of aid given each year to Egypt for the same purpose, an arrangement that has existed since the Camp David Accords in 1978.

Killgore’s website also has a “Neocon Corner,” where he and others castigate one Jew or another for their sinister loyalties to Israel. (One execption was a hit piece on Dick Cheney.) Typical is a recent column on Richard Perle, former head of the Defense Policy Board. In the course of 800 words, Killgore refers to Perle as: a “fervent Zionist,” a “dyed-in-the-wool Israel-Firster,” part of the “Zionist lobby,” “always active in Zionist organizations,” the “Prince of Darkness,” and a “Zionist ideologue.”

On its webpage listing 27 “charitable organizations” are several with which no reasonable group would affiliate. Many are well-known for their radical Islamist agendas, and two in particular should have raised red flags: the United Palestinian Appeal and the Kinder USA, both “charitable” organizations who share leadership with the Holy Land Foundation, which was closed in December 2001 for allegedly funneling money to Hamas.

Given Killgore’s clear biases, it is tempting to use the old line about the kettle and the pot. More apt, however, would be the analogy, “Said the desert to the grain of sand.”

Joel Mowbray (mail@joelmowbray.com) is author of Dangerous Diplomacy: How the State Department Threatens America’s Security.

Monday, May 03, 2004

An interesting source for pro-Israel T-shirts... with a twist!

The genesis of these designs started on the campus of Wayne State University, in Detroit. We've discovered that identifiably Jewish students who attend WSU know the Arabic word for Jew, al Yahud. It seems that Arab and Muslim students at Wayne State, which has one of the largest Arab and Muslim student populations of any American college campus, apparently like to mutter "al Yahud" at Jewish students as they pass by. Of course, the Jewish students are proud to be Jewish but they resent the word "Jew" being used as a slur at them. The aggressive attitude of Arabs, Muslims and others who support the 'Palestinian' cause, have made American campuses a hostile environment for Jewish students and other supporters of Israel. That aggressive attitude is not just found on campus. Apologists for militant Islam everywhere demand that non-Muslims act in subservience to triumphalist Islam.
ProudZionist.com was created to provide support for those students and other supporters of freedom and allow them to show that support in a language that, literally, the mutterers will understand.

http://www.rokemneedlearts.com/proudzionist/

Addresses for editors, commentators and ombudsmen


(Keep this list handy!)

MEDIA CRITICS

newswatch@foxnews.com (Fox News Watch)
Reliable@CNN.com (Reliable Sources)
onthemedia@wnyc.org (NPR)
kurtzh@washpost.com (Wash. Post media critic Howard Kurtz)
cjr@columbia.edu (Columbia Journalism Review)

TELEVISION

ABC News (212) 456-2800
Go to website to submit comment.
http://abcnews.go.com/service/help/abccontact.html

Nightline: nightline@abcnews.com (202) 222-7000

CBS News (212) 975-4321
Go to this website and submit comment.
www.cbsnews.com/htdocs/feedback/fb_news_form.shtml

CNN: (404) 827-1500
cnn@cnn.com
Public.Information@turner.com
lateedition@cnn.com
Wolf Blitzer: wolf@cnn.com
Reliable Sources: Reliable@CNN.com (202) 898-7575

C-Span: (202) 737-3220 www.c-span.org
viewer@c-span.org
Booknotes: 202-626-4600
booktv@c-span.org

Fox News Channel (212) 301-3000
Letters: comments@foxnews.com
oreilly@foxnews.com (Bill O'Reilly)
hannity@foxnews.com (Sean Hannity)
foxreport@foxnews.com (Shepard Smith)
special@foxnews.com (Brit Hume)
beltway@foxnews.com (Fred Barnes)
newswatch@foxnews.com (media critic:Fox News Watch)

MSNBC: (201) 583-5000
opinion@msnbc.com
hardball@msnbc.com (Hardball with Chris Matthews)
countdown@msnbc.com (Countdown with Keith Olbermann)
joe@msnbc.com (Scarborough Country)
abramsreport@msnbc.com (the Abrams Report)

RADIO

NPR: (202) 513-2000
Ombudsman: Jeffrey Dvorkin: jdvorkin@npr.org
VP News, Bruce Drake: bdrake@npr.org
All Things Considered: atc@npr.org
On the Media: onthemedia@wnyc.org

Radio host Laura Ingraham:
suggestions@lauraingraham.com

NEWSPAPERS

Boston Globe: (617) 929-2000
Letters-to-the-editor: letter@globe.com
Ombudsman: ombud@globe.com
Foreign Editor: James Smith: jsmith@globe.com

Chicago Sun-Times: (312) 321-3000
Letters-to-the-editor: letters@suntimes.com
Foreign News Editor: Katie Wadington: kwadington@suntimes.com

Chicago Tribune: (312) 222-3232
Letters-to-the-editor: ctc-tribletter@tribune.com
Ombudsman: publiceditor@tribune.com
Editor: Ann Marie Lipinski: alipinski@tribune.com
Foreign Editor: Colin McMahon: cmcmahon@tribune.com

Cleveland Plain Dealer: (216) 999-4800
Letters-to-the-editor: letters@plaind.com
Editor: Douglas C.Clifton: dclifton@plaind.com

Fort Worth Star Telegram: www.dfw.com
letters@star-telegram.com

Los Angeles Times: (213) 237-5000
Letters-to-the-editor: letters@latimes.com
Ombudsman: readers.rep@latimes.com
Editor: John S. Carroll: john.carroll@latimes.com
Foreign Editor: Marjorie Miller: marjorie.miller@latimes.com

Miami Herald: (305) 350-2000
Letters-to-the-editor: heralded@herald.com
World Editor: Juan Vasquez: worldnews@herald.com (305) 376-3624

New York Sun: (212) 406-2000
Letters-to-the-editor: editor@nysun.com
Comments: newsdesk@nysun.com

NY Times: General number: (212) 556-1234
comments: (888) 698-6397
Letters-to-the-editor: letters@nytimes.com
Public Editor Dan Okrent: public@nytimes.com
Foreign Desk: foreign@nytimes.com

Orlando Sentinel: (407) 420-5411
Letters-to-the-editor: insight@orlandosentinel.com
Ombudsman Manning Pynn: mpynn@orlandosentinel.com
Editor: editor@orlandosentinel.com

Philadelphia Inquirer: (215) 854-2000
Letters-to-the-editor: inquirer.letters@phillynews.com
Editor: editor@phillynews.com
Foreign Editor: foreign@phillynews.com

Raleigh News & Observer: (919) 829-4517
Letters-to-the-editor: forum@newsobserver.com
Executive Editor Melanie Sill: msill@newsobserver.com
Publisher: oquarles@newsoberver.com

San Diego Union-Trib: (619) 299-3131
Letters-to-the-editor: letters@uniontrib.com
Foreign Affairs Editor David Gaddis Smith: david.smith@uniontrib.com

San Francisco Chronicle: (415) 777-1111
Letters-to-the-editor: letters@sfchronicle.com
Readers' Rep: readerrep@sfchronicle.com

South Florida Sun-Sentinel:
Letters-to-the-editor: letters@sun-sentinel.com

St. Louis Post-Dispatch: (314) 340-8000
Letters-to-the-editor: letters@post-dispatch.com
International News Wire Editor: (314) 340-8298
Main news editor, Steve Parker: (314) 340-8287

Star-Ledger: (973) 392-4040
Letters-to-the-editor: eletters@starledger.com
Ombudsman Charles Harrison: readerrep@starledger.com
or charrison@starledger.com

USA Today: (703) 854-3400
Letters-to-the-editor: editor@usatoday.com
World Editor: Elisa Tinsley: etinsley@usatoday.com

Washington Post: (202) 334-7512
Letters-to-the-editor: letters@washpost.com
ombudsman@washpost.com (202) 334-7582
Foreign Desk: foreign@washpost.com
Media Critic Howard Kurtz: KurtzH@washpost.com

MAGAZINES

Newsweek: (212) 445-4000
Letters-to-the-editor: letters@newsweek.com
International Editors: Editors@newsweek.com

Time magazine: (212) 522-3817
Letters-to-the-editor: letters@time.com
Editor: James Kelly: james_kelly@timemagazine.com

US News & World Report: (202) 955-2000
Letters-to-the-editor: letters@usnews.com

Wire Services

Associated Press (AP): info@ap.org

The Real Mideast 'Poison'



By Charles Krauthammer

Friday, April 30, 2004

Anti-Semitism, once just a European disease, has gone global. The outgoing prime minister of Malaysia gets a standing ovation from leaders of 57 Islamic countries when he calls upon them to rise up against the Jewish conspiracy to control the world. The French ambassador to London tells dinner party guests that Israel is a "[expletive] little country . . . why should the world be in danger of World War III because of those people?"

Ah, those people. Kofi Annan's personal representative in Iraq now singles out the policies of the world's one Jewish state -- and only democratic state in the Middle East -- as "the great poison in the region." The Egyptian government daily Al-Gumhuriya is less diplomatic, explaining in an article by its deputy editor that, "It is the Jews, with their hidden, filthy hands, who . . . are behind all troubles, disasters and catastrophes in the world," including, of course, the attacks of Sept. 11 and the Madrid bombings.

It is in this kind of atmosphere that Israel offers unilateral withdrawal from Gaza -- uprooting 7,000 Jews, turning over to the Palestinians 21 settlements with their extensive infrastructure intact and creating the first independent Palestinian territory in history -- and is almost universally attacked.

Moreover, and much overlooked, Israel will also evacuate four small West Bank settlements, which creates extensive Palestinian territorial contiguity throughout the northern half of the West Bank.

The Arabs have variously denounced this as Israeli unilateralism, a departure from the "road map" and a ruse and a plot. The craven Europeans have duly followed suit. And when Tony Blair defied the mob by expressing support for the plan, he was rewarded with a letter from 52 Arabist ex-diplomats denouncing him.

This Nuremberg atmosphere has reached the point where, if Israel were to announce today that it intends to live for at least another year, the U.N. Security Council would convene to discuss a resolution denouncing Israeli arrogance and unilateralism, and the United States would have to veto it. Only Britain would have the decency to abstain.

It gets worse. The Bush administration has been attacked not just for supporting the Gaza plan but for bolstering Israel in this risky endeavor with two assurances: first, that the Palestinian refugees are to be repatriated not to Israel but to Palestine; and second, Israel should not be required to return to its 1967 borders. Enlightened editorial opinion has denounced this as Bush's upsetting 30 years of American diplomacy.

Utter rubbish. Rejecting the so-called right of return is nothing more than opposing any final settlement that results in flooding Israel with hostile Palestinians and thus eradicating the only Jewish state on the planet. This is radical? This is something that Washington should refuse to say?

What is new here? Four years ago, at Camp David, this was a central element of the Clinton plan. As was the notion of Israel's retaining a small percentage of West Bank land on which tens of thousands of Jews live.

Moreover, the notion that Israel will not be forced to return to the 1967 armistice lines goes back 37 years -- to 1967 itself. The Johnson administration was instrumental in making sure that the governing document for a Middle East settlement -- Security Council Resolution 242 -- called for Israeli withdrawal to "secure and recognized boundaries," not "previous boundaries." And it called for Israel to withdraw "from territories occupied" in the 1967 war -- not "from the territories occupied," as had been demanded by the Arab states, and not from "all territories occupied" as had been demanded by the Soviet Union.

Arthur Goldberg (U.S. ambassador to the United Nations), Lord Caradon (British ambassador to the U.N.) and Eugene Rostow (U.S. undersecretary of state) had negotiated this language with extreme care. They spent the subsequent decades explaining over and over again that the central U.N. resolution on the conflict did not require Israel to withdraw to the 1967 lines.

Confronted with these facts, the critics say: Well, maybe this is right, but Bush should not have said this in the absence of negotiations. Good grief. This was offered to the Palestinians in negotiations -- in July 2000 at Camp David -- with even more generous Israeli concessions. Yasser Arafat said no and then launched a bloody terrorist war that has killed almost a thousand Jews and maimed thousands of others.

The fact is that there are no negotiations because under the road map -- adopted even by the United Nations -- there can be no negotiations until the Palestinians end the terror and dismantle the terror apparatus.

To argue that neither Israel nor the United States can act in the absence of negotiations is to give the Palestinians, by continuing the terror, a veto over any constructive actions by the United States or Israel -- whether disengaging from Gaza, uprooting settlements or establishing conditions for a final peace settlement that would ensure the survival of a Jewish state. This is an argument of singular absurdity. And a prescription for perpetual violence and perpetual stalemate.

letters@charleskrauthammer.com