Thursday, September 16, 2010

A song of peace?? "Pull the trigger - redeem the country"

Song broadcast on PA TV:
Pull the trigger - redeem the country

by Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik

PA TV broadcast a Palestinian dance group performing and singing about conquering Israel through war. The song describes Israelis as "despicable" and an "invading enemy" and declares that "the Palestinian revolution awaits [them]." Israeli cities Lod and Ramle as well as Jerusalem are presented as Palestinian cities to be liberated through "Jihad" by Palestinians who have "replaced bracelets with weapons." The song then calls to: "Pull the trigger."

The performance was broadcast on official Palestinian Authority TV this week, two days before the latest round of peace talks.

The following is a transcript and description of the performance:

Band member recites a poem:
"Fight, brother, the flag will never be lowered,
the torches will never die out."
On [Mt.] Carmel (in Israel) and in the [Jordan] Valley,
we are rocks and streams.
In Lod (Israeli city) we are poems, and in Ramle (Israeli city) - grenades.
We, my brother, shall remain the revolution of the fighting nation."
Vocalist sings:
"The Zionists went out from [their] homelands,
compounding damage and enmity.
But the Palestinian revolution awaits [them].
The orchard called us to the [armed] struggle.
We replaced bracelets with weapons.
We attacked the despicable [Zionists].
This invading enemy is on the battlefield.
This is the day of consolation of Jihad.
Pull the trigger.
We shall redeem Jerusalem, Nablus and the country."
[PA TV (Fatah), Sept. 12, 2010]

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Iranian defiance of IAEA "troubling and reprehensible"

Perhaps if they were potential targets of an Iranian nuclear strike,  diplomats would be bit more "troubled."
West hits out at Iran over ban on atom inspectors

2:30pm EDT
By Fredrik Dahl and Sylvia Westall

VIENNA (Reuters) - Western powers accused Iran on Wednesday of trying to intimidate the U.N. atomic agency by barring some nuclear inspectors and the United States warned the Islamic state of possible diplomatic consequences.

Iran's envoy Ali Asghar Soltanieh hit back during a tense meeting of the board of the International Atomic Energy Agency, saying during a heated outburst that IAEA chief Yukiya Amano had "completely missed the facts," diplomats said.

The escalating row has further worsened ties between Iran and the IAEA and deepened concern about Iran's nuclear work, which the West suspects is aimed at developing atomic weapons.

"Relations between Iran and the IAEA are the lowest they've ever been," said one Western diplomat who attended the closed-door session. "Soltanieh was shouting," said another, adding Amano had responded calmly to the criticism against him.

In comments that angered Tehran, Amano told the board earlier this week that Iran's refusal to admit some experienced inspectors was hampering the agency's work.
Iran, which says its nuclear programme is aimed at generating electricity, has said two inspectors it banned in June had provided false information about its activities.
It says it is within its rights to refuse inspectors under its non-proliferation accord with the U.N. body and the agency has a pool of more than 150 other experts it can use.

Glyn Davies, U.S. envoy to the IAEA, said Iran was making a "clear effort" to intimidate inspectors and influence them.

"It is unprecedented for a state to reject inspectors because they report accurately ... what they see and hear."

In a separate statement, France, Germany and Britain voiced concern about what they called Iran's growing failure to work with the IAEA, saying this was "troubling and reprehensible."

Besides those barred in June, Tehran canceled access for a senior Middle East inspector in 2006 and has objected to several other designated inspectors in the past.
If Iran continues to refuse inspectors it could face diplomatic consequences at the IAEA, whose governors referred Iran's dossier to the U.N. Security Council in 2006 over its nuclear secrecy and lack of full cooperation.
Davies referred to language in the IAEA's agreements with member states governing inspections, which he said "indicates that the board should consider 'appropriate action' when inspections are being impeded" by the rejection of inspectors.

Relations between Iran and the IAEA have deteriorated since Amano took over in December. He has taken a firmer approach than his predecessor Mohamed ElBaradei, saying in his reports that Tehran could be trying to develop a nuclear-armed missile.

Iran has accused Amano, a veteran Japanese diplomat, of issuing misleading and politicized reports.Amano's latest report to the board showed Iran was pushing ahead with its nuclear work despite tougher sanctions imposed by the United Nations, the United States and the European Union.

It expressed growing frustration over what the IAEA sees as Iran's failure to respond to concerns about possible military dimensions to its activities.

The EU trio said Iran seemed "determined to pursue a nuclear programme which could provide it with military capabilities."

Soltanieh said Iran would take legal action to seek compensation for "huge damages to my country as a result of continuous baseless allegations" over its atomic work. He also called on Amano to report on Japan's nuclear material stockpile.


Palestinian Rocket fire during peace talks

Palestinian Attacks Threaten to Overshadow Peace Talks

More than a dozen rockets hit Israel
  • Major city under fire
  • Peace talks continue in Jerusalem

Rockets and mortar rounds pounded southern Israeli residents on Wednesday (Sept. 15) as Israeli and Palestinian negotiators met in Jerusalem for the second round of peace talks this month.

Gaza-based Palestinian terrorists launched at least a dozen projectiles; two reportedly landed in Ashkelon, a coastal Israeli city with a population of about 110,000. There were no reports of injuries.

In response, the Israel Defense Forces targeted tunnels that run under Gaza's border with Egypt.[1] Israel maintains Iran-backed Palestinian terrorist organizations use the passageways to smuggle weapons and terrorists in and out of the Palestinian coastal enclave. [2]

No one has claimed responsibility for the latest attacks but Iran-backed Hamas, which controls Gaza, did say it carried out two terror attacks on the eve of the Sept. 2 launch of peace talks.[3]

A new Palestinian video, said to be created by Hamas, offers a view of what Palestinian terrorists think of the ongoing peace process. The clip culminates with the Palestinian takeover of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.

Much of the funding for Hamas activities emanates from Iran. [4] which also injects money into the coffers of the South Lebanon-based Hezbollah. [5]

From 1993-2006, Iran's financial support of Hamas was estimated at $30 million annually. It has increased to several hundred million annually since then. Since Hamas' January 2006 electoral victory, funding has increased significantly. In April 2006, Iran pledged $50 million in aid to Hamas. In November 2006, Iran donated $120 million to Hamas.

Iran has provided Hezbollah with weapons, funding, guidance, and intelligence, giving more than $200 million to Hezbollah annually in addition to an estimated $300 million after Israel's defensive war with Hezbollah in 2006.

Wednesday's barrage from Gaza occurred as U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was chairing talks between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

Clinton said she was "well aware of the obstacles that stand in the way of peace," but added that she is convinced "this is the time and these are the leaders."

Israeli President Shimon Peres told Clinton that peace "can be achieved. It must be achieved," Peres made the remarks as they spoke to reporters at his official residence.[6]

The U.S. secretary of state repeated Washington's apparent desire for Palestinians to recognize Israel as a secure, democratic Jewish state.

Clinton is slated to hold talks with Jordan's King Abdullah in Amman before leaving the region.

U.S. special envoy George Mitchell will travel to Syria and Lebanon on Thursday to update their leaders on the peace process.

Experts available for 1-1 media interviews in Israel

To schedule an interview with Dov Weisglass or Gilead Sher please be in touch with Shai Ornan in our Washington DC Office at  202-857-6644/ or Ronit Shebson in our Israel Office on  011-972 2-623-6427/  All other experts may be contacted direct via their contact details below.

Peace Negotiators

Dov Weisglass
: Ariel Sharon's Chief of Staff, public face for Sharon during the 2004 withdrawal negotiations and the diplomatic delegate for negotiating with U.S. National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice and U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell.
Field: Peace Negotiations.

Gilead Sher
: Former Head of Bureau and Policy Coordinator of Israel's Prime Minister and Minister of Defense Ehud Barak; peace negotiations co-chief negotiator in 1999-2001 at the Camp David summit and the Taba talks; Served under the late PM Yitzhak Rabin, as delegate to the 1994-5 Interim Agreement negotiations.
Field: Peace Process; Israeli Politics

Dore Gold

Affiliation: President, Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs; former principal foreign policy advisor to Ariel Sharon; former Israeli ambassador to UN
Fields: Israeli and global Jewish affairs; foreign policy; conflict management/conflict resolution
Contact through spokesman Adam Shay
Tel.: 011-972-2-563-2947; 972-02-588-3182; 972-02-561-9281 (switchboard)

Dr. Yehuda Ben-Meir
Affiliation: Former deputy minister of foreign affairs; former member of Knesset;
Principal Research Fellow and Director of the National Security and Public Opinion Project at the Institute for National Security Studies; author of "National Security Decision making: The Israeli Case"
Fields: Israeli public opinion and attitudes, specifically regarding national security and the peace process; Israel-U.S. Relations; Israel-Palestinian conflict
Tel.: 011-972-3-640-0400, ext. 469; 011- 972-50-380-8849

Dr. Tal Becker (background only)
: Senior policy advisor to Israel's Minister of Foreign Affairs from 2006-2009; lead negotiator in Israeli-Palestinian negotiations during the Annapolis peace process.
Field: Israel Foreign Affairs; Peace Process
Tel.: 011-972-50-651-0055
US-Israel Relations

Zvi Rafiah
Field: US-Israel Relations
Tel.: 011-972-3-695-0535; 011-972-54-201-0708 (cell)

Ambassador Zalman Shoval
Ambassador to the U.S. from 1990-1993 and 1998-2000, Former Deputy Foregin Minister
Field: US-Israel Relations
Tel.: 011-972-54-453-3747 (cell)
Herb Keinon
Affiliation: Veteran diplomatic correspondent, The Jerusalem Post
Fields: Jewish residents of the West Bank; Israeli popular attitudes towards the settlements
Tel.: 972-50-205-2616 (cell)

Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi (USA)
Founder and President of The Israel Project (TIP). Mizrahi meets regularly with top Israeli leaders such as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Shimon Peres, Defense Minister Ehud Barak, Ambassador Michael Oren, Deputy Foreign Minister Daniel Ayalon and many others. She recently returned from meetings in Ramallah with PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad and Chief Palestine Liberation Organization Negotiator Saeb Erekat.
Tel: +1 202 857 6644 / +1 202 365 0787 (cell)

Marcus Sheff, Executive Director of The Israel Project's Israel Office
Tel: 011-972-2-623-6427

Eli Ovits, Director of Communications, TIP-Israel
Cell: 011-972-54-807-9093

In the United States

David Makovsky
Affiliation: Director of the Project on the Middle East Peace Process, Washington Institute for Near East Policy
Fields: Arab-Israeli relations; peace process; U.S. policy; Middle East democratization; Israeli politics; the Palestinians
Tel.: 202-452-0650 (office)

Mitchell Bard
Affiliation: Executive Director, American-Israeli Cooperative Enterprise
Fields: U.S.-Israel relations; Israeli politics; Arab-Israeli conflict; Middle Eastern politics
Tel: 301-565-3918

Aaron David Miller
Affiliation: Public Policy Scholar, Woodrow Wilson Center
Fields: U.S.-Middle East relations; Arab-Israeli negotiations; Arab world and Palestinian politics; Israeli politics
Tel.: 202-691-4040
Web site:

Prof. Yoram Peri
Affiliation: Director, Joseph and Alma Gildenhorn Institute for Israel Studies, University of Maryland; Former political adviser to late Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin; former editor-in-chief of the Israeli daily Davar newspaper
Fields: Israeli domestic politics; peace process
Tel.: 301-405-9413
Web site:


[1]"South under attack; IDF strikes Gaza," Yediot Aharonot, Sept 15, 2010,,7340,L-3954408,00.html

[2]"Palestinian terrorist infiltrators killed; IAF targets terror tunnels in Gaza Strip," Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, May 21, 2010,

[3]"Peace Talks to Commence in Shadow of Second Hamas Terror Attack," The israel Project, Sept 2, 2010,

[5]"Hezbollah as a strategic arm of Iran," Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center
at the Center for Special Studies (C.S.S), Sept 8, 2006,

[6]Cahsman, Greer Fay, "Hillary Clinton and Shimon Peres: A special friendship," The Jerusalem Post, Sept. 15, 2010,

UK trade unions against peace

UK trade union federation to continue boycott support

TUC drops plans for general boycott of Israel, but settlement goods ban to continue; group to strengthen ties with Palestine Solidarity Campaign.

Britain's trade union federation voted at its annual conference in Manchester on Tuesday to continue its boycott of Israeli goods and services from West Bank settlements but dropped plans for a full boycott campaign.
The Trade Union Congress also voted to strengthen ties with the radical fringe group the Palestine Solidarity Campaign.

However the motion stopped short of a full general boycott of Israel.
"Congress instructs the General Council to work closely with the PSC to actively encourage affiliates, employers and pension funds to disinvest from, and boycott the goods of companies who profit from illegal settlements, the occupation and the construction of the wall," the motion said.
At its conference last year, the TUC voted to support a targeted consumer-led boycott of goods from the West Bank settlements and to work closely with the PSC in order to build an effective boycott campaign. 
It also voted to campaign for disinvestment from companies associated with "the occupation" as well as those engaged in building "the separation wall". Consequently, many expected a stronger course of action at Tuesday's conference furthering the boycott and divestment campaign, but in the end it was dropped from the motion.
The Board of Deputies of British Jews welcomed the decision to not implement a full boycott saying it was a blow to the boycott movement.
"The TUC today rejected a general boycott of Israeli goods, despite the efforts of the PSC. This is good news, and a serious setback for the pro-boycott movement. We recognise the efforts of serious trade unions, the TUC and international TUC leaders in opposing this divisive measure," said Board of Deputies president Vivian Wineman in a joint statement with Mick Davis, chair of the Jewish Leadership Council's executive committee.
"However, the tone of the TUC's resolution is at odds with the realities of Israeli-Palestinian trade union cooperation and the renewed peace process. We are also concerned that the resolution again mandates TUC to work closely with the PSC, an organization that does not share TUC's support for a two-state solution. Communal leaders will be meeting with TUC leadership to raise these concerns."

The motion was raised by the transport union TSSA whose president Andy Bain accused Israel of "ethnic cleansing" urging delegates to "make the boycott work."
"The occupation has seen industries taken over. You are moved off your land and walls are built to divide people from their land," he said.
The motion also condemned the Histadrut trade union federation for its backing of the government during the Gaza flotilla incident in May.
Hugh Lanning, from the PSC group, said the vote showed that British trade union members were prepared to stand up "in support of an oppressed people" in the same way they had during the effort to end apartheid in South Africa.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

The Arab Lobby- another take

The Arab Lobby

A new book explores the 'petrodiplomatic complex' and Saudi influence on U.S. foreign policy

By Lee Smith | Sep 1, 2010 7:01 AM |

CAOne of the characteristic laments of the Arab intelligentsia in both Washington and the Middle East concerns the inability of Arab nations to make their cases to the U.S. public. If only the Arabs weren't so divided, the refrain goes; if only they better explained themselves and the plight of the Palestinians; if only the Arabs were as clever as the Jews; if only there was an Arab lobby as powerful as the Israel lobby.

But there is an Arab lobby in the United States—one as old as, if not older than, the Israel lobby, and it has helped to shape U.S. foreign policy and economic life since the end of World War II. Mitchell Bard's The Arab Lobby: The Invisible Alliance That Undermines America's Interests in the Middle East describes how this Arab lobby—from U.S. foreign service officers, oil companies, Christian anti-Zionists, and Ivy League universities to Gulf Arab states, Arab-American activists and Islamist ideologues—exercises its influence in U.S. politics. The book is already being dismissed by critics as a slapdash attempt by a former AIPAC employee to answer Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer's 2007 book, The Israel Lobby. But those who actually read the new book will find a serious and timely look at a powerful and remarkably under-studied influence on U.S. foreign policy.

"Unlike Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer, I don't think it's illegitimate to lobby for one's interests," Bard told me on the phone last week. The executive director of the American-Israeli Cooperative Enterprise, Bard wrote his dissertation at UCLA on the limits to domestic influence on U.S. Middle East Policy. "I've been writing for more than 20 years about this issue," he said. "The point of my book is to inform the American public that an Arab lobby exists despite the claims of others that it does not and to explain what its interests are."

In describing AIPAC's Arab cousin, Bard draws some useful comparisons between the two lobbies, which are not as similar as one might imagine from his book's title. AIPAC is a grassroots organization funded by U.S. citizens that represents the broad sentiment of Christians and Jews who are interested in one issue—protecting and promoting the U.S.-Israel relationship. The Arab lobby, by comparison, has little organic U.S. backing and divides its efforts between two causes—oil and Palestine. The former is managed in Washington by what Bard calls the "petrodiplomatic complex" of former U.S. diplomats and intelligence officers, politicians, and defense executives. Funded by oil companies, the weapons industry, and Arab energy producers, mainly Saudi Arabia, it enjoys virtually unlimited financial resources. For instance, AIPAC's annual operating budget is $60 million a year—pocket change to a Saudi prince, like Alwaleed Bin Talal, who in 2005 gave $20 million apiece to Georgetown and Harvard.

The Palestinian issue is paramount to the Arab-American sector of the Arab lobby. However, just as the Palestinians are divided against themselves—between Hamas and Fatah, among contending Fatah factions, as well as among competing clans—it is not the Palestinian cause that unites the Arabs or Arab-Americans but anti-Israel sentiment. The same goes for many of the Arab lobby's domestic anti-Zionist partners, some of whom are motivated by religious conviction, especially the Presbyterians, and others by political ideology, but all of whom can agree on disliking first the idea and then the reality of a Jewish state.

The Arab lobby's Palestine agenda, then, tends to be negative and, as Bard writes, "aimed at undermining the US-Israel relationship," only rarely promoting a positive vision of a Palestinian state as a regional beacon of social justice or economic development, or defending the rights of Palestinian journalists, Christians, or other endangered social groups against the threats of the Palestinian political leadership. This part of the Arab lobby, writes Bard, "is small and mostly impotent."

The real power is in the hands of the Arab lobby's oil sector, the role of which is to keep the Arab oil producers happy by ensuring that Americans stay addicted to oil, that the defense industry keeps its production lines open, and that the image of Arab states stays polished, even for state sponsors of terror, like Saudi Arabia, and states whose rule is founded on flagrant social inequalities, the torture of dissidents and unbelievers, and other practices that most Americans rightly find abhorrent.

Surely the most depressing aspect of Bard's book is his depiction of the craven subservience of so many U.S. diplomats and officials to the Saudi royal family. "Even when the Saudis had no money, and they only started to pump oil," Bard told me, "a fear permeated the State Department that if we didn't give in to them, we would lose our interest there. And the Saudis were clever about exploiting our fear. First they said they'd go with the British instead of us, then they threatened that they'd go with the Soviet Union, even as they portrayed themselves as anti-Communist and said they needed U.S. weapons to defend themselves against Moscow."

Bard says that the Saudis are using the Iran threat now in similar ways. "The U.S. knows that in the end we have to defend the royal family," he said. "The Saudis just want the latest toys and act like petulant children until they get them. Then the U.S. tells the Israelis not to worry when they sell the Saudis weapons because they can't use them, but we go to Congress and say Riyadh needs these arms for their defense."

With all the demands for U.S. presidents to pressure Israel, it's worth noting that U.S. officials have rarely done anything but accommodate the Saudis. The one striking exception, as Bard notes, was John F. Kennedy's demand that Saudi Arabia abolish slavery. Typically, U.S.-Saudi relations have been conducted in the dark, a trend that started in July 1945, when President Harry Truman approved construction of the Dhahran air base using existing War Department funds to evade congressional oversight. This became a precedent for keeping most of the U.S.-Saudi relationship secret, or at least beyond public scrutiny. For years, the U.S. government acceded to the wishes of the Saudis and other Gulf states to conceal information about Arab investments in the United States, and even U.S. arms sales to Saudi Arabia were classified between 1950 and 1972.

Today the unspoken issue is Saudi support for terror. Were U.S. officials to complain about how the kingdom funds jihad against the United States and its allies, "there's a fear," says Bard, "that the Saudis may punish us by withdrawing some of their billions of dollars in investments, cut U.S. companies out of deals to explore for gas or oil, or take other measures to damage our interests."

Nor are the Saudis shy about promising to unleash jihad against those who cross their path, as when they threatened the British government when it was investigating the unsavory details of a Saudi arms purchase from a British weapons maker.

Given the nature of the Saudi regime, it is little wonder that the oil lobby prefers to work in the shadows. As one publicist explained in laying out his PR strategy for Riyadh: "Saudi Arabia has a need to influence the few that influence the many, rather than the need to influence the many to whom the few must respond."

"This is a fairly smart lobbying tactic," Bard told me. "It is very difficult to take a democratic approach, when most people don't take your position."

The story of the Arab lobby is also a story about Washington, more specifically an influential segment of the U.S. political elite that has contempt for the rubes who don't understand that it is in the U.S. national interest to lean on the Zionists in order to make the Middle East's Muslim Arab majority happy.

Bard believes that the Arabs and their Washington handlers were spitting in the wind of a post-World War II history that had turned in favor of the Jews. The Arabs, Bard writes, were "convinced that the United States supported the Zionists because of their propaganda. … Consequently, [the Arabs] never understood the depth of Americans' feeling for the justness of the Zionist cause."

Perhaps that is true, but it's worth remembering that at the same time the Zionists succeeded in lobbying the Truman Administration to support a Jewish state, there was still widespread anti-Semitism throughout America, even as the horrors of the Final Solution were becoming known to the general public. It is comforting to believe that the 63 percent of Americans, according to a recent Gallup poll, who side with Israel rather than the Palestinians are now and will always be stalwart friends of the Jews. But in the end all we know for certain about Americans is that they can smell what stinks. The Saudi lobby pays Washington power-brokers to talk over the heads of ordinary Americans because the latter have enough horse sense to know that a regime that withholds the rights of women as well as those of its Shia minority, outlaws the practice of Christianity and Judaism, and promotes anti-American causes is not in any meaningful sense of the term a U.S. ally.

As Bard's book documents, the Saudis' well-paid American agents have been making the same arguments for 60 years. The reason their message is not getting through is not that Americans are stupid and susceptible to Zionist propaganda or that the Jews who "control" Congress and the media are blocking access to the truth. The majority of Americans haven't yet joined in the chorus led by Walt, Mearsheimer, and their cohort because Americans simply do not like to be threatened by extortionists who warn that if you don't do what we say we will turn off your lights and shut down your car engines, and if you don't change your position on Israel, we will kill you.

The Arab lobby


The problem of the Arab-Israel conflict begins with the term itself, which misrepresents the unilateral Arab war against Israel as a bilateral dispute. Unilateral aggression is not unheard of—when did Poland ever aggress against Germany or Russia?—but nothing in United Nations history compares in intensity or fixity with Arab belligerence toward Israel, a UN member state.

The Arab war has less to do with the scant physical space occupied by the Jewish state than with the opportunity it offers Arab leaders to consolidate their power and prestige by organizing against an external target, especially one trailing so long and encrusted a history of religious and ethnic vilification. This same politics of blame has been no less useful to Westerners like, most recently, Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer in their 2006 indictment of America's "Israel Lobby." Had these two respected academics set out to study dispassionately the role of American special-interest groups in the making of Middle East policy, they might have unearthed a fascinating contrast in the disparate way that Arabs and Jews operate. Instead, by single-mindedly fingering the Jews, they neatly drew attention away from the larger story of Arab influence-peddlers.  

Now at last comes the information missing from Walt and Mearsheimer's screed. In Mitchell Bard's The Arab Lobby, we see how, in contrast to the altogether transparent workings of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), a lobby supported by tens of thousands of American citizens across political lines, the Arab lobby truly does merit being called, in Bard's subtitle, an "invisible alliance that undermines America's interests in the Middle East."

Mitchell Bard was the logical person to supply the untold story. Trained in political science, public policy, and economics, he has made a specialty of separating Middle Eastern myths from facts, and his writing, whether on academic subjects or for popular audiences, is marked by careful research and thorough documentation. The details speak for themselves.

The present book, divided into fifteen chapters, begins with the "seeds" of the Arab lobby that were sown by King Saud of Saudi Arabia in the World War II era and that still bear fruit today. The basic message to America remains remarkably consistent: We have the oil. Maintain us in power and we will guarantee your deliveries. We will also purchase American arms—to the tune, Bard writes, of $100 billion over 50 years—to keep ourselves in power and thus maintain the security of your supply.

Bard does not shrink from the term "blackmail" to describe the process whereby the Saudis have periodically threatened to close the spigot whenever Washington appears to oppose their interests and fixed habits, which happen to include the denial of human rights at home, militant opposition to Israel abroad, the global spread of extremist Islam, and support of international terror.

The last-named activity ought to have turned the spotlight on Saudi Arabian double-dealing when fifteen of the nineteen suicide bombers in the 9/11 attack on American soil turned out to be Saudi nationals. Instead, the opposite occurred, as the royal family seized the opportunity to extend Arab influence in the world of ideas by pouring tens of millions of dollars into Islamic programs in American universities and other educational initiatives. The staggering sums are listed by Bard, along with descriptions of what these sums are buying in programming, from college courses through K-12 education. The influence is palpable not only in what gets taught but in what has been excluded: namely, courses on radical Islam, Arab anti-Semitism, Arab anti-Americanism, or anything else that might explain the real and present danger. What Jewish lobbying works to clarify and uncover, Arab influence has been successfully deployed to obscure.

The research compiled by Walt and Mearsheimer for The Israel Lobby, shoddy as much of it was, was taken from publicly available sources. Arab lobbyists and their clients conduct their most serious business in secret. The U.S. State Department, where Arabists are most influential, does not declassify its cables for 25 years, and even then, Bard writes, "we do not know how much of [Arab lobbying] activity is kept secret for national-security reasons, concealed to avoid embarrassment, [or] destroyed purposely or inadvertently."

The Arab Lobby is not an elegant book, and would have benefited from editorial polishing. But it rests on a solid background of painstaking research. Some of its repetitive quality, moreover, is attributable to the unchanging nature of Arab politics. American Jews could do America—and ultimately the Arabs—no greater service than to focus on setting the record straight, and to do so by taking a page from Bard and rejecting their customary defensiveness. They are not the defendants in this case; they are rightly the plaintiffs. 

Ruth R. Wisse is professor of Yiddish and comparative literature at Harvard. Her books include Jews and Power (Schocken)The Modern Jewish Canon (Free Press), and a forthcoming edition of The Glatstein Chronicles (Yale). 

Founder of Islamic Charity Convicted

Founder of Islamic Charity Convicted
            IPT News
September 10, 2010


            After a week-long trial, a federal court in Eugene, Oregon has convicted Pete Seda, the founder of an Islamic charity accused of funneling $150,000 to Chechen mujahideen.

            Seda, also known as Pirouz Sedaghaty, was
charged with conspiring to move money out of the United Sates without declaring it, as required by federal law, and with filing false tax returns to hide the fact that the money ever existed. According to federal officials, Seda accepted a large donation intended to support "our Muslim brothers in Chychnia," and then surreptitiously shifted the money to Saudi Arabia in the form of difficult to trace traveler's checks.

            "The lifeblood of terrorism is money—if we can stop the flow of money to violent extremist organizations, we'll be safer both here and abroad," U.S. Attorney Dwight C. Holton said in
a statement. "By lying to the IRS about where this money went, the defendant sought to hide the true destination of this money." Holton continued, "The jury's verdict demonstrates once again the critical role—and effectiveness—of civilian criminal courts in the battle against terrorism."

            During the trial, officials described how they lost track of the money when it was deposited in Saudi Arabia, but they suspected that it eventually made its way into the hands of Chechen rebels. Prosecutors had argued that Seda had a "dark side," one that was "insistent on helping the cause of the mujahideen covertly, secretly, and without leaving a paper trail."

            Seda came under the scrutiny of U.S. law enforcement because of his leadership within the U.S. branch of al Haramain Islamic Foundation (AHF), an international organization that has been banned by the
United States, Saudi Arabia, and the United Nations for its support of international terrorist organizations. During the trial, Assistant U.S. Attorney Chris Cardani told jurors that "al Haramain subscribed to a very violent form of Islam." He told the jury that the organization supported "violent jihad…aggressive, kill people jihad."

            Knowing of the organization's role in the global terrorist support structure, Seda opened up the American branch of al Haramain in Ashland, Oregon. Despite attempts by the defense to paint Seda as a man dedicated to interfaith dialogue and peace building, the government presented witnesses who describe the "darker" side of the defendant.

         Former congregants of AHF detailed how they would occasionally hear fiery prayers denouncing the United States and Muslim integration in the West. A former employee, Daveed Gartenstein-Ross, explained that it was his job was to distribute moderate materials to non-Muslims, but to provide "true believers" with copies of the "Noble Quran," which contained an appendix entitled, "A Call to Jihad: Holy Fighting in Allah's Cause," extolling the righteousness of violent jihad. Gartenstein-Ross also testified how he had distributed Mohammad bin Jamil Zino's "Islamic

Guidelines for Individual and Social Reform." In the book, Zino explains:
            "Jihad is obligatory on every Muslim in two ways: by spending one's wealth or offering oneself for fighting in the cause of Allah."

            The conviction of Pete Seda i
s only the most recent in a string of examples of charities financing terrorism, and it demonstrates the lengths to which terrorist organizations will go to hide their illicit activities. The case serves as a reminder of the fact that while there are many charitable institutions operating legally, others funnel money to terrorist organizations under the guise of humanitarian assistance.

            Sentencing is set for November 23. Seda was remanded into the custody of federal marshals following the verdict.

The Lebanese will never succumb to terrorism

The Lebanese will never succumb to terrorism
By: Elias Bejjani

September 12/2010

The on going dire challenges that are imposed on our Lebanese people and beloved country, Lebanon, by the Axis of Evil countries and organizations, Hezbollah, Syria, Iran and their mercenaries, does not affect our self confidence or weaken our strong spirit of peaceful and civilized resistance. These existential challenges make us stronger and more adamant to reclaim by all means our confiscated freedom, independence and sovereignty. 

With each and every threat Hezbollah voices to subdue us, take over Lebanon and annihilate our identity and culture, our perseverance and longing for a free Lebanon without Hezbollah and its likes are reignited and rejuvenated. Threats and intimidation never scared our courageous, peace loving people in the past, and definitely will never now or at any time in the future no matter who is threatening or how loud and sturdy are the threats. 

We, the sovereign and faithful Lebanese, intensely believe in our legitimate and holy right to a descent, free and democratic Lebanon. It must be crystal clear to all aggressors, fundamentalists, terrorists and powers of evil that we shall never allow any of them to control our country or force on our people a regime that drags us back into a Stone Age era like the Syrian Baathist and Iranian mullahs' regimes.

We plan, anticipate, wait and hold on to our faith and hopes. We strive and work hard for achievable reachable, reasonable, legitimate, righteous, acceptable and logical aims. We have always been convinced that our patriotic dreams and hopes can be fulfilled when genuinely embraced with faith, self-confidence, perseverance, determination, devotion, knowledge and a strong will. We strived and shall keeping on striving to keep Lebanon a pioneering, civilized nation and to live peacefully under the umbrella of law, justice, freedom and human rights.
We strived and shall keeping striving to make our society an example in righteous virtues and tolerance.
We struggled and shall keep struggling to be in full control of our destiny, history, heritage and culture.
We worked hard and shall continue doing so for a Lebanon in which only the language of peace and love will prevail.
We are hopeful that the day of positive change will come soon to fulfill our people's dreams, ambitions and aspirations. We are hopeful that equality will rule where individual rights are respected, law is the criteria for judgment and qualifications are the only basis for reward and appreciation. We are adamant to fight for righteous national slogans that our people understand and respect. We long that peace shall defeat war, stability beat terrorism, qualifications overcome favoritism, righteousness replaces oppression, nationalism abolishes subservience and openness wins over isolation.

Lebanon cannot survive without justice no matter what price the Lebanese need to pay. Meanwhile, Lebanon will not be again an oasis for peace if the criminals are not made accountable and put on trial. History tells us that political assassinations and oppression will not end unless the state of law prevails. Accordingly, all Lebanese politicians and leaders who are currently hailing all vicious attacks against the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) must be identified and tagged as traitors who are succumbing to terrorism and willingly carrying the yoke of enslavement.

The Lebanese need to be fully aware that the vicious ongoing campaign against the STL waged by Iran, Syria, Hezbollah and their mercenaries is a destructive well planned scheme against the Lebanese people's dignity, honor, rights and future.

Hezbollah's terrorism scheme to intimidate the Free World, Arab countries and the UN must not be allowed to succeed or otherwise Lebanon will fall prey to Syria and Iran. Those wicked and cowardly Lebanese politicians who are trying to corner the Lebanese people between either stability or justice must be indicted on charges of treason because no country can be independent and free without justice.

The Lebanese dreams and hopes in a civilized and prosperous free, democratic and multicultural Lebanon will all be evaporated and buried if, God forbid, justice is compromised and Hezbollah is allowed to get away with the Hariri crime and other horrible atrocities. Hezbollah, Syria, Iran, and all other suspects in the Hariri crime and other political crimes must be put on trial and justice served.

To those Lebanese politicians who sold out their country and its people for thirty pieces of silver we say: enough is enough, no more deceiving and conniving. The time has come for you to face justice and pay for your crimes.

In conclusion, no matter what the hardships are, the faithful Lebanese people will not abandon their patriotic obligations to defend their beloved country, and by God's graces shall always stand tall like their Holy Cedars, and will never ever succumb to terrorism.

*Elias Bejjani
*Canadian-Lebanese Human Rights activist, journalist and political commentator
*Web sites &
*Mailing phoenicia group