Saturday, May 23, 2009

Democracy Iranian style: Ahead of elections, Iran 'blocks access to Facebook'

Twitter, anyone?
Iran 'blocks access to Facebook' 
Facebook says it is investigating reports of the ban
Iran's government has blocked access to social networking site Facebook ahead of June's presidential elections, according to Iran's ILNA news agency.
ILNA suggested the move was aimed at stopping supporters of reformist candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi from using the site for his campaign.
Facebook, which claims to have 175m users worldwide, expressed its disappointment over the reported ban.
So far there has been no comment from the authorities in Tehran.
'Access not possible'
"Access to the Facebook site was prohibited several days ahead of the presidential elections," ILNA reported.

Mr Mousavi was Iran's prime minister when the post was abolished in 1989
It said that "according to certain Internet surfers, the site was banned because supporters of Mir Hossein Mousavi were using Facebook to better disseminate the candidate's positions".
CNN staff in Tehran reported that people attempting to visit the site received a message in Farsi that said: "Access to this site is not possible."
Facebook expressed disappointment that its site was apparently blocked in Iran "at a time when voters are turning to the Internet as a source of information about election candidates and their positions".
Mir Hossein Mousavi, a former prime minister, is seen as one of the leading challengers to incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in the 12 June elections.
His page on Facebook has more than 5,000 supporters.

Friday, May 22, 2009

End of Media Canards: No Obama Peace Plan in Cairo speech - none

Headline: Obama won't unveil Mideast peace plan in Cairo - That squashes a lot of speculation like a bug, no?  Either he never intended to unveil a plan, or it became clear that nobody at all would go along with the plan he intended to unveil. Here's the story:
The White House announced on Friday that U.S. President Barack Obama will not be presenting an American initiative for peace in the Middle East during his speech in Cairo on June 4, Israel Radio reported.
White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said that Obama's speech would address Washington's relationship with Muslims worldwide.
"This will be a broader speech about our relationship with Muslims around the world," said Gibbs at the daily press briefing. "I know there has been some conjecture that included in this speech will be some detailed comprehensive Mideast peace plan, and that is not the intention nor was it ever the intention of this speech."
Gibbs noted that Obama could not address the Muslim world without referring to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but added that the speech would not focus on it.
When asked about Obama's stance on Jerusalem, Gibbs said, "Those are final status issues that the parties themselves have agreed to work out in whatever negotiation would be had. That's not something for the President to intone."
Following Obama's meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday, various media reports had speculated that Obama would unveil a new U.S. initiative for achieving peace in the Middle East as part of his upcoming speech meant to improve relations with the Muslim world.
American officials earlier this week had said that the U.S. expects Israel to make concrete concessions to the Palestinians before Obama's visit to Cairo.
Israeli security forces on Thursday morning evacuated the West Bank settlement outpost of Maoz Esther, in an apparent nod to diplomatic pressure exerted by the Obama administration.
Security forces hauled away seven metal containers converted to cabins during the evacuation. Several youths were at the camp but there was no violence, said police spokesman Mickey Rosenfeld.
Obama and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have both said that achieving peace in the Middle East would be a top priority for their administration. Both have stressed that they are committed to a two-state solution, with viable and secure Israeli and Palestinian states living side by side.

Hezbollah's guilty conscience and election gimmick: Israel is out to kill Nasrallah

This is a man with a guilty conscience and a need to win an election  Israel prepping for Nasrallah kill, says Hezbollah. It goes without saying that Israel is always looking for an opportune moment to cause an accident to happen to certain folks, if the cost is not too high. Imad Moughnieh was on the Israeli list for a long time. The problems are means, opportunity, and the ever-present threat of massive retaliation such as the barbaric attack on the Jewish Center in Argentina. From the Israeli point of view, and the point of view of a great many Lebanese, Nasrallah is a guy that needs killing. Unfortunately, he may be even more dangerous dead than he is alive.
Of course, Hezbollah has an urgent need to garner favor and votes in the upcoming election. Here's the LA  Times arrticle about it:  
Everyone in Lebanon has been noticing how Hezbollah's rhetoric has been heating up lately.
The group's leader, Hassan Nasrallah, made it clear in a number of speeches this week that his party would tolerate neither spies, Israeli "aggression" nor what he described as Lebanese government "hypocrisy."
It's volatile talk ahead of critical June 7 elections in which Hezbollah needs to sway at least some Christians to vote in its favor.
On Monday, Nasrallah warned that the Islamic militant group would be on high alert as Israel prepared to conduct its largest military maneuvers since 1961, a series of armed forces and emergency services drills expected to take place toward the end of the month.
Now, the group's former international relations officer, Nawaf Moussawi, tells the pan-Arab daily Al Sharq al Awsat that the drills are a "rehearsal to confront the repercussions of the assassination of Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah, which will lead, if achieved, to a total explosion."
Although Israel has not discussed the drills publicly, the left-leaning Israeli daily Haaretz reported that the air force carried out drills Thursday and that the United Nations peacekeeping force in southern Lebanon had assured the Lebanese government that the maneuvers were defensive and nonthreatening.
Moussawi goes on to say that Hezbollah is dealing with these maneuvers "responsibly and seriously" but also with "readiness and alertness" in case Israel has decided to assassinate Nasrallah.
Local media have been reporting that at least one of the suspects arrested and charged with spying for Israel recently was tasked with pinpointing Nasrallah's exact location, thought to be a secret underground bunker somewhere in Beirut.
Moussawi's comments are made against a background of tightened security on the part of both Hezbollah and Lebanon's Internal Security Forces, which have arrested yet another suspected spy, identified only as Ziyad S., according to the Lebanese daily Al Akhbar.
The paper also reported Hezbollah's discovery of a number of "spy cameras" at the entrances to businesses and organizations in Beirut's southern suburbs, where most of the party's offices are located.
Speaking via closed-circuit television to festive crowds gathered in the southern town of Nabatiyeh today for the anniversary of Israel's 2000 withdrawal from southern Lebanon, Nasrallah warned against allowing sectarian politics to interfere with the spy-network investigations.
"I say, start by executing the agents from the Shiite community!" he said to thunderous applause.
Nasrallah went on to suggest the alleged agents might be connected to the series of bombing and assassinations that had rocked the country since 2005.
-- Meris Lutz in Beirut
Of course, the drills have no relation to Hezbollah.
Ami Isseroff

USA Discovery - Miike Mullen: "Iran nuclear bomb would be calamitous"

Joint chiefs of staff head Admiral Mike Mullen has concluded, after much deliberation no doubt, that an Iran nuclear bomb would be calamitous. There seems to have been considerable doubt about this point in the Obama administration, with many people taking the view that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is a real nice guy who just needs talking to.
The remarks came the day after Iran's president  Ahadinejad announced the country had tested a missile that analysts said could hit Israel and U.S. bases in the Gulf, a major source of crude oil for the United States. The solid fuel rocket has a range of 2,500 KM. The test annuncement came a few hours after a panel of US and Russian experts concluded definitely that at present Iran only has missiles with half that range. So much for expert opinions.
Mullen also said, "The downside, potentially, is absolutely disastrous." What's the upside?
According to the Reuters report:
Obama also set a rough timetable for his diplomatic outreach, saying that by the end of this year the United States should have a sense of whether the effort was making progress.
That's very rough. In fact, it is meaningless.
At least everybody seems to be on the same page - An Iranian Nuke would not be a GOOD THING. It would be a VERY BAD THING. The Americans are finally beginning to understand what the Saudis, the Israelis, the Bahrainis, the Kuwaitis and everyone else in the Middle East understands. They understand that the Iranian regime is NOT NICE and does not have peaceful and friendly intentions toward its neighbors. If they get the bomb, a lot of people would be threatened, and even more important for Americans, the price of gasoline would be threatened. Now that's really important.
But Mike Mullen and the US government are still clueless about what it will take to stop the Iranian effort. Mullen said:
"Major leaders, internationally, have got to come together to arrest this growth or the long-term downside for the people in the world is really, really tragic and drastic,"
Coming together, is not going to do much good unless there is a plan. Sanctions are not going to be effective and thus far China and Russia at least, will not go along with sanctions. It is doubtful that the Swiss, who are major suppliers of gasoline to Iran, would go along either.
Mike Mullen have repeatedly and publicly vetoed any Israeli attack on Iran. This removes the teeth from any deterrent threats. Only the prospect of an attack might thwart Iran and prevent the "calamitous" outcome.
Ami Isseroff

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Jewish Nakba: far worse than the Arab

As the Palestinians mark their nakba, for the first time in a long time an influential columnist on the mass-circulation Israeli Maariv focuses on the disaster which befell Jews from Arab countries. They went through a nakba of persecution, loss and suffering far worse, claims Ben-Dror Yemini. We have been given permission to reproduce the full English translation of this must-read piece: (With thanks: Iraqijews)

They say that she was stunningly beautiful. Sol (Suleika) Hatuel was 17 years old when she was beheaded. A Muslim friend claimed that she had succeeded in converting her. When Sol denied the claim, she was accused of renouncing Islam and was condemned to death. Her case reached the sultan.

In order to prevent her death, the community elders tried to persuade her to live as a Muslim. She refused and said, “I was born as a Jew, I will die as a Jew.” Her fate was sealed. It happened in 1834. She was from Tangier and was executed in Fez. Many make pilgrimages to her grave. Despite the fact that the incident was immortalized in eyewitness testimony, in a famous painting and in a play, her story has been forgotten. The following article is dedicated to her and to the victims of the Jewish Nakba.

Every year on the 15th of May, the Palestinians − and many others around the world along with them − “celebrate” Nakba Day. For them, this is the day that marks the great catastrophe that befell them as result of the establishment of the State of Israel. Hundreds of thousands of Arabs became refugees. Some fled, some were deported. The Nakba grew to such enormous proportions that it is preventing a solution to the dispute.

We must remember that in the 1940s, population exchanges and deportations for the purpose of creating national states were the accepted norm. Tens of millions of people experienced it, but only the Palestinians (and they are not alone in this) have been inflating the myth of the Nakba.

However, there is another Nakba: the Jewish Nakba. During those same years, there was a long line of slaughters, pogroms, property confiscation of and deportations − against Jews in Islamic countries. This chapter of history has been left in the shadows. The Jewish Nakba was worse than the Palestinian Nakba. The only difference is that the Jews did not turn that Nakba into their founding ethos. To the contrary.

Like tens of millions of other refugees around the world, they preferred to heal the wound. Not to scratch it and not to open it and not to make it bleed even more. The Palestinians, in contrast, preferred bleeding to rehabilitation. And now they are also paying the price.

The industry of lies has intensified the myth of the Nakba and turned it into the ultimate crime. The Nakba has spawned innumerable publications and conferences, to the point of completely distorting the actual historical process. The Deir Yassin massacre has become one of the milestones in the Palestinian Nakba. There is no need to hide what occurred there (even though the issue of the massacre is in dispute). Innocent people were killed. There were a few other instances of behavior that should be exposed and condemned.

Extermination War against the Jews: A long series of massacres was perpetrated against the Jews in Arab countries. They did not declare war on the countries in which they lived. They were loyal citizens. That did not help them. Their suffering was erased. Their story is never told. The Palestinian narrative has taken over history. There is no need for a Palestinian narrative versus a Zionist narrative. We need to shake off narratives in favor of the truth. And the truth is the number of Jews murdered was greater, their dispossession was greater, and their suffering greater...

A stunning testimonial from those years, which actually comes from the Arab side, sheds light on the issue. In 1936, Alawite notables sent a letter to the French Foreign Minister in which they expressed their concern for the future of the region. They also referred to the Jewish question: "The Jews brought civilization and peace to the Arab Muslims, and they dispersed gold and prosperity over Palestine without damage to anyone or taking anything by force. Despite this, the Muslims declared holy war against them and didn’t hesitate to massacre their children and women … Thus, a black fate awaits the Jews in case the Mandates are cancelled and Muslim Syria united with Muslim Palestine”. The interesting thing is that one of the letter's signatories was none other than the great grandfather of Bashar Al Assad, the president of Syria.

We must remember that Nakba Day is the date of the declaration of Israel's independence, May 15th . We must remember what happened just a few hours after that declaration. The Secretary of the Arab League, Abdul Rahman Hassan Azzamaha, announced the declaration of war against Israel: “This war will be a war of annihilation and the story of the slaughter will be told like the campaigns of the Mongols and the Crusaders.”

The Mufti, Haj Amin Al Husseini, who was close to Hitler during the Second World War, added his own bit: “ I am declaring a holy war. My brother Muslims! Slaughter the Jews! Kill them all!” The mini-Holocaust of the Jews in Arab countries.

Various documents, some of them discovered only in recent years, show that the declaration of war was far broader. It was actually a declaration of war on the Jews.

Research that was conducted, among others, by Prof. Irwin Cotler, former Minister of Justice of Canada, shows that the Arab League formulated a bill that would place a series of sanctions on the Jews, including confiscation of property, bank accounts and more. The preamble to the bill states that “All Jews will be considered members of the Jewish minority in the State of Palestine.” And if the fate of the Jews of Palestine was sealed, the fate of the Jews in Arab countries was clear.

The bill was indeed the background to the sanctions against the Jews in Arab countries − sometimes by way of legislation, as happened in Iraq and later in Egypt, and sometimes by taking those measures without the need for any legislation.

According to the industry of lies, the Jews in Arab countries lived peacefully in their environment, under the protection of the government, and it was only because of the Zionist movement and the harm done to the Arabs in Palestine that the Jews began to suffer.

This lie has been repeated innumerable times. Most of the Jews in Arab countries did not undergo the horrors of the Holocaust. But, even before the advent of Zionism, their situation was not any better. There were periods in which the Jews enjoyed relative peace under Muslim rule, but those periods were the exception. Throughout Jewish history in Muslim lands there were humiliations, expulsions, pogroms and a systematic deprivation of rights.

Series of Pogroms: We can, of course, start with the conflict between Muhammad and the Jews. Muhammed undertook social reforms, bringing the Arabs out of the Jahaliya period, and borrowed the concept of monotheism - primarily, perhaps, from the Jews. Many motifs from the Jewish religion appear in the Koran, for example, circumcision and the prohibition on eating pork. But Muhammad wanted to convert the Jews, They, of course, refused. The result was a confrontation that ended in the expulsion and slaughter of hundreds.

The Jews, as the “People of the Book,” were given the right to live under the protection of Islam and to practise their religion. From time to time, from generation to generation, the conditions underwent changes. In many cases, the Jews lived under the covenant of Khalif Omar.

This covenant enabled them to live as protected people (“Dhimmis”), albeit with inferior status. But many times, under Muslim rule, they were not even allowed a life of inferior status.

The Golden Age: One of the proofs of the coexistence of Jews and Muslims is Jewish prosperity under Muslim rule in Spain and the Golden Age. The reality, however, was different.

It encompassed continued violence against the Jews. In 1011 in Cordoba, Spain, under Muslim rule, there were pogroms in which, according to various estimates, from hundreds to thousands were murdered. In 1066 in Granada, Yosef Hanagid was executed, along with between 4,000 and 6,000 other Jews. One of the worst periods of all began in 1148, when the Almohad dynasty came to power (al Muwahhidūn), and ruled Spain and North Africa during the 12th and 13th centuries.

Morocco: The country that suffered from the worst series of massacres. In the 8th century whole communities were wiped out by Idris the First. In 1033, in the city of Fez, 6,000 Jews were murdered by a Muslim mob. The rise of the Almohad dynasty caused waves of mass murders. According to testimony from that time, 100,000 Jews were slaughtered in Fez and about 120,000 in Marrakesh (this testimony should be viewed with caution). In 1465, another massacre took place in Fez, which spread to other cities in Morocco.

There were pogroms in Tetuan in 1790 and 1792, in which children were murdered, women were raped and property was looted. Between 1864 and 1880, there were a series of pogroms against the Jews of Marrakesh, in which hundreds were slaughtered. In 1903, there were pogroms in two cities – Taza and Settat, in which over 40 Jews were killed.

In 1907, there was a pogrom in Casablanca in which 30 Jews were killed and many women were raped. In 1912, there was another massacre in Fez in which 60 Jews were killed and about 10,000 were left homeless. In 1948, another series of pogroms began against the Jews which led to the slaughter of 42 in the cities of Oujda and Jrada.

Algeria: A series of massacres occurred in 1805, 1815 and 1830. The situation of the Jews improved with the start of the French conquest in 1830, but that did nor prevent anti-Jewish outbursts in the 1880s. The situation deteriorated again with the rise of the Vichy government. Even before 1934, the country was permeated by Nazi influences, which led to the slaughter of 25 Jews in the city of Constantine. When it achieved independence in 1962, laws were passed against citizenship for anyone who was not a Muslim and their property was effectively confiscated. Most of the Jews left, usually completely penniless, together with the French (“pieds noirs”).

Libya: In 1785, hundreds of Jews were murdered by Burza Pasha. Under Nazi influence, harassment of the Jews intensified. Jewish property in Benghazi was plundered, thousands were sent to camps and about 500 Jews were killed. In 1945, at the end of World War II, a program against the Jews began and the number of murdered reached 140. The New York Times reported the horrible scenes of babies and old people who had been beaten to death. In the riots that broke out in 1948, the Jews were more prepared, so only 14 were killed. Following the Six Day War, riots broke out once again and 17 Jews were slaughtered.

Iraq: a massacre occurred in Basra in 1776. The situation of the Jews improved under British rule in 1917, but this improvement ended with Iraq's independence in 1932. German influences increased and reached a peak in 1941 in the pogrom known as Farhud, in which 182 Jews were slaughtered (according to historian Elie Kedourie, 600 people were actually murdered) and thousands of houses were pillaged.

Those were the days of Haj Amin al Husseini, who preached violence against the Jews. After the establishment of the State of Israel, the Iraqi parliament acted according to the Arab League bill and in 1950 and froze the assets of Jews. Sanctions were imposed on those who remained in Iraq. The Farhud massacre and the harassment from 1946 to 1949 to all intents and purposes turned the Iraqi Jews into exiles and refugees. The few thousand who remained in Iraq suffered from harsh edicts. In 1967, 14 Iraqis were sentenced to death on trumped up charges of espionage. Among them were 11 Jews. Radio Iraq invited the masses to the hanging festivities.

Syria: The first blood libel in a Muslim country occurred in 1840, and led to the kidnapping and torture of dozens of Jewish children, sometimes to the point of death, and a pogrom against the Jews. In 1986, the Syrian Minister of Defense, Mustafa Talas, published a book, “The Matzah of Zion,” in which he claims that the Jews did, indeed, use the blood of a Christian monk to bake matzah. Same old anti-Semitism, new edition. Other pogroms occurred in Aleppo in 1850 and in 1875, in Damascus in 1848 and in 1890, in Beirut in 1862 and in 1874, and in Dir al Kamar there was another blood libel which also led to a pogrom in 1847. That year, there was a pogrom against the Jews of Jerusalem, which was the result of that blood libel. In 1945, the Jews of Aleppo suffered severe pogroms. 75 Jews were murdered and the community was destroyed. There was a resurgence of the violence in 1947, which turned most of the Syrian Jews into refugees. Those who remained there lived for many years as hostages.

Iran: There was a pogrom against the Jews of Mashhad in 1839. A mob was incited to attack Jews, and slaughtered almost 40. The rest were forced to convert. That is how the Marranos of Mashhad came into being. In 1910, there was a blood libel in Shiraz in which 30 Jews were murdered and all Jewish homes were pillaged.

Yemen: There were fluctuations in relations that ranged between tolerance and inferior subsistence, between harassment and pogroms. The Rambam’s Letter to Yemen was sent following a letter he received from the leader of the Yemeni Jews, describing edicts of forced conversion issued against the Jews (1173). There were further waves of apostasy edicts which cannot be detailed here for lack of space.

One of the worst milestones was the Mawza exile. Three years after Imam Al Mahdi took power in 1676, he drove the Jews into one of the most arid districts of Yemen. According to various accounts, 60 - 75% of the Jews died as a result of the exile. Many and varied edicts were imposed on the Jews, differing only in severity. One of the harshest was the Orphans' Edict, which ordered the forced conversion of orphaned children to Islam. In nearby Aden, which was under British rule, pogroms occurred in 1947 which took the lives of 82 Jews. 106 of the 170 shops that were owned by Jews were completely destroyed. Hundreds of houses and all the community's buildings were burned down.

Egypt: As in the other Arab countries, the Jews of Egypt also suffered inferior status for hundreds of years. A significant improvement occurred when Muhammad Ali came to power in 1805. The testimony of French diplomat, Edmond Combes, leaves nothing in doubt: “To the Muslims, no race is more worthy of contempt than the Jewish race." Another diplomat added, “The Muslims do not hate any other religion the way they hate that of the Jews.”

Following the blood libel in Damascus, similar libels began to spread in Egypt as well and incited mobs to carry out a series of attacks: in Cairo in 1844, 1890, and in 1901-1902; and Alexandria in 1870, 1882 and in 1901-1907. Similar attacks also occurred in Port Said and in Damanhur.

Later on, there were riots against the Jews at the end of World War II, in 1945, in which 10 were killed and hundreds were injured. In 1947, the Companies Law was passed, which severely damaged Jewish businesses and led to the confiscation of property. In 1948, following the UN resolution on partition, riots began in Cairo and Alexandria. The dead numbered between 80 and 180. Tens of thousands were forced to leave, many fleeing and abandoning their property. The lot of those who remained did not improve. In 1956, a law was passed in Egypt which effectively denied the Jews citizenship, forcing them to leave the country with no property. This was an act of pure expulsion and mass property confiscation.


The above is just a partial list out of a long series of massacres in Muslim countries. It happened before the Zionist endeavor. It continued with the Zionist endeavor. We are talking about a succession of events. Tens of thousands were murdered simply because they were Jewish. So the fairytale of coexistence and blaming Zionism for undermining that coexistence is yet another completely baseless myth.

Before the UN vote on partition in November 1947, Egypt's ambassador to the UN, Heykal Pasha, warned that “The lives of a million Jews in Muslim countries will be in danger if the vote is for partition… if Arab blood is spilled in Palestine, Jewish blood will be spilled elsewhere in the world.”

Four days afterwards, the Iraqi foreign minister, Muhammad Fadil al Jamali said that “We will not be able to restrain the masses in the Arab countries, after the harmony in which Jews and Arabs lived together.” There was no harmony. There had been a massacre of Jews just a few years earlier. El Jamali lied, of course. The very same Iraqi government had encouraged the harassment of Jews and issued orders to confiscate all Jewish property.

Additionally, the Iraqi leader of the time, Nuri Said, had already presented a plan for expelling the Jews in 1949, even before the hasty − actually forced − exit of the Jews from Iraq. He also explained that “The Jews are a source of trouble in Iraq. They have no place among us. We must get rid of them as best we were able.” Said even presented a plan to lead the Jews via Jordan in order to coerce them into passage to Israel. Jordan objected, but the expulsion was implemented anyway. Said even admitted that this entailed a type of population exchange.

So the massacres, the pogroms and the great expulsion of the Jews was a continuation of their suffering under Muslim rule. There have always been Muslims who came out in defense of the Jews. They are also worthy of mention. That were also periods of prosperity, but it appears that most of the Jewish prosperity, as in Egypt in the 1920s and 1930s, in Algeria in the 19th and 20th centuries, in Iraq in the 1920s − was under colonial rule. In most cases, the situation of the Jews was bad before the European invasion and worsened once again with the end of the colonial era.

* * *

Throughout the relations between Jews and Arabs, in Arab countries or in the course of the Zionist enterprise, there was not one case of a pogrom against Muslims of the type committed by the Arabs against the Jews. Even in the worst cases, which must be condemned, such as Deir Yassin, they occurred as part of a military confrontation.

Those are cases that should be condemned, but we need to put things in perspective. The Arabs slaughtered the Jews without any hostilities and without any military excuse, just because they were Jews. And those few Arabs who were killed, were killed as part of a military campaign. Despite this, any injury inflicted on the Arab population resulted in innumerable investigations and references. The worst abuse of all, the abuse of Jews by Arabs, was erased and forgotten.

Let's return to Deir Yassin, the ultimate symbol of the Nakba. We have called it an indecent act and we will repeat that. But we must note that it was preceded by a series of murderous terrorist attacks against the civilian population. Waves of incidents, which to all intents and purposes were actual pogroms, by an incited mob that attacked the civilian population. Thousands of Jews were slaughtered - women, children and the elderly. The Palestinians even murdered their own people. In the great Arab Revolt in the 1930s, 400 Jews and 5,000 Arabs were killed, most of them at the hands of their brethren.

The months before Deir Yassin were the worst of all. 39 workers were murdered at the Haifa refineries, 50 Jews were killed by car bombs in Jerusalem, and on and on. In total, in the four months between the vote on partition and the declaration of establishment of the State of Israel, 815 Jews were murdered, most of them before the Deir Yassin incident (on April 9, 1948), some afterwards (the slaughter of the Hadassah hospital convoy: 79 killed, April 13, 1948). Most were civilians. Most died in massacres and terrorist attacks. And that is the real background. Far more murdered Jews. But they have all been forgotten. They should be mentioned. That is the Jewish Nakba, whose victims, in Israel and around the world, are mentioned less and less.

The Palestinians paid the price: Close to a million Jews lived in Arab countries at the time of the establishment of the State of Israel. Just a few live there today. Most left because they suffered from pogroms and the threat to their lives. It was a crueler expulsion than the one suffered by the Arabs of Palestine, who paid the price for the declarations of war and annihilation made by their leaders. Even the Jewish property that was confiscated or abandoned as a result of the expulsion is more valuable than the Arab property that remained in Israel.

Various investigators have tried to estimate the value of the confiscated Jewish property following the forced departure of the Jews from Arab countries, compared with the Arab property left in Israel following the forced departure of the Arabs. Economist Sidney Zabludoff, an international expert in the field, estimates that the value of the Arab property is $3.9 billion, compared with the value of the Jewish property which is $6 billion (at 2007 values).

So even in this area, the Palestinians’ claims are refuted. They dragged the Arab countries into war. They paid the price. And they are the ones who caused the Jews to pay an even higher price. Both in property and in blood.

This article is not intended to cultivate the Jewish Nakba, and it by no means includes all the cases of pogroms, property confiscations, forced conversions and other harassment. The purpose is precisely the opposite. When they understand, in the Arab world in general, and the Palestinians in particular, that suffering, expulsion, loss of property, the cost in lives, is not the monopoly of one side, they may, perhaps, have the sense to understand that this past is a matter for history lessons. Because if we start to perform a political accounting, they have an overdraft. The Jewish Nakba was far greater. The suffering was enormous. But it is the suffering of many nations, Jews and Arabs among them, who went through the experience as part of the creation of new nation states.

It is therefore worth presenting the story of the Jewish Nakba. Not for the purpose of increasing the hostility, but for the purpose of presenting the truth, and for the purpose of reconciliation between the nations. Inshallah.

Read article in full (Hebrew)

Who Needs a (Second) Palestinian State?


Daniel Greenfield - May 18, 2009

Everyone, and by "everyone" I mean the denizens of Washington D.C.'s and Brussel's government buildings, agrees that we need a Palestinian state. Chiming in with their "Yes" votes are the dictator of a dozen Arab states who agree that the only thing that will fix the region is adding another Arab dictatorship to the place, and subtracting the region's one democracy. But who actually needs a Palestinian state? Or rather a second Palestinian state. The first Palestinian state, commonly called Jordan, was carved out of the Palestine Mandate and equipped with a refugee Saudi royal family. Today Jordan exists mainly under the protection of the US and Israel, and its population of Palestinian Arabs is a seething mass of Muslim extremists currently enjoying a 30 percent unemployment rate, where the majority of the population supports Osama Bin Laden, at a higher percentage rate than even Pakistan.

But Jordan is practically heaven on earth compared to the Second Palestinian State that the Obama Administration is to determined to inflict on Israel.

Currently ruled by mutually hostile armed gangs loyal to either the Fatah or Hamas terrorist groups, Palestine 2.0 has already been a failed state for over a decade. Every attempt at foreign investment has failed. The ruins of industrial zones, greenhouses and even a casino, dot the landscape. Palestinian Arab Christians from overseas who returned to build up the economy fled quickly in the face of relentless shakedowns, kidnappings and militia gangs masquerading as law enforcement.

The vast majority of Palestinian Arabs work for two employers. The UNRWA and the Palestinian Authority... which in turn is funded by foreign donors. Work for the Palestinian Authority usually means belonging to a militia gang which is loyal to a particular figure in the PA leadership, who in turn passes that loyalty on to the current "government". With little to do, the gangs spend their free time dealing drugs, carrying out terrorist attacks and collecting protection money from their town's remaining stores.

For 17 years, Israel, America and just about every interested party has tried to build a Palestinian state.
They provided weapons and training to build a modern Palestinian police force. They sent advisers and fortunes in economic aid, thousands per Palestinian Arab. They created industrial zones and transferred greenhouses. Billions in funds from the EU, America and various do-gooders were swallowed up to fund the lavish lifestyles of Arafat and his henchmen.

To those who argue that a Palestinian State will build regional stability, the rational person must ask, how in the world has any of this contributed to regional stability?

Year after year, the proposed Palestinian State has become a worse place. Given autonomy, its own military, political, legal and economic system-- "Palestine" has made the region more unstable than ever. Terrorism has increased. Violence has increased. General instability has increased. Proposing that more of this will stabilize the region is akin to a man setting fire to one piece of furniture after another in his living room, and claiming that when the entire room is on fire, it will be a safe place to live.

So I ask again, who needs a Palestinian state? If the Palestinian Arabs really wanted a state (a second state) in Gaza, the West Bank and Eastern Jerusalem, they could have had it before 1967, when those territories were in Arab hands. Instead the PLO back then called for no Palestinian state and the destruction of Israel. As Clinton discovered to his chagrin at the end of his term, Arafat did not actually want a state and was not interested in accepting an Israeli offer that gave him 99 percent of what he wanted. Is it really any surprise that Hamas today follows the same exact party line?

And really why would they want a Palestinian state? If a state was actually created, the UNRWA would have to close up shop. A Palestinian state could no longer rely on foreign donors to fund the hundred thousand or so armed gangsters who form its "government" and its only real form of employment. And the same Muslim states who pass along "charity" to help fund the "martyr operations" that are behind much of the local terrorism would turn elsewhere.

Instead for 17 years the same tired opera has been playing in the region's one theater. First the world's statesmen and diplomats descend on Israel, crying that the only hope for the region's stability is a Palestinian state. Next the Israeli diplomats arrive with a generous territorial offer, counterbalanced by a second clause that asks that there be no more terrorism. That second clause is immediately ignored by everyone in the room.

Next the Palestinian Authority diplomats arrive demanding twice as much land, no more border security preventing terrorists from entering Israel, half of Israel's capital, contiguous borders that would cut Israel in half, the ethnic cleansing of all Jews from territories claimed by them... and finally the return of the "refugees", which is code for unlimited immigration from their proposed Palestinian State into Israel.

The Israelis make a counteroffer. The statesmen and diplomats accuse Israel of rejecting peace. The Palestinian Arabs begin carrying out terrorist attacks again (assuming they even bothered to stop during the negotiations). Israel bombs the terrorists. The statesmen and diplomats accuse Israel of perpetuating the cycle of violence, and urge everyone to go back to the negotiating table. By the time that happens a year later, the Palestinian Arabs have doubled their demands, and the whole "Cycle of Peacemaking" repeats itself all over again.

The "not so secret" secret here is that the Palestinian Arabs do not want a state or peace. 17 years of running the Palestinian Authority into the ground have shown how utterly incapable Fatah and Hamas are of running anything, besides armed gangs, mosques and occasional social services to their loyalist families...all funded from abroad.

The Palestinian ruling powers derive their authority from two forces

1. The Muslim desire to destroy Israel as an infidel state whose existence contradicts Islam. This keeps the money and arms flowing in to the different factions, as well as provides popular support by Arabs. Which is why no Palestinian leader will recognize and accept the existence of Israel. It is why Arafat negotiated out of one side of his mouth and ordered terrorist attacks out of the other. It is why after his death. his Fatah movement has lost credibility and popular support to Hamas due to its increasing inability to kill Israelis.

2. Western and Israel diplomats who keep trying to create a Palestinian state out of the bizarre notion that such a state would bring the terrorism to an end. Like all Dhimmi behaviors in regard to Islam, they ignore the fact that the short term goal of terrorism is terrorism. The long term goal of terrorism is to conquer and hold the territory of the terrorized. There is no room for the middle ground of compromise in that equation. It's either absolute power, or nothing at all.

Terrorism is practiced by armed gangs and movements who derive their power and support from being terrorists. Proposing that they stop being terrorists is a lot like walking into GM and suggesting that instead of making cars, they should make donuts and hand them out for free, so everyone will be happy.

Palestinian nationalism has always been a crock, a transparently phony justification for terrorism that has always come before nationalism. Palestine was never a country or a state. It was the name given by the Roman occupation forces to a region they were administering, a region far larger than modern day Israel. There was never an Arab Palestinian king or ruler until Arafat. There was never a separate country called Palestine. The Post WW1 Palestine Mandate in the 20th century was used to create two states, an Arab state, Jordan, and a smaller state, Israel.

Now the drive is on to create Palestine 2.0, despite the obvious fact that the Palestinian Arabs have done everything possible to prevent it from coming into being. Nearly two decades of terrorism have turned the endless rounds of peace negotiations into a joke. Half the Palestinian Authority is now ruled by the Iranian backed Hamas terrorist group, which insists it will never recognize or accept permanent peace with Israel. A state of affairs that never would have come into being, had Israel not completely withdrawn from Gaza in the first place.

So once again, who wants or needs a Palestinian state?

Israel did not come into being out of pity for the millions of Jews killed in the Holocaust. Nor did it come into being thanks to US aid or support. Both of those however are common myths.

The State of Israel was in place well before the Holocaust, in the form of an embryonic country of farmers who drained the swamps, businessmen who set up shops, journalists who printed newspapers, and soldiers who trained to protect and defend their homeland. When the UN recognized Israel, it simply accepted the fait accompli that Israel existed and was capable of taking care of itself, which it proved by fighting the armies of the surrounding Arab nations to a standstill. It did it without US military aid, which only came into the picture much later with the Kennedy administration. It did it, because the people of Israel genuinely wanted their own state and worked to make it happen.

By 1942, 17 years after the Palestine Mandate, the Jews of Israel had built a thriving country, from power generators to vast stretches of farmland, from a revived language to the Technicon,
created in 1924, which is considered one of the world's leading electrical engineering and computer science schools in the world.

17 years after Oslo, the Palestinian Arabs have built nothing but death and destruction. Worse yet they've taken everything that was given to them and turned it into either a weapon or a bribe. By every standard, they have failed to show their ability to build or run a functioning state. Not even the most liberally minded thinker can point to anything in the Palestinian Authority leadership that suggests that they're capable of running a functional state. Which is why that same species will naturally duck the question and begin blaming Israel instead.

And that highlights the real issue. The only reason for creating Palestine 2.0 is the destruction of Israel. It will not bring regional stability. It will not even bring local stability. It cannot even function unless its entire workforce is funded from abroad. It cannot even stop engaging in terrorism.

Palestine 2.0 is a Frankenstein's monster, with body parts from Shiite, Sunni and Marxist terrorists. It only knows how to do one thing and one thing alone, kill. It is not a natural creature, because no Palestinian state ever existed throughout history. It is an artificial state whose existence has only one purpose. The destruction of Israel.

And that answers our question at last. Who needs a Palestinian state? Someone who is either ignorant, foolish or needs to destroy Israel.

The Two State Solution is not a formula for any kind of stability or end to the violence. It's meant to take the violence to a whole new level. It is a formula for the destruction of Israel. 17 years of peacemaking by Israelis has produced 17 years of terrorism by the Palestinian Arabs. Everything sowed on the Palestinian Authority, from money to guns, from autonomy to infrastructure, have come up as dragon's teeth.

Palestine is not a state. It was never a state. It will never be a state. It is currently ruled by two factions who have both disowned a negotiated Palestinian state in favor of the destruction of Israel. It is not a country, it is a weapon.

Palestine is a gun aimed at the head of Israel with one goal, its destruction. Palestine is a gun aimed at the head of every Jew in the world, legitimizing the worst and ugliest kinds of bigotry. Palestine is an imaginary place given form as a vicious myth brainwashing generation after generation of Jordanian and Egyptian Arabs to call themselves Palestinians and kill and die in the name of perpetuating a second Holocaust, all for the glory of Allah, Mohammed, Marx, not to mention Saddam Hussein, Ahmadinejad, the House of Saud, and every cause and ruler with an interest in toppling Israel into the dust.

Palestine is death. It exists only as a form of living death by a population taught to see themselves as willing martyrs to the bomb belt from birth. It breathes death, it celebrates death, it teaches death and preaches death. It is the final ugly end of the hatred and cruelty bottled up in the Arab and Islamic dictatorships of the region. It is the true face of Islam and its shining reflection in the mirror of the Western press and diplomats is the true measure of their Dhimmism.

The Cult of Death in Palestine and the war against Israel is only a preview for the West of things to come. Palestine is not a place, it is hate and homicide boiled down into myth. Palestine is not only in Israel. It is in Paris and London. It is in Madrid and Detroit. It is in Sydney and Moscow. It is everywhere that the toxic brew of Muslim fanaticism and Arab nationalism flows. Its flag is the flag of death. Its constitution is a death warrant for every free nation. Its legislature is a smug coven of obese terrorist chieftains sending their followers off to death with the promise of virgin demons fornicating with them in Paradise.

Palestine 2.0 is a monster with only one purpose, to create Holocaust 2.0. That is who needs a Palestinian state. That is why the far left and the far right are both so hellbent on bringing one into being. Accepting the Two State Solution means accepting death. Rejecting it means embracing life.

Daniel Greenfield is a New York City based writer and freelance commentator. "Daniel comments on political affairs with a special focus on the War on Terror and the rising threat to Western Civilization. He maintains a blog at

Daniel can be reached at:

An Ominous Turn in Elite Opinion


Jonathan S. Tobin

May 2009


    When Roger Cohen, the foreign-affairs columnist for the New York Times, traveled to Iran in January and February, the country he found was a revelation. Unlike the images of raging crowds chanting "Death to America" and fanatical Islam familiar to the West, what Cohen claimed to have discovered was a land whose bazaars were rich with the fragrance of incense and whose people were "sensual" as well as "educated" and "tolerant."

    In a series of op-ed columns published in February and March, and at an appearance at a Los Angeles synagogue during which he was confronted by Iranian exiles, Cohen's determination to debunk what he sees as the distorted reputation of the Islamic Republic was undaunted by outrage from Jews and other observers more mindful of Tehran's record of tyranny at home and support for terrorism abroad. Though he acknowledged that Iran was an "unfree society," Cohen believes confrontation with it—even over its drive to acquire nuclear weapons—is not merely misguided but wrong.

    Despite the regime's promulgation of anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial, he thinks the popular conception of Iran is overblown and lacking in "nuance." Comparisons of the Iranian government and its leaders to Adolf Hitler and the Nazis were, he wrote, absurd if not an insult to the six million victims of the Holocaust. The focus on Iran's behavior and nuclear ambitions was, he said, a distraction for American foreign-policy planners who would be more usefully employed promoting recognition of the Hamas and Hizballah terrorist groups as legitimate players in the Middle East with whom the State of Israel—which, according to Cohen, is in no position to criticize Iran for human rights violations—ought to be made to negotiate concessions.


    Roger Cohen was born in London in 1955 and is a naturalized American citizen now living in New York. Oxford-educated, he made his reputation as a savvy foreign correspondent for Reuters, the Wall Street Journal, the International Herald Tribune, and the Times. In his work for the Times op-ed page, Cohen still likes to play the old-fashioned foreign correspondent who ingenuously lands in a foreign clime and then relays his fresh-eyed impressions to his readers.

    Yet for all of his experience in the field, Cohen's accounts of his journey made it seem more like a trip to a latter-day version of Omar Khayyam's Persia than to the Iran of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. In his telling, Iran's fascinating people and "complex" political culture are, despite rough moments (such as murderous oppression of the Baha'is and the attempts of the Islamist mullahs to control every aspect of Iranian life), the closest thing to a democracy in the Muslim Middle East. Notwithstanding the admiration for the people of Iran he developed during his three weeks there, most of what Cohen wrote about his stay concerned the remnant of the country's once thriving Jewish community, which numbered over 210,000 at the time of Israel's inception in 1948. Over the following four years, some 70,000 immigrated to Israel. After the Iranian Revolution in 1979, another 60,000 fled. There are just 20,000 in the country today.

    One hears little about this community except when it becomes subject to terrible oppression, as in the 1999 arrests of thirteen Jews on false charges of spying on behalf of Israel. At least thirteen others have been executed since 1979 on a variety of pretexts, mostly having to do with the practice of Judaism or assisting emigration to Israel.

    Nonetheless, according to Cohen, the Jews remaining in Iran are a generally happy lot. Rather than being intimidated by a repressive theocratic regime that has repeatedly jailed and executed religious minorities and has criminalized all contact with or support for Israel, the Jews to whom Cohen spoke claimed to be content.

    In "What Iran's Jews Say," published on February 23, he quoted a 61-year-old antiques dealer in Isfahan who leads the service at one of the remaining synagogues in the city as saying he was not worried about the chants of "Death to Israel" that "punctuate" Iranian culture. "'Let them say 'Death to Israel,' he said," Cohen related. "'I've been in this store 43 years and never had a problem. I've visited my relatives in Israel, but when I see something like the attack on Gaza, I demonstrate, too, as an Iranian.'"

    Morris Motamed, who previously served as the token Jew allowed to sit in Iran's toothless parliament, told Cohen that he was not a "Quisling." While the "Death to Israel" chants "bothered" Motamed, he was just as bothered by the "double standards" that allowed other countries, including Israel, to have a nuclear bomb, but not Iran.

    What Cohen did not write, though he admitted it in his Los Angeles talk, is that his interviews of Iranian Jews were conducted through a government-appointed translator and handler (Cohen does not speak Farsi) who he acknowledged would report to his masters in Tehran about both the journalist and those he met. Given the penalty for bucking the Islamist line about Israel for any Iranian, let alone a member of a despised minority, a less credulous journalist would not have taken the fruit of such interviews at face value. But Cohen not only reported the answers of his interlocutors as if they were a genuine reflection of Jewish opinion in Iran, he inflated them into a rationale for the Iran policy he wishes the United States to follow.

    Cohen paid lip service to some basic and undeniable facts about his hosts: Iran has a brutal government that represses its people, engages in state-sponsored anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial, aids terrorists abroad, and frequently threatens to destroy Israel. However, he views the continued existence of a cowed remainder of Iranian Jewry as of equal importance. The point, he wrote, is that the "sophistication and culture" of Iran counts for more "than all the inflammatory rhetoric":

    That may be because I'm a Jew and have seldom been treated with such consistent warmth as in Iran. Or perhaps I was impressed that the fury over Gaza, trumpeted on posters and Iranian TV, never spilled over into insults or violence toward Jews. Or perhaps it's because I'm convinced the 'Mad Mullah' caricature of Iran and likening of any compromise with it to Munich 1938—a position popular in some American Jewish circles—is misleading and dangerous.

    Cohen's warm words about Iran led many observers to accuse him of naïveté, of having been manipulated by Tehran and having been seduced by the country's charms, as in this breezy description:

    Try these images: brand-crazy consumers hunting for designer jeans, Internet cafes, an auto industry doing a lot better than Detroit, style, sensuality, and headscarves that take an awful lot of time, for some reason, that need adjusting, enough time to notice the hair beneath them and the face.

    But Cohen was anything but naïve. The purpose of his columns was not so much to sing the praises of the mullahs but to undermine American solidarity with Israel, which has good reason to feel threatened both by Iran and its Hizballah and Hamas sub-agencies. Debunking the notion that Iran is a danger to world peace goes hand-in-hand with Cohen's conviction that Israel is morally equivalent to Hamas and must, at all costs, be compelled into accommodation with its mortal enemies.

    The moral outrage about Ahmadinejad and Hamas is misplaced, in his view, primarily because speaking too much about the vile nature of both the Iranian regime and its ally has the effect of bolstering sympathy for an Israel that he sees as morally equivalent to its foes. As he told his Los Angeles audience, "If it is possible that Hamas is sincere in its desire for Israeli extinction," so is the desire of Israelis to trample and "lord it over" the Palestinians.


    Indeed, Cohen seized on the willingness of Iranian Jews to prove to their overlords that they are loyal to the regime through attacks on Israel's recent campaign in Gaza precisely because such sentiments mirror his own views. Though he touts himself as a supporter of Israel, he says virtually all acts of Israeli self-defense, including the counter-attack to halt missile attacks on its southern towns and construction of a fence to keep out suicide bombers, are "a bad thing." Thus, the consensus of Israeli intelligence, as well as most serious observers of Iran elsewhere, that Tehran is moving inexorably toward a nuclear weapon—a weapon that, even if it isn't used to annihilate the Jews of Israel, would provide a safety net for its equally annihilationist Hamas and Hizballah allies—is a perspective that must be refuted. The ability of Israel's supporters to harp on these points is a danger to good relations with Iran and therefore must be squelched.

    That is why the Jews remaining in Iran are such a useful tool for the Iranians and those who seek to exculpate them, such as Cohen. Cohen's willingness to ignore the context of oppression and fear to portray these Jews as living in safety and relative freedom could, as he wrote on March 16, "blunt the [anti-Iran] hawks' case." Rather than seeing the need to keep nuclear weapons out of the hands of the Iranian leaders as the key issue for diplomats, he believes the real worry is the chance that the world will take the issue seriously and actually try to act to stop them, a prospect he sees as an unalloyed disaster to be prevented at all costs. Iran's threats against Israel are, he says, mere talk, while the regime's decision to oppress but not kill the 20,000 Jews currently under their control is the happy reality. The Jew-hatred at the core of the Islamic Republic's ideology—as well as that of Hamas—is, in Cohen's formulation, meaningless.

    If his intention had been to alter the terms of public discussion about relations with Iran, by the end of March Cohen would have had every reason to think the tide might be turning in his direction. President Barack Obama's conciliatory message to Iran's leaders broadcast on March 20 effectively signaled a sea change in American policy on Iran away from efforts aimed at containing Iranian-backed terror and stopping its program to develop nuclear weapons and toward a rapprochement that would, in Cohen's view, inevitably lead to a cooling of U.S. relations with Israel. Candidate Obama's pledge to talk to Iran last year may have been accompanied by promises of tough action if negotiations failed, but the current lack of interest in Washington for anything other than accommodation is readily apparent. The Obama administration may well be more interested in how to live with an Iranian bomb at this point rather than how to stop it.

    Justifying such a policy of indifference to a nuclear Iran will require the administration to discount the fears of Israelis that the countdown towards an Iranian bomb begins the timetable for their destruction. Getting Americans to stop thinking about Iran as a rogue state led by a raving lunatic thirsting for Western as well as Jewish blood is a tall order, but it is precisely in this frame of reference that the significance of Cohen's work should be viewed. The attention given the testimonials of Iranian Jews about the good intentions of their anti-Semitic rulers must be seen not as merely a slice of life in the Islamic Republic but, as Cohen admitted during his talk, as part of an effort to change the tenor of America's national conversation about Iran. Indeed, if views such as Cohen's are now to be given more credence than the anguished cries of alarm coming from Jerusalem about Iranian nukes, then a bipartisan consensus about stopping Iran may be, as the writer hopes, on its way out.

    Seen in this light, Cohen's work inevitably invokes memories of Times journalists who have served in the past as apologists for other tyrants—principally Walter Duranty, the paper's Moscow bureau chief from 1922 to 1936, who helped tamp down American outrage about the regime of Josef Stalin. Duranty's work whitewashed the Communists and Stalin (who, with good reason, praised Duranty's writing) and included a flat-out denial of the existence of the terror famine that took the lives of millions in the Ukraine. This feat of journalistic malpractice earned him a Pulitzer Prize (an award that, despite the Times's late acknowledgment of Duranty's scandalous deceit, still has not been revoked by a feckless Pulitzer board).

    Cohen, who spent considerable time covering the Balkan wars in the 1990s, is sufficiently aware of the danger of being labeled as a fellow traveler of a tyrant to deny that he is unaware of the nature of the Iranian government. Indeed, as he told his listeners in Los Angeles, he "did not spend years covering genocide in Bosnia to sit back and be told that I am an apologist for a genocidal regime."

    But his tactic is not so much as to cover up the facts about Iran's crimes, as Duranty did of Stalin's famine and purges, as it is to discount Iran's behavior. As far as he is concerned, "obsessing" about Iran's rhetoric about Israel, its terror ties, and its anti-Semitism constitutes a distraction that dangerously reinforces American backing for Israeli "intransigence" toward Hamas and a willingness to contemplate sanctions or even force in order to prevent the Iranian nuclear drive.

    The truth about the Iranian government's backing for terrorism around the globe and its domestic human rights abuses is not disputed. Rather, it is treated as merely another element that makes an evaluation of the regime one requiring more "gray" than the simplistic "black and white" that pro-Israel advocates are wont to use. Cohen's concessions on these matters are designed to keep him from seeming like an open apologist for Iran, but whether he is open or covert in his apologia is a distinction without a difference. For if nothing Iran does is enough to merit action on the part of free nations; if even the possibility of its acquiring the ultimate weapon of mass destruction is insufficient to justify even a U.S. policy of "carrots and sticks" (a policy fit "for donkeys," says Cohen, not the noble rulers of Persia) to entice Iran to back down, let alone the use of force; then what Cohen has done is to create a template that grants the Jew-haters in Tehran impunity to do anything they want.


    In going to Iran and then producing columns that served to justify and rationalize the behavior of its government, Roger Cohen was not a foolish pilgrim manipulated by evil men who exploited his openhearted desire for understanding. Rather, he was a writer with an agenda to smash any hope for restraint of the Iranian regime and to split the U.S.-Israel alliance. Though he cannot be said to have lied on the scale of a Walter Duranty, in his determination to portray Tehran in a sympathetic light and disarm those who see its drive for nuclear weapons as an existential threat to the Jewish State as well as the West, Cohen sacrificed his credibility as a journalist. Even more, by using the helpless Jews of Iran as the linchpin of his campaign, Roger Cohen has behaved in a manner so shameful that his reputation as an apologist for those who threaten genocide may well live as long as Duranty's infamy.

    Jewish survival in the face of Jew hatred

    This is long and sad but a must read for every Jew

    Subject: Israel today, the West tomorrow. Mark Steyn COMMENTARY
    Israel Today, the West Tomorrow
    Mark Steyn From issue: May 2009

    On Holocaust Memorial Day 2008, a group of just under 100 people—Londoners and a few visitors —took a guided tour of the old Jewish East End. They visited, among other sites of interest, the birthplace of my old chum Lionel Bart, the author of Oliver! Three generations of schoolchildren have grown up singing Bart's lyric:

    Consider yourself

    At 'ome!

    Consider yourself

    One of the family!

    Those few dozen London Jews considered themselves at 'ome. But they weren't. Not any more. The tour was abruptly terminated when the group was pelted with stones, thrown by "youths"—or to be slightly less evasive, in the current euphemism of Fleet Street, "Asian" youths. "If you go any further, you'll die," they shouted, in between the flying rubble.

    A New Yorker who had just moved to Britain to start a job at the Metropolitan U niversity had her head cut open and had to be taken to the Royal London Hospital at Whitechapel, causing her to miss the Holocaust Day "interfaith memorial service" at the East London Central Synagogue. Her friend, Eric Litwack from Canada, was also struck but did not require stitches. But if you hadn't recently landed at Heathrow, it wasn't that big a deal, not these days: Nobody was killed or permanently disfigured. And given the number of Jewish community events that now require security, perhaps Her Majesty's Constabulary was right and these Londoners walking the streets of their own city would have been better advised to do so behind a police escort.


    A European Holocaust Memorial Day on which Jews are stoned sounds like a parody of the old joke that the Germans will never forgive the Jews for Auschwitz. According to a 2005 poll by the University of Bielefeld, 62 percent of Germans "are sick of all the harping on about German crimes against the Jews"—which is a cheerfully straightforward way of putting it. Nevertheless, when it comes to "harping on," these days it's the Jews who are mostly on the receiving end. While we're reprising old gags, here's one a reader reminded me of a couple of years ago, during Israel's famously "disproportionate" incursion into Lebanon: One day the U.N. Secretary General proposes that, in the interest of global peace and harmony, the world s soccer players should come together and form one United Nations global soccer team.

    "Great idea," says his deputy. "Er, but who would we play?"

    "Israel, of course."

    Ha-ha. It always had a grain of truth, now it's the whole loaf.

    "Israel is unfashionable," a Continental foreign minister said to me a decade back. "But maybe Israel will change, and then fashions will change." Fashions do change. But however Israel changes, this fashion won't. The shift of most (non-American) Western opinion against the Jewish state that began in the 1970s was, as my Continental politician had it, simply a reflection of casting: Israel was no longer the underdog but the overdog, and why would that appeal to a post-war polytechnic Euro Left unburdened by Holocaust guilt?

    Fair enough. Fashions change. But the new Judenhass is not a fashion, simply a stark reality that will metastasize in the years ahead and leave Israel isolated in the international "community" in ways that will make the first decade of this century seem like the good old days.

    A few months after the curtailed Holocaust Day tour, I found myself in that particular corner of Tower Hamlets for the first time in years. Specifically, on Cable Street—the scene of a famous battle in 1936, when Sir Oswald Mosley's British Union of Fascists, in a crude exercise of political muscle, determined to march through the heart of Jewish East London. They were turned back by a mob of local Jews, Irish Catholic dockers, and Communist agitators, all standing under the Spanish Civil War slogan: "No Pasaran." They shall not pass.

    From "No Pasaran" to "If you go any further, you'll die" is a story not primarily of anti-Semitism but of unprecedented demographic transformation. Beyond the fashionable "anti-Zionism" of the Euro Left is a starker reality: The demographic energy not just in Lionel Bart's East End but in almost every Western European country is "Asian." Which is to say, Muslim. A recent government statistical survey reported that the United Kingdom's Muslim population is increasing ten times faster than the general population. Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Antwerp, and many other Continental cities from Scandinavia to the Côte d'Azur will reach majority Muslim status in the next few years.

    Brussels has a Socialist mayor, which isn't that surprising, but he presides over a caucus a majority of whose members are Muslim, which might yet surprise those who think we're dealing with some slow, gradual, way-off-in-the-future process here. But so goes Christendom at the dawn of the third millennium: the ruling party of the capital city of the European Union is mostly Muslim.

    There are generally two responses to this trend: The first is that it's like a cast change in Cats or, perhaps more prec isely, David Merrick's all-black production of Hello, Dolly! Carol Channing and her pasty prancing waiters are replaced by Pearl Bailey and her ebony chorus, but otherwise the show is unchanged. Same set, same words, same arrangements: France will still be France, Germany Germany, Belgium Belgium.

    The second response is that the Islamicization of Europe entails certain consequences, and it might be worth exploring what these might be. There are already many points of cultural friction—from British banks' abolition of children's "piggy banks" to the enjoining of public doughnut consumption by Brussels police during Ramadan. And yet on one issue there is remarkable comity between the aging ethnic Europeans and their young surging Muslim populations: A famous poll a couple of years back found that 59 percent of Europeans regard Israel as the greatest threat to world peace.

    Fifty-nine percent? What the hell's wrong with the rest of you? Hey, relax: In Germany, it was 65 percent; Austria, 69 percent; the Netherlands, 74 percent. For purposes of comparison, in a recent poll of Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates—i.e., the "moderate" Arab world—79 percent of respondents regard Israel as the greatest threat to world peace. As far as I know, in the last year or two, they haven't re-tested that question in Europe, possibly in case Israel now scores as a higher threat level in the Netherlands than in20Yemen.

    To be sure, there are occasional arcane points of dispute: one recalls, in the wake of the July 7 bombings, the then London Mayor Ken Livingstone's somewhat tortured attempts to explain why blowing up buses in Tel Aviv is entirely legitimate whereas blowing up buses in Bloomsbury is not. Yet these are minimal bumps on a smooth glide path: The more Europe's Muslim population grows, the more restive and disassimilated it becomes, the more enthusiastically the establishment embraces "anti-Zionism," as if the sinister Jewess is the last virgin left to toss in the volcano—which, given the 13-year old "chavs" and "slappers" face down in pools of their own vomit in most British shopping centers of a Friday afternoon, may indeed be the case. For today's Jews, unlike on Cable Street in 1936, there are no Catholic dockworkers or Communist agitators to stand shoulder to shoulder. In post-Christian Europe, there aren't a lot of the former (practicing Catholics or practicing dockers), and as for the intellectual Left, it's more enthusiastic in its support of Hamas than many Gazans.

    To which there are many Israelis who would brusquely reply: So what? Pity the poor Jew who has ever relied on European "friends." Yet there is a difference of scale between the well-established faculty-lounge disdain for "Israeli apartheid" and a mass psychosis so universal it's part of the air you breathe. For a glimp se of the future, consider the (for the moment) bizarre circumstances of the recent Davis Cup First Round matches in Sweden. They had been scheduled long ago to be played in the Baltiska Hallen stadium in Malmo. Who knew which team the Swedes would draw? Could have been Chile, could have been Serbia. Alas, it was Israel.

    Malmo is Sweden's most Muslim city, and citing security concerns, the local council ordered the three days of tennis to be played behind closed doors. Imagine being Amir Hadad and Andy Ram, the Israeli doubles players, or Simon Aspelin and Robert Lindstedt, the Swedes. This was supposed to be their big day. But the vast stadium is empty, except for a few sports reporters and team officials. And just outside the perimeter up to 10,000 demonstrators are chanting, "Stop the match!" and maybe, a little deeper into the throng, they're shouting, "We want to kill all Jews worldwide" (as demonstrators in Copenhagen, just across the water, declared just a few weeks earlier). Did Aspelin and Lindstedt wonder why they couldn't have drawn some less controversial team, like Zimbabwe or Sudan? By all accounts, it was a fine match, thrilling and graceful, with good sportsmanship on both sides. Surely, such splendid tennis could have won over the mob, and newspapers would have reported that by the end of the match the Israeli players had the crowd with them all the way. But they shook 'em off at Helsingborg.

    Do you remember the "road map" summit held in Jordan just after the U.S. invasion of Iraq? It seemed a big deal at the time: The leaders of Israel and the Palestinian Authority, the U.S. president, all the A-list dictators of the Arab League. Inside the swank resort, it was all very collegial, smiles and handshakes. Outside, flags fluttered—Jordan's, America's, Saudi Arabia's, Egypt's, Palestine's. But not Israel's. King Abdullah of Jordan had concluded it would be too provocative to advertise the Zionist Entity's presence on Jordanian soil even at a summit supposedly boasting they were all on the same page. Malmo's tennis match observed the same conventions: I'm sure the Swedish tennis wallahs were very gracious hosts behind the walls of the stockade, and the unmarked car to the airport was top of the line. How smoothly the furtive maneuvers of the Middle East transfer to the wider world.


    When Western governments are as reluctant as King Abdullah to fly the Star of David, those among the citizenry who choose to do so have a hard time. In Britain in January, while "pro-Palestinian" demonstrators were permitted to dress up as hook-nosed Jews drinking the blood of Arab babies, the police ordered counter-protesters to put away their Israeli flags. In Alberta, in the heart of Calgary's Jewish neighborhood, the flag of Hizballah (supposedly a proscribed terrorist organization) was proudly waved by demonstrators, but one solitary Israeli flag was deemed a threat to the Queen's peace and officers told the brave fellow holding it to put it away or be arrested for "inciting public disorder." In Germany, a student in Duisburg put the Star of David in the window of an upstairs apartment on the day of a march by the Islamist group Milli Görüs, only to have the cops smash his door down and remove the flag. He's now trying to get the police to pay for a new door. Ah, those Jews. It's always about money, isn't it?

    Peter, the student in Duisberg, says he likes to display the Israeli flag because anti-Semitism in Europe is worse than at any other time since the Second World War. Which is true. But, if you look at it from the authorities' point of view, it's not about Jew-hatred; it's a simple numbers game. If a statistically insignificant Jewish population gets upset, big deal. If the far larger Muslim population—and, in some French cities, the youth population (i.e., the demographic that riots) is already pushing 50 percent—you have a serious public-order threat on your hands. We're beyond the anti-Semitic and into the ad hoc utilitarian: The King Abdullah approach will seem like the sensible way to avoid trouble. To modify the UN joke: Whom won't we play? Israel, of course. Not in public.

    One Saturday afternoon a few weeks ago, a group wearing "BOYCOTT ISRAEL" T-shirts entered a French branch of Carrefour, the world's largest supermarket chain, and announced themselves. They then systematically advanced down every aisle examining every product, seizing all the items made in Israel and piling them into carts to take away and destroy. Judging from the video they made, the protesters were mostly Muslim immigrants and a few French leftists. But more relevant was the passivity of everyone else in the store, both staff and shoppers, all of whom stood idly by as private property was ransacked and smashed, and many of whom when invited to comment expressed support for the destruction. "South Africa started to shake once all countries started to boycott their products," one elderly lady customer said. "So what you're doing, I find it good."

    Others may find Germany in the '30s the more instructive comparison. "It isn't silent majorities that drive things, but vocal minorities," the Canadian public intellectual George Jonas recently wrote. "Don't count heads; count decibels. All entities—the United States, the Western world, the Arab street—have prevailing moods, and it's prevailing moods that define aggregates at any given time." Last December, in a well-planned attack on iconic Bombay landmarks symbolizing power and wealth, Pakistani terrorists nevertheless found time to divert one-fifth of their manpower to torturing and killing a handful of obscure Jews helping the city's poor in a nondescript building. If this was a ter ritorial dispute over Kashmir, why kill the only rabbi in Bombay? Because Pakistani Islam has been in effect Arabized. Demographically, in Europe and elsewhere, Islam has the numbers. But ideologically, radical Islam has the decibels—in Turkey, in the Balkans, in Western Europe.

    And the prevailing mood in much of the world makes Israel an easy sacrifice. Long before Muslims are a statistical majority, there will be three permanent members of the Security Council—Britain, France, Russia—for whom the accommodation of Islam is a domestic political imperative.


    On the heels of his call for the incorporation of Sharia within British law, the Archbishop of Canterbury gave an interview to the Muslim News praising Islam for making "a very significant contribution to getting a debate about religion into public life." Well, that's one way of putting it. The urge to look on the bright side of its own remorseless cultural retreat will intensify: Once Europeans have accepted a not entirely voluntary biculturalism, they will see no reason why Israel should not do the same, and they will embrace a one-state, one-man, one-vote solution for the land between the Jordan and the Mediterranean.

    The Muslim world has spent decades peddling the notion that the reason a vast oil-rich region stretching thousands of miles is politically deformed and mired in grim psychoses is all because of a tiny strip of turf barely wider than my New Hampshire township. It will make an ever more convenient scapegoat for the problems of a far vaster territory from the mountains of Morne to the Urals. There was a fair bit of this in the days after 9/11. As Richard Ingrams wrote on the following weekend in the London Observer: "Who will dare to damn Israel?"

    Well, take a number and get in line. The dust had barely settled on the London Tube bombings before a reader named Derrick Green sent me a congratulatory e-mail: "I bet you Jewish supremacists think it is Christmas come early, don't you? Incredibly, you are now going to get your own way even more than you did before, and the British people are going to be dragged into more wars for Israel."

    So it will go. British, European, and even American troops will withdraw from Iraq and Afghanistan, and a bomb will go off in Madrid or Hamburg or Manchester, and there will be nothing left to blame except Israeli "disproportion." For the remnants of European Jewry, the already discernible migration of French Jews to Quebec, Florida, and elsewhere will accelerate. There are about 150,000 Jews in London today—it's the thirteenth biggest Jewish city in the world. But there are approximately one million Muslims. The highest number of Jews is found in the 50-54 age group; the highest number of Muslims are found in the four-years-and-under category. By 2025, there will be Jews in Israel, and Jews in America, but not in many other places. Even as the legitimacy of a Jewish state is rejected, the Jewish diaspora—the Jewish presence in the wider world—will shrivel.

    And then, to modify Richard Ingrams, who will dare not to damn Israel? There'll still be a Holocaust Memorial Day, mainly for the pleasures it affords to chastise the new Nazis. As Anthony Lipmann, the Anglican son of an Auschwitz survivor, wrote in 2005: "When on 27 January I take my mother's arm—tattoo number A-25466—I will think not just of the crematoria and the cattle trucks but of Darfur, Rwanda, Zimbabwe, Jenin, Fallujah." Jenin?

    You can see why they'll keep Holocaust Day on the calendar: In an age when politicians are indifferent or downright hostile to Israel's "right to exist," it's useful to be able to say, "But some of my best photo-ops are Jewish."

    The joke about Mandatory Palestine was that it was the twice-promised land. But isn't that Europe, too? And perhaps Russia and maybe Canada, a little ways down the line? Two cultures jostling within the same piece of real estate. Not long ago, I found myself watching the video of another "pro-Palestinian" protest in central London with the Metropolitan Police retreating up St. James's Street to Piccadilly in the face of a mob hurling traffic cones and jeering, "Run, run, you cowards!" and "Allahu akbar!" You would think the deluded multi-culti progressives would unde rstand: In the end, this isn't about Gaza, this isn't about the Middle East; it's about them. It may be some consolation to an ever-lonelier Israel that, in one of history's bleaker jests, in the coming Europe the Europeans will be the new Jews.


    Mark Steyn is the author of America Alone and a columnist for National Review. His piece on snark ran in our February issue.


    Ancient Jar Handle inscribed "Menachem" Uncovered in Ras el-‘Amud

    Press Release
    Wednesday May 20, 2009
    An Ancient Jar Handle Bearing the Hebrew Name Menachem was Uncovered in Ras el-'Amud
    The artifact was discovered during an excavation by the Israel Antiquities Authority prior to the construction of a girls' school by the Jerusalem municipality. This is the first time that a handle with this name has been found in Jerusalem
    Settlement remains dating to different phases of the Middle Canaanite period (2200-1900 BCE) and the last years of the First Temple period (eighth-seventh centuries BCE), including an inscription in ancient Hebrew script that mentions the name "Menachem", were recently exposed in an archaeological excavation the Israel Antiquities Authority is conducting in the Ras el-'Amud neighborhood, prior to the construction of a girls' school by the Jerusalem municipality.
    Among the remains from the First Temple period is a handle on which the Hebrew name (ל)מנחם , meaning (to) Menachem, is engraved. According to archaeologist Dr. Ron Beeri, the excavation director on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority, "This important find joins similar names that were found in archaeological excavations in the Ancient East and in Israel in particular. The names Menachem and Yinachem are expressions of condolence – possibly related to the death of family members".
    First Temple Jug Inscription - "Menachem" - Hebrew Script
    Photograph: Mariana Salzberger, Israel Antiquities Authority
    Dr. Beeri adds that such names already appeared earlier in the Canaanite period: the name Yinachem was found written on an Egyptian pottery sherd that dates to the eighteenth dynasty and the name Yinachemu is mentioned in the El-Amarna letters (from the fourteenth century BCE) as the name of an Egyptian governor on the Lebanese coast.
     This is the first time that a handle with this name has been found in Jerusalem. The name Menachem is known from the corpus of Hebrew or Phoenician names and seals that bear this name were found in Israel, Assyria, Cyprus and Egypt. The name Menachem Ben Gadi is mentioned in the Bible. He reigned as king of Israel for ten years in Samaria and was one of the last kings of the Kingdom of Israel. According to Kings 2 Menachem Ben Gadi ascended the throne in the thirty-ninth year of Uzziah, king of Judah.
    Menachem, king of Israel, is also mentioned in the texts of the king of Assyria, Tiglath-Pileser III, as "Menachem of Samaria" and as one of the kings from whom he received tribute.


    Stump the experts: Iran launches IRBM missile with 2,000 KM range

    While Iran could, perhaps in six or eight years, develop a missile with a nuclear warhead and a 2,000-kilometer (1,200 mile) range - double its longest-range missile at present - the report said it's virtually impossible to predict how long it would take the country to produce a modern intercontinental ballistic missile.
    The scientists and experts concluded that there is no imminent threat of Iran firing intermediate-range or intercontinental ballistic missiles - and if there was such a threat, the proposed U.S. missile defense system in Europe would not provide a dependable defense against it.
    But Iran launched an intermediate range ballistic missile today. Either Iran is wrong, or the experts are wrong. I'm betting on Iran being right. What does this do to expert predictions about when Iran will have nuclear weapons?
    Ami Isseroff
    May 20, 2009
    Iran Says It Tests New Missile

    Filed at 5:02 a.m. ET
    TEHRAN, May 20 (Reuters) - Iran successfully launched an advanced surface-to-surface missile with a range of around 2,000 km (1,200 miles) on Wednesday, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was quoted by the official IRNA news agency as saying.
    "The Sejil 2 missile, which has an advanced technology, was launched today ... and it landed exactly on the target," Ahmadinejad said during a visit to the northern Semnan province, where IRNA said the launch took place.
    A range of 2,000 km would be almost as far as another Iranian missile, Shahab 3, and would enable it to reach Israel and U.S. bases in the Gulf.
    The announcement is likely to arouse further concern in the West about Iran's military ambitions. The United States and its allies suspect the Islamic Republic is seeking to build nuclear bombs. Tehran denies the charge.
    Iran said in November it test fired a Sejil missile, describing it as a new generation of surface-to-surface missile. Tehran said it was ready to defend itself against any attacker.
    Washington said at the time that the test highlighted the need for a missile defence system it plans to base in Poland and the Czech Republic to counter threats from what it calls "rogue states".


    Tuesday, May 19, 2009

    Democracy Saudi Arabia style

    A New York Times article announcing the delay of local elections in Saudi Arabia for two years gives us some insight as to what is considered "democracy" east of the Jordan river:
    "I consider the decision a delay in a reform process that we were supposed to believe really began when we started this process of elections," said Hatoun Al Fasi, assistant professor of women's history at King Saud University. Just five days earlier, a group of activists eager for a more representative form of government sent a letter to King Abdullah and other members of the royal family. They called for the royal family to allow for an elected parliament with legislative authority, term limits for royals in appointed posts and to have someone outside the royal family be appointed as prime minister.
    Without saying directly, the signatories had called for creation of a constitutional monarchy — including public accountability — a prospect the royal family has demonstrated it is adamantly opposed to and views as a threat.
    "Elections are essential but the decision makers do not recognize the right of the people to be represented by someone other than Al Saud," said Walee Sami Aboul Kheir, a lawyer and one of 77 people to sign the letter. He was referring to the royal family.
    "The political decision makers do not want elections," he added. "They held the elections before just to show the United States that elections would bring Islamists, who are organized and have a bloc."
    When the government announced its plans to allow limited, nationwide elections for local councils, it was billed as part of an overall plan to edge this conservative, tradition bound nation toward a more open system. The first election, held in 2005, allowed men -- not women -- to vote for half the representatives to 178 municipal councils. The other half were appointed. Then Crown Prince Abdullah, now the king, had packaged the elections as part of a broader agenda that included a formalized national dialogue.
    Taken together, King Abdullah's program suggested an interest in fostering public participation in a process that had been the exclusive province of the royal family. But from the very start, the councils proved more of a disappointment, fueling apathy more than interest.
    "The whole experience was a failure," said Hamed al Qahtani, an architect who lives in the eastern province of Damam. "The council has no legislative or executive powers, all they can do is make proposals that get shelved."
    The decision to delay the second council elections, which had been scheduled for this year, was expected. The government said the delay would give time for it to write a specific law for municipal elections with the aim of opening the process even more. There had been some discussion in the past of allowing women to vote, though that was not stated as a reason for the delay.
    It seems there is division of labor - some of the people participate in the elections, while the royal family continues to make the decisions. As for women voting -- that's a long way off.
    Ami Isseroff